Happy walkers on Camels Hump … we didn’t know what was to come

Saturday 1 June: Camels Hump, Nil Desperandum and surrounds – L/R,ptX. From the Mountain Creek car park we walk the steep Camel Back Fire Trail to Camels Hump for grand views. The next leg is a severe off-track 550 vertical metre descent handrailing spurs near Hurdle Creek – the going could be very slow. This gets us to the Nil Desperandum precinct with its eucalyptus distillery, camelia garden, kids swimming pool and restored pisé cottage. We also visit the nearby John Staunton’s Ashbrook site. Return via the Jedbinbilla area fire trails or, if we’re sensible, the usual return from Nils to cross the Tidbinbilla River to a waiting car shuttle. Around 20km and 1150vm, so a full day. Early start; TNR gates close at 6pm. Map: Tidbinbilla. Leader: John Evans 0417 436 877 john@johnevans.id.au . Transport: ∼$10 per person.

Further Information

Last did a similar trip 5 Dec 06.


Distance: 14.9km | Climb: 840m | Descent: 1045m | Time: 8.15am – 3.20pm (7hrs 5mins), including 45 mins of breaks | Grading: L/R,ptX; H(12)


Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slideshow.

Waypoint and Track Files

Download the gpx file for this trip (if your browser does not automatically download the file, it will open the gpx file in a new window and you can then save it). To use in Google Earth, do File, Open… and select Gps or All files as the File Type.

Track Notes

We met opposite my old folks home in the Lanyon Marketplace car park, piled into 2 cars and drove to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. We unloaded at the Mountain Creek car park, then popped a vehicle down at the picnic areas on the Tidbinbilla River.

An amble up the Camel Back Fire Trail. Geocaches GC863TT Camels Canister and GC863TX Camels Climb logged, thanks to my keen-eyed muggle friends. A couple of patches of snow at the lee corners.

A little snow on the Camel Back Fire Trail

Rangers drove past and stopped for a quick hello. They told us of 2020 plans to develop additional walking routes.

The 6km to the base of Camels Hump taking just under 1hr 30mins.

Camels Hump in view | photo Kirsty G

Geocache GC863TY Camels Cusp found and logged.

A careful scramble up to the cairn at the top, as it was a bit slippery. Happy campers!

… but we had no idea of what was to follow! Morning tea and we exited via the NE spur, just to make a bit of a round of it. We then headed south on the fire trail to a convenient location to go off-track at the top of a broad spur.

I’d talked this descent up a bit, but it turned out to be relatively benign.

Descending from Camels Hump at 1230m contour

Descending from Camels Hump at 1230m contour

790m across the ground descending from 1300m to 1000m contour in 50mins.

The going at 1080m contour

The going at 1000m contour

A little damper down where the gullies coalesce, maybe the site of the elusive Ellsies Falls. Tree ferns down below us.

Tree ferns at 980m contour

The next leg, from 1000m to 790m was not pretty. Absolutely horrible Cassinia and others to push through. ‘Quality scrub’ it was not; ‘quality rubbish’ it was. 1hr 20mins or this 1.1km part, at times on hands and knees crawling through it.

Anita ripped

But at last onto the fire trail and down to Nil Desperandum for lunch, via the eucalyptus distillery.

Eucalyptus oil distillery

A pleasant break in the sun on the back verandah.

A quick look at the swimming pool, used by the kids of the families who owned/visited Nils (thanks to Matthew Higgins for this information). Not much of a pool now, upstream completely silted up.

Silted up swimming pool on Hurdle Creek

Then the camellia garden. Further information from Matthew Higgins is that it also had rhododendrons/or azaleas when planted by Phil Gilmour.

Camellia garden

Great joy for me as I found and logged the difficulty 1 out of 5 geocache GC5CCWT Camellia Canopy which I’d failed to find 2 years ago. We decided to leave the Ashbrook site for another time.

The fire trails seem to have been well developed since I was last in the Jedbinbilla area, so thanks to Phillip or expertly guiding us through the maze.

The climb out of Nils

It appeared we were being followed at one stage.

A monster’s coming to get us

Thanks all for your great humour in accepting the dreadful conditions of the ‘quality rubbish’. Still, once one is in it, there’s not much to do but grin and bear it. I do hope you’ll be back for more … in a different location!

Track Maps

Track overview

Track overview

Track 1

Track 1

Track 2

Track 2




7 walkers – Anita D, Jude E, Kirsty G, Stephen M, Phillip S, Mitchell Z, me.