21 October 2006 Bendora Dam Photos
Map: Tidbinbilla 8627-2S 1:25000
Getting There
This walk was organised and led by me:
(Why - just 'cos.  And I've never been there.  All on fire trails.  Via Bendoura Arboretum, down the Bendoura Break to the Cotter.  Cross to the E side and visually recce the way to The Pimple.  Cross back to the W side of the Cotter River, then up the track on Rock Flat Spur to Wombat Road.  N along Wombat Road back to the arboretum and out to the car on the Mt Franklin Road.).

It would be good to have some company, but I'm quite comfortable doing this one by myself.  I'll leave town at 6.00am to escape the heat.  Mt Franklin Road will need to be open - reasonable temperature forecast, so will only be total fire ban if the wind gets up.  Checked with Cotter rangers that Bendora Break goes all the way to the Cotter (does on 1st edn maps, not on 2nd edn) and that the track up Rock Flat Spur is there (same deal with 1st and 2nd edn maps).  Yes to both - Bendora Break used in 2003 fires and we saw the track up Rock Flat Spur from Tidbinbilla Mountain recently.

Alan and I left town at 6am and drove via Piccadilly Circus along the Mt Franklin Rd to just past Bushranger Hill, where the tracks to Bendoura Arboretum and the S end of Moonlight Hollow Rd take off.


Set of at 6.50am and reached the arboretum in 20mins.  Farted around looking for the start of the Bendoura Break as, because of the above advice, I'd just assumed it would be a relatively large trail.  Not so and, after a false lead N along the E boundary of the pine trees, we came back and found a lovely bush track going the way we wanted to go.  Down the Bendoura Break to the intersection of it with Warks Rd and Wombat Rd, reaching this point at 7.50am (3.9km from the car to here).  Excellent bush - some low level fire damage recovering, but the crowns had not caught fire.  It was cool and cloudy, forecast 17°C for Canberra, so a few degrees milder in the breeze up in the Brindabellas.

It was from this point that Bendoura Break became a highway - obviously machinery and tankers came in along Warks Rd.  Although we'd dropped 290m from the start, my walking companion began mouthing off about, on average, flat walks, assuring me that our finish point would be at the same level as the start point, hence no net climb.  As they say, statistics never lie.  By around 8.15am the view I'd come for began to open up.  Fabulous, wild views across the Cotter River to the spurs leading up to Camels Hump, The Pimple (see pic 1) and Tidbinbilla Mountain.  Lovely cream eucalypt blossom.  Intersected the Bendora Road at 8.20am (5.8km and 1.5hr to here).

Turned left into Bendora Rd, crossed the bridge over Bendora Creek and headed down to the ford over the Cotter River.  I whimped out from removing boots and crossing, as the view up to the Tidbinbillas had closed off.  So back up Bendora Rd, high above the Cotter River, to the base of Flat Rock Spur.  The ascent looked frightening, so we decided to delay it for a while by pushing on to Bendora Dam.  Views down to the Cotter River, including a set of cascades.  Reached the old picnic area with new signage (toilets closed and the nearest are 14km away at Bulls Head!), a newly built Ranger's house (I guess) and trundled the remaining 400m to the dam wall (10.3km and 2.5hrs to here).  Cool down by the water, so we came back to a lovely grassy area where 'roos obviously lie and took morning tea for 10 minutes.  The dam's pretty full and releasing a bit of water.  Grand views to the cliffs on the W side of Tidbinbilla Mountain (see pic 2).

Not wanting to retrace our steps fully and lose height, we returned to near the picnic area, then headed bush, W up a side spur looking for the top of Flat Rock Spur and the fire trail.  Found a burnt down power cable on the ground which we followed to burnt and black power poles on the fire trail, a climb of 270m in 0.8km, so a little steep.  Views through the trees down to Bendora Dam.

Turning left onto the pleasant fire trail, we headed generally SW for 2.4km to intersect with Wombat Road.  Plenty of wildflowers - well, flowering bushes.

Turned right into Wombat Road and headed N.  The trail crossed Collins Creek and Little Collins Creek, very pleasant rain forest gullies (see pic 3).  Propped at an unnamed gully with running water for lunch (16.8km and 5hrs to here).

We continued along Wombat Road, looking for an unnamed link track which would take us to the arboretum.  I'd forgot to ask the Cotter Ranger if this trail still existed (marked on 1st edn map, but not 2nd edn).  I had a GPS waypoint for the turnoff and reality appeared a couple of hundred metres before it was due.  Back through the various different conifers, past Bendoura Hut again and back to the car.

This was a pretty good little walk, no doubt the cool weather and (supposed) spring season contributing to the enjoyment.  The fire trails were mostly pleasant bush tracks, the scenery E of the Cotter River spectacular and the flowers and fern gullies very attractive.  I think I'll put this on the CBC program next autumn - worth the distance for the features.

Reasonable to visually recce the spur to The Pimple and Tidbinbilla Moutain - I think it would be a bit of a shock to see it on the day of doing it!  Thanks for your company, Alan.

Distance: 20.9km  Climb: 900m.  Time: 6.50am-1.10pm (call it 6.25hrs), with 40mins of stops.

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 The Pimple from Bendoura Break near Bendora Creek
2 120m cliffs W of Tidbinbilla Mountain from Bendora Dam
3 Tree ferns in Little Collins Creek from Wombat Rd