Bradleys Creek walk, at 14.2 kms return, is the longest and most difficult walk in the northern section of the Googong Foreshores reserve. It is also one of the most rewarding in terms of views and in getting a good cardio work-out. It requires a reasonable level of fitness and, with that, will take around four hours (plus stops) to complete.
The trail head for the walk is the Downstream Picnic Area car park, in the northern part of the reserve, itself about 32 kms or half an hours drive from Canberra city centre. This is a popular picnic area beside the Queanbeyan river with free bbq facilities, shaded eating areas and toilets. Note that the reserve is not a 24 hrs park and that the (northern) gates don’t open until 8.00am and are locked again at 6.00pm in non-daylight savings time and 8.00pm in daylight savings time.
Leaving the car park, at a large signpost for the walk located to the right of where I drove in, the initial part of the walk took me through low level bush and scrub.
It is in this area, especially if you make an early start, as you should in warmer months anyway to avoid the heat of the day, that you are likely to encounter kangaroos and wombats. My only encounter today was with a rather sad looking wombat clearly suffering from menge, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites. While park authorities have a programme in place to eradicate this from the local wombat population it remains a problem.
After about a kilometre the fairly indistinct, in places, though adequately marked, bush track linked up with the Bradley’s Creek management road on which I would remain for the rest of the walk. At the intersection there is a set of directional signs, one of which indicates that Googong Lookout, which furnishes great views of the Googong Dam and out across the reservoir, is a mere 500 metres away. I recommend taking a detour from the Black Wallaby Loop Track walk to visit this lookout and not adding an additional kilometre (and at least half an hour) to this already reasonably long walk which itself, very quickly, provides excellent views to the dam and reservoir, if from slightly further away. If you do not plan doing that walk then by all means visit the lookout at this point or on your return. I cover the Googong Lookout in my review of the Black Wallaby Loop Track walk.
Moving on, and upwards, from the signage towards Gormans Trig, the highest point on the walk, I soon got views of the reservoir, down to my right. Do not be tempted to go down to the water’s edge here or at any point along this (northern and western) part of the reservoir as you will encounter a high fence and signs prohibiting access to what is one of the main drinking water sources for nearby Queanbeyan and Canberra. Limited use access (boating and fishing but no swimming) to the reservoir is available along the eastern side of the reservoir. For this walk just enjoy the views.
Having walked through an increasingly wooded section on a reasonably gentle incline, parallel to the reservoir, and with increasingly good views for the best part of a kilometre the path took a sharp turn to the left and at the same time became significantly steeper as it wend its way up the Queanbeyan escarpment towards Gorman’s Trig. After fifty metres or so I came across a bench where I was able to stop for a bit and catch my breath before proceeding along what is the steepest section of the walk. While catching my breath and mentally preparing for the ascent visible in front of me I was able to admire the magnificent view down to the reservoir and beyond from here.
Moving on, while I found it in my legs for a bit the views back down to the reservoir continued to compensate for the physical strain.
Indeed, the views became more expansive such that the Googong Dam wall and village became visible, as did Queanbeyan and Canberra in the distance – if I looked carefully between the trees and bushes.
After about 500 metres the worst of the ascent was over and the incline eased off a little until, after about forty minutes not rushing it, I reached the trig point – itself just a marker in the bush – from which there was, disappointingly no view whatsoever. I could however console myself that the remainder of the walk to Bradley’s Creek (2.8 kms) would be mostly downhill and that I had managed to climb about 250 metres – to 860 metres – since I started the walk ( at 620 metres) with about 100 metres of that being in the 500 metres after I had left the seat with the view.
From the trig point the walk was indeed mostly downhill, loosing about 140 metres in altitude. Given that this was over 2.8 kms it was, apart from a couple of short though steep declines, including one to the creek itself, not that noticeable – important to note for the return walk!
This section of the walk was fairly wooded, crossing a couple of waterless creeks, with views limited to the good old Australian bush.
From the top of the final descent to the creek there were good views along the creek though water levels were fairly low – often there is no water here at all – as I visited in mid-winter, missing out on the much heavier than normal rains that came in the spring of 2020 (Sept – Oct in particular).
Having admired the creek and having had a bite to eat I returned to the carpark enjoying the views once more, in reverse.
Overall, while not the easiest of walks the views made up for the slight discomfort encountered at times and I would thoroughly recommend it for anyone of reasonable fitness.
My next Queanbeyan review– HERE
Return to the beginning of my Queanbeyan reviews – HERE