Molonglo River at Misery Point

Saturday 12 March: Barrer Hill * – M/E. Barrer Hill and environs are located on the true right side of the Molonglo River, opposite Denman Prospect. A peninsula, sometimes called Misery Point, causes a sweeping U-bend in the river. The area has been extensively replanted (“since 2012, more than 50,000 seedlings have been planted at Barrer Hill, including 10,000 trees and shrubs”) and there is great interpretive signage. Walk from Weston Creek Pond to cross the Molonglo via Clos Bridge. Walk on management trails beside the river to the Barrer Hill track head. Complete the Barrer Circuit and Barrer Summit tracks for huge views over the area. Walk the Barrer Track out to Misery Point and 50m or so further down to the Molonglo River. Return the same or, if Southwell Crossing is navigable, cross the river and return under Coombs. Around 11km and 200vm climb.


Distance: 9.8km | Climb: 161m | Time: 2hrs 30mins moving plus 45mins of breaks | Grading: S/E; E(6).


Photographs are available here.

I was last in this area on 28 Feb 22 and there are some more photos of the area here.

gpx File

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

A perfect electronic/technobabble walk after putting my phone in a cover (as advised by my dear wife) – so no more random screen activations to muck up the AllTrails recording; new Panasonic eneloop pro 2450 mAh batteries (the best ever rechargeable Ni-MH batts) in my GSPr.

Track Notes

AllTrails trip report.

We got ourselves organised by the side of the NE Weston Creek Pond, followed the edge of it north then, via a bit of bike path, onto the short footpad down to the little bridge over Weston Creek near where it joins the Molonglo River. Across Clos Bridge and into the old pine forest area. A turn to the west to follow the river downstream. Where the management trail turns north, we popped down south to see if Southwell Crossing was passable for the return. It was – the Molonglo has gone down a lot in the last 2 weeks. Some colour as we walked north.

Track-side flower

Instead of the planned clockwise walk on Barrer Circuit, we took the first signposted turn to the right. We saw several of these.

Nesting boxes

I’d surmised that they were old, repurposed telephone posts, although Roger pointed out that they had solid metal and concrete bases. Now I photograph signs to read later, which I often don’t do. Pays to do so, as a later ‘Pillars for Wildlife’ signage revealed:

“A novel restoration technique has been trialled here involving the relocation and resurrection of ten vertical habitat structures (five intact trees and five utility poles). These structures are designed to mimic some of the important habitat functions of mature trees, providing benefits to wildlife in the short term. All structures have been safely secured in underground concrete pads and have been enriched with cross perches, artificial hollows and artificial bark.”

We turned onto the Barrer Hill route and climbed to the top for good views east …

Barrer Hill eastern lookout

… and west down to Misery Point.

Misery Point from the Barrer Hill western lookout

Another sign tells us that:

“In 2014, Barrer Hill was named in honour of the late Canberra-based ecologist and environmental advocate, Dr Peter Maling Barrer (1942-1997).”

We headed back down the hill and continued our anticlockwise journey around the hill. Near the Barrer Hill track signage, we turned right onto the Barrer Track. A little colour again.

Track-side colour

More habitat structures …

Imported habitat structure

… with explanatory signage.

‘Pillars for Wildlife’ signage

We stopped by the great sculpture for morning tea.

‘Life Support’ sculpture at Misery Point

Then wandered down to the bank of the Molonglo River. Certainly less water than my last visit. You can notice quite a change in river height (like in the drop, not less water) from upstream to downstream.

Molonglo River upstream from Misery Point

We retraced our steps to the signage that explains all the tracks in the area.

Barrer Hill Circuit, Hill and Track signage

It was then homeward bound, via Southwell Crossing and under Coombs.

Approaching Southwell Crossing

A brief look at Coombs Pond and a peek through the fence at Stromlo Cottage on the west side of Weston Creek Pond opposite the cars.

Stromlo Cottage

Faded signage says:

“The former Sewerage Attendants Cottage (also known as Stromlo Cottage) was built in 1926 as accommodation for the senior officer of the Sewerage Treatment Works.”

We’d passed the disused and fenced off sewerage ponds at the beginning of the walk near the bike path.

Back over the seemingly over-engineered concrete spillway between the two ponds and back to the cars.

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.

Track Barrer Hill

And, thanks to Roger, in case you don’t believe the old name of our destination, here’s a 1914 map he gave me clearly showing Misery Point.

1914 map


A great bunch of old and new friends. 11 walkers. Ailsa B, Thushara De Z, Gavin F, John G, Roger H, Laisarn L, Julie M, Karen M, Phillip S, Teresa Z, me.