Rock stacks and cairns

Tuesday 12 April 2022: ‘Opera House Cave’ on the Orroral Ridge of Stone ! – M/E-M. Pop up the Orroral Ridge Road and to the ‘Opera House Cave’.


Distance: 10km | Climb: 385m | Time: 2hrs 25mins moving plus 3mins of breaks | Grading: M/E-M; M(8).


Photographs are available here.

gpx File

Download the gpx file recorded via AllTrails here (in AllTrails, activate …, Download Route, Select the file format GPX Track, OK).

Another version of the gpx file, recorded on my Garmin MAP66i GPSr, is available here. It has a few waypoints in it which the AllTrails version doesn’t. Sorry about the security warning at download – if you follow through the various prompts it will work (I recently applied an SSL certificate to my blog; everything else works fine, except for these download warning messages).

Track Notes

AllTrails trip report.

I recently saw a video of rock stacks in a private (so you can’t access unless you are a member) Facebook group, Hiking in Canberra. The location was the ‘Opera House Cave’ on the Orroral Ridge of Stone. I’m certainly not suggesting that the poster put them there. They just panned a video round the cave.

I have an aversion to rock stacks. Judiciously placed cairns are ok by me, but rock stacks are like graffiti tags and totally out of place in the natural environment.

So I decided to go up and have a look.

Drove to the Honeysuckle Creek camping ground and set off up the Orroral Ridge Road.

Not much sowing and reaping on the side of the Orroral Ridge Road

Nice views up to The Spinnaker.

The Spinnaker from Orroral Ridge Road

Lots of improvements to the fire trail.

Plenty of new drainage work on the Orroral Ridge Road

Lots of signage in the car park at the top, signaling the start of the footpad NW along the Ridge of Stone.

Start of the footpad NW from the Collimation tower car park

The new-ish blue signs about the place are using the Australian Walking Track Grading System.

Walked through the indigenous site.

Indigenous site (with track marker)

As I understand it, this is site NA43 from Winston-Gregson’s 1978 Masters thesis ‘Gudgenby: a register of archaeological sites in the proposed Gudgenby National Park’.

Winston-Gregson site NA43

After about 1km the track ends.

End of track signage

It deteriorates too!

That’s the track

100m further on there’s a dip in the footpad and the way down and into the ‘Opera House Cave’. Before entering, I went a fraction further for views over the Orroral Valley.

View across the Orroral Valley from just below the track descent to ‘Opera House Cave’

In the cave there was a rock stack near the wall on the right.

Rock stack

I made it disappear.

No rock stack

There was a rock stack at the back.

Rock stack

I was going to make it disappear, but relented and turned it into a small cairn as it points the way to the crawl exit to the lovely viewing slab above.


The dastardly deed completed, I retreated up the footpad a bit. There’s a route with a couple of tapes that goes further along the ridge to the Trojan Wall and Sentinel Rocks.

Tapes mark the footpad further to the NW

Wandered home.

Track Map

The AllTrails recorded track map is here, where you can pan and zoom. And here’s the track laid out on my old TopoView 2006 map segment from the Corin Dam 1:25000 topographic map.

Track Orroral Ridge


Just moi.



See ABC News report.