Inside Split Rock – How high are the walls?


Saturday 3 June 2023: Walk from the recently reopened Orroral Valley tracking station car park following the Australian Alps Walking Track to Cotter Gap, then through burnt scrub up to Split Rock.


From Garmin Connect (Epix Gen 2) – Distance: 21.50km | Climb: 900vm | Time: 4:45 moving + 2:51 of stops = 7:36 | Grading: L/E,R; H(14-).

Photographs Photographs are available here.
gpx File The gpx file is available here.
Track Notes

I was last at Split Rock on 28 Oct 17.

So great to be back in the Namadgi, sickness, Covid and bushfire keeping me out since late 2019.

I’d teed up with our leader to drive out early to climb up out of the Orroral valley on the Cotter Hut Road and meet the rest of the party at the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) turn off. I get so embarrassed by my slow speed going uphill.

I started walking at 7am. The warm car offered an outside temperature of -4°C. So great to be walking in this area again. The bushfire damage was not as grim as I thought it would be.

Some new signage where the track meets the Cotter Hut Road.

Signage where track joins Cotter Hut Rd

And some old signage, updated, that I’ve passed countless times.

Orroral Link Track signage on Cotter Hut Rd

My ears and fingers reminded me that the temperature had not increased in the shade. At last, on the switch-back corner where the climb out of the valley begins in earnest, the sun came down to meet me.

Sun at last at the sharp corner on Cotter Hut Rd climbing out of the valley

Several curled and lying down roadside markers.

Bushfire heat curled marker post on Cotter Hut Rd

I reached the AAWT turn off at 8.10am, so 1 hour 10 minutes for the 5.7km leg.

I had a chat with a mountain biker and a party of walkers heading to Kiandra. Then I took a turn around the indigenous site opposite the intersection. 

Front of indigenous site OR18

For me, it was identified in J H Winston-Gregson’s 1978 Master’s Thesis at ANU. The site, identified as OR18 “a low and very sheltered cave on the south side of the Orroral Valley and facing south. There is permanent water within 100m”, and was determined by the presence of “a white quartz core and flakes and quartzite flakes”.

We set off along the AAWT at 9am (I’ve subtracted my 50min wait time from the times above). Pleasant walking.

On the AAWT between Cotter Hut Rd and Sawpit Creek

Always water in Sawpit Creek. It rises from the NW of Orroral Hill in a sphagnum bog.

Regroup at Sawpit Creek

A puff up and just over Cotter Gap revealed our first sight of Split Rock.

First sight of Split Rock

We crossed the top of Pond Creek, positioned ourselves for the direct climb up the hill and moved up out of the squelch and damp to find some rocks for morning tea. The leg on the AAWT to here was 3.8km in 1:07. Thermal bottom off for me.

The 850m across the ground and 230vm climb to the back of Split Rock took us 53 minutes. It made me wonder why I do this.

Getting amongst the granite near Split Rock

But those thoughts evaporated as we gained the back of the giant tor and entered the slot.

View back up the entrance passage of Split Rock

9 in the party of 12 had not been here before and you could hear the gasps of appreciation.

Main passage of Split Rock covered in granite shards

How high are the walls?

We had a wonderful look about, then exited and went a bit further west along Cotter Rocks to a great ledge for lunch.

View from the lunch ledge, Booroomba Rocks 12.5km to the NE as the crow flies

View from the lunch ledge down to the open area below, Orroral Ridge of Stone prominent

Robert had a clamber about and took a great photo.

Looking down on the group, Split Rock behind | photo Robert W

Poor advice was offered (by me) to the walk leader and our exit from the back of the Split Rock entry passage was a bit to the south of the top of our climb leg. A little damper and a lot scrubbier. But Stephen got us back on a good route and we were soon back down at the morning tea spot. The descent was 910m across the ground in 48 minutes.

Some adjustment of clothing, I got my walking sticks out. The 9.5km return leg took 2 hours 7 minutes.

Nice views up to the ‘Orroral Ridge of Stone’, so named by Graeme Barrow yonks ago.

View from Cotter Hut Rd to Orroral Ridge of Stone – Sentinel Rock, Trojan Wall, Legoland, Tower Rocks, The Belfry prominent

And to Orroral Tor, where tomorrow’s CBC walk is going.

View from Cotter Hut Rd to Orroral Tor

Great trip, thanks Stepehen. Great party, including 2 guests, 2 ladies who walk and talk at a fast pace and 1 walking machine.

Track Maps

Here’s where we went.

Track Split Rock

Track detail Split Rock

Google Earth snip

The AllTrails map is here, where you can pan and zoom.


12 walkers – Julian H, Kirk H, Phillip H, Anna H, Stephen J (leader), Ming L, Craig L, Lam S, Sandra T, Ana V, Robert W, me.

Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog FaceBook Page

I’ve started up a FaceBook page. Each trip report posts to it. So it’s another way to get some info to get out and breathe a bit of fresh air. Why not pop over and Follow the page, or give a post a Like.