3 ways to navigate into Glenworth Valley's festivals for free
The Glenworth Valley was the scene of the early 1990s rave party, “Happy Valley,” when techno-bush dances went mainstream. An hour's drive north of Sydney, it’s still the scene of parties: the best being the Peats Ridge Festival at New Year. It is still one of Australia's festival capitals.
Every festival is awash with stories of wannabe hedonists descending the mountains or navigating a path through the Hawkesbury River’s estuaries to join in the fun for free. Tickets are expensive and security is tight.
But here’s the scoop: anyone can train for their walk, abseil or paddle for free entry all year round. Just sign up for one or more of these adventures with Glenworth Activities.
Two cliff faces descend comfortably into the lush, musical pastures of the valley. From there, you’re only a kilometer or two from all the action.
“It’s still a walk to get there,” says Glenworth activities manager Bridget Smith. “But it’s quite secured off (during festivals) and they have a lot of security.”
But by the end of an abseiling session, the company boasts that even beginners will be able to comfortably tackle lengthy rock face descents, and –- for the bold -- face-forward rundowns.
A 150-minute abseiling adventure starting at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. costs $75.00 per head.
The new frontier for New South Wales’ early colonials, the Hawkesbury River, has a number of estuaries running from it, including Popran Creek.
“It goes right out onto the Hawkesbury,” says Smith. “So you can kayak right into Glenworth Valley.”
It’s about a nine-kilometer paddle from Spencer, which is on the Hawkesbury, to Glenworth Valley. Depending on your paddling ability, it will take between 40 minutes and three hours. Most will navigate the path in about two hours, which is easy work compared to the hours you’d have to labor to buy a ticket.
Hire your own kayak for $110 double kayak/$60 single kayak. Or a 150-minute guided tour costs $75 per person.
This is only for those who are after adventure in one of the oldest forests in the world. Paths are signposted for two- and three-day walks, where adventurers are guided from outposts and shown paths into the valley.
“But it’s only a moderate hike,” says Smith. “Even kids who are in Year 8 and Year 9 can do it.”
If you don’t have the legs, maybe quad biking or horse riding is a better free entry for you, both of which are also available from Glenworth. Good luck.
Tents, air mattresses and guided tours are available, or independent campers pay $20 a night.
Multiple activity variations are available. Glenworth Activities, Cooks Road, Glenworth Valley, is located three kilometers off the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, +61 (0)2 4375 1222; 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. www.glenworth.com.au