NAMADGI NATIONAL PARK
To the west of Canberra lies a beguiling line of blue mountains, ridge upon ridge, fading from deep blue to light grey with distance, the tones and shades changing with the changing light. Living in Canberra one is always aware of these mountains and their changing lights and shadows. Who has not admired them catching the first light of dawn, seen them standing clear and sharp with an icing of white in winter, seen the delicate beauty of the last of the sun gently highlighting high shoulders and ridges while the gullies and slopes have begun to sleep in shades of deeper blue-grey?
But they are more than just a painted backdrop to a lovely city. Hidden within these blue lines and soft, distant shadows is a wonderful wilderness of wild mountains, hidden valleys and countless secret places. A magical land. The palaces of nature, and, as the renowned mountaineer and poet, Geoffrey Winthrop Young said in his poem The Wind, “ …. The beauties challenging our eyes, as ordered line and colour, but conceal a symbol for the spirit …”
Broad valleys are delineated by steep ridges often capped with huge, spectacular granite outcrops and tors which often contain caves and tunnels and which give spectacular views over the surrounding landscape. Here you will find tall forests, shy gullies of the Antarctic tree fern beside mountain creeks, open, sub alpine forests and finally, along the summits, the alpine zone above the tree line. Here, too, you will also find mountain swamps and pools, so vital to the perennial flow of streams and mosses, lichen and wildflowers as well as a rich diversity of insects, animals and birds. Finally, straddling the A.C.T border with N.S.W., you will find the highest peaks of them all : the Brindabella Range, which rises to nearly 2000 metres.
This is a beautiful and rugged mountain landscape, a land vital to the well-being of the planet, part of the fragile biosphere which keeps us alive. A land which has a right to exist for its own sake and not for any economic benefit or use of human kind. A land which should be kept as undeveloped wilderness.
Namadgi National Park lies within this mountain wilderness and together with the Cotter Catchment and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve preserves most of it. Let it beguile you with its magic. Explore it, but tread upon it lightly. Treasure it, for it is wilderness such as this that affords more than beauty or economic benefit. It nurtures our souls and keeps our planet alive.
M t Tennent (above) lies just within the Park’s boundary. Both these shots were taken from Cooleman Ridge, immediately behind the Canberra suburb of Chapman .
Bogong Creek Valley, looking up Middle Ck. to Mts, Burbage (left) Namadgi (right)
(above) Mt Gudgenby
Walkers at Boboyan Trig with Mt. Sentry Box Mountain
Gudgenby in the distance on left
Views from Boboyan Trig
Gorilla Rock, a granite outcrop The remains of an Arboretum
near Booroomba Rocks. on Stockyard Creek
A number of arboreta were established in the ACT in the early days of Canberra. The one on Stockyard Creek was abandoned and then all but destroyed in the devastating bushfire of 2003 which also destroyed others. Only the Bendora Arboretum was unscathed. It lies high on the Brindabella Mountains, along the summit crest of which lies the ACT’s western border with NSW. The two remaining trees at the Stockyard Creek Arboretum are Noble Firs, Abies prucera, the seeds of which came from Oregon, USA. Originally, there were 36 of these trees in this arboretum.
Bendora Arboretum (above) Fungus – Bendora Arboretum
Tall forest, Orroral Valley Candle Bark, Eucalyptus rubida
Candlebark gum tree, E. rubida Cotter River, near Bendora Dam
The Cotter River, a pristine trout stream, rises in the high country in the south of the ACT, in Namadgi N.P and flows north, through the length of Namadgi, including the Bimberi wilderness area, before joining the Murrumbidgee River. With the 3 dams, the Bendorra, Corin and Cotter, it provides most of Canberra’s water needs. The boundaries of the ACT were determined in part by the mountain watersheds – it was held that the ACT should have control over its water supplies
Pool on the Cotter River Waterfall on Stockyard Creek
Beautiful Snowy Flat Creek which now flows
into Corin Dam
I will continue with Namadgi NP in my next post