Devines Hill and Finchs Line Circuit
Darug & Darkinjung Country

4 h to 4 h 30 min

9.9 km
circuit

↑ 386 m
↓ -385 m

Moderate track
A great walk with a mixture of historic remnants of the Old Great North Rd, and some beautiful views over the Hawkesbury river and other valleys. Most of this walk follows parts of the convict built road, and a number of information signs along the way give a good insight into the construction and history of the road, making the walk more interesting. The last section of the walk, along Wisemans Ferry Rd, has some great views of the cliffs above. The historic Thomas James bridge, just before the end of the walk, is the oldest in-use bridge on mainland Australia. Let us begin by acknowledging the Darug & Darkinjung people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. 
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The Wisemans ferry end of the Old Great North Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Heading up the Old Great North Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Interesting cliffs along the OGNR. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
The well formed OGNR. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
A rock cutting on the OGNR. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
High retaining wall on the Devines Hill ascent.. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Old rock drill marks on the Old Great North Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Drainage culvert under the OGNR. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Drainage culvert outflow on the OGNR. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Retaining wall support.. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Convict Rock graffiti. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Curved retaining wall. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Hangmans Rock. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Old quarry site on the Old Great North Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Retaining wall near the top of Devines Hill. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Drainage culvert information display. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Across the top of Devines Hill. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Glimpses through the trees. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Part of Finchs Line of Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Low retaining wall on Finchs Line of road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
The trail along Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Tussock grass along Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Views from Finchs lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Scenery along the way. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Abandoned building stones on Finchs Line road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Along Finchs Line road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
View from Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Views from Finchs Line over Wisemans Ferry. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Viewpoint on a rock outcrop along Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Scenery along Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Views from Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Along Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Old retaining wall on Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Track along Finchs Line. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Ferns surrounding Finchs Line road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Along Wisemans Ferry Rd. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Reflections across the Hawkesbury. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
Cliffs above Wisemans Ferry Rd. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
The historic Thomas James Bridge. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2009.
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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Start At the intersection of Settlers Road & Old Great North Road (-33.375215,150.9848525)
Mode Bus Car (There is free parking available.) Special (Wisemans Ferry Dialacar provides a taxi style mini-bus service based in Wisemans Ferry. The cost is typically about $1 per km (ex Wisemans Ferry). They will pick-up and drop-off from Sydney or the Central Coast and will happily drop walkers off or pick them up from tracks in the area. The cost for a pick-up from Gosford and drop off near Wisemans Ferry would be approximately $150 (please call for up-to-date pricing) and the minivan can carry up to 13 passengers. Phone: 0448 122 374)
DirectionsFrom Pacific Motorway, M1
  • Turn on to Peats Ridge Road Offramp then drive for 3.8 km
  • Keep left onto Cooks Road and drive for another 2.8 km
  • Keep left and drive for another 1.4 km
  • Keep right and drive for another 410 m
  • Turn sharp left onto Popran Road and drive for another 6.4 km
  • Turn left onto Wisemans Ferry Road and drive for another 33.5 km
  • Continue onto Settlers Road and drive for another 630 m
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the car park and intersection on Wisemans Ferry Rd (about 500m west of the car ferry), the walk passes around a gate, passes an information sign, and follows the 'Old Great North Road' up the hill. This section of the walk winds up the hill, passing numerous cuttings and retaining walls built with convict labour. There are several information signs on the way, making the walk more interesting. The walk then arrives at the signposted "Hangman's Rock".....
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Settlers Road & Old Great North Road Start heading along Old Great North Road (a vehicle track).
Find the gate at the start.
Find the Old Great North Road at the start.
Old Great North Road
Old Great North Road

The historic Great North Road was built using convict labour between 1826 and 1836 (this section south of Wollombi was completed in 1832). The road formed a link between Sydney and the Hunter Valley, including Newcastle. There are visible remnants of the original work in bridges, retaining walls and other structures along the way. The 'Convict Trail Project' has member groups involved in the conservation of historical remnants along the road. The Convict Trail Project and the NPWS have erected information signs at various points to illustrate the history. The Convict Trail Project has an excellent website for further reading.
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The historic Great North Road was built using convict labour between 1826 and 1836 (this section south of Wollombi was completed in 1832). The road formed a link between Sydney and the Hunter Valley, including Newcastle. There are visible remnants of the original work in bridges, retaining walls and other structures along the way. The 'Convict Trail Project' has member groups involved in the conservation of historical remnants along the road. The Convict Trail Project and the NPWS have erected information signs at various points to illustrate the history. The Convict Trail Project has an excellent website for further reading.

After another 1.1 km continue straight, to head along Old Great North Road.
After another 10 m find the "Hangmans Rock" (on your right).
Hangmans Rock
Hangmans Rock

Hangmans Rock is beside the historic Old Great North Road, near Wisemans Ferry, NSW. This beautiful sandstone cave/overhang has some steps and a bench seat cut into it and is part of the history of the convict built OGNR. It is uncertain what purpose the spot served, but stories that convicts were hanged through the hole in the roof of the cave appear unlikely to be true, despite giving a name to the atmospheric spot.
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Hangmans Rock is beside the historic Old Great North Road, near Wisemans Ferry, NSW. This beautiful sandstone cave/overhang has some steps and a bench seat cut into it and is part of the history of the convict built OGNR. It is uncertain what purpose the spot served, but stories that convicts were hanged through the hole in the roof of the cave appear unlikely to be true, despite giving a name to the atmospheric spot.

After another 345 m continue straight, to head along Old Great North Road.
After another 345 m head through/around the gate.
After another 6 m (at the intersection of Old Great North Road & Shepherds Gully Road) veer right, to head along Old Great North Road.
After another 105 m find the "Devines Hill" (on your right).
Devines Hill
Devines Hill

Devines Hill is a historically significant area on the Old Great North Road, near present day Wisemans Ferry, NSW. There are substantial remnants visible here, including cuttings, retaining walls and quarry sites. There were 3 main road lines built at different times to climb the hills just north of Wisemans Ferry, starting with Finchs Line to the east, followed by the Devines Hill ascent and then Shepherds Gully, to the west. Information signs in the area provide some interesting historical background and the 'Convict Trail Project' has an excellent website for further reading.
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Devines Hill is a historically significant area on the Old Great North Road, near present day Wisemans Ferry, NSW. There are substantial remnants visible here, including cuttings, retaining walls and quarry sites. There were 3 main road lines built at different times to climb the hills just north of Wisemans Ferry, starting with Finchs Line to the east, followed by the Devines Hill ascent and then Shepherds Gully, to the west. Information signs in the area provide some interesting historical background and the 'Convict Trail Project' has an excellent website for further reading.

After another 315 m (at the intersection of Finchs Line & Old Great North Road) turn right, to head along Finchs Line (a walking track).
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. An optional side trip to Finchs Line Lookout. To start this optional side trip continue straight here. On returning from this side trip turn right when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 1.9 km turn left, to head along Finchs Line.
After another 1.2 km find the "Finchs Line viewpoint" (20 m on your right).
Finchs Line viewpoint
Finchs Line viewpoint

This informal, unfenced (and unnamed) lookout is on the trail along the historic Finchs Line Rd near Wisemans Ferry, NSW. The viewpoint sits on a beautiful outcrop of boulders and provides stunning views down across the Hawkesbury river and Wisemans Ferry township.
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This informal, unfenced (and unnamed) lookout is on the trail along the historic Finchs Line Rd near Wisemans Ferry, NSW. The viewpoint sits on a beautiful outcrop of boulders and provides stunning views down across the Hawkesbury river and Wisemans Ferry township.

After another 700 m come to the viewpoint.
After another 1.4 km (at the intersection of Wisemans Ferry Road & Finchs Line) continue straight, to head along Wisemans Ferry Road (a road).
After another 30 m continue straight, to head along Wisemans Ferry Road.
After another 1.9 km pass the toilet (10 m on your left).
At the intersection of Wisemans Ferry Road & Old Northern Road continue straight, to head along Wisemans Ferry Road.
After another 550 m cross the Thomas James Bridge (about 20 m long)
Then find the "Thomas James Bridge" (5 m on your right).
Thomas James Bridge
Thomas James Bridge

The historic Thomas James Bridge is on Wisemans Ferry Rd, NSW. This is the oldest in-use bridge on mainland Australia (Tasmania has older bridges) and is one of several convict built bridges along the Old Great North Road. The bridge was built during 1830 (the timber deck is more recent) and was named after the overseer of 'Road Party 25' which built the bridge.
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The historic Thomas James Bridge is on Wisemans Ferry Rd, NSW. This is the oldest in-use bridge on mainland Australia (Tasmania has older bridges) and is one of several convict built bridges along the Old Great North Road. The bridge was built during 1830 (the timber deck is more recent) and was named after the overseer of 'Road Party 25' which built the bridge.

After another 60 m pass the car park (9 m on your left).
After another 15 m come to the end.

An optional side trip to Finchs Line Lookout.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After 40 m find the "Finchs Line lookout" (6 m on your left).
Finchs Line lookout
Finchs Line lookout

This informal, unfenced (and unnamed) lookout is just off the walking track along the historic Finchs Line Road, near Wisemans Ferry, NSW. There are beautiful views down across the Hawkesbury river and Wisemans Ferry township from here.
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This informal, unfenced (and unnamed) lookout is just off the walking track along the historic Finchs Line Road, near Wisemans Ferry, NSW. There are beautiful views down across the Hawkesbury river and Wisemans Ferry township from here.

After another 4 m come to the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 45 m to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Devines Hill and Finchs Line Circuit


Grading
Class 3/6
Moderate track
Length 9.9 km
Time 4 h to 4 h 30 min
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Gradient Short steep hills (3/6)
Signage Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
Experience Required Some bushwalking experience recommended (3/6)
Weather Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)

Some facilities on route
Toilet: There is one 9.3 km from the start.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Toilet
9.3 km[toilet]
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