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Woy Woy to Cowan: Hawkesbury on Great North Walk

Woy Woy Bay to the coast at Patonga then on the Hawkesbury to Brooklyn and onward to Cowan
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 14.8 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  WOY WOY TO COWAN: 24.1 km (moderate) – could be broken into 2 parts at Brooklyn

South from Woy Woy Bay to the coast of Broken Bay ... more »

Tips:  PLACES TO STAY
The Boat Shed is a one bedroomed apartment near the centre of Brooklyn, where there are several restaurants.
Brooklyn ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Woy Woy Waste Facility

There is walkers' access to the side of the main gate to this facility. There is car parking here too.

2. GNW Wakers' Register

This is nearer to the track up to Mount Wondabyne -- look out for it around there.

3. Overlooking Hawkesbury Estuary

Broken Bay has three distinct arms: to the west is the Hawkesbury River estuary, Brisbane Water lies to the north with Pittwater towards the south. These three arms are in fact ‘rias’ that were river valleys many, many years ago when sea level was significantly lower than today. As sea level rose, these were flooded to give the expansive, watery... More

4. View of Ocean

Many of the high points of the trail (which winds up & down around here) offer stunning views out over the ocean or down over Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury Estuary.

5. House on Broken Bay

This holiday home seems now to be unused but is indicative of the dual nature of life in this region -- holiday-making and fishing. Many of the creeks opening onto Broken Bay are where Aboriginal Australians searched for shellfish at least 10,000 years ago. Around 1902 locals begin what is now a very large area of oyster beds around the mouth of... More

6. Patonga Beach

This beach is a great place for lunch -- especially as there is a convenient and very good fish and chip shop right here. Watch out for the local fishermen tidying and mending nets and for the pelicans who frequent the shallow water hoping for a snack too.

7. Ferry Past Islands in the Estuary

Hawkesbury River Islands include: Lion Island that’s famous for not having a World War II submarine sunk near it, Spectacle Island, Dangar Island and Long Island (like the New York one — only ours had its name first

8. Last River Postman and Ferrying across Broken Bay

Australia’s Last Riverboat Postman Trips: Postman, All-day and Coffee cruises with Hawkesbury River Ferries: Brooklyn Wharf (+61 2 9985 7566); and
Dangar Ferry Service: Pre-booked trips between Brooklyn and Patonga, opposite Hawkesbury River Marina, Brooklyn (+61 41527 4020). Both en route on the Great North Walk.
Dangar Island is the only one of... More

9. Brooklyn Wharf

The ferry across the Hawkesbury between Patonga and Brooklyn is not the only way to cross Broken Bay but it is certainly the most interesting. Alternatives are taking a car over the Brooklyn Bridge (itself an historic landmark) or a train ride that involves just as much history.

10. Brooklyn (or Explorer's ) Obelisk

Brooklyn (or Explorers’) Obelisk: if you spend much time around Brooklyn Wharf, you are almost bound to find the obelisk on today’s walk. It commemorates the discovery and naming of the Hawkesbury River in 1789 by the earliest European explorer in Australia, Governor Arthur Phillip. It also recognizes the importance of the railways to this area... More

11. Brooklyn Dam

As you climb up above the Hawkesbury on its southern side you cannot miss the Brooklyn Dam. In season it is resplendent with a host of bright yellow water lilies.

12. Jerusalem Bay

Jerusalem Bay offers a lovely picnic location -- but beware of ticks in wet conditions. Once -- before Canberra existed -- there was a plan to build a capital city for Australia around here-- and name it Pacifica. In 1889, there were plans for a specially created capital of the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia between Cowan Creek and... More

13. Cowan Station

Cowan is another place that takes its name from one or more Aboriginal languages. There is a choice of three: ’opposite’ or ’other side’, a word meaning ‘big water’ or even perhaps the Aboriginal word for mountain (cowa). The railway station there was opened in 1890 and the platform, shorter than present-day trains, added in 1901. There is car... More

14. Brooklyn Bridges

The original Hawkesbury River Rail Bridge was constructed between 1886 and 1889. The current bridge was rebuilt in 1946, after the Second World War. But the first Hawkesbury Railway, or Brooklyn, Bridge was the largest such civil engineering construction in the Southern Hemisphere at a phenomenal 862 metres. It was even the topic of a paper at ... More