Roderick McDonald’s house ruin ‘Ashton’ (marked as ‘Gunyah’ on AllTrails)

Sunday 12 June: The Pinnacle and Mt Painter – S/E. A morning ramble in the Pinnacle and Mt Painter Nature Reserves. There are great views from various vantage points. There will also be a stop at the Little Oink Cafe in Cook for a morning tea/coffee break. We’ll be back at the cars in time for lunch.


Distance: 9.1km | Climb: 343m | Time: 2hrs 45mins | Grading: M/E,ptX; E(7).


Photographs are available here.

gpx File

The gpx file, recorded on my new little boy’s toy Garmin MAP66i GPSr, is available here.

Depending on the desktop and mobile apps you use, you can do many things with a gpx file to visualise its contents. One simple way, which presents an elegant 3D representation, is to open it in Google Earth (in the GE File, Open dialogue, don’t forget to change the file type to be opened from Google Earth (*.kml, etc) to Gps (*.gpx, etc) or All files (*.*)).

Track Notes

I was last in The Pinnacle NR on 18 Jul 20 and Mt Painter NR on 28 Jan 15.

A while no walk, having sat all day in hospital with my dear wife for the last 6 weeks. Fitness and recovery shot. So this was the ideal part-day walk to get me back on track.

In addition, a nice little recce of two of Canberra Nature Park’s Nature Reserves. Being a list-ticker, I’ve decided to put on CBC walks to all 39 of them.

16 of us met in the car park opposite 117 Springvale Drive and walked up to The Pinnacle.

View over Whitlam to Woden from The Pinnacle

We followed management tracks SW to the edge of the NR, then generally E and NE around the edge.

View from The Pinnacle NR

Crossed Coulter Drive and up the road to the Mt Painter NR. 

At the gate at the bottom of the final ascent there was signage that impressed this grumpy old man.


Some graffiti-free signage on the right on the way up, with excellent views to the SW.

Mt Painter signage on the track to the top

The sun shone on our little patch at the top.

Mt Painter trig

We descended via the track to the ENE. At the bottom, I asked the walk leader if I might leave the group. Not a thing to ask during an off-track, remote trip but a reasonable request on an urban fringe stroll. Gerald kindly agreed.

AllTrails is a great little smart phone app, especially for local walking with all its tracks (sometimes the user-contributed waypoints are a little off). I’d noticed a site:

Location of Roderick McDonald’s house ruin near Mt Painter NR on AllTrails

So I took a little detour across country into the Cook Horse Paddocks to visit the Ashton (marked as ‘Gunyah’ on AllTrails) site. The usual pile of foundation stones, but of interest to me.

Roderick McDonalds house ruin site ‘Ashton’ 

Needing to get home quickly, I returned the way we came, except for a more direct route across the top of The Pinnacle NR.

Excellent to be out and breathing a bit of fresh air.

Track Map

Track The Pinnacle and Mt Painter on TopoView2006

Track The Pinnacle and Mt Painter on AllTrails


16 walkers. Leader: Gerald D.

A little research

Not sure where the “Gunyah’ came from in the AllTrails waypoint. Some Googling reveals that Roderick McDonald’s house was called ‘Ashton‘ and there’s an excellent ACT Heritage Council article here.