There's a few different ways into the Naas Valley, but this walk is probably the easiest. In the 1800's to mid 1900's, the valley was used for farming and you can see the remnants of the old homesteads and other farming activities throughout the valley. All the old homestead ruins are signposted but worth doing some reading about their history before venturing out (as it will make the experience a lot more interesting).
Now however, you get to stroll through open grasslands, see numerous grazing Kangaroos and prolific bird life, as well as being surrounded by the hills and mountains of Namadgi. Best to keep this walk for the cooler months as it is very exposed. Don't be fooled by Image 1 (right) as this was taken towards the end of the valley where the woodland and steep stuff starts. All grid references taken from YAOUK Map 8626-2N.
Walk Rating: Easy to Medium. If you walk to the end of the valley and on the return journey, turn off to the right to visit the Lone Pine Homestead, the walk distance is just over 22 kilometres. I've included the medium walk rating due to the length of the walk, noting that the majority is on a flat, or gently undulating fire trail with the very occasional incline.
To get to the start of this walk, drive to Tharwa and once over the Tharwa bridge, swing left onto Naas Road. From here it's around 47 kilometres to the Old Boboyan Road turnoff on your right hand side.
Please note that, after 36 kilometres, the road changes to dirt. It is a well-maintained dirt road but does get affected by the weather conditions from time to time. Generally, a two-wheel drive vehicle will have no problems but occasionally, the road is closed or only open to four wheel drives.
Once you reach the turnoff, it's only several hundred metres to a small carpark and a locked gate, which is the start point of the walk (Image 2 below).
The Naas Valley is an area that bush walkers usually pass through on their way to another location. It links the walking trails that eventually bring you out on the Settlers Track to the south (you could do a long loop walk), or you can continue along Old Boboyan Road (North) and will eventually arrive at Frank and Jacks Hut in the area of Yankee Hat. To the west, you can follow Sams Fire Trail and it will eventually curve its way over the ACT border into NSW. Or, if you have a sharp eye, you can get to the end of the valley and instead of following Sams Fire Trail, you can spot a walking track (which comes and goes due to the sporadic nature of its use) and this will take you high into the Bimberi Wilderness Area and if your lucky, you'll see the magnificent mountain tarn (with water in it!).
Image 1 - Towards the eastern end of the Naas Valley.
Image 2 - Carpark and start of the Naas Valley Walk
But this walk, I wanted to just enjoy the valley, stopping at a couple of the historic hut locations and hopefully get some nice weather for some panoramic photos. After arriving at the car park on Old Boboyan Road, we slung our packs and noticing that my InReach mapping tracker was low on battery power, I decided to replace the lithium battery, which unbeknown to my walking partner and I, set the Personal Location Beacon off, resulting in a couple of the local Search & Rescue people responding (more on that embarrassing episode later).
We set off on the walk, with overcast skies, no rain and coolish weather; perfect for a bushwalk! The majority of this walk is on fire trails (Image 3) and you are accompanied by the gentle flow of the Naas Creek, which is on your right (left on the way back of course).
After about 2.0 kilometres, you will notice the remains of a stone chimney on your left about 100 metres off the fire trail (Image 4). This is part of the remains of the Boboyan Homestead (Image 4 below). Located on YAOUK Map 8626-2N at 78550-31300
Image 3 - The walking track into Naas Valley. Although overcast, it was cool and great for walking)
Image 4 (above) The remains of the Boboyan Homestead chimney and Image 5 (below) The remains of the stone walking path that led to the homestead.
There is enough of the remaining ruins to make this an interesting stop. Apart from the stone chimney, there are the remains of the walking path (Image 5), slab of the house and some nearby stone retaining walls. There is a small orchard near the homestead (located at 786000-31250), but due to the time of the year, the trees were bare of any leaves. I noticed that Johnnyboy has a good photo of the orchard in full leaf, so refer to his website. I didn't find the grave sites, but if you have an electronic navigational advice, they are at MGRS 78515-31384.
There are also some graves nearby the homestead, two of which possibly belong to Mary Westerman and her baby. Both were crushed when the dray they were riding in, overtuned.
According to the Kosciusko Huts Association, the hut was originally built in the mid 1800's and was amongst several others built around that time in the area (Brayshaws Hut, Westermans Hut).
If you are looking for more information about the history of Boboyan Homestead, there was a fantastic article published in the National Parks Association Bulletin. Click the following link to the website.
After visiting the Boboyan Homestead ruins, we continued along Old Boboyan Road. After another 2.4 kilometres, you will come to a cross junction in the fire trail, with Old Boboyan Road continuing to your right (north, north west). You want to continue on past Old Boboyan Road onto Sams Creek Fire Trail. You can either turn to your left, which takes you to the Sams Creek Fire Trail (about 100 metres), or continue on to the next cross junction with Sams Creek Fire Trail (about 300 metres) to your right (westerly) and Grassy Creek Fire Trail to your left (southerly). Continue heading along Sams Creek Fire Trail and on the return journey, head up Grassy Creek Fire Trail as this takes you to the ruins of Lone Pine Homestead.
You pass over beautiful grasslands and the successful conservation and preservation of this wilderness area is very obvious, with so many Eastern Grey Kangaroos contently grazing and plentiful bird life in the surrounding woodlands. As you pass over the open plains, it does get a little marshy in spots, but generally not enough to really get your boots water logged (Image 6)!
After a further kilometre or so, you will arrive at Lutons Crutching Shed (Image 7). A good place to have lunch as there's plenty of seats and if it were a sunny day, you could get into the shade of the shed. On a colder day, the shed provides a great windbreak! Lutons Crutching Shed is located at 75790-33520.
Lutons Crutching Shed was built in 1960 and was amongst the last structures to be built in the area, with the Namadgi National Park being declared just 20 years later.
We only stopped briefly for a visit as we intended to stop here for lunch on the return journey. I wanted to get to the end of the valley to where Sams Fire Trail veered off to the left (and headed into NSW) to assess the walking track that I intended to follow up onto the Scabby Ranges in an upcoming walk (the walking track heads westerly).
So we slung our packs again and headed west along the fire trail and after four kilometres, we arrived at the point where Sams Creek Fire Trail veers sharply to the left (southerly). We continued to the west and after only 50 metres, located the walking track that I wanted to assess ahead of an upcoming walk (Image 8 & 9). I'd heard that the walking track was very rudimentary and had been formed by the irregular walkers who journeyed deep into the Bimberi Wilderness area that is situated to the far south in the ACT.
Image 6 - The marshy swamp are and a well placed foot bridge to ensure your boots don't become completely waterlogged.
Image 7- Lutons Crutching Shed - Built just 20 years prior to the establishment of Namadgi National Park.
I was surprised at the good condition of the track and walked in for about a kilometre where the track continued to hold its form well. This brought a smile to my face as it meant there would not be as much bush bashing in my upcoming walk, as I thought there would be.
Satisfied with my recce, we decided to head back and have lunch at Lutons Crutching Shed. As we made our way back, we heard the sound of a four wheel drive vehicle approaching. At first we thought it may have been one of the Namadgi Rangers, but to our surprise, it turned out to be Police Search & Rescue.
It was a very embarrassing moment, realising that when I'd changed the batteries over in the tracker, I had somehow activated the PLB, setting off an emergency back in Canberra! Thankfully, The Police S&R could see that we had continued to change locations after the 'activation' (meaning they could tell we were on the move) and had already worked out that it was an accidental activation.
Regardless, it was an embarrassing moment. We returned to Lutons Crutching Shed, where we boiled some water and shared a cuppa with the Police SAR guys (Image 10). It was a relief that everyone was laughing about it and also a reassuring feeling that there is such a response in the event of an actual emergency situation!
Image 10 - The Police SAR who responded to our non-emergency, emergency beacon activation. Not one of my finest moments!
After lunch, we farewelled the guys and they headed off. We did likewise, walking back easterly along Sams Creek Fire Trail. After about a kilometre (just under), you will arrive back at the track junction, with Grassy Creek Fire Trail to your right (southerly). Turn onto the Grassy Creek Fire Trail and this will take you from the grassy plains into some beautiful woodlands. This is where you will start to see the prolific bird life, with Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, Grey Fantails and Spotted Pardalottes. There is also the occasional Wedgetail Eagle circling high above the nearby mountains and a really good population of Red Neck Wallabies.
After 2.4 kiometres, you will arrive at the ruins of Lone Pine Homestead. Situated at GR 74840 3250. It's off to the right of the fire trail, so keep an eye out at the 2.4 kilometre mark otherwise you may miss it and walk past (Images 12, 13 and 14 below).
Lone Pine Homestead was built around 1890 and was a dairy farm at which the settler (Dan Crawford) made cheese and carted it to Sydney during the winter.
There were a number of pine trees planted also, and the name was born out of the first pine tree planted at the homestead at the time. There's not a lot left of the homestead, with only remnants and signs of farming that would indicate anyone ever lived there at all.
Image 8 (above) and Image 9 (below) - Located just to the west of where Sams Creek Fire Trail veers off to the south, a rudimentary walking track that takes you deep into the Bimberi Wilderness.
However, like the other ruins, it is a sobering reminder of the manner in which the white settlers moved into traditional Aboriginal lands, displacing the local Aboriginal people. It's also a sobering reminder of the harsh conditions that the settlers had to endure, in such a remote area, without ready access to towns. Perhaps the vulnerability of this aspect is best highlighted by the number of graves at various Namadgi ruins and homesteads, an indication that when something went wrong, there was very little, or no help from the outside 'world'.
After spending a little time exploring the homestead we headed back to the car. From the Lone Pine Homestead it's about 7 kilometres. By the time we got back to the car, we were a little leg weary, but also content with the days walk, having experience beautiful grasslands, woodlands, native flora and fauna, as well as visiting several historical sites. If your legs are up to it, this is a great experience. Even if you don't think you can cover the whole distance, you can turn around at any stage so you could easily pick one or two of the locations as an intended destination.
Image 11 (above right) and Image 12 (below left) and Image 13 (below right) show the ruins of the Lone Pine Homestead.