• Distance 7km
  • Altitude max 1307m
  • Altitude min 1194m
  • Duration 1.75 hours
  • Trail type Loop
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 Hiker Difficulty Grading System is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Parking
Toilets
Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds
Showers

The Settlers Track ‘Short’ ACT (7km)

Australian Capital Territory

Nearest Town

Tharwa is 49 km away and Adaminaby is 30 km in the opposite direction

Beast Time of the Year to Travel

Year round

Starting Location

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

Finish Location

Brayshaws Hut car park

The Settlers Track-'Short' Review

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 example

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

Westermans Hut

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

Getting There

The Settlers Track Google map showing the distance from Tharwa Bridge to the trail head car park:

  • From the Tharwa Bridge head done Boboyan Road towards the Yankee Hat rock art site
  • Instead of turning off to the the right towards the Yankee Hat car park, keep on going. The bitumen ends not far from the Yankee Hat turnoff and the road is usually in good condition for an average car
  • The road edges can be a bit soft and in cold conditions there can be snow and ice on the road so drive carefully. WARNING: sometimes the road may be closed in snow conditions so if doing this walk mid-winter, check with the Namadgi Visitor Centre prior to driving to this site
  • At the end of the bitumen road travel about 2.6 km until you come to the Hospital Hill lookout on the right hand side of the road. This lookout is signposted and the lookout is adjacent to the road so a stop off is well worth the great views
  • From the Hospital Hill lookout travel a further 13.8 km and the Settlers Track Walk car park is on the right

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

Things to Know

  • There is a toilet facility at the car park for this walk as well as another at Westermans Hut
  • You need to bring your own water however there is a water tank at each of the huts but recommend you filter/sterilise the water before using
  • Keep an eye on the road once you reach the unsealed section as there is a lot of 4WD traffic and blind corners
  • This road can have snow on it so make sure you are driving a vehicle that can cope with the conditions if doing the walk during the cooler months
  • There is very limited mobile phone coverage on this trail
  • If doing this walk in Summer time the flies are aggressive so wear long pants and long sleeves as well as carrying insect repellent

Disclaimer

This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

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