7 Nov 2006 De Salis knobs – Eighty Acres to Cotter Gap from Orroral Photos
Maps: Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S 1:25000; Corin Dam 8626-1N 1:25000
Getting There
This walk was organised and led by me as an irregular CBC Tuesday walk and birthday prezzo:
(Tuesday 7 November: De Salis knobs – Eighty Acres to Cotter Gap from Orroral.  L/M-R. I’ve heard of the hills south of Eighty Acres on the Cotter Hut Road and north of Cotter Gap referred to as De Salis knobs.  Let’s stroll up the Orroral Valley in the early morning, then along the Cotter Hut Road to Eighty Acres (10.4km).  Then south over a knob or two to Cotter Gap (4.0km) and home via the Australian Alpine Walking Track (8.7km).  23.1km and 700m total climb.  Limit of 8. Maps: Rendezvous Creek, Corin Dam 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).

A bit lengthy, but all but 4km on fire trail or walking track.  The 4km over de Salis knobs involves a climb of about 300m.

For the second CBC Tuesday walk, 3 of us met at 6.30am and Max kindly drove us through Tharwa to the Orroral Valley tracking station car park.


Away by 7.30am.  The ridges on both sides of the Orroral Valley were shrouded in cloud.  An overcast and cool day, forecast 18°C and possible showers in Canberra.  As usual, plenty of 'roos up the valley as we followed the grassy track.  Crossed the boardwalk over James Creek, through Fishloch Yards and on up the valley to the bridge over Sawpit Creek (7km in 1hr 35mins).  10mins for morning tea.

The next leg took us up Smokers Trail to the Cotter Hut Road and a swift jaunt (especially with trail-walking Shirley) of 3.9km with 290m rise in 50mins ... past the nominated turnoff point.  Exactly the same as Dutchies Peak - I think the problem is I have Eighty Acres fixed in my mind and the turnoffs are well before the open Acres (that's my excuse, anyway).

We turned SE into the gently sloping and open bushland and it didn't take too long for me to get thoroughly disorientated.  With help I got sorted and we continued on through the open, but wet scrub.  Plenty of shoulder high showers from the night's precipitation held in the foliage.  Headed towards SH1473 but we cut the corner as soon as we reached the flat-ish ridge top (this leg 1.5km with 260m climb in 1hr 10mins).  A few patches of nice wild flowers.

Turning SW, we pressed on through the wet bush along the ridge, down into a bit of a saddle, then up to the first of what I've heard others refer to as De Salis knobs.  Again, a relatively gentle approach and it was not until we got towards the top that we began to run into granite.  The very top had an excellent granite cap with shelves and towers and tunnels (see pic 3).  We reached it at midday and called it lunch (this leg 1.2km with 160m climb in 55mins).

Excellent views and Max reckons it's worth a club walk.  To the SE we looked across to Split Rock (see pic 1) and S further into the peaks of the Bimberi Wilderness.  We could identify Mts Namadgi, Burbidge, Kelly and the Kelly Spur.  Closer in was Coronet Peak.  Sweeping N through the W, the tops of the Brindabellas had their heads in the clouds.  Moving around the rock terrace to the N, views to Mt McKeahnie and Dutchies Peak (see pic 2) (Max reckons he spotted a better approach than last time, so looks like we'll day walk to Mt McKeahnie from the Cotter Hut Road sometime).  Closer at hand was the Cotter Hut Road and the cleared Eighty Acres.  To the NE was our approach route and, back close to the W, the next knob.  I really had no particular expectations for this walk, apart from walking the area between Cotter Hut Road and the AAWT - this view with its gentle approach was a real bonus.  Lunch for 30mins.

Away at 12.30pm to enjoy a little variety in the weather.  The cool and overcast day had offered us a few brief patched of sun, but now delivered a short hail storm.  Headed in a vaguely SE direction towards Split Rock and hit the AAWT at 1.25pm (this leg 1.3km, 230m drop in 1hr 25mins).  Pretty easy and open scrub walking, although the wet granite and slippery bark underfoot gave us opportunity to remain graceful and dignified as we occasionally fell on our rears.  A black snake.

The usual 8.9km along the AAWT/Cotter Hut Road/Orroral Valley grasslands back to the car, dropping a further 530m.  Continued to enjoy thundery showers and another lot of hail.  2hr 5mins for this leg.

Quite excellent views from the high point of a walk I just had to do.  13.6km in and 10.2km out.

Thanks Max.  Thanks Shirley - hope you join us next time and maybe consider joining the club.  The new Tharwa store verandah tradition is not quite the same when its cool and one is a mite damp.

Distance: 23.8km  Climb: 800m.  Time: 7.30am-3.30pm (8hrs), with 40mins of breaks.

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Split Rock from De Salis knob
2 Mt McKeahnie and Dutchies Peak from De Salis knob
3 The top of De Salis knob