15 May 2007 Cotter River below Corin Dam Photos
Maps: Corin Dam 8626-1N 1:25000; Tidbinbilla 8627-2S 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by Max S as a private Tuesday walk:

(Tuesday's wander is exploratory with the aim of following Cotter River below Corin Dam for as far as we can scramble reasonably or see fit to do so according to terrain. Hence the walk could be short on the day. If practical, we will walk down the river about 3-4 km (reaching Black Springs - 5-6 km is probably not practical) then up a ridge to join Stockyard Spur  and return down the normal track to carpark.  About 12-14 km, 600 m climb.  The climb out of the Cotter River could be rough. While the Cotter River is only a relative trickle expect wet feet - volleys? Leave Kambah carpark at 7.30 am - travel about 90 km - $9.00 Normal Club rules apply - if less than 4 persons this will not be a sanctioned FBI walk.).

The terrible two were the only starters, so Max drove us to Corin Dam.


Walking by 8.25am down past the toilet block (handy, so as not to pollute Canberra's drinking water) along the made track to the barbeques and river's edge. Cool in the shade. Max wanted to cross the river immediately and head for the wider contours on the E bank, but not possible. So we headed nearly W around the first bend, then N down the W bank. After around 1km we decided to cut off a major loop through thickly vegetated terrain by continuing in a N direction up and over a spur. Steep and wet as the morning sun had not yet reached the S face of the spur. But great views back to the Corin Dam wall. We could make out McKeahnie Trig.

Our N-erly course ran us down a spur into a loop in the river and we spent a little time looking for a suitable crossing point. I wimped a bit, commenting on the $s of gizmos in my pack which could be ruined if I fell, but really not wanting to get my feet wet. Max found a nice spot where I could see the bottom all the way across and we changed boots for runners. I took a Moses staff (but it didn't part the waters) for support as we waded knee deep through rapidly running water. 10am saw us across, we scaled a few contours and enjoyed morning tea 10.15-10.30am at GR667680 (GDA94) Corin Dam 8626-1N 1:25000.

We kept high above the river as we continued NW then N on the E bank. A variety of going during the day - open forest, a little scree, head-high regrowth - and plenty of one-leg-shorter-than-the-other contouring.

At around the top edge of the Corin Dam map I got excited as views opened up to Mt Domain and spurs to its S (the area we'll tread on the Fishing Gap to Black Springs wander coming up) and an absolutely stupendous view down to some horseshoe bends in the Cotter River (see pic 1).

12.30pm saw us across the river a second time (see pic 2), the technique I used here was to offer a 2.5m high pole for Max to test the depth with. But, again, I was able to wimp my way across. Now on the W bank of the river, we skipped 90m up a spur which headed further up and W to Stockyard Spur. Max had set 1pm as the about turn time. However, knowing my interest in Black Springs and with the vegetation opening up, Max demonstrated his fine friendship (and, no doubt, incurred family wrath for getting home late) by tootling us down a spur at the bottom of which my GPS said 'Black Springs'. Well, by 1pm we got to within 75m of the waypoint and were on the wrong side of the river, but that was pretty good. (BTW, what is at Black Springs?)

Quite an exhausting climb back up, curving away to the W then SW then S as we headed up Stockyard Spur. Views across to the other side (see pic 3). Some nice patches of regrowth. We gained SH1272 and a possible hint of a track at 2.45pm and rewarded ourselves with 15 minutes of lunch.

Pushed up another 3.4km S to the plastic bag tied to a tree, marking the well-worn footpad which descends to Corin Dam, arriving at 4.40pm.

The Cotter River is, indeed, as others have described it, a rugged river. Most grateful to my leader for turning what could have been a relatively short walk into a substantial wander and giving me a visual recce for an upcoming walk.

Distance: 14.5km  Climb: 1000m.  Time: 8.25am - 4.40pm (8.25hrs), with 30mins of breaks.
Grading: L/R,W,X: H(14)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Cotter River below Corin Dam

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Wild horseshoe bends in the Cotter River
2 Second Cotter River Crossing
3 Looking E to Fishing Gap from Stockyard Spur