Most trekkers take to the Bicentennial National Trail to get away from it all and out into nature.
Ironically enough, seeing a town coming up in the guidebook and the thought of a cold beer can put a spring in any walker’s step.
While the Bicentennial National Trail is first and foremost an experience in the great outdoors, trail towns can provide trekkers with much needed food supplies, gear repairs, phone reception, laundry facilities, farriers or simply a place to rest one’s feet for a few days.
Knowing when and where you’ll come to a town on the trail can definitely help with planning and managing logistics .Following is a list of towns located on the Bicentennial National Trail, in order from South to North. Towns that are close to to the trail and relatively accessible are highlighted in orannge.
Towns on the Bicentennial National Trail In Victoria
Perhaps the most exciting town for the BNT thru-trekker, either because you’re about to embark on the BNT, or you’ve just finished it! Either way, Healesville has almost everything you’d need for last minute essentials before setting off, or a celebratory end-of trail beverage.
Don’t miss: The Wild Grains Bakehouse
Situated on the Maroondah Highway, only a day or two’s trek along the BNT from Healesville.
Don’t miss: A meal at the historic Black Spur Inn.
The last vestige of civilization before heading into the most grueling, mountainous part of the BNT. Marysville, as well as much of the surrounding area of the BNT, was badly affected in the Black Saturday Bushfires.
Don’t miss: the helpful and well-set-out tourist information centre, with their vast array of topographic and walking maps.
Omeo was known as one of Australia’s toughest, wildest towns back in the rough and ready gold days. After the gold ran out, lawlessness persisted, but today it is a friendly and welcoming stop for trekkers.
This small township services the cattle and timber milling district on the southern slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Its a popular haunt for 4WDers who come to explore the nearby Wonangatta Valley and surrounding high country.
Don’t miss: A refreshing swim in the crystal clear Dargo river.
Towns on the Bicentennial National Trail In NSW & ACT
Proclaimed as the southern gateway to the Kosciusko National Park, Khankoban once housed workers on the Great Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.
Don’t miss: Some of the best servo food you’ll ever taste at Khankoban Alpine Roadhouse.
Tharwa is a tiny ACT settlement on the Murrumbidgee River.
Don’t miss: The friendly folk and Rooftop maps at the Namadgi Visitor Centre (you might need them if you’re heading south!)
There aren’t many places on the BNT where you’ll fall asleep fall asleep to the sound of sirens, traffic and the lions roaring at the nearby zoo. With a fenced paddock and snug little hilltop camp, this is probably the best camp in Canberra to rest and resupply (Curtin shops and bus stops are just down the road). Horse feed can also be delivered to the campsite.
Don’t miss: A squizz at the cross country course at Canberra’s amazing public equestrian park next door.
Although it’s not recognized or mentioned in the BNT guidebook, most BNT trekkers opt to overnight in Belconnen, near or at the Pony Club.
Hall is a village unto itself in the ACT’s far north, featuring historic buildings that existed before the establishment of Canberra.
Don’t miss: A meal at the Wood Duck Inn.
A quiet village on the Yass River, Gundaroo is a historic and charming stop off point for BNT trekkers.
Don’t miss: Free barbecues at the park campsite.
Crookwelll is the centre of a district known for its fat lambs, merino wool, potatoes and orchard fruits.
Don’t miss: A quick look at the historic church as you lug your shopping back from town.
Taralga was established in the 1820’s, and its early beginnings can still be seen today in its stone and timber slab buildings.
Don’t miss: A cooked breakfast at Lady Rae’s.
A little village once known as a halfway stop-off point in the days of the horse and cart
Don’t miss: The incredible views from the Halfway Hotel over the Blue Mountains and surrounding valley.
Known as ‘Wang’ to the locals, Wallerawang until recently was known for its thermal coal power station (now decommissioned). Public buses run to nearby Lithgow and Bathurst if you need more than what the local supermarket stocks.
Don’t miss: A cooling swim at Lake Wallace.
Sandy Hollow is located on the Golden Highway in the Upper Hunter region, and is the first centre of civilization after the long-ish trek from Wallerawang.
Don’t miss: The odd art gallery across the road from the Caravan Park.
Aberdeen lies on the busy New England Highway is is also situated on the main north railway line from Sydney.
Don’t miss: The saddleries at neaby Scone- official horse capital of Australia.
Gundy is a small town on the BNT’s ‘Nundle Detour’ route.
Don’t miss: Gundy’s atmospheric pub.
Nundle owes its existence to a gold rush in the 1850s and due to problems with the original BNT route through the Barrington Tops, the trail has been rerouted through here.
Buses run to horse-happy Tamworth for trekkers needing gear/ equipment repairs.
Don’t miss: Panning for gold in the surrounding creek beds.
Perched high on the northern tablelands, the hamlet of Ebor can be a cold little spot, but a welcome break between the challenging Kunderang and Guy Fawkes sections of the Bicentennial National Trail.
Don’t miss: The spectacular Ebor Falls (just down the road).
Glenn Innes lies around 35km from the where the BNT crosses the Gwydir Highway, and along with Tenterfeld, is a popular resupply point for BNT trekkers.
Don’t miss: If you’re passing through in May, check out Glenn Innes’ Australian Celtic Festival.
Tenterfield is situated just over 20km from the Billyrimba BNT camp. It is often possible to grab a lift to Tenterfield to resupply for the short stretch up to the Queensland border.
Don’t miss: The Tenterfield Saddler museum. Unfortunately these pack saddles and saddlebags are not for sale!
Towns on the Bicentennial National Trail In Queensland
With Tenterfield not so far back, and Killarney coming up practically just around the corner, its not really necessary to make a stop in Stanthorpe. But it lies only 13 km from the BNT and is home to some of the country’s best saddlers – worth a stop if you need gear checked.
Don’t miss: The amazing leatherwork at Kent Saddlery.
Killarney lies on the Condamine River, just past the NSW-Queensland border. Public buses run to/from the larger centre of Warwick.
Don’t miss: Queen Mary Falls just up the road.
The BNT skirts around the suburbs of city of Toowoomba, which is easily accessed from the Flagstone Creek or Withcott BNT camps.
On the divide between the Brisbane and Burnett Rivers, Nanango is one of Queensland’s oldest towns.
Don’t miss: Warm, comfy booths and delicious pastries at Nanango Country Bakehouse.
The Kilkivan area was the centre of a gold rush in the late 1860s and is now the home of the Great Kilkivan Horse Ride.
Don’t miss: The local museum- full of interesting information on the settlement of one of Australia’s most historic areas.
Buses run to/ from Bundeberg, Maryborough and Gayndah.
A mining hub just north of Biggenden.
Don’t miss: A homemade coconut ice sugar-hit from the general store.
Just a pub, but the bigger town of Monto is only 12 kilometres or so up the road.
NOTE FROM KATE AHMELMAN (BNT MEMBER):
“Perhaps I can add that Calliope is a fairly well-serviced town (supermarket, 2 pubs, sometime doctor, pharmacy, food outlets) not too far from the camps on the Calliope River in Guidebook 4, Kabra to Biggenden, and the larger city of Gladstone is only about 20km further on (saddlery, feed supplies etc). There is no bus or commuter service from the camps into town, but the local co-ordinators would no doubt be able to organise a lift for trekkers, or a supply drop. For trekkers needing hoof care ( but not shoeing) or bodywork for their animals, my own business offers these services. Calliope lies between your listings of Biloela and Mt. Morgan.”
Bilioela is situated around 25km from the Kroombit BNT camp.
Not far from Rockhampton, Mt Morgan is an old mining town.
The big city and bright lights of Rockhampton are short bus ride down the Capricorn Highway from Kabra.
For northbound travelers (both in vehicles and on the BNT), Marlborough is the last town for many, many miles. Make the most of the running water, pub and general store before pushing on!
Don’t miss: Fossicking for world-renowned green Chrysoprase in the creeks nearby.
BNT travellers once relished getting off the Bruce Highway and enjoying a cold beer here, but the pub has since closed down.
Nebo is approximately 100 km inland from Mackay, and services 11 coal mines in the district.
Don’t miss: The iconic Nebo pub.
Just a pub on the Bowen River- surrounded by Burdekin plum trees, built in 1865 and heritage listed.
Collinsville is a mining and industrial town that exports coal and generates power.
Don’t miss: The best-stocked supermarket for miles around!
Not really a town as such, but a great caravan park with hot showers and a potential spot for posting food parcels.
Don’t miss: The wildlife! Goats, eagles, peacocks, ponies, crocodiles, pelicans… Its all happening here!
Another small mining town, Ravenswood has some wonderful old buildings and TWO pubs.
Don’t miss: The White Blow is a 15m high, bizarre white quartz outcrop up the hill from the town.
Yet another awesome (though very run-down) outback Queensland pub, situated on the Flinders Highway. Probably the easiest point to get on/ off the BNT from Townsville.
Innot Hot Springs
Located on the Kennedy Highway, the Innot Hot springs are a godsend for soothing trekkers’ weary bones.
Irvinebank is a rural village and former mining and tin-smelting town. The pub here is now open again!
34 km west of Mareeba, Mutchilba is a small farming settlement on the Atherton Tablelands.
Yet another mining town, Mount Molly was also known for its timber and lies 55 kilometres north of Cairns.
Mossman is a sugar town and also fairly close to the coast by BNT standards!
Daintree is a pretty little tourist town on, you guessed it, the Daintree River.
Dont miss: If you haven’t seen a crocodile during your time on the BNT yet, you’ll be sure to spot one by heading out on one of the many river boat tours on offer here.
Captain James Cook and his crew spent seven weeks here while they repaired the damaged Endeavour. These days, Cooktown caters primarily for tourists and 4WD enthusiasts who are ‘doin’ the Cape.’