South-West of the ACT: Scabby Range and Mt Kelly
This is a route for experienced and well equipped walkers in rugged country, which provides rewards commensurate with the effort involved. The majority of the walking is off-track and there are some navigational challenges, particularly in bad weather. Shoulder seasons are best, as summer temperatures can rise above 30°C and winter brings snow.
Day 1: From the Yankee Hat car park, follow fire trail then footpad to the saddle south-east of Mt Gudgenby. Descend to cross Naas Creek and pick up the alignment of Sams Creek Fire Trail (a fire trail in name only) about 150m from the creek. Follow the remnants of this trail through the headwaters of Naas Creek to drop into Sams Creek. Parallel Sams Creek, to the west of the creek, upstream for about 3 kilometres, then ascend the Scabby Range to camp at Scabby Tarn, located in the lowest saddle between Mt Scabby and Mt Kelly at GR689430 (GDA). If the tarn is dry, water is available by following the creek to the north west. Around 16km and 800m climb.
Day 2: As a side-trip, follow the ACT-NSW border south along the crest of the range through sub-alpine country to Mt Scabby and the source of the Cotter River. You may see border markers and indigenous stone arrangements. Around 8km and 400m climb. Break camp and follow the Scabby Range crest north. Climb Mt Kelly for enormous views over Rotten Swamp to Mt Namadgi and Mt Burbidge. Descend to the east via Kelly Saddle to Bogong Gap to camp. Water is available in the creek flowing south-east from the gap. Around 6km and 400m climb.
Day 3: A side trip to Mt Burbidge. Around 2km and 150m climb. A long exit from the heart of Namadgi National Park by descending first via the south arm of Middle Creek, then sidling to join the south-east Burbidge spur near the 1490m contour. Enjoy the infamous Namadgi regrowth resulting from the 2003 firestorms. Cross the south arm of Middle Creek near its confluence with the north arm and find easy going traversing the Gudgenby grasslands. Around 11km and 600m descent.
Yaouk 8626-2N and Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S 1:25000 topographic maps.
Camping in this area of the ACT requires a permit, issued by the Namadgi Visitors Centre 02 6207 2900.
Walk contributed by
Keith Thomas Assistant Walks Secretary and John Evans Walks Secretary, Canberra Bushwalking Club, February 2016