If undertaking this walk in its entirety you can start from either Casuarina Sands or Point Hut Crossing both of which are located in the south western part of the city of Canberra. If you want to do shorter sections you can access the following trail heads:
If undertaking this walk in its entirety you can finish at either Casuarina Sands or Point Hut Crossing both of which are located in the south western part of the city of Canberra
Year round but try to avoid the extreme hot days
I wasn’t aware of this walk until a few months before undertaking it. My focus was on the better known walks in other locations of the Canberra region and in all honesty that was a mistake and here’s why.
First up this walk can be done over the full 27.6 km distance starting at either the northern or southern trail heads. The hardest section of this walk is that between Casuarina Sands and Kambah Pool and if doing this walk in a southerly direction, you are taking the harder choice (see image below on altitude change).
For no particular reason I decided to start at Casuarina Sands which can be best described as the northern trail head. My walk started just before 7:00am in the morning with the expectation that it was going to take me around 7 hours to complete. I love starting my walks early in the morning regardless of the time of the year and in this case I was walking along the gorges that house the Murrumbidgee River, hence the name. There are good facilities at Casuarina Sands including toilets and barbecue facilities and plenty of parking.
For the first hour or so I was walking in good light but the sun had yet to broach the surrounding gorges keeping it nice and cool. The downside was the previous nights rainfall which was dripping off the plants as I passed by. The biggest surprise for me on this walk was how green the Murrumbidgee River corridor was despite the extremely dry conditions in the rest of the territory. The bushland either side of the river is certainly struggling like the rest of southern Australia but it just had a lushness to the northern section that was unique. This additional lushness also showed up with the wildlife with the kangaroos, wombats and wallabies being very big and healthy.
Signage in this top section of the trail is overall very good with small directional arrows and distance markers located every 200 metres. However at a couple of locations you are presented with a choice and it’s not always clear which direction you should head.
First stop was the Kambah Pool Recreation Area 16 km into the walk and this is another opportunity to take a break. It’s at this point that the trail merges with a section of the Canberra Centenary Trail that loops around much of the built up area of Canberra. The main thing to know about this middle section of the trail is that it is a shared trail and you may come across cyclists which is why it tends to be wider and better maintained than the section to Kambah Pool. The other thing to note once you reach Kambah Pool is the vegetation starts to open up exposing you a bit more to the sunlight which you will feel in the hotter months.
The signage also changes on this section shifting mainly towards the signage for the Centenary Trail and every so often you will come across the odd sign for the Murrumbidgee Discovery Trail. One obvious one is an optional route change where you can do a creek crossing. I’ve done both options and the creek crossing works well when the water level is low but when its high you will need to take the road route.
Towards the end of this middle section you will come across the Tuggeranong Stone Wall paddock and its here that you leave the Centenary Trail and head of towards Pine Island on the standalone Murrumbidgee Discovery Track. Pine Island is one of Canberra’s biggest public river swimming areas. It has playgrounds, barbecue and picnic facilities, and excellent parking. If the weather is warm and you have the time it’s a good opportunity to stop for a swim. If you plan on swimming here then start at the northern trail head. Pine island is an extensive area and will take a while to walk through. Once you reach the end of this area you only have 2.5 km to go to reach your destination at Point Hut.
Overall this walk is pretty amazing with good changes in vegetation meaning you won’t become bored and there is plenty to see. This is definitely one to add to the list but be aware if you plan on doing this walk in a single day it will push you physically.
Trail head signage
Choose your own adventure stoping and starting along this long walk
Big male kangaroo just minding his own business and not too bothered about me being there
Trail marking arrows
Water pipe at the Cotter which helps to feed Canberra’s water supply
Grevillea in flower
Stile along the trail
Looking back towards the Cotter Dam
On the trail
Kangaroos on the trail. I’m just glad I was taking a break
Bridge along the trail
Turn to the right. It’s not as obvious as it should be though
Lunchtime Creek! Not really – its infested with blackberries
Looking down to the river once we had angled back up towards the road where there are parking and toilet facilities
Trail head at Kambah Pool. From here you are on the Canberra Centenary Trail
Pine Island car park
Playground at Pine Island
Pine Island toilets. There is another toilet block further along
Leaving Pine Island
Views to the Brindabella Ranges on the southern end of the trail
Mount Tennent in Namadgi National Park is close by
Entering Point Hut
Toilets at Point Hut and the end point if starting from Casuarina Sands in the north
Car Park at Point Hut
Change in altitude across the walk heading from Casuarina Sands on the left of the image to Point Hut on the right
Northern trail head at Casuarina Sands is around 22 km from the Canberra GPO and around a 30 minute drive
Turn off to Casuarina Sands
Turn left on entry
Heading into the trail head car park
Southern trail head at Point Hut
Turn off to Point Hut
Car Park at Point Hut
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker