Fishing Gap Walk
This is a pleasant ACT bushwalk, and the heavy flora in the area provides plenty of shade on a hot day. One of the better walks for native birdlife watching.
Walk Rating: This is a moderate level walk with parts that are bordering on hard, particularly the top section when you are approaching Fishing Gap. The walk is around 8.5 kilometres return.
Directions: Drive to Point Hut Crossing and continue over the bridge along Point Hut Road until you come to the T-intersection. Turn right onto Tidbinbilla Road and follow the road for about eight kilometres and you will see the entrance road (on your left) to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Turn right onto the Tidbinbilla Ring Road. Follow the ring road until you reach the Fishing Gap car park (about five kilometres). Direction map below.
The Tidbinbilla Visitors Centre opens at 7.30am each day, and you are required to pay a small fee if you are taking your car into the reserve. The fees raised go towards maintenance and upkeep of the reserve - a very worthy cause!
Walk Rating: This walk is a moderate walk on a well-defined fire access road and mainly uphill on the outward leg. As you get closer to the top, sections of the track get reasonably steep and could probably be classified as a bit more than moderate. If you have a reasonable level of fitness, you shouldn't have any difficulties.
The Walk: After parking in the Fishing Gap carpark, we gathered our packs and made our way up the fire trail on what was a beautiful spring day with a vibrant blue sky and some extra warmth from the sun (Image 2). After having walked the last few months in winter conditions, the sudden onset of warmth is taking a little getting used to!
The initial section of the walk has a slight incline, but nothing too strenuous, and allows you to warm into the walk. This is a thickly forrested area with vibrant green undergrowth and towering gums, interspersed by the sound of nearby running streams and an abundance of birdlife. I had read in other blogs that people found the walk rather boring as there wasn't much to see in terms of views. We didn't find the walk boring at all as we enjoy watching the activity of the native birds darting in and out of the trees and, as I've mentioned in other blogs, the peace and serenity of being away from suburbia is always refreshing. Besides, we've always been rewarded with decent views once we reach the higher areas of a track.
We pushed on and soon came across a Red Bellied Black Snake that had slithered out of the undergrowth to sun itself on the track -- a very healthy looking snake, I might add, with a vibrant black sheen and a decent waist line. It was obviously not going short of a good meal.
After a minute or two, the snake became aware that we were there and quickly turned and disappeared back into the undergrowth, quite indignantly! I haven't provided an image of the snake this week, partly because I was too slow with the camera, and partly because some website visitors don't like images of snakes!
Anyhow...we continued on our walk and, after crossing a couple of gently flowing mountain streams (crystal clear water) we soon came to the steep section of the track, although it's always difficult to capture the steepness with a photograph (Image 3).
As you wind along the track towards the top, you begin to encounter granite formations, which. firstly, are always a source of facination as to how the huge boulders ended up stacked on top of each other in the first place and, secondly, how they maintain their precarious balancing act without falling down to the valley floor below (Images 4 and 5)!
The track becomes progressively steeper and finishes with a decent steep 'kick' just to remind you that you are walking uphill! After a little over an hour, we arrived at Fishing Gap. Although I had anticipated sweeping panoramic views, this was not the case. Fishing Gap itself is a small clearing - a gap - and is surrounded by tall eucalypts, but you do have views to the nearby mountains, which tower over the area (Image 1 and 6). To get the sweeping views you need to leave the track and head into the bush and continue navigating with a map and compass until you get to the peak (or near to it) of Mt Domain. We didn't do this on our walk and were happy to sit at Fishing Gap (Image 7) and enjoy a cuppa. I still can't find out why it is called Fishing Gap, so if anyone out there knows please share the information on the comments section of the websites front page.
After sitting for a while and enjoying the morning's cuppa, it was time to head back (although I must admit I could've easily had a sleep in the warm sun and peaceful surrounds).
The birds continued to dart in and out of the trees; we were surrounded by a chorus of various songs and calls. They were very active and difficult to photograph (being the height of breeding season for most of the species would probably have something to do with it). After sitting patiently though, I managed to get a photograph of a White-eared Honeyeater (Image 8).
This is a bird that rarely enters suburbia, although is an inhabitant of a very broad range of vegetation types. It is an interestingly coloured bird, with most of its body an olive green colour, and the neck and head black, apart from white ear patches.
We continued back down the track, which not surprisingly was easier going than the walk up. We occasionally had a glimpse of a mountain stream and stopped to enjoy the gentle flowing sounds before eventually arriving back at the Fishing Gap carpark, a total round distance of 8.4 kilometres.
The walk is not a long walk so is very suitable if you're after something short and reasonably rewarding.
Image 1 - Fishing Gap, surrounded by mountains and towering eucalypts
Image 2 - The commencement of the walk on well maintained fire access road
Image 3 - The track starts to get steeper.
Image 4 - Various granite boulder formations on nearby mountains
Image 5 - Granite boulder formation closer to the track.
Image 6 - The surrounding mountains at Fishing Gap
Image 7 - The signpost to tell you when you've reached Fishing Gap
Image 8 - White-earred Honeyeater