The group (less our excellent photographer), Blue Range Hut (photo Robert W)

Saturday 18 March 2023: Mt Blundell adit * – M/M-R. POI include an adit and associated mining pits (I’m into holes at the moment) and the heritage listed remains of a World War II Italian internment camp. It’ll cost you walking on lots of fire trails. From Blue Range Rd, climb fire trails to Blue Ridge. Visit Uriarra trig and Mt Blundell. Just over the ACT/NSW border, descend 100vm through the bush to pits (careful, don’t fall in) and an adit used for gold, silver and lead prospecting. Return to the crest and visit Genges trig. Down in the valley, visit Blue Range Hut and take in its history. Around 12 km and 700vm climb.


From Garmin Connect (MAP66i) – Distance: 14.07km | Climb: 803m | Time: 3:50 moving + 2:46 of stops = 6:36 | Grading: L/E-M; M(11).

Photographs Photographs are available here, including some very nice shots by Robert W (shared with permission). The collection of adit photos is here.
gpx File The gpx file is available here.
Track Notes

I was last at the adit on 26 Aug 08, 18 Nov 08 and 14 May 13.

Forecast to be a hot day in Canberra, peaking at 32°C. But it’s useful to walk in the heat to know one’s capabilities. The usual risk mitigation including an early start, heading for height (or creeks), heaps of water, plenty of stops and always shade seeking. Anyway, it turned out not too bad, with a breeze at times.

Looking to Tidbinbilla Mountain from start of walk (photo Robert W)

Plenty of fire trails on my TopoView2006 maps in OziExplorer that I primarily use for trip planning (the Cotter Dam 1:25000 map ©2003). Of course a lot has changed since then – some of the area burnt in 2003 and many fire trails decommissioned. The usual technique is to ‘mogul’ them, as we experienced immediately on leaving our start point.

Climbing a moguled fire trail soon after the start

The going was made more difficult by the pine debris in the dips.

Moguls made more difficult by pine debris

Around 100vm of up and up. I was the well qualified tail end Charlie.

Up and more up at the 800m contour

Still not on the crest, we could look back and see the climb so far.

Looking back down, Canberra in the distance

The climb to the Namadgi National Park border and native forest was 1.5km, taking 45 minutes for the 200vm rise.

Here, we took a detour south to Uriarra Hill. No official trig, but the ACT’s trig queen filled us in on the memorial ‘trig’ placed there.

Lauren, trig queen of the ACT, refreshes Uriarra trig, a memorial to a friend

Back north to our turnoff point, another 260vm climb took us to the broad top of Mt Blundell.

More climbing at 1020m towards Mt Blundell

Now just after 10.00am so we were searching for a seat in the shade with breeze and views for smoko. Not quite ideal at Apple Tree Corner north of Mt Blundell, at the intersection of Blue Range Road and Genges Trail. Several cars there. We found a scrappy pine log area, at least in the shade.

Setting off again and after a little navigational whoopsie by me, we continued NNW along Blue Range Road to a take off point and down towards the pits.

Heading down through the scrub to the pits and adit

Couldn’t find Pit 1. Pit 2 was quite changed since my last visit, filled with debris. Still, not sure I’d like to stumble over it unwittingly.

Pit 2 (photo Ana V)

We contoured north and there was no mistaking the mullock heap downhill from the adit.

The mullock heap downhill from the adit

So what’s an adit? – “A horizontal passage leading into a mine for the purposes of access or drainage.”

The prospect was active in 1897 and 1972, if my reading of the DIGS Geological Survey of NSW record is correct.

DIGS Record

With all my recent fuss-budgeting about torches, you’d think I’d have had one in my pack. Apart from our meagre phone lights, Lauren saved the day.

The adit, carved through solid rock (but your risk if you go in!), burrows 43 metres into the hillside. Most of us had a look.

In the adit, by phone-light

A great shot by Robert!

Inside the adit (photo Robert W)

You have to watch your head entering and exiting.

Watch your head coming out

The adit is guarded by a large tree fern. Enter by ducking under the drooping fronds.

Tree fern guarding the entrance to the adit

Boots always need a clean after a visit, not too bad today.

Not so much rusty rail water this time

A nice view from a different perspective to Mt Coree.

Mt Coree to the SW

Percy Sheaffe started his ACT border survey from here in 1910, coming down the straight line via the NE cliffs. Here’s us winkling up them whilst border marker hunting on 4 Dec 12.

View up from the turn back point

The return route to Blue Range Road was a whole lot better than the inward one. If I ever go back or you, good reader, want to visit, enter and exit via this more direct route. A lot less scrub, possibly the original access route to the adit as you can still see a clearway through the tree canopy. We passed what could have been a third pit.

This tree has been stitched up

We returned to Apple Tree Corner, then north on Genges Trail. Up along a taped off section of fire trail and a very scrubby 50 metre entry to Genges trig. I’ve never been here before (a trig in NSW), so thanks again to the trig hunting queen. All that’s left is a concrete block base, with a date scrawled from 1974.

Genges trig base, 1974

There was some view, a bit of shade and a lovely breeze, so we took luncheon.

Robert climbed a tree to get this one.

View to Mt Coree from our lunch spot at Genges trig (photo Robert W)

Away again south then east to and intersection. Here I should have taken Robert W’s advice and turned left (as planned), but instead turned right onto Blue Range Road. He said that would eventually take us back to our inward route. So to not do that, there had to be some creative route finding.

After a long southern walk on Blue Range Road, an old fire trail offered said new route and some down.

Some down at last

The short cut brought us back onto Blue Range Road.

Some slip-sliding as our shortcut joins Blue Range Road

After a short section, we again took a short cut, passing close by SH863. What is this area – a gigantic gravel extraction site?

Leaving Blue Range Road on another shortcut

Joined an unnamed fire trail at the bottom.

Down on the fire trail

A couple of more corner cuts through awkward pine debris and we were down onto Blue Range Road and so to Blue Range Hut. Had a drink stop and a look around. Good signage.

Signage at Blue Range Hut

Austere inside of Blue Range Hut

A tromp back to the cars and air conditioned comfort. A bit of fire trail cost for a visit to an interesting site the others had not seen before. Great company. Thanks all!

Relive the trip
Track Map

Here’s where we went.

Track Blundell adit

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


11 walkers – Kirsty G, Laeli H, Stephen J, Megan L, Rob McL, Lauren O, George P, Tilly T, Ana V, Robert W, me.

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