Saturday 30 July 2022: Budjan Galindji Grasslands, Nadjung Mada and Crace Grasslands Nature Resesrves * – M/E-M,ptX. 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? There are numbers 11, 12 and 13.
Ever heard of Nadjung Mada and Budjan Galindji Grasslands Nature Reserves? These walks are centred on Mitchell. From near the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre, walk north on Old Well Station Road (an old vehicle track) to Well Station Drive, then west across Flemington Road to the Budjan Galindji Grasslands. Do a lap in an area I have not visited. Back walking south on Old Well Station Road, try a couple of forays into Nadjung Mada. A recent short recce revealed a very wet area with dense, long grass. Drive to an entrance of Crace Grasslands for a wander on, hopefully, slashed routes through shorter grass. Fence crossing. Around 15km and 200vm climb. Limit 12. A very handy map of slash lines in these 3 NRs from the Bushfire Operations Plan – have a look at BOP map 5 in area FB888 east of Mitchell. Shows an extended route in Nadjung Mada to be used.
Walk 1, Budjan Galindji Grasslands and Nadjung Mada – Distance: 10.5km | Climb: 124m | Time: 3hrs 25mins including 20mins of stops
Walk 2, Crace Grasslands – Distance: 2.6km | Climb: 58m | Time: 50mins
Combined – Distance: 13.1km | Climb: 182m | Time: 4hrs 15mins moving including 20mins of stops | Grading: M/E-M,ptX; E(7).
Walk 1 – Budjan Galindji Grasslands and Nadjung Mada NRs
A couple of months ago I didn’t know that Budjan Galindji Grasslands and Nadjung Mada Nature Reserves existed. Then I found the Canberra Nature Park 2021 Management Plan which listed the 39 Nature Reserves. Next was to find out where they were, how to pronounce the names and what they meant.
The Ngunnawal language name Budjan Galindji means ‘water bird’ in English – a recognition of the migratory Latham’s Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) that visit the reserve’s ephemeral wetlands. Budjan Galindji is pronounced “boo-jarn garl-in-jee”.
Nadjung Mada is a Ngunnawal language name meaning ‘wet land’. Note this meaning is not “wetland” but that the land is wet as there are many small sub catchments that drain through this landscape. Sullivans Creek being the main water course.
A couple of short recces on 10 Jul 22 for parking spots was my only introduction.
Today we met near the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre. I hope the authorities didn’t think we were planning a breakout when all the cars arrived. The temperature was a brisk ‘feels like’ -8.3°C.
We walked north on Old Well Station Road/Track, an old vehicle track. This a remnant track from the late 1800s that connected the farms of Well Station and Gungaderra (further north of where we were today). It also extended through to the Campbell’s property at Duntroon and onto Gundaroo.
Quite a surprise as we neared Well Station Drive. First of all, the construction exclusion fence had moved about 100m south from three weeks ago. Secondly, there were major road works on the now closed Well Station Drive and I had to talk hard to the works foreman to allow us through to Flemington Road. As I explained, there was no Track closed sign where we started and we needed to come through again to get back to our cars.
It was time consuming to cross Flemington Road with its light rail lines and to the other side of Well Station Drive, but at last we had Budjan Galindji in sight.
A small Nature Reserve, surrounded by major roads and houses. A patch of woodland in the NE corner.
We did a lap, passing the small dam in the southern section.
No doubt an exercise option if one lives in Franklin and it’s worth a visit if you’ve never been there before, but perhaps not a return visit.
So it was back across the tram lines, through the construction site and a discovery of the sign which was not facing our entrance route.
A couple of hundred metres south, we squeezed through beside the construction fencing and did a small loop in Nadjung Mada.
Grass just as long, but not as soggy as 3 weeks ago.
Back on Old Well Station Track, we walked south and crossed Sullivans Creek. Not as elegant as where it passes through ANU and enters Lake Burley Griffin.
I’d previously noticed slashed lines through a gate into Nadjung Mada, so we headed in and to the NE. Pleasant enough walking, although a bit uninteresting. A morning tea stop in the eastern area where the going got a bit more interesting through a patch of woodland. An eagles nest.
Slashed lines continued to make progress easy, although the centre of the NR is well grassed.
Some exclusion zones. Must ask what for.
True to wonderful form, my new ACT Oracle contact Kate, had for me before start of business Monday:
“You will see these temporary fence enclosures in a number of our reserves, particularly the grasslands. They perform a few protection functions which include;
In Nadjung Mada and Jarramlee they enclose new forb nodes, keeping the grazing pressure off (Roos & cattle). In both of these reserves we have conducted an Autumn burn, then within the node we have planted a range of grasses and wildflower species that are missing from the landscape. The idea is that once established, the wind disperses the seed into the landscape and with any luck we increase the overall species diversity. After a couple of years the fences will be removed and shifted to other areas requiring restoration or grazing protection.
In the Jerrabomberra grasslands temporary fences were placed around fragile natural temperate grassland areas that were being heavily impacted by Kangaroo grazing during the last drought. The Rangers open up panels in the fences when the biomass requires grazing again.
This type of fencing is much simpler to implement and has less physical disturbance than stock fencing, with the added benefit of being able to use it over and over again where we need it. The down side it that is isn’t so easy on the eye.
The more robust stock fence with the small fence inside is a striped legless lizard enclosure. Prior to the development of the East Gungahlin high school on the north western boundary, some surveys were conducted to capture any Striped legless lizards on that site. They were relocated to this enclosure. There were less than 5 collected in total.”
We took a little detour in towards the centre of the NR along a route I’d seen in the Bushfire Operations Plan – have a look at BOP map 5 in area FB888 east of Mitchell. Also seen it on AllTrails I think. An old yards site.
Back to the cars, we drove to an entrance of Crace Grasslands NR.
Walk 2 – Crace Grasslands NR
The object here was just to have a short wander in this NR. We walked in near the Belconnen Model Aero Club along slashed lines.
A knoll had a small rock ridge.
Crace Hill looked inviting. The Canberra Bushwalking Club does not walk on private land/rural leases without permission. So when one looks at the Parks ACT Nature Reserve description here, Crace Hill is prominently mentioned. (Only when one reads the fine print here does one realise that Crace Hill is within a rural lease.). We did quickly skip up to Crace trig.
And took in the view to the east.
Back down past the log dump and we were finished. No particular reason to return to Crace Grasslands NR once one has been there.
Canberra Nature Park Nature Reserves #11, #12 and #13 – tick, tick, tick.
Here’s where we went, displayed on an e-topo geo-referenced PDF map downloaded from SIX and calibrated for use in OziExplorer.
The AllTrails map is here, where you can pan and zoom.
9 walkers – Elizabeth, Jannette, Jenny, Judy, Kerstin, Lam, Malcolm, Terrylea, me.
I made the comment “… perhaps not a return visit” wrt Budjan Galindji Grasslands from the perspective of an old, has-been bush walker just wanting to tick off a list of visiting all 39 CNP Nature Reserves. Malcolm kindly sent me a copy of the Friends of Grasslands July-August 2022 newsletter. I’ve extracted a page here, which shows the passion of folk caring for this Nature Reserve. I dips me lid to all who work hard to preserve and manage our local open spaces.
Also a link to an Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Network organised cool burn by Wally Bell on Icon Water property at Williamsdale.