15 March 2006 Brindabella Blatant Peak Bagging - Mt Ginini, Little Ginini Mountain, Mt Franklin, Mt Aggie, Snow Gum Hill and Bendoura Hill Photos
Maps: Corin Dam 8626-1N Second Edition 1:25000; Tidbinbilla 8627-2S Second Edition
Getting There

An objective of mine is to 'bag' the high hills of the ACT.  Terence U published a list of the named peaks above 1400m in the November 2004 it (the newsletter of the Canberra Bushwalking Club).  It's reproduced here.  The Brindabellas south of Piccadilly Circus contain many of these peaks and this day walk/drive was a blatant attempt to reach as many as possible, prior to the Mt Franklin Road being closed for winter.  My good mate Max S humoured me and was willing to accompany me.  The walk really tested him - not his strength, stamina or endurance, but his patience.  And there were a couple of pleasant surprises making the day most worthwhile.

What better way to start the day, than to drive to the top of the first peak, Mt Ginini!.  We spotted a female lyrebird this time on the Mt Franklin Road, at about the same place as last time's male.


Mt Ginini and Little Ginini Mountain

It did seem a bit of a cheat to drive to the top of Mt Ginini, rather than to the car park below.  But when the logic of the situation was thought through, we still had to climb to the high point, whether at the end or the beginning of the circuit.  We were away by 8am, with Little Ginini Mountain in view just to the E over the cleared area of the S ski run from Mt Ginini.  The weather was overcast to the S and glowering black to the N.  Lovely walking through Snow Gums with soft, grassy underfoot as we headed down the southern slope of Mt Ginini past the end of the cleared ski run towards Stockyard Gap.  Surveyors' piles of border-marking rocks in evidence and we could step from the ACT to NSW and back again at will.  Visually navigating towards our objective, we were a little to the E of the actual gap and hit the Mt Franklin Road at 8.30am.  We used it for 300m, then headed up the hill in the scrub.  Little Ginini Mountain is a most pleasant ridge of grassy open scrub and we found a rock pile which towered over its surrounds by a metre or two.  I insisted Max photograph me bagging the peak.  By 9.10am we were away down to the NE towards the Mt Franklin Road, crossing the obvious line between unburnt and burnt trees.  Views down and across to the Stockyard Creek cut, still filled with fog.  Back up along the road, reaching the summit of Mt Ginini and the car at 10.15am.  Several cars and maintenance workers at the air navigation building, so I was able to snap the very top of Mt Ginini unhindered by wire fence.  An early morning tea.  I tried some powdered electrolyte, even though it was far from a fearsome hot day.  Clearing cloud to the south with small patches of blue sky, but the low clouds were still speeding overhead from the N.

Distance: 7.4km  Climb: 240m.  Time: 8.00am - 10.15am (2.25 hours).

Mt Franklin

A drive back up the Mt Franklin Road took us to the turnoff to said feature.  A black cockatoo with its vivid yellow cheeks flew over the road.  300m from the start of the access road we came across the first of some excellent signage.  Sad to see the site of the Franklin Chalet (which I'd visited in 1969), but excellent signage telling the history and personalities of the area.  Just the twisted tank stand of the chalet remains; interesting documentation of ACT sewerage being delivered to NSW.  On up the track we past yet another border marker with a survey peg under, reinforcing the signage which told us the area was surveyed in 1914. Excellent views across to Upper Ginini Falls opened up and I could see where we were half way down the falls on 25 Feb 06.  A steep patch in the track, where a mate pillioned me to the very top in 1969 on the back of a BMW motorbike.  A few hundred metres short of the summit is an excellent lookout, views uninterrupted by trees and with a rustic bench.  Wonderful views across to the Tidbinbilla ridge, the Tinderrys on the horizon and the upper part of Ginini Creek.  We pushed on to the trig point and old cairn and read the signage about the Franklin family.  A well marked track took us down to the wreck of the Austin A40 which powered the ski tow.  The cleared ski run would be a possible start of a route down to Ginini Falls, so we could reach the bottom in a timely fashion.  Back at the Mt Franklin trig my companion began an unauthorised leg to the NE, continuing along the cleared track.  However, quickly authorising it, we continued to the start (and down a little) of the Morning Run ski run.  We both agreed that this would be an even better start for a quick trip to the bottom of Ginini Falls.  We retuned to the car, reaching it at midday.

Distance: 3.6km  Climb: 150m.  Time: 10.50am - 12noon (call it 1.25 hours).

Mt Aggie

Around 2 km north back along the Mt Franklin Road we parked at Aggie Gap, just at the weather capped signage board.  We probably did the wrong thing by stepping over the sign on the ground which declared the area closed for regeneration.  The cleared track up the hill through the dead trees and regenerating scrub was most unimpressive, but Mt Aggie had a little surprise for us.  I was in the front so saw it first.  It was so different that I retraced a few steps to tell Max that it looked excellent.  Very different geology to the usual granite (but I don't know the technical description).  We breasted the stark ridge top and spent some time enjoying the uninterrupted view across the Goodradigbee River to the hills beyond, aided by a metal plate with directions and distances to prominent features.  Quite a steep fall to the W.  We returned half way down the track, then headed SW to try to find a circular track shown on the first edition Tidbinbilla map.  A little scrub bashing to find nothing.  Back to the car at 12.50pm.

Distance: 2.3km  Climb: 100m.  Time: 12.05pm - 12.50pm (0.75 hours).

Snow Gum Hill

4km north back along Mt Franklin Road we reached the turnoff to the Snow Gum arboretum.  Our hills were getting relatively lower and the climbs shorter.  We walked the 150m in to the arboretum - a sad and burnt out place.  Back a little and turned up the hill, soon coming out on an old, cleared fire trail.  At the top at 1.15pm, a grassed, open, lightly timbered area.  Back down the cleared track to lunch in the shade.  Marvellous that, each time we drove north, the black sky cleared a little further back.

Distance: 1.0km  Climb: 50m.  Time: 1.00pm - 1.25pm (call it 0.5 hours).

Bendoura Hill

Our final parking spot was at the junction of the Bendoura Road and Moonlight Hollow Road, just off the Mt Franklin Road.  You'd think I'd have twigged by now that there is an old fire trail along the spine of the Brindabellas, but no.  So I led off along the Bendoura Road to the first gully, then up the side through a bracken area.  We soon came out onto the cleared fire trail!  A while later an owl flew off from near our heads and I'd realised that I'd forgotten to bring my camera on this bagging.  But Max was prepared to guarantee that we reached the top, where there was an angled border run of stones and a 'trig' marker someone had made of twigs and marker tape.  Back down the cleared trail to the car.  Max supplied the homing devices - mine was labelled "Mountain Goat Hightail Ale: Bottled but Not Tamed"!  We need to upgrade our emergency kits - neither of us had a bottle opener.

Distance: 2.8km  Climb: 200m.  Time: 1.45pm - 2.40pm (call it 1 hour).

Not a bad day.  Mt Ginini and Little Ginini Mountain had great subalpine areas; Mt Franklin excellent history signage and E views; Mt Aggie interesting geology and W views.

1 John bags Mt Ginini after stepping from the car
2 Looking E from lookout near top of Mt Franklin with magical walking stick
3 View W from Mt Aggie