In addition to wonderful vistas, which in themselves provide ample justification for doing this walk, there are a number of buildings and other things of historical interest along this Bobeyan Valley walk making it one of my favourite walks in Namadgi National Park.
The walk (this review covers the longer 9km version ) starts and finishes at the well marked Settlers Track /Brayshaw’s Hut car park on the Bobeyan Road.
The Bobeyan Valley, in the very south of Namadgi National Park and close to Australian Capital Territory – New South Wales border, was first settled by European pastoralists in the mid 1800s.
One of the earliest families to settle in the valley was the Brayshaw’s and a hut lived in by family members is the first historical attraction along the Settlers Track, and is visible from the car park.
However, before you head in the direction of the hut and start the walk proper, take a short 100 metres detour straight across the Bobeyan Road to the site/ruins of the former Tin Dish school, a Government subsidised bush school which operated from 1906 to 1910. See my separate review – Tin Dish – Bobeyan Subsidised School.
Starting our walk along the Track at 9.30am we were alone, as we were for the duration of the walk, though by the time we returned to our car there were an additional five cars in the park. With not a person in sight it was easy to imagine the solitude and loneliness of living here in the late 1800s/ early 1900s. Romantic and simple as Brayshaw’s Hut looked I could also imagine how harsh life would have been here, eking out a living on the land while enduring such basic, indeed primitive, living conditions.
From Brayshaw’s we headed west along the well marked track through wooded hills of scribbly bark gum trees hearing only birds and seeing the odd kangaroo darting hither and thither. While making my way along the track I noticed lots of dead ring barked trees. Ring barking was a method commonly used to clear the land for farming by the early settlers – more on this in my separate review.
As the track skirts along the base of Pheasant Hill it rises about 60 metres. The view back down into the valley (pictured above), and to Westerman’s Homestead in the distance, made the incline well worth the while.
After a couple of kilometres walking we reached an intersection in the track – turning left here would have taken us directly to Westerman’s Homestead and limited our walk to 6kms.
We turned right and headed on, now in the more open valley having come down from the flanks of Pheasant Hill.
As we were now in the valley and close to the Grassy Creek parts of the track were moist underfoot given heavy rain in the area earlier in the week – but nothing to worry about.
As we carried on towards Waterhole Hut we passed the remains of early 20th century stockyards, a sheep dip yard and numerous remnants of old wooden fences of both the forked and post and rail variety.
From the valley floor we moved back into woodlands of black sallee and candle bark for a short distance before coming out again for the short walk to the very rudimentary Waterhole Hut. All easy walking now.
Having had a look around Waterhole Hut (a temporary stockman’s shelter as opposed to a permanent residence) and the adjacent stock yard it was around 10.45am and time for morning tea. On walks like this I, often to the consternation and bemusement of my friends, come equipped with my thermos flask of hot water and Twinning’s teabags – Darjerling today. Nothing beats finding a nice vantage point along a walk, sitting down with a cup of tea, and admiring the view. Today the break, seated on the verandah of Waterhole Hut, was short as I had an extension planned for the walk which would add a couple of hours to it, so no time for dilly dallying.
The next section of the walk, from Waterhole Hut to Westerman’s Homestead, follows the other side of the valley we had just come up. The walk is along the Grassy Creek fire trail and is relatively flat through grassy fields, staying away from the hills to the right (south). Today I only followed the trail, a little damp underfoot in parts, for about a kilometre before veering off to the right and heading through unmarked bush in search of the Australian Capital Territory/ New South Wales border line which I followed for a few kilometres before reconnecting with the Settlers Track again at Westerman’s Homestead. I have prepared a separate review on my border meanderings – Blazes on the Border.
Lest you too feel inclined to leave the official marked trail, I urge you not to do so unless you have come equipped with a good map or GPS device and know exactly where you plan to go. This is a remote unpopulated area wherein you do not want to get lost.
Continuing on along the fire trail after about three kilometres walk you will arrive at Westerman’s Homestead – the largest and most plush (and I use that term in a relative manner) of the three rustic dwellings encountered on this walk. Around the homestead itself is a delightful bank of exotic trees and to the rear a couple of graves worthy a look. Do have a look at my separate review – Westerman’s Homestead – for more detail.
Given my detour, referred to earlier, it was about 1.45pm when we arrived at Westerman’s so, time for a late lunch which we had sitting on a log bench mostly hidden behind the large rock on the left of picture 9 attached. This afforded us a great view of the homestead, the bank of exotic trees, and the valley off to both sides as we ate.
Pulling ourselves away from the peace and tranquility we reluctantly moved on and completed the last couple of kilometres of the walk, back to the car park. Most of this last section was through a wooded area, where we sighted a few Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Red Necked Wallabies. Kangaroos and wallabies aside, this part of the walk lacked the valley and mountain views we had come accustomed to on the earlier part of the walk.
All in all, this is a great walk, made all the better by the fact that we didn’t rush it, but rather took time to admire the natural beauty of the area and take in the history of European settlement and life in the valley before it became incorporated into Namadgi National Park.
Two combinations of this easy to moderate (generally flat with a few short steeper inclines) walk can be done, both of which pass Brayshaw’s Hut at the start the walk. A 6km version takes in part of the valley and covers Westerman’s Homestead, while the 9km version (which I recommend you do) covers more of the valley and takes in Waterhole Hut as well as Westerman’s Homestead.
Either way, for the best views, follow the Park’s recommendation and walk in an anticlockwise direction. There are toilets, seats and excellent interpretative signs along the walk.
Assuming you have spent at least an hour and a half getting to the start of this walk from Canberra and will spend the same returning, you will need to eat at some stage along the walk. Accordingly, I recommend you allow at least three hours for the 6km walk and at least 4 hours for the 9km walk.
Westerman’s can also be reached via a 3km return walk heading clockwise from the car park and returning via the same track. This part of the walk (the last section if you walk anticlockwise) is, as noted earlier, the least interesting part of the Settlers Track, from my perspective.
Address: Bobeyan Road
Directions: About 90 kms south of Canberra
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on Namadgi National Park. To continue with my next entry chick HERE.