Mt Ginini

Summit: Mt Ginini

Date Completed: 8 November 2014

Mode: Walk

Transport: Drive to the locked gate at the end of Mt Franklin Rd.

Accompanied by: BW

Difficulty: 1/5

Notes: Looking forward to a decent effort in the mountains and a rewarding summit of Mt Ginini i was slightly disappointed to find that Mt Ginini is literally at the locked gate at the end of Mt Franklin Rd. Still, being up around 1,700m meant that the scrub had changed enough that it felt like real alpine country. Since we had driven to the summit we walked off trail for a while to have a look around before returning to the car.

From the locked gate we continued along Mt Franklin Rd on foot for a very enjoyable stroll to Pryors Hut for a look around and to eat lunch (all the important fuel we would need for the big effort up to Mt Ginini!




Sign to summit at car park


Some ugly infrastructure at the summit


Pryors Hut is a fantastic spot for lunch


Heading off trail for a quick explore


Mt Domain

Summit: Mt Domain

Date Completed: 18 April 2014

Mode: Walk

Transport: Drive to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Car shuffle between Mountain Creek car park (start) and Fishing Gap car park (finish).

Accompanied by: GD, DB, BS

Difficulty: 5/5

Notes: GD was planning to lead this walk for the Canberra Bushwalking Club in a few weeks time so I volunteered myself and a couple of mates (DB & BS) to accompany him on a quick recce up to the summit of Mt Domain. GD is a supremely experienced bushwalker, having covered a huge amount of the local trails as well as some of the more imagination capturing mountains around the globe such as the European Alps, Patagonia, the Canadian Rockies and even the Indian Himalaya. GD is a human bucket list, with an endless list of adventures in the pipeline and a real joie de vivre which is infectious.

DB and BS, both good mates and great athletes in their own right, are new to the Project but were both keen to get involved. They both lived to tell the tale but I don’t think either of them (nor me) knew what they were in for on this cool Autumn day.

We arrived at Mountain Creek car park early and after a quick assessment of the map and getting our bearings we headed up the trail towards Camels Hump. It wasn’t long before GD halted, turned about face and headed straight up the side of the mountain, completely bushwhacking through pretty dense forest.

He assured us that after the ascent we would reach Snowy Corner where the trail would reveal itself and it would be a steady ramble along the ridgeline with views worth the effort.

We ascended for about 2 hours and about 500m of gain before arriving at the Snowy Corner clearing for a quick rest and a snack. The air was cooler up around 1,300m and the wind was whipping around. We clipped up our packs and headed south, along the ridge in search of a trail. Unfortunately, due to the fires in 2003 the regrowth out the back of Tidbinbilla is still in its relative infancy which means that thousands of young eucalypt are fighting for the sun and the forest is… dense!

The track was overgrown, at best, and the going was tough… I’ve been throwing out the statistic of 8km in 8hrs and I don’t think that is an exaggeration!

We struggled through the scrub, along the ridge, scrambling along some precarious sections and swinging from tree to tree for support. The scrub was so dense that it was like pushing through a thick hedge… for hours… Cuts and grazes appeared on arms and necks and all the uneven terrain made my unconditioned feet really sing.

Pausing at a clearing just shy of the Mt Domain summit, we were rewarded for our efforts. Views to the west included Bimberi and Gingera and a 180 degree spin brought the entire Canberra landscape into view. I proudly pointed out Bimberi to DB and BS as well as Black Mountain and Mt Ainslie to give the lads a bit of perspective on where we were.

Continuing south to Domain and after a quick, steep scramble we found the large cairn which indicated the summit, although the views from here were mostly obstructed by the scrub.

Heading back down towards the Fishing Gap car park was no easier as we attacked the descent along slippery rocks and roots with morale fading rapidly for the group. We were all beaten and battered (with the exception of GD) and we were happy to reach the fire trail for a quick march on even terrain towards our car.

Overall it was an extremely rewarding day in the mountains and unique for me as I had never spent so much time off-trail. It was great to experience something like that with an experienced navigator (GD) and I will be lining up for more as soon as I can!



BS checking our status on his GPS watch


DB happy with our progress. Canberra in the background

IMG_2050 Approaching the Mt Domain summit  IMG_2076

Some serious scrambling with sharp drops to the left


The lads at the summit cairn


Mt Tennent

Summit: Mt Tennent

Date Completed: 7 December 2013

Mode: Walk

Transport: Drive along the Tuggeranong Parkway to Tharwa. Pass Tharwa and continue to the Namadgi NP Visitors Centre carpark. Park outside of the Visitor Centre gates, to be safe.

Accompanied by: BW

Difficulty: 3/5

Notes: Another mate had put up his hand to join me on a backyard summit and i was happy to oblige. BW has a great appreciation for the outdoors having recently toured parts of Pacific North West, USA and completing the famous ‘W’ circuit in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia. I knew he would make a strong backyard summit companion and Mt Tennent was the clear choice given that he wouldn’t be arriving in Canberra until a little later in the morning and Tennent is one of the most quickly accessible summits on my list.

The walk to Mt Tennent also happens to be the start (or finish) of the Australian Alps Walking Track so i’m always really excited to be in this part of the world. My imagination runs wild when i set foot on a path which could take me all the way to Walhalla, VIC (near enough to Melbourne) via the Snowy Mountains and Victorian High Country. One day i’ll go the distance!

This walk doesn’t waste any time going up and up as it winds through pretty dense scrub on well maintained single-track. We marched through an army of Cicadas which were so loud that we couldn’t hear each other talk before reaching the first milestone (Cyprus Pines lookout) with great views back towards the Visitor Centre and Tuggeranong.

Continuing up some serious rock steps we reached a junction which directed us left towards Mt Tennent summit (where right continues along the AAWT to Orroral Valley). From here the track eased up, the worst was behind us and the altitude had clearly changed as the characteristics of the scrub had changed and the air was slightly cooler.

Eventually we converged with the fire trail which allows 4WD vehicles up to the summit to man the bushfire watch tower. The fire trail rises steadily for the final summit push and we were both relieved to spot the fire tower which represented the end of a really tough climb.

The views from the summit are well worth the effort (despite the fire tower which spoils the summit slightly, although it is absolutely a neccesity and serves a very worthy purpose). Looking SW you can sit and enjoy humbling views of the Southern end of the Brindibellas along to Tidbinbilla on your right, then turn around and you can see all of Canberra including tiny Mt Taylor, Black Mountain and Mt Ainslie.

It was another perfectly clear day so we relaxed for a while, let the sweat dry off and enjoyed a CLIF bar before racing back to the car with lunch on our minds.


Cyprus Pine Lookout


Track Junction to Tennent Summit


Final Summit Push


What’s it all about?


GPS Data


Bimberi Peak

Summit: Bimberi Peak (Bimberi Wilderness)

Date Completed: 27 October 2013

Mode: Walk

Transport: Drive from Canberra to Cooma, right on to Snowy Mountains Hwy (drive for 70km), right on to Tantangara Rd to Pockets Saddle Rd (drive for 30km). Park at the locked gate at Gurrangorambla Creek. Approximately 3hr drive. 30km dirt section is high grade which the Subaru Outback loved but i wouldn’t go out there with anything less.

Accompanied by: BH

Difficulty: 5/5 (Bimberi being the hundredth percentile walk, so far)

Notes: I had penciled the Bimberi summit in a while back to be done with a good mate from school – Brendan – who was back in the country visiting from his current home in Nevada, USA.

Brendan and I (along with others) have done alot of backpacking in the past in the Budawangs, the Overland Track in Tasmania and more recently to the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawai’i… a seriously epic 80km trek up to 4,100m on arguably the most unforgiving terrain on the planet!

Brendan is by far the toughest bloke i know, particularly when it comes to physical endurance and pushing the limits… i’m pretty sure his life motto would be ‘reach for the stars… and when you get there push on for another 20km while there’s still daylight’.

Bimberi is the highest peak in the ACT at 1.913m and we were both keen to add to our list of the highest peaks in each state after summiting Mt Ossa back in 2009.

We hit the road at 5am for the 3hr drive into Kosciuszko National Park, arriving at the Gurrangorambla Creek gate we were greeted by clear blue skies and crisp mountain air! We hit the trail, connecting with the Australian Alps Walking Track/Bicentennial National Trail up and over a few tough passes before arriving at an open valley with Oldfields Hut and great views towards Bimberi. We stopped for a while do rehydrate before pushing on towards Murrays Gap.

At the junction, we left the Bicentennial National Trail and followed the Alps track into the Bimberi Wilderness where the bush is more dense and the track, which follows the Goodradigbee River, is less defined.

At Murrays Gap we took a hard left turn and began the push to the summit, scrub bashing the whole way and guided only by rock cairns and scattered ribbon markers. We marked waypoints with the GPS to avoid any navigational disasters on our descent!

It was a perfect day at the top of Bimberi… outstanding views towards Canberra, out to Tinderry as well as the (still) snow capped mountains of the Main Range… awesome. Corin Dam was looking full of water and we could even see Black Mountain tower in the far off distance (seriously!).

We sat around for about an hour in the very rare stillness, naming all the peaks we could spot (we’re experts and there was no one up there to disagree), drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and eating bagels and scroggin before heading back into the scrub for the tough descent.

We arrived back at the car after about 7 hours (including breaks) and home by about 7pm… a 14 hour day, all things considered… it was a huge effort but well worth it for the reward of a dead calm day at the summit of the highest peak in the ACT, catching up with an old mate.


Oldfields Hut


Murrays Gap


Pabst Blue Ribbon


Summit Poser


Mt Ossa Summit 2009

Overland Track 128

GPS Data

Camels Hump

  Summit: Camels Hump (Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve)

Date Completed: 20 October 2013

Mode: Walk

Accompanied by: HW, RW, HR & CM

Difficulty: 3/5

Notes: After a few weeks off from the Project where i had been doing alot of trail running and generally living it up on the weekends it was time to get back on the proverbial saddle.

I am off to New Zealand in two weeks with Hayley, Ryan (Hayley’s brother), Helena (Hayley’s cousin) and Chris Martin (musical genius). We will be spending about 10 days walking the Milford and Routeburn Track’s (including downtime in Queenstown and Te Anau) in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. These walks are arguably two of the best walks in the world so we are all very excited to head over and check out the world class scenery on offer. In fact, i’ve read alot of articles by backpackers from the Northern Hemisphere who rate New Zealand as their ultimate global destination… hence why this trip is so relevant to the Backyard Project philosophy… we will be taking a short/cheap plane ride to experience a landscape which people from the USA and Europe only dream about. I’m predicting this trip will be the catalyst for an obsession with backpacking in New Zealand… Bring it on!

Anyway, it was time for our group to get some serious training in pre-New Zealand. We’d all been giving the trip a huge amount of thought and training and all that was left to do was a proper long day walk, carrying full packs and doing some serious climbing.

The five of us piled into the car early on Sunday morning and head to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (generally speaking). I picked Camels Hump as our destination as it provided the right mix of distance, climbing and spectacular views which would suit the group.

We took off from Mountain Creek car park and made the long, steady climb up the firetrail for about 5km with great views down into the valley along the way. Despite the smoke haze across most of Canberra, the air was clear up at this (slightly) higher altitude.

Arriving at the ‘hump’ we moved off track to make the fun scramble towards the summit. At the top we were rewarded with some of the best views south-west that i have ever seen, particularly looking across to Johns Peak and its exposed sedimentary layers tilted up over millions of years.

The weather was ideal so we took a load off and had a nice lunch and a relax.

The downhill run back to the car was tough for all as our feet reached their limits and the effects of an early morning and warm day caught up with us. Still, everyone enjoyed the day and we were glad to test our bodies a bit before the big trip.


IMG_1494[1] IMG_1495[1] IMG_1499[1]




GPS Data


Mt Boboyan

Summit: Mt Boboyan

Date Completed: 22 September 2013

Mode: Walk

Accompanied by: HW

Difficulty: 1/5

Notes: I haven’t spent alot of time on the southern end of Namadgi NP (behind Tharwa) other than fishing on the Gudgenby River with Dad and one ill fated attempt at the Fitz’s course whilst training for ‘around the bay’ back in 2011, so it was time to take the BSP out that way to see what it had to offer,

HW and I rose early on Sunday, gave Chamonix a cuddle and hit the road for about 1h30m past Tharwa and along Boboyan Rd (dirt). We arrived at the Yerrabi Track/Boboyan Trig trail head blessed with blue skies and minimal wind.

It was an easy climb up along some great single track and amongst some pretty dense mountain gum forest.

It wasn’t long before we reached the summit and were greeted by fantastic 360 degree views and completely still weather. We tucked into our drinks and snacks, took some creative photo’s at the trig site and relaxed for a while to take it all in.

The vibe was great at the summit of Mt Boboyan so i seized the opportunity to bend my knee and putta-putta ring on it, telling Hayley she is the most important thing in the world to me and asking for her hand in marriage. She was so excited – and agreed to my proposal – and we spent a while longer at the summit soaking up the special moment together.

It’s something i’ve wanted to do for a while now, we’ve talked about it alot. It feels great to be engaged and entering a very special and exciting time together.

As they say: ‘no day but today!’

Photography IMG_1379[1] IMG_1381[1] IMG_1407[1] IMG_1414[1] IMG_1415[1]

GPS Data


Mt Painter

Summit: Mt Painter

Date Completed: 8 September 2013

Mode: Run

Accompanied by: Solo

Difficulty: 1/5

Notes: It was time to do the first of what will hopefully be many, many hundreds of Mt Painter summits in my lifetime.

Mt Painter is a stones throw from my new home and it offers some great trail running options up to the summit. Awesome views to the Tidbinbilla and Brindabella Ranges to the south-west and the sun rising up over Black Mountain to the north-east.

I ran from my doorstep, along the Bindubi Street cycle path, under Bindubi and along the Cook fire trail before jumping on the summit trail. I stopped at the top to enjoy the views and catch my breath before going off trail to find the simplest line back to Bindubi Street. Once i was back on the Aranda side I cruised through the Aranda bushland for a while, very excited about all the trail running to be done in this area.

A really interesting thing to note about Mt Painter is that the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT) runs along the base of the mountain. The BNT is a walking / pack horse trail which runs 5,330km from Cooktown, QLD to Healesville, VIC along the Great Dividing Range. It is so inspiring to me that this trail quite literally runs past my doorstep. I’ve always envied people who live near the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the US but I live on the BNT, Australias own AT.

This is what the Backyard Project is all about!

I’ve also had alot of interest from friends who want to get involved in the BSP. One mate in particular emailed saying he would like to come along and explore the Brindies. This made me really happy and inspired and i hope to get more people involved whenever i can.


I was running, give me a break!

GPS Data

Mt Franklin

Summit: Mt Franklin

Date Completed: 1 September 2013

Mode: Walk

Accompanied by: Solo

Difficulty: 1/5

Notes: Rose early on Sunday for the 1hr 20m drive up Brindabella Rd, left at Piccadilly Circus and along Mt Franklin Rd to the Mt Franklin trailhead. The weather was perfect and the light was beautiful so early in the morning.

It was an easy ramble along the path via the Mt Franklin information area and site of the Ski Chalet which was unfortunately destroyed in the 2003 fires. The view near the summit was fantastic, particularly looking south-west towards Mt Ginini, Mt Gingera and some seriously snow-capped mountains in the distance. After a quick stop at the summit trig I returned to a nice spot to enjoy the silence, warm sun and outstanding view.

I recommend this ramble to anyone looking for a nice drive and a genuine Namadgi experience without any bushwhacking. The walk itself is comparable to Mt Ainslie in its difficulty.

Photography Mt Franklin trailhead South west view Site of the Mt Franklin Chalet

GPS Data

(Still working on this…)

I spend a lot of time dreaming about exotic adventures, wanting the latest gear and waiting for my next holiday… at the same time, I live about 30 minutes from one of the best National Parks in Australia, I have put together a great set of gear and I have an amazing, supportive family.

The ‘backyard project’ is my attempt to appreciate the things i have and to document my adventures along the way… for your entertainment and education.

Phase one of the Backyard Project is the Backyard Summits Project.

Follow me as i attempt to summit about 60 mountains in the ACT, hopefully accompanied by friends and family along the way.