For many, a trek on the Bicentennial National Trail is about getting out and about in nature and spending time with your animals. The highlight of such a trek is often traversing the more rugged sections where few venture. A sunset over the mountains, or stepping back to admire the view from an altitude you’ve worked all day to gain- these are are the BNT memories that last.
However, it doesn’t have to be all work. A journey along the Bicentennial National Trail is a great way to see the country and check out a few Aussie gems along the way. Following are 20 not-to-be missed spots which either lie on the Bicentennial National Trail, or are within a stone’s throw.
20 Sights Along The Bicentennial National Trail
This collection of spectacular limestone caves is located near Oberon, NSW. The caves are approximately 6km from the Bicentennial National trail and are thought to be some of the world’s oldest.
Innot Hot Springs
Innot Hot Springs Health Park has six public pools- all fed by the hot mineral water which bubbles up out of the ground at Nettle Creek. Otherwise, dig your hole in the river sand of the nearby creek bed for free.
The Burdekin Dam
When followed north-south, the Bicentennial National Trail leads you from the tiny headwaters of the Burdekin river to the monstrous body of water that is Lake Dalrymple, or The Burdekin Dam. The capacity of the dam equates to nearly four times the size of Sydney Harbour. After traveling through the dry station country of north Queensland, you’ll hardly remember ever seeing so much water at once.
Tom Groggin Station
Tom Groggin has operated as a cattle station since before 1860 and is of considerable historic significance, not least before of its link with Banjo Patterson’s poem “The Man From Snowy River”.
New England Waterfalls
The Bicentennial National Trail travels for a short time along Waterfall Way, which winds through five national parks with breathtaking waterfall views. Ebor Falls, Dangars Falls and Wollomombi Falls are all within the area, in addition to many more.
The Blue Mountains
You’ll be traveling through the southern Blue Mountains National Park for a day or two on the BNT, and once reaching the little town of Wallerawang, spectacular Blue Mountain attractions like the Three Sisters and Hassan’s Walls are only a bus ride/ lift away.
7. The Kunderang Wilderness
Unforgettable remote gorge country within the world-heritage listed Kunderang Wilderness in the New England area.
8. Widden Horse Stud
The Thompsons settled the Widden Valley in the Upper Hunter region during the 1860’s and are still running what is now known as one of the world’s great horse studs. The Bicentennial National Trail runs straight through the middle of this colossal farm, giving trekkers a rare chance to see Widden’s ship-shape operations and prized horses.
9. The Livery Stable Cave
The Wollemi hills are awash with tales of cattle duffers, bushrangers, hidden trees and hideouts. The BNT passes right by the Livery Stable, a cave reportedly used by Captain Starlight’s gang to hide a stolen racehorse.
10. The Capertee Valley
135km northwest of Sydney, the Capertee Valley is a grand canyon all of our own- almost a kilometer longer than that of North America. Capertee’s sandstone escarpments soar to hundreds of meters in height and the Bicentennial National Trail takes a truly spectacular passage through the valley.
11. The Daintree Rainforest
By way of the Bump Track and Creb Track, The Bicentennial National Trail Book 1 leads trekkers through the thick of the Daintree Rainforest in far north Queensland. The Daintree is the largest chunk of protected tropical rainforest in Australia and home to the most extensive range of rare plants and animals on earth.
12. The Murrumbidgee River
Meaning ‘big water’, the Murrumbidgee is Australia’s second longest river and arguably one of the most scenic. The Bicentennial National Trail first crosses the Murrumbidgee just south of Canberra, and trekkers have several rendezvous with the river before finally parting with it before Providence Portal in BNT guidebook 11.
13. Mossman Gorge
Although entrance is now quite pricey and somewhat hyped-up for the tourist market, Mossman Gorge is a great spot to get away from the rigors of the trail for day. Although you’ll see more crystal clear rivers on the BNT than you can count, the one at Mossman Gorge is especially lovely for an afternoon swim, with lush tropical surrounds and butterflies flitting about.
14. The Guy Fawkes River NP
The Guy Fawkes River plunges off the Northern Tablelands at Ebor Falls, and the park contains spectacular explodes of rugged river gorges. This includes the deeply incised Guy Fawkes River Valley, which runs along the line of an ancient fault through the park.
15. The Snowy Mountains Brumbies
Brumbies have been running wild in Kosciusko National Park for more than 150 years and trekkers on the Bicentennial National Trail are guaranteed to see their fair share as they travel through the spectacular high country.
16. The National Arboretum
The Bicentennial National Trail takes trekkers right through the middle of the National Arboretum in Canberra. There is even a horse yard outside the cafe, should the urge for caffeine or cake strike. The Arboretum features 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world, including the hundred-year-old cork oak forest.
17. Blackfellows Hand Cave
On your way to the BNT camp at Baal Bone Gap, you’ll come within reach of the Blackfellows Hand Cave. This was a meeting place for the Aboriginal tribes of the area, and the rock overhang features a number of hands and weapons painted on the cave.
18. Thunderbolt’s Hideout
The Bushranger “Captain Thunderbolt” was well known through the Tenterfield and BNT book 7 areas. Twelve kilometres from Tenterfield, Thunderbolt’s Hideout was where he would ‘stable’ his horses and shelter under the large rock. The top of the rock made an ideal lookout, as this was the main road to Warwick during the gold-mining days.
19. Wonga Beach
Largely following the path of The Great Dividing Range, the Bicentennial National Trail rarely comes close to the coastline throughout its 5330km journey. So make the most of Wonga Beach, a popular pit stop for BNT trekkers to dose up on salt water before recommencing on their travels.
20. The Murray River
One of Australia’s true national treasures, the Murray River meets the BNT at Tom Groggin, on the Victorian- NSW border. They soon part ways as the Murray takes a turn for the north and the BNT heads across the grain of the Victorian mountains, bound for Healesville.