The Camel’s Hump walk is the longest and overall the hardest (though the Nils Desperandum walk , for instance, has harder sections) of the marked walks within Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. There are two suggested ways of getting there with one departing from the Visitors Centre (19kms return) and the other leaving from the Mountain Creek car park (11.6kms return). Both walks are classified as hard with a recommended duration of 8hrs and 6hrs respectively.
A look at the Reserve’s brochure will indicate that there are various other walking options for getting to Camel’s Hump with different tracks converging for the last 3 or more kms.
This review is based on the walk from the Mountain Creek car-park.
To avoid the heat, especially if you are walking in summer, set out as early as possible. Having an annual pass for the Reserve I was walking by 8am (gates open 7.30am) and was in fact back in the car park by around 12.30 somewhat earlier than expected so I managed to fit in the Cascades and Lyrebird Trails (both of which also start at the Mountain Creek park) before a hearty late lunch at the Tidbinbilla Café (no longer operating) in the Visitors Centre.
All of the Camel’s Hump walk, apart from the final 500m is along a fire trail. Fire trails, for those who don’t know, are tracks though forest areas with the dual purpose of permitting access to fire trucks in the event of a fire and creating breaks in the forest itself in the, often vain, hope that escaped fires will stop and burn out when they hit a trail and not “jump” the trail.
The first 1.8km of this walk are the most strenuous as you make your way up the steep fire trail to one of the highest ridges in the ACT. The trail then meanders, though also continues to rise at a more gentle pace, along the ridge/valley side to the base of Camel’s Hump at Camel Back which is very clearly marked with a large sign. While there is lots of vegetation as you look back into the valley the walk still affords some fantastic views. If you have done the Gibraltar Peak walk you will very easily recognise it across the valley as you walk along the ridge.The curious Kangaroo in pictured below accompanied me (staying about 50m ahead) for a good 2kms along the middle section of the walk.
As you approach, having skirted around John’s Peak to your right, Camel’s Back, where you branch of the fire trail for the final 500m ascent to the top of Camel’s Hump the views get even better.
The final ascent to Camel’s Hump (at 1,400m altitude – with the car park being at around 900m) is unmarked though there are number of reasonably obvious paths you can take – with varying amounts of scrambling across rocks as you ascend. When you reach the top, add a rock to the cairn.
Do stop and admire the spectacular views into the Tidbinbilla Valley, back along the Tidbinbilla Range to Johns Peak, Tidbinbilla Peak and Tidbinbilla Mountain as you slowly make your way to the summit.
Be careful if it is windy, icy or wet (or all three!) Views from the summit itself are a bit obscured though you can easily spot the satellite dishes of the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex and Black Mountain Tower in Canberra. If you are not inclined to scramble right to the top, then when you return to the Camel’s Back sign continue along the fire trail a few hundred metres for views towards Canberra.
You return to the car park via the trail you came up.
While a bit of a hike to get up to Camel’s Peak it is well worth the effort and highly recommended.
This is walk 21 on the Discover Tidbinbilla guide which you can download or pick up from the visitors centre as you enter the Reserve.
For details on park entrance fees and other general information about the Reserve and links to other walks see my introductory Tidbinbilla review.
Address: Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek
Directions: Follow Tourist Route 5 from Canberra.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. To continue with my next entry chick HERE.
To start at the beginning of this loop click HERE.