Conservation Council 21-day walk traces the ACT's border - and raises funds
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Conservation Council 21-day walk traces the ACT's border - and raises funds

A Conservation Council walk around the ACT border provides a rare opportunity for Canberrans to traverse the entire 306 kilometre territory border, including land usually closed to the public.

The 21-day walk begins on October 7, and Conservation Council president Rod Griffiths, an accountant by day, will lead the fundraising event. Mr Griffiths will walk the entire route, camping for eight nights when the walk reaches the Namadgi area.

The disused Queanbeyan - Cooma railway line, which will feature on day seven of the border walk.

The disused Queanbeyan - Cooma railway line, which will feature on day seven of the border walk.Credit:Rod Griffiths

Canberrans are invited to join for sections as short as four hours including on the Centenary Trail, or for some of the more remote overnight legs when the event traces the southern border around the base of the Namadgi National Park.

Mr Griffiths said the walk would allow people to experience parts of the ACT less travelled, walking through nature reserves and the national park, as well as through private and defence lands that are not open to the public.

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Left to right, the ACT Conservation Council's Larry O'Loughlin, left, with Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, and Rod Griffiths, who leads a 306 kilometre circuit of the ACT's border, at Namadgi on Friday.

Left to right, the ACT Conservation Council's Larry O'Loughlin, left, with Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, and Rod Griffiths, who leads a 306 kilometre circuit of the ACT's border, at Namadgi on Friday.

"The route will take in some of the ACT's roughest and most beautiful country," he said.

The walk starts on October 7 at Hall and follows the border clockwise, with about five to eight hours walking a day in the first half, at Canberra's northern end. It would traverse grasslands, woollen grassy woodlands, mountain ash areas and lowlands, and includes the One Tree Hill and Old Joe Trig walking tracks. It would include Mulligans Flat, which has walkways used by Indigenous people for centuries.

Day 7 is a five-hour walk on the disused Queanbeyan-Cooma railway line.

By Day 9 the walk is well out of the urban area heading south into Namadgi, with overnight camping and talks of up to nine hours a day. After rounding the southern border, participants climb Mount Kelly, the tallest peak in the Scabby Range, with views of the Snowy Mountains. They will pass mountain tarns and see the source of the Cotter River, which is the ACT's water supply.

A classic Canberra border marker from the eastern border, between Gilmore and Royalla.

A classic Canberra border marker from the eastern border, between Gilmore and Royalla.Credit:Rod Griffiths

"This is the watershed walk, it is a major part of our water supply, it's one of the catchments that the surveyors were trying to encapsulate, when they were going around and marking the border," Mr Griffiths said.

The 100-year-old border markers are a feature of the walk.

"Someone took the time to carve the triangle bit at the top of the markers and then carve the ACT part into the wood," Mr Griffiths said.

"It took five years to get all around the borders, the three teams, so there is a lot of investment into the creation of them."

Participants will walk through modified environments such as pine forests and industrial estates near Hume, through Oaks Estate, and through Queanbeyan.

"It's really diverse and all the paths have a wonderful story to tell," he said.

The walk raises funds for the ACT Conservation Council, which otherwise relied on money from the ACT government, Mr Griffiths said.

Six members of the ACT parliament have signed up to walk a segment.

"It is great to have Assembly members who not only have first-hand experiences of the natural values of the bush capital but who also know their boundaries", Mr Griffiths said.

The walk catered for a range of walking abilities, but some was off track.

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