Namadgi National Park
With remote wilderness experiences, a wide range of natural environments, an abundance of native wildlife, and Aboriginal and European cultural sites, there are many reasons to visit Namadgi National Park. Namadgi covers 106,095 hectares, with 160 kilometres of marked walking tracks.
Visit the Namadgi Visitor Centre to get expert advice and see displays and audiovisuals. The Visitor's Centre is open 9 am to 4 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 4.30 pm on weekends and public holidays. It is closed Christmas Day.
History of Namadgi
Declared a national park in 1984, Namadgi National park has helped protect the biodiversity of the ACT, preserving diverse bird and animal species, plant life, and Aboriginal and European cultural heritage sites. The Namadgi Visitor Centre opened in 1990 and in 1991 the park was expanded to its current size of 106,095 hectares which is almost 46% of the ACT.
Namadgi has a rich heritage of human history:
- Aboriginal people were living in the region during the last ice-age 21,000 years ago.
- Pastoralists settled in the upper valleys of the Cotter, Gudgenby, Orroral, Naas and Tidbinbilla rivers from the 1830s.
- Timber extraction began in the Brindabellas in the 1930s.
- Recreational skiing began in the Brindabella Range with the formation of the Canberra Alpine Club in 1934.
- Space tracking stations operated at Honeysuckle Creek and in the Orroral Valley from the 1960s to the 1980s.
The park also plays an important ecological role:
- Namadgi's biodiversity is extensive with more than 700 species of plants, 222 species of vertebrate animals, 15 threatened species and over 40 rare or uncommon species recorded to date
- Namadgi protects Canberra's main water supply catchment and its mountain ranges form a distinctive backdrop to the city.
- The western parts of the ACT and adjacent land in NSW have, historically, been the source of bushfires that move in an easterly direction towards Canberra. In 2003 the park was hit by major fires and fire management has become an increasingly important issue, with regular prescribed burns used to reduce fuel hazards and protect resources.
- The Bendora Arboretum was established in 1940 and is the sole surviving arboretum in the Brindabella ranges. It was established to determine suitable softwood species for industry in the region and is now home to some of the best examples of mature conifer trees anywhere in the world.
The Namadgi National Park Plan of Management 2010 came into effect on 24 September 2010. The plan outlines the objectives for managing the park's values, and includes background information considered in developing policies and actions. Printed copies of the Plan are available from the Namadgi National Park Visitor Centre and Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre or by calling 13 22 81.
All fires in the ACT including campfires are regulated by law. Fire permits are required for campfires all year round except in officially constructed fireplaces. Always ensure fires are fully extinguished with water on departure. Help protect Namadgi's sensitive environment by observing fire regulations and using fuel stoves.
Restrictions apply when Total Fire Bans are in place. Firewood is not provided, so campers are required to supply their own wood. It is illegal to take any wood from within the national park. Firewood is available for purchase at the Namadgi National Park Visitor Centre.
Camping in Namadgi is available at Honeysuckle, Orroral and Mt Clear campgrounds. Bookings are essential and available at the Namadgi Visitor Centre or online through the ACT Government Online Bookings System. More information is available on the Camping at Namadgi National park page.
Dogs are not allowed in Namadgi National Park and are also now prohibited in the Gibraltar Forest Regeneration Area formerly known as Gibraltar Pines east of Corin Road.
Dogs are permitted on leash at the Woods Reserve campsite and Blue Range Hut campsite. For more information on other areas you can take your dog in the ACT visit recreation with my dog.
Fishing is prohibited in the Cotter River catchment upstream of the Bendora Dam wall, the Cotter River and reservoir up to the junction with Pierce's Creek, and the Orroral River upstream of the Honeysuckle to Orroral management trail. Fishing is allowed in all other streams (classified as trout waters) but is subject to a closed season from the long weekend in June to the beginning of the long weekend in October. Gear/bait restrictions and size/bag limits also apply. Only artificial fly and lure fishing is allowed as live bait could lead to the introduction of alien species. For more information visit Fishing in the ACT.
Horse riding is permitted on the National Bicentennial Trail and on fire trails east of the Old Boboyan Road. Before riding, contact the Namadgi Visitor Centre for information and to arrange access and use of yards and camping areas. For more information see the Explore: Canberra parks and recreation guide (Word - 342KB) (PDF - 4MB)
There are over 400 kilometres of formed vehicle trails (management trails) available to cyclists within Namadgi National Park, Brindabella National Park and Bimberi Nature Reserve. Cycling is permitted on formed management roads within the park, except those in the Upper Cotter Catchment/ Bimberi Wilderness south of Mount Ginini car park and west of Orroral Valley. Bicycles are not permitted on walking tracks or off the formed roads.
Organised Events and Recreational User Groups
Events and organised activities conducted in Namadgi National Park for groups of 10 or more people require prior approval. There are a number of recreational and community groups that organise activities within Namadgi National Park. More information is available on the Recreation page.
Enjoying the Snow
Snow can fall over any part of the park but is most common on the Bimberi and Brindabella Ranges. Brindabella Road, Mt Franklin Road and southern parts of Boboyan Road can be hazardous in winter and care should be taken. Chains may be required. Contact the Namadgi Visitor Centre for details prior to departure.
For information on walking trails visit the "Walking trails" tab.
For more information view the printable Namadgi Guide (PDF 921KB)
Walking is a great way to explore Namadgi National Park, with 160 kilometres of walking trails to explore the park.
The following table outlines some of the popular walks within the park. Click on the name of the trail to load a trail guide.
Notes on the park's 160 kilometres of marked walking tracks can be found in the Namadgi Map and Guide, available at the Namadgi Visitor Centre shop and the Canberra Regional Visitor Centre for $4.50.
A steep walk through tall forest and granite boulders to views of the Orroral Valley from the former geodetic observatory.
Duration: 7 km (3 hours)
A portion of the bicentennial trail that provides insight into the natural, geological, Aboriginal and pastoral history of the area.
Duration: 16 km (7 hours)
Walk back in time to experience huts, homesteads and other historic sites from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Duration: 6 km/9 km (5 hours)
Explore huge granite boulders, Alpine Ash forests and Snow Gum woodlands. Views from Square Rock Lookout and the side track to the head of Orroral Valley.
Duration: 8.5 km (4 hours)
Note: The Square Rock walking track car park has been moved to the start of the track (approximately 500m east of the previous car park), across the road from Corin Forest Recreational Facility. For more information please view the map showing the new car park.
Stroll through expansive grasslands dotted with kangaroos to the Yankee Hat Shelter to view Aboriginal rock art. Easy walking with mountain views.
Duration: 6 km (2.5 hours)
Enjoy Snow Gum woodlands with magnificent views to Kosciuszko National Park. Possible snow in winter and a profusion of wildflowers in summer.
Duration: 1 km (45 minutes)
Mt Franklin Heritage
Enjoy the history of skiing display at the Franklin Shelter, then walk to the summit of Mt Franklin for fantastic views.
Duration: 3 km (1.5 hours)
Walk through tall forests to fantastic views from massive granite cliffs. Some steep sections.
Duration: 2.5 km (1.5 hours)
Discover history in the Orroral Valley—Ngunnawal Aboriginal, pioneer and the space age. Informative signs along the way. Easy grassland walking with mountain and river views.
Duration: 6 km (2.5 hours)
A pleasant ramble along the Orroral River that returns to the campground. Connects to the Orroral Heritage Walking Track.
Duration: 1 km (25 minutes)
Walk through dry and wet forest and see massive granite boulders and a large fen (sedge swamp). First 2 km steep.
Duration: 8.5 km (4 hours)
Gudgenby Bush Regeneration
See the rehabilitation of a former pine plantation to native forest. Walk through Candlebarks and Snow Gums.
Duration: 5 km (2 hours)
A walk with great variety—dry and wet forest, swampy grassland, Black Sallee woodlands, granite formations and wildflowers. See the zone of contact of sedimentary and granite rocks. Enjoy magnificent views of the Bimberi Wilderness.
Duration: 4 km (2 hours)
A pleasant walk through Snow Gums to the summit of Shannahans Mountain with views over the Clear Range to the Tinderry Range.
Duration: 3 km (1.5 hours)
A short stroll through endangered Yellow Box—Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland.
Duration: 1 km (40 minutes)
A short introduction to the park featuring mountain streams, boulders, woodland, forest, open grassy areas and views to the Gudgenby area. Links to Rendezvous Creek Fire Trail.
Duration: 1.6 km (1 hour)
A short walk down to the falls. Slippery after rain. Stay behind barriers.
Duration: 400 m (20 minutes)
Walk through Snow Gums and Mountain Gums to a stand of conifers planted in 1900s for research. There is a short marked trail through the plots along with signs.
Duration: 5 km (2 hours)
A beautiful mountain walk through Snow Gums with panoramic views from the summit. Alpine wildflowers in summer. Visit Pryors Hut on the way. Last 1 km steep.
Duration: 14.5 km (6 hours)
Stockyard Spur track climbs steeply through tall eucalypt forests surrounding Corin dam up to snow gum woodlands on the top of the Brindabella range. It is approx 15km return from Corin Dam to the junction with Mt Franklin Road but more experienced walkers can easily extend their day by visiting Prior's hut and Mt Ginini.
Duration: 15 km (6 hours)
Varied vegetation from Black Sallee flats to Alpine Ash forest. Steep sections. Start from the north for maximum downhill. Connects to other walking tracks. Unsealed access from Corin Road may be impassable when wet.
Duration: 18 km (1 day)
This loop trail can be walked in either direction. The fire trail is steeper while the trail up the centre of the valley has a gentler grade. The loop is joined at its northern end by 2 km of the Smokers Trail. The walk has views, kangaroos and wildflowers.
Duration: 19 km (1 day)
A challenging walk with magnificent views. Start from the Namadgi Visitor Centre after hours car park, walk along the Woodland Walk, then on the Mt Tennent Track to Cypress Pine Lookout (4.5 km return).
Continue up the steep track to the fire trail that leads to the summit. You can also start at the locked gate on the Apollo Road (first 1 km on private property) following the Mt Tennent fire trail.
Duration: 15 km (6 hours)
A pleasant walk through box woodland and dry forest. Brandy Flat Hut (1980) is along the track. Very steep sections on the southern half of the walk.
Duration: 10 km (6 hours)
Old Boboyan Road
Walk part of the mostly flat, original road to Adaminaby. Learn about the rehabilitation of a pine plantation to native trees and enjoy the Boboyan Valley grassland with views, fen and pastoral heritage.
Duration: 14 km (5 hours)
Grassy Creek to Boboyan Valley
Stroll through open grassy valleys. Discover pastoral heritage including huts, ruins, stock yards and exotic plantings.
Duration: 20 km (1 day)
Australian Alps Walking Track
A 650 kilometre trail that winds through the high country of south eastern Australia, linking this ancient mountain landscape. It traverses rugged remote alpine country where bushwalkers must be experienced and self-reliant. The track climbs our highest mountains and crosses exposed grassy high plains. It passes through magnificent tall forests and stunted snow gum woodlands, and discovers sites rich in history.
Most people choose to walk shorter sections of the trail such as the Baw Baw Plateau, Mount Howitt and the Cross Cut Saw, the Bogong High Plains, Mount Kosciuszko and the wilderness areas of Jagungal and Bimberi. To plan your trip view the detailed track notes.
Duration: 650 km (6-8 weeks)
Safety and walking off marked tracks
Well-prepared walkers who venture into remote parts of Namadgi reap some of the park's greatest rewards. All remote area parties should record the details of their trip in the bushwalking registers located in the park and ensure they have supplied details of their trip to a friend or family member. Walking off marked tracks requires expertise with a map and compass. Warm and waterproof clothing is always required as mountain weather can change unexpectedly at any time of the year.
Personal locator beacons (PLB) can also give visitors that extra peace of mind when exploring Namadgi. In the event of a serious accident, illness or emergency, the PLB can be activated, sending a distress signal to emergency services authorities together with a precise GPS location of the device. While essential for serious injury or mishap, walkers and adventurers should note there are serious penalties for deliberate misuse.
PLB can be hired from the Namadgi National Park Visitor Centre at a cost of $25 for five days and $50 for 10 days. For further information call the Visitor Centre on 6207 2900.
Huts of Namadgi National park
Namadgi is home to a many huts and homesteads that were built in the early European settlement days. There are several huts that can be accessed via walking trails. Here are a few of the more popular huts that you can visit in Namadgi. Please see the Huts Code for Visitors, to ensure these historical buildings are protected for future visitors.
Gudgenby Homestead (Gudgenby in a box)
Visitors can step back in time and glean an insight into the pastoral era through the exploration of this Interpretive Shelter which is located just a short walk from the Namadgi Visitor Centre.
Gudgenby in a box, one of the ACT's oldest European structures, has recently been rebuilt as part of an interpretive shelter set at the base of Mount Tennent, Namadgi National Park. The hand cut timber slab hut, originally constructed in 1845 by Scottish immigrant Charles McKeahnie, was dismantled in 1964 by then owner Bill Bootes and historian Neville Locker. The Kosciuszko Huts Association later had the hut's timber slabs stored in a shipping container, a steel box, which is where the project received the name Gudgenby in a box.
Now, almost 50 years after the timber slabs were stored in that shipping container, the Gudgenby in a box once again stands tall in the beautiful bush setting of Namadgi. The hut was reconstructed using the salvaged materials of the original structure and rebuilt within a new interpretive shelter. Interpretive panels and audio stories tell tales of the early settlers. The hut also has QR codes embedded into its walls to allow visitors to pinpoint locations of other pre-1913 structures on Google maps.
Brayshaws Homestead and Westermans Homestead
Brayshaws and Westermans Homesteads (along with Waterhole Hut) are found in the south of Namadgi National Park about 35 kilometres from the Namadgi Visitor Centre, on the Settlers Track.
The Settlers Track is a moderate 6 km (short loop) or 9 km (long loop) in which you can view these picturesque homesteads, as well as other significant remnants of the era. For more information on these homesteads download The Settlers Track brochure.
Horse Gully Hut
Horse Gully Hut is found on the Nass Valley Trail, in the southern end of Namadgi. Starting from Mt Clear, it is a 16 km return trail that is ideal for bush walkers or cyclists, as it follows the Nass Valley Fire Trail. A few Hearthstones remain from the original hut known as John Lennanes Hut, with the present hut being built during WWII. There is a long drop toilet at the hut site. See the Nass Valley to Horse Gully Hut self guided walk brochure for more information.
Brandy Flat Hut
The Brandy Flat Hut was originally built in the 1900's, 100 metres from where the current shelter stands. The shelter was built in the 1980's and is well used by walkers and cyclists. You can access the hut via the Boboyan Road or Glendale Crossing, by following the Brandy Flat Fire Trail. There is a toilet and water available however this should be boiled or sterilised before drinking.
Orroral Homestead is one of the more well visited homesteads in the park, as it is easily accessible on the Orroral Heritage walk. This is an easy 6 km one way walk that starts at the Orroral Campground. You can also join the track at several locations along the Orroral Road. It is thought that the homestead was build in the 1860's with construction possibly taking up to 10 years. Orroral Homestead is considered the oldest homestead in Namadgi National Park and was extensively conserved in 1992. There is also a shearing shed nearby, which was built in 1930.
This Gang Gang reflections film celebrates the history of the ACT Parks & Conservation Service, and the growth of conservation in Australia's capital, Canberra.
Featuring interviews with current & former staff, community members, archival footage and the final interview with Tom Uren AC, the Federal Minister responsible for Namadgi National Park, Gang Gang Reflections looks at European heritage and Aboriginal history, fire in the landscape, technology, and the hopes for the future of the service.
Presented by Namadgi Ranger, Mark Elford and produced by Richard Snashall, Gang Gang Reflections is now available on DVD from Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Visitor Centres. (60min, English).
More information is available by phoning 13 22 81.
Namadgi National Park, Naas Road, via Tharwa ACT 2620.
Please remember the following
- Dogs are not permitted in Namadgi.
- Please take your rubbish with you.
- Wild dogs can be found in low numbers throughout Namadgi. Although incidents of wild dogs interacting with people in Namadgi are extremely rare, visitors are advised to observe the advice on wild dogs to discourage these animals from becoming less fearful of humans. For more information visit the Wild dogs webpage and report any incidents to 6207 2900.
- Collection of standing or fallen timber from all public lands, including roadsides, is illegal and environmentally damaging, as it removes important habitat.
Namadgi Visitor Centre
- Located 3.5 km south of Tharwa.
- Open 9 am to 4 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 4.30 pm on weekends and public holidays. Closed Christmas Day.
- Contact the Visitor Centre on 6207 2900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Admission to the park is free.
To provide feedback, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or complete an online feedback form.