5-6 April 2013 Border Markers from Yaouk Gap to Leura Gap

A smoky view to Mts Namadgi, Burbidge, Kelly from Q75 on the way to Bimberi

Map: Rendezvous Creek 1:25000

Walk Description

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

Friday-Saturday 5-6 April: Border Markers from Yaouk Gap to Leura Gap - L/R,X. Drive to Yaouk and park at Rowleys Hut. Walk the ACT border from Yaouk Gap through Mt Murray, Murrays Gap, Bimberi Peak, Bimberi Gap, Dead Horse Gap to Leura Gap. Return via Mt Franklin Fire trail and Yaouk Trail. Around 40km and 1600m ascent. From Leura Gap the walk out is 20km and may be done by torch-light at night. For fit and experienced walkers with a penchant for border marker hunting. Map: Rendezvous Creek. Limit: 4. Leader: John Evans - john@johnevans.id.au, 0417 436 877. Transport: ~$25 per person.

3 of us drove from Canberra via Boboyan Rd, Yaouk Rd, Kennedys Rd to park at Rowleys Hut. 107km taking 2hrs 15mins from Duffy at an early morning kanga dodging pace. Kennedy Rd is very slow, with 3 or 4 gates and it deteriorates.

Further Information

Kennedys Rd is a Cooma-Monaro Shire Council road for about the first 1.2km. It then becomes a Crown Road, which does allow public access.

I have obtained permission from John and Roslyn R to park on their property at Rowleys Hut.

I have no idea how long this will take, hence the possibility of a night walk out. Might be a high camp around Bimberi on Friday night, so will need to cart water up.

Note that the table below contains planned times - see Track Notes for actual key times.

# From To Dist Tot
Going Estimate
1 Rowleys Hut Yaouk Gap 3.4 3.4 Track from Rowleys Hut to Kennedys Rd, then Yaouk Trail. 150m climb 9.45-10.45am
Morning tea
2 Yaouk Gap High point above Jacks Creek morass 3.8 7.2 340m off-track climb onto the Bimberi Range. 40 markers 11.00am-1.00pm
3 High point Mt Murray 1.5 8.7 180m off-track climb to Mt Murray. 21 markers. Did this 7 Apr 09 - no adverse comments and took 1hr50mins from Mt Murray down to near J78 1.00-1.45pm
4 Mt Murray Murrays Gap 1.0 9.7 320m off-track descent to Murrays Gap. 12 markers 2.15-3.00pm
Pick up water
5 Murrays Gap Bimberi Peak 2.9 12.6 400m off-track climb to Bimberi Peak. 31 markers. From the bend to the NW at 1800m, the going is open. Did this 4 Feb 12 - 1hr45mins from Murrays Gap to Bimberi. Carry water up and camp? 3.15-5.45pm
6 Bimberi Peak Bimberi Gap 1.6 14.2 250m off-track descent. 17 markers 8.15-9.15am
7 Bimberi Gap Dead Horse Gap 2.4 16.6 90m climb and 100m descent. 22 markers 9.15-10.30am
Morning tea
8 Dead Horse Gap Leura Gap 2.0 18.6 140m of climb and 240m of descent off-track. 9 markers 10.45-12noon
9 Leura Gap Cotter Hut 7.3 25.9 Leura Gap E FT, Mt Franklin FT and Yaouk Trail. 500m descent whatever
10 Cotter Hut Rowleys Hut 12.1 38.0 Yaouk Trail, track to Rowleys Hut. 300m climb, 150m descent
38.0 1600m ascent/1560m descent

As at 30 Mar 13, party consists of Rob H, Ian W, Stephen M, me. Flexible arrangements, in that Rob H may continue N along the Brindabellas for a few days (maybe to Piccadilly Circus) if a pickup can be arranged; Stephen M will travel independently and may spend a second night out. I need to be back Saturday night (however late), hence the possibility of a night walk out from Leura Gap if going along the border is slow.

I've checked with NVC re the big burn and we'll be clear of that. Have obtained NNP camping permit. Will SPOT Connect check-in with Max, Mike and Gay.

Track Maps

Track maps: thumbnails are active - click for a larger picture

Track overview

Track 1

Track 2

Track 3

Track 4

Track 5


Track Notes

Key Times:

Friday 9.25am - left Rowleys Hut
10.05am - arrived Yaouk Gap
11.05am - morning tea
1.00pm - lunch
3.10pm - Mt Murray
4.10pm - arrived Murrays Gap camp
4.40-5.50pm - Rob hauled water (thanks Rob!) and Stephen and John went BM hunting towards Bimberi
Saturday 8.00am - broke camp
9.50am - Bimberi Peak
11.05am - Bimberi Gap
11.10am - Morning tea
12.50pm - Dead Horse Gap - lunch
2.50pm - Leura Gap
3.15pm - Mt Franklin FT
7.00pm - Rowleys Hut (walkout 18.2km, 440m climb in 3hrs 45mins).

This was certainly a great trip. Wonderful to get out overnight. The weather was mostly kind.

A huge border marker hunting effort. We visited and photographed 126 border markers and Mile markers (U78, 36 Mile, T78, S78, R78, Q78, N78, K78, J78, I78, H78, G78, F78, E78, D78, C78, B78, A78, Z77, Y77, X77, W77, V77, U77, T77, S77, Q77, P77, O77, N77, M77, L77, K77, 34 Mile, J77, I77, H77, G77, E77, D77, C77, B77, A77, Z76, Y76, X76, W76, V76, U76, T76, S76, R76, 33 Mile, Q76, P76, O76, L76, K76, G76, F76, E76, D76, C76, B76, A76, Z75, Y75, W75, V75, U75, T75, S75, R75, Q75, P75, O75, N75, M75, L75, K75, J75, 31 Mile, I75, H75, G75, Bimberi Trig, F75, E75, D75, C75, B75, A75, Z74, Y74, X74, W74, U74, T74, S74, O74, N74, M74, L74, K74, J74, I74, H74, G74, 29 Mile, F74, E74, D74, C74, B74, A74, Z73, Y73, X73, W73, U73, T73, R73, 28 Mile, Q73, P73, O73), and 4 burnt blazes (N78 blaze, F78 blaze, V76 blaze, O74 blaze). We visited the locations of a further 25 markers but could not find them (Y78, X78, W78, V78, P78, O78, M78, L78, 35 Mile, R77, F77, N76, M76, J76, I76, H76, 32 Mile, X75, 30 Mile, V74, R74, Q74, P74, V73, S73).

A long and, at the end coming up Kennedys Rd, slow trip. Parked at Rowleys Hut and walked back to Kennedys Rd, then up to Yaouk Gap. I received a little stick, as Kennedys Rd to (nearly) Yaouk Gap was drivable. However, coming out in the wet on Saturday night there was a little slipping and sliding and 4WD-ing, so I was glad I didn't park up the goat track.

Border marker hunting began and it was immediately unsuccessful. A lot of pea regrowth made for slow going and Y78, X78, W78 and V78 could not be found. A steep climb up from Yaouk Gap to the ridge defining the watershed (and thus the ACT border). But we began to find them - U78, 36 Mile (an interesting uncairned 'concreted downpipe'), T78 and S78. Here we stopped for morning tea (with email reception).

The gradient and the going eased a little after out break as we headed towards the brumby trap at the SE end of Jacks Creek morass. Found R78, Q78. Could not find P78 and O78. Found N78, along with the N78 burnt out blaze. No M78 or L78. Found K78, J78, I78, H78, G78, F78 and F78 burnt out blaze. Could not find the 35 Mile marker (as there is no distance from F78 or E78 in the field notebook - only the E78-F78 bearing is noted). Found E78, D78 and C78, then out to the brumby trap which I'd previously see on 7 Apr 09.

A comment on border markers! If you've viewed the photos, you might be thinking "what the heck?". Many of the photos could be just piles of rocks, many under vegetation. But with the GPS stuffed with locations from ACTPLA (to the millimetre!) so as close to the known location as GPS accuracy allows, lockspit arms pointing in the direction of the border and a practiced eye for unnatural rock piles, I can convince any companion that we're looking at a marker! Others are bleedin' obvious and it's always a thrill to open one up and see the particular border corner marker.

The next leg was NW along the ridge above the Jacks Creek morass. Scrubby going, with grasses underfoot. We found B78 just near the brumby trap, then A78, Z77 and Y77. Heading a few tens of metres W, we found a nice, large open area for lunch. I sent a SPOT, but realised you can't specify multiple recipient groups in the SPOTConnect app, so had to send it twice (I have one group for Gay + me and one group for Mike, Max + me - looks like I'll have to define another group for Mike, Max, Gay + me).

The gentle climb onto the ridge continued. We found X77, W77, V77, U77, T77 and S77, most non-descript lockspits. No R77. Visited Q77 (which I'd seen on 7 Apr 09). Another run of successes, finding P77, O77, N77, M77, L77, K77, 34 Mile, J77, I77, H77 and G77. Here the border swings to the NE, running up to Mt Murray. No F77 at the top of Jacks Creek in the saddle south of Mt Murray.

The leg to Mt Murray rises 170m and is through lightly timbered burnt snow gums, with modest shrubs and grasses under. Found E77, D77, C77. B77 was a nicely formed lockspit and, with the description of 1" Pipe and Cairn, I dug around at the centre point to expose the 1" galvanised pipe sunk flush to the ground. This was just to satisfy any skeptic in the party. Found A77. Nearby there were nice views looking back to the top of Jacks Creek morass, the ridge we'd come along and Mt Morgan in the back. Continuing the climb, we found Z76, Y76, X76, W76 and V76. V76 had a burnt blaze, with just a remnant of the surveyors arrow still showing. Found U76 and T78 (at Mt Murray West), which I'd seen before. Pretty smoky out to the NE from the controlled burn in the Cotter valley.

It was now 3.10pm and we began to consider options. Too late to get water below and border marker hunt up to Bimberi, so Rob provided another option.

It took an hour to descend to Murrays Gap, finding S76, R76, 33 Mile, Q76, P76 and O76. No N76 or M76. Found K76. No J76 or I76.

A new Namadgi National Park, Murrays Gap sign. The old one is up in the bush - I want it to go straight to my pool room (as in 'The Castle'). Must ask Rangers if I can retrieve it!

We set up tents and Rob very kindly offered to get water for us all, whilst Stephen and I hunted more border markers up towards Bimberi to save us a bit of time the next morning.

The cairn on the boulder on the N side of Murrays Gap (which marks the start of the footpad to Bimberi) has been augmented with some nice new orange tape. Stands out well. The whole footpad is heavily cairned and has many new tapes. I marked a few of them (particularly where we went in to find border markers) and have added them to my Namadgi Footpads page).

We went up the footpad for a way, ducking in find G76 (seen before), F76, E76 (not much ducking as it's right beside the footpad), D76, C76, B76, A76 and Z75. We could not locate the 32 Mile marker. It was 5.30pm, so we turned around. That would give us a good start in the morning. Of course I managed to lose the pad a few times coming back.

Rob had a small fire going, although Stephen and I cooked on gas. Very pleasant to laze about. BackCountry freeze dried Thai Chicken Curry (+ extra couscous) was good, but too curry-y for me. Hats off to my son and daughter-in-law who, a couple of Christmases ago, gave me a 'make in the packet' Ethiopian coffee. Made half a litre, lovely and strong. Just the thing to go with a quality port to share. A mild night - didn't need the extra thermal and longjohns.

Saturday dawned clear. No fog. Smoky of course. We were away by 8am and, after I'd lost the footpad a few times, made good time to near Z75 with Rob in the lead. The taped pad heads up the side of the open area (not into the bush where we had gone to the 32 Mile location), then back left onto the line of the border. Found Y75, but not X75. Then an uninterrupted run of successes all the way to Bimberi trig. We found W75, V75, U75, T75, S75 (right next to the footpad), and R75. From here the footpad cuts the border corner a little, so we had to leave it to visit Q75 and P75. Great views SE to the Namadgi hills from here. Some old footpad marker cairns over in this area, so there is a little track braiding in places. We'd noticed that elsewhere on the climb to Bimberi, too (maybe that's why I kept on losing the main pad!). Near Q75 and P75, the footpad swings NW up the gently sloping spur to Bimberi. It's a beautiful, open, Snow Gum with grasses area, recovering quite nicely from the 2003 fires - lovely walking. All the border markers are quite near the pad - we found O75, N75, M75, K75, J75, 31 Mile, I75 and H75. Can't miss G75 - the footpad goes through the middle of it (then again, perhaps you can, if you thought it was just a collection of rocks). And so to Bimberi trig.

Superb views. A bit smoky down the Cotter valley from the controlled burn. The Bimberi top looks better than last time on 4 Feb 12. More green than ghost grey in the Snow Gums and the grass is greener - perhaps the cooler season, perhaps a product of how tired one is at the time of viewing. Dutiful husbands called wives. Reception a bit flakey. We could see the tops we still needed to cover to the NW of Bimberi, but not down into the gaps.

Leaving Bimberi trig we followed the border SW then N along the beautiful open Bimberi tops. Superb Snow Gum territory. Found border markers F75, E75, D75 (with its gal iron pipe at a wonky angle), C75, B75, A75, Z74 and Y74 - these all long lockspits.

From around the 1830m contour, the border began to fall away down to Bimberi Gap and the going closed in. We were very fortunate to find an animal pad (brumbies?) which led down the S side of a soak, and only short forays were required to find X74 and W74. No 30 Mile or V74, as these were out in the bog. Found U74 and T74. The pad was well defined here. Found S74. No R74 or Q74. The pad became difficult to follow, then petered out at Bimberi Gap. Q74's location was near SH1657, the low point of the saddle.

No P74 as we left Bimberi Gap. We found O74, along with its burnt blaze, so stopped for morning tea at 11.10am.

A 60m climb up onto the ridge between Bimberi Gap and Dead Horse Gap (I'd been along here in the mist 17-19 Mar 07). We found N74 (described as 4" Nail in Concrete in bare rock; a huge view back to Bimberi and Murray) and saw the nail. Further along, a small fire place. Found M74, L74, K74. The ridge at this point had burnt Snow Gums and mixed grasses and small shrubs, so relatively easy walking. Plenty of signs of brumbies. Found J74, I74, H74. Here the border turned W for a while. G74 (described as Station on granite boulder) was quite impressive and also had views back to Bimberi. Found 29 Mile and F74, where the border turned NW. We then came upon a row of rocks placed along a quartz seam. There is no mention of it in Mouat's field note book. Found E74, D74, C74 and B74, where the border turned NE and fell away to Dead Horse Gap. Found A74, which is an impressive straight lockspit on a granite slab. Found Z73, with an E-ish turn, Y73 (again, impressive on a granite slab), X73 and W73. No V73 down in Dead Horse Gap. Lunch called at 12.50pm, probably very near where I camped 17-19 Mar 07.

A map check revealed that we still had a climb to a bump N of Dead Horse Gap, a down and an up to the dreaded SH1698 that stopped us on 27 Oct 12, then down to Leura Gap.

Off we went, finding U73 and T73; no S73; and R73 at the top of the bump. I must have been getting tired, as it was quite a daunting view across to SH1698 (pic here). Found 28 Mile, then down to an unnamed saddle and a steep climb to thankfully arrive at Q73. A short distance across the top was P73, another lockspit on a granite slab. A plunge down to Leura Gap, where we found O73 in the shrubs beside the Leura Gap Fire Trail.

2.50pm - finished, except for ...

My next plans were clear and urgent - get home! Rob and Stephen did a quick assessment and decided to come down for water. So we all wandered down (the Leura Gap East fire trail which is not marked on the current edition Rendezvous Creek map, but is on the 1st edn and is on the Rendezvous Creek OZraster digital map) to meet the Mt Franklin Fire Trail and to get water from McKeahnie Creek.

The others were to go North. I set out to the South at 3.15pm and didn't stop till I reached the car at Rowleys Hut at 7pm - 18.2km, 440m climb in 3hrs 45mins. A dozen lyrebirds in the trees and running up the fire trail around Drag Creek. Plenty of rolling thunder and a few showers on the way back.

A large bottle of Coke in the car got me back home - a slow drive, 3 and a quarter hours. But no kangas damaged.


Distance: 44.9km Climb: 1800m. Time: 2 days.

Grading: L/R,X; H(14)

Walk Participants

3 walkers - Rob H, Stephen M, me.

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This page last updated 2Sep22