• Distance 9.1km
  • Altitude max 1159m
  • Altitude min 950m
  • Duration 2.5 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 Three

Grade Three

Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.

The Australian Grading system is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds

Nursery Swamp ACT (9.1 km)

Namadgi National Park

Nearest Town

Tharwa ACT

Starting Location

Nursery Swamp car park on Orroral Road

Finish Location

Nursery Swamp car park on Orroral Road

Best Time to Travel

Year round

Nursery Swamp Walking Trail Summary

One of the many walks in Orroral Valley and like the walks that start at the nearby tracking station, this one is easy to access. Once you make your way to the carpark, walk across the road, keeping an eye out for oncoming traffic, to start your walk at the well marked trail head. Walk up the hill about 100 metres and sign the hiking register.

The trail is steadily uphill for the first 1.9 km before dropping slightly into the next valley as you make your way to the end of the trail at Nursery Swamp. The trail is easy to follow and consists of boardwalks, rock and natural ground. The day I walked, the group in front of me startled a Red Bellied Black Snake which was sleeping on the trail. Snakes are common in this area with the Red Bellied Black Snakes usually preferring moist areas but not adverse to sun baking on these lovely trails we have made for them. Because of the board walks, the trails aren’t as wide or flattened as other trails in the area so it is not unusual to have clumps of tussock up against the trail obscuring them. I would recommend taking a set of trekking poles to act as prods just to make sure there isn’t a snake sleeping under boardwalk which has happened to me.

The trail winds its way through different types of bushland and open forest and is very pleasant. You will come across random seats and picnic tables in the middle of nowhere if you feel like taking a break. The end of the trail also has some seating which looks out onto the valley and is a great place to have some lunch. You could easily spend a couple of hours roaming the valley if you feel so inclined before heading back the way to came.

Allow around 2.5 to 3 hours to walk this track which will allow some time including a break at Nursery Swamp. Please note that this trail was impacted by the 2019-20 fires so you will find the vegetation and infrastructure may vary from the images shown in this review.

The trail head starts across the road from the carpark and is well marked

The trail register is about 100 metres up the trail. Don’t forget to sign in and out

There are a number of boardwalks over sensitive areas. This one broke as I walked over it

Foliage cover varies from being tunnel like to fully open

The trail consists of boardwalk, natural ground including rock and formed trail

Banksia in flower

About 2/3 of the way into the trip there is a picnic table so you can take a break. In addition there is also seating along the trail

When the logs become too big to move they become steps

There is minimal signage on the trail. This is the only trail marker in the middle of the trail

The trail passes a number of large boulders

The trail end. The swamp shown up as the darker/brighter grass

Getting There

From Tharwa travel along Naas Road (this road changes to Boboyan Road) past Apollo Road and turn off onto Orroral Road which is approximately 18 km from Tharwa on the right. Continue on Orroral Road past the Campground and the carpark is approximately 7 km from the turnoff on the right hand side about 3-4 km before the former Orroral Valley Tracking complex. There are no facilities at the site with the last toilets being at the Ororral Campground which you will drive past (currently under renovation as at August 2023) or at the Orroral Valley Tracking station car park.

The car trip from the centre of Canberra will take one hour


The large blue information sign is clearly visible as you approach the car park

The car park is well maintained and is accessible to any type of vehicle

Things to Know

  • Phone: Phone signal is non existent on this trail (Telstra)
  • Water: Bring your own water
  • Toilets: There are two toilets
  • Trail: This walk is on formed trail
  • Dogs: Dogs not allowed
  • Camping: Camping allowed
  • Other: 
    • Like much of the surrounding area, snakes can be present. Be conscious when crossing wet areas as Red Bellied Black Snakes can be out and about feeding
    • Keep an eye open for Kangaroos on the road particularly early in the morning or in the evening

The start of this walk is the hardest bit with a steady uphill walk for the first 1.9 km


This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

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