Mt Herlt and Mt Mavis over Thunder Bluff

Wednesday 26 October: Thunder Bluff – M-H. Thunder Bluff is a granite outcrop to the south-west of Orroral Hill with good views of many of Namadgi’s peaks. The walk starts in the Orroral Valley and follows the Nursery Swamp track for a couple of kilometres then goes west, partly on a foot pad, to a saddle between Nursery and Rendezvous Creeks. It’s then off-track through patches of thick scrub, with some steep climbing, to the outcrop. Return via the head of Nursery Creek. Horizontal distance of about 13 km with a total climb of about 500 m. Mostly off-track, with thick scrub and boulders in places. Leader: Philip G. Map: Rendezvous Creek. Meeting: Kambah Village Shops leaving at 8.00 am. Drive: 80 km, about $10 a person. Weather: Current BOM forecast for Canberra is partly cloudy with a slight chance of a shower, 9 to 23 degrees.

17 of us met.

Further Information

My last trips to Thunder Bluff were 26 Oct 10, 29 Apr 08 and 9 Aug 06.

With my dear wife finally discharged from a week in hospital, I was needing a walk badly.


Distance: 13.1km | Climb: 620m | Time: 8.50am – 4.25pm (7hrs 35mins), including 45 mins of breaks | Grading: M/R; H(12)


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Track Notes

Our walk began with following the Nursery Swamp Walking Track to the saddle SE of Orroral Hill where the Track turns to the South. Already pleasantly warm, walking in shorts and t-shirt. 1.9km in 30mins.

Then a pleasant surprise as we went West to the Nursery Creek aboriginal rock art. A very good route, a lot on a vague footpad, certainly better than my last effort on 20 Jun 15. Today, initially a little higher, then the tracks were the same. Maybe more traffic over the last 16 months. 1.4km in 45mins. An inspection of the art and morning tea.

Our next leg was to the saddle above Rendezvous Creek, picking up the Rendezvous Creek pad a couple of hundred metres East of the saddle. Nursery Creek was flowing merrily where we crossed it. 0.7km in 20mins.

Philip kindly allowed me the opportunity to log geocache GC60J41 Namadgi Nursery. I was on my best behaviour with the famous cacher mtbikeroz in the party.

Here we left the footpad and headed NW up though SH1424 to Thunder Bluff. The pea regrowth is not that pleasant. At times, great views to the SW over Rendezvous Creek to the Mavis Ridge, with the slabs on Mt Herlt and the white boulders north of Mt Mavis prominent. We could see Mt Burbidge through the saddle between Herlt and Mavis and the Namadgi ‘bulb’ at the end of the ridge running NW from Mt Namadgi and overlooking Little Creamy Flats. I hope to be there in a few week’s time.

Mt Herlt – GR739479 (MGA94), Spot Height 1612 on the 1st edition Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S 1:25000 map and the feature above the 1600m contour on the 2nd edition map. Mt Herlt was named after Tony Herlt, a tiger walker in the 1970s who led a lot of day trips for CBC in Namadgi. It is probably best known for the huge granite rock face on its northern side. Alas Tony “retired” from bushwalking when he became a family man but if my memory is correct my naming of the mountain after him did entice him back to do this walk. (Information provided by Jeff B, the ‘horse’s mouth’ who named Mt Herlt.)

Mt Mavis – GR723493 (MGA94), Spot Height 1711 on the Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S 1:25000 map. Mt Mavis was named after Gary Medaris’s mother. Gary was a prominent and enthusiastic leader in his very early twenties in 1973. He phased out of club walking in late 70’s when he married, but continued to walk solo and with his wife. (Information provided by Alan V; Ann GJ)

We covered this 2.4km scrubby climb in 1hr 50mins, arriving at Thunder Bluff at 12.30pm.

Staggering views from near the edge of the granite bluff, which drops 60m below. To the left, down Rendezvous Creek, we could see the open grasslands and to the right, up the creek to Split Rock north of Rock Flats. With the clear view, the Mavis Ridge looked very impressive (but not inviting when one knows what is there). We two geocachers wandered back a little and I logged GC1K7BW Zeus’s Escarpment. Lunch was had back a slab, as it was very windy out on the exposed top of Thunder Bluff.

We left at 1.15pm. The return leg to the Rendezvous Creek footpad saddle was 2.4km in 1hr 50mins; via the footpad to join the Nursery Swamp Walking track 2.0km in 35mins; and return down the Nursery Swamp Walking Track to the cars 2.1km in 40mins.

Philip is a consummate leader and seems to glide effortlessly through the bush. Great trip.

Track Map



17 walkers.