4 March 2006 Spot Height 1339, NW Orroral Valley Photos
Maps: Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S Second Edition 1:25000; Corin Dam 8626-1N Second Edition 1:25000
Getting There

Drive to the Orroral Tracking Station site car park.

Boulders near the summit are identified as Fur-Trouser Crag in ACT Granite, P193.


Description:  Saturday 4 March – Spot Height 1339, NW Orroral Valley – M/M  A popular round to a hill top which should allow great 360° views across Orroral Valley to the Ridge of Stone and, to the west, deep into Namadgi National Park.  From the car park we’ll tread the grasslands, then onto the Cotter Hut Road to climb the west side of the valley.  At the weather recorder just before Prairie Dog Creek, we head north into the bush.  The spur will take us 200m up to the granite tors of SH1339.  After lunch, a steep easterly descent brings us back to the valley floor and a stroll back to the cars.  Map: Corin Dam 1:25000.  Leader: John Evans 6288 7235(h) or jevans@pcug.org.au.  Transport: $10.  More information at www.pcug.org.au/~jevans.

Additional Description:  This little feature is located in the NW of the Orroral Valley, bounded by Cotter Hut Road on the S and SW, Smokers Trail on the NW and the Orroral Valley on the NE-SE.  I've wandered all round it on various walks, seen many CBC, FBI and Wednesday walks to it, but never yet visited it.  I'd like to start reasonably early - the best part of the day and it may still be warm later on.  Head up the Orroral Valley grasslands amongst the 'roos, picking up the famed Australian Alpine Walking Track (2.6km).  A squiggle through the trees (or a B-line due west) and onto the Cotter Hut Road just past James Creek (1km).  Plod the fire trail to get us up the side of the valley .  After the trail flattens out, we'll spy a weather recording station in the bush on the right and this is our marker to turn north into the bush (1.7km).  Unknown territory for me from here on, but I'm sure we'll manage.  The spur will take us 200m up through the scrub to SH1339 (1.5km).  I suspect there'll be a few granite tors around the top.  Thanks to Peter K (see below), we'll go another 500m N to GR733589 (MGA94) where there's a large, flat rock slab.  Lunch here, enjoying the views.  I'd hope to see the Ridge of Stone across the Orroral Valley to the E, Mt McKeahnie and Dutchies Peak to the NW, Split Rock at Cotter Rocks and de Sallis Knobs just S of W, with the Brindabellas on the W skyline.  It will be interesting to see how far and what we can view down to the SW in the heart of the Bimberi Wilderness. We'll pick our best way down to the east to reach the valley floor (1.6km).  The descent is 350m.  Once back on the grasslands, we'll amble back to the cars (4km).

4 of us, a select little group, tackled this walk, including a 'country member' of the club who drove up from Wollongong (and is heading for 3 weeks in Nepal soon).  We'd signed the walk register and were off up the Orroral Valley grasslands by 8.20am.  There was the hint of autumn in the air and the early morning sunlight was striking the Ridge of Stone on our right.  We crossed the link track which joins the fire trail to Honeysuckle Creek and continued on through the 'roos to where the AAWT squiggles across to the Cotter Hut Road.  A nice new foot bridge crosses James Creek where it comes out onto the Orroral Valley.

The Cotter Hut Road must have been recently graded, as it was softer on the feet.  We climbed the side of the Orroral Valley and reached our turn off point at 10.05am, having covered 6.1km.  It was easy walking up through the light scrub as the spur took us up towards Spot Height 1339.  There were several opportunities to pause and appreciate the view to the W as we climbed through the granite tors.  We stopped at 11am for morning tea, just a couple of hundred metres shy of the SH.  As I'd hoped, we looked out to Split Rock and de Sallis Knobs over Cotter Gap, with Bimberi Peak at the back.  Further S was Mt Orroral and directly to the N, our SH objective.

We reached the Spot Height at 11.40am.  A great granite capstone marked the point, with a tunnel/cave under.  The view to the W was the same as before, except at the greater height we could see the tops of the far side of Rendezvous Creek.

We continued on to the viewing platform kindly indicated by Peter K (see below).  We reached it via an excellent rock covered passage way, then down to a shelf which provided an uninterrupted view over the north part of Orroral Valley.  Lunch was enjoyed for 40 minutes, one of the party stretched out in the crook of a tree lying on the rock in the shade saying it was an idyllic place.  We enjoyed a breeze as two eagles soared overhead and looked across to McKeahnie Trig NW and the Ridge of Stone to the E.

At 12.35pm we began to pick our way down in a NE direction to the cleared valley below.  A steep little drop of 300m over 1km, but quite manageable.  A view to Dutchies Peak to the NW on the way down.  By 1.20pm we were out onto the open grasslands.

All that remained was a 5.3km tramp down the valley to the car.  The kangas were quiet in the shade, some quite approachable.  A wild dog trotted across our path just N of James Creek.  Back to the car by 2.40pm.

We were sitting at a picnic table in the shade questioning the previous use of the area when a gentleman approached who had previously worked at the tracking station.  We learned that the collimation towers were for calibrating the dishes, Tidbinbilla for deep space, Honeysuckle Creek for the moon shot and Orroral Valley for near earth satellite control.

Thank you Steve B, Meg McK and Rene M.  I really enjoyed your company and this little walk offered more than I had expected.

Distance: 14.4km  Climb: 400m.  Time: 8.20am - 2.40pm (call it 6.5hrs) with 1 hour of stops.

Thanks to Peter K of the ACT Veterans Athletic Club who found this page, recce-d the walk on 16 Feb, and took a group of friends on it on 23 Feb, and sent me his recce track notes!  I reckon that's a win-win!  7 of them had a great walk with excellent views.  And thanks again to Peter K who emailed me a couple of snaps from their lunch spot - the views are great.

1 View W from ridge to SH1339
2 View down to N of Orroral Valley
3 Wild dog near James Creek Orroral Valley