BLUE GUM HILL
NAMADGI NATIONAL PARK
14 km and 778m elevation gain
Blue Gum Hill from the south-east. Our approach in this post was from the north-west. On the right is Blue Gum Creek, rising away from the camera and then turning westwards behind the mountain where we crossed it. Our lunch spot was at the top of the cliffs immediately to the right of the summit, clearly seen here.
Another view of Blue Gum Hill from the south east.
A view of Blue Gum Hill from the south, from Booroomba Rocks
Another view from the south, from Booroomba Rocks. Blue Gum Creek goes diagonally across the photo, to curve around the far ridge, whereas the creek in front of Blue Gum Hill, going from left to right, is an unnamed tributary. As you can see, Blue Gum Hill is in rugged country and not easy to access.
Blue Gum Hill is a prominent, “standing alone” mountain in Namadgi National Park, near Canberra. It is bounded on two sides by Blue Gum Creek and on a third side by a tributary of Blue Gum Creek. It is reasonably remote and takes some effort to get to it. In “the old days” it was quite often on one or other club’s program as a day walk. In those days the scrub was almost non existent and one could drive to the locked gate at the beginning of Smokers Trail off the Corin Dam Road. But then came the 2003 fires which led to the build up of thick scrub and vehicle access to Smokers Trail was closed which put about 4 extra km each way to the walk . Blue Gum Hill fell out of favour, although Philip did lead a couple of walks from the other side, from the Australian Alps Walking Track, a longer route and a tedious bush bash. Incidentally, Blue Gum Hill takes its name from a unique stand of blue-leafed eucalypts near its summit and not found elsewhere: E . cinerea ssp triplex.
During last winter I did some exploring out there, and found a new track of about 3 km from the new carpark on Corin Dam Road to the beginning of Smokers Trail and also a fairly direct and pretty well scrub free route down from that Trail to Blue Gum Creek. I passed the information to Philip who put Blue Gum Hill on the other day as a hard Wednesday Walk.
There were 13 of us on the walk, which we all enjoyed. It was a stunning morning which only added to the pleasure. The party stepped out and soon we reached Smokers Trail which we followed for about 1 km before turning off to some patches of grassland which we followed for a short distance before going down the side of a ridge to the tussocky grasslands flanking Blue Gum Creek. Morning tea was had standing up with much stamping of feet as nowhere seemed free from those pesky small black ants. From morning tea it was but a short distance through open forest to an easy crossing of Blue Gum Creek with its clear, potable champagne-like water. From there, the hard work began going up Blue Gum Hill which entailed crossing two small creeks. Up and up, and then we reached the granite slabs, which is where we came across a number of E. cinerea ssp triplex. Prior to the 2003 fires there were what seemed to me to be just a few, striggling trees. Then came the fires and I thought we had lost them all. However, on this walk these trees have come right back, loo very healthy, and it would seem that there are quite a number of new trees. Up here, there were also many orchids to be seen in amongst the granite boulders and slabs. Lunch was just short of the summit at a good viewpoint, better than from the actual summit only a few metres away.
After lunch Philip led us down more directly and steeply than our outward journey. On the way several of us had a drink from a crystal clear pool in a small creek and then at Blue Gum Creek most of us filled up our water bottles – it was a warm afternoon. Once across Blue Gum Creek it did not take long before we were crossing the grasslands. As usual, Philip’s navigation was superb and we came to our final climb up through the bush exactly where we had come out of the bush in the morning. From the top of the climb it was an easy walk of about 4.5 km back to the cars.
On the way back one of the party gave us a huge fright. Suddenly, she was bent double, gasping for breath with the most terrible sounds. My first thought was that she was having a bad asthma attack. Many of had done first aid courses but none of knew how to deal with this as we did not know what had happened and she was unable to communicate with us. Apparently, she had been eating some trail mix while walking along and some had “gone down the wrong way”, lodging in the wind pipe. Luckily we had a GP with us who realised what was happening and by squeezing helped to dislodge the particle. However, it took several minutes before it was dislodged.
Walking along Smokers Trail before going off track down to Blue Gum Creek
Blue Gum Hill beyond the grasslands in the Blue Gum Creek valley
Blue Gum Creek Grasslands
Eucalyptus cinerea ssp triplex
Eucalyptus cinerea ssp triplex
Eucalyptus cinerea ssp triplex. Beyond the single tree is a grove of healthy new trees
lunch on top, Blue Gum Hill summit just beyond
looking across to the Tinderry Range from lunch spot
Mt Tennent from lunch spot
The main skyline ridge : On left, Tidbinbilla Mountain, then Tidbinbilla Peak, then Camels Hump.
skyline ridge : the Brindabella Range on the border between ACT and NSW and within Namadgi NP. Mt Bimberi in the centre, the highest peak in the ACT, and on the right, the long summit ridge of Mt Gingera
Mt Bimberi from lunch spot
Another view from the lunch spot
The following photos are of some of the flowers we noticed on Blue Gum Hill
there were many of these orchids in flower as we neared the top. Petalochilus sp, I think they were Dusky Fingers
Another orchid : Thelymitra simulata, Collared Sun Orchid
a Diuris sp of orchid
A native clematis, Clematis aristata, Mountain Clematis
Sunlit afternoon, the track down to the cars from Smokers Trail