20 May 2008 Oakey Creek and Pierce Trig; Laurel Camp Ruin and Unnamed Hut Site Photos
Maps: Cotter Dam and Tidbinbilla 1:25000
Getting There

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

Oakey Creek - M/E-M,X. A drive and walk to a Site of Significance in the ACT. A combination of on and off track. Around 10km and 350m total climb. Maps: Cotter Dam and Tidbinbilla. 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.

One walker took the bait. True to my recent starting navigation, we drove to Paddys River Road via Uriarra Crossing - then back to Cotter and along the correct road. Turned down Laurel Camp Road, onto Oakey Creek Road, squeezed past a water tanker filling from Oakey Creek, then to a convenient corner at Tidbinbilla 1:25000 GR7449081787 (GDA94).

Further Information

Propose 7am - 1.30pm. SoS PT4. 9.2km. Drive to near the NE end of Oakey Creek Road. Follow fire trails up the creek, then into the scrub and up to around the 1000m contour below Pierce Hill. If time and energy allow, ascend to Pierce Trig. Photo of Laurel Camp in its glory here. Marked on 1st edn Cotter Dam 1:25000 at GR7483786165 (ADG66). Another hut marked nearby at GR7559386189 (ADG66).


After the rather circuitous route to arrive in Pierces Creek Forest, we didn't start walking till 7.45am. Followed a fire trail generally SW to the point where Oakey Creek emerges from the timbered area (1.1km in 13mins).

Quite taken by the open suitcase at the intersection, we half expected to find someone camping as we followed a little footpad into the trees. The footpad soon disappeared and we were in the thick of bracken, blackberries and poison ivy - my arms and legs are still tingling 6 hours later. We crossed and recrossed the drainage line, looking for the best route. At one stage we spied two tree-ferns, so thought we must be approaching the area - sadly, they were it and we didn't photograph them. By 8.45am we'd reached my planned extent of the walk (this leg 0.8km and 160m climb in 48mins, around 1km/hr).

The creek was dry, so we knew we'd see no more ferns, so decided to go up to Pierce Trig for the view. Easy walking through open scrub up a spur between two gullies, but a little steep. I used my cold as an excuse to stop several times. Our route took us a little to the S of the cliff-let below Pierce Trig and we hit the fence line and wandered up to the top on the E side of the fence (this leg 0.84km in 1hr 15mins - avg 0.66km/hr - but there was the excuse that we climbed 370m up in that 840m!).

Nice views from Pierce Trig, as usual, including down into the Oakey Creek valley we'd climbed up from (see pic 1). Fog still blanketed Canberra. 15mins for morning tea.

With afternoon commitments in Canberra, we returned via the Spur 3 fire trail. A wedge-tailed eagle rose from a bundle of pine logs down near the car. Back at 11am (this leg 3.2km in 40mins - Karen runs down hill).

On the way out we called at the burnt out Laurel Camp site (see pic 2) and another hut site (see pic 3) marked on the 1st edn map. Back home in time to recoup most of the brownie points spent.

Thanks Karen for your company and encouragement. I don't think I'd have got up and gone by myself.

Distance: 6.1km  Climb: 600m.  Time: 7.45 - 11.00am (3.25hrs), with 15mins for morning tea and plenty of breathing stops for me going up to Pierce Trig.
Grading: M/E-R; M(10)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Oakey Creek and Pierce Trig

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Oakey Creek under Spur 3 from Pierce Trig
2 Laurel Camp ruin
3 Unnamed hut site