Published on June 2nd, 2017 | by Daniel Boyle1
Canberra Walks – The Goorooyarroo Five
This walk took in the five hills within Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve. Gecko Hills, Old Joe, Gooroo Hill, Sammy’s Hill and Burnt Stump Hill.
The walk began at the Hughie Edwards VC Rest Area. This is a key point along the Canberra Centenary Trail. It is also on the other side of the Federal Highway to the park, and as I walked north I wondered how the track would take me to the other side of the track. There should have been no need to worry, as the track eventually curved round to a large tunnel under the road.
After passing through the tunnel I was in to the Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve. This is an area I have visited quite a few times before, so each of the hills I had visited at least once before. The new thing I wanted to try this particular day was to take in all five of the hills within the park during the same visit.
My first stop was Gecko Hills (789 m). To go up, I deviated off the Centenary Trail fairly soon after I arrived inside the park. It was a little steep going up, but despite there not being a clear path, it was fairly easy to navigate to the top. A short stop there and it was onwards and upwards to Old Joe, the biggest of the five hills at 813 metres. I mainly followed the fenceline, which is also the border into NSW. It was a steady climb, and steep in parts, but there were no problems in reaching the top.
On previous visits I have gone down basically bushbashing, and I was expecting something similar this time. Instead, I clambered through a gate and followed a trail that looked like it had been made by a car, and it was smooth sailing from there until Gooroo Hill (766 m). Part of that track was reasonably flat, probably the easiest section of the walk. It took me just over an hour to reach that point.
From that point it was heading back towards the start, with a couple of hills still to come. After trudging along the flat back down on the main trail for a little while, it was time to push on up Sammy’s Hill (727 m). This was probably the most challenging part of the walk, as the legs were starting to feel a little sore by this point, and they may not have appreciated the climb. This is the section closest to the Gungahlin area, and from here you can see a lot of new building work happening down below.
Back down to the flat and it was Burnt Stump Hill (712 m) to be the last of the five. It is only a slight deviation from the track, so it was an easy finish. That was also the point with the most animal life. The kangaroos didn’t seem to run away as quickly and the trees were filled with birds of varying colours.
There was a bit more uphill on the return, as the Centenary Trail pass around Gecko Hills, so that was a little extra climbing effort before descending back down, through the tunnels under the road and then ready for home after three hours walking.