June 10, 2024

Exploring the Gudgenby Valley

A long run adventure exploring the Gudgenby Valley in Namadgi National Park, amongst the dingoes and kangaroos. Starting out at Brandy Flat Hut, I moved through some of the steep terrain around the hut before exploring the beautiful open plains of the valley.

Exploring the Gudgenby Valley

The plan for today's long run was simple: Start off at the Glendale Depot which is the carpark for the Brandy Flat Hut walking trail. Then, make my way past Brandy Flat Hut to the other end of the fire trail, followed by a short traverse down Boboyan Road and then explore the northern end of the Gudgenby Valley.

I think I had a weird sleep as for some reason I was feeling creeped out in the darkness. A very unusual feeling given I run at night quite a bit, and also completely irrational given this is Australia - It's not like I'm going to get jumped by a mountain lion... Unless I get bowled over by a startled wombat, there isn't anything particularly dangerous out there.

Maybe it was Brandy Flat Hut looking creepy in the darkness that put me on edge. Who knows.

Brandy Flat Hut.

Following the trail past Brandy Flat Hut, the trail descends into a rather steep valley, accompanied by a rather steep climb out the other side. At the top of the hill the fire trail proceeds down to the road, and the walking trail has a slight diversion to the carpark. Deciding to check out the walking trail, I followed that to the small carpark and then started my way down the road.

I'd eyeballed the map and figured this was a road section of a "few hundred metres", but it turned out that it was actually 2-3 times that, and also all downhill... Which meant that the return was going to be great fun being uphill all the way, and at a time of day much more likely to have traffic on it.

This will be fun on the way back...

I passed the turnoff for Old Boboyan Road, crossed the Gudgenby River and made my way to the Rendezvous Creek carpark. This area has a small 2.3km walking trail which can also be used as a base to get into the Gudgenby Valley from the northern end (you can also get into the valley via Old Boboyan Road).

Following the walking trail uphill, I enjoyed the single track that moves through various parts of bushland alongside Rendezvous Creek. I rounded a small hill, and was greeted by the howling sounds of a pack of dingoes out in the valley. I couldn't see them, but gathering from the speed at which a mob of Kangaroos in the distance was moving across the landscape, I'd hazard a guess that's what they were hunting.

I'd heard stories of the dingoes/wild dogs that inhabit Namadgi, but until today I had not had the pleasure of seeing or hearing any. It wasn't until a short time later I spotted a single dingo that had come out of a grove of trees to survey the valley below it.

"Everything the light touches is our kingdom."

Moving deeper into the valley, the plan was to follow the Rendezvous Creek fire trail (which roughly tracks Rendezvous Creek) as far up the valley as I could. From studying the maps and satellite images beforehand it looked like this trail went a fair distance up the grassy valley, before scrub, creeks and the valley walls started to make it difficult to traverse and the trail ended.

This area is beautiful.

The trail passed the remains of Rowley's Hut - not that there are many remains to be seen, other than faint indications that a building once existed there and a small signpost. I continued to follow the trail as it wound its way over small undulations, through groves of trees and boggy sections of alpine grass, with the valley slowly closing in around me. Eventually, though, I ran out of trail almost exactly where the maps said I would.

Turning around, I was excited to see the valley from a different perspective on the way back. Passing Rowley's hut Again, there was a right turn to be made and another trail to explore up the arm of the valley containing Middle Creek (Middle Creek eventually joins Bogong Creek to form the Gudgenby River). This meant crossing middle creek, which although there isn't much water in it, it was still quite wide and about knee deep in places.

At least the weather isn't too cold today, so after squelching and sloshing my way through the creek I didn't need to worry about my feet being too cold.

Getting wet feet crossing the creek.

Heading into the next part of the valley, the trail passes the turnoff to Bogong Creek Fire Trail. Following this could take me up to the Yankee Hat Rock Art site, which I've still not seen - but the Parks ACT website still lists the site as being closed to the public.

This trail couldn't get nearly as far as the other side, and eventually petered out into nothing but scrub. I stopped here to filter water out of Middle Creek for the return journey - but not after tripping over. The upside is these soft, grassy trails cushioned the fall quite well.

Heading back the way I had came and crossing Middle Creek again (once again my shoes had almost dried out, so I had to soak them again...) I took a slightly different route, this time passing the Gudgenby Homestead - An old homestead which is currently used by park rangers - and back out onto Boboyan Road.

Gudgenby Homestead.

With the sun now well and truly up I stopped at the bridge over the Gudgenby River for some photos, before climbing the road back to the Brandy Flat Fire Trail. I was slightly uneasy about this climb up the road, as there certainly isn't a whole lot of space on either side. Luckily most of the traffic was southbound so I made it up with all my limbs intact, and without having to dive off the road at all.

The Gudgenby River.

This side of the Brandy Hut Fire Trail has a much steeper valley to traverse. Whilst it certainly felt like a steep descent early this morning, now in the daylight the steepness of the trail was much more obvious. A pretty fun climb that helped me to build some more training with the poles. Turning around on the climb back up rewarded me with a few over the valley I had just been exploring.

Returning along this trail was much less creepy than the way out, and I still can't figure out why I was so unsettled this morning. It's a really pleasant area.

Brandy Flat Hut - in the daytime.

Passing the hut again, there was only one more climb back up before a descent and then I rejoined the walking trail back to the carpark!

As always, there is some really Beautiful country to explore throughout Namadgi National Park. I certainly need to explore these southern and eastern areas of the park more than I have.