Routes » The Australian Bicentennial National Trail (BNT)


The Australian Bicentennial National Trail (BNT, some times called the ‘Big Nasty Track’)

Distance 5,330km (3,310 miles)
Height gained  93,789m (307,700′)
Rideability 1 to 9 It does cover a vast distance of varied terrain!

Single track <5%?

The BNT was initially an idea to make a horse trail emulating the lifestyle of drovers who had once frequented Australia’s stock routes, and it was called the National Horse Trail. As such it has campsites about every 25 km that have water and grasses for horses, it was though that a rider with two horses (one ridden the other as a packsaddle horse) would be appropriate. It broadly follows the Australian Great Dividing Range from Healsville near Melbourne in the south to Cooktown above Cairns in the north. The southern parts are steep with snow in the winter (and road closures then). In the peak of summer temperatures can be very hot with the threat of bushfires and fire bans making cooking impossible if not unwise.

The trail does not frequently pass places where food resupply is possible, so carrying supplies or having mobile support is a must. Water should be treated before consumption (unless it is tap water in towns). The trail uses both public and private property. The BNT organization sells guidebooks (only to members) that detail the trail in both map and detailed written directions, the permissions that have to be obtained and how to obtain them and other helpful things. The GPX file located here has been obtained from various public sources and will contain inaccuracies and out of date routing, it is here as a rough guide ONLY. To obtain the correct path and the details needed to use it you must join the BNT organization and buy the relevant guidebooks. Sometimes even the guidebooks need updating and so contacting the relevant section coordinators (in the guidebooks) immediately before starting is a good idea.

Later on the BNT was opened up for walkers and cyclists. Few people tackle the entire length of the BNT, usually shorter sections are taken. The best sections may be in Guidebooks 9 and 11 in terms of dramatic scenery. Some sections of the BNT have alternative paths for cyclist in recognition of the toughness of the original BNT path, a horse and rider can swim a river and climb a loose rocky hill that a cyclist with luggage would find extremely difficult. Grades of over 30% can be encountered.

BNT Organization    FAQ, membership, guide books etc

BNT Facebook   chatter, trip reports


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