Special guests – Tim the Yowie Man, Tara Cheyne MLA and Ranger Kate

Saturday 11 March 2023: Dunlop and West MacGregor-Jarramlee Grasslands Nature Reserves *– L/E-M. All good lists come to an end. Walk in the Dunlop Grasslands NR, visiting the Charnwood site, Osage-orange trees, ACT border markers on the straight line between Mt Coree and One Tree Hill. Follow the Bicentennial National Trail along West Belconnen Pond and south-west into the Jarramlee-West MacGregor Grasslands NR. See the little cliff lines on Ginninderra Creek and visit its confluence with Gooromon Ponds. Return via a different route, taking in the rarely visited West MacGregor Odour Control Unit. Around 17km and 250vm climb. Join this old fella to walk the last of the 39 Nature Reserves in the Canberra Nature Park!

Special guests are Ranger Kate, Tim the Yowie Man and Tara Cheyne MLA. YOU can be a special guest too, if you book.

Canberra Nature Park – a breath of fresh air for busy walkers. There are 39 Nature Reserves in the Canberra Nature Park. How many can we walk in? These are numbers 38 and 39.


From Garmin Connect (Epix Gen 2) – Distance: 15.63km | Climb: 217m | Time: 3:22 moving + 2:20 of stops = 5:42 | Grading: M/E-M; M(8).

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

With my good mate Phillip, I did a recce of this area on 21 Dec 22. There’s heaps more photos of the area via that trip report.

All my Christmasses came at once today. I’m just so fortunate to be able to have the health to walk with great friends. In other circles in which I move, it’s called being blessed!

Today was a walk in the last two of the Canberra Nature Park’s 39 Nature Reserves and most of us made the looong trip north to enjoy it. I’d invited a couple of extra special guests – Tim the Yowie Man is a great promoter of the outdoors in the Canberra region and generous supporter of my exploits; Tara Cheyne MLA is a long-time friend and we walked together in this area on 8 Jun 15; and Ranger Kate has been wonderful in answering my questions about the various Nature Reserves since these walks started in Jun 22.

Some fabulous gifts came my way.

The first was a rare TYM patch which I’d coveted the last time we were together. It was only when I got home that my dear wife pointed out that the mint-condition item had been cut from a (high quality) shirt. Straight to the poolroom for that, although I do like TYM’s embroided name above his shirt pocket – in case one forgets … That last meeting was out at the Tidbinbilla Warning Siren, its use having puzzled me for years. TYM sleuthed the answer which was published in today’s Canberra Times. There’s also a video here.

When we met Ranger Kate later in the morning, she not only had a heap of wonderful information to share with us, but also had morning tea for 14 and a Canberra Nature Park carry bag as a gift for each of us. (And the key for a couple of difficult to climb over gates!)

At lunchtime, dear friend Janet presented me with a huge box of chocolates (which just had to be opened and shared) and some very kind words.

Back at the cars, Richard and Joanne presented me with a lovely bag of beans, freshly picked from their garden.

Let’s get walking.

A bit foggy as we started from Binns St in Fraser, but you could tell that it would burn off quickly.

The morning mood captured (photo Joanne L)

We walked the mown routes and well worn footpads down through the exotic trees of the Charnwood site, where you can see the largest olive tree in the ACT. On to the Osage orange trees.

You couldn’t guess that they’re called brain fruit, could you?

Osage Orange fruit (photo Tara C)

I mistakenly said they were South African trees, but a quick Google by a keen walker soon had the truth – American. I should have remembered – TYM did an article yonks ago.

A few more metres of mown grass.

Dewy spider web (photo Joanne L)

We then joined the Bicentenial National Trail, with long grass and roos on our left.

Plenty of roos (photo Joanne L)

A handy gate (or was it a fence) allowed us to wander off-track north-west down to the join the straight line segment of the ACT-NSW border. We saw a lockspit, where you can have one foot in the ACT and the other in NSW, and Percy Sheaffe’s 15 Mile Marker (from Mt Coree).

Percy Sheaffe’s 15 Mile marker from Mt Coree

The border parallels Gooromon Ponds in this area. We headed south-west under the powerlines (ugly, but necessary) through the grasslands towards the edge of West Belconnen Pond. Many gates and fences to cross during the day.

Many gates and fences to cross

We then doubled back to where our guests had parked. Busy people could only afford an hour and a half and, by good fortune rather than my good execution, they left us at the 1 hour 20 minute mark.

We returned to skirt the SE side of the pond, passed the ‘Straight Line Border’ signage and headed to our next special guest appointment with Ranger Kate, meeting at the border on Jarramlee Road. Pretty much on time for our 10:15am rendezvous.

There’s a quite difficult gate to cross here to get into Jarramlee NR (it was when we did the recce). Easy today as Kate swung it open with her key. We walked on to a low rise where she’d parked and sat enthralled as out tumbled information about land management principles and practises with such genuine enthusiasm. To top it off, the great morning tea and gifts mentioned above were gratefully received. ‘On ya Kate!

Ranger Kate gives us the good oil

Every walk needs a hill to top, so we wandered up Stony Knob for the views.

Walking up to Stony Knob, the only hill for the day

Kate left us to drive back to our next meet point and we walked vehicle tracks and through the grasslands to cross Ginninderra Creek.

Crossing Ginninderra Creek

We rejoined the BNT and paused below another spectacular feature, the West MacGregor 2 Odour Control Unit. Not a whiff, so it must work well.

A highlight – West MacGregor Odour Control Unit

Meeting up with Kate again, she explained the restoration of a subsidence area, due to a 1970s sewerage system. Incredible when one knows the detail – the Ngunnawal community involved in the creation of a themed parkland soon to be opened, the construction of a huge swale, and the replanting of native grassland plants from seed by a dedicated Ranger.

Kate tells us about rehabilitation of a land subsidence area

Saying our thanks and good-byes, we continued walking the BNT, turning off to visit the confluence of Gooromon Ponds and Ginninderra Creek.

Little cliffs at the confluence of Gooromon Ponds and Ginninderra Creek

Want to know more about these layers? Read the explanation here.

We crossed Jarramlee Road and Janet spied some lovely shade trees below Fassifern Pond, a perfect lunch spot.

Setting out again, we topped the pond, then headed north and east around the private property of Fassifern, back to the West Belconnen Pond.

West Belconnen Pond (photo Joanne L)

A warm day, getting to 28°C. Continued along the BNT, lovely wide mown strip on the edge of suburbia (not shown on my old maps).

Took a bee-line towards the cars, the last fearsome gate (it was a bugga to cross on our recce) had been cleaned up and was no obstacle at all.

What a delightful day. This pedantic old pensioner will sleep the sleep of the satisfied tonight. Thanks all for joining in!

Relive the trip
Track Maps

Here’s where we went. Note that these are 2006 edition map segments, so there are a few houses missing.

Track overview Dunlop and Jarramlee Grasslands NRs

Track 1 Dunlop and Jarramlee Grasslands NRs

Track 2 Dunlop and Jarramlee Grasslands NRs

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


17 walkers – Ranger Kate, Tara C MLA, Tim the Yowie Man, Helen B, Andrea C, Janet D, Adrian G, Richard H, Joanne L, Megan L, James McM, Mark P, George P, Tilly T, Sandra T, Yuan T, me.

Tara has posted a very generous FB entry which can be accessed here.

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.