Quantifying the Great North Walk


The Great North Walk is an approximately 260 km walking trail from Sydney to Newcastle.

Having often driven between Sydney and Newcastle, I have always been curious about this track and decided in mid-2018 that it would be a fun activity to pursue walking it in 10-20 km stretches and inviting others along for the walk.

Key Equipment

Apple Watch – Series 2 and 5.

Shoes - Brooks Cascadia 13 & hiking pants + water bladder (Katmandu)

HealthFit app (iPhone)

Data Science Details

Python 3.6 via Jupyter notebooks using Microsoft Azure Notebooks –  A convenient way to develop and run code from anywhere with Jupyter notebooks on Azure (for free at this scale). Similar options exist on Amazon and Google.

activityio is an exercise data handling library which I used to import and manipulate the .fit filetype used on the Apple Watch.

Folium makes it easy to visualise data that’s been manipulated in Python on an interactive Leaflet map. Leaflet is a leading open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps. Mapping data is sourced from OpenStreetMap although other options for rendering the map are available.

Bringing it all together

Add link to notebook

Some photos from the walk

Here are just a handful of photos from the walk.


I would like to acknowledge my primary walking companion DS – it has been a pleasure to walk this path with you while I’ve been measuring my heart out (well the Apple Watch has done all of the heavy lifting – I just needed to remember to turn it in).

Also WildWalks.com is an excellent source of hiking information.