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Explore Namadgi National Park in the Australian Alps - a world of silent bushland, breathtaking vistas and rich Aboriginal history just a 45 minute drive from Canberra.
Climb or abseil the granite rock outcrops, mountain bike along the fire trails or bushwalk into the Bimberi wilderness. Explore the campsites, ceremonial stone arrangements and rock art sites left by the Ngunnawal people more than 21,000 years ago. Then trace the trail of pastoralists and gold hunters. Four wheel drive to the top of Mt Coree, fish from trout-filled streams and cross-country ski the winter slopes. See kangaroos, wallabies and northern corroboree frogs and explore snow-gum woodlands, wetlands and wildflower-cloaked plains.
Five things you'll find in Namadgi:
Namadgi Ranges, Namadgi National Park, ACT
1. Places for outdoor adventure
Follow the Yerrabi Walking Track which offers impressive views of the rugged Bimberi wilderness, home to some of the least disturbed eco-systems in the Australian Alps. 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 fast-changing scenery. Go horseriding on the fire trails east of the Old Boboyan Road or on the National Bicentennial Horse Trail. Or tackle any of the many fire trails on a mountain bike before pitching your tent in the bushland. Climb or abseil the granite rock outcrops or increase your adrenalin shot going paragliding, sky diving, caving and canyoning. In winter you can go cross-country skiing at Mount Franklin and Mount Gingera and stay overnight at Pryor's Hut.
2. A record of Aboriginal life
See old campsites with fragments of stone and animal bone left by the Ngunnawal people during the last Ice Age. Then explore the ancient quarry sites where they gathered stone for tool making. Follow the Yankee Hat Walking Track to the rock painting sites of Yankee Hat Shelter. See where Ngunnawal people harvested nut-flavoured bogong moths in Mount Kelly. Then visit their ceremonial stone arrangements in the high peaks of Mount Namadgi. Take in some of Namadgi’s more than 50 sites of Ngunnawal occupation on a guided tour. In nearby Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve you can follow the Birrigai Time Trail back 21,000 years to Birrigai Rock Shelter, the state’s oldest Aboriginal site. Here you can also visit Bogong Cave, where tribes gathered to collect bogong moths, and Tidbinbilla Mountain, a sacred initiation site for young Aboriginal men.
Ngunnawal Rockart, Namadgi National Park, ACT
3. Stories of graziers, gold hunters and space tracking stations
The first pastoralists grazed sheep and cattle in the valleys and on slopes now filled with emus and kangaroos. You can trace their history in the 1830s fences, yards, huts and homesteads that remain in the broad valleys where they settled. Then see parts of the Kiandra gold trail that 1860s fortune seekers followed in Gudgenby. Hike the Orroral Heritage Walking Track between the old Apollo space tracking stations at Orroral Valley and Honeysuckle Creek - the first place on earth to receive images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. Read the memorial display, then learn more about Australia’s excursions into space at the Deep Space Communication Complex in nearby Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
4. Diverse nature and wildlife galore
Follow the Naas Valley to Horse Gully Hut Walking Track to Nature’s Boarding House, a huge tree where nearly 400 species of Australian birds, bats and mammals have built their dens, roosts and nests. See the hardy native fish Mountain Galaxias in Naas Creek. Watch the vegetation morph from woodland and dry forest on the low plains to towering eucalypts and fern gullies on the sheltered slopes. As you climb higher you’ll see kangaroos and wallabies grazing in the open grassland and frost hollows, then Australian Paper Daisies covering the heaths of the highest peaks. Watch out for the rare broad-tooth rat, northern corroboree frog and river blackfish in the sedge fens in the valleys and bogs on the peaks. See the majestic wedge-tailed eagle wheeling through the air or the smaller Australian Kestrel hovering over grassy areas looking for a feed.
Namadgi National Park, ACT
5. Drives and campsites with mountain views
Follow the Two Sticks Road across the top of the Brindabella Ranges to the top of Mount Coree, where you can take in spectacular 360-degree views. Or take the gentle Annie Trail to a deserted campground beside the Goodradigbee River. Tackle the Mount Franklin Road as far as the Ginini gate access road to Bendora Dam. These roads in the northern end of the park, along with Old Mill Road and Warks Road, are particularly suited to four-wheel driving. Drive to Corin Dam for the steep climb to Stockyard Spur. If you’re taking a campervan, or just want to pitch a tent, head to Honeysuckle Campground near the historic Honeysuckle Tracking Station site. Or set up base at Orroral Campground, on the Orroral Heritage Walking Track. From Mount Clear Campground you can head off on the Naas Valley to Horse Gully Hut walk.
More Holiday Ideas
See what else there is near here to inspire your holiday planning
Discover Aboriginal history and a wilderness for bushwalking and mountain biking in Namadgi National Park.
As you explore the woodlands, forests, grasslands and peaks and heaths of Namadgi National Park, remember that Aboriginal people lived here during the last Ice Age more than 21,000 years ago.
Explore Canberra for Australian culture and history at superb monuments and galleries in this city surrounded by parklands and native bushland. Visit Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, National Gallery of Australia and Questacon. Experience the the Balloon Fiesta in autumn, Fireside Festival in winter, and Floriade in spring. Explore the Australian Alps or Tidnbinbilla Nature Reserve and Murrumbidgee River Corridor, just a short drive away.
Take this leisurely drive to some of the 140 vineyards and 33 wineries dotting the countryside just outside Canberra. Team fine wine and food at the cool-climate wineries in Hall and Murrumbateman and buy handmade art, glassware and pottery from galleries in the Yass Valley. Go caving in the Wee Jasper Valley or fish from Lake Burrinjuck or Goodradigbee River. Fine dine in Gunning or the 19th century village of Gundaroo, where villagers still graze cattle on the town common. At the end of the day, rest your head in a boutique bed and breakfast, historic homestead or a luxurious country retreat. Soak up fine food and wine, local art and craft and stunning scenery on this classic country drive from Canberra.
Challenge yourself in the mountainous Australian Alps in south-eastern Australia. Climb Mount Kosciuszko, Australia's tallest peak, in the Snowy Mountains. In Victoria's High Country, hit the snow slopes or visit gold-rush towns on the Great Alpine Road. Bushwalk and mountain bike in Namadgi National Park, near Canberra, or walk the alps end-to-end on the epic Australian Alps Walking Track.