11 August 2007 Hardy Range, Pierces Creek Falls and Pipeline Road Photos
Map: Cotter Dam 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by me as a private walk:

The original plan for this private, ad-hoc (ie. I was let out) walk was to park at the Pipeline Road gate and wander the Pipeline Road to its junction with Burkes Creek Road, then down across Bullock Head Flats to the Cotter River. Return was to be via the Hardy Range tops.

A legend who said he'd come suggested we visit the Pierces Creek Falls, so the walk was modified to go in via the Hardy Range, drop down to the Falls, then come up and down to Burkes Creek Road and so back to the car.

3 of us drove to the Laurel Camp Road intersection on the Paddys River Road, only to find the fire trail chained closed for a motor rally over the weekend. That added an extra 8km to our trip to walk into the Pipeline Road gate.


My companions were happy to walk in, so away we went with the wind roaring like an express train. Good conversation and lack of navigation took us via fire trail across the S of Sugarloaf Hill but, with the Pipeline Road saddle and gate disappearing, a correction across country and creek lines and through blackberries was required. Not very impressive. Arrived at our intended starting point at 8.25am (3.9km and 55mins to here).

The navigator continued to fail, not having checked the first edition map. Thankfully the legend said that one of the six trails heading off from the gate (obviously the one not marked on the second edition map) was heading in the direction we needed to go. It took us quickly up onto the Hardy Range, to the W of Hardy Hill, but at 964m, not worthy of a bag. Making up time was more important. Following the ridgeline, the track took us through SH975 and eventually ended its clearly recognisable form at GR71758423 (MGA94) (this leg from the gate to here 2.4km in 40mins).

We pushed on along the ridge, soon regaining the overgrown but still benched track in places, which eventually petered out to a few very old tapes. The going varied from the sublime to the ridiculous - in places little rocky knolls with fine views then a plunge into very thick regrowth. One member of the party just could not be satisfied - give him a view, then down into shelter from the wind (still roaring away), but he still complained. By GR71158312 (MGA94) the arc of the cliff face on Pierces Creek came into view (1.4km and 40mins for this leg).

A poor decision by me here. I had originally planned a track to the top of the falls, but the view to the cliff looked inviting for us to hit the bottom of the falls. So I set a visual to that. Better would have been to stop and consult the map and continue along the ridge top to nearer to the falls then drop down, but hindsight is 20/20. Still, lesson learned. I sadly led my companions on a wild sidle across three drainage lines, through regrowth and down unstable scree and blackberries. The only redeeming feature was to get virtually within arms length of some immature Gang Gangs (see pic 1). But the falls came into view and all (hopefully) was forgiven. Quite impressive - thanks for the suggestion, Mike. We arrived at 10.30am, the leg from my bad decision taking 50mins for 800m.

We propped for 30mins by the falls (see pic 2). An impressive fall with a reasonable flow. A lovely arc of rocky cliffs, 25r (25m relative drop) on the map. We noted a 14r drop to the ENE on a feeder to Pierces Creek, which would be an easy half day wander down from the Tidbinbilla Range Road SW of Black Spring Mountain.

Away to the N of the cliff containing the falls, a quick pant to the top, then via spur to near SH1059 and down a spur (not the planned one) to the W to Burkes Creek Road (this leg 2.2km in 1hr 20mins). Coming down from the tops we stopped to put on shells to keep the rain away. It was certainly dark to the W and S. Hit the road at a 5-way intersection, which wasn't really fair as there was nothing like it on the map.

Decided to follow the pipeline service track, which took a steep climb to the E of SH759 and so (to, I think, the glee of my companions) bypassed the opportunity to cross Bullock Head Flats to the Cotter. I had to remind them that this walk did originate as a Cotter River bagging expedition. Still, I gained my revenge when they reminded me that a stop for lunch was required - we pushed on N along the Pipeline Road then down a track I'd used previously ... to the Cotter. A nice little spot for lunch at a ford (this leg 3.8km in 1hr 10mins). 30 mins for lunch.

The Pipeline Road wiggled us back over several substantial, new culverts where the drainage lines it crosses must pour like torrents when it rains. A view down to the Cotter River (see pic 3) to prove that I was, indeed, bagging it. The road was hard on one's feet. Back to the gate at 3pm (this leg 4.4km in 1hr).

The sky was still dark and threatening behind, but we were walking into a rainbow as we headed from the gate down Pipeline Road, E to ford Pierces Creek (Max reckoned we'd just beaten the flow of water over the falls to this point) and so to meet Laurel Camp Road, then finally NE back to the car (this leg 4km in 45mins).

Thanks, Max and Mike, for your company and suggestions which turned a bit of a ho-hum wander into a significant site visit. Sorry about my navigational embarrassments and the extra km.

Distance: 22.9km  Climb: 950m.  Time: 7.30am - 3.45pm (8.25hrs) with 1hr of breaks.
Grading: L/R,X; H(14)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Hardy Range, Pierces Creek Falls and Pipeline Road

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Gang Gang
2 Pierces Creek Falls
3 Cotter River from Pipeline Road