Location

Where is Yanada?

Yanada is in the McDonald Valley 2km outside the historic village of St Albans. We adjoin the Yengo National Park and are 17 minutes from Wisemans Ferry and the Hawkesbury River. This is the southern tip of Darkinjung country with Mount Yengo at its heart. This place is hidden and remote,  known since first European settlement as the Forgotten Valley, yet less than 2 hours drive from Sydney.

The drive itself is beautiful. From Sydney, once you leave the M2 and Pennant Hills Road you will follow the original convict built route north from Sydney. The Old North Road takes you along the Dural ridge with stunning Blue Mountain views, through Marramurra National Park and down into Wisemans Ferry, set on a picturesque loop in the Hawkesbury river system. Cross the free Webbs Creek vehicular ferry, a 4 min ride, then along the McDonald Valley, with steep sandstone cliffs and the meandering river, to Yanada, just before the National Trust village of St Albans.

There are no shops in St Albans and only a limited supermarket in Wisemans Ferry. Stop and stock up at Woolworths in Glenorie if you are driving from Sydney.

How to get to Yanada

Yanada is located at 1741 St Albans Road. The directions below include public transport options, and driving from Sydney, the Central Coast or the Blue Mountains.

Driving from Sydney and the South

DO NOT USE GPS or Google Maps directions to get to Yanada from the south. Use our directions  below and / or do the following:

  • Put Wisemans Ferry Town into maps
  • Then put Yanada into maps

Crossing WEBBS CREEK Ferry is the correct way to get to us from the south. Any other route, such as using Wisemans Ferry or Bicentenary Road will take you on dirt roads and potentially add hours to your journey. We are between 90 min and 2 hrs drive from Sydney CBD depending on time of day.

  • From Airport  take M1 General Holmes Drive to City
  • Take M1 Eastern Distributor, then M1 Harbour Tunnel towards Newcastle
  • From City  cross Harbour Bridge or M1 Harbour Tunnel towards Newcastle
  • Now stay on motorway towards Epping and M2; DO NOT turn off towards A1 Newcastle
  • Go through M2 Lane Cove Tunnel
  • Stay on M2 for 17 km, towards Castle Hill
  • Take A28 PENNANT HILLS ROAD exit. Turn right towards Castle Hill
  • In 1.2 km take left turn onto CASTLE HILL RD, towards Castle Hill and Koala Park
  • In 650m turn right at the lights into NEW LINE ROAD towards Dural
  • After 6.2km this turn into OLD NORTHERN RD at a roundabout, towards Wisemans Ferry
  • Follow this road for 40km all the way to Wisemans Ferry, passing through Glenorie (stop for Woolworths) and Maroota
  • After steep hill down into Wisemans Ferry, turn left towards St Albans and take the Webbs Creek Ferry (NOT Wisemans Ferry) across to St Albans Road.
  • The Ferry runs 24 hrs a day and takes about 5 mins.
  • After Ferry stay on ST ALBANS ROAD towards St Albans for 17.6km.
  • We are on the left, soon after the Sae Soon Conference Centre and 2.5 km before St Albans village.

Driving from Newcastle / Central coast

  • From the Sydney – Newcastle Freeway
  • Take the PEATS RIDGE exit on left towards Peats Ridge/Central Mangrove
  • After 8 km turn Left at Wisemans Ferry sign then turn right onto Wisemans Ferry Rd
  • Stay on this road for 56 km until you get to Wisemans Ferry car ferry
  • Here you can either
  • (A) avoid a short section of gravel road or
  • (B) avoid two ferries

Option A

  • To avoid two Ferries: Keep straight onto Settlers Road. Follow this for 20km into St Albans
  • Cross the bridge
  • Turn left onto St Albans Road towards Wisemans Ferry
  • In 2.5 km we are on the right.

Option B

  • To avoid gravel road: Take the Wisemans Ferry across the river
  • Drive 1km along Old Northern Road
  • Take The Webs Creek Ferry back across the river again
  • After Ferry stay on ST ALBANS ROAD towards St Albans for 17.6km.
  • We are on the left, soon after the Sae Soon Conference Centre and 2.5 km before St Albans village.

Driving directions from Blue Mountains, Richmond or Windsor

Do not follow Google or GPS Bicentenary Road route, unless you want a scenic drive on steep and windy gravel roads.

  • Take Bells Line of Road B59 through Richmond to Windsor
  • Turn Left at Macquarie Street (A9 / Tourist Drive 14)
  • In 1.2km Turn right onto A2
  • In 1.4km turn left onto Tourist Drive 15 (signs for Pitt Town Road/Wisemans Ferry)
  • Follow Tourist Drive 15 through Pitt Town
  • In 35km turn left onto Old Northern Rd towards Wisemans Ferry
  • After steep hill down into Wisemans Ferry, turn left towards St Albans and take the Webbs Creek Ferry (NOT Wisemans Ferry) across to St Albans Road.
  • The Ferry runs 24 hrs a day and takes about 5 mins.
  • After Ferry stay on ST ALBANS ROAD towards St Albans for 17.6km.
  • We are on the left, soon after the Sae Soon Conference Centre and 2.5 km before St Albans village

Public Transport

Wisemans Ferry is served twice daily on school days only by the 672 bus from Windsor Station (1hr trip from Windsor).  We may be able to arrange pick up / drop off to Wisemans Ferry if arranged in advance.

The following public transport options are between 40 and 60 mins from Yanada. There is an express bus to Dural from Sydney CBD and there are busses to Glenorie from Castle Hill. Pennant Hills or Windsor are the nearest railway stations.

Maxi Taxis can be arranged from Windsor Station.

The Local Area

The McDonald Valley

Yanada is in the McDonald Valley (locally known as the Forgotten Valley) in the heart of the Hawkesbury Region, close to the Blue Mountains to the west and Hunter Valley to the north. This is the very southern tip or ‘pan handle’ of Darkijung country which has Mount Yengo in the Hunter as its sacred heart.

  

View of St Albans and The Branch from the hill at Yanada

There are numerous annual events in the small village of St Albans including A Folk Festival, Writers Festival, Convict 100 Bike Ride and The Shahzada Mountain Horse Endurance Test. The Settlers Arms Hotel is the main attraction of the village as well as some churches, one with regular services.

 

Past St Albans it is a beautiful drive on winding gravel road through the Wollombi National Park to Wollombi to Cessnock and the Hunter Valley Wine Region.

A few minutes south, Wisemans Ferry provides a number of leisure attractions including golf, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming and Water Polo. There are also local amenities at Wisemans; pub, shops, restaurants, service station, police and doctor. Further south at Maroota you can visit Tobruk Sheep Station.

See Hawkesbury Australia for more details on the region.

History

Adjoining Dharug Land and the Eora nation, it is told that Darkijung people led visitors along tracks (‘Bulgas’) towards the sacred Yengo. These tracks later became roads, including the original line of the Great North Road.

It is told  that Mt Yengo is the place where Biamie departed to the skies after finishing his creative tasks during the Dreamtime. The mountain top was flattened when he stepped on it. Biamie’s son, Daramula is believed to have created the smaller flat rock peaks in the area. You can walk up to one of those above the house at Yanada.

Settlers, mostly escapees, emancipated convicts or their freeborn sons, began arriving “unofficially” at first. The first “official” Grants along the Hawksbury River were not allocated until 1794 to James Ruse and Charles Williams who simply added their number to “the list of those already established”. By 1796, in an official survey, had 400 “white” people along the banks of the Hawkesbury. It is well documented that there were many people living up the narrow valleys who were not counted and many indeed “up the Branch”. By the time the river flats were surveyed in 1833 the “First Branch” had been renamed the Macdonald after John Macdonald of Pitt Town, an early bushman, explorer and settler .

Initial relations between the settlers and original convict population in the area was reasonably harmonious with many known intermarriages. The Dharug and Darkinung people treated the newcomers as welcome guests, teaching bush skills and assisting in the planting of crops. The British army later put a stop to this with horrendous brutality.

This rich and dark convict and indigenous history is immortalised in Kate Grenville’s novel, TV series and play, ‘The Secret River’, set in the McDonald Valley.

Yengo National Park

Yanada adjoins the Yengo National Park, a rugged landscape of steep gorges and rocky ridges, just waiting to be explored by 4WD, mountain bike or foot.

Part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Yengo has spectacular views, remote wilderness and sacred heritage. There’s an abundance of  sacred sites and rock engravings to discover.

The historic, convict-built Old Great North Road in the south-east of the park is also a reminder of the park’s more recent colonial history. This convict trail can be easily visited from Yanada.

Other walks close by include the Jacks Track and the Womerah Ridge Trail:

Old Great North Road

Built by convicts in chains between 1826 and 1836 this is one of Australia’s most significant engineering structures. It was listed as a UNESCO world heritage item in 2010. Starting in Five Dock, Sydney, most of the road is still in use but one section near Wisemans Ferry is closed to traffic and makes for an easy and interesting attraction to visit from Yanada.

The Wiseman Ferry section of the Old Great North Road saw in excess of 700 convicts working on the road at any one time – clearing timber, digging drains, blasting & shaping stones. Convicts who committed another crime after arriving in the colony worked in leg irons – weighing up to 6kg these could only be put on or removed by a blacksmith. Edwards (1996:89) states that the Old Great North Road deviates around certain sacred Aboriginal sites, suggesting that the local Darkinjung people purposefully diverted the European trail-blazers to avoid these sites.

The Old Great North Road is also home to the Thomas James Bridge, at St Albans, built in 1830 it is the oldest bridge in mainland Australia.