This section takes you across the Barrington Tops then crosses the rich plains of the Upper Hunter Valley, breeding centre of Australia’s horse industry. Following quiet roads and historic stock routes, the Trail leads to the top of the Great Dividing Range and along the vast wilderness of the Wollemi and Blue Mountain National Parks. Despite its rugged grandeur, this section of the Trail is quite safe for first time adventurers to tackle with confidence. Several campsites are in established areas with hot water and electricity and the unforgettable Jenolan Caves are only a short distance off the Trail. Both mid-summer and mid-winter are best avoided for their extremes of temperature.
Temperate – warm summer, cool winter. This latitude typically has a pleasant climate but at higher altitudes it may be several degrees cooler. Winter snow and sleet along the ranges are not uncommon so travel is recommended in the warmer months.
The only difficult climb is at Mt Barrington (900 m in 7.5 km), but apart from that there are only a few short sharp climbs so high levels of fitness are not necessary, as long as you take it easy. From Rydal south this section is suitable for horsedrawn vehicles, with short detours around only a few tricky parts. Mountain bike riders will find all except the descent of Mt Barrington to be very worthwhile.
Carry map and compass.
Spring, early summer and autumn are the best times to travel on this part of the Trail. Avoid winter which is often wet and cold, and midsummer if it has been very dry.
Parts of this section follows travelling stock reserves (TSR). Campsites on TSRs require Permits for overnight stays. See the downloads page for more information.
There are some steep challenges in this section but many are well worth the effort. To avoid these challenges detours are recommended. See the Guidebookk and Trail notes for details.