A DAY WALK ALONG THE HIGH RIDGE AND SUMMITS TO THE NORTH-EAST OF BOOROOMBA ROCKS
NAMADGI NATIONAL PARK
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY.
A LITTLE OVER 7 HOURS, (about 5 hours off-track) 13.5 KM, 605 M. HEIGHT GAIN
Nine of us (6 women and 3 men – hey! Isn’t it great to see the women out-numbering the men!) left the Kambah Village shops in Canberra in 3 cars for the 45 minute drive to the Booroomba Rocks car park. For several days the weather forecast for the day had been awful and so I had changed my intended walk to this one which was closer to Canberra and offered alternatives should the weather really close in on us. I labelled the walk “exploratory” . None of the others had done it either.
Under gloomy and lowering skies, with mist down on the summit of Mt Tennant, we commenced walking northwards along the AAWT (Australian Alps Walking track, which runs from the ACT , to Victoria) .
At the creek which comes down from the saddle between Booroomba Rocks and “our” ridge and summits, we left the AAWT for the summit of our first peak. Here the scrub was fairly thick, but not too bad. At least it was not spiky or prickly. We were climbing a southerly slope so it was shadier, received and retained more rain and had more luxuriant vegetation. It was, however, very steep. It is hard work for the leader in scrub, as he literally has to find or force a passage through it. I was quite pleased when Peter took over for a while. In addition to the fallen trees and the scrub we had all the usual “hazards” of off track bushwalking : lots of leaf litter and fallen bark, twigs, low-growing ground covers, unseen holes, boulders and the like. Our progress was slower than I had anticipated. I had thought we would have morning on the top but no such luck. By eleven, fearful of a mutiny, Peter and I thought it best to call a halt for morning tea, perhaps 30 minutes short of the summit but in a scrub-free area of pleasant rocks. .
Nearing the summit, Peter led us into and up a very rocky ramp between imposing rock cliffs and then handed over to me. I traversed around and then followed a similar ramp and suddenly we were almost on the top. I stepped out of the scrub and trees and no views onto a flat area of low vegetation with stunning views. The transition was so sudden and unexpected that I gasped. As the others joined me, each of them had the same reaction.
Just a few metres away on the top of a granite slab was the summit cairn. We made our way there and there were more gasps and “wows”. What a stunning view over to Booroomba Rocks, Blue Gum Hill, Blue Gum Creek and other unnamed hills.
The view from the summit towards Booroomba Rocks
Unfortunately I have no photos of my own but Alison has kindly provided the above photo. I had forgotten that I had placed my camera in a small dry bag and so when I didn’t see the actual camera in my pack I assumed that I had left it at the morning tea spot. Only at lunch time did I locate it. Fortunately I told Peter as he then mentioned that he had been planning to come back the next day to look for it. A very good friend.
Our party’s botanist, Isobel, told us that Blue Gum Creek and Blue Gum Hill, take their name from the small and rare patch of eucalypts with blue leaves growing on the northern edge of the summit of Blue Gum Hill. I am not sure if they survived the 2003 fires.
From this summit, after a bit of scouting around to get down off it, we headed almost north, dropping down into a very shallow saddle before ascending a slight knoll . Another lovely surprise : we broke out of the trees and scrub right on the very edge of cliffs flanking Blue Gum Creek. This last section was scrubby, but not too bad.
Peter D – the King of the Castle, from the lunch spot looking across to Booroomba Rocks. Peter had been exploring the rock castle but I missed a photo of him on the top! .
It was now 12.30 pm and I decided that we couldn’t pass up such a wonderful view or the chance of having lunch before it rained, so declared it lunch time. No one disagreed! After lunch we continued along the ridge in a north-east direction. to the next summit. This section was only about ½ km but it was hard work as the scrub was quite dense with a lot of dead stuff, which of course does not bend away from one and has a tendency to rip into one. Being in front, I found it hard going. However, from this summit down to Georges Creek, a descent of some 300 m, it was fairly easy going, with only light scrub.
At Georges Creek we hit the fire trail which took us back onto the AAWT. Here we had a few drops of rain and we all counted ourselves lucky not to have been walking in the scrub in the rain. At the top of Bushfold Flats we left the AAWT for a few hundred metres to go to Bushfold Hut to catch our breath for the final push back to the cars. We reached the hut at 3.30 pm and as we left it started to drizzle. From here is was all uphill, along the AAWT, although the AAWT after it has passed the dam, when approached from the hut, is not easily discernible. We had occasional light drizzle on the way back to the cars, but the real rain only started on the drive home and became torrential in Tuggeranong.
We were all delighted with this walk. I was especially pleased, as I had put it on as what I thought was a poor alternative to the one I really wanted to do and it had exceeded by far all my expectations. I will now put it on the program next winter.
I had planned to do this walk in reverse order, but I agreed with Peter that in view of the forecast it would be better to do it the way we had. In retrospect, that is the way I would do it again, no matter the weather.
Despite the fact that the walk took 7 hours, everyone did very well, no-one was in difficulties and at the end there were only smiles of delight