A pleasant half-day bushwalk in Brisbane Water National Park, the first half of this walk follows the Tunnel Fire Trail from Woy Woy Road. (The Tunnel Fire Trail provides access to Mount Wondabyne, Rocky Crossing and the Secret Trough Waterfall; on today’s walk with Michael and Carolyn we’re going to have a look at an enormous stone arrangement – the Woy Woy Snake).
Tunnel Fire Trail
The firetrail is initially fairly level, as it passes some large pools formed by an old quarry, which is now flooded.
After about 1.4km we pass the junction with the Thommos Loop Firetrail, and at the 1.8km mark is the Mullet Creek Firetrail (turning left take you to the Woy Woy Waterfall Pool or Trough Waterfall). Along the way are some views of Mount Wondabyne in the distance.
From the Mullet Creek Firetrail junction the Tunnel Fire Trail starts to ascend, passing the Mount Wondabyne Trig Firetrail at the 2.9km mark. From this junction we’re following the Great North Walk (Patonga to Girrakool) route. After another 400m we meet the Dillon Trail.
Dillons Trail / Hawkesbury Track (GNW)
Known as either the Dillon Trail (which is different to the Dillon Fire Trail) or the Hawkesbury Track, this is a more interesting bushwalking trail.
Frequent Great North Walk (GNW) sign posts mark the track, which crosses a few rock platform and has the occasional steep section.
There’s some nice views over the large expanse of Brisbane Water National Park, between the sections of dense scrub.
As the Great North Walk crosses one of the largest rock platforms on this section of the walk, you get a glimpse of the Woy Woy Snake further along the vast rock shelf.
The “snake” consists of hundred of rocks arranged in a sinuous form, with a length of over just over fifty metres.
Impressive up close, the stone arrangement can even be seen in satellite photos.
The Woy Woy Snake may have originally formed part of an Aboriginal stone arrangement, with earlier photos showing piles of stones strewn across the platform. It’s likely that someone in the last twenty years arranged the stones into its current snake form. Visible from the rock platform is Dillon’s Farm, and the name of Lindsay Dillon is etched into the rock.
The 40 acre farm was established by Lou Dillon in 1908, following an application for a land grant in 1907; Lindsay Dillon is one of his descendants.
There were many Dillon’s in the district. Some resided at Patonga, others at Woy Woy and others had a mixed farm on the plateau above Little Patonga Creek. The farm had access to Woy Woy by a family made road, but the only means to Patonga was down the creek. Norman and Harold Dillon, sons of the farmer, not only worked the farm, but cut a track down the mountain to the creek, and five days a week, they would carry fresh beans, peas, tomatoes, silver beet, potatoes and other seasonal vegetables down to a large canoe which they would row down to the settlement and walk every street selling their wares. They would then row back home again, harvest what was required for the following day’s trade, then help with the afternoon farm chores. Eventually, they purchased an outboard motor for their canoe to make life a little easier. It was the first one I ever saw.The History of Matt
A smaller, nearby rock formation may be an Aboriginal stone arrangement. It appears to be unchanged from photos taken decades earlier.
The track descends from here past Woy Woy Tip and crosses Patonga Creek. While the entire walk so far has been through dry sclerophyll forest, along the creek the temperature drops by a few degrees and the vegetation is dominated by palms.
Near the creek is an overhang with Aboriginal art; unfortunately the kangaroo (drawn in charcoal) and handprints have been defaced. It’s so sad to see this senseless vandalism, not just because it damages art which is centuries old, but because of a very small number of morons these sites are increasingly being hidden or access restricted.
From here we walk back the same way, you could do this as a much longer one-way bushwalk from Wondabyne to Patonga. But as our cars are parked on Woy Woy Road, retracing our steps is the only option. After a few brief stops to admire the late afternoon light over Brisbane Water, we’re back at the cars just after sunset.
Getting to the Woy Woy Snake
If you’ve walked the Great North Walk from Patonga to Wondabyne you would have walked past the Woy Woy Snake (also called the less flattering Woy Woy Tip Snake due to it’s location near the Woy Woy Landfill) without even noticing it. As I have a few times! If you want to visit the snake, the shortest route is from The Citadel in Umina, while the route from Woy Woy Road along the Tunnel Firetrail makes for a pleasant half-day walk with some nice views along the way.
- The History of Matt – Patonga NSW – a history
- All things Woy – Snake in the hills