10 October 2006 Tidbinbilla skyline Photos
Map: Tidbinbilla 8627-2S 1:25000
Getting There
This walk was organised and led by me:
(Tuesday 10 October: Tidbinbilla skyline – Mt Domain to Tidbinbilla Mountain and return via Snowy Corner.  L/R. Early entry to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve can be arranged and we can be walking to Fishing Gap by 7.45am.  There was a fair bit of regrowth going up Mt Domain last year.  A lovely ridge-line walk with grand views to the east and west as we head north through Snowy Corner to Tidbinbilla Mountain.  Returning to the south, we’ll exit down the knife-edged spur to the trails car park.  A short car shuffle required.  11.7km and 850m total climb.  Limit of 8. Map: Tidbinbilla 1:25000. Leader: John Evans – jevans@pcug.org.au; contact me by 6pm the previous Sunday to discuss options. Transport: ~$10. Further details at www.pcug.org.au/~jevans).

7.30am access has been arranged.  Rangers warn of regrowth and estimate an 8-10 hour walk.  Drive to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and around to Fishing Gap car park.


Only Max and I walked, so we decided to only take one car.  The penalty would be an extra 4km.

All arrangements AOK and, when we arrived at 7.30am, the gate was open and we drove to Fishing Gap car park.  Walking by 7.45am, having signed in on the walk register as requested.  A pleasant plod up the fire trail to Fishing Gap (3.5km in 50mins).  A beautiful day, 23°C forecast for Canberra.

Gaiters on, right turn and up the spur through SH1402 to Mt Domain (2.1km in 1hr 20mins, just shy of 400m climb).  Certainly a lot more regrowth since last time and a lot rockier than my feeble mind remembered.  Just to prove that I do stop when I walk, we enjoyed 25mins of morning tea on the N point of Mt Domain.  Grand views all round, particularly W to Ginini Falls on the Brindabellas and N along the skyline.

Away at 10.15am down the sharp N face and along the razor ridge line with the occasional knoll (see pic 1), with views W and E.  Plenty of over head-height scrub in the dips.  A climb up to SH1431, through Snowy Corner and more regrowth with sharp scree under, then the final pull up to Tidbinbilla Mountain.  I took a tumble somewhere on this leg, a stick between my legs sending me crashing onto the sharp rocks.  Still, I wasn't alone.  The top appears quickly in the end, with plenty of low, burnt out scrubby and unyielding sticks to poke and pierce scratched knees and shins.  At the cairn for lunch at 12.20pm (3.6km in 2hr 30mins, with 200m down and 300m up).  Another generous break of 50mins to admire the 360° view (see pics 2 and 3).

Left at 1.10pm and pushed back down to the Snowy Corner area.  Here, the first spur looked nice and gentle (we paid for it later) and I ignored the GPS waypoint I had for a better spur.  The descent was gentle at first, but the contour lines soon crowded.  It was 5-all in the 'on the backside' contest and, where the drop was most severe and the scree the loosest, we were able to 'scree surf' for a few metres at a time.  We ended up close to Mountain Creek, the dusty, weedy vegetation causing us to cough and splutter.  It was pretty thick and over head-high in places.  A couple of amazing tree ferns as we got lower (must have been beautiful pre-2003).  Across a gurgling creek, a check on the GPS and, more by luck than good navigation, eventually hit the Lyrebird trail (which is slowly being rehabilitated, but one doesn't see the 'keep out' sign until it joins the Camel Back fire trail).  Down to the Trails car park (2.6km in 2hrs; 450m drop).  No car there, of course.

So a wander down the road, right onto Ashbrook fire trail and a 4.2km slog back to the car in a little under 1hr.  Back at 4.10pm.  My best Raichle boots are having a holiday at Mountain Designs HQ in Queensland (and, hopefully, will enjoy warranty maintenance) so feet were not too happy.  And, yes, within 8 days, MD assessed the boots and organised replacement due to 'onion peeling' of the sole.  Most impressive and they continue to win my support.

Called in at the Visitors Centre to say thank you for the early access arrangement and advice given.

A top walk with great views along the skyline.  Plenty of regrowth and, thanks to shocking navigation, a dusty, scrubby finish in Mountain Creek (but maybe could not be avoided).

Distance: 16.1km  Climb: 1000m.  Time: 7.45am-4.10pm (call it 8.5hrs), with 75mins of stops.

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Tidbinbilla skyline N of Mt Domain
2 Tidbinbilla Mountain cairn with Pierces Trig, Camels Hump and Tidbinbilla Peak at the back
3 View SW from Tidbinbilla Mountain to Corin Dam and Bimberi Peak at back