Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tinderry Peak, NSW, Australia

2014 October: One day climb of Tinderry Peak, highest mountain in the Monaro region of NSW, Australia


If you intend to climb Tinderry Peak, I suggest you do a car shuffle instead:
  - Park one car at the trailhead of Round Flat Firetrail.
  - Park the other car at the trailhead of Mt Allen FireTrail.
  - Walk from Mt Allen Firetrail to Round Flat Firetrail, climbing Tinderry Twin and Tinderry Peak in between.

I'll do it a year later ... photos and a write up of that trip are in my blog:

Today, Adam and I take only one car. We climb Tinderry Peak only ... from Round Flat Firetail.

Tinderry Peak

At 1619 meters, Tinderry Peak is the highest point in the Tinderry Mountains - near a small town called Michelago in the Monaro region of NSW.

It is mostly bushbashing. Along the way, we detour to an interesting rocky outcrop with a great view towards the valley below.

The final climb near the top involves some interesting rock scrambling and boulder hopping ... you think that a boulder in front is the highest point, but when you climb to its top, it turns out to be a false summit as there is another boulder further away that is higher. And when you climb this higher boulder, it also turns out to be a false summit as there is another boulder further away that is higher ... etc. It is fun!!! (It does depend on how you approach the summit. If you approach it from a slightly different direction, you may not encounter as much false summits as we do.)

Needless to say, when we eventually reach the top, the 360 degree panoramic view there is superb. Definitely well worth the long drive from Sydney.


- 1:100,000 scaled 8726 Michelago
- 1:25,000 scaled 8726-4S Michelago
- 1:25,000 scaled 8726-1S Tinderry

The below map is 1:25,000 scaled
- Tinderry Peak is near top left hand corner.
- The thicker orange coloured road near bottom right hand corner is Tinderry Road.

Starting point

The starting point of the walk is the junction of Round Flat Firetrail and Tinderry Road.

To get there:
- From Canberra, travel south on the Monaro Highway.
- At Michelago, turn east into Ryrie Street.
- Then go under a railway bridge to Burra Road.
- 2.6 km from the Monaro Highway turnoff, turn east into the unsealed Tinderry Road.
- Travel 14 km on Tinderry Road and you'll reach the Round Flat Firetrail.

GPS tracklog file & Route

Our GPS tracklog file can be download from:

In the below map:
- Our tracklog is in brown colour.
- Tinderry Peak is near top left hand corner.
- The thicker orange coloured road near bottom right hand corner is Tinderry Road.
- The red arrow points to an interesting rocky outcrop that we pass through on the way to Tinderry Peak.
The rocky outcrop is labelled as "2nd rocky outcrop" in my 2015-10 climb to Tinderry Twin & Tinderry Peak. Photos and an account of that trip are in:

In summary:
- Walk on the Round Flat Firetrail.
- 1.7 km later, at where the trail turns east, we leave the trail and bushbash northward for a short while.
- Then bushbash northwest towards a rocky outcrop which has a great view towards the south-east at the valley below.
- Then made a bee line for Tinderry Peak.
- Return in roughly the same direction, but bypassing the rocky outcrop.

But if I am going to climb Tinderry Peak again, I would do a car shuffle. Park one car at the trailhead of Round Flat Firetrail as we do today. Drive the other car to the base of Tinderry Twin, at Mt Allen Firetrail trailhead. Climb Tinderry Twin. Then climb Tinderry Peak. Then descend to where the first car is parked.  ( PS: I will do it a year later. Click on the link: )

Timeline & Distance
10:27   0.0 km  Start at junction of Round Flat Firetrail and Tinderry Road
10:48   1.7 km  go off track
12:10   3.8 km  at rocky outcrop

Explore around

12:40   4.1 km  Leave rocky outcrop
14:11   5.8 km  at Tinderry Peak summit


15:07   6.0 km  Leave summit
17:21   9.8 km  at Round Flat Firetrail
17:49  11.6 km  Finish at junction Round Flat Firetrail and Tinderry Road


Total:  7 hrs 22 mins  at leisurely pace
           11.6 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           13.6 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS


1)  At the centre of this pic is Tinderry Peak. Photo is taken on Monaro Highway near Michelago.

2)  Round Flat Firetrail - this is the start of our walk. But we won't stay on the trail for long ...

3)  ... 2 km later, the trail turns east.  But we leave the trail and bushbash northward instead.

4)  Plenty of granite boulders along the way

Detour to rocky outcrop

5)  A detour to a rocky outcrop - here is Adam struggling up.

6)  ... the rocky outcrop has a great view towards the southeast at the valley below. (Well, maybe not this photo ... but if you go forward to where the rocks are, you'll get a good view.)

7)  Interesting rock formation at the rocky outcrop. The mountain on the left is Tinderry Peak.

8)  Tinderry Peak from the rocky outcrop ... we are heading there next.

To Tinderry Peak

9)  After leaving the rocky outcrop and on our way to Tinderry Peak, we notice much of the ground is dug up like this; and the trees are dead and fallen over. Sad to see the environment mucked up like this. What caused it? Wild pigs?

10)  We are close to the summit now and thought the top of the distant boulder is the summit ...

11)  ... after climbing over the boulder in the previous photo, we realize there is a bit more distance to go to the summit. Well, shouldn't be far now.

12)  Adam climbing up a narrow crack between 2 boulders, after which we should be at the top ...

13)  ... After climbing up the crack of the previous photo, we are still not at the top. I ask Adam to take a photo here, thinking that the top of the boulder behind me must be the summit ...

14)  ... No! After scrambling and hopping over to the top of the boulder of the previous photo, we are still not there  :-(   Perhaps the pile of rocks in this photo is the summit ?

Tinderry Peak summit

15)  Yes!!! Finally, the rock in front is the top!!!  1619 meters.

16)  Adam at the top

17)  Me

18)  Judging by the big metal bolts on the rock, at some point in the past, there must have been a large trig planted right here.

19)  Looking back at all the boulders we have scaled over to reach the top ... the rock scrambling and the number of false summits make this mountain top rather unique.

20)  Being the highest peak in the Monaro region, naturally the view of the countryside from the summit is superb.

21)  The triangle-shaped mountain towards the north (centre of the photo) is Tinderry Twin. One day, I intend to climb it.

PS: I climb Tinderry Twin & Tinderry Peak a year later in 2015-10; via a car shuffle. That is actually a better way to climb the Tinderries. Photos and an account of that trip is in my blog:

22)  Towards the west is the Scabby, Bimberi and Brindabella Ranges. The left arrow points to Bimberi, the highest mountain in ACT. The right arrow points to Gingera, 2nd highest in ACT. Glad to see these old friends as I've climbed them both.

23)  We have lunch near the summit, by the side of these 3 interesting rock formation.

Then it is time to come down the mountain and return to the car.

Animals & Plants

24)  An echidna we found on the way up.

25)  Wombat shit

26)  Close up view of wombat shit. You'll notice their shape is squarish.

No, to create square shit is not a useless talent of the wombats; nor is evolution evincing a sense of potty humour.

Wombats are solitary nocturnal animals living underground in burrows. They possess awful eyesight, but have an execelelnt sense of smell for which they use to navigate around their surroundings. So natural selection did its job to give wombat's shit a squarish shape so it can stay better on top of rocks and logs to remind the wombat how to get home after a night out grass-eating ... there is nothing more frustrating than having your poop roll away when you want it to stay   :-)

27)  An unusual sight of a termite mound engulfing a dead tree.

28)  This shrub doesn't look particularly remarkable ...

29)  ... but close up, its small flowers are quite pretty. It is Oxylobium ellipticum (Common Shaggy Pea), native to Australia ... Reference:

30)  On the same shrub - are these flower buds not yet opened up?

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