Published: Nov 2017

Orroral Valley to Bimberi Peak

Note: indicated routes are approximate. Use official topographic maps for navigation.

This is a great three day return walk to the highest peak in the Australian Capital Territory. It starts at the old Orroral Valley tracking station site and follows Cotter Hut Road (a firetrail) and the Australian Alps Walking Track to an excellent campsite on the east side of the Cotter River. Note that the campsite is nice and grassy because it's in a frost hollow, so bring your warm sleeping bag. Also check with the Namadgi Visitors Centre before starting the trip - numbers are limited at the Cotter campsite, and you have to stay well clear of the river itself and Cotter Hut.

From the parking area at the tracking station site, follow the short walking track that leads to Cotter Hut Road, then turn right and follow that until you get to the Australian Alps Walking Track turnoff on your left. There's a signpost there, but it would be quite easy to walk right past it, so keep your eyes peeled. Follow the walking track to the campsite. Note that there's a pretty steep hill in the middle of this section.

From the campsite  it's a reasonably easy stroll along Yaouk Trail to the Murray Gap Trail turnoff, then a long, uphill walk to Murrays Gap, followed by a route marked by cairns up to the summit of Bimberi Peak. Even in springtime, expect to encounter some patches of snow on the southern flank of Bimberi, and in winter it's probably impassable. Although the route is marked by cairns, it's not very distinct, and you will need a compass, map, navigation skills and perhaps a GPS just to be sure. The walk up to Bimberi and back to the campsite can be done in a day.

Many thanks to Erick for organising this walk.

Australian Alps Walking Track turnoff

The turnoff from Cotter Hut Road onto the Australian Alps Walking Track. It's not particularly obvious, although it does have a marker post.

Big Rock
A huge, solitary granite boulder nestled in a frost hollow on the track to the Cotter.
Approaching the Cotter
Cotter Valley
End of day one. Time to choose a campsite.
Couldn't ask for a better campsite, although still pretty frosty in late September. The 'roo thinks so too.
Cold start
The day-walk to Bimberi Peak involves crossing the Cotter just near the campsite.
On Yaouk Trail
Pronounced "Yie-ack"
Helical Tree
Murrays Gap
That snow-speckled peak is Bimberi. There's a signpost towards the top of Murrays Gap and the route up to Bimberi can be found near there.
Looking West from Bimberi
From the top of Bimberi Peak. Looking west towards Yarrangobilly I think.
Snowgum at Murrays Gap
Afternoon at the campsite
Late afternoon on day two, having returned from the Bimberi Peak day walk.
Not a fence
Not these days anyway
Cotter Hut
Otherwise known as Cotter House. Used by the ACT rangers and off-limits for camping. What a location though!
Stream flowing through grassland with dry tussocks in the foreground and several weathered logs
Even though it was late September, Spring had not yet sprung in the Cotter valley.