Brandy Flat Hut
Image 1 - Brandy Flat Hut, situated in the peaceful surrounds of Eucalypts
Brandy Flat Hut is an exceptionally well preserved and presented hut nestled in the peaceful surrounds of a once cleared farming area known as Brandy Flat (Image 1). It is shadowed by mountains including the nearby Booths Hill. On of the more relaxing Namadgi walks.
Walk Rating: Hard. 9.5 kilometre return. We walked in from Brandy Flat South carpark but there is an easier walk from the back of Glendale Depot along the Brandy Flat Firetrail. The walk from the south, includes very steep inclines (in both directions) and is tough going in parts.
Directions: To get to Brandy Flat South carpark, you first drive to Tharwa. Once over the Tharwa bridge, swing left onto Naas Road. From here it's around 33 kilometres,so enjoy the beautiful picturesque scenery and the wonderful mountains! Continue on Naas Road until you pass the interesection with Apollo Road (leads to the old Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station - another beautiful spot). From this point, Naas Road ends and Boboyan Road starts. Follow Boboyan Road and pass the turn-off to Orroral Valley and a little further on you will pass the Glendale Depot (entry on the left). This is a National Parks depot and services the needs of the rangers and Parks personel with upkeep and maintenance of roads and infrastructure. Continue past the depot and go past the carpark at Rendevous Creek. Continue on and you will pass the entry road to Yankee Hat (on the right). About one kilometre further, there is a small sign on your right, that indicates Brandy Flat South carpark on your left. Turn left here and you immediately come to the carpark.
The Walk: We set off from the Brandy Flat South carpark, along a walking track, that was at times not very well defined, but clear enough provided you concentrated on where you were going. Not having done this walk before, I had studied the topographical map beforehand, and I'm the first to admit, greatly underestimated the steepness of some of the sections on the route to Brandy Flat Hut. The walk itself starts off pleasantly enough, and the walking track from the carpark meandors along for several hundred metres before intersecting with the top section of the Brandy Flat Firetrail.
From here, the firetrail took us to the northeast and we quickly commenced walking down a steep decline. A very lengthy decline, which meant a very lengthy incline on the return leg of the journey (Image 2)!
Image 2 - The Brandy Flat Firetrail. The start of the walk is a lengthy downhill section, followed by a lengthy and very steep up-hill section that you can see in the disatnce of this photo.
On the trek downward, I held out some hope that once at the base, the track would then contour around the hill, and would lazilly traverse the creek that flowed through the valley, bringing us to our destination for a well earned cuppa and morning tea, without having to scale any uphill sections at all.
Nope. At the bottom, the only way forward was back up so I commenced trudging what was to be the first of many up-hill sections, and naively thought to myself: "This isn't so bad". But then it got steeper. I always judge the steepness of a hill by putting my hand out in front of my body, and estimating the distance between the ground and my hand to give me an idea (and you the reader) of how steep it actually is. At the most extreme end of this process is when you're hand touches the ground. Well, I'm pleased to say that my hand did not touch the ground, but instead, remained at about 30 centimeres above. This was a hill to be reckoned with!
The first incline was approxiamately one kilometre to the top and after getting to the peak a little ahead of the group, I turned to see that there were some breathtaking views back to the west. The hill is so demanding that you don't realise that wonderful views are emerging as you ascend. I always find hill walks so rewarding when magnificent views are there to greet you at the top (Images 3 and 4). It's a great reward.
We all stopped for some respite and got out breath back. Whilst taking a break, I examined the map to estimate how much further we had to go before reaching the hut. I was also wondering to myself how I could not have noticed such a steep incline when examining the map the night before. The countour lines seemed reasonably spaced, but then I saw a word printed on the map in bold letters: 'Steep'. I have no idea how I didn't see this until now so I did what one does when you realise you've taken everyone on a difficult route to a hut. I quietly folded my map into my pack and announced: "Not much further guys", and re-commenced the walk.
The remainder of the walk was pretty non-eventful as we proceeded towards Brandy Flat. The walk flattened a little, before taking another steep downward course but this part of the walk allowed us to take in some of the surrounds.
The majority of the walk to the hut is through heavily forrested eucalypts that provided some shade on what was a reasonably warm day. The surrounding mountains provide a real 'high country' ambience, particularly where the trees thin enough to let you view the surrounds (Image 5).
Image 3 - The views begin to reveal themselves as you walk upwards on the first of the inclines.
Image 4 - After getting to the top, it was time to sit back for a moment and enjoy the vista. This image is looking to the west at Yankee Hat Mountain in the foreground and Mt Gudgenby in the backgorund.
After walking another several kilometres, we spied brandy Flat Hut nestled in amongst the eucalypts and looking like a very inviting spot to stop and relax for awhile (Image 6). The hut was indeed a lovely spot to stop and relax. It is so well maintained and even the grass immediately surrounding the hut is mowed! There is a pit toilet nearby, and the mowing has extended to include a well groomed grass pathway leading to it.
The interior of the hut even has tea towells and it was very obvious that someone regularly attends the hut for ongoing maintenance so a big thankyou from our group to that person, or those persons!
After boiling up the water and sitting back with a well earned cuppa, another two walkers came along from the direction of the Glendale Depot. We had a quick chat and it was revealed that they were regular visitors to the hut and they asked which way we had walked to the hut, which I duly replied: "Brandy Flat South carpark". There was a momentary look on their faces (a type of - you're serious aren't you) before they replied: "You never walk to the hut from that direction". All I could manage as way of reply was; "Oh".
Image 5 - the surrounding mountains as we commence the descent to Brandy Flat Hut
Anyway, I returned to my cuppa and opened up the hut visitors book and flicked through the pages. Judging by the many comments in the book, we were not the only ones who had walked from the south. Comments littered the pages such as; "What were we thinking" - "Oh my god, I can't move" - "I'll wait here while you get the helicopter in", etc.
But seriously, while it was a tough walk in, it is well worth the effort as Brandy Flat is so peaceful and relaxing. I couldn't help but think that it would be such a great place to camp for the night, and I'm sure if the night was clear, you would see a magnificent nightsky and the milky way would be visually prominent away from the city lights.
There is the remain of the original homestead in the immediate area of the hut. I had a search around but was unable to locate it so I'll do a little more research and return on another walk and try again.
After finishing our morning tea, we packed our things and commenced the walk back to Brandy Flat car park south. Even though it is now getting reasonably late into the summer season, there are still a number of flowering plants and wildflowers to be seen. This season has been particular proliferant for native wild flowers and native flowering shrubs (Image 7 and 8).
Image 6 - After a tough walk, we were glad to see the welcoming site of a well maintained Brandy Flat Hut
Image 7 - Clustered Everlasting growing prolifically in the Brandy Flat area.
Image 8 - Yam Daisy. Also prolific in the Brandy Flat area.
Image 9 (above) Scribbly Gum has turned pink. Image 10 (right) the final incline on the return to Brandy Flat South car park.
I have also noticed the changes in tree colour over the course of the winter, spring and summer, and as we made our way back, came across a eucalypt that had turned pink (Image 9). It was such a striking contrast in colour to the normal greens, blues and browns of the landscape.
Remember the steep decline I mentioned at the start of the walk? Well we were back in that spot and now it was a steep incline (Image 10)! It certainly shook off any post-lunch fatigue that we had.
Finally ariving back at the car park, we were tired but we also felt a sense of achievement in finishing what was a challenging walk. So if you're after a walk that gets the heart rate going, and the reward is a pleasant and very worthwhile destination, I would recommend this walk to you. Once again, thanks to all those who maintain such a fabulous hut.