Looking up the Murrumbidgee River’s Red Rocks Gorge from the lookout

Saturday 6 August 2022: McQuoids Hill and Urambi Hills Nature Reserves * – L/E.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 14 and 15.
Pleasant walking in Canberra’s south. Summit McQuoids Hill from the east, then walk its north-east flank. Walk the Canberra Centenary Trail to gain the Murrumbidgee Discovery Trail near Kambah Pool. Visit Red Rocks Gorge lookout with its spectacular views up river. Walk to Tuggeranong and view the Tuggers Stone Wall. Cross the Lake Tuggeranong dam wall and join a footpad to Urambi Hills, consisting of TG26 trig and the next northerly knoll. Follow footpads north-west to Kambah, down beside the Murrumbidgee Country Club and back to the start. Around 17km and 440vm climb.


Walk 1, McQuoids Hill (estimate)  – Distance: 1.9km | Climb: 110m | Time: 40mins

Walk 2, Urambi Hills (from Garmin Connect) – Distance: 14.48km | Climb: 457m | Time: 3hrs 35mins + 40mins of stops

Combined  – Distance: 16.4km | Climb: 567m | Time: 4hrs 15mins moving including 20mins of stops | Grading: L/E-M,ptX; M(10).


Photographs are available here.

gpx File

The gpx file is available here.

Track Notes

I was last on McQuoids Hill on 7 and 27 Oct 21, great friends helping me get back into walking. And on Urambi Hills in Dec 21.

Walk 1 – McQuoids Hill NR

Today we met in the rough car park well off the side of Kambah Pool Road at the entrance to McQuoids Hill. Fortunately Jen H suggested a route to the top other than the fire trail. We followed the fire trail a little to the SW (realigned since my old maps, below), then struck up through the bush. A lot more pleasant. At the point where we left the fire trail, great joy for Rob as he found his special walking stick that he’d misplaced in the area a few weeks back. Nice views from the top.

Cotter Dam, Bullen Range, Brindabellas from McQuoids Hill

Emboldened by the vista from the top, we continued off-track down to join the fire trail in the N.

Northern knoll of McQuoids Hill, Neighbour Hill at back

Round the hill on the E side, fire trail a lot softer than last time due to this week’s rain.

I forgot to turn on my GPSr, so the track details for this NR are an estimate.

Back at the car park, we drove to the rough car park on the left, immediately before the grid entry to Kambah Pool.

Walk 2 – Urambi Hills NR

Part of the reason for this was to avoid the planned route from Kambah Pool Road that cuts off the Kambah Pool area. This footpad crosses a little gully and is damp in the driest times.

Anyway, we were soon walking the Canberra Centenary Trail/Murrumbidgee River Walking Track. A couple of muddy patches. Thank goodness to mountain bikes, as these would have cut up the track even more than the heavy rain. The side creeks were all running.

Plenty of running water at one of the bridges crossing side gullies

The first part of this walk is in the Bullen Range Nature Reserve but since this NR is not part of Canberra Nature Park, it can’t be counted by this list ticking pedant. Under the ugly (but necessary) power lines that cross the river, we reached the lookout at 9.50am. The perfect time to enjoy the view and morning tea. The river was raging.

Looking up the Murrumbidgee River Red Rocks Gorge from the lookout

Around 2km later, Tuggeranong came into view.

Tuggeranong Town Centre comes into view

The track runs up the side of Tuggeranong Creek and over a high wooden bridge.

Tuggeranong Creek from the bridge

Fire trails took us to the Tuggeranong Stone fence. There’s some information about it here, including a photo of the stile we crossed. A lower gap on the way towards Athllon Drive is not as elegant.

A gap in the upper part of the Tuggeranong Stone Fence

We crossed the Lake Tuggeranong wall.

Lake Tuggeranong outflow

We paralleled a well maintained fence, looking for a crossing point, but were forced up to the Learmonth Drive corner to enter Urambi Hills.

For me, a puff up the hill. Glad to have the excuse to turn around for a photo.

Tuggeranong from the southern flank of Urambi Hills

I finally made it.

TG26 trig

It was pretty chilly in the breeze so we continued NW down and up to the other knoll. THere’s a HUGE pile of stones there.

2km or so of fire trail, including down the side of the Murrumbidgee Country Club golf course, had us at Kambah Pool Road. A quick walk along the CCT back to the cars. CNP NRs #14 and #15, tick tick.

Track Map

Here’s where we went.

Track McQuoids Hill and Urambi Hills NRs


Great chatter amongst 11 walkers – Dave, Jen and Rob, Jenny, Judy and Andrew, Malcolm, Paula, Roger, Sherrilee, me.