Orroral Valley from through to the south side of the Belfry

Saturday 13 January 2024: Orroral Ridge of Stone * – M/M-R. Visit all the granite tor formations on the ridge, as seen from below in the Orroral Valley. Walk in and out via the Orroral Ridge Road. Walk SE to visit the Belfry and scout around the footpads at the Cloisters. Return to NmC105 then down and around Tower Rocks. Walk NW to visit Legoland with its cave, Mushroom and Toadstool Rocks, Trojan Wall and Sentinel Rocks. The sites are all rock climbing areas named in the ANUMC publication ACT Granite. A couple of geocaches thrown in near the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station.


From Garmin Connect (Epix Gen 2) – Distance: 14.75km | Climb: 500vm (Elev Corrections Enabled) | Time: 3:20 moving + 3:00 of stops = 6:20 | Grading: M/E-M; M(10).


View photographs here.

gpx file

Download the gpx file here.

Track Map

Here’s where we went.

Track overview Orroral Ridge of Stone.   Blue – actual | Pink – planned


Track detail Orroral Ridge of Stone.   Blue – actual | Pink – planned

Trip Report

I was last in this area on 24 Aug 19.

What went ok today?

  • visited some sites that some of the party hadn’t been to
  • got home before the heavens opened.

What didn’t go so ok today?

  • very polite fellow walkers didn’t say “Why didn’t we drive up to the collimation tower car park, as other vehicles did?”. I haven’t seen the fire trail gate open at Honeysuckle Creek for a long time and the Orroral Ridge Road is in great nick, particularly the creek crossing
  • my boots delaminated at the front (thanks for the running repair tape, Chris)
  • my body ‘delaminated’, with the worst attack of leg cramps I’ve ever experienced (thanks for your help and concern, folks). So the trip was shortened.

Great to see lots of people out camping and walking today, although the campers would not have been happy with the late afternoon deluge.

We hit the fire trail at 7.15am and covered the 4.3km and 260vm climb in 1 hour.

I dislike walking on footpads, preferring to make my way via the best going to a known destination. As well, everyone knows when you’ve made a booboo! So I welcomed the tapes hung to define the route, especially at the start where there are multiple options and a little braiding.

Tapes define the track leaving Orroral Ridge car park to the SE

In fact, the pad/route is taped all the way to the top of the rope, so I imagine it was done by rock climbers. Very handy in places.

Yup, that’s the footpad

I only lost the pad 6 times. Some healthy Dianella near the Belfry.

Flax lily (Dianella) near the Belfry

We went through under the Belfry to great views down into the Orroral Valley. And a water break.

Orroral Valley from through to the south side of the Belfry

We returned under the Belfry.

Returning under the Belfry

Then down through the shrubbery to, I thought, regain the pad. Snapped the usual approach view of the tor.

The usual view of the Belfry when approaching from the NW

Nope, so we regained the edge of the tor and found the pad again. We continued to the SE for around 170m and arrived at a cairn which marks the route to the SW. The tapes continued down this way.

The cairn where the footpad leaves to the SW

The route took us SW then S, still taped and dropping 100vm.

The route to the SW of the Cloisters area

The Cloisters is a jumble of many granite tors and we saw some climbing bolts. After a bit of searching, the passageway leading to the top of the rope was found. Of course it was taped, which I’d missed.

We sat here for smoko. A few popped down to examine the top belay. New rope. Chris taped my boot.

Heading down to (and back from) the top of the rope


Top of the rope above the Orroral Valley

Dick M, who led a party up from the Valley a few months ago, told me that there are no more tapes going down.

I puffed back up to the north, beginning to cramp up. So the planned route around the Cloisters area was not followed. Several of the party took turns leading us back past the Belfry to the car park. Most kind. I grimaced along.

A drink break, then we headed NW. The path to Legoland is well used.

The footpad heading NW from the car park is a highway compared with the SE pad-route

At a marker post just shy of Legoland, we took a short detour for views down into the Valley.

A short detour from the main pad just S of the cave ends at this view point

The footpad now leads to the ‘Opera House Cave’ entrance. With help from Jannette and Sandra, I got my legs and the rest of me down to the cave. It’s a magic place.

‘Opera House Cave’ at Legoland

Lunch. Some of the party had a bit of a climb up to the NW of the main entrance.

Chris kindly led most of the party out through the back crawl and up the ramp slab.

The slab accessed via the back crawl from ‘Opera House Cave’ | photo Chris D

With grey-black sky behind us and one mighty thunderclap, we walked back down the Orroral Ridge Road.

Would have been some damp campers out there this evening!

Got home before the heavens opened

Thanks for your company and support folks. Hope you enjoyed it.


12 walkers – Michael C, Andrea C, Chris D, Shannon H, Ian M, Lam S, Jannette S, Sandra T, Khuong V, Sonja W, Michael Z, me.


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

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