Namadgi National Park, Pt 2 : Grasslands and Granite

There are extensive areas of grassland in Namadgi National Park.   Mostly they occur at lower altitudes and are dependent on soil types and climate.   In the main, they have originated as frost hollows which have then been enlarged through clearing of the encircling trees and understory  by the early settlers in this region.

The Cotter River, the major stream in Namadgi, flows in a northerly direction and is mostly in wilderness and difficult to access.   However, there are three major valleys which flow in a southerly direction, covered by extensive grasslands.   They are the Naas (pronounced nace), Rendezvous Creek and the Orroral.   These are lovely valleys between forested, rugged ridges containing many granite tors.   They are easy to access and walk over and there are well-defined tracks for those who prefer not to walk off-track.  In autumn the light softens as do the temperatures.  The early mornings sparkle with dew and the hint of frost, while later in the day it is usually still and warm, with the valleys and hills in a dreaming mood.  These are beautiful, golden days,  when the earth seems to encompass one in beauty and peace, in stillness, in dreaming.   It is a mellow time and it is as if the earth is holding its breath, showing us eternity in days of golden warmth which seem as if to last forever.  In winter, though, the scene changes.

Settlers Track, Grassy Creek, Namadgi NP

Settlers Track, Grassy Creek, Namadgi NP

Snow may fall up here, and temperatures plummet.   Heavy frosts and well-below zero celcius temperatures are frequent.   Winters up here are hard and harsh.   But even so, the days are often very lovely.   I love it up here then.   The winter light is low, white and very clear, brittle.   The air, too, is crystal clear,  the dark blue skies of summer are paler now, and even the clouds are different.   The winter light falling on the dark hills and the ochre grasslands of the valleys is brittle and magical.  In winter, more than at any other time up here, wandering these grasslands, I get a sense of spaciousness and freedom

 The Naas Valley

Naas Valley

Naas Valley

 note the Grey Kangaroos under the tree

Naas Valley,  Namadgi NP.,  A.C.T

Naas Valley, Namadgi NP., A.C.T

Naas Valley

Naas Valley

Rendezvous Creek

Rendezvous Creek and the adjacent  Middle and Bogong Creeks and the Gudgenby River form a wonderful  and extensive area for wonderful walking with   clear streams  running through the area and high blue mountains and ridges capped by granite tors surrounding it.  Go into the upper part of Bogong Creek or into  Middle Creek , or the upper part of Rendezvous Creek and you will feel as remote from the world as is possible.   To walk all the way up Rendezvous Creek , over the saddle to Nursery Creek and down the track to the Orroral Valley is a great day walk.

Mt.  Namadgi

.   View over Bogong Creek to Middle Creek & Mt Namadgi

 

Winter, Rendezvous Creek

Winter, Rendezvous Creek

Our fragile earth.   Rendezvous Creek

Our fragile earth. Rendezvous Creek

A nippy, sparkling  autumn morning, the frost melted, water drops glistening and
silver threads gleaming.

Rendezvous Creek

Rendezvous Creek

Grey Kangaroos, winter light, Rendezvous Creek

Grey Kangaroos, winter light, Rendezvous Creek

 

 

Rendezvous Creek , Namadgi NP  A.C.T.  Winter light

Rendezvous Creek , Namadgi NP.,  A.C.T. Winter light

Rendezvous Creek , winter light

Rendezvous Creek , winter light

Orroral Valley

The Orroral Valley is the nearest of these 3 valleys to Canberra.   The old historic Orroral Homestead is still there and in more recent times this valley was home to the Orroral Tracking Station (NASA)  It has since been dismantled.   There is lovely walking to be had in this valley too.  From here one can take the track to Nursery Swamp, a hanging valley so important, along with other wetlands ,in trapping water and regulating the  flow of water in streams throughout the year.    Our fragile earth.  One can also walk from here to Rendezvous Creek, or take the Australian Alpine Walking track westwards through Cotter Gap into the Cotter Valley and then all the way to Walhalla in Victoria or one can go eastwards to Honeysuckle Creek, Bushfold Flats and the AAWT trackhead.   One can also walk all the way up this valley and then take Smokers Trail to Corin Dam Road.

Orroral Valley

Orroral Valley with Mt Bimberi, highest peak in the A.C.T., right of centre behind Cotter Gap

Orroral Valley

Orroral Valley

Orroral Valley

Orroral Valley

Orroral Valley

Orroral Valley

Historic Orroral Homestead overlooked by Cathedral rocks

Historic Orroral Homestead overlooked by Cathedral Rocks

Orroral Homestead, dating from 1864

Orroral Homestead, dating from 1864

Namadgi National Park Orroral Valley, Orroral Homestead.  IMG_1321

Orroral Homestead

Granites

There is much granite in Namadgi.   Huge boulders, rock slabs, cliff faces, tors.  Many can be seen from vantage points.  Many are hidden away in the bush.  Nearly all are hard to access, involving off track bushwalking, and often bashing through thick scrub.   One needs good navigation skills to find ones way into and,  importantly,  out of the bush.   Bushwalkers love exploring the granite outcrops, finding their way through them and up them.  One often finds caves and immense cracks and corridors.

The formation known as Elephants Ears,  Orroral Valley

The formation known as Elephants Ears, Orroral Valley

massive granite tor, Cathedral Rocks, Orroral Valley

massive granite tor, Cathedral Rocks, Orroral Valley

 

Through the tor on the summit ridge of Mt Gudgenby is a tall, narrow corridor which intersects with another one.

rock corridor on summit of Mt Gudgenby

rock corridor on summit of Mt Gudgenby

rock corridor on summit of Mt Gudgenby

rock corridor on summit of Mt Gudgenby

From the Orroral Valley one takes the track to Cotter Gap which is overlooked by a prominent peak capped with a granite tor which has a massive rock known as Split Rock.  Through this Rock is a wonderful corridor with two right angle turns.

part of corridor on the Split Rock summit tor at Cotter Gap

part of corridor on the Split Rock summit tor at Cotter
Gap

part of corridor on the Split Rock summit tor at Cotter Gap

part of corridor on the Split Rock summit tor at Cotter
Gap

that’s all for now, but I will cover the high country of Namadgi in another post.

Have a happy Christmas and great 2015

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