Joanne and Santa | photo Richard H

Saturday morning 2 December 2023: Granite Tors NPA/* – M/R,ptX. A short walk using the old road to the Geodetic Observatory above the Orroral Valley. Grand views. We’ll then head north-west, at first using the track that winds along the ridge. We’ll continue off track through Lunar Laser Rocks (see photo) and Haggis Rocks, so named in the rock-climbing book ACT Granite. They are magnificent tors. A little scrambling. A steep descent down the spur to the bend in James Creek. Around 10km and 400vm climb. An early start and home for lunch. It’s nearly Christmas – wear a Christmas decoration! A combined walk with NPA.


From Garmin Connect (MAP66i) – Distance: 12.52km | Climb: 540vm (Elev Corrections Enabled) | Time: 3:27 moving + 1:02 of stops = 4:29 | Grading: M/E; M(8).

However, those that did the off-track section got the M/R,ptX.


View photographs here.

gpx file

Download the gpx file here.

Track Map

Here’s where we went.

Track Granite Tors

Trip Report

I last walked up the Granite Tors Walking Track on 12 Jun 23.

We carped the diem today. Threatening clouds and thunderstorms, but we were fortunate, and no raincoats were needed.

It’s sad. Not many folk take me seriously. Christmas decos were required, but only Anne complied, and Joanne had Christmas socks on. Santa was not pleased.

Never seen so many roos and joeys enjoying the cool day and green pick as we walked up from the Orroral Valley Tracking Station car park.

Walking up to meet Cotter Hut Road

The cloud base was fairly low, but we were able to spot Haggis Rocks up above the rain-softened old service road which is now the Granite Tors Walking Track.

Looking up to Haggis Rocks from the Granite Tors Walking Track

The party began to suffer a deal of spread, but the front runners pressed on and Cynthia (who volunteered to be tail-end Charlie) did a most admirable job with the back markers.

Turning the corner, James Creek was running noisily.

One of the party down in the scrub and boulders of James Creek

We gained the geodetic observatory, a first visit for some. Fleeting views down into the valley from the nearby smoko spot.

Looking down on Orroral Homestead from beside the geodetic observatory

I’d formulated a bit of a plan B, so headed of back down the track to pick up the tail enders. Took my GPSr/inReach with me but left my pack. Violated my personal rule of never being separated from your pack.

We agreed that I would take the tail enders along the GTWT on the crest of the ridge and Cynthia kindly took on the role of leading the others on the full planned trip. She took off to pick up the morning tea munchers. Richard was appointed technical advisor (no scrambling near the 20m drops from the tors) and Beat was very helpful with route finding. The 3 of us remaining enjoyed a stroll up the way to the geodetic observatory. 

We really enjoyed our quiet stroll along the top.

The Granite Tors Walking Track along the crest

The other 9 enjoyed the tors and off-track going.

Great friends on the bit I missed

But the track was delightful. Soft and damp, passing by the gigantic tors.

The GTWT winds under gigantic tors

Back down at the junction of the ‘new’ and ‘old GTWT, the 3 of us sauntered down to the cars.

The Belfry on the Orroral Ridge of Stone

I turned around and walked back up the track. A thunderous thunderclap to the north. I reckon it would have been a bit damp on the Square Rock walk.  Met the others coming down; an internal sigh of relief. Another of my walking maxims is ‘the way to precipitate an incident is to split the party’.

So, in the end, everyone had an enjoyable and dry half day trip. The front runners got the full deal and the back markers enjoyed a walk in an area never before visited.


12 walkers – Cynthia B, Rochelle C, Michael C, Ian D and Anne F, Suzanna H, Joanne and Richard H, Phillip M, Beat O, Michael Z, me.


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

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