18 May 2013 Brindabella Variety


Brindabella Variety
(clockwise from bottom left - Bulls Head trig, Bendora trig, Bushranger weir, wire rope at Warks Camp, Bendora explosives store, plug at Bushranger weir,
centre - Pago weir)

Map: Tidbinbilla 1:25000

Walk Description

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

Saturday 18 May: Brindabella Variety - L/E-M,ptX. An interesting variety of sights and sites south-east of Bulls Head. Visit Bulls Head trig, Pago weir, Warks camp, the Bendora explosives store, Bendora trig (not Bendora Hill) and Bushranger weir. A mixture of fire trails (some not marked on maps) and off-track: Pago Break, Warks Rd, Dwyers Rd, Bendora Rd, Gravel Rd and Moonlight Hollow Rd; off-track sections total 3.5km. Around 16km and 600m climb. Map: Tidbinbilla. Limit: 8. Leader: John Evans - john@johnevans.id.au, 0417 436 877. Transport: ~$12 per person.

7 of us drove from Canberra via Piccadilly Circus to the Bulls Head Picnic area. 40.2km one-way, around 1 hour.

Further Information

Alternatives to off-track legs:

1 Bulls Head car park to Bulls Head - open going. Alternative is via access road.
2 Bulls Head trig to Pago Break - open going. No alternative.
3 Pago Break to near Pago weir - renewed fire trail. Not marked on 2nd edn Tidbinbilla 1:25k map.
4 Access track to Pago weir - initially hard going. Alternative is to wait on Pago Break.
5 Pago Break to Warks Rd - 400m, 100m descent. Alternative is via Pago Rd and Warks Rd.
6 Bendora explosives store - via Dywers Rd, not marked on 2nd edn Tidbinbilla 1:25k map.
7 Bendora trig - alternative is to wait at cnr of Warks, Dywers and New Chum Rds (last 2 not marked on 2nd edn Tidbinbilla 1:25k map).
8 Bushranger weir - alternative is to wait on Warks Rd.

Track Maps

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

Track on 2nd edn Tidbinbilla map

Track on 1st edn Tidbinbilla map

Track Notes

A hard walk to grade - easy fire trails, but a few legs of dense, wet and slippery underfoot bush. I have a new respect for the areas between the roads on the East flank of the Brindabellas!

From the Bulls Head picnic area car park, a swan down and up the power line clearance, then a left turn up to Bulls Head communication towers, wind turbine and trig. Left the trig heading S and followed a footpad to join Pago Break. The footpad follows the line of an old track shown on the 1st edn map.

Down Pago Break, up through SH1318 and down towards the overgrown start of the access track into Pago weir. Headed in a bit sooner to try to contour across to the weir - not much help as the scrub was thick, wet and slippery. Had a look at Pago weir. Returned via the old access track - it's overgrown but easy enough to follow the benching, except for the last few tens of metres back out to Pago Beak which is choked with fallen timber.

Next leg straight across Pago Beak and a slow plunge down through the dense scrub to Warks Rd. 30mins to carefully do 540m. Wet and slippery too on the E facing slope.

A stroll S along Warks Rd. We met Brenton ? (the Bendora Ranger) doing his rounds. Morning tea in whatever sun we could find at the intersection of Warks Rd and Bendora Rd.

Next SE along a bit of an old track to the Walks Camp area. Saw the wire rope up in the tree. Then down a footpad onto Bendora Rd at the Dwyers Rd, New Chum Rd intersection.

Along Dwyers Rd to the Bendora explosives store site. This was the explosives store for the building of Bendora Rd and was constructed in 1959 (reference: p101 Above the Cotter by Ian Fraser and Margaret McJannett, Canberra & South-East Region Environment Centre, Canberra 1991).

Next we followed the alignment of Dwyers Rd, which soon deteriorated. The 1st edn map shows it curving away to the SW, but I thought I'd kept to the alignment and headed SE for a few tens of metres near a drainage line. Anyway, we headed up towards Bendora trig, through dense Hazel Pomaderris (P aspera). The climb eased after a while and we gained a little spur which took us to the trig.

I must admit that getting to Bendora trig was partially my reason for pressing and sponsoring event 2 (Visit 40 different ACT trigs in a year) of the CBC Centenary of Canberra 'Stretch Your Legs' events. Bendora and Cotter trigs have fascinated me for some time and the events created the reason to go there! There was an old quadruped trig, but not much of a view due to the trees. A pity, as the map shows the land falling away steeply to the SE to the Cotter River. Thanks Cynthia for snapping a pic of me at the trig. We temporarily removed the survey point cover at the centre of the four legs and cleaned off the top of a lovely brass pin marking the spot.

The 1st edn Tidbinbilla map shows a power line, clearance and track heading just E of N from Bendora trig. No power line remains and only vague signs of the track, at times just the gap in the mature trees. At the intersection with a minor trail marked on the 1st edn map, the ESE then bending NE trail is the most visible. The clearance/trail continuing N is hard to see. In the end we hit Bendora Rd and that was (just about) it for the day's bush bashing.

We wandered up Bendora Rd to the Warks Rd intersection and turned left onto Warks Rd.

The walk SW along Warks Rd is described on p 55-57 of Above the Cotter by Ian Fraser and Margaret McJannett. They make particular reference to the lovely gully that I photographed. In particular "Warks Road was built in 1938 to open up the area for forestry; the adjacent roads, such as Gravel Road, were put in in the late 1940s and early 1950s." We passed a huge log embedded in the side of the road - it would have to be a log loading ramp; then the main line of Bushrangers Creek. We were looking for the next arm of that creek and, as it was 12.40pm, we sat in the sun in the middle of the road and had lunch.

After lunch, confusing the approach to this weir with another, I sent Phillip up the left (true right) side of the arm searching for an access track. There was none and we bashed up a couple of hundred metres and dropped down to the weir. It has a nice 'plug' in the bottom of the wall and a wood-encased depth gauge tower. We returned down the other (true left) side.

All over now, just a 5.8km in 1hr 20mins wander back up Warks Rd, left into Gravel Rd, right into Moonlight Hollow Rd and left into Bendora Rd back to the cars.

A nice day with great friends.

The weirs of the Brindabellas are documented here.


Distance: 18.1km Climb: 650m. Time: 8.15am - 2.55pm (6hrs 40 mins), with 40mins of breaks.

Grading: L/E&R,ptX; M(11)

Walk Participants

7 walkers - Cynthia C, Nathan H, Stephen M, Pam R, Phillip S, Edwina Y, me.

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This page last updated 2Sep22