Retrace explorer history and be inspired with guided bushwalks on Mt Royal
If you’re looking to be transported into the magical, almost forgotten landscape of the prehistoric Gondwana rainforest, look no further than the guided bushwalks on Mt Royal by the team at Callicoma Hill Eco-cabins.
Located just 45 minutes from Singleton’s town centre, the lush terrain of the Mt Royal range is a distinctive hallmark of the north-western end of the Hunter Valley and south-western side of the Barrington Tops. Discover lesser known paths with local expert and history aficionado, Martin Fallding who is leading a series of walks to retrace the footsteps of one of the country’s most renowned explorers, Ludwig Leichhardt, almost 180 years after he visited the Hunter Valley. Certified by Ecotourism Australia and licensed by NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, the walk is part of a broader program of guided bushwalks from Callicoma Hill Eco-cabins.
The hikes are medium to hard grade, with a choice between 4km or 8km loops, depending on areas of interest and fitness levels, and take between three and four hours to complete. A bushwalker’s utopia, if you’re a hiker prepared to get off the beaten track, you’ll be offered the sweetest of rewards. Martin said the walks descend through airy alpine woodland that transforms into dense rainforest, which have remained relatively unchanged since Leichhardt visited in 1843. Crowded with tree ferns and vibrant mosses, the circuit is home to an abundance of wildlife and plant species sure to captivate not only history buffs, but photographers and Instagrammers alike.
"I was really interested in finding out more about the natural history of the area, and have spent five years researching. Leichhardt is an iconic explorer that we all learn about in primary school — he has a prominent Sydney suburb and a river named after him — so it’s not as if he is an unknown person, but his connection to the Hunter Valley is not well-known,” Martin said.
“These unique walks tell the story of his adventures to this beautiful area. Surprisingly few people are aware of the significance of Mt Royal and its proximity to Singleton and the Hunter Valley.
“Leichhardt’s story is one of those interesting things that makes a place important — it’s just another thing that makes the Singleton area truly unique. For anyone who is interested in getting out and having a walk — we delve a little deeper to understand a lot more about the past, future and what we have now. We read extracts from his diary, in the exact places where things happened. People have an amazing reaction too – they just love it. And it’s a lot of fun too.
“What’s special about Mt Royal is that it’s virtually identical now to when Leichhardt was here, and even before European settlement. You can step back in time and really experience it. It’s remarkable, and there’s very few places in Australia where that can be done. It’s very tantalising, and you have to really get into Leichhardt’s mind to try and think what he was thinking. It really is a great story and we are very fortunate that it has been written down, and we can still experience it today.”
Get those hiking boots on people! Join a guided walk in Mount Royal National Park on the northern end of the Hunter Valley and the south western side of Barrington Tops, just 45 minutes from Singleton town centre. These walks are led by Callicoma Hill Eco-cabins and are eco-certified by Ecotourism Australia and licensed by NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. Bookings essential, click here.
Callicoma Hill Ecocabins offer comfortable, self-contained eco-cabins and rustic bunkhouse accommodation in a natural forest setting, as well as bush camping for groups.
T 02 6571 1208
Looking for more adventure? Visit W www.singleton.nsw.gov.au/194/tourism