Parramatta to Penrith: the new 65km walk you don’t want to miss

By Paris O'Rourke 15 October 2019
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The new Great West Walk, stretching from Parramatta to the foot of the Blue Mountains, has bushwalkers excited.

THE 65km GREAT WEST WALK in Sydney wends through diverse landscapes, including woodlands, regional parks, local rivers and bushland corridors laden with native plants and wildlife.

Follow the walk from Parramatta to Blacktown then on to Western Sydney Parklands and finally to the foot of the Blue Mountains at Penrith. It will also be the first opportunity for walkers to pass through the newly opened Wianamatta Regional Park, which has, up until now, been restricted to the public.

Starting at Parramatta, the walk winds along the new 1.2km track along Toongabbie Creek. The walk then takes in Cumberland Plain Woodland, home to many species of native plants and animals.

After passing through Blacktown the track leads to Western Sydney Parklands, where it meets the Eastern Creek floodplains and wide open grasslands.

The Chang Lai Yuan Chinese Gardens in Western Sydney Parklands is a must see.  The walk then passes through heritage-listed Rooty Hill.

Next is the Wianamatta Regional Park, home to a large population of kangaroos and emus. If you’re lucky you might spot the vulnerable spotted-tail quoll, a sugar glider or even an endangered regent honeyeater known for its exquisite black and yellow colouring, before heading towards the Great Western Highway.

Ending up near the Nepean River in Penrith, walkers can finally chill out and experience the serenity of the river by going swimming and fishing.

Thanks to the initiative of Walking Volunteers, a community group that maps out tracks around Sydney and surrounding areas, this is the first continuous trail through Sydney’s western suburbs.

To support the official opening of the Great West Walk, the Walking Volunteers are completing the entire 65km walk over a period of five days and are expected to arrive in Penrith at around 5pm today. They chose to set up one accommodation base in Western Sydney and then use trains and buses to go to different locations to walk over the five days.

Natural Resource Officer at Parramatta City Council, David Kuhle, worked in conjunction with the local and state governments, property stakeholders and Walking Volunteers Australia in planning and executing the Parramatta side of the Great West Walk.

“Some of the best things to see on this walk are Toongabbie Creek that runs through Northmead,” says David. “A couple of very nice riverside reserves out at Penrith are worth seeing followed by the Western Sydney parklands.”

This walk is the most urbanised regional trail in Australia, according to David, meaning there is no need to bring camping gear. The terrain is relatively flat, with plenty of toilet stops, and because of the many shared paths, it’s easy to walk with a group

Bringing the usual hat, sunscreen, comfy clothes, snacks and plenty of water is also recommended.

“Most of the walk is through informal urban bushland, so fully covered walking shoes are definitely needed,” David says.

Transport options include bus services and car parking areas along the way.

David explains that this new walk expands the opportunity for urban bushland walkers to create a continuous multi-day track, and hopes that Sydney-siders will soon be able to walk from Bondi to Bathurst through bushland reserves and walking paths.

Track notes are available online as well as the map of the walk.