Tharwa is 49 km away and Adaminaby is 30 km in the opposite direction
Brayshaws Hut car park
Brayshaws Hut car park is located on the right hand side of the road if you are coming from Tharwa and is very obvious. The hut becomes visible before you see the car park. The car park will cater for about 12 cars
Brayshaws Hut car park
The Settlers Track ‘short walk’ is another of the walks located at the southern end of the Namadgi National Park on the way to Adaminaby. This track can be done as either a long version (approximately 10 km) or ‘short’ version (approximately 6-7 km) depending on your available time and/or fitness level.
This track is the next main hiking track on from the Mt Shanahans Walk and Yerrabi Track Walk and while it lacks the mountain views of the two nearby walks, it makes up for this by showcasing local heritage including two huts ranging in age from 70+ years. These huts, like many throughout the Australian Alps, fell into disrepair but have now been restored.
On your way to the Settlers Track walk you should stop off at the Hospital Hill lookout which you drive straight past – it is well worth the visit for the views over the valley below. Once you leave this lookout you will reach the trail head a further 13.8 km down the road where there is a small signposted car park on the right hand side that will fit about 12 cars. The car park is immediately off the road and is almost impossible to miss. You will see Brayshaws Homestead before you see the car park and this will let you know you are almost there. All up, the trail head is just on 49 km from the Tharwa Bridge.
Although the walk is well known, it is a long drive for most people. From the centre of the city the drive down, the walk, and the drive back takes approximately four hours. As a result it is rare to see large numbers of people on this walk unless you have brought them with you. Having said that this is a a great walk and different enough so is well worth doing.
The walk starts off at Brayshaws Hut and you are directed in an anti clockwise direction towards Waterhole Hut. If doing the shorter version of this walk you will be directed to turn left (at about the 3 km mark) on the trail rather than continuing on towards Waterhole Hut. This shorter walk is good if you not have the fitness or the time for the longer version.
The trail can be considered as three parts. The first and third section is on formed trail walking through the bush with the middle section from the turnoff post to Westermans Hut being a road walk along the management trail. The trail itself is reasonably natural, in very good condition and due to its location at the extreme end of Namadgi Park doesn’t attract as many walkers as the more central walks. There are a couple of mesh sections to get you over the higher creeks. The trail is very well signposted and even with the snow on the trail which can happen in winter, the track was obvious with marker posts placed in areas that left no doubt as to where you should be heading. The interpretation signage is very well done along this trail and includes a track brochure which you can pick up at the trail head. The brochure and signage explain what you are seeing. There is also plenty of seating along the trail to take a rest and just take in the views.
Having done the long version of this trail in wintertime in snow conditions I was looking forward to this trail to see what the differences were and was pleasantly surprised at the number of small wildflowers, including orchids and fungi that were on show. The bushland is recognisably alpine with many of the trees being fairly low set. Kangaroos and wallabies are everywhere but unlike the walks closer in to the centre of Namadgi, they are skittish and will hop away as soon as you get close enough to take their photo.
The trail head contains a pit toilet and there is a second toilet located at Westermans Homestead. Both of the huts on the trail have their own unique character and it is worthwhile dropping in to have a look at these examples of bush huts from the past. While at Westermans Hut I discovered the old graves at the top the hill (about 150 metres) which were invisible in our wintertime visit, another little a reward for the history buffs.
One thing to keep in mind is that the flies get very annoying in the summer months so take some repellent with you if that’s the time of the year you are going. Unfortunately the industrial strength March Flies in Namdgi National Park don’t care about 80% Deet and have the ability to bite through lightweight clothing. They will even try to bite through your leather boots!
This trail is well worth doing and if you want to make a full day of it look at doing either the Yerrabi or Mount Shanahans walking tracks after lunch on the same day. Be prepared for snowfall between April-October on this trail and make sure you have adequate clothing just in case.
Brochure holder at the trail head
Trail head signage
Brayshaw’s Hut is located right next to the car park and you will see this hut before you see the parking area
To start the trail head up the hill following the marker posts. At the top of the hill this is the only section on the whole trail where there is some doubt. Head towards the right and don the grassy slope and you will see the next marker post
There is the occasional seat as on the trail to take a rest
View to Westermans Hut down in the valley. This is the second hut you will visit after Brayshaws hut
Trail markers are frequent and easy to follow. This trail signage at about the 3 km mark is where you decide to the the longer version of this walk and visit Waterhole Hut or turn and do the shorter version
Rock Lily in flower
Octopus Stinkhorn. If you look closely you can see a fly on top of this one which smells like cow manure if you get close
Ring barked tree. A quick and easy way to kill a tree
Approaching Westermans Homestead
Water tank on each hut. Drinkable but I would still filter
Graveyard near Westermans Hut which is about 150 m up the hill behind the hut. We didn’t notice this gravesite in winter as it was covered in snow
The bridge after Westermans Homestead
As you leave the bush Brayshaws Hut become visible as you finish the hike
Tim at Brayshaws Hut
The Settlers Track Google map showing the distance from Tharwa Bridge to the trail head car park:
The whole trip from the Tharwa Bridge is just on 49 km.
Yankee Hat turnoff. Keep to the left and head towards Adaminaby
End of the bitumen road. The dirt road from here on is usually in good condition
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
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker