Booroomba Rocks, Namadgi National Park

8 May

There are so many good bushwalks to do in and around the ACT. It took me a few years to realise this, and a few more years to get an appreciation of just how great they are. A great half day walk (even a quarter day walk!) is Booroomba Rocks. It’s nestled just on the other side of Mt Tennent in Namadgi National Park, and provides some extraordinary views of the ACT.

I first did Booroomba Rocks in early January, hoping to burn off some calories before I gorged myself at the Belgian Beer Café’s Beergustation, but not wanting to do a walk that would take all day. Booroomba Rocks seemed like an obvious choice, and we’d had a great day, with expansive views. However, I’d bought my Garmin Heart Rate Monitor the day before but had forgotten to bring it, meaning I just had to do the walk again.

We woke up Sunday morning ready to do the walk – but the heavyset fog made it all too easy to go right back to bed. Once we finally woke up a little before 10, we ummed and aahed about going, but I remained hopeful that the weather would clear up and it would be worth it (even though I am usually wrong about the weather clearing up!).

Rather misty!

Rather misty!

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From anywhere in Canberra, it seems to make sense to get onto the Parkway/Drakeford Drive/Tharwa Drive and onto Naas Road. After passing the Namadgi Visitor Centre, it’s still a bit of a drive past Tharwa and down to the turnoff to Apollo Road. Even in thick fog, it’s incredibly picturesque. The road winds up well into the mountains until you reach a clear sign for the Booroomba Rocks carpark (as opposed to the Honeysuckle Creek campsite).

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The sign on entering the walk says it’s 30 minutes to the top and it’s probably one of the less wildly inaccurate time estimations I’ve seen for walks.

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Booroomba Rocks is short, but except for a few small parts, it’s basically straight up. The bush is dense and cool, but you quickly work up a sweat walking up the floor of damp foliage, sleepers and rocks. There’s a particularly uncomfortable wooden seat with a not very exciting view about half way up.

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There were lots of stops to catch my breath and I grew a little irritable by the sun which would occasionally glare through the dense trees, but then the stones stop and you’re in the telltale scrub which means you’re near the peak. There’s a sign that you’re approaching cliffs, and you come up to what seems like a very large boulder. A little more foot navigation and then you get what you came for – the view.

Telltale plants and flat ground - we're almost there!

Telltale plants and flat ground – we’re almost there!

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And what a view! While through the trees it had seemed like the clouds had cleared, it instead turned out we were just well above the clouds and fog, and it lay out before us like a thick mat. I’m not usually one for gushing, but even I couldn’t stop a ‘Wow!’ coming out of my mouth.

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Where Canberra *should* be

Where Canberra *should* be

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Whereas previously we’d got great, expansive views of the ACT, including parts of Canberra, this time it was something really special that made it so enjoyable. Sometimes you just get lucky with the skies (usually I am very unlucky!). The photos just don’t do it justice. The steep cliffs make it an obvious choice for mountain climbers and the like.

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I'm not exactly the most stylish bushwalker

I’m not exactly the most stylish bushwalker

It’s quick on the way down and much less stopping for breath! As you can see by the Heart Rate Monitor, we were up there for over an hour, but our actual walking time was just 45 minutes (this does not include the many occasions at which I stopped for breath).

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Like other walks in the ACT, Booroomba Rocks attracts all types. We met nine seniors travelling as a group, a few families, and a few groups of teenagers. If I have one small gripe about bushwalking, it’s that one of the main reasons I do it is the feeling of solitude – at the very least getting the sense that there’s no one else around. Enthusiastic children are great, but a whole bunch of children making a lot of echo-y noise for the entire walk detracts a little from the experience (I may have unfairly described it as feeling like I was being chased by banshees).

Overall, it’s just over 2.5km and you climb (and then head back down) about 190 metres. Not a bad accomplishment for a Sunday morning!

The clouds had ALMOST cleared by the time we left!

The clouds had ALMOST cleared by the time we left!

… in early February 2013, my dad came to stay. And where did I take him? Booroomba Rocks. After work and everything – the sun took just enough time to set for us to really enjoy the views (thank you, daylight saving). If you want wow factor for your visiting family and friends, this is the walk. Here are a few pictures of what it’s like when it’s not covered in cloud – still spectacular, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Pretty berries... which probably means pretty poisonous

Pretty berries… which probably means pretty poisonous

The view

The view

My dad. He's awesome. (And he beat me on the way down.)

My dad. He’s awesome. (And he beat me on the way down. By a lot.)

... and me.

… and me.

Attendees: T1 and Boyfriend; T1 and her dad

Date: Sunday, 6 May 2012; Thursday, 7 February 2013

Cost: Free

Worthwhile factor? Highly worthwhile.

Want more? The Heart Rate Monitor gives you a fair bit of detail about just how out of breath I was! (It defaults to miles – just click ‘view in metric’ in the top right hand corner!) Also check out a post from Autumn 2014 where the walk to Booroomba Rocks is peppered with wild mushrooms!

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21 Responses to “Booroomba Rocks, Namadgi National Park”

  1. Kylie Harris May 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    The photo of where Canberra should be is absolutely stunning! That would have been so amazing with the clouds right there!

    • inthetaratory May 9, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      It definitely took my breath away! Would have been great to see what happened if we’d stayed longer – I wonder if it would have started clearing up in patches, ‘revealing’ Canberra, or if it just would have all lightened up over time and then suddenly ohai Canberra! But we had chores to do 🙂

  2. Geoff May 10, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    It’s a steep walk up alright but the view from the top is spectacular. Good on you for getting up and going … the fog rarely hangs around ~all~ day…

  3. Amanda Biggs June 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Thanks for your inspiring blog on Booroomba Rocks. Prompted me to take my overseas visitors down there. They loved it, as did I. Keep up the great work, and thanks heaps!

    • inthetaratory June 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      I’m so pleased to hear you all had a wonderful time (and happy to know you thought it was as good as I made it out to be), and so grateful that you came back to the blog to let me know! It has really made my day.

      • Stu Wheeler July 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

        I loved your pic so much that I couldn’t let a a bit cold put me off. On arrival, I was startled to find the car park almost full! Perhaps 15 vehicles and more coming. Whoa, this was looking like it would be a push through Bourke St! As it happens, all but 3 people were doing a section of the Alpine Track, walking East from the car-park to the Visitors’ Centre. As I gained height (and noted the lousy timber seat!) the fog and cloud became thicker until visibility was reduced to less than 100 metres. It was so still and eerie, so atmospheric. No sooner had I reached the summit all cloud lifted to reveal such a spectacular view. After an hour messing around the summit, including a 15 min rock-hop across to the higher peak to the East, I descended back into the fog… it’s like the Rocks just gave us four walkers a special viewing! I took a few ripper shots, which you’re welcome to use. How can I upload them to you?
        regards and thanks again T. 🙂

      • inthetaratory July 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

        Fabulous! So glad to hear this. Feel free to send to inthetaratory@gmail.com 🙂

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