Controlled burn patches on our descent spur

Saturday 29 April 2023: Bullen Range Spurs * – M/M-R. Walk the spurs (off-track, very steep in places) and ridges (2km on fire trail) of the Bullen Range Nature Reserve. A geocache location ‘Ancient Spine of the Giant Water Dragon’ has a spectacular view down to Kambah Pool. Around 9km and 600vm climb. Spur walking through open woodland with little undergrowth (that was the case in 2015). Rated to Rough because of the very step descent at the viewing point.


From Garmin Connect (Epix Gen 2) – Distance: 9.43km | Climb: 660m | Time: 2:40 moving + 2:37 of stops = 5:17 | Grading: M/M-R; M(10).

Photographs Photographs are available here.
gpx File The gpx file is available here.
Track Notes

I was last here on 10 Nov 15.

Only have two things to say. First to the 6 walkers – we “carp-ed the diem”! And to the 8 who withdrew “suffer in your jocks”. If you need a translation of the latter, a line from the Aussie classic film ‘The Castle’, it means “you’ve missed out and pooped yourself”. Not a drop of rain! Thank goodness, as a few days ago the forecast was for up to 30mm.

Walking by 8.10am, round through the gate and up a spur I’d walked a couple of Wednesdays ago. The bush takes on a lovely cloak in the fog/cloud.

Climbing a spur from the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station to the Bullen Range crest

We then went a couple of kilometers SE on the Bullen Range Fire Trail.

2km on the Bullen Range Fire Trail

At the top of a spur that winds down to the Murrumbidgee River we left the fire trail. Passed a spot I’d visited in 2015. It’s a little worse for wear, then again, so am I.

A rudimentary shelter and fireplace I’d first seen in November 2015

One of the great things about walking with a bushwalking club is up to date knowledge. Our CBC Walks Secretary had warned me that there was to be a controlled burn on the Bullen Range last Monday. So I contacted the Fire Management Officer of ACT Parks and Conservation Service and got her OK to walk today. Plenty of evidence.

Controlled burn patches on our descent spur

We made it down to the geocache location of GCHKVK Going Commando. Craig logged it. The cache is a little worse for wear, with a hole in the container.

Geocache GCHKVK Going Commando

At 10am we sighted the first of the exposed rock on the crest of the spur that contributed to the lower down geocache name ‘Ancient Spine of the Giant Water Dragon’.

First sight of the ‘Ancient Spine of the Giant Water Dragon’

Descending further, we sighted the river.

First sight of the Murrumbidgee River

Smoko at the top of the steep descent.

Morning tea on the spine

I was a bit precious about the final descent, so took a route off the crest, going down the W side. No slips or falls. 

Murrumbidgee River from the start of the final descent

The photo above shows a geological dike which causes the drainage line coming in to join the Murrumbidgee to twist and turn through the bottom of the spine. Looking back up from the bottom doesn’t quite do the spine justice – it is quite steep.

Looking back up the spine descent

We followed the creek. A few blackberries.

This creek twists through the spine to join the Murrumbidgee River

We popped out at Kambah Pool. Not a nude swimmer to be seen across the town side.

Kambah Pool

There was a bit of a puff up next to gain the exit spur. A little bit scrubby at the bottom.

A bit of a puff up here to gain the exit spur

That bit of the climb over, we were on the bottom of the spur that Jenny took us up on the Wednesday Walk of 29 Mar 23. A steady climb today, as one of the party had a bung knee. We came across a couple of smoulders from last Monday’s burn. I let the Fire Management Officer know, but some more rain this arvo and tomorrow should fix them.

Smoulder 3

The climb from the river at 530m to the crest at 830m is 300vm and 1.8km across (like, up) the ground. But apart from the scrub near the river, open woodland going through the burnt patches.
We lunched on the fire trail on the crest, descended a convenient spur and popped out at the dishes.

Out onto the open

Threatening, but not a drop of rain.

Thanks folks!

Relive the trip
Track Map

Here’s where we went, on aerial imagery via OziExplorer.

Track overview Bullen Range Spurs

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


6 walkers – Jan H, Richard H, Stephen J, Craig L, Chloe P, me.

Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog FaceBook Page

I’ve started up a FaceBook page. Each trip report posts to it. So it’s another way to get some info to get out and breathe a bit of fresh air. Why not pop over and Follow the page, or give a post a Like.