Syndicate Ridge Track follows the route of the pine line tramway built in the early part of the 20th century by an intrepid syndicate of businessmen. The tramway was used to retrieve hoop pine from the Dorrigo plateau to feed the sawmills in the Bellingen Valley.
This outstanding day walk in Dorrigo National Park climbs Syndicate Ridge, passing the mid point winching station and following along on the upper tramway route where a bull wheel can be found.
We do love hills. After the massive heart pumping climb, with a pause to view the heritage tramway relics and regain your breath, there are two escarpment lookouts as a reward for effort. First is Stony Creek Lookout then Lanes Lookout, both with views over the Bellingen valley.
Later, on the Slingsbys trail, the campsite at Wild Cattle Creek is a good lunch spot, and further on are lichen covered wooden bridges over clear creeks and the swaying red grasses of the Killungoondie plain.
There is more interesting information on the Gleniffer Inclined Tramway (1911-1928) in “Logging Tramways of the Dorrigo Plateau, NSW” by Ian McNeil, published by the Light Railway Research Society of Australia, Inc.
The transport logistics are tricky for this walk, as the end is a long distance up Waterfall Way from the start. You could ask a family member or friend to drop you off or pick you up, as we did. Or get some friends together and walk this as a “crossover” walk, where some start at the bottom and others at the top, trading car keys when they cross over along the trail.
If none of these transport options work, walk up the track to the lookouts and then retreat back down Syndicate Ridge to your car, omitting the Slingsbys Trail section. Your legs may not thank you.