Square Rock – you’ll want to do this walk!

1 Nov

I’ve done quite a few hikes this year and it’s no exaggeration to say that the walks you can do around Canberra are pretty magnificent. However, if there’s one trek that ticks all the boxes – being close to Canberra, easy to get to, not too taxing, a fascinating walk with great flora and fauna and simply breathtaking views – it’s the trek to Square Rock.

You get to Square Rock by travelling down to Corin and parking in the Smoker’s Gap carpark a bit further down from the dam. For once, Housemate and I managed to leave considerably early on yet another considerably overcast day.  By the time we were close to the Corin turnoff, just one car was behind us and I think got the fright of its life when I had to suddenly heavily brake for some cheeky early morning kangaroos.

Thankfully they did learn this lesson early, because once we’d both turned and started driving along Corin Road, we encountered all manner of kangaroos and wallabies either crossing the road in front of us or at least looking like they were about to from their positions by the sides of the road. It’s fair to say that the brakes got a work out that morning – including the ABS! Regardless, it was great to see so much wildlife before we’d even started walking.

It was turning into another drizzly morning but we set off unperturbed, crossing the road from the carpark after about 300m signing the bushwalking register a little further down the way. We kept a decent pace, and the weather improved as we marched through marsh (kept above it on a steel mesh bridge). I’m more than a little infamous for having to stop regularly and catch my breath, but only needed to do so on two occasions – both at the top of considerably steep stone staircases.

Near the end of the track we came to a fork in the road with a sign that pointed us to the Orroral Valley lookout. We made a mistake at deciding to see to take the 500m walk then down to it, because the valley turned out to be laden with heavy mist and we couldn’t see a thing! Disappointed – and now expecting to be disappointed at the main attraction – we turned around and just hoped that the rocks would be interesting enough.

As we neared our destination, Housemate began to make a comment about the sign warning us of sheer cliffs ahead, when we heard the unmistakeable cry of a lyrebird. I’d always been ignorant about these creatures, thinking they were probably tiny robin-like birds. Wrong! In front of us were two very large birds, with huge tails disappearing into the shrub and, as Housemate inched forward to take a video of them, one kept poking its head out to check if we were still there. A real delight!

Check out the video!

Once the lyrebirds and the humans had each satisfied their curiosity, the humans walked the last few hundred metres to what I can only describe as a spectacular site. The mist was clearing, the boulders were huge and the views were sweeping.  We climbed up the boulders (with me giving my left knee a huge thwack thanks to my poor scrambling technique) and I spent some time trying to recreate the views we were getting on film to no avail while we munched on our Fizzers (standard hiking food)… and then the camera died. Sorry.

Between some boulders

We headed back at about 9.15 and went at a fast pace to try to see just how fast Walking God John Evans actually goes (he’s previously done the trial in two hours!). The answer is pretty fast… but he’s right: you can definitely do the walk in well under four hours. Without accounting for our breaks, we did it in just over two.

So in sum? We saw a great deal of wildlife, the views (when the mist cleared) were just great, and the track is a solid one and which lets you set your own fast pace if you want to work up a sweat (or don’t have much time) or equally lets you mosey along and really enjoy the surroundings. If you’ve got friends or family visiting Canberra (particularly international visitors) and they want to do some genuine bushwalking, I can’t more strongly recommend this walk. Simply great value.

Date: 15 October 2011

Attendees: T1 and Housemate

Cost: Free + fuel + food

Want more: http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/60900/Square_Rock_Web_versionJan2011.pdf – this is a great brochure


4 Responses to “Square Rock – you’ll want to do this walk!”

  1. Kelly Brightwell August 11, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    Great read Tara…but I am so bad at spotting wildlife…I cannot see the bird to save my life :(( Hope to see you guys soon


  1. Trek to square rock | David Mackie - April 14, 2013

    […] I was told if I wanted a gentler walk albeit longer, I should try the walk to Square Rock. Naturally I went to visit my go to girl of bush hiking in Canberra and read her post. […]

  2. Corin Forest | In The Taratory - January 12, 2014

    […] Where: Corin Dam Road, past Gibraltar Falls but befor Corin Dam; the same road where the Square Rock walk is […]

  3. Trek to square rock | David Mackie's Blue Brain - March 12, 2014

    […] I was told if I wanted a gentler walk albeit longer, I should try the walk to Square Rock. Naturally I went to visit my go to girl of bush hiking in Canberra and read her post. […]

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