29 April 2008 Nursery Swamp Aboriginal Art and Thunder Bluff; Orroral Heritage Sites Photos
Map: Rendezvous Creek 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by me as a CBC Tuesday walk:

Tuesday 29 April - Nursery Swamp Aboriginal Art and Thunder Bluff - M/M,X. Nursery Swamp Walking Trail, taped footpad towards saddle, to aboriginal art site. Then NW up spur to SH1424 and on to Thunder Bluff. Return via down to Rendezvous Creek, downstream to taped footpad up and down to car at Nursery Swamp car park.. Around 13km and 500m total climb. Moderate fitness required. Route not fully known to leader. Possible delays and diversions from the intended route. Map: Rendezvous Creek. Limit of 8. Leader: John Evans – jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Please contact me if you would like to co-lead. Transport: ~$10. Further details at http://jevans.pcug.org.au.

Just 4 lads wandered along today.

Further Information

An alternative return leg, if time and inclination allow, could be E from Thunder Bluff and through SH1447 to rejoin the NS walking trail. Scattered showers falling as snow to 1100 metres the previous day and a forecast of 'Fine, morning frost. City: Min -1 Max 15' for Canberra. So it will be a cool and possibly slushy/snowy/icy day. We should all stay in bed.

Civil twilight: 0613-1749.

Route Card

Route Card - Aboriginal Art near Rendezvous Creek Saddle and Thunder Bluff
Leg Description Distance (km) Expected Going/Comment Est time (hr:min) Actual time (hr:min) Actual Distance/Going/Comment
1 Nursery Swamp car park to aboriginal art 3.6 Benched walking track, footpad through light scrub 1:00 (prev) 1:10 3.1km. I lost the footpad a few times
2 Aboriginal art to Thunder Bluff 2.2 Scrub and granite 1:30 (est) 1:25 2.4km. A little granite, pea regrowth, a bit damp and slippery, tiny bits of snow
Morning tea 0:15 0:20 Magnificent views to Mavis Ridge
3 Thunder Bluff to Rendezvous Creek 1.1 Steep down through scrub and granite 1:00 (prev) 1:00 1.0km. Steep descent, slippery, patches of heavy regrowth and fallen saplings
4 Rendezvous Creek to taped footpad 1.3 Open forest beside creek 0:35 (prev) 0:35 1.2km. Excellent scrambling through massive boulders in RV Ck, returned along W bank
Lunch 0:30 0:30
5 Taped footpad to Nursery Swamp car park 4.5 Taped footpad and benched walking track 1:20 (prev) 1:25 4.7km. I lost the footpad 5 times in 500m coming up from RV Ck, so Phillip took over. Detour via art site to collect my lost glasses






6 NS car park to 1830s Pioneer Settlement 0:50 2.8km. Open grasslands. Found W-G OR3 by excellent use of the clues. The signage on the OV Heritage Trail spoilt all our sleuthing! Found W-G OR8 Orroral Track
7 Orroral Picnic Area 0:15 0.4km. Found Tank stand site W-G NA28 1-3; Amenities block W-G NA28 2-3; Concrete weir and flowmeter W-G NA28 3-3


A corker of a day and the beanie, gloves and long johns were not needed. Followed the Nursery Swamp Walking Trail (which is, in fact, the beginning of W-G OR22 Bridle track to Rendezvous Creek) then the footpad which leads to the rock painting site. Huge blocks of granite (see pic 1). Lost my glasses.

The next leg was eXploratory for me, but simply onto the ridge and up through SH1424 to Thunder Bluff (near SH1434). Relatively easy going, though the regrowth was a little wet from the rain, the going a little slippery from the frost and some small amounts of snow and the wattle and pea regrowth thick in places. Henry said the regrowth has boomed since his last visit to this area. Not much granite on our route till the objective, but plenty to the NE (the knoll then Mt Orroral) and absolutely huge views to the SW over Rendezvous Creek to the Mavis Ridge. Micro views of interest (see pic 2).

Thunder Bluff was wonderful. A blue-sky, breathless day so we could get right to the edge. Gi-normous views to the Mavis Ridge (see pic 3), with snow covering Bimberi Peak in the background. Pretty impressive behind us, too. We really should have been on Mt Mavis today - I hope my scheduled walk on 10 June is not too late. Lost a camera lens cap.

One member of the party, in particular, complained about the descent. Cold, wet, slippery, steep, regrowth, patches of pick-up-sticks fallen saplings. A little to the SE of our previous descent. But I think it was mainly a product of the tremendous rate of regrowth. Anyway, I enjoyed it and thought the descent was nearly the highlight of the walk.

We hit Rendezvous Creek at some massive boulders, so spent some time and maybe 100 metres jumping over and crawling through them. I froze at one point (I don't like heights, blood or water) with Max beckoning me on to him over a seemingly impassable crevice. Philip showed me how and I prayed and jumped.

Lunch at the fireplace on the W bank of the creek, then away up the footpad (don't seem to be as many tapes as last time) to the saddle. This is the other end of W-G OR22 Bridle track to Rendezvous Creek. A detour back to pick up my glasses. Back to the car.

With 1978 clues in hand we set off in search of 3 hut sites from the 1830s and a line of 13 stones. Our clues included a lousy 6 figure grid reference, a 30 year old picture and a sketch map with some measured distances. But the lads were great, searching the Orroral River banks, identifying distant hills in the picture and finding the site as we approached from where the car was parked. The stones were there and maybe some vestigial cobbling stones from the huts. The only thing to spoil it was the nearby signage on the Orroral Heritage Trail!!

Ticking off more lists, I don't think the lads were terribly impressed by my visit to the Orroral Picnic Area (driven past heaps of times, but this was my first visit) to find some more contemporary sites. I was going to search the Orroral Camp Ground area for more, but thought discretion was the better part of ..., so offered a beer at the Tharwa Store instead.

During the day we spent some time discussing the suitability of this walk for others who have not walked with us on Tuesdays. As it turned out, the weather and general conditions were not as dire as they could have been. However, the descent from Thunder Bluff to Rendezvous Creek and the Rendezvous Creek boulders could be regarded as a little hard and the consensus was that this would not have been a suitable walk for first timers on Tuesdays.

Thanks Henry, Max and Philip for a fine day.

Distance: 15.6km  Climb: 650m.  Time: 8.00am - 3.45pm (7.75hrs), with 1hr of stops and driving.
Grading: L/M-R,X; M(11)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Nursery Swamp Aboriginal Art and Thunder Bluff; Orroral Heritage Sites

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Granite wave on the side of Nursery Swamp Aboriginal Rock Art site
2 Iced fungus on the ridge to Thunder Bluff
3 Mt Herlt and Mt Mavis over Rendezvous Creek from Thunder Bluff