• Distance 10.9km
  • Altitude max 846m
  • Altitude min 640m
  • Duration 4 hours
  • Trail type Return
Three Stars

Three Stars

Worth Doing

The Australian Hiker Experience Rating is a measure of the overall quality of a walk. It is intended to help you decide whether to walk a trail, not to measure anything objective. Consider this our personal take on the walk.

Grade Four

Grade Four

Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.

The Australian Hiker Difficulty Grading System is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Parking
Toilets
Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds
Showers

Marble Arch Walking Track NSW (10.9km)

NSW

Nearest Town

Braidwood / Captains Flat, NSW

Best Time of the Year to Travel

Year round although mid Spring is likely to be more ‘lush’

Starting Location

Trail head at the Berlang Camp Ground, Deua National Park. There is plenty of parking and camping at this site

Finish Location

Trail head at the Berlang Camp Ground

Marble Arch Walking Track Review

After waking the Big Hole Walking Track about a month ago I decided it was time to come back and walk the longer Marble Arch Walk. I must admit given its name I had expectations this walk would be an Archway similar to the London Bridge walk near Canberra. What you actually see at Marble Arch is a cave.

The first decision you need to make for this walk is deciding which of the two routes you will take to get to the trail head. Do you travel the shorter, narrower and largely dirt road through Captains Flat or do you take the longer sealed road through Braidwood? The Braidwood option is the one we recommend as the road to the trail head is sealed with the exception of the last 700 metres into the trail head. The road via Captains Flat has a large section of winding dirt road and only ends up being 10 minutes faster anyway.

The trail head is located at the Berlang Camp Ground which is around 700 metres off the Cooma Road on a dirt road. While the turnoff is well signposted, I managed to ‘break’ Google Maps which tried to tell me the real turnoff was another 500 metres down the road. When I turned around after finding there was no road further down, Google Maps went into a loop and got very unhappy because I was supposedly going the wrong way! So if you are using Google Maps to get to this site keep that in mind.

The camp ground has nice flat grassy camping areas along with a single composting toilet, picnic tables and fire pits. There is also information signage as well as a box to pay camping fees if you decide to stay overnight. The information sign identifies the two walks that start from this camp ground which includes the Big Hole Walk as well as the longer Marble Arch Walk. The Marble Arch walk is supposedly 13.5 km long but my GPS measured it at just under 11 km and other online write ups of this walk also say something similar. That said there are a couple of big descents and ascents which make the GPS a bit inaccurate. Time wise this walk can be done in around 3.5-4 hours so long as you have a reasonable level of fitness and that includes 30 minutes at the cave.

The vegetation is a mixture of low heathland interspersed with medium sized Eucalyptus forest and is very pleasant to walk through. Wildlife is minimal but we did see some wallabies and one lyrebird along with lots of birdlife.

When commencing the walk, cross the short grassy area to the starting signage and follow the well formed path all the way to the lookout platform at The Big Hole. This is your first real stop off point. Something I skipped over when researching this walk is that you need to cross the Shoalhaven River very shortly after starting the walk. On the two seperate occasions we did this the water level varied quite dramatically with the first day earlier in Spring requiring careful picking across the rock. The second time we visited to do the Marble Arch walk we had a much easier crossing – the water level had dropped dramatically in only one month. Either way, I suggest bring tracking poles for balance.

This trail is uphill almost the entire way to the Big Hole and from there you have  what is essentially either downhill or slightly undulating until you get to the steep descent down to the Marble Arch (see image below). Once you reach the bottom of the step descent you will veer to the right to what looks like a dry river bed for around 30 metres which will bring you to the cave entrance.

The cave itself which is your destination point for this walk is a good size but won’t take you a long time to explore. I would definitely suggest you bring a headlamp if you want to see into all the nooks and crannies. From there make you way back to the starting point.

By far the hardest part of this walk is the 800 metres back up the hill from the cave and while there are steps for much of the way, it’s hard going until you reach he top of the ridge.

I love both of these walks for the key features of the Big Hole and Marble Arch but also because of the views. On the way back to the trail head there are panoramic views which are an added bonus.

One final comment I would make is that if there have been periods of heavy rain, then access over the Shoalhaven River and even into the Marble Arch cave itself, may be limited so keep this in mind before you drive out to these walks.

Turn off to Berlang Camp Ground which is around 25 minutes from Braidwood, NSW

Side road to Berlang Camp Ground. The camp ground is about 700 metres down this road

Car park and information sign

Camping fees

Toilet at Berlang Camp Ground

Fire pit at Berlang Camp Ground

Big Hole information

Picnic and camping area

Starting sign for the Marble Arch Walk

Shoalhaven River

Rock hopping to get across the Shoalhaven River . In this image the water level is high and required careful choice of rocks

A different day and the water level is so much lower and easier to cross

Spent Banksia flower

Trail example on the Marble Arch walking track

Scenic views to the surrounding hills

Grevillea in flower

The Big Hole walking track ‘stairs’

Native pea flower

Final approach to The Big Hole – veer left for the Marble Arch walk

The Big Hole viewing platform

Seating at The Big Hole viewing platform

The Big Hoe – 100 metres down and 50 metres across

Video taken at The Big Hole viewing platform

Interpretive signage at The Big Hole

Continuing on from the Big Hole

Turn points on this track are shown with timber posts

Small bridge over a potential wet area

Tim on the trail

Old remnants on the trail

Trail example

Trail example. the vegetation changes a number of times on this trail

Termite mound on the edge of the trail

Turn right at the Marble Arch Sign. At this point you have less than 1 km to go

Signage at the top of the hill. The signage is in poor condition on this trail

Down the gully to the cave

Follow the gully through the bush

Entrance to the cave

Video inside the cave at Marble Arch

Marble Arch cave

There is a steep walk down and back from the cave itself which is the hardest part of the whole walk

Back up the hill

Turn left. Pay attention otherwise you my walk past this turn point

Up the hill to the Big Hole

Stunning views on the return journey

Back to the Berlang Camp Ground

Getting There

The trail head is just 100-130 km form the centre of Canberra and will take about 90 minutes to get to. The route through Braidwood is longer than the one through Captains Flat but is almost as quick. Once you get to Braidwood, head along the Cooma Road for about 30 minutes and the turn to the Berlang Camp ground is on the left

Turn off on North Head Road about 2 km off the Cooma Road

Trail head car park

Things to Know

  • You can access the trail head via Captains Flat or Braidwood. Braidwood is slightly longer but much easier driving
  • Phone signal is variable but reasonably good on the Telstra network
  • There is a toilet at the trail head
  • The trail head is also a camping ground
  • You should bring your own water
  • Keep an eye on children as you approach the viewing platform as The Big Hole is just that, a big hole in the ground
  • Bring a torch of some type to get a good look around inside the cave
  • Bring trekking poles to help with the river crossing

Disclaimer

This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

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