Returning past the Mt Domain cairn at 1506m

Saturday 11 August: Mt Domain – M/M. Mt Domain rises to just over 1500m at the southern end of the Tidbinbilla Range, behind the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. It is visible from many parts of Canberra. We approach via the Fishing Gap Fire Trail, then a cleared footpad route which climbs 300 vertical metres from Fishing Gap to the ridge extending from SH1402. A relatively flat footpad takes us NW to the final prominence, followed by the final climb of 100 vertical metres to the top. Grand views on a good day, west to the wild Cotter River valley and east to TNR. May be a bit of snow around. Approximately 13km return and 700m climb. Map: Tidbinbilla. Leader: John Evans 0417 436 877 . Limit: 8. Transport: ∼$5 per person. Book by 2pm Thursday 9 August.

Further Information

It’s been 2 years nearly to the day since I’ve last been just up to Mt Domain and down. Last trips 7 Apr 18, 17 Oct 17, 20 Sep 16, 13 Aug 16, 16 Jul 16, 28 Mar 16, 16 Mar 16, 28 Aug 12, 17 Jul 10, 3 May 08, 29 Mar 08, 9 Oct 07, 5 Jun 07, 10 Oct 06, 13 Jun 05, 1 Sep 04. A lot has changed over the years. 1 Sep 04 was soon after I started walking and only a year or so after the 2003 fire storms. The original footpad to Mt Domain became obscured in the regrowth and it was harder going in the mid years. On 16 Mar 16, with the nod from the TNR Head Ranger at the time, I taped the route. Subsequently, TNR management employed labour to clear the bottom of the route to Mt Domain (and the northern part of the Tidbinbilla Range traverse, in from the Camel Back fire trail towards Tidbinbilla Peak).

IMHO the route to Mt Domain is now an excellent walk – the bottom, from Fishing Gap to the nose of the SH1402 ridge is well established and easy to follow. I didn’t lose it once! The middle section from that nose to the cleared area below the final ascent to Mt Domain (our today’s Morning tea stop) is still a little rubbishy, the footpad narrowing and winding through first pea, then wattle regrowth. I only lost the pad twice, once on the up and again on the down. Either be confident in your navigation, or have Pete with you! The final ascent is first up a rocky spine, then through regenerating woodland to the cairn at the summit. The best views are a couple of hundred metres to the north.

I saw one of my tapes still hanging and a couple of bits of others’ red and white stuff on the ground. I hope mine were pulled back after the pad established and not lying around in the bush somewhere. But at least they achieved their purpose.


Distance: 12.3km | Climb: 670m via contour count, 785 from GE | Time: 8.05am – 1.35pm (5hrs 30mins), including 45 mins of breaks | Grading: M/M; M(11)


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

Advantages of an early start include catching worms, getting through the TNR gates prior to the boom coming down and – most importantly – beating the forecast wet weather and getting a good view. We achieved all of those today.

A bit more of an amble up to Fishing Gap, the fit ladies leading us up the 3.7km in 57 minutes.

Again, I foolishly didn’t take the lead, so it was a sprightly 1.1km in 45mins up to the nose and ‘lookout’. A look out and regroup. Ran into a fraction of snow at 1340m.

Then, foolishly, I took the lead and, embarrassingly, lost the pad once on the flat section between the nose and cleared area for morning tea. I’m much happier off-track where it doesn’t matter (within reason) where you are. A nice spot in the cleared area at the bottom of the final clear prominence to Mt Domain. Views to the west to the Cotter, Brindabellas and Corin Dam to the SW. 28mins for this little 850m leg.

As noted above, the final leg to the top is first up a rocky spine, then just up through relatively open woodland. We emerged at the top cairn at 10.49am, then continued another couple of hundred of metres along the footpad to where grand views open up. To the west you see down into the wild Cotter River Valley and up to the Brindabella Range. The top of Ginini Falls is prominent.

The Cotter River below the Brindabella Range from just north of Mt Domain

Ahead to the north stretches the Tidbinbilla Range, with Tidbinbilla Mountain prominent:

Tidbinbilla Mountain from just north of Mt Domain

And down to the east is the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

The flanks of the Tidbinbilla Range and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve from just north of Mt Domain

Happy to have Pete with me, keeping me on the straight and narrow when I erred.

We returned the way we came, stopping for lunch at Fishing Gap before trudging back down the fire trail.

Back in town earliy enough to beat the showers.

Thanks all.

Track Map



GE snip

Google Earth snip


9 walkers – Cynthia C, Braham H, Pete H, Ming L, Stephen M, Quentin M, Lisa Q, VT, me.