Thursday, April 28, 2016

Canberra, Queanbeyan and Lowden Park

Friday afternoon we were packed ready to head off. This weekend we are driving down to Canberra, Queanbeyan and Tallaganda State Forest, having a few places of interest to explore and with an open mind to seek out more.

An easy 3 hour drive from home, along the Hume and Federation Highway, and only having one detour were we missed the turn off to Canberra but ended up exploring a country road which soon connected us to the main highway again. By 9pm we had arrived at Cotter Camping ground and it was packed. Camping trailers and tents everywhere. It was to late to look for another spot so we decided to stay and find a spot. We could of squeezed between two tents but decided to park in the car park area on flat ground and facing the river. The plan was to get a good view when the sun came up, and we sure did.

Saturday morning the sun was up and it was a good start to a beautiful day. With a nice coffee to get the day started while we chatted to some fellow campers. The ranger came round collecting the fees which were $12 per night/per person. (little bit pricey since we didn't get a camping spot) Taking our time we looked around the area then packed up and headed further along. Not far down the road we came across Cotters Bend a nice quiet location with no one around, amazing river frontage with trees lining the reserve, all the autumn leaves were falling with the slight wind it looked beautiful.

Further along we came across Cotter Avenue and Dam by now it was lunchtime and this place was getting quiet busy with picnickers. A popular spot for locals with picnic areas and playgrounds walking tracks, lookouts and viewing platforms. We followed the main walking track which combined the viewing platform of the Dam, and what was left of the old trout hatchery and a river crossings with suspension bridge, this was an easy relaxing walk. There are a few other walks in the area which take you to a lookout and Cotter cave. It was a beautiful area well worth a look, and the fact the trees were all losing their leaves made the place look amazing.

From here we headed further south along Paddy River Rd via the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, an interesting stop, with huge satellite dishes and space history museum. Back on the road towards Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, this place had people lined up out the door of the information centre so we decided to keep driving. The scenic roads along the way are truly amazing, the landscape is dry, the hills roll on with huge rock formations scattered throughout.

Gibraltar Falls was out next stop, a beautiful picnic area with a great view. Walking down the falls is steep but well maintained with an awesome infinity pool and massive rock platforms above the falls. A definite place to stop and look if your in the area. The evening was getting close so we made our way to a Nature Retreat over near Queanbeyan. A privately owned place where you can camp for the night for $20 per night.

Next morning we had a bit of a sleep in then headed to Googong Dam foreshore a nice spot with lots of walks, picnic areas and water activities. Heading to the south side via Burra street, is the London Bridge Arch walking track woolshed and homestead. This walk is a must if your in the area, the London bridge arch is a limestone formation, the arch was created by water leaking through the limestone, until the passage increased for the Burra river to pass through it.

Starting at the woolshed and walking to the arch is approximately 1 km, the view is on both sides of the river and we got very excited when we first saw it, both rushing to get the best picture!! Spending a good hour exploring the area and the river. We continued alone the Burra river and up a hill to the homestead. The homestead itself is fenced off but you get a good idea of the heritage and the life style of our ancestors created back in the 1830s. The small bridge on the way in was the main attraction for us, the huge yellow trees had dropped all their leaves which had created the perfect picture, yellow leaves line the river with the reflection of yellow!! Being hard to describe but it was so beautiful and surreal. We took our time to wander back along the management trail to the van, the total walk was 3.4km and took a couple of hours.

From here we headed to our nights camping at Tallaganda State Forest. Hidden in the forest is Lowden Forest Park an old logging camp from 1930s . An interesting drive with an almost deserted road driving in, hoping we were on the right road as we found it hard to get information for this site. As we drove deeper into the forest we soon saw signs guiding us to the right place. We made it there before the sun set, had a quick feed and got the fire started to warm us up for the evening.

The following morning we woke early and headed off for a couple of walks in the park, both were short and easy with lots of opportunity for pictures, ferns, moss, mushrooms and ponds, the natural surrounding were beautiful. Such a peaceful place great way to start the day. Scattered around the park were remains of a water wheel which was used as a generator and is still working, an old traction engine and other old logging equipment. In the park were picnic tables wood BBQs The grounds are suitable for 2wd vecles and more camping spots were scattered further in forest for 4wds. Back at camp we started the fire and cooked up a late breakfast before we had to head home. The weekend ended with another great memory and some amazing places explored.

Our travel route here

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