Great North Walk Day 2 (3 July): Baden Powell Scout camp to Tunk Ridge bush camp

Morning on the trail

Morning on the trail

Time of writing: 6:00pm 3 July

I luxuriated in the conveniences of the Scout camp this morning: a hot shower, a microwave, and power and internet connection. It all led to a relatively late 8:00am start to my second day on the GNW.

It took a while to get from the Scout camp back to the track. I missed a turn on my way out and had to backtrack a couple of hundred metres. But I was soon on my way.

A quiet place to sit

A quiet place to sit

The track took me to Thornleigh Oval then through suburban streets before I again entered bushland. The sun filtered through the trees and morning air giving off a white glowing light. It was cool and sheltered along the track under the cliffs to my east. Before long I was sitting on a rock just enjoying the moment. I’d already walked 4km and deserved the break.

Boiling the billy

Boiling the billy

Another 2km of walking through pretty green bushland punctuated by sandstone brought me to The Jungo; the junction of Berowra and Zig Zag Creeks. There wasn’t much there so I continued a few hundred metres to Berowra Creek where there was a small sandy beach. Here I cooked up a cup of tea and listened to the gurgle of the creek; a sound I would become used to as the day wore on.

The Benowie Track

The Benowie Track

As I walked, I paid close attention to my surrounds. The creek gurgled away to my left most of the day. Up to my right, sandstone boulders and crags dominated the bushland. Sometimes I’d have to walk up to the top and this would open out views of thickly treed mountains to my west. Incredibly, I was rarely more than a few hundred metres from suburban homes but I almost never saw them. I felt quite immersed in the bush: so beautiful and thick it was.

The Spa

The Spa

I stopped for lunch at The Spa; a crazy water feature on Waitara Creek. Circular holes drop through rocks creating a powerful and strange whirlpooling cascade. Crossing it was quite daunting so I ended up emptying my pack and carrying the dry sacks inside across separately to reduce the weight. With all my gear out of my pack and it being midday, it seemed only sensible to eat. I have to admit that I felt quite uneasy at The Spa. Something told me that I wasn’t meant to be there but I was so hungry that I had to ignore it.

From The Spa I walked on to The Fish Ponds. I’m not quite sure the significance of this pool of water, which is dominated by “Danger people have died swimming here” signs (talk about visual pollution). About an hour later I came to the Steele Bridge. Here I talked with some young men about 16-18 years old. I suspect they were Army Cadets because they wore fatigues and were eating Army rations. None needed to shave yet but all were taller than me. They looked rather odd (can I say silly?) in uniform, especially the one carrying a black piece of plastic or cardboard that was meant to be a practice rifle.

Tunk Ridge bush camp

Tunk Ridge bush camp

Two kilometres later (all of which was uphill), I rached Tunk Ridge bush camp where I camped tonight. It’s an odd location just 2-3km from major suburban areas but still totally quiet. I arrived around 2:00pm and have been lazing around all afternoon resting, stretching, writing, eating and talking to the  random people walking or running along the tracks. Mostly I’ve been trying to gleen information about the trail ahead. I have learned that the Calna Bridge is down and that the track from Calna Creek to Sam Creek is impassable due to heavy rainfalls. If that’s the case, I need to backtrack to Hornsby to catch a train to Berowra. no one I spoke to could hep me. It’s 10km each way to that section of track. so I might err on the side of caution and catch the train. It wouldn’t be good to have to camp back here again tomorrow if I can’t get through.

Total: 18km hike with 30kg pack (I carried extra water for the bush camp)


  • oats with cinnamon, fruit, nuts and honey
  • Milo bar
  • fruit puree
  • oat bar
  • Organic Food bar
  • 6 x Vita Wheat crackers and sweet chili tuna
  • tomato, vegetable and lentil soup
  • macaroni, beef jerkey and veg with Parmesan cheese


6 responses to “Great North Walk Day 2 (3 July): Baden Powell Scout camp to Tunk Ridge bush camp

  1. Pingback: Great North Walk Day 1 (2 July): Sydney – Baden Powell Scout Camp | Transventure

  2. Pingback: Great North Walk Day 3 (4 July): Tunk Ridge bush camp to Ridge Top bush camp | Transventure

  3. Yikes 30kgs mate. I know that trudge up to Tunks Ridge well, I don’t even like doing it with a 4kg day pack! How did you go climbing down the spikes to Galston Gorge on the other side?

    • Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Galston Gorge because the track from Calna Crossing to Sam’s Creek was closed – I walked back out to Hornsby from Tunks Ridge camp. I spoke with some people two days later who had tried to walk through Galston Gorge but apparently it was a swim job. So I’m glad I didn’t go there. But oh boy! The pegs up north of Berowra Waters were such a tough job. I had to work really hard to haul myself up them – some of them all I managed was to scramble partway up and then lay my body flat on the rocks to move like a catepiller to get up on top. It was seriously cool though 🙂

  4. That is interesting that you felt uneasy at the Spa, what do you think made it so unsettling?

    • I suspect the Spa probably was probably a forbidden place to the First Peoples due to the violent nature of the water surges. I will probably never know but it was a forbidding place by nature.

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