A and I have been doing some bushland exploring around Canberra recently (which sounds, appropriately, more amateurish than ‘hiking’ or even ‘bushwalking’). I think this is partly because the weather is perfect for it – chilled, crisp and sunny – and partly because too many tedious hours inside lately has meant I crave plenty of open space on weekends.
It helps, too, that there’s plenty of outdoor wonders to discover within an easy drive of home, partly guided by the very useful Canberra Times blog, Tim the Yowie Man.
I was particularly intrigued by a post about London Bridge Arch, a naturally-occurring Saxon-esque arch made of limestone about 20km south of Queanbeyan in beautiful, hilly countryside.
From Queanbeyan, the drive towards the London Bridge Walking Track takes you through Queanbeyan’s suburban back streets, industrial land, farmland and finally something rather sparser as you head towards Googong Foreshores (South). The final part of the drive is on a dirt road and requires stopping to open a gate (which, I learned the hard way, is locked during and after heavy rain). The London Bridge Arch track is about 4km long, though not very well marked. After walking past a few mobs of roos and wallabies, we soon found ourselves walking over London Bridge (which must be at least 20m wide) before carefully picking our way through complex wombat-created tunnel cities in order to see the structure from below. Frankly, it’s extraordinary, and easily the highlight of the walk.
There is more to see though – and more to photograph. You reach the London Bridge Homestead, about two thirds of the way through the walk after crossing a hill or two (and in our case, accidentally, a river). It dates from the 1860s, and while the homestead itself is mostly fenced off, it’s interesting to explore the area around it, including abandoned sheds, cars and various other bits of rusted machinery from decades past.And while it’s a beautiful place and a fairly easy, interesting walk, we saw only one other group while we were there. Take a friend, if you can – there is a beautiful loneliness about the country there.More information about the walk is available to download here. If you’re looking for directions on Google Maps, it recognises London Bridge Road, Burra, NSW. Meanwhile, this is the rather fascinating view of London Bridge Arch from the air:.