Bicentennial National Trail Trail Hiking Australia
  • Length: 5330km

  • Duration: 1 Year

  • Grade: 3-5

  • Style: One Way

  • Start: Healesville, Victoria

  • End: Cooktown, Queensland

  • Location: East Coast Australia

  • Closest Town: Healesville

  • Distance from CBD: 64km

  • State: VIC, NSW, QLD

  • Latitude: -37.656000

  • Longitude: 145.514000

Keep the Trail Access info current...

Click Edit to Modify

Select items to indicate conditions for access to the trail.

2WD Access

4WD Access

Public Transport

Bitumen Road

Gravel Road

Steep Road

Winding Road

Speed Bumps

Vehicle Ford

Entry Fee

Large Car Park

Small Car Park

Accessible Parking

Accessible Toilet

Public Toilets

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Picnic Shelter

Picnic Table

BBQ Facilities

Campfire Pit

Camping Area

Keep the Trail Features current...

Overnight Campsites

Select items to indicate features found along the trail.

Concrete Path

Timber Boardwalk

Gravel Path

Sandy Trail

Rough Trail

Undefined Trail

Prams & Strollers

Manual Wheelchair

Motorised Wheelchair

Bicycle Trail

Mountain Bike Trail

Historic Rail Trail

Dog Friendly

Urban Walk

Coast & Beach

Historic Lighthouse

Waterfalls & Lakes

Rainforest Walk

Goldfields & Mining

Heritage Walk

Aboriginal Art

Alpine Region

Alpine Huts

Exposed Ledges

Rock Scrambling

Steep Terrain

Bush Bashing

River Crossings

Scenic Viewpoints

Well Marked

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Fishing Spots

Swimming Spots

Overnight Campsites

Trail Running

Horse Riding

10
1

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.

Summary

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.

History

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.

Location

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.

Access

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.

Permits

Not needed. Local restrictions on camping and camp fires apply in some areas and in some seasons.

Download Your Hiking Safety Guide

244 thoughts on “Bicentennial National Trail (5330km)

    1. Shaun Kaesler it’s more of a horse trail than a hiking trail, I don’t think many if anyone has hiked the length, only a handful have done it on horseback. up until recently it was the longest trail in the world.

    2. Hunter Dodds you are correct, not many people have hiked it…. I think about 4-6? people have hiked it, about 12? mtbs and the rest were on horseback. About 50? people in total have completed the whole trail (including 3 kids). Lots more people have done sections. Check out the BNT website for more info. It’s a wonderful community and an amazing adventure ❤️

    1. Olzy, sure have 😊 not many though…. Only 12? mtbs I think.
      Lots more people have done mtb sections. Sections vary greatly in terrain and remoteness, so there is something for everyone. It’s best to contact the BNT to find out more, they have a website.

  1. Permits are needed. To buy the guidebooks you need to be a member and often you have to ring a property owner to gain access. Also most of the guidebooks don’t have sketch maps but topographic maps with detailed instructions

    1. But as Tanya Bosch says, it’s best to gain membership with the BNT so you have all the correct inside information on this tough trek. The guidebooks are in various qualities of publication, some sketched (30 years old), some quite detailed (published this year). Just as the maps go to print/published they will be ‘out of date’ to some degree, which is why the support of the organization through membership is so important. They are a very supportive not for profit organisation.



If you are a commercial operator, a member of a club, an online group, blogger or commercial website and wish to use any information from this site, my eBooks or printed publications you are required to first seek written permission from the copyright owner. Please read the Terms of Use, Copyright and Title of Ownership information here.