As a continuation of my exploration of the New South Wales – Australian Capital Territory(ACT) border city of Queanbeyan, started the week before, I thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk to the summit of nearby Mount Jerrabomberra from which there are expansive views down over the city. An added treat, I read, would be the views back to the ACT summits of Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura, as well as views out towards the distant Brindabellas. The also touted views down to the Hume light industrial estate were less of a drawcard, for me.
My plan was to leave home at 8am and, following a short drive, start walking at about 8.20am. Awaking at 7am I ascertained that the outside temperature was -2C and immediately decided that a 9am departure would be fine. As I anticipated that the walk of 3.9km would take less than an hour and a half I would still be able to fit in a cup of coffee before deciding what to do for lunch.
By 9am the temperature had indeed risen, to zero, so off I headed and arrived at the small car park on Jerrabomberra Hill Road at 9.20am.
The Jerrabomberra Mountain Reserve is riddled with trails but it is small enough in that if you do get lost you will easily get out of the reserve quickly and safely.
To reach the summit many follow the well formed gravel management road most of the way up, followed by a short section of stepped pathway to the summit and then return via the same route. Not being a fan of walks where you return on the same outward track (unless there is no option) I sussed out a 3.9km circular route that would take me up a somewhat steeper and rougher path, to the south of the management road and then return me via the management road. Taking this route in the anticlockwise direction would, on the return section, give me views across to Canberra, without having to turn around to see them.
Essentially, I followed this route which I found on the excellent alltrails.com site.
Leaving the car park and passing through the gap by the locked gate I immediately turned left taking a track away from the management road which, after a couple of hundred metres, reconnected with it again. Here I turned right and followed the management road down for a hundred metres or so before turning left towards the summit.
On turning towards the summit I hit one of the two rather step sections on the walk – thankfully each was less than 300m long. While this first section caused me to huff and puff a bit it was perfectly doable and I was rewarded with that view down to the Hume light industrial estate I referred to earlier. Had I seen a herd of wildebeest foraging on the plain below I may not have noticed the incline as much.
At the top of this first incline I got a good view of the summit of the mountain and, as is often the case on walks like this, it became evident that I would have to go down (thankfully only a little) again before making the final ascent. My goodness, in writing that I make it sound as if I was climbing Mt Everest! In the interest of not deceiving my reader I should mention that the summit of Mt Jerrabomberra sits at 783m and I started my walk at about 630m.
Moving on towards the final ascent (!) I was afforded views, though the trees, of the Jerrabomberra residential suburb, the tentacles of which make their way up the southern side of the mountain, with an ever increasing cost to would be residents who enjoy the views from these lofty abodes.
The second significant incline, again just less than 300m, brought me, after a little more huffing and puffing, to the highest point on the walk (770m). Just after here I crossed over the management road I referred earlier and shortly thereafter I arrived at the viewing platform which is a few metres below the actual 783m summit, on which is located a mobile phone tower.
By now the temperature had risen to about 13C and it was a delightful sunny mid-winter morning of the type I love. I quickly realised that the optimal time for this walk would have been in the afternoon as now, at around 10am, the sun was shining straight into my eyes, and thus in my camera lens, while I admired Queanbeyan, spread out directly below me. That said, while my photos were sub-optimal I was, with the assistance of the interpretive board, able to make out many of the places I had explored the week before and identify various other historic locations in the area.
Of particular interest to me was the sight of the road leaving the city (top centre of picture above) as it reignited in my mind memories from nearly 20 years before. My picture does not relay the reality that this section of road, a couple of kilometres long, is extremely, and I mean extremely, steep presenting a challenge to travellers, even in a car. It is not surprising that I totally failed to get up it atop a bicycle during my one and only attempt to do so back in the early 2000s, at almost the beginning of a 180km ride to the coast at Moruya. It was a long, hard slog pushing a loaded bicycle up this hill though it did make the remainder of my two days ride feel like a breeze!
Having enjoyed the view, had a short break and reminisced of times past it was time to continue walking – all downhill from here.
Just to the right, coming off the viewing platform, I followed a formed path – essentially a series of steps – down to the management road and two very plain looking water tanks which loudly shouted out ‘paint some artwork on us’ – two truly wasted canvasses at present. I am not suggesting that I be let loose with a spray can or a paint brush but rather someone more talented that I be given the opportunity to transform these rather ugly tanks into something more appealing to the eye.
What I did like here was the availability of a drinking fountain, something not normally found on walks like this in the Canberra area. Especially nice was the fact that there were a number of bowls such that passing dogs could also partake of liquid refreshment, noting that dogs, on a leash/lead, are permitted within the reserve.
From here the walk continues on along the well formed and maintained management road for a couple of kilometres before the short diversion to the car park and the end of the walk.
This section of the walk afforded excellent, if a little distant, views across to Canberra with its summits of Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura being clearly visible, particularly from the location of the third water tank along the walk.
Claims that the the walk provides good views to the Brindabellas – mountains to the west of Canberra – are grossly exaggerated – partial distant glimpses, yes.
Flora along the walk, if it was not already obvious to my reader from the attached photographs, comprised mainly eucalyptus trees and, being winter, there was not much in the way of flowers.
In terms of fauna, outside hearing some birds I saw nothing but understand wallabies can be seen on occasion.
Having completed this very enjoyable walk (approx. 1.5hrs) it was time for a coffee. I presumed that such could be procured at the nearby Jerrabomberra shops and made my way there. On arrival I found a rather lacklustre, no-frills shopping centre with the only option for coffee, that I could see, being a Michel’s Patisserie (an Australian bakery franchise) located in the noisy central concourse of the centre, immediately outside a bustling major supermarket.
It not being to my liking, I left.
Rather than giving up, thankfully, I had the presence of mind to ‘Google’ local cafes and came up with the oddly named Suppetó Collective, less than a kilometre away. While I had honestly expected classier café options in this rather upmarket suburb, this proved to be a pleasant enough place and my coffee was excellent. While enjoying my coffee I read a lengthy blog describing a 2,000km 4wd drive on dirt roads in central Australia………… ya gotta dream and believe that dreams become reality!
Walk location: Jerrabomberra Mountain Reserve – parking on Jerrabomberra Hill Road
Cafe location: 37 Jerrabomberra Pkwy, Jerrabomberra
My next Queanbeyen Review – HERE (Coming soon)