Explore tranquil bushland, breathtaking vistas and rich Aboriginal history in the Australian Alps mountain range, just 45 minutes from the city of Canberra.
By Martha Tattersall
Namadgi National Park is part of the Australian Alps mountain range near Canberra, offering beautiful rugged bushland and fascinating history. Take a bushwalk along the Yerrabi Track and observe fragments left by Aboriginal people – the traditional custodians of the land – pastoralists and gold hunters; climb or abseil granite outcrops and come face to face with native fauna such as emus, kangaroos and wallabies. If you visit during the week, you're more than likely to have this secret spot all to yourself.
- Discover Aboriginal rock art at Yankee Hat Shelter
- Follow walking tracks through the rugged wilderness of the Australian Alps
- Climb or abseil impressive granite formations
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Top things to do in Namadgi National Park
Learn local Aboriginal history
See campsites with vestiges of stone and animal bone left by the Ngunnawal people during the last Ice Age. Then visit ancient quarry sites where Aborigines obtained stone for their tools. The Yankee Hat Walking Track leads you through grasslands dotted with kangaroos to Yankee Hat Shelter where you’ll be amazed by the existing Aboriginal rock art. In this area Ngunnawal people harvested nut-flavoured Bogong moths, a bush tucker superfood that brought families from different Aboriginal nations together. They would roast the moths on hot rocks and enjoy a communal feast.
Adventure in the great outdoors
Follow the Yerrabi Walking Track which offers impressive views of the surrounding rugged wilderness. Explore forests of snow gum and alpine ash on the Square Rock walking track, or join a Namadgi ranger for a guided exploration of the constantly changing scenery (available on weekends, public holidays and during Australian Capital Territory school holidays). Climb or abseil the granite rock outcrops with K7 Adventures or Canberra Adventure Company, or take a picnic and sit quietly – you are likely to see emus and kangaroos in the area's valleys and slopes.
Discover stories of graziers, fossickers and outer space
Australia's first pastoralists grazed sheep and cattle here, and you can trace their history by looking out for fences, yards, huts and homesteads dating back to 1830. The Kiandra gold trail was formed in the 1860s as new arrivals sought their fortune. Visit the sites of the first place on Earth to receive images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969 – the space tracking stations at Orroral Valley and Honeysuckle Creek. There’s a heritage walking track between the two that makes for a pleasant walk.
Walk part of the Australian Alps track
Australia is home to several epic walking tracks, and the Australian Alpine Walk – which crosses three states, four national parks and takes 50 to 60 days to complete – is one of them. You don't need to commit to the entire trail to experience the area's beauty. Join the track's northernmost point at Namadgi National Park and take the four kilometre (2½ mile) hike to Mount Tennent. At its summit, you'll see views of Canberra in the north, the Brindabella range to the west and the Australian Alps in the south.
How to get there
Namadgi National Park is a 45 minute drive south of Canberra.