Bicentennial National Trail

The Bicentennial National Trail (BNT), originally known as the National Horse Trail,[1] is one of the longest multi-use, non-motorised, self-reliant trails in the world, stretching 5,330 kilometres from Cooktown, Queensland, through New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory to Healesville, 60 km north-east of Melbourne. This trail runs the length of the rugged Great Dividing Range through national parks, private property and alongside wilderness areas. The BNT follows old coach roads, stock routes, brumby tracks, rivers and fire trails. It was originally intended for horses, but is these days promoted also for cycling and walking, though it is not yet entirely suited to these two activities.[2]

Georges Creek.N
Georges Creek


The trail was initiated and planned by the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association. The Association spent many years planning and negotiating a route that linked up the mustering, brumby tracks, pack horse trails, historic coach roads and stock routes, thus providing an opportunity to legally ride the routes of stockmen and drovers who once travelled these areas.[3]

National Horse Trail Marker
Trail Marker

The development of this idea was left to a committee led by R. M. Williams and coordinated and planned by Brian Taylor[4] in co-operation with the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association affiliated clubs, farmers, landowners and government agencies. Dan Seymour was sponsored by R.M. Williams to find a route along the Great Dividing Range, and to promote enthusiasm for the proposal. Seymour volunteered to ride the Trail and set off from Ferntree Gully, Victoria in February 1972 with two saddle horses, a packhorse and 'Bluey', his blue heeler cattle dog. The Association provided Dan with encouragement during this lengthy journey. His twenty-one month ride finished in Cooktown, Queensland in September 1973. Dan's journey, which was regularly reported, created increased interest in the formation of the Trail.

BNT medallion
Medallion presented to those who carried the first mail on the BNT

In 1978 the first mail was carried along the route, initially known as the National Horse Trail, from Cooktown by a group of registered riders. These riders were acknowledged with a commemorative medallion.

The Trail committee proposed that the concept be made a project to celebrate Australia's Bicentenary in 1988. The suggestion was accepted, and funding of $300,000 was granted to research, mark a route and print guidebooks. In November 1988, this had been accomplished and the Trail was opened. Since the Trail opened, people have travelled all or parts of the Trail with camels and donkeys, as well as horses and mountain bikes.

People who have completed the Trail

Those who have completed the entire Trail include:[5]

  • 1989: Ken Roberts and Sharon Muir Watson (Cooktown to Healesville, with horses). Roberts and Watson were the first to complete the Trail by horse north to south.
  • 1991: Arlene Christopherson (Healesville to Cooktown, with horses). Christopherson was the first to complete the Trail by horse from south to north.
  • 1991: Anthony Mair and Melissa Weeks (Healesville to Cooktown, with horses).
  • 1994: Gabrielle Schenk (Cooktown to Healesville, with horses).
  • 1995: Darryl (Doc) Eckley and Robyn Surry (Healesville to Cooktown)
  • 1997: Peter Spotswood (Cooktown to Healesville, with horses)
  • 1999: Geoff Daniel (Healesville to Cooktown, with horses)
  • 1999: Ed and Maria Van Zelderen. (Cooktown to Healsevllle to Cooktown, with horses). The Van Zelderens were the first to ride the Trail in both directions.
  • 2000: Urs Marquardt and Karin Heitzmann (Cooktown to Healesville, with horses).
  • 2000: Dyane Sabourin and Geoff Grundy, with daughters Angela and Serena (Cooktown to Healesville, with 12 horses)
  • 2003: Therese Hanna (Healesville to Cooktown, with horses).
  • 2004: Robert Klei (Cooktown to Healesville on bike).
  • 2004: Christian Strobel (Cooktown to Healesville on bike).
  • 2005: Roderick MacKenzie (Cooktown to Healesville by bike).
  • 2006: Max Watkins (Cooktown to Healesville with donkey Storm).
  • 2012: Richard Bowles Ultra marathon runner. First person to run the Bicentennial National Trail (Healesville to Cooktown).
  • 2013: Belinda Ritchie (Healesville to Cooktown, with horses Clincher, Trump and Rube).
  • 2013: Ben Dyer (Healesville to Cooktown, on foot).
  • 2015: Kathryn Holzberger and Preston Stroud (Cooktown to Healesville with horses).
  • 2015: Carol Geraghty and her sons Ned and Jacob (Healesville to Cooktown, Carol on foot and the boys on horses).
  • 2015: incent Brouille (on a bike).
  • 2017: Tegan Streeter & Tom Richards bike trekkers (Healesville to Cooktown).
  • 2017: Kimberley Delavere & Archie / Clem Horse Trekker (Healesville to Cooktown).
  • 2017: Eliza and Zaydee Allen (with horse and donkeys).
  • 2017: Aliénor le Gouvello[6] (Healesville to Cooktown, with 3 Brumbies horses)
  • 2018: Zoran Borzic & Rhonda Charles (with horses).
  • 2018: lec Johnson & Fred Van der Elst (Cooktown to Healesville on foot).

The Trail

In the rainforest with packhorses
In the rainforest with packhorses The Creb track

The Trail links eighteen of Australia's national parks and more than 50 state forests, providing access to some of the wildest, most remote country in the world.[7] The Trail is suitable for self-reliant horse riders, walkers and mountain bike riders. Parts of the Trail, such as some of the Jenolan Caves to Kosciuszko section, are suitable for horse-drawn vehicles.[7] The Trail is not open to motorised vehicles or trail bikes, and pets are not permitted. The Trail is divided into 12 sections of 400 to 500 kilometres, each with a corresponding guide book.

  1. Cooktown to Gunnawarra; the Trail passes through rain forest, gold fields and historical tin mining towns.
  2. Gunnawarra to Collinsville, through the grazing country of far north Queensland.
  3. Collinsville to Kabra
  4. Kabra to Biggenden
  5. Biggenden to Blackbutt
  6. Blackbutt, Queensland to the New South Wales border at Cullendore; this section of the Trail follows the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.[8]
  7. Killarney to Ebor; this is a rugged remote section that follows the Guy Fawkes River through Guy Fawkes River National Park[9] and across Waterfall Way.
  8. Ebor to Barrington Tops; another rugged remote section that passes through Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. After passing Ebor the trail crosses the Point Lookout Road before it passes briefly through Cunnawarra National Park. It then runs on the east of Georges River until it crosses the Armidale to Kempsey Road. The Trail is mostly unmarked as it follows the Macleay River past the historic East Kunderang homestead in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Following Kunderang Brook it winds its way to mustering huts at Left Hand Hut, the remote Middle Yards Hut, Youdale's Hut and to Cedar Creek on the edge of Werrikimbe National Park. After crossing the Oxley Highway the Trail passes through the Mummel Gulf National Park. This section takes at least five days to travel and all food and equipment has to be carried. There are numerous creek and river crossings, with some steep ascents and descents.
  9. Barrington Tops to Jenolan Caves
  10. Jenolan Caves to Kosciuszko
  11. Mt Kosciuszko to Omeo, including the Tom Groggin Track
  12. Omeo to Healesville, near Melbourne


Coordinate Location
15°28′01″S 145°16′59″E / 15.467°S 145.283°E Cooktown, Queensland
17°53′24″S 145°04′19″E / 17.890°S 145.072°E Gunnawarra, Queensland
20°33′S 147°51′E / 20.55°S 147.85°E Collinsville, Queensland
23°31′S 150°24′E / 23.51°S 150.40°E Kabra, Queensland
25°31′01″S 152°03′00″E / 25.517°S 152.05°E Biggenden, Queensland
26°52′59″S 152°06′00″E / 26.883°S 152.1°E Blackbutt, Queensland
28°19′59″S 152°18′00″E / 28.333°S 152.3°E Killarney, Queensland
30°24′S 152°21′E / 30.4°S 152.35°E Ebor, New South Wales
30°37′30″S 152°13′01″E / 30.625°S 152.217°E Cunnawarra National Park
30°59′46″S 152°00′36″E / 30.996°S 152.01°E Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
31°12′00″S 152°13′59″E / 31.2°S 152.233°E Werrikimbe National Park
31°18′47″S 151°50′38″E / 31.313°S 151.844°E Mummel Gulf National Park
32°03′11″S 151°29′38″E / 32.053°S 151.494°E Barrington Tops National Park
36°27′22″S 148°15′47″E / 36.456°S 148.263°E Mount Kosciuszko
37°06′S 147°36′E / 37.1°S 147.6°E Omeo, Victoria
37°39′22″S 145°30′50″E / 37.656°S 145.514°E Healesville, Victoria

See also


  1. ^ Bicentennial National Trail. Retrieved 10 October 2009
  2. ^ Bushwalking – Bicentennial National Trail
  3. ^ "Bushwalking the Bicentennial National Trail". Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  4. ^ "Bicentennial National Trail". A Swag of Memories. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b The Bicentennial National Trail, Welcome to One of the World's Great Natural Adventures
  8. ^ "Section Six – Blackbutt to the Border". The Bicentennial National Trail. The Bicentennial National Trail Ltd. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  9. ^ NSW Wilderness Red Index – Guy Fawkes. Retrieved 12 December 2012

External links

BNT (disambiguation)

BNT may refer to:

Bantu languages (ISO 639 alpha-2, bnt)

Bicentennial National Trail - A walking/horse-riding trail along most of the eastern side of Australia.

Bulgarian National Television

Bridge and tunnel

Brunei Darussalam Time, time in Brunei


Bouldercombe is a town and rural locality in the Rockhampton Region in Central Queensland, Australia. The town is on the Burnett Highway, 636 kilometres (395 mi) north west of the state capital, Brisbane and 22 kilometres (14 mi) south of the regional centre of Rockhampton. At the 2011 census, Bouldercombe had a population of 698.

Bridle path

A bridle path, also bridleway, equestrian trail, horse riding path, ride, bridle road, or horse trail, is a path, trail or a thoroughfare that is used by people riding on horses. Trails originally created for use by horses often now serve a wider range of users, including equestrians, hikers, and cyclists. Such paths are either impassable for motorized vehicles, or vehicles are banned. The laws relating to allowable uses vary from country to country.In industrialized countries, bridle paths are now primarily used for recreation. However, they are still important transportation routes in other areas. For example, they are the main method of traveling to mountain villages in Lesotho.

However, In England and Wales a bridle path now refers to a route which can be legally used by horse riders in addition to walkers, and since 1968, by cyclists.

A "ride" is another term used for a bridleway: "a path or track, esp. one through a wood, usually made for riding on horseback" (Oxford English Dictionary).

In the US, the term bridle path is used colloquially for trails or paths used primarily for people making day treks on horses, and usually used only on the east coast, whereas out west the equivalent term is trail. The term "bridleway" is rarely used in the U.S. Most of the time horses are presumed allowed to use trails in America unless specifically banned, although rules differ among locations.In some countries long distance multi-use trails have been created, including the Bicentennial National Trail in Australia, one of the longest marked multi-use trails in the world, stretching 5,330 kilometres. Rail trails can often be used by equestrians.

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) is a 161 kilometre recreation trail from Wulkuraka to Yarraman in Queensland, Australia. The trail follows the old Brisbane Valley railway line and is open to walkers, touring cyclists and horse riders. The trail details the history and landscape of the Brisbane Valley. It is the longest rail trail in Queensland. Prior to 2018, there remained one incomplete section from Toogoolawah to Moore, which was officially opened in August 2018.

Cambanoora Gorge

The Cambanoora Gorge runs between the source of the Condamine River and the town of Killarney in Queensland, Australia. It is also known as the Condamine Gorge or the 14 River Crossings.

The gorge begins in the historical area of The Head which is bordered by Wilsons Peak to the east and Mount Superbus to the north. Commencing at this broad grassland, the Gorge narrows as the river encounters harder trachyte rock. This creates a dramatic landscape.

The road through the gorge was used to carry supplies and mail to early settlers along the length of the gorge, and to bring timber to the railway in Killarney. The Crossings are named First, Second, Double, Mawhirts, Bullocky, Flaggie, Rocky, Mill, Reis', Heywood's, Billy John's, Andrew Evan's, Long and Watson's Crossing in order from The Head down river.Cambanoora Gorge is an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Border ranges of southern Queensland. It is a rich bio-region with at least 14 endangered or threatened species ranging from the Azure Kingfisher to the Spotted Tail Quoll and the Glossy Black Cockatoo.

Condamine River Road runs through the Gorge and is a well maintained dirt road with a speed limit of 30km/hr. IMPORTANT: The speed limit through the crossings is 5 (five)km/hr. The Gorge is not a National Park or State Forest. The Gorge is a farming and residential area.

The road through the Gorge is bordered mostly by Private Property. Drivers should stick to the road and stop at designated stopping areas only including Bullocky Crossing. Proper driver behaviour is appreciated including slowing down for cows on the road, slowing down for wildlife on the road, leaving no rubbish, no driving up the river (platypus here). Activities such as bushwalking, bird watching, mountain bike riding, picnicking are encouraged. There is no camping in the Gorge unless organised prior on private property.

The Gorge is part of the Bicentennial National Trail.

Gunnawarra, Queensland

Gunnawarra is a locality in the Tablelands Region, Queensland, Australia.

Guy Fawkes River

Guy Fawkes River, a perennial stream that is part of the Clarence River catchment, is in the New England and Northern Tablelands districts of New South Wales, Australia.

Hann Tableland National Park

Hann Tableland is a national park in Far North Queensland (Australia), 1,436 km northwest of Brisbane. It is located in the northern section of Paddys Green, a locality in the Tablelands Region local government area. It was first set aside as national park in 1989 and nearly doubled in size with an expansion in 2004.The park is located within the Einasleigh Uplands bioregion and the Mitchell River water catchment area.The national park was established to conserve the forests of the Hann Tableland mountain range. Three rare or threatened plant species have been identified within the Hann Tableland National Park. It lacks visitor facilities with the exception of the Bicentennial National Trail.

Kabra, Queensland

Kabra is a town and rural locality in the Rockhampton Region, Queensland, Australia. In the 2011 census, Kabra had a population of 472 people.

Kilkivan, Queensland

Kilkivan is a town and locality in the Gympie Region of Queensland, Australia. At the 2016 census, Kilkivan had a population of 713.

Kingaroy-Kilkivan Rail trail

The Kilkivan to Kingaroy Rail Trail (KKRT, in part also known as the South Burnett Rail Trail or SBRT) is an 88 kilometre recreation trail from Kilkivan to Kingaroy. The trail follows the old Kingaroy Branch railway and is open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Long-distance cycling route

Long-distance cycling routes are designated cycling routes in various countries around the world for bicycle tourism. These routes include anything from longer rail trails, to national cycling route networks like the Dutch LF-routes or the routes of the British National Cycle Network, to the multi-state routes of the United States Bicycle Route System, to the multi-country routes of the EuroVelo network in Europe, the longest of which is over 6,800 km (4,200 mi) in length.

Long-distance trail

A long-distance trail (or long-distance footpath, track, way, greenway) is a longer recreational trail mainly through rural areas used for hiking, backpacking, cycling, horse riding or cross-country skiing. They exist on all continents except Antartica.

Many trails are marked on maps. Typically, a long-distance route will be at least 50 km (30 mi) long, but many run for several hundred miles, or longer.

Many routes are waymarked and may cross public or private land and/or follow existing rights of way. Generally, the surface is not specially prepared, and there are often rough ground and uneven areas, except in places such as converted rail tracks or popular walking routes where stone-pitching and slabs have been laid to prevent erosion. In some places, official trails will have the surface specially prepared to make the going easier.

Mummel Gulf National Park

Mummel Gulf is a national park located in New South Wales, Australia, approximately 487 kilometres (303 mi) by road north of Sydney. It is situated approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) southeast of Walcha on the unsealed Enfield Forest Road and 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of the Oxley Highway.

The Mummel River has formed the deep 'V' shaped gorge of the Mummel Gulf, which exceeds 400 metres (1,300 ft) in the head of this gorge.

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

The Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales, Australia in the Port Macquarie-Hastings City Council and Walcha Shire councils. The 145,223-hectare (358,850-acre) park is situated 445 kilometres (277 mi) north of Sydney and is named in memory of the Australian explorer John Oxley, who passed through the area in 1818 and is one of the largest national parks in New South Wales.The park is part of the Hastings-Macleay Group World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007.The Oxley Wild Rivers National Park (OWRNP) was World Heritage listed in recognition of the extensive dry rainforest that occurs within the park, and the associated rich biodiversity that includes several rare or threatened plants and animals. There are at least fourteen waterfalls in the park.


A packhorse or pack horse refers to a horse, mule, donkey, or pony used to carry goods on its back, usually in sidebags or panniers. Typically packhorses are used to cross difficult terrain, where the absence of roads prevents the use of wheeled vehicles. Use of packhorses dates from the neolithic period to the present day. Today, westernized nations primarily use packhorses for recreational pursuits, but they are still an important part of everyday transportation of goods throughout much of the third world and have some military uses in rugged regions.

Richard Bowles

Richard Bowles (born 19 September 1978, in Leicester, England) is an Australian World-Record-Holding Adventurer based in Melbourne, Victoria. Richard has many world records running rugged mountain trails that cover the length of entire nations. He works closely alongside some of Australia's leading psychological experts in understanding human performance, resilience and perseverance, educating the business world from this unique understanding.

He is the first person to have run the world’s longest multi use marked trail; Australia’s Bicentennial National Trail (BNT) from Healesville, Victoria to Cooktown, Far North Queensland a total of 5,330 km along Australia’s Great Dividing Mountain Range, in just five months Richard completed the rugged wilderness trail end to end, while crossing crocodile infested rivers, and dealing crop growers with shotguns.

His achievements don’t end there. Only three weeks after completing the BNT, Richard was running on New Zealand's, Te Araroa Trail, another running the;km mountain trail, running the entire length of both islands, once again becoming the first and completing the tough and dangerous trail to wrap up 2012. Most of his days were spent in the snowline, through avalanche zones, raging white water river crossings.

Early 2013 he was once again on the run on Israel’s National Trail and in just 14 days covered its 1,009 km length. . At the end of that same year. He risked his life in the name of adventure running, when running around the base of the erupting Mount Sinabung volcano in North Sumatra, where the Indonesian Government had evacuated more than 80,000 people. It became a world first, with no one ever entering a restricted area to run this way.

In 2014 he set yet another record along South Australia' 1200 km Heysen Trail, averaging 85 km a day to complete the trail in just 14 days, smashing what was a 25-day record. More recently he has been involved with world-renowned Dr Ricardo Costa of Monash University, testing his unbelievable endurance fitness in the name of science and research. Covering 50 km a day for a week on a treadmill, while carry 12 kg in 32c. To replicate multi stage races and the nutrition requirement that are needed.

He works with psychology experts to understand how and why people do what they do. His research and unique approach is shared with corporations worldwide, helping senior management and teams of all sizes engage in, and commit to, long term objectives.

Stock route

In Australia, the Travelling Stock Route (TSR) is an authorised thoroughfare for the walking of domestic livestock such as sheep or cattle from one location to another. The TSRs are known collectively as "The Long Paddock".A Travelling Stock Route may be easily distinguished from an ordinary country road by the fact that the grassy verges on either side of the road are very much wider, and the property fences being set back much further from the roadside than is usual. The reason for this is so that the livestock may feed on the vegetation that grows on the verges as they travel.

Other types of Travelling Stock Routes include the rugged remote TSR that follows the Guy Fawkes River through Guy Fawkes River National Park and is part of the Bicentennial National Trail.

Tasmanian trail

The Tasmanian Trail is a long distance path in Tasmania, Australia. It was inspired by the Bicentennial National Trail opened on the mainland in 1988.

It runs from Devonport in the north of the state to Dover in the South East and is 460 km long. It consists of 15 sections. Each section is approximately one day's journey for a horse rider or cyclist. The trail can be hiked, but its use of roads and other vehicle tracks means it is not always appealing to walkers. Many sections end at a town or a dedicated campsite. Campsite quality varies, but the trail co-ordinators aim to create three-sided huts, a water tank, a pit toilet, picnic tables and cleared tent sites at each.

The track runs mainly through state forest, national parks and other reserves. The trail often leaves valleys to seek ridge lines which then offer many scenic outlooks. The trail commences with a gentle grade on a made road from Devonport which runs beside the Mersey river. It soon enters rougher terrain including the Cluan Tiers, Great Western Tiers and then climbs into the Central Highlands. The trail then passes through Great Lakes region across the highlands to the Derwent River. At New Norfolk the trail leaves the Derwent and climbs over the mountain pass of the old stock route to the Huon River valley using a track around the ‘back’ of Hobart’s Mount Wellington.

The towns the track passes through (or near) are Latrobe, Railton, Sheffield, (Deloraine), Bracknell, Arthurs Lake, Miena, Bronte Park, Ouse, Bushy Park, Glenora, New Norfolk, Lachlan, Judbury, (Geeveston) and Dover.

Highlights of the track include:

Cluan Tiers

Great Western Tiers

Arthurs Lake

Bronte Park

Derwent River

Huon River

Button Grass PlainsThe Tasmanian Trail is managed by volunteers and the Tasmanian State Government Forestry Department.

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