It is amazing to think that millions of years ago, around 420 million to be more precise, the London Bridge, Googong area was part of the ocean floor. As the ocean receded the arch, which would become known as the London Bridge Arch, slowly formed by water leaching through the fossiliferous limestone, enlarging cracks, until a passage big enough to let the Burra Creek through was created. The arch reached its present form about 20,000 years ago.

London Bridge and the Burra Creek are the main features of this short and relatively easy walk which takes the walker directly to London Bridge and then along the Burra Creek, in a northerly direction, before crossing the creek at Drawdown Crossing and returning to the car park across open grassland  – a total distance of just two kilometres. Various other walking options which include visiting London Bridge are possible and these are briefly detailed at the end of this post. Note that pictures included in this post are from a number of visits I have made to London Bridge over the past few months.

This walk starts at London Bridge car park, as do all but one of the walks in the southern part of the Googong Foreshores reserve. The car park is about 40 kilometres from the centre of Canberra, about 45 minutes drive.

Prior to setting off on the walk (or on your return) it is worth having a look at the old woolshed and shearers quarters located in the large recreational area adjacent to the car park. Here you can also find free gas barbecues, picnic shelters/ tables and toilets.

Recreational area at London Bridge car park

Both the shearers quarters and the woolshed were built in the early 1930s, to replace those at the nearby London Bridge Homestead which had, by then, outlived their usefulness. Between 2,500 and 4,000 sheep were shorn in the woolshed annually until 1973 when it and the remainder of the London Bridge property were acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia to protect this part of the catchment of the Googong Reservoir (one of the main sources of water for nearby Queanbeyan and Canberra) which was created shortly after that date.

London Bridge woolshed and shearers quarters – 1930s

Returning to the walk, if you are proceeding beyond London Bridge (i.e. following this walk the whole way) I recommend you ‘sign in’ on the register as you leave the parking area – and not forget to sign out on your return. This way if you have not signed out by the reserves’ closing time park rangers will come looking for you, lest you have had an accident. Mobile phone coverage is patchy and, especially if you walk during the week, you may be the only walker on any particular day.

Walk ‘sign-in’ register at London Bridge car park

Having signed in, I made my way up a slight incline and after about 50 metres I veered right onto the management track continuing along the well formed track for another 350 metres to a sign directing me to London Bridge.

Management track en route to London Bridge – you can see the turn-off sign in the middle distance
Kangaroos are a familiar sight along the walk to London Bridge (2016 picture)

Turning left at the signpost it is a short (approx. 300 metres) downhill walk to the rocky top of London Bridge.

London Bridge rocky surface looking up from the other side

From the top of the bridge I had picturesque 360 degree views of the valley and along the Burra Creek which runs under the arch.

Burra Creek on the south and North sides of London Bridge respectively – note there are no railings on the ‘bridge’

As I was continuing my walk north (left) along the creek, after enjoying the views from the bridge I continued across it and turned right to look at the bridge and arch from that side first.

London Bridge south side view
Looking through London Bridge Arch from the south side

The arch is thirty-four metres long, twelve to fifteen metres wide at water level, and about five metres high above normal summer water level.

The bridge (and the nearby homestead) is named after London Bridge in London, UK. Unlike it’s man-made namesake which has fallen down more than once (with one incarnation being bought by an American and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City, Arizona – did he really think he was buying Tower Bridge?) this London Bridge has stood the test of time for 20,000 years and is still going strong. Coincidentally, the night before I wrote this review I was reading about Olaf’s feted attack on London’s London Bridge in 1014 and how it was likely the inspiration of the children’s nursery rhyme, ‘London Bridge is falling down’.

Having admired the bridge from the southern side I moved across to the northern side for look from that side.

This picture is taken from the management track across the valley (on my return from the Queanbeyan River Walk) back to the bridge
London Bridge from the north side
London Bridge from the north side

The first European to record the existence of the arch was Captain Mark Currie who sighed it in 1823 as he returned from his exploration of the more southerly Monaro Plains. Currie was shown the arch by local Aboriginals and at the time described it as ‘a natural bridge of one perfect Saxon arch, under which the water passed’.

Looking at the bridge today (from both sides) a number of caves can be seen in the structure.

Caves at London Bridge – south and north sides respectively

Currie made no mention of these caves though, over the years, various stories have developed around them, none of which can be absolutely confirmed.

One story (Butz 1987 ‘Karst and caves in the Canberra area’) records the discovery, in 1874, of `a veritable catacomb’ containing `many hundreds of human bones and skulls, centuries old’. These were, according to Butz, carried away by the bagful and pronounced by three surgeons, including the Coroner, to be `the skeletons of the Aborigines of former times’ (Brennan 1907). It has been widely believed that such Aboriginal cave burials are rare in the region (Flood 1980). More recent work (Spate), while not buying into the bagfuls of bones, suggests that the caves were used for burials, though there have never been any human bones produced in evidence.

Another story (Moore 1981) records that the area received some notoriety through the ‘London Bridge mystery’ with the discovery, in 1875, of human (supposedly European) bones in a small cave near Burra, leading to an inconclusive coronial inquest and rumours of murders committed by bushrangers. It is not known if the cave referred to in this story is one of the caves at the bridge.

In any event, the bridge and the caves hold a spiritual significance for local Ngunnawal (among other groups) Aboriginal people so I choose, as I recommend you also do, not to clamber up to the caves, though some people do. There is nothing to see so just admire them from the creek banks.

After admiring the bridge and arch I moved on along the bubbling Burra Creek, in a northerly direction.

Moving north along the Burra Creek from London Bridge
Moving north along the Burra Creek from London Bridge
Wattle along the Burra Creek

After 500 metres of level walking along the creek I arrived at a signpost confirming that I could return to the car park via Drawdown Crossing or go back via the bridge. While not visible in the picture below some not very smart individual has scratched ‘ Track non-existent’ beside the Drawdown Crossing arrow. I say not very smart as it beggers belief how the author failed to recogise the, to me rather clear, track depicted below!

Continuing on, in about 20 metres I arrived at Drawdown Crossing.

Burra Creek – Drawdown Crossing

Thankfully I was able to stone-hop across the creek without having to remove my boots and socks or get wet in the process.

Emerging on the other side and after going a little further along the creek for a look I made my way back to the ‘non-existent’ track and headed up the hill towards the end of my walk.

En route to the car park I enjoyed views back down across the valley and creek

and views across the grasslands towards Tin Hut Dam which I could have walked to but instead chose to drive to for an additional short walk and picnic lunch – More on that in a seperate post.

View towards Tin Hut Dam which lies across the hill

A few minutes later I was back at the London Bridge car park after a very enjoyable hour and a bits walk.

Other Googong Foreshores walk options – incorporating London Bridge

Option A – London Bridge return  – from the car park to London Bridge as outlined above, returning the same way – approximately 1.5 kilometres.

Option B – London Bridge via London Homestead, a circular walk as outlined in my separate post noting that this 3.4 kilometres walk can be done in either direction.

Option C – London Bridge is also along the 19 kilometres Queanbeyan River Walk as detailed in my separate post.

My next Queanbeyan review– HERE

Return to the beginning of my Queanbeyan reviews –HERE

21 thoughts on “London Bridge, Googong – Walk via Drawdown Crossing

          1. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Westport in County Mayo Albert, but I was in a pub called Matt Molloy’s one evening watching some musicians doing their thing in a way that only the Irish can. I was sat next to a couple and they asked me where I came from. When I said Torquay in England they nearly fell of their chairs because they came from Torquay in Australia and never realised there was a Torquay in England. Have you been there? (the one in Australia I mean)

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I have been to Westport once as I recall and had lunch in a pub but cannot recall its name. I have heard of Torquay, a seaside resort outside Melbourne but have not been there. Wikipedia tells me “James Follett, who settled there in 1871, came from Torquay, the seaside town in Devon, England, and at his suggestion the name Torquay was officially adopted in 1892.”

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  1. I always love following you virtually om your hikes Albert! You show me a bit of Australien nature that I normally don’t see or read about, and that make your pages so interesting for me. I hope that I will be able to visit Australia some day, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be so one day soon. I’ve seen so much wildlife during my travels, but seeing kangaroos is still something I would love to experience. A usual sight probably for you, but so exotic for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much I am glad to be able to share and hope that some day you do get here. In normal times it is not as arduous a journey as people think. Yes I see lots of roos but still love them … obviously very Australian.


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