View back to Camels Hump and the crest route so far from smoko on Johns Peak – never get sick of this view

Saturday 30 September 2023: New/Emerging Leaders Training Walk to Tidbinbilla Peak * – M/E. This training trip is designed for new and emerging leaders who would like to experience planning and executing a day walk. If you’ve just completed Rob and Jenny’s Navigation training, or are thinking about becoming a walk leader, this is for you! Please book on the activity and I’ll let you know how it will work.


From Garmin Connect (MAP66i) – Distance: 13.20km | Climb: 758vm (Elevation correction enabled)/764vm (Elevation correction disabled) | Time: 3:21 moving + 2:25 of stops = 5:46 | Grading: M/E-M; M(10).


View photographs here.

gpx file

Download the gpx file here.

Track Map

Here’s where we went.

Track Tidbinbilla Peak

Trip Report

I was last on Tidbinbilla Peak on 11 Feb 23.

We arrived at Mountain Creek car park in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve around 8am. We started with a ‘show me what’s in your pack’, all of us emptying out the contents. Most pleasing – each of us had a first aid kit including snake compression bandage, maps, appropriate clothing, sufficient water and food, rain jacket.

We spent a good 40 minutes talking about:

  1. Acknowledgement of country – optional, but encouraged by CBC.
  2. What map do you have? Ranged from the latest Tidbinbilla 1:25000 topographic map printed on waterproofed paper, to map segments printed from Gaia and Avenza, to (like mine) a segment printed from the SIX current e-topo. Where can you get this? See #15 here. Good for marking up with bounds on the day. Carry the full topo map if you have it.
  3. Practised a few GRs.
  4. Walk briefing – homework was to prepare a route card for this trip. From these, participants shared descriptions of the legs of the walk eg. from where to where, estimated distance, altitude change, expected going.
  5. We talked a fair bit about cat herding group management – count!; tail end Charlie; off-track keep in sight; on track regroup at significant points; clear instructions – ask for confirmation; breaks – after first 15mins – gear and clothing adjustment, water break say, every hour, “ready to go in 5 minutes” – make it a full 5 mins; don’t caterpillar stop; keep a special eye on the slowest walker; social – as leader, try to talk to every walker during the trip, particularly guests.

We left at 8.40am, each participant taking turns to brief the party on the next leg, then leading it. All during the day, I was well qualified to play the role of the slowest walker.

We covered the 5.9km to the turn off from the Camelback FT in 1:35, then the 1.7km to Johns Peak in 1:03.

View over North Arm of Burkes Creek from 1380m contour on climb to Johns Peak

At smoko, Chris celebrated a significant birthday with a large, cream topped apple pie (note to self – stop walking with people nearly half my age). The usual views that I never tire of.

View NE over tracking station into Canberra from Johns Peak

We pressed on to Tidbinbilla Peak, the track taking a bit of a dog leg at SH1491. Some pretty close estimates of the altitude changes for the down, up, then more up from Johns Peak to Tidbinbilla Peak, from reading the contour lines. A useful visual aid is that Black Mountain (812m) rises around 200vm above Lake Burley Griffin (580m). This leg was 1.1km in 0:40. I’d forgotten that the old trig area is pretty ant-y these days. But the usual grand views to The Pimple.

The Pimple from Tidbinbilla Peak

Wedge-tailed Eagles soared overhead.

A shorter, some standing, lunch than was planned, then, at 12.40pm, away to the south for 250m to the cairned area near SH1556. This is a ‘T-intersection’, with our route from Tidbinbilla Peak coming in from the N, the route to Tidbinbilla Mountain heading off to the W, and our exit to the SE.

This SE exit from Tidders Peak was not cleared by TNR staff, but done without permission. Naughty, naughty, but it sure is so much easier than the previous bush bash swinging through the wattle regrowth. The route drops 450vm (from SH1556 to the Camelback FT at 1110m contour) over 1.9km. It’s steep at the top and makes one appreciate the gentler (but more boring) ascent to the crest of the Tidbinbilla Range via the Camelback FT.

Much excitement when greenhood orchids were spotted track-side and a few other sorts.

Orchid on the descent at 1190m contour

Conveniently, the track and cairns were lost at the bottom, giving us the opportunity to talk about catching features. (You were correct, Chris, and I was wrong. The marked route actually swings to the south and hits the FT below the Spur 1 junction. Who knows why.)

A final 1+km back to the cars, stopping at the Tidbinbilla Warning Siren.

Certainly not off-track navigation, but a reasonable expose of group management strategies. Thanks all, trust you enjoyed it. One talkative participant reckoned the best part was the social interaction!


5 walkers – Jenny A, Chris D, Di McD, Sandra T, me.

Post trip homework
  1. Download the gpx file. Try loading it into Google Earth or GPS Visualizer. Some notes here.
  2. Some bits and pieces on navigation and bushwalking tips here.
  3. Looking to lead trips in the Canberra Nature Park’s 39 Nature Reserves? Have a look here.
  4. Very scanty notes on Garmin Epix/Fenix watches here.
  5. Some notes on routes/walks on the Tidbinbilla Range here.

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

Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog FaceBook Page

I’ve started up a FaceBook page. Each trip report posts to it. 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.