Namadgi National Park
Namadgi is an Aboriginal word for the mountains south-west of Canberra. At over 100,000 hectares, 46 per cent of the Australian Capital Territory lies within this National Park. Canberra is the closest major city to alpine wilderness in Australia.
Namadgi park adjoins Kosciuszko National Park, Brindabella National Park, Bimberi Nature Reserve, Scabby Range Nature Reserve and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The adjoining national parks extend through New South Wales into Victoria as the northern reaches of the extensive Australian Alps National Parks, often known as the High Country, Snowy Mountains or the roof of Australia.
Namadgi landscapes range from the highest peak of Mount Bimberi above snowline at 1913 metres to grassy frost hollow valleys, alpine meadows and snow gum woodlands. The geology of the park is dominated by granite with ridge tops boasting tors, boulders and spectacular outcrops. Several valleys have granite cliffs, popular with rock climbers and providing great views of surrounding peaks and valleys.
Canberra’s water supply comes from snowmelt and rainfall that originates in the park flowing into the Cotter River. Canberra is the first major settlement in the catchment so drinking water originating in Namadgi is some of the finest of all Australian cities.
Australian flora in Namadgi
Namadgi offers a wide range of flora habitats from sub alpine forests, grasslands, montane forest, dry sclerophyll forests, alpine heaths and herb fields and wetlands with sphagnum habitats vital for the endangered Northern Corroboree frog habitat. Some of the higher peaks like Mount Bimberi, Mount Ginini, Mount Gingera and Mount Gudgenby reach above the treeline and are covered in snow during winter. Australia's most cold tolerant eucalypt, the snow gum can be seen fringing the alpine treeline.
Australian fauna in Namadgi
With a quiet approach, you can see Australian native animals in Namadgi with 35 species of mammals recorded including swamp wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, emus, pygmy possums along with numerous reptiles.
There are 13 threatened animal species documented such as the smoky mouse, River Blackfish and Northern Corroboree Frog.
In the adjoining Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, endangered species breeding programs for the Northern Corroboree frog and Southern Brush-tailed Rock wallaby ensure species survival for release and recovery of animal populations.
Aboriginal history in Namadgi
The region has a rich Aboriginal history for the Ngunnawal people with archaeological sites showing a presence for at least 21,000 years in the Tidbinbilla area. The area was an important gathering place to neighbouring clans from the Ngarigo, Wolgalu, Gundungurra, Yuin and Wiradjuri nations.
A visit to Yankee Hat rock art site in the Gudgenby Valley and Hanging Rock or Birrigai Rock Shelter in Tidbinbilla is a valuable way to understand and learn about Aboriginal culture and country for this region.
You can find out more about ranger guided activities and traditional Aboriginal ways of life at Tidbinbilla and Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre near Tharwa. You can also find out more with an Aboriginal ranger with Murumbung Yurung Murra cultural tours.
Please respect Aboriginal heritage sites and objects. It is an offence to damage, disturb or destroy Aboriginal heritage places and objects.
European history in Namadgi
European settlement in Namadgi saw various attempts to develop timber and agriculture, although tough conditions beset many attempts to develop the area. Old huts, fence lines and ruins dot various valleys and cross ridges within the park.
During the dawn of the space age, the Orroral Valley, Honeysuckle Creek, Orroral Ridge and Tidbinbilla saw the installation of space tracking facilities jointly operated by NASA and the CSIRO. Honeysuckle Creek was instrumental in relaying some of the first images of the moon landing. Today, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla continues to guide and communicate with the Mars Rover and other deep space projects.
Outdoor recreation in Namadgi National Park
Recreation in Namadgi includes walking and hiking, mountain biking and horse riding on approved trails, car-based camping in designated campgrounds at Honeysuckle Creek, Orroral Valley and Mount Clear. Bookings are required and you can book online or when you visit the Namadgi Visitor Centre past Tharwa.
For self reliant and experienced hikers, the 650 kilometre Australian Alps Walking Track winds through Namadgi for its northern most section linking Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
In winter, snowfalls on higher peaks and the area was once home to a vibrant ski club and chalet at Mount Franklin founded in 1934. In 2003, a major bushfire burnt large tracts of land in the park and the Franklin Chalet burned to the ground. People wishing to see snow can visit Corin Forest Mountain Resort on the Corin Dam road.
Popular walks and features in the park for day visitors include Square Rock, Booroomba Rocks, Gibraltar Falls, Orroral Valley, Yankee Hat rock art site in Gudgenby Valley, Yerrabi Walking Track, Nursery Swamp and Mount Franklin.
For information, displays, permits, brochures and maps, visit the Namadgi Visitor Centre, near the historic village of Tharwa.
Namadgi provides a wide range of recreation experiences – find out more through the links below:
Camping in designated areas (fees apply)
Mountain biking and cycle touring on formed roads and mountain biking
Explore numerous marked and sign posted day walks and hike in Namadgi:
Granite Tors Walking Track Notes (PDF 836Kb)
Naas Valley to Horse Gully Hut Walking Track Brochure (PDF 1.2Mb)
Settlers Track (PDF 1.1Mb)
Square Rock Walking Track Brochure (PDF 636Kb)
Yankee Hat Rock Art Walking Track Brochure (PDF 637Kb)
Yerrabi Walking Track Brochure (PDF 713Kb)
Horse riding is permitted along designated trails as part of the National Bicentennial Trail.
Fishing is permitted in some Namadgi mountain streams with seasonal closures.
Dams within Namadgi, namely Corin and Bendora are classified as prohibited waterways meaning they are closed to fishing.
Visiting Namadgi National Park
Drive south from the city via the Tuggeranong Town Centre to Tharwa, or via Paddys River and Tidbinbilla Roads for a scenic drive to Tharwa. For more information about Namadgi National Park:
Telephone – Canberra Connect 13 22 81
Telephone – Namadgi Visitor Centre (02) 6207 2900