26 June 2012 Granite Ridges South-East of Orroral Hill ... or the Tor Tour

Map: Rendezvous Creek 1:25000

Getting There

This walk was led by Max S, with route planning and lead scrub-bashing by Ian W as a BBC ad-hoc hard walk:

Tuesday 26 June- Granite Ridges South-East of Orroral Hill - M/R. Leave the cars at the Nursery Swamp car park. Head west and ascend the steep ridge that leads to Spot Height 1447 (Ref: 756 528). Centred on a 1.5 km radius of SH 1447 there is a maze of granite boulders and knolls hidden by scrub. The day will be spent on a route that links up some of the granite features that I have visited previously as well as some new ones. We will follow a meandering route to the west and eventually drop down to the upper Nursery Creek (Ref: 749 522) visiting a small waterfall along the way and then returning via the Nursery Swamp track. The scrub is thick, and it will be slow going until Nursery Creek, so leather gloves are recommended. A small torch is useful for investigating some of the granite features. The walk will be postponed if it is wet as the rocks will be slippery.

8 of us met at NVC and drove to Nursery Swamp car park.


You can access all photographs here.


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An overcast and cool day, occasional light showers after lunch. Glimpses of snow on the Mavis Ridge. Cloud base low at around 1500m, so no views.

This guy is good, recce-ing via Google Earth for large granite tor shadows and obvious clusters, then walking in to check them out. Marvellous finds. And you reckon I'm weird!

An incongruous start, walking along the Orroral Rd, but the idea was to avoid a few drainage line crossings on the way to Ian's first pile of granite. A left turn and up 330m over 1.2km taking 1hr, through what I'd call 3/4 regrowth. A bit of a puff.

'Zig-zag Rock' nearly rivals Split Rock, part of Cotter Rocks, up above the AAWT near Cotter Gap (UTM 55H 670073-6055472 (MGA94)). Zig-zag Rock is not as tall, but the splits are narrower and there are plenty of zigs and zags and zigs. A great granite squeeze.

A bit of a turn towards the W and a further 100m up over 600m taking 45mins through more heavy regrowth got us to a tor featuring a large chock stone.

5mins and 150m further on we were at our morning tea tors, a huge set of granite boulders that provided great clambering.

We then headed W across the top of SH1447, stopping to examine mirror image granite blocks with a passage way between and a mighty eucalypt at the end, and a magnificent shelter overhang.

Turning S, we came across a patch of ice on the S facing slope at around the 1400m contour. The water running beneath the ice covering had air pockets (I assume) which looked like giant tadpoles wiggling along.

Passing through yet more remarkable granite (unremarkable granite tors were a dime a dozen), we arrived at Ian's pièce de résistance - 'Temple of Doom'. A huge granite face with nose guards the area, which has vertically striated granite sides in orange and black. The orange colouring is reminiscent of Sentinel Rocks on the NE Orroral Valley Ridge. Dropping our packs, we circumnavigated around the structure from E to W, from back door to front door. Everyone but me lit their head torches - I lit my trusty iPhone - and we entered in. A fantastic explore of slits to squeeze, tunnels to crawl, central cave to gaze up on awe. We separated at times and you could hear others echoing away, only to appear via a dark hole in a nearby wall. Our exit point was filled with monstrous chock stones. A wonderful place. Lunch was an anticlimax.

All down hill from here - only in terrain, not in new experiences. W and SW to a cliff-ette sporting more tadpole ice, around and down to the promised waterfall. Quite a few metres in height, splashing and tinkling away. A long rock like a petrified log at the bottom. It's on an unmarked drainage line at about 1370m contour above Nursery Creek.

Back home paralleling Nursery Creek on its left bank, through a significant site. Down the Nursery Swamp Walking Track to the cars.

Hats off to Ian W for a very interesting and well planned trip. Plentiful banter, bush-bashing and granite squeezing from Peter C and Linda G, Eric G, Stewart J, Richard M and Max S.

Distance: 9.9km Climb: 450m. Time: 8.30am - 3.30pm (7hrs), with 1hr 30mins exploring at morning tea and lunch.
Grading: M/R; M(10)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Granite Ridges South-East of Orroral Hill

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This page last updated 30Aug22