Tharwa is approximately 50 km from this trailhead. Please note that Adaminaby is about 40 km in the opposite direction
Old Boboyan Homestead car park (northern trailhead)
Southern trailhead car park on the Old Boboyan Road. The sign in the background is the ACT/NSW border
This is one of the longer designated walks located within the southern end of Namadgi National Park but also one that provides a variety of landscape types ranging from old rural, forest and swampland albeit a bit toasted due to the 2020 fires. At a smidge over 20 km this walk is one way and provided you have the fitness, can be completed in a single day.
One thing to know about this end of the park is that you are bordering on the edge of the snowfield and in wintertime it is not unusual to have snow on the road and over much of the area that encompasses the walk. As such, the access road which is an option to get from Canberra through to Adaminaby can sometimes be closed if the snow is heavy. On the day we did this walk there had been heavy rain over the previous couple of weeks and the road condition was reasonably poor so its not for low slung vehicles.
This walk can be started either end of the track which will require some car shuffling and in our case, Gill dropped me off at the northern end then started her walk from the southern trailhead. While there are ascents and descents on this walk no matter which trailhead you start the walk, if you start at the northern trailhead you’ll have a slightly easier walk. Gill drew the short straw and did a lot of uphill walking from the southern trailhead was very obvious from the longish downhill stints towards the end of my hike.
The first 5 km of this walk is shared with two other walks, the Old Boboyan Homestead Walk and the Old Boboyan Road Walk that finishes at the Yankee Hat car park. Shortly after starting this walk at the northern trailhead there is a trail register about 300 metres in and even though you are doing this walk in a one way direction, make a note of it when you sign in. Just remember to sign out at the other end.
This walk is entirely on management trail and your first stop is at the Old Boboyan Homestead ruins about 2.5 km in so allow some time to wander around and explore. On this section of the road you will pass wallabies, kangaroos and rosellas that in my case have been in the same locations all three times I have been on this section of trail. From the Old Boboyan Homestead you continue on the road and your next decision point becomes the creek that you would cross if you were heading towards the Yankee Hat car park so make sure you stay on this side of the creek.
Now I must fess up here – against my gut feeling I took the wrong fork and by the time I realised what I had done and backtracked, I ended up adding 5 km to my walk. The positive that came from this mistake is that it has given me an idea for a walk that isn’t designated that we will be doing in the coming weeks. At the creek decision point you are actually heading almost straight ahead and within about 10 minutes you will come to a left turn that says 13.5 km to Old Boboyan Road – this is the turn you want to take.
Not long after you take this turn you will come across a swamp on the right hand side of the road. In 2020 there was very obvious evidence of the previous summer’s fires that had levelled the swamp which at the time of my walk, was only just starting to recover. At this stage of the walk you start to head progressively uphill and while the road is undulating, there is one decent hill that will take your breath away.
The trail continues to undulate on the second half of the walk and becomes much more heavily wooded even if it has been burnt in many areas. As you start making your way towards Boboyan Road you will connect with the Bicentennial National Trail, pass Westermans Hut and with a detour of only about 200 metres, you can drop in and visit this hut as well. There are also toilet facilities at Westermans Hut if you feel the need. Water on this trail is only available through natural flows and if you are planning on collecting water then bring a water filter.
The vegetation varies on this walk and includes old rural farmland, forest and swamp and like much of the southern end of Namadgi National Park has a feeling of remoteness. We came across a group of four cyclists on the day we did this walk – this track is one identified as a mountain biking track as well as being a walking track. Wildlife is pretty consistent and includes wallabies, kangaroos and good birdlife.
One thing to note is that while there are no serious water crossings you can expect to get wet feet in a couple of areas if there has been heavy rain so it’s probably worth bringing a small towel and some extra socks just to keep your feet dry.
This walk is on the longer side for most people but it’s well worth doing if you have the opportunity. Because of it’s location and altitude if you are doing this walk during winter, pay close attention to the weather forecast and come prepared for quick drops in temperature and storms.
This access gate is stuck closed so access to the trail is through the gap at the main gate
Starting point from the northern trailhead
Trail register about 300 metres into the walk on the right hand side of the road. If doing this walk in one direction make sure you note that in the register
Leaflet box at the trail register
Big male wallaby on the side of the trail
Trail example on the Old Boboyan Road which has now become a management road
Forest on the side of the road
Usually at this end of the park the trees are too dense for kangaroos but with the old farmland in this area there were lots of kangaroos about
Rosellas in-flight on the side of the trail
Homestead visible in the distance
Old Boboyan Homestead ruins
View down into the valley from the homestead
Old tin can dump
Old foundations – by the location this looks like the path to the out-house
Snow covered mountain in the distance. Even though you are heading down to the bottom of the ACT you are increasing in altitude into the snow zone. During mid winter expect this area to have snow coverage
Banksia in flower
Creek crossing about 5 km. DO NOT cross this creek for this track. This is the Old Boboyan Road Track
Veer to the right
Follow the Sams Creek signage
This is the road you are after
Look for this sign – this route will take you to the southern trailhead
Big male kangaroo on the hop
Burnt on the right hand side of the road, unburnt on the left
Offshoot that connects to another road and can be an alternative route
Mountain bikers on the track
More water on the trail that you need to cross
Catching up with Gill
Big hollow tree
Fallen tree on the trail after recent big rains
Follow the trail. The fence line is the ACT/NSW border
Bicentennial National Trail signage
Wattle in flower
And down we go, one of many downhill sections
Approaching the southern trailhead
Sign out at the southern trailhead
Southern trailhead. The big sign in the background is the ACT/NSW border
This compilation of videos and photos provides a visual overview of this trail
Google map showing the distance from Tharwa Bridge to the trail head on the Old Boboyan Road car park
The whole trip from the Tharwa Bridge is just on 50 km.
The road advisory sign just after the Thawra Bridge crossing on the left side of the road. Pay attention as it may save you a drive as the road can sometimes be closed during winter due to snow conditions
Yankee Hat turnoff. Keep to the left and head towards Adaminaby
End of the bitumen road. The condition of the dirt road varies and while it is usually good from here to the trailhead, it can also be in bad condition after heavy rain. It can also be covered in heavy snow in some winters
Road warning sign. You’ve been warned!
Hospital Hill lookout car park
Hospital Hill lookout. Stopping here is worth the trip itself
Hospital Hill lookout signage
Tim and Gill at Hospital Hill lookout. The views from here are well worth the stop; and yes it was cold
Turn off Boboyan Road to Old Boboyan Road. The trail head is about 700 metres down the road
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker