A highly recommended walk in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
Some distance before you reach Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve you will notice a bunch of rocks on the horizon. This is Gibraltar Peak which, once you have reached Tidbinbilla, can be reached in three ways, all by foot.
You can do a round trip from the visitors centre (around 12kms), you can walk along a fire trail (just over 6kms and until 2012 the only way to reach the peak) or you can drive into the Reserve to Dalsetta Trail Head car-park and take a new trail from here (just over 8kms).
The first option is long (unnecessarily so unless you just want to walk – nothing wrong with that!), the fire trail is a hard slog and boring (I did it a few years ago) and the final option is a fantastic walk, very well laid out through varying landscape and scenery. I recommend the trail from Dalsetta and that is the subject of this review.
The walk is graded moderate to hard with a walk time of 3-4 hours. The grading is about right though the hard part (not that hard) is restricted to the last couple of hundred metres. The track is in good condition throughout (pictures 2 and 3). I completed the walk in just less than 3hrs including stops at the top and Eliza Saddle where I had a picnic lunch (about 45mins).
When you leave the car-park (there is a toilet here) the track takes you across open grassland where you will see an abundance of kangaroos. From here you ascend slowly bypassing a small wetland area filled with reeds all the time with quite beautiful views back into the valley. Around half way up you will reach Eliza Saddle (if you walked from the visitors centre you would join the peak track here). Here, while there is no view, there is a small picnic area with a groovy table were we stopped for a picnic on the way back down from the peak (the day I went it was very windy on the peak). From here the gradient increases a bit while the view gets even better until at about 250 metres from the top you come across a viewing platform which affords fantastic views back towards Canberra. you can see Black Mountain Tower in Canberra in the distance – though you won’t make it out in my picture below, taken from this viewing area.
From here, if like me (of the relatively unfit variety), you may work up a bit of a sweat getting to the top as you pass a series of stunning granite monoliths,. When you get to two large rocks (picture 1) and a large exposed area of bare rock you could be forgiven for thinking you had reached the top. You haven’t but there isn’t far to go so continue. Once you get there, there are great views from the peak (1040 metres) so do sit down and take your time before returning back to the valley.
This is walk 18 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.