Morning tea at ‘Calvary’

Sunday 24 April: South Bullen Range and Miowera area * – M/M,ptX. Walk in from Tidbinbilla Road over Barnes Hill to join the Bullen Fire Trail. Descend off-track to ‘Calvary’, an old pisé homestead ruin. Continue W and NW to Larrys Creek for grass trees and two geocaches. Return through the Miowera Pine Forest. Around 15km and 400vm.


Distance: 15.5km | Climb: 425m | Time: 4hrs 45mins including 30mins for morning tea and caching | Grading: M/E-M,ptX; M(9).


Photographs are available here.

gpx File

The gpx file, recorded on my new little boy’s toy Garmin MAP66i GPSr, is available here.

Depending on the desktop and mobile apps you use, you can do many things with a gpx file to visualise its contents. One simple way, which presents an elegant 3D representation, is to open it in Google Earth (in the GE File, Open dialogue, don’t forget to change the file type to be opened from Google Earth (*.kml, etc) to Gps (*.gpx, etc) or All files (*.*)).

Track Notes

I was last in this area on 19 Jul 19.

We covered a lot of different vegetation types today – weeds, thistles, shrubby regrowth, pine forest. And too much fire trail. But the rewards included great views from the South Bullen Range, a visit to ‘Calvary’, grass trees in a lovely grassy meadow, and two geocaches for me.

The first walk I led for the Canberra Bushwalking Club was on 22 Oct 05. The club President booked on the trip and for many years I believed that this was to check up on new leaders (definitely not so). This morning, as we climbed towards Barnes Hill, a cheery “hello” came from two other walkers. One was our current President. So I now must believe that the ‘check up’ process is alive and well (not so, they were off on an epic south to north Bullen Range trip of 20km and 870vm).

We parked on the side of Tidbinbilla Road and climbed the gate into what I think is/was a TSR (Travelling Stock Route). Fire trail took us to the southern spur of Barnes Hill where we climbed through the thistles and weeds to Barnes trig.

Climbing the fence in amongst the thistles on Barnes Hill

From the top we could see the next knoll.

Weedy foreground, Barnes trig and the knoll beyond

These two tops got most of the trip’s climb over and we descended to join the Bullen Range Fire Trail.

As it levelled out (and before the climb to Brett trig), we turned west through shrubby regrowth and down to the Calvary site.

Luxurious shrubbery on the descent to ‘Calvary’

Here we stopped for morning tea/brunch in amongst the decaying pisé walls.

Morning tea at Calvary

Some bits and pieces have been collected over the years. It would have been a hard life living there.

Items collected at the Calvary site

The information I have about Calvary is here.

After munchies we headed SW for a couple of hundred metres to join a fire trail which took us down to exit the Bullen Range Nature Reserve very near the NW corner of the Miowera Pine Forest. We then tracked generally NW via fire trail vehicle track towards Larrys Creek. I must find out the status of this open grassland area. It’s definitely public access and not part of the Miowera property, as it has Grass Trees track signage. Gates are equipped with open/closed sliding signs to indicate how each gate should be left, so I guess it’s a rural lease of public land.

Our objective was a geocache, appropriately named GC9PYXX Miowera Meadow – Grass trees. There’s a lovely grassy area off the side of the fire trail containing tens of grass trees, surrounded by fences to protect them from grazing.

The geocache description includes “Here you will find what are considered to be some of the oldest Grass Trees in the ACT!”.

The cache was soon found (we won’t say by whom, will we Joanne?) and logged.

Signing the log | photo Richard H

We had a brief enjoy of the surrounding grass trees.

Grass tree

It was then onwards to the NW, with no doubt as to where we could be heading.

Walking the old vehicle track to Larrys Creek, Tidders Tracking Station dish right rear

A loop back onto Larrys Creek got us to a small wooden weir and geocache GC9PYY3 Weird Weir XXXIX – Larry. Again, my friends helped me out (didn’t you Stephen?).

Although it was fire trail/old vehicle track, we got a bit of a loop in returning to the Miowera Pine Forest. I haven’t been along here before.

Walking the return fire trail near Larrys Creek

The only interest in the pines was three deer leaping across in front of us and over the fence into the Bullen Range NR. More fire trail back to the cars.

Track Map

Here’s the track laid out on my old TopoView 2006 map segment from the Tuggeranong and Tidbinbilla 1:25000 topographic maps.

Track South Bullen Range and Miowera area


10 walkers – Richard H, Diana K, Joanne L, Stephen M, Richard M, Margaret O’S, Lena O, Tilly T, Teresa Z, me.