3 February 2009 Gibraltar Creek and Falls Photos, More pictures
Map: Tidbinbilla 1:25000
Getting There

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

Tuesday 3 February - Gibraltar Creek and Falls - M/R,WX. Starting from Corin Dam Road near where Billy Billy Creek joins in, the Tuesday treaders will follow Gibraltar Creek down its course over Gibraltar Falls, past Woods Reserve and down to opposite Mushroom Rock. To fill in the day, we'll then visit Mushroom Rock and Gibraltar Peak. Around 7km + 5km and 400m drop + 300m climb. Map: Tidbinbilla 1:25000. Car shuffle required. Limit of 8. Leader: John Evans – jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$5. Further details at http://jevans.pcug.org.au.

A hot day threatening afternoon thunderstorms in Canberra, so 4 of us met at 7.30am and drove in 2 cars via Point Hut Crossing, Tidbinbilla Road and Corin Dam Road. We left a car at the end of the walk, beside Corin Dam Road, opposite Mushroom Rock. We drove on up the road to above Gibraltar Falls, parking at the first fire trail on the left at GR745705(GDA94).

Walk track

We followed the fire trail we'd parked on and it obligingly continued on, curving in the direction we needed. It petered out to a footpad, but still wide and benched and high above Gibraltar Creek - obviously the old road alignment. Although easy walking, I was imagining that my companions were thinking that I'd short-changed them, especially when the Corin Dam Road signs appeared a few metres above us and even more so when the track ended on the green grass of Gibraltar Falls picnic area. I hadn't planned to cover the first 1.4km in 20mins. The area has been spruced up very nicely since my last visit after the fires on 12 Apr 04. Signage includes:

Gibraltar Falls is one of the largest and most accessible waterfall in the ACT. It descends a vertical distance of 50 metres and a granite-walled gorge that extends for 800 metres through to Woods Reserve. The Gibraltar pine plantation flanks this narrow gorge from the ridge of Smokers Flat at 1320m above sea - well above the snowline - to the valley floor below Gibraltar Falls at 720m above sea level. Plants and animals. ... Local heritage. The area offers a great variety of aspect, height, drainage and food resource combinations, which made it an ideal location for Aboriginals. There are several historic sites in the Gibraltar Valley, including a rock shelter, axe grinding grooves, artefact scatters and dingo fence. The Woods family were the first to settle the area and arrived in the late 19th century to take up residence on the property 'Gibraltar Creek'. Until the Corin Road was built through to Corin Dam, the area was very difficult to access and about the only people passing through were traveling stockmen.

We followed the track down to the lookout over the falls - some water cascading over. At the corner of the fenced lookout we headed steeply down and back round and up to the base of the falls. We nearly got up under the lookout (you can see the fencing in pic 1). Lovely and cool, nice views (see pic 2, here). As described in the signage at the picnic area, a steep-sided gorge ran downstream from the falls (see here). 400m this leg, in 25mins, going carefully, first down to the creek then climbing to the base of the falls.

We rock-hopped down the creek, at this stage keeping our feet dry. Plenty of water dragons, one fellow would have been 2/3 of a metre long. Mainly in the creek, occasionally beside it. 600m downstream in 35mins we joined a well-worn footpad on the left bank of the creek. This quickly took us a further 250m in 6mins to Woods Reserve. A picnic table in the shade invited us to stop for morning tea. Not sure how far upstream the footpad goes - would make a nice little Sunday arvo ramble for beginners.

From Woods Reserve we went back to Gibraltar Creek and continued downstream. Somewhere along the 3.8km leg in 2hrs30mins I slipped in so decided to continue wet-footed in volleys. Another volley-ed member (who didn't slip in) also enjoyed the water and the booted boys continued rock-hopping.

Fairly sure of a significant site at one stage - additional material available via password. Some nice rock shelves (see pic 3) which would be lovely cascades with more water at around GR771723(GDA94).

Gibraltar Creek gradually diminished in significance and style as we travelled downstream, with sandy patches, fewer little drops in height and seemingly less volume of water flowing. In just two places the snippers had to come out to cut back the blackberries. They did taste nice. Although a short walk, we were all focussed and it does take more energy to rock-hop/drag through the water, so lunch in the shade in the creek at around 12.30pm seemed like a good idea.

With the day heating up, even the option of just Mushroom Rock was left for another day. A short 270m in 10mins took us to the road and car. A shuffle and we were homeward bound.

I think we all agreed that there was more to this little walk than we might have imagined. It offered some good scenery and agreeable mid-summer activity. Parts of it would be suitable for Parkway ramblers, such as (1) track from start point to Gibraltar Falls car park and views from platform; (2) follow track upstream from Woods Reserve; (3) creek walk 1.4 - 2km up from finish to easily accessed fire trails.

Thanks Alan, Henry and Madeleine for your company.

Distance: 6.9km  Climb: 50m.  Time: 8.20am - 1.05pm (4hrs45mins), with 30mins of breaks.
Grading: S/R/WX; M(8)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Gibraltar Creek and Falls

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Gibraltar Falls from below the lookout
2 Gibraltar Falls from below
3 Rock shelves in Gibraltar Creek