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July 2015

 

A really beautiful ACT bushwalk with changing landscape and, once at the top, sweeping majestic views. 

 

Walk Rating: Basically, this is a 3.2 kilometre walk, mostly uphill and very steep in parts. Probably best for those with a moderate and above level of fitness, but, if you take your time, with plenty of rest stops, you will make it.  Return Walk total 6.4 kilometres.

 

Directions to Granite Tors: To get to Orroral Valley (and then Granite Tors) you drive to Tharwa and, once over the bridge, swing left onto Naas Road. From here it's around 27 kilometres to the old Orroral Valley Tracking Station.

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 for 11.3 kilometres until you get to the turn-off on the right to Orroral Valley. Turn right and continue for about 9.5 kilometres and you will come to the carpark area of the old Orroral Valley Tracking Station. 

After you park your car, you will see a very modern toilet block a short distance away to the south-west of the carpark. Immediately next to the toilet block (on the right) is a well-defined walking track with an information sign. You will also pass the bushwalking register, so make sure you sign in and then sign out when you finish your walk.

Continue following the track, which takes you across an open area with picturesque views of the surrounding mountains (Image 2). You will come to a four wheel drive access road and, on crossing to the other side, you will see the sign to Granite Tors (Image 3).

From the carpark to Granite Tors and back is around 7.5 kilometres.

Granite Tors, Orroral Valley

Image 1 - The view from Granite Tors facing north east

Orroral Valley

Image 2 - The start of the walk from the carpark across open area surrounded by mountains (and a little mist!).

Orroral Valley

Image 3 - Walk information sign at the commencement.

The Walk

From the commencement of the walk (signpost Image 3) there is a well-defined gravel track to follow but not too defined, as you still feel like you are on a buswalk! The walk is very relaxing, with changing flora as you get higher in elevation. The day we walked to the top, the preceeding rainfall had resulted in a lovely mountain stream flowing adjacent to the track, providing a peacful backdrop to the journey.

We saw the odd red-backed wallaby on the walk, but most of them, as well as the eastern grey kangaroos, seemed way more content on the open plains of the valley floor. There were a good number of smaller native birds; the yellow-tail finches were very prolific in this area.

The walk is very steep in parts, but there are enough sections that flatten out and allow you to get your breath back before the next up-hill part. It is fair to say that the walk back down allows you to take more in, as it is less strenuous.

All along the track you will see massive granite rocks of all shapes and sizes. Towards the top, the rocks are larger in scale, with many of them lappearing to have been carefully stacked on top of one other - perhaps by some ancient being - in a precarious balancing act (Image 4)!  

Once you get to the top, the view is spectacular, particularly to the north-east of the Ororral Valley and surrounding mountains (Image 1). There's an old observatory, built in the 1970s (Goedetic Station - Image 5). A plaque attached to the structure contains some information about its history and purpose. 

A large granite outcrop at the top provides a pleasant setting for refreshments whilst enjoying wonderful views. Be sure to stop for a break or a cuppa and take in the surroundings.

All in all, this is one of my favourite walks in Namadgi. Although it was a little chilly the day we walked up (thanks to an approaching cold front with forecasts of snow) it was still well worth the effort. I'm looking forward to re-visiting the walk in the warmer months. 

Orroral Valley
Orroral Valley

Image 4 - One of the many fascinating granite formations towards the top section of the walk.

Orroral Valley

'The Face' - Located about halfway along the track, this stone face gives the impression that it is standing guard, watching the valley below. 

Image 5 - The old observatory at Granite Tors.

Granite Tors

View from Granite Tors back down to the old tracking station from where we first set-off.

For more information on the walk, there is a good 'track information brochure' on the TAMS wesbite at:

 

http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/404608/Granite_Tors_Walking_Track_Notes.pdf

bushwalking namadgi canberra act