… or 5 hills, 15 fences and a bit of water

Gooroo Hill cairn (just on private property in NSW)

Saturday 8 October 2022: Goorooyarroo and Mulligans Flat Nature Reserves * – L/E-M, ptX. Excellent views from various vantage points and a variety of ecosystems to traverse. Starting from Horse Park Drive near the Federal Highway, climb to Gecko Hills. Walk north via ACT border marker X4, Old Joe Hill and Gooroo Hill, then descend to the Dungarvon site near the Bustard gate into Mulligans Flat. North via the Pipeline Track, then west along the ACT border. Next generally south to visit the unique Gungahlin Quartz Ridge and the nearby wetlands dam. South-east to Sammys Hill, south to Burnt Stump Hill and back to the start. Around 22km and 630vm climb.
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? These are numbers 30 and 31.


From Garmin Connect – Distance: 22.58km | Climb: 490m | Time: 4:55 moving + 1:23 of stops = 6:18 | Grading: L/E-M,ptX,W; H(12). Need to add M for (M)uddy.

Photographs are available here.

gpx File

The gpx file is available here.

Track Notes

I was last on the Goorooyarroo NR hills on 17 Jan 09.

I was unsure of the state of the Horse Park Drive car park (it was fine), so changed the start to the main Amy Ackman entrance to the Mulligans Flat NR. We still walked in a clockwise direction.

It’s been wet this second La Nina season in Canberra. The Old Gundaroo Road footpath was flowing strongly as we crossed it to enter the NR. Up the hill, left turn and through the Red Gum Gate. A quick stop at Stan’s Seat.

Stan’s seat

Then continued up through the Bettong Gate and Antechinus Gate to the border. From here, the track runs generally ESE. A few border markers still exist, after 110+ years.

I3 (Sheaffe – 1)

I won’t bore you with the detail of why I name them such – suffice is to say that Percy Sheaffe must have been a bit confused, as he named a few series of markers An-Zn and repeated exactly the same An-Zn,  before he got into the swing of using An-Zn followed by Am-Zm, etc.

Turned south at border marker U3, through the Curlew Gate and down the Pipeline Track. A quick explanation of the Dungarvon site and its fruit trees.

Out the Bustard Gate and into Goorooyarroo NR. I thought of getting on the outside of the predator-proof fence at the Maliyan Gate, but didn’t. Similarly, at the Wiriya Gate but didn’t. Wrong decision. A view through the fence to border marker F4. Climbing to Gooroo Hill, we passed a Meetup Group coming down on the other side of the fence.

We paid for my poor decision near Gooroo Hill, as we were on the wrong side of the fence to summit the hill, so had to walk down to the Banggu Gate and back up the outside of the fence to reach Gooroo Hill. Survey mark GN81 at the top in the ACT. The large dead tree still there. A delightful cairn 100m to the NE on private property in NSW. Playing with ACTmapi, MC (Major Control) Gooroo is obviously in NSW at UTM 55H 700097.738-6104279.062 (MGA2020). Friendly horses. SC (Sectional Control) GN81 is at UTM 55H 700030.391-6104170.943 (MGA2020).

Gooroo Hill cairn (just on private property in NSW)

Friendly horses at Gooroo Hill cairn (on private property in NSW)

As you can see, we were enjoying a blue-sky day. The weather forecast was a little more ominous.

Very pleasant walking between Gooroo Hill and Old Joe Hill.

Approaching Old Joe Hill

We stopped for smoko just near the Old Joe trig. If you want to know a bit about ‘Old Joe’, have a look here.

Mt Majura made an excellent aiming point as we descended. Again, very pleasant walking.

Descending south from Old Joe Hill

Border marker X4, a nice extant peg, was our next stop.

Border marker X4

The Gecko Hills knolls are also lovely, a saddle in between.

South Gecko Hills knoll from the saddle

Great views.

Gungahlin suburbs from the South Gecko Hills knoll

SC GN32 at the south knoll of Gecko Hills is at UTM 55H 699121.648-6101646.837 (MGA2020).

If it floats your boat (as it does mine), here’s a part of today’s track overlayed on an ACTmapi segment showing Survey Control Marks. The small blue circles are my waypoints, other marks survey control marks.

Today’s track on a segment of ACTmapi

Our next bound was down towards the original start point on Horse Park Drive.

Water pouring onto a fire trail east of the Baray Gate

Out the Baray Gate, a hundred metres or so on the main Goorooyarroo NR track, then up to Burnt Stump Hill. Burnt Stump Hill is SC GN33 at UTM 55H 698253.655-6101732.472 (MGA2020).

Six/eighth of the party on Burnt Stump Hill, burnt stump at rear

The next leg was to Sammys Hill. I went a bit overboard on recording waypoints and photos of gates and fences, check out the photos if that sort of thing turns you on.

View to Sammys Hill from the N spur of Burnt Stump Hill

It was obvious from the view and from the map that Sullivans Creek had to be crossed. I was happy when we sloshed through what could be it.

Soggy feeder to Sullivans Creek

But it turned out to be a feeder creek and a portent of things to come!

We came to Sullivans Creek and its eroded watercourse. Skid marks on our butts as we negotiated the muddy sides.

Sullivans Creek presented a bit of a muddy challenge

Crossing Sullivans Creek

Scouring in Sullivans Creek

A little pagoda in Sullivans Creek

Yet more fences to negotiate as we climbed to Sammys Hill from the SE. An unimpressive top, SC GN34 at UTM 55H 698016.568-6103490.684 (MGA2020). But it opened out onto a delightful northern spur with another survey marker, SC GN55, at UTM 55H 698081.591-6103668.363 (MGA2020).

Walking the open northern top of Sammys Hill

As you can see, the weather was coming in from the north. By now it was 1pm.  I unilaterally decided we should forego lunch and the Gungahlin Quartz Ridge and head for home. I don’t think there were any differences of opinion.

We walked down the Ground to Sky Walk. Passed an Ageing Gracefully sign.

That’s me – ageing disgracefully

The walk finished at Wildbark at Mulligans Flat on the edge of Throsby, still being built. There’s a schematic map of the walks in the area here. From here, the Wetlands Walk took us N and NW on a raised walkway.

Quick walking runways on the Wetlands Walk

Totally stymied near the Wetlands Dam, it overflowing strong and wide and deep.

The Wetlands Walk beat us

We were forced to walk, through mild showers, to the edge of Horse Park Drive and along its verge.

The overflow creek from the Wetlands Dam was still going strong.

The flow coming out from the Wetlands Dam

Through the streets of Forde, arriving back at our cars at 2.15pm.

Track Maps

Here’s where we went.

Track overview Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo NRs on Topoview 2006

Track 1 Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo NRs on SIX etopo Hall

Track 2 Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo NRs on SIX etopo Hall

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


8 walkers. Andrea C, Charity M, Noelia P, Marie S, Lam S, Ana V, Robert W, me.