CONGEWAI ROAD TO MILLFIELD: 10.3 km (easy)
Starting at the Great North Walk Congewai Valley Trackhead on Congewai Road walk north... more »
CONGEWAI ROAD TO MILLFIELD: 10.3 km (easy)
Starting at the Great North Walk Congewai Valley Trackhead on Congewai Road walk north... more » along Congewai Road beside the Congewai Creek; past Ellalong Lagoon, through Paxton and on to Millfield.
This walk on minor roads is not officially Great North Walk but does allow some of the best bird watching in Australia and links to the spur into the Hunter Valley wine country which is well worth the detour.
VISIT WORTH MAKING -- Rothbury Riots Monument: (32° 40′ 49″S 151° 20′ 44″E ) 2 km north of North Rothbury on the western side of Wine Country Drive (was Old North Road), 17 km north of Cessnock about 31 km due north of the Great North Walk at Congewai.
Full details about the Great North Walk can be found at http://www.thegreatnorthwalk.com
We also recommend accessing e-trails and guides at Great North Walk books - http://tiny.cc/Buy2GNWbooks
Watch a hike movie http://vimeo.com/10912042
Download EZ Guide to Great North Walk and downloadable e-trails http://tiny.cc/EZguideGNW
Readily accessible by car. Ellalong Lagoon is the place for birds of every sort. Pop into Paxton for lunch and Millfield for history
... more » Historic place to stay is the Paxton Hotel (7.5 km off the main GNW track on one of the two GNW spurs) is a historic building (dated 1924) with one of the few original horseshoe bars left in NSW. It offers typical Australian pub-style accommodation with B&B-style accommodation for up to 28 guests and meals at the bistro (Wednesday to Sunday). Continental breakfast included. less «
The ascent (not on this walk but on official trail-- see other Great North Walk Guides on EveryTrail) from here is steep - be sure to follow the many warning signs which direct you strictly along the Great North Walk trail and keep you away from protected property.
This view is of the climb the Great North Walk takes up to Flat Rock Lookout and then southwards towards Sydney.
If you catch the eye of a couple of horses in the field, they will trot over enthusiastically to see if you have any goodies for them
This are seems very peaceful nowadays but its history is around the earliest and deepest coal mines in Australia and the pioneer prisoners who were forced to build roads such as the Great North Road and railways to shift the coal reserves to the coast for export. The Bellbird Colliery disaster is one of the most infamous. This occurred on a... More Saturday, actually the first day of September in 1923, when there were several explosions underground together with fires resulting in the deaths of 20 coal miners and their horses as well as of more men in the rescue attemptLess
The sisal you will see alongside the road arrived around the same time as the coal mines — but from the Philippines not old south Wales. Those great big flower stalks — yellow flowers in an upside-down umbrella shape. They are weeds in NSW but in its native Mexico it’s very valuable, providing fibre for sisal rope, and, in Brazil and the... More Caribbean, it’s also regarded as a medicinal plant. Some people call it the Century plant because it was originally believed that it only flowered once in every 100 years, but that’s not correct.Less
Building the road from Ellalong to Congewai caused an earth bank that acted as a dam here. It is claimed that the great flood of 1857 caused the lagoon to become deeper, more extensive and more permanent. The Ellalong Lagoon (or swamp) is linked to stories of the bunyip too although around here most people either blame the Australian Brown... More Bittern for the weird noises that are often heard. Indigenous Australians tell these stories describing the bunyip as an evil spirit that lives in creeks, swamps and billabongs; some people think that diprotodons (the largest marsupial ever that roamed Australia up to fifteen or twenty thousand years ago and so could well have been encountered by indigenous Australians) still exist; near the coast, people argue that legends grew up after stray seals got stuck and hungry in inland waterholes and,Less
An Ellalong Lagoon Conservation Area is 530 hectares protecting a significant area of endangered Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest This is important because of all the insects and the rare birds — over 170 species. This lagoon hosts four endangered ecological communities, 17 threatened animal species, including a community of two rare frogs: the green... More and the golden bell-frogs. There are also over 250 different types of plants here, some of them unique to the area. Birds like the Glossy Black Cockatoo and the Gang-gang Cockatoo, as well as the Squirrel Glider, the Grey Headed Flying Fox and the Tiger Quoll may at risk if any development goes ahead. There are more common birds too like the Eastern Whipbird an olive green bird with black throat with a white patch. And the Shining Bronze-Cuckoo — a beautiful, iridescent bird — green back with bars across the front.Less
The Paxton Hotel is a landmark in the town, dating back as it does to the 1920s. It was a Ralph ’Beau’ Osbourne Thompson who applied to transfer the licence of the Family Hotel at Wollombi to here in July 1923. He built new premises on the corner of Millfield and Hall Streets right in Paxton even before his application was approved. A year later... More, this hotel was officially opened — on the 9th of August 1924.Less
You may hear a bit about local place names. Names in the Pokolbin and Cessnock area make a confused story. In 1884–5, the area north of present-day Cessnock, at what is now called Nulkaba, supported a village called 'The Village of Pokolbin'. However, a decade later, that village was renamed Cessnock. The name didn’t stick, though, and was... More allocated to present-day Cessnock in 1908 and the name of Nulkaba, for the northern region, was confirmed in 1927. At about the same time, the farmland towards the west had created its separate identity as Pokolbin — an area not a town.Less
The signposts of Millfield proudly declare it to be the town of mills and bridges. Edward Davis, known at that time as the ‘Jewboy bushranger’, was a Paxton resident but he was in these parts in the late 1830s and early ’40s. His gang held up the Rising Sun Inn in Millfield in 1840. Two ex-convicts Patrick and Eupheme Dowlan first received title... More to land here all the way back in 1828. Then the Great North Road was built and by 1829 they ran an inn serving farmers and travellers. You can see the old slab hut that was given a licence to sell alcohol in 1838 and was then named the Rising Sun Inn. The story goes that Davis’ gang found a notorious iron-gang overseer here, John McDougall of Wollombi, in their raid. As well as being robbed, McDougall was violently punished there and then by lashing for having beaten the convicts under his direction during the building of the Great North Road.Less