Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve

Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve panorama



Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve

Until 2 April 2019, the reserve will be closed every Tuesday from 8 pm to 6 am on Wednesday morning to allow rabbit control to take place.

Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 703 hectare reserve located in north-east Canberra and includes the prominent hill, known as 'Old Joe' on the ACT/NSW border.

The reserve borders Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve in the north-west and is separated from the Mount Majura Nature Reserve by Horse Park Drive in the south.

Goorooyarroo, together with Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, protects 1384 hectares of endangered Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland which is the largest remaining area of box-gum woodland in the ACT. It is a regional stronghold for several threatened or uncommon woodland plant, grasshopper, lizard, bird and mammal species. It provides habitat for the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana) and vulnerable Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii).

The reserve contains remnants of historic sites including ACT survey and border markers and a stone fenceline.

Mountain biking is permitted on management trails only.


  • Nature appreciation
  • Bird watching
  • Walking
  • Mountain bike riding (on management tracks only)

Dogs and other pets are not allowed.



Cultural Landscape – A continuing connection to country

Aboriginal people lived in and managed the landscape in this region for thousands of years and have maintained a connection to the land to the present day. Generations of Aboriginal people have cared for Country, and have been sustained, physically and spiritually through their relationship with the land, waterways and cosmology.

Traditional Custodians have actively managed the landscape through activities such ‘fire stick farming’ and selectively cultivating certain plants, which created the landscapes first seen by explorers and pastoral settlers.

Continuation of knowledge

Traditionally, the local Ngunnawal people shared knowledge and responsibility for Caring for Country. Today, this cultural knowledge continues to be passed down to younger generations and has a role to play in the management of ACT reserves. Aboriginal community organisations and the Murumbung Rangers in the ACT Parks and Conservation Service run cultural activities to educate the wider community about the cultural landscape, heritage values and land conservation practices.

Visit Murumbung Yurung Murra cultural activities to find out more about participating in cultural activities or attend a cultural tour with a local Traditional Custodian.

Heritage sites

Goorooyarroo protects 30 Aboriginal heritage sites including stone artefacts, occurring individually and in small scatters on the surface, and many areas are likely to include further Aboriginal heritage sites.

These sites are of cultural significance to Traditional Custodians, linking generations of Aboriginal people over time, and they are also of archaeological significance as an important source of information on the history of the reserve and the ACT region.

Sites are listed on the ACT Heritage Register. If cultural artefacts are found they must not be disturbed to prevent a breach of the ACT Government Heritage Act 2004.

The saddle of Gecko Hill, now the Federal Highway, also holds a special association for Aboriginal people as one of the main entry points into the Canberra area.

Historic Heritage

Sheep grazing began in the mid 1820s, and from the 1860s there was continuous stocking in large fenced paddocks. From 1920-1925 large old and dead trees were felled for firewood for the Canberra market. Some pasture improvement occurred from the mid 20th century.



Vegetation communities and associations

Goorooyarroo protects endangered Yellow Box- Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland. This area, together with other woodlands within Gungahlin, is one of the largest, best connected and most diverse patches of box-gum woodland remaining in south-eastern Australia.

The upper slopes have largely been cleared of vegetation which is likely to have been forest dominated by Red Stringybark (E. macrorhyncha). Stands of brittle gum (E. mannifera) forest remain on rocky, shallow slopes.

There are areas of secondary grassland dominated either by dense Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) or Wallaby grass (Rytidosperma spp)-Spear grass (Austrostipa spp).

Stands of Drooping She-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata) occur on the reserve, providing an important food source for the threatened Glossy Black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami).

Plants – Land of diversity

Goorooyarroo is significant habitat of Corkscrew Grass (Austrostipa setacea) and Bunch Wire Grass (Aristida behriana). Both grass species are rare.The reserve is also one of the few locations in the ACT where Brown Beaks (Lyperanthus suaveolens) and Hairy Raspweed (Gonocarpus elatus) occur.

The nationally endangered Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans) is found in the reserve and there are relatively large population of Creeping Bossia (Bossiaea prostrate). Other rare plants include Slender Wire Lily (Laxmania gracilis), Yam Daisy (Microseris lanceolata), Narrow Plantain (Plantago gaudichaudii), Milkwort (Polygala japonica), and Twining Fringe Lily (Thysanotus patersonii).

Animals – Home to many

Large areas of central and northern Goorooyarroo provide habitat for the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana)and is one of the largest areas of continuous habitat for the species in the ACT region.

The endangered Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland is a breeding location for the vulnerable Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii), one of only two breeding sites in the ACT.

About five hectares is habitat for the nationally vulnerable Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar).

The reserve also provides habitat for rare and threatened woodland bird species including Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii), Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus), Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera), Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata), White-winged Triller (Lalage sueurii), Speckled Warbler (Chthonicola sagittata) and Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus).



The reserve is accessible from Horse Park Drive, and from Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve to the north.

Note: If you have difficulty accessing the information in this map please contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Download a PDF map

About Canberra Nature Park

The ACT Parks and Conservation Service is responsible for managing Canberra Nature Park. Canberra Nature Park is made up of over 35 reserves ranging from bushland hills to some of the best examples of lowland native grassland and endangered ecological community of Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland left in Australia.


The management of Canberra Nature Park is greatly assisted by a group of volunteers called ParkCare. ParkCare volunteers undertake a variety of activities including seed collection, plant propagation, tree planting, weed removal, erosion control, vegetation mapping and recording, water quality monitoring, raising community awareness and the maintenance and restoration of heritage places.

Caring for Ngunnawal Country

The ACT Government acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as Traditional Custodians of the Canberra region, and their continuing sense of responsibility to preserve the spirit and stories of their ancestors throughout the landscape. Cultural values are also living and current, as much as an appreciation of the past. For more information visit Caring for Ngunnawal Country.

Canberra Nature Map

Report rare and endangered plant sightings via the Canberra Nature Map.


For more information on heritage tracks, visit Canberra Tracks which is a network of heritage signage that incorporates six self-drive routes leading to many of Canberra’s historic sites.

Prescribed burns

The ACT Parks and Conservation Service conducts prescribed burns throughout Canberra Nature Park.

More information and feedback

For more information or to provide feedback, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or complete an online feedback form.