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.
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 horse riding 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, skydiving, caving and canyoning. In winter you can go cross-country skiing at Mount Franklin and Mount Gingera and stay overnight at Pryor's Hut.
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.
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.
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.
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.