If you’re an avid bush walker, trail runner, mountain biker or enjoy a family bush trail, then you best be adding Glenrock State Conservation Area to your Newcastle itinerary.
Located so close to Newcastle that if the tide is right, you can walk there from Merewether Beach.
Glenrock State Conservation Area embraces the last surviving pocket of coastal rainforest in the region and home to a range of animals, like bandicoots, bats and gliders. The park also protects a number of ancient Aboriginal sites.
How to explore Glenrock State Conservation Area:
Distance: 1.5km return
This easy trail begins on Scout Camp Road, above the Scout Camp (track entry opposite the water tank). You can join Yuelarbah walking track at the western end of the track or the Leggy Point loop walking track at the eastern end, which both links to beautiful Glenrock Beach.
Whichever route you choose, the scenery won’t disappoint!
Hey horse riders ... Did you know: You can use this trail too! It also joins into a network of other horse friendly trails in the park.
Distance: approx. 5km return
This popular track is pedestrian only and a great short trail option. Commencing from the Yuelarbah Trail car park, access is via the raised boardwalk near the information board. The picturesque track leads you along Flaggy Creek, through wet gullies and coastal rainforest. On the way to Glenrock Beach you’ll pass two waterfalls and Leichhardt’s lookout which offers excellent views over Glenrock Lagoon.
As the forest gives way to bush scrub, round the last few corners where you’ll end up at the Lagoon itself with the beach a short walk beyond. Standing on this beach, you’d never know that world known and local hot-spot Merewether Beach is just around the next head or that the CBD and suburbia is a short drive away.
Return via the same route to appreciate the bush from another perspective.
Did you know: This track is part of the Great North walk that stretches 250km from Newcastle to Sydney.
Longer, higher, harder
Snakes and Ladders
Get your legs pumping as you ascend the Snakes and Ladders Trail - this popular track is narrow and winds back and forth and joins Gun Club Road (access from Baileys Management Trail).
Hills, hills, hills
Find your way to Gun Club Road or the Baileys Management Trail and do some hill sprints. And by hills, we mean hills!
Hickson Street stairs
The short walk through the bush from your car will place you at the stunning Hickson Street Lookout – a popular spot for weddings and sunset picnics and a launch pad for gliding-sports. The relatively new staircase will take you directly to the beach – woohoo!
Head south along the beach until you find an entry to Glenrock to start your hike and choose the length and distance as you go. Try not to think of the thigh burn waiting for you when it’s time to go back up those scenic stairs...
If you’re an experienced walker or trail runner, why not make an adventure out of your day and choose your own adventure? There are so many tracks ranging in difficulty that you’re sure to find a perfect view, a hill or two and spot some local wildlife.
Be sure to adventure safely – take a charged mobile phone, water, sunscreen and let someone know where you’re going.
Up for a challenge?
We call it...
The Witch Loop
Coming in at just under 10km, this loop is called the ‘Witch’ for what we consider obvious reasons. We’re impressed that someone discovered and refined it and that Newcastle Flyers took the time to create a map of the route for other keen hikers and trail runners.
Getting into Glenrock
- Via Hickson Street: Park the car and enter the bush near the water tower (the track is almost directly beneath it) and this will take you to the beautiful open space and launch pad that overlooks Glenrock. From here, descend the stairs to the beach and begin your adventure. Alternatively, take the entry about 50m to the right of the path mentioned above to get into the guts of the park.
- Via Merewether (beach): If the tides are on your side, you can walk from Merewether Beach directly to Burwood Beach and approach trails from there. Always check the tides and plan your trip so you don’t get stuck at the other end.
- Via Burwood Road, Kahibah: Perfect for the Yuelerbah Trail. This car park can get busy during peak times so be sure to look out for pedestrians and cyclists. If you’re looking for the Scout Camp Road entry, turn left not far after the Yuelerbah Trail car park.
- Via Gun Club Road, Highfields: This entry point is popular with mountain bikers and it’s not uncommon to see this parking area busy by 7am on a Saturday morning! If walking into the park from here, keep an eye and ear out for upcoming riders.
- Let someone know where you’re going and take your mobile phone
- There are no drinking fountains in Glenrock so take enough water (and snacks!) for your adventure
- Mountain Bikes are permitted on most tracks - keep an ear open for them so you aren’t caught unaware on the sometimes-narrow paths
- Dogs are not permitted in Glenrock State Conservation Area. If travelling with your puppo, check out our 5 pet friendly parks and beaches blog