Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve



Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve

Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve will be closed every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening from 8pm until 5am the following day, from Tuesday 6 October 2020 to Friday 2 April 2021, to conduct a rabbit eradication program.

Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is an 829 hectare reserve located in north-east Canberra and includes the prominent hill on the ACT/NSW border, known as 'Old Joe'. The reserve borders Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve to the north-west and is separated from 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. In 2018 a 12km predator proof fence was constructed within Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve and the adjoining Throsby Offset Area, creating the 801ha Southern Exclosure within Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary. Work is currently underway to remove all vertebrate pest species before reintroducing threatened species.

Goorooyarroo 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 fence line.

Mountain biking is permitted on management trails only.


  • Nature appreciation
  • Bird watching
  • Walking
  • Mountain bike riding (on management trails and the marked Centenary Trail only).

Dogs and horses are prohibited.



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 as ‘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.

Heritage sites

Goorooyarroo protects 30 known Aboriginal heritage sites including stone artefacts, occurring individually and in small scatters on the surface, and it is likely that other as yet unrecorded sites also occur.

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.

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.

All Aboriginal places and objects in the ACT are protected under the Heritage Act 2004 and must not be disturbed. Anyone finding an (unregistered) Aboriginal object or place has an obligation to report it to the Heritage Council.

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, forms 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 for 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. Other rare plants include Milkwort (Polygala japonica).

Animals – Home to many

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

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 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 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

Canberra Nature Park is made up of 38 nature 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 ACT Parks and Conservation Service is responsible for managing Canberra Nature Park. For more information visit the Canberra Nature Park webpage.


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.

For more information visit ParkCare

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.