hunter region bushwalks


The Mount Royal landscape in the Hunter Valley can be wild and adventurous... or you can experience rainforests and scenic beauty with a short walk.

Whether you want an easy walk in nature and peace, an adventurous climb to see a breathtaking view, or are in training for an epic multi-day walk, Mount Royal, 50km north of Singleton in the Hunter Valley, NSW,  provides excellent bushwalking opportunities. Best of all, it is quiet and away from the crowds. 

Callicoma Hill, offering a self-contained eco-cabin, bunkhouse and bush camping is near the Mount Royal entry to Mount Royal and Barrington Tops National Parks and the Barrington Tops wilderness area. The area is part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforest Reserves, a place of great scenic beauty and natural diversity. 

Bushwalks and hikes are an opportunity to be active, to have fun and to enjoy and learn more about the beauty of the natural areas of the Hunter Valley. Walking is a great way to share experiences with friends and family. 

Contact Callicoma Hill for more information about walks and hiking. Read more about other events and activities you can enjoy during your stay at Mount Royal.

Guided Bushwalks in Mt Royal National Park, in the northern Hunter Valley

We took guided walks in the Hunter Valley in 2021: see - they were led by us, Eco-certifed by Ecotourism Australia and licensed by NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. The info below relates to those walks. 

Please note that we are no longer taking guided walks. 
For information about Mt Royal National Park and other National Parks in the Hunter Valley and Barrington Tops regions, we recommend you refer to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website.

The following information relates to guided walks that we took in 2021 (note that we are no longer taking these walks).

Choose a walk to suit your fitness level and interests - see the list below. 

Walk types
Here are a range of walks that we can take you on. We can tailor them to suit your group.
(See details of walk grades and costs below the list).

Introductory walk Easy to medium grade | ↔ 4 - 8 km | ↕ 100 m | on tracks
2 - 3 hour walk on Youngs Trail explaining bushwalking basics, including what to take, navigation, wildlife, and what to do if you get lost. Walk through and learn about the landscape history and wildlife of world heritage listed Mount Royal and Barrington Tops National Parks.

Nature walk Medium grade | ↔ 6 km ↕ 150 m | mostly on tracks
2 hours walk through tall eucalypt forests and rainforests and climb Pieries Peak with spectacular views to the mountains and valleys of the Barrington Wilderness Area. Observe nature with the chance of seeing rare pademelons and potoroos. Minor rock scrambling.

Family walk Easy to medium grade | ↔ 4 - 8 km | ↕ 100m | on tracks
2 hour return walk on Youngs Trail - suitable for families with children. Walk through, and learn about the tall, moist forests and amazing animals that live in the southern limit of the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area.

Fitness walk Medium-hard grade | ↔ 8 km | ↕ 300 m | partly on tracks & road
An energetic 2 – 3 hour circular walk on Pieries Peak in tall eucalypt forests and rainforests. Climb a peak with spectacular views to Newcastle and the Barrington Wilderness Area. Enjoy fresh mountain air and a variety of walking surfaces, including a steep incline and minor rock scrambling. Great practice for a multi-day walk adventure. Not suitable for children under 10.

Walk in the footsteps of Ludwig Leichhardt  Hard grade | ↔ 8 km | ↕ 300 m | partly off tracks
A steep 4 hour walk up Mount Royal following in the footsteps of explorer Ludwig Leichhardt who visited this area in 1843. Learn about natural history and hear Leichhardt's journal descriptions of this area from your leader's extensive research. Reasonable fitness required. Some minor rock scrambling. Children must be over 12 years and interested in the historical focus of this special walk.

Walk in the footsteps of Ludwig Leichhardt  Medium to hard grade | ↔ 4 km | ↕ 100 m | partly off tracks
2 hour rainforest meander following in the footsteps of explorer Ludwig Leichhardt who visited Mt Royal in 1843. Learn about natural history and hear Leichhardt's journal descriptions of this area from your leader's extensive research. Reasonable fitness required. Children must be over 12 years and interested in the historical focus of this special walk.
Evening spotlight nature walk Easy to medium grade | ↔ 2 - 4 km ↕ 100 m | on tracks

1.5 hour night walk along Youngs Trail to find rare nocturnal animals such as Greater Gliders, possums, potoroos and pademelons in their natural forest habitat. Marvel at twinkling stars, dark sky and the wonder of sounds of the bush at night. Children need to be over 8 years old, and capable of being very quiet for an extended time.

Please download and carefully read the terms and conditions of the guided walks here: Callicoma Hill Guided Walk booking terms 2021.pdf

Walk gradings:

① Easy: well-made tracks, no steep hills, possibly a few steps. Distance under 10km. Suitable for beginners.

② Easy-medium: well-made tracks, some hills. Distance under 15km. Suitable for most beginners.

③ Medium: defined tracks with hilly or rougher terrain. Distance under 20 km. Suitable for fit beginners.

Medium-hard: up to 25% off tracks. Steep or rough terrain, possibly minor rock scrambling. Not suitable for most beginners.

⑤ Hard: mainly off-track or difficult terrain. May involve rock scrambling, creek walking or river crossings. Suitable only for fit and experienced walkers.

Walk costs:

Costs for a 2 – 3 hour guided walk are $55 per person, and $85 per person for the Mount Royal walk in Ludwig Leichhardt’s footsteps, with a special family rate also available on many walks.

Fees charged cover walk costs, including organisation, insurance, national parks eco-pass costs and charges, national park use fee, booking fee, guide time and incidental expenses.

 bushwalking mount royal 

Easy walks at Callicoma Hill

You can enjoy short bushwalks on the Callicoma Hill property. These marked walks on well graded tracks through the forest are suitable for most people. Walks range from about 10 to 30 minutes and enable you to experience native animals in the wild and the sounds of nature.  

Short walks include -
  • Forest gully walk – Easy circular 20 minute walk through tall eucalypt forest, especially in November when Callicoma serratifolia trees in the gully are flowering.
  • Lookout walk – Easy shaded 20 minute loop walk above the escarpment with glimpses through the trees over Lake St Clair and the Hunter Valley.
  • Sunset walk – Easy 30 minute return walk on relatively level track past small creek and farm dams. Best in late afternoon when you see changing colours of the sky as the sun sets through blue gum and stringybark forest.

During a stay at Callicoma Hill, you or your friends will usually have exclusive use of the property and the walking tracks and forest. 

Bushwalks near Callicoma Hill

The natural areas of Mt Royal National Park and Barrington Tops National Park are close to Callicoma Hill eco-cabin, bunkhouse and bush camping and provide a range of walking opportunities, from easy short walks to full day, and overnight walks. Two of the walks are included in the 20 Great Hunter Region Walks Map produced by Callicoma Hill. You can also find detailed information about Mt Royal National Park on the NPWS website.

You can walk 6 km from Callicoma Hill along Mount Royal Road or take a short drive to Mount Royal National Park and the Youngville Picnic Area and a number of walking tracks. Some of the best walks in Mount Royal National Park are: 

  • A short walk in the majestic forests near Youngville Picnic Area.
  • Climb Pieries Peak following the track from Youngville Picnic Area, a 2 hour return walk best in fine weather with some climbing and magnificent views.
  • Walk along Youngs Road - an easy walk along a formed, unmarked track through rainforest and magnificent trees for a 1 - 2 hour return walk. Beware of stinging nettles and stinging trees along the track.
  • Climb Mount Royal in the Barrington Wilderness and Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area. This is a hard unmarked walk and should only be undertaken by experienced and properly prepared walkers in good weather.
  • Maps

    A detailed map is essential for bushwalks. Maps showing the location of Callicoma Hill and nearby Mount Royal and Barrington Tops National Parks are:  
    • Carrabolla and Carrowbrook 1:25 000 topographic maps 
    • 1:100 000 Tourist map of Barrington Tops and Gloucester Districts
    • NRMA Mid North Coast Regional travel map
 bushwalks mount royal 
 mountain biking bush walk 

Combine a mountain bike ride and bushwalk

You can combine a bushwalk and a mountain bike ride to see more of Mount Royal National Park. A 30 km loop road from Callicoma Hill through the national park with hardly any traffic is a great mountain bike ride and provides access to walks.

Contact Callicoma Hill for more information.

20 Great Hunter Region Walks

Get a copy of the 20 Great Hunter Region Walks Map produced by Callicoma Hill and learn about the best walks in the diverse  landscapes of the Hunter Valley.

The map describes 20 Great Walks suitable for people with a range of experience and fitness. You can visit the beautiful natural areas of the Hunter Valley, and there is a walk suitable for everyone. It provides a short introduction to each walk, including location,  grade, highlights and the topographic map references. Two of the walks in Mt Royal National Park are close to Callicoma Hill  eco-cabin, bunkhouse and bush camping.

The 20 Great Hunter Region Walks Map is available for purchase direct from Callicoma Hill and a number of other outlets in the region including visitor information centres and national parks offices. Contact Callicoma Hill to obtain a copy. Quality blank greeting cards featuring scenery from some of the great walks are also available.

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guided bushwalks 

Guided Bushwalks

We organise guided and self-guided walks and events in the natural areas of the Hunter Valley. You can expect to see true wilderness, ancient forests and unique wildlife, and will experience nature’s moods and colours in the fresh outdoors.

See details of our current walks further up this page.   

Led by an experienced guide, walks explore the natural history, native animals and scenery of Mt Royal and the Barrington Tops area of the Hunter Valley. These walks are in the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage area 15 minutes drive from Callicoma Hill eco-cabin, bunkhouse and bush camping where accommodation and camping are available. Consider a personal, guided walk for your interests and abilities.

The featured guided walk follows in famous explorer Ludwig Leichhardt’s footsteps and retraces his adventures at Mount Royal in 1843.This is a short, hard guided off-track walk exploring the landscape, plants and geology. This includes spectacular scenery, original  journal readings, and talks about the famous scientist’s natural history collections. 

Contact us for more information and a walk to suit your fitness and interests. Walks tread lightly on the earth and minimise impacts on the natural environment. 

Bushwalks for children and families

Walks at and close to Callicoma Hill eco-cabin, bunkhouse  and bush camping are suitable for children and families. 

If you would like to walk, but your family or friends do not, they can stay in comfort while you enjoy your bushwalk. Callicoma Hill also has opportunities for nature based adventures for children in a safe environment such as building with natural materials and nature play. Contact us for information.

For information about bushwalking, see the useful guide at  This website information is from the NSW National Parks Association which organises a bushwalk program and has partnered with Callicoma Hill in walks and activities. 

 bushwalks for families 
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Seeing wildlife and nature

Mount Royal is an area renowned for the rich diversity of its native mammal species, and scenic forests.

Bushwalking and hiking is a great way to see inquisitive wildlife and an interesting variety of plants and landscapes. You can see kangaroos, wallabies, potoroos, pademelons, koalas, bettongs, gliders and a wide range of birds. Some of these animals are rare and listed as threatened species.

Many Australian animals are active at night, so take an evening spotlight walk suitable for all ages to observe native wildlife, the night sky and the sounds of the bush. You will need to bring warm clothes, torches and suitable shoes, and be able to stay quiet.

We follow guidelines for wildlife observation and visitor behaviour to benefit both animals and observers. When it comes to wildlife observation there is no greater reward than to see animals doing their own thing undisturbed.

A 2 or 3 day stay at Callicoma Hill eco-cabin, bunkhouse or bush camping will provide opportunities for you to get off the beaten track and observe more native wildlife. 

Stay safe in the bush

You should always be suitably prepared. Many of the walks are in remote locations and mobile phones may not work. Wear suitable clothes and walking shoes or boots, take a hat plus sun and wet weather protection. Always carry adequate drinking water and some food.

Always allow adequate time for a walk. Leave information with someone reliable of where you intend to go, and what time you expect to return. It is desirable to take a map and compass

Visitors to the natural environment should be aware that natural hazards occur and that land management agencies will not accept liability for any injury or damage arising from such hazards. 

 bushwalks mount royal 

Accommodation Bookings

Ready for your Callicoma Hill Eco-cabin, Mount Royal Bunkhouse or Camping stay?