Monday, December 7, 2009

Bimberi Peak, ACT, Australia (west approach)

2009 December: Climb Bimberi Peak from the west
                            Start from Currango Plain at north-eastern tip of Tantangara Reservoir - NSW, Australia

Other trips to Bimberi Peak

- 9 years later, in 2018-12, I'll climb both Bimberi Peak and Mt Murray as a day-trip. Photos and trip report are in my blog:

- An alternate and longer route is the east approach - start from abandoned Orroral Tracking Station in ACT and camp out at Cotter Flats. I'll do it about a year later in 2011-01. Photos and trip report are in my blog:

Prolog - List of named peaks in ACT above 1700 meters

I have compiled a list of named peaks in ACT above 1700 meters.  There are 13 of them.  And I have climbed them all ... Yay !

•  01   1913 m   Bimberi Peak - Photos and trip reports are in my blogs:
           - From east: 2011-01
           - From west: 2009-12  This trip report
                                               (including climbing Mt Murray)

•  02   1855 m   Mt Gingera - Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  03   1845 m   Mt Murray - Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  04   1829 m   Mt Kelly - Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  05   1798 m   Mt Scabby - Grid Ref 676 411
          1805 m   Unnamed peak just east of Mt Scabby - Grid Ref 681 410
           Trip report is under construction.

•  06   1791 m   Mt Namadgi - Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  07   1766 m   Ginger Ale - Grid Ref 601 586  (between Rolling Ground Gap & Blackfellows Gap)
Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  08   1762 m   Mt Ginini - Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  09   1739 m   Mt Gudgenby - Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  10   1738 m   Little Ginini - Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  11   1727 m   Sentry Box Mountain eastern peak - Grid Ref 721 338
          1696 m   Sentry Box Mountain western peak - Grid Ref 714 338
          1673 m   Sentry Box Rock - Grid Ref 713 346
Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  12   1724 m   Mt Burbidge - Photos and trip report are in my blog:

•  13   1711 m   Mt Mavis - Grid Ref 722 493  (just north-east of Mt Namadgi; east of Big Creamy Flats)
Photos and trip report are in my blog:

Data source:
    - First, from LPI maps from Department of Lands
    - Then from 1:50,000 scaled Rooftop's map called "Namadgi - ACT South Activities Map" 2011 edition
    - Finally, in Google we trust  :-)

Today's climb - Bimberi Peak from the west

Bimberi Peak, 1913 meters, on the border of ACT & NSW, is the highest mountain of ACT. Ever since I came back from Aconcagua early in the year, I had been trying to climb it. But the weather forecast over that area was always cloudy. I often wonder whether the weather bureau ever bothered to update the details over there!

Anyway, today, Dec 6, the weather forecast is sunny, so Matt, Will, Tom, Thea and I are going to climb it.

First, some information on the climb:


From the north-eastern tip of Tantangara Reservoir, to Oldfield Hut, then eastward to Murrays Gap, then bush bash northward to the summit.


Best is to follow the description in Tyrone Thomas' book "120 Walks in NSW".


If you don't have the book, then the 1:100,000  8626-Tantangara  map is good enough. If you wish, you can arm yourself with even finer detailed:
- 1:50,000  Rooftop's "Namadgi - ACT South Activities Map"  2011 edition
- 1:25,000  8626-1S Rendezous

Hiking distance and time

19.5 km return
Day trip
In his book, Tyrone Thomas said the return trip would take about 8 hours with minimal breaks.


You should carry 2.5 litres of water. But if you are prepared to drink from the creeks, then 1.5 litres is sufficient.

To get there

On the Snowy Mountains Highway, half way between Adaminaby and Kiandra, turn north into the unsealed Tantangara Road. Don't drive too fast, as there are the occasional kangaroos and brumbies who love to cross the road right in front of your car. The road leads to Tantangara Reservoir where it changes its name to Pocket Saddle Road. Keep following it till you reach a locked gate at the crossing of Gurrangorambla Creek in Currango Plain at the north-eastern tip of Tantangara Reservoir.


The locked gate is where we park the car and start walking northward along Pocket Saddle Road. After a bit over a kilometer, we turn eastward into Murray Gap Trail. A further 2 kilometers along the tail, we come to an abandoned cattlemen's hut called Oldfields Hut. This is a good place to take a rest and explore around. The hut is still in good condition. Hikers sometimes spend a night inside or camp on its grounds.

Back on the Murray Gap Trail ... after another 4 kilometers, we reach Murrays Gap and come to a sign post marking the border between NSW and ACT.

Murrays Gap is a saddle point between Mt Bimberi to the north and Mt Murray to the south. Being the saddle point, it is a flat area where water doesn't drain away easily, thus forming a swampy treeless marsh. If it had rained a few days earlier, you would need a good pair of ankle-high waterproof hiking boots to walk through it.

It is quite interesting to stand alone in the middle of this large open swamp. It gives you a creepy eerie feeling of millions eyes watching you, even though no one is there. Just as well I have this creepy feeling, otherwise I would love to piss right there in the open and let half of the water flow down to Corin/Cotter Dams, then down the water pipes of Parliament house to let our politicians have a taste of an ordinary citizen. The other half of the water would flow westward to fertilize our western plains ... the farmers would love it.

Bimberi Peak is just north of Murrays Gap. There is no trail up there. Furthermore, because of the topography and the trees, you couldn't see the summit for a very long while, hence it is heavy duty compass navigation all the way to the peak.

Also due to the absence of a trail, it is scrub-bashing all the way too. It can be fun for people who have never tried it. But otherwise, it is a real inconvenience. It slows the pace down to about 1 km per hour. Thus the 2.5 km from Murrays Gap to the peak takes about 2 hours.

Once you reach the top, you are rewarded by a magnificent 360 degree panoramic scene. You can see Corin dam to the northeast. To the south is Mt Murray and the swamp at Murrays Gap.

We have lunch there. Then explore around a knoll south west of the peak. There we get a clear view of Oldfields Hut. Pocket Saddle Road can be seen winding its way to Tantangara Reservoir.

Then it is time to leave. The return trip is by retracing the steps.

Here are the stats

06:25  Leave car and start walking
07:15  Arrive at Oldfields Hut

15 min rest

07:30  Leave Oldfields Hut
08:55  Arrive at Murrays Gap

20 min rest

09:15  Leave Murrays Gap
11:05  Arrive at Bimberi Peak

1:40 rest, including an excursion to a knoll south west of Bimberi Peak

12:45  Leave Bimberi Peak
14:00  Return back to Murrays Gap

no rest

14:00  Leave Murrays Gap
15:25  Back at Oldfields Hut

35 min rest

16:05  Leave Oldfields Hut
16:50  Return to car

Hiking time -  7:35 excluding lunch time exploration
Rest time -  2:50 including the exploration
Total time -  10hr 25min

Pictures - To Oldfields Hut

1: Start of the Murray Gap Trail. It leads east, past Oldfields Hut and then to Murrays Gap.

At Oldfields Hut

2: An abandoned cattlemen's hut called Oldfields Hut. The hut is in good condition and there are some interesting fruit trees around its garden area. Often hikers camp out here for the night.

3: Sombre looking Bimberi Peak (from Oldfields Hut) ... doesn't look inviting!

To Murrays Gap

4: Goodradigbee River which flows into Burrinjuck Dam and thus is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee River

At Murrays Gap

5: At Murrays Gap ... It marks the border between ACT & NSW. It is called Murrays Gap because it is between Bimberi Peak to the north and Mt Murray to the south.
(Left to right: Matt, Thea, Tom, me, Will)

6: Murrays Gap is a large flat open swampy plain. Standing in the middle of it gives you a creepy eerie feeling of millions eyes watching you, even though no one is there. Up to this point, we have been following a well defined track. Now we turn north and start scrub-bashing up hill to Bimberi Peak.

7: Plenty of wild flower growing in Murrays Gap - I think this one is called Grevillea Lanigera, a dwarf Grevillea.

Bushbashing up Bimberi

8: We are scrub-bashing up Bimberi. There is no track. And you can't see the peak ... being obstructed by scrubs/trees. Compass and good navigational skill is required for this part of the climb.

Bimberi Peak summit

9: Bimeri Peak summit ... We are almost there ... You can just make out the summit trig.
(The area is much open now because we are at about 1900 meters, above the tree-line.)

10: Made it!!!

Views from top of Bimberi

11: View from the peak ... The clearing in the middle of the photo is where Oldfields Hut is.

12: Zooming onto the clearing. You should be able to see Oldfields Hut ... to enlarge the photo, click on it.

13: Looking south at Mt Murray. At its foothill is Murrays Gap, the flat swampy area mentioned earlier. In the photo it shows up as long and narrow and in light green colour ... see also photo #14.

14: Zooming onto Murrays Gap.

15: Towards northeast is Corin Dam, the main reservoir for Canberra residents.

Climbing down Bimberi Peak

16: A wind-beaten Snow Gum growing horizontally near the peak ... quite amazing!

360-degree panorama from Bimberi Peak

A video of 360 panoramic view from the summit of Bimberi is in:


  1. Awesome 360 panorama, and thanks for the virtual tour up Bimberi, I would love to get there someday!

  2. Chris, hope you'll make it one day as the hike to the summit is quite interesting.

  3. Enjoy your blogs! Keep safe when walking.

  4. We climbed Bimberi on Saturday, really appreciated having your blog to research first! Directly across from the Murrays Gap sign (photo #5 above) someone has put some red ribbon up to mark the start of a pretty good track up. Following the red ribbon and stone cairns made the climb a lot easier, hopefully the ribbon is resilient to the elements.

  5. Plant Names:
    You are correct re the gervillea, it is G.lanigera.


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