Saturday 27 August 2022: Tuggeranong Hill and Melrose Nature Reserves * – L/E-M,ptX. Climb to Tuggeranong Hill for great views of Lanyon Valley and to Mt Tennent. Descend and walk the Theodore Hills in the north-east section of the Reserve. Walk north to the indigenous axe-grinding grooves. Cross the Monaro Highway. Cross Tuggeranong Creek and Dunns Creek. Visit the Greening Australia memorial tree planting project. Climb generally north to Melrose trig, then via the Old Tuggeranong Road to the misplaced ACT border marker. Visit Tuggeranong siding. Walk the rail line to the Melrose Valley railway camp cookhouse fireplace. Cross Rocky Gully and climb to Enchanted Hill. Return generally north-west, cross the Monaro Highway and follow the power lines back to the start. Around 18km and 720vm climb.
Canberra Nature Park – a breath of fresh air for busy walkers. There are 39 Nature Reserves in the Canberra Nature Park. How many can we walk in? These are numbers 19 and 20.
From Garmin Connect (plus a bit added) – Distance: 17.83km | Climb: 838m | Time: 4:42 moving + 1:53 of stops = 6:35 | Grading: L/E-M,ptX; H(12-). That climb seems a bit high again. The gpx track fed into AllTrails indicates 711vm.
The gpx file is available here. It’s not very good in detail, as I had to tack a bit on the beginning.
My companions took off like startled rabbits and by 200m up the fire trail to Tuggeranong Hill I was eating their dust.
Instead of becoming despondent, I tried to think of reasons. One party member just back from walking the Larapinta Trail; another used to walking in the mountains of Spain. Walkers 15-45 years younger than me. I became despondent. Around 20mins up the track remembered I hadn’t switched on my GPSr. We regrouped at Tuggeranong Hill with its TG84 trig. Nice views on a cracker of an end of Winter day.
We descended to the saddle and headed off down a drainage line to cancel out a bit of return fire trail.
Back down near our cars, we headed up a fire trail to the SW knoll of Theodore Hills. My friends had the decency to leave the seat up there vacant for me. Then it was NE along the footpad on the grassy ridge. 5 or 6 yellow-tailed black cockatoos loped over us.
Pleasant views and walking. A mob of roos posed for our Spanish visitor.
Another kilometre or so of fire trail had us at the Theodore grinding grooves.
The nearby signage has the good oil.
From here we headed over to cross the Monaro Highway. The first of several fence crossings during the day. Poor decision by the leader to cross Tuggeranong Creek downstream of where Dunns Creek joins it, so a bit more water. A gallant party member.
Another puff for me as we climbed generally N-ish through open going up to Melrose trig. Smoko.
A short leg to join Old Tuggeranong Road and so to the misplaced ACT border marker. A chance to explain the ‘marking our territory’ story.
Along to meet the rail line, here defining the ACT border, and some signage.
Ahead of us were the points …
… and the siding.
A little further on we stopped at a geocache, so there was the opportunity to explain that fun pastime as another great way to get out and breathe a bit of fresh air.
Ahead lay around 3km of rail line walking, but at least it was flat.
Our next stop was for lunch at the Melrose Valley railway camp cookhouse fireplace site.
A great plaque …
… on the site.
The rail line continued to curve, first through McAlisters Cutting …
… then over Rocky Gully.
At last it was time to leave the rail line and head up. A puff of a climb. At one point we reached a gate …
… and fence line going in our direction. A clear way on the left of the fence, maybe the route of the optical fibre cable to the communications tower. Another ‘Gate 2’ took us to the other side of the fence and onto a fire trail, possibly a service road for the tower.
This bit of fire trail is shown on AllTrails, so I was expecting it.
A last climb to the tower …
… and to the nearby Enchanted Hill.
A very pleasant descent to the west, through open woodland. Easy walking. We crossed the rail line (two easement fences to negotiate, of course). The ascent/descent from/to the rail line is on private property.
An easier crossing of Tuggeranong Creek at this upstream crossing. Much less water.
A leg along the edge of the Monaro Highway, definitely not hiking/bushwalking.
A convenient place to head west towards the power line, rejoin a fire trail and back to the cars. Canberra Nature Park Nature Reserves #19 and #20, tick, tick. Half of them done.
Here’s where we went.
An excellent party of 10 walkers – Alba, Jenny, Lam, Marie, Michael, Ming, Noelia, Richard, Tilly, me. Much chatter.