Conveniently located halfway between Sydney and Newcastle, the Dubbo Gully Loop is an overnight hike that has everything. Great views, epic trails, and plenty of history.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Dharug people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

The Dubbo Gully Loop Hike is a 23.5km loop, grade 4 (hard) hike or mountain bikepack ride in Mangrove Mountain of the Central Coast region of NSW.

The hike/ride can be completed by very fit, experienced people in a day or as an overnight adventure, stopping at Ten Mile Hollow Campground.


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

About the Dubbo Gully Loop

The Dubbo Gully Loop hike follows a chain of management trails through the Mangrove Mountain catchment area of the Central Coast in Dharug National Park.

The management trails link together and bypass some of the region’s forgotten early settler sites as well as provide access to spectacular spring blooms.

Being out of the way and quite remote, this route is usually quiet with only a few hikers or bikepackers along the trail at any given time.


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Clares Bridge

Dubbo Gully Loop History

The Dubbo Gully Loop is made up of a series of bridle trails created by European settlers linking the Great North Road to the Central Coast through part of the fertile Mangrove Mountain Region.

The Great North Road (GNR) was constructed in the early 1800s, when prior to any bridges over the Hawkesbury River, the only crossing suitable for horse and cart was located at Wisemans Ferry.


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Upper Mangrove cemetery


Stemming from this river crossing, the GNR was the main thoroughfare leading to the Hunter Valley and the Central Coast via Simpsons Track.

Presumably many of these paths were also used by Aboriginal people of the region to travel between places well before Europeans arrived.

The GNR itself turned out to be not such a popular route due to its remoteness, rugged landscape, and lack of reliable water sources along its course.

The newly built road was almost redundant by the time it was completed in 1836 with the preference for travel being coastal steamers.

The history of the Dubbo Gully Loop is for the most part unheard of, until hiking the loop sparks one’s interest in all the unique items of interest along the way including;

  • Dubbo Gully Bridge
  • Upper Mangrove Cemetery
  •  Fairview Homestead
  • Wild citrus – remnants of what were productive orchids
  • Ten Mile Hollow Campground – this area had historically been marked as a site for an inn which would allow travellers between Sydney and the coast a night’s rest, however it’s unknown if the inn ever came to fruition. Sandstone foundation blocks for the site are hidden somewhere amongst the bracken ferns but we weren’t able to find them during our visit
  • Clares Bridge – the second oldest bridge on mainland Australia, built by convicts in the early 1800s. Some conservation work was done on the bridge during the late 90s and early 2000s, but it’s held up amazingly well thanks to the precision and care taken in its initial construction, including the foresight to install large cobblestones under the foundations to prevent the piers from washing out

How to Get to the Dubbo Gully Trailhead

The trailhead is approximately 1.5 hours north from Sydney and 1.45 hours south from Newcastle.

Follow the GPS directions to Dubbo Gully Road, Mangrove Mountain. About 500m down the unsealed road (2WD accessible) you’ll see a small dirt car park on the right.

The car park is quite small, so carpooling is recommended. If there are no car spots available you can park adjacent to Waratah Road and walk from there, adding about 1km to the overall distance.

Unfortunately, there’s no public transport available so you’ll need a vehicle to get to the trailhead of Dubbo Gully in Upper Mangrove.

Dubbo Gully Loop Route

The Dubbo Gully Loop, while not overly scenic, was interesting for the fact that there were plenty of historical and botanical aspects to it. It’s a great training hike or challenging hike for people just starting out on multi dayers. It’s a 7 out of 10 from me!


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Dubbo Gully Bridge

Skill Level


While this hike isn’t overly difficult, its remote nature, dead zone for reception, and lack of directional signage in some spots could make for an unpleasant experience if a wrong turn is taken. This hike doesn’t cater to those with mobility issues.

Distance / Duration / Elevation

If undertaken as an overnight hike, this track is a 23.5km loop over two days, with an elevation gain of approx. 1100m.


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Convict Trail plaque

Essential Gear for Hiking the Dubbo Gully Loop

  • Personal Locator Beacon
  • First aid kit
  • Downloaded GPS/printed maps
  • Hiking pack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping essentials: Sleeping bag, liner, pillow, mat
  • Rain gear
  • Two days of food and snacks
  • 3L of water for the first day
  • Water purification equipment – the tank water was in good condition when we were there due to the recent bout of rain, but I have heard that mosquito larvae build up in there quickly, so you’ll want to filter these little wrigglers out as well as purify the water before drinking
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses – the reflection off the fire trails can be like staring straight into the blazing sun!
  • Headtorch
  • Hiking boots – ideally waterproof

What It’s Like to Hike the Dubbo Gully Loop

Day 1: Dubbo Gully Road car park – Ten Mile Hollow Campground

Distance: 13.5km
Duration: 4 hours & 20 mins

Starting the hike from the Dubbo Gully Road car park, our group set off down the hill which quickly led to a locked gate. Bypassing this, we had an easy walk straight down the shady gully, passing under some impressive overhangs threatening the future existence of the road, before coming to a fork.

Turning left at the fork we crossed over the timber Dubbo Gully Bridge and continued along the management trail stopping at Upper Mangrove Cemetery. Climbing over the timber stiles, we paid a visit to some of the past farming residents of the valley.


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Morning tea break!


We noticed that there was an abundance of wild unkempt citrus growing sporadically along the track – evidence of what used to be local farmsteads. The lemons weren’t the best, so we left them to the local wildlife to feast on.

After paying our respects, our group continued along the management trail crossing over several small creeks in the process (waterproof boots needed here!) before detouring for lunch up to Fairview Homestead.

The homestead itself is a fenced off derelict structure in need of some serious TLC if the historical building is to be saved.

It was obvious that the area had been recently underwater, with the creek banks scoured out and vegetation pushed over. Rack built up in the trees indicated that if we were there during one of these rain events, we’d be walking well under the waterline.


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Crossing a stream


A junction marked by a plaque set in a large stone describes some of the area’s European history, and after consulting with our maps and GPS (any directional markers here were washed away), we turned right and continued along a muddy track for a couple hundred metres until we started climbing up.

The exposed management trails radiated intense heat, even in September, and the last few kilometres of the hike before camp weren’t the most enjoyable.


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Ten Mile Hollow Campground


Ten Mile Hollow Campground is a large pleasant grassy site set amongst cool tall eucalypts and even has the luxury of a pit toilet, a water tank, and a fire pit with some seating. Be quick if you want a spot to place your rump! First in best dressed!

Day 2: Ten Mile Hollow Campground – Dubbo Gully Road car park

Distance: 10km
Duration: 3 hours and 40 minutes

Hiking out the next day, we turned left from the campground quickly coming to a NPWS sign indicating a right-hand turn onto the GNR.

Taking this turn we continued to follow the overgrown trail until reaching Clares Bridge – the second oldest bridge on mainland Australia, built by convicts in the early 1800s.

The timber decking has long been removed from the bridge, so we made our way along the little goat track down and around the base of the bridge to get to the other side (no trolls spotted).


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Clares Bridge


Walking along management trails does get a little bleak, but if you like wildflowers you’re in for a treat – the place is full of them, including the much sought-after spectacular Waratah.

Morning tea was held at Donnys View, the one and only scenic sight we had during the two-day hike. The rocky outcrop poses the perfect vantage point of the valley below.


Dubbo Gully Loop: A Guide to This Overnight Hike in Dharug National Park, Emma Abberton

Donnys View


There are several side tracks between Clares Bridge and Donnys View onto the main management trail along this section, so some extra consulting with our maps/GPS was required through here.

Turning left at the fork a couple of kilometres down from Donnys View, we started to recognise some familiar sights from the previous day.

Following the same road for the last 4.5km or so, slogging it up towards the car park was exactly that – a sweaty, humid slog. Going up, up, up, my poor feet were relieved to return to our parked cars and find the nearest pie shop for lunch.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Tips for Hiking the Dubbo Gully Loop

  • Avoid undertaking this hike in summer, not only is there a higher risk of bushfire and dehydration but the heat reflected off exposed management trails is very unpleasant
  • If there’s no water at Ten Mile Hollow Campground there’s extra water at Wat Buddha Dhamma temple. It would be polite to read up on the temples etiquette and customs before you go just in case you do need to request water
  • Read up on some of the history of the area before you go. Not only will you appear to be very knowledgeable to your companions, but it’ll make the hike more interesting
  • Ensure you have a safety plan and your PLB is up to date with trip notes

FAQs Dubbo Gully Loop

Where is Dubbo Gully Loop located?

The Dubbo Gully Loop is located on the NSW Central Coast in Dharug National Park.

How do you get to Dubbo Gully Loop?

Reaching the Dubbo Gully Loop is about a 1.5 hour north from Sydney, and around 1.45 hours south of Newcastle.

When is Dubbo Gully Loop open?

The Dubbo Gully Loop is generally always open, but may close in times of fire danger or bad weather. Check the NSW National Parks website for closures before heading off.

Is Dubbo Gully Loop good for beginners?

The Dubbo Gully Loop is best for hikers with some previous hiking experience as it involves some steep hills.

How long is Dubbo Gully Loop?

The Dubbo Gully Loop is 23.5km long.