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No Defined Trail
Prams and Strollers
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The Bicentennial National Trail is a 5330km, multi-grade one way trail located along the eastern coast of Australia. Attempting to walk the full length would take approximately one year to complete.
The Bicentennial National Trail (BNT), originally known as the National Horse Trail, 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, Victoria. 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.
The trail was initiated and planned by the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association. They spent many years planning and negotiating a route. Horses are banned from all Wilderness Areas and many national park areas so they had to avoid these. For a long time, creation of the trail looked doubtful. When it was accepted as a bicentennial project in 1985, finance and official approval followed and by 1988 the trail was a reality. The trail has a large following amongst the horse riding community and has been very beneficial to them.
The track starts at Healesville on the outskirts of Melbourne in Victoria. It follows the mountain ranges along the eastern side of Australia through New South Wales to end at Cooktown in northern Queensland. The total length is 5330 km and would take most of 1 year to walk.
A huge number of access points exist. Indeed, much of the trail follows public roads. Access by public transport exists where the trail crosses major highways – generally these are spaced at about one month walking intervals. Walkers usually chose to pre-place food at one to two week intervals and private transport must be used to do this.
Maps and Track Notes
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. 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. 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.
A series of 12 guidebooks have been published for the trail. These use sketch maps to show the trails location – these maps are good for planning. It is also advised to obtain detailed contour maps as the sketch maps are inadequate for navigation. The guides contain very brief notes and are of limited help with planning a walk as most of the general advice is about horses – selecting them, feeding them, holding them etc.
Not needed. Local restrictions on camping and camp fires apply in some areas and in some seasons.