Smoko views

Wednesday 14 September 2022: M-H Wednesday Walk Tidbinbilla Peak. We follow the Camelback fire trail for some 4-5km before heading west off track until we meet the walking track to John’s Peak for morning tea. From there, we continue to Tidbinbilla Peak, and while there used to be a track there, I am not sure how much it is now overgrown, as I have not been there for some time.  Depending on the group we may return the same way or follow one of the ridges offtrack down back to the fire trail. Total ascent: is around 700m and around 12-14 km of walking, with some rock scrambling and possible medium or thick scrub.


From Garmin Connect (with a bit of help) – Distance: 13.34km | Climb: 878m | Time: 5:21 moving + 1:51 of stops = 7:12 | Grading: L/E; M(11+).


Photographs are available here.

gpx File

The gpx file is available here.

Track Notes

I was last on Johns Peak on 16 Apr 22 and 14 Mar 22. I was last on Tidbinbilla Peak on 31 Jul 19.

The longest trip on the Tidbinbilla Range I’ve ever done was on 29 Mar 08, when we walked 23km from Pierces Creek to Fishing Gap car park, via Black Spring Mountain, Pierce Hill, Camels Hump, Johns Peak, Tidbinbilla Peak, The Pimple, Tidbinbilla Mountain, Snowy Corner, Mt Domain and Fishing Gap. That was over 14 years ago ?.

I remain so embarrassed by my slowness uphill, so got the nod from the walk leader to meet the rest of the party on Johns Peak. Thanks John.

Left Mountain Creek car park at 10 past 8. Overcast to start, but towards the top of the Camel Back Fire Trail the sun appeared. A tape and cairn near the top of the Spur 1 FT that I haven’t noticed before. Maybe marking the bottom of the SE descent route from Tidbinbilla Peak, although I tend to come in a little lower down.

Tape and cairn on Camel Back Fire Trail

Some nice ferns in one of the drainage lines crossing the FT.

Ferns on a drainage line on Camel Back Fire Trail

John had given me the location of where he heads up west to join the Johns Peak footpad. It certainly cuts off quite a distance and time from the usual up to the junction shy of Camels Hump, the 180° turn and the walk south past the burnt-out communications tower. Popped my gaiters on and puffed the 350m across the ground and 110vm in 23mins. A bit scrubby at the bottom of the climb, but towards the top brush replaced by grasses.

More open going towards the top of the climb to Tidbinbilla Ridge

Nice views back to Camels Hump from where I joined the Johns Peak footpad.

View back to Camels Hump from the Johns Peak footpad

A pleasant leg up to Johns Peak, the 630m taking me 33mins. I had quite a few stops on the final climb.

Johns Peak getting closer and closer

A few new track markers since I was last here.

New markers on the Johns Peak footpad

Always one to be early, I had a wait of about an hour. But I was glad I wasn’t on the final climb to the top with the rest of the party, as I stopped to gasp so many times. Enjoyed the long smoko, communicated with my dear wife and popped a photo onto social media. The other walkers arrived and had their morning tea.

Some more new signage just past Johns Peak and at SH1491.

‘Beyond here be dragons …’ – interesting signage at SH1491 and just after Johns Peak

Useful warnings on the STOP – READ THIS sign, although the footpad between Johns Peak and Tidbinbilla Peak is no worse (except a little rockier under foot) than the footpad already covered. However, it’s a different place in mist/rain/snow and it’s been a while since I’ve been on from Tidbinbilla Peak to Tidbinbilla Mountain.

A good pace on this leg, with a regroup at an open spot.

Open spot to regroup

A delight to be back on Tidbinbilla Peak after 3 years. Not much left of the trig, a timber afair burnt down many years ago. It was described as a 1st class timber beacon burnt in 2003.

Burnt Tidbinbilla Peak trig

At last! Thanks to Girts O, a photo (of a photo) of Tidbinbilla trig in its glory. Huge thanks Girts.

Tidbinbilla Peak trig Sep 2002 | photo Girts O

The view to Tidbinbilla Mountain and The Pimple beckons.

Tidbinbilla Mountain and The Pimple from Tidbinbilla Peak

We didn’t dally long as it was nearly lunchtime. We returned down to the NE to another open spot for munchies.

Here our good leader revealed that he’d recce-d today’s trip in 1990. But he’s a great leg-puller and I saw he had a well annotated map. Some discussion as to the return route. It was decided to continue NE off Johns Peak and choose a suitable spur to head down to the FT.

Turning down from the footpad towards the fire trail

33mins to descend, quite steep and the east facing slope was a bit damp and slippery. Deliberately slipped off the spur a bit to hit the FT at the closer bend.

A steep and slippery descent

We all agreed that we wouldn’t use this descent route again.

All that remained was to trot back down to the cars.

The current TNR management does not know the origin or use of the warning siren, located just up in the bush on the west side of the bottom of the Camel Back Fire Trail. Does anyone know?

Track Map

Here’s where we went.

Track Tidbinbilla Peak

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


15 of us. John D leader.