Tue 04 January 2022 – Fri 07 January 2022: Huts and hills on Nungar Plain – M/E
From Tantangara Rd we walk to Schofields Hut then Circuits Hut where we camp. Day 2 a side trip to Mt Nungar and return. Day 3 A side trip to Pedens Hut and Love Nest in the Sallees. Day 4 – Schofields track back to Tantangara Rd and return to Canberra.
Distance: 44.7km | Climb: 1150m | Time: 2 days + 2 half days | Grading: M-L/E; E(6) – M(9).
Day 1 Walk In – Tantangara Dam to Circuits Hut: 2.8km, 90vm
Day 1 Botanical Ramble – a ramble from Circuits Hut: 2.2km, 160vm
Day 2 – Circuits Hut via Schofields Hut to Nungar Creek ford and return : 16.9km, 400vm
Day 3 – Circuits Hut via Pedens Hut to Love Nest in the Sallees and return: 20.1km, 450vm
Day 4 Walk Out – Circuits Hut to Tantangara: 2.7km, 50vm
Photographs are available here. They are not crash hot, as I used my old Sony RX100 MK4 camera. Perhaps the camera’s ok but I didn’t take my usual multi-focal glasses, only a pair of 2X magnifiers. These I often didn’t put on, hence really didn’t know what I was framing.
Waypoint and Track FIles
I was last in this area on 31 May 11.
If you’re into High Country Huts, there’s a list of the ones I’ve visited here.
Day 1 Walk In
A great party and fabulous leaders. Many twists and turns – changes of plans – as circumstances and weather dictated.
I was bitterly disappointed with my ability to walk distances and up hills, so some personal changes of plans too.
The first change, due to possible Snowy 2.0 work on the Tantangara Road and the amount of water at the Nungar Creek ford, was that the planned start point changed from the Schofields Trail to Circuits Trail just past the Tantangara Dam Wall and before the bridge over the Murrumbidgee River. For this I was most grateful, as it meant the walk in to Circuits Hut would be 2.8km rather than around 12.5km. There was plenty of activity on Tantangara Road, with trees removed from blind corners for construction traffic. Huge construction camp down off the side of the road and work on the tunnel at the dam.
The next little surprise was one of the cars getting not one, but two flat tyres! Thank goodness there was a similar make as another vehicle, so the spare from that car went on the double flat car, even though the rim size was different. We parked at the Circuits Trail trackhead and left the tyre issue for another day.
We set off at 1.25pm, the slight rise already taxing me with my 12.5kg pack.
A bit of excitement as a helicopter dropped a stretcher off at a group of cars at Gulf Bend and left with a long trailing rope.
It was a 1hr 50min walk to Circuits Hut. A side stream to step through, setting the watery tone for the trip.
We arrived at Circuits Hut at 3.15pm and set up our tents on the surrounding mown grass. I’d decided to bring my Mountain Designs palace, rather than the single skin Tarptent. Another item, a folding chair, saved my days!
Day 1 Botanical Ramble
To complete the short day, Jenny took us on a ‘Botanical ramble’ up the hills to the west. Some lovely flowers.
The climb was only 160vm, but my huffing and puffing and slow pace made me realise I’d not be able to make tomorrow’s planned Mt Nungar.
Two hours of solid rain the first night, but everyone dry.
Track Day 1
Day 2 Circuits Hut to Mt Nungar, Nungar Creek Ford and return for 8/Circuits Hut to Nungar Creek Ford and return for me and a companion
It was raining in the morning, so our departure was delayed till 8am. After yesterday’s experience I opted out of climbing Mt Nungar, as did an injured companion. But the whole party walked south to Schofields Hut. The countryside was green and the trail soft.
We arrived at Schofields Hut at 9.05am, the weather having cleared.
Here my companion and I continued SW and W to the Nungar Creek ford, whilst the other 8 scaled Mt Nungar then continued off-track down to the ford.
Several horse riders passed us.
We arrived at the ford at 10.30am and took a few photos in case the main party ran into heavy going coming down the Nungar Ridge.
The object of this exercise was to check whether the creek crossing was achievable, which would give non-drivers the option of walking out this way to Tantangara Road on day 4.
A horse rider was of the opinion that the ford could not be safely walked.
We had some morning tea, then set off back to Schofields Hut to wait for the others. My companion led us on a little off-track section, which again exercised my inability to pump oxygen to my muscles.
A couple of feral horse sighted.
We arrived back at Schofields Hut at 12.15pm, a chair of great use for me as we waited till 2.40pm to rejoin the others.
We all returned to Circuits Hut, carefully skirting the local wildlife.
Track Day 2
Day 3 Circuits Hut via Pedens Hut to Love Nest in the Sallees and return
It was raining in the morning so we again delayed our departure till 8.00am. We set off in wet weather gear.
Evidence of feral horses everywhere and single horses and a mob of 11 sighted during the day.
Swathes of Bulbine Lilies in the damper areas.
The first challenge was to cross the swollen Gulf Plain Creek, which we did in linked pairs.
We spied Townsend Hut in the distance over the Murrumbidgee River and later turned into Pedens Hut for morning tea.
The next challenge was the Murrumbidgee River ford, but this proved to be easier than the first ford. Kim led the way.
From here it was less than 1km on the Murrumbidgee River Trail and a side trail to our objective – Love Nest in the Sallees. What a quaint hut!
This was our turn around point. Wild flowers continued in colour beside the track.
Lunch was in the shade on the side of Pedens Hut Trail, just after the turn off to the hut. We arrived back at Circuits Hut at 2.25pm. I was exhausted!
That night I was first to bed at 6.30pm with a little music. We endured a 4 hour thunderstorm with the works – lightening, thunder and heavy rain.
Track Day 3
Day 4 Walk Out Circuits Hut to Tantangara
Overcast and threatening on the last morning. We used the hut to pack our gear. Tents still wet.
Track Day 4
A slow drive back to Adaminaby where tyre issues were fixed.
A great trip, but exposed tremendous weaknesses in me.
10 walkers. Julie H, Kim H, Rob and Jen H (leaders), Fiona M, Stephen M, Andrew M, Beat O, Terrylea R, me.