|3 October 2005
|Map: Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S Second Edition 1:25000; Corin Dam 8626-1N Second Edition 1:25000
I did this walk solo. It's reasonable to walk alone on tracks and fire trails, if no mates are available. I wanted to have a bit of a recce of the way further on than Cotter Rocks - past Coronet Peak and Pond Creek Flats. And, once there, on to Cotter Hut and out a different way. I left home at 5.45am and drove to the Orroral Tracking Station car park.
I was walking through the roos in the Orroral grasslands by 6.45am. It seemed reasonable to head up the valley, rather than along the hard Cotter Hut Road, as it was to be a longish walk. I soon hit the AAWT and followed it. It makes a sharp left turn and finally joins the Cotter Hut Road. Up the side of the valley, across Prarie Dog Creek and left onto the AAWT foot pad. I passed a couple of girls backpacking out - they had camped around Cotter Hut and walked over to Oldfields Hut on Sunday and broken camp at 6.15am. The track was as expected to the Split Rock turnoff cairn, which I reached at 8.55am (2 hours and 10 minutes for the 9.9km).
I enjoyed the new country as I followed the AAWT SW down the steepish Pond Creek cut and out onto Pond Creek Flats. Coronet Peak soon came into view, a nicely shaped little cone with plenty of granite about the peak. I spent a little time imagining where the best route to climb it is, as I'm going there 5-6 November. I met another party of 8 guys walking out from Bimberi Peak around here.
I reached the broom near Cotter Hut at 10.10am (averaging around 4.5kph) and then discovered that to go on and visit the hut required a ford of the nicely flowing Cotter River. My feet were a bit hot, so the best plan was just to walk through - I did take on a fair bit of water. Great views up to Bimberi Peak over the Cotter Flats as I approached. A wander up to Cotter Hut and a few snaps, then onto the hard surface of the Cotter Hut Road as it headed north.
Panoramic views back over the Cotter Flats to the east - from Cotter Gap, through Coronet Peak and down to Mt Namadgi. Turned right at the intersection with the Mt Franklin Road and down to the bridge over the Cotter (no wet feet this time). The road heads north overlooking Black Sallee Flat, with views to the north up to Mt Gingera. It was along here that my GPS carked it - just went completely blank. I suspect that well used and many-times-recharged batteries were the cause. I loaded a new set and had to reinitialise the thing, losing all the track to date (so timings above are from photo metadata).
At 11.20am I turned right at the intersection with Lick Hole Road and settled down to a fire trail pace. But quite pleasant going up beside De Salis Creek, with plenty of water gurgling after all the recent welcome rain. I passed through the Eighty Acres area around 12.10pm. Excellent rocky peaks to the south which, now having walked the curcuit, are the same as those north of Cotter Gap on today's outward leg. To the north, the ridge up to Mt McKeahnie with, at times, views to the 'boulder' feature on the 2nd edition map and Dutchies Peak. (I've seen an old CBC walk to De Salis Knobs - I wonder which set of features these are?) Although I photographed it, I couldn't see the line on the road which, I presume from the map, marks the Cotter Catchment area.
At 12.40pm I reached the Smokers Trail intersection and decided to press on to Sawpit Creek for lunch. I sat by the inglorious concrete pipes channeling this lovely creek under the road for 15 minutes at 1pm, glad to stop and have more than a muesli bar on the go. My feet were steaming from the hard road.
With the end (figuratively) in sight, I pressed on and reached the car at 2.30pm.
This was a long walk! Around 35.6km plus 950m up makes 45.1 gradable km, in 7.3 hours. But it was well worth the effort. A recce, new country, a very pleasant day and a better perspective of this part of Namadgi.
Time: 6.45am - 2.30pm, with 20 minutes of stops.
On the way home I drove to the Honeysuckle Creek Camp Ground and on 4.1km along the (gated but open today) fire trail to the Honeysuckle Creek colimation site, in order to recce it for a walk along the Orroral Ridge to the rock climbing tors for church friends. Verdict - the road's really only suitable for 4WD vehicles. I wandered as far as my feet allowed and snapped a couple of views from Tower Rocks across to Mt Orroral and Dutchies Peak.
|1 Broom to be cleared at Cotter Hut
|2 Panorama Cotter Gap to Mt Namadgi
|3 Black Sallee Flat