Namadgi National Park: The Complete Guide

golden grassy landscape with hills in background and low shrub and grey clouds

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Namadgi National Park

Address
Naas Rd, Tharwa ACT 2620, Australia
Phone +61 2 6237 5307

Think of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and you may think of Canberra and nothing much else. However, in the southwest of the territory is the beautiful Namadgi National Park, which actually takes up about half of the ACT. Located in Ngunnawal Country, it has been managed by the Indigenous Ngunnawal people for tens of thousands of years, although it's thought that there's been an Aboriginal presence in the area for at least 21,000 years.

Bordering Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, Namadgi is similarly hilly and mountainous. The landscape includes sub-alpine, alpine, and mountainous bushland as well as a series of high-altitude bogs that are ecologically important.

Here's everything you need to know before making a trip to Namadgi National Park.

Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Namadgi National Park, ACT, January 2022
Jonathan Steinbeck / Getty Images

Things to Do

  • Watch wildlife and birds: Kangaroos are a common sight across the grasslands of Namadgi. Varieties of wallabies can also be seen, as well as wombats and birds such as rosellas, ravens, and magpies.
  • Visit historic sites: Visitors can see Aboriginal and European historic sites throughout the park. The rock art at Yankee Hat (see below) is believed to be around 3,700 years old and depicts animals such as kangaroos, dingoes, and emus. There are also a number of 19th- and 20th-century huts and homesteads in Namadgi, many of which are on walking tracks.
  • Go mountain biking: The park boasts around 250 miles (400 kilometers) of mountain biking trails. For up-to-date information on trail accessibility and closures, drop by the visitor center first.
  • Go rock climbing: With all the boulders and cliffs within the park, it's a rock climber's dream. The Booroomba Rocks are particularly popular. However, you'll need to be experienced and know what you're doing as guided excursions in the park are not that common. Connect with a local rock climbing group, such as the Canberra Climbers' Association, for ways to get involved.

Matthew Harris / Getty Images

Best Hikes & Trails

There are hundreds of kilometers of walking tracks within the park. Whether you're looking for a short stroll with kids or something longer and more challenging, Namadgi delivers. Here are a few of the best. More information about walks is available on the Namadgi National Park website.

  • Mt. Aggie: This half-mile walk, which goes through the Bimberi Nature Reserve, takes under an hour to complete. There are great views of Kosciuszko National Park, where Australia's highest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko (7,309 feet), sits. The trail passes through snow gum woodlands, and in the summer, there are wildflowers along the path.
  • Booroomba Rocks: This 1.5-hour hike can be started either from the Honeysuckle Campground or from the parking lot at the base of the walking track. As there are some steep sections, this trail is recommended for experienced hikers. However, you'll be rewarded with fantastic views from the high granite cliffs.
  • Yankee Hat: This 3.5-mile hike takes about 2.5 hours. It offers a range of experiences as you'll pass through open grasslands that are home to kangaroos, see ancient Ngunnawal rock art, and enjoy mountain views. Check whether this trail is open before visiting; the area was extensively damaged in the early 2020 bushfires.
  • Square Rock: This 6.5-mile hike takes around 4.5 hours to complete. Hikers can experience some of the best of Namadgi on this hike: trails through eucalyptus forests, huge granite boulders that reflect the land's 400-million-year-plus history, and sweeping wilderness views. You may also see swamp wallabies and red-necked wallabies.
  • Mt. Tennent: This 9-mile trail takes around six hours to hike. It's rated as challenging—the final section leading up to the summit is very steep—but the views are worth the effort. It starts at the Namadgi Visitor Centre and passes through different types of woodland.
  • Australian Alps Walking Track: If you're after a huge adventure, the Australian Alps Walking Track might be what you're looking for. The trek passes through the mountains of Namadgi National Park, and across a rugged alpine landscape that spans Victoria and NSW. Hikers can choose to do the full 400-mile trail or shorter sections of it. It can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to hike the whole track; you must be experienced and well prepared for the challenging terrain.

Where to Camp

Within the national park are a few different campsites that make it easy to spend the night and experience a range of activities. Overnight fees apply.

  • Honeysuckle Campground: Located near the Booroomba Rocks and Orroral Ridge, this campground is convenient for hiking and rock climbing excursions. There is space for up to four recreational vehicles, as well as general tent camping sites.
  • Mt. Clear Campground: This remote campground offers basic facilities deep within the park. It's only accessible via an unsealed road and isn't suitable for RVs.
  • Orroral Campground: Located in the Orroral Valley within the park, this campground has space for a few RVs as well as tents, and has a few facilities like toilets, picnic tables, and fireplaces (BYO firewood). There are hikes and historic sites nearby (the Orroral Homestead).
  • Woods Reserve: Just outside the national park, this large campsite on the banks of Gibraltar Creek can accommodate tents, RVs, groups, and even dogs. The walking track to Gibraltar Falls is nearby.

Where to Stay Nearby

If you don't want to rough it, the Ready-Cut Cottage (a historic home) sleeps up to eight people and is equipped with kitchen supplies; note that you will need to bring your own bedding and towels.

Otherwise, the most convenient place to stay when visiting Namadgi on a day trip is Canberra city. The capital offers a range of accommodation for all budgets, from Airbnbs to upmarket hotels.

How to Get There

Namadgi National Park is 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Canberra city. The simplest way of getting there is to follow the Tuggeranong Parkway southeast out of the city, toward Tharwa. The journey takes less than an hour, depending on which Canberra suburb you're traveling from.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Stop by the Namadgi Visitor Information Centre, about 1.5 miles south of the village of Tharwa.
  • There is no fee to enter Namadgi National Park.
  • Dogs are not allowed inside the park, except in cars that are traveling through the park between the ACT and NSW.
  • Drone use within the park is prohibited.
  • Cell phone coverage is patchy within the park, so make sure you have paper maps before you head into the interior. If you're hiking in rugged areas, you may also want to bring a personal locator beacon.
  • There are no trash disposal facilities in the park, so you must take all trash away with you.
  • Bring your own drinking water.
  • Dingoes (a type of wild Australian dog) are present in the park, and while they rarely bother people, it's important to follow wildlife safety principles and not feed them.
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Namadgi National Park: The Complete Guide