Star picket 08E

Saturday 4 November 2023: Rediscover the Red Hill Track … looking for star pickets and burnt old logs * – M/R,X. No, not Red Hill in Canberra – the one in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
Perhaps not a walk to everyone’s interest, but an opportunity to experience the country above the familiar Mountain Creek car park and beside the Camelback Fire Trail. It’s damp forest full of Blanket Bush, so might provide a cool refuge on a hot morning. It’s certainly something different! @terrylea-hikergirl and later I did a little discovering last January. I mapped out the top one quarter of the western leg, but we both abandoned the task due to time constraints. On offer is very thick and damp bush and shin-high star pickets to bang into. They were used to form the now burnt and rotted steps and track benching. The planned route is to enter the area from the top via the Camelback Fire Trail, then Spur 1 FT.


From Garmin Connect (Epix Gen 2) – Distance: 7.33km | Climb: 300vm (Elev Corrections Enabled) | Time: 1:04 moving + 4:01 of stops = 5:05 | Grading: S/R,X; M(10).


View photographs here.

gpx file

Download the gpx file here.

Track Maps

Track overview Red Hill Track at TNR – eastern leg on Tidbinbilla 1-25000 dated 2003

Track detail Red Hill Track at TNR – eastern leg on Tidbinbilla 1-25000 undated

Trip Report

I was last in this area on 29 Jan 23. Then I did the top third or so of the western leg (waypoints 03W to 10W) but ran out of time.

Today we tackled the eastern leg.

I had 2 companions today, perhaps crazy enough to look for star pickets in the dense, wet bush. But during the trip they admitted they were attracted by the dense bush to bash. Still, they were very good star picket finders. Canberra Bushwalking Club has safety protocols which require at least 4 on a trip. That’s unless the Walks Sec or Assistant Walks Sec gives the nod for fewer, based on the experience of the walkers, equipment carried and other factors. The nod was given.

A forecast damp day with a bit of mizzle driving out. We did get wet, pushing through the bush after last night’s rain, but it didn’t actually shower on us.

Gates opened right on 7.30am and we were walking from Mountain Creek car park at 7.45am. Nice walking up the Camelback Fire Trail in cloudy conditions.

Walking up the Camelback Fire Trail

Some wildflowers about.

Native clematis climbing high in the trees

We turned down the Spur 1 Fite Trail and, after a couple of hundred metres, went south to the top of the old Red Hill Track. I’d done the top third of the track going down the west side previously, so we turned east when we hit it.

A star picket almost immediately, found by Daniel.


A bit disappointed as we traversed the NE flank of SH1097. No more star pickets.

The going at 8.52am

There were braided wombat tracks, so it was hard to tell if we were on the Red Hill Track alignment, as shown on our navigation devices.

Could this be a bit of old track?

Yes, a minute later here was the next one.


The eastern leg of the track descends towards the car park via a series of switchbacks. At the first one, we popped up to SH1097. An unimpressive no view.

At SH1097

One more star picket before we stopped for morning tea. Only for 15 minutes. The measured moving time of 1:04 moving and 4:01 stopped needs explanation. With only a short smoko and brief photography and waypoint marking stops, I reckon we were usually moving so slowly that the GPS didn’t register!

The track ahead, viewed from sitting at smoko

I won’t bore you with tens of photos of start pickets.


Instead I’ll bore you with a video

Heaps more of the same. Check out the detailed map segment and photos if star pickets take your fancy.

A nice open patch down near the bottom.

Beat in an open patch at 11.58am

A drainage line to cross.

Drainage line 3

And we were out on the road.

We walked a bit of the Lyrebird Track to find and log geocaches GC8R88X The Emu of Ihio and GC8R88Q Australian Animals Series #49 – Fairy Penguin.

At one stage I souvenired a star picket that was lying lose on the ground.

Thanks boys. Great hunting!

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


3 walkers – Beat O, Daniel 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.