Hut Hunting In Namadgi National Park By Bike (ACT)

Ever dreamed of cutting your losses, dropping everything to go grow lots of facial hair and escape to a remote log cabin? Good news, you can! Sort of… Venture into the wild (AKA Namadgi National Park) and play house along the way in some of the national park’s historic huts. While these aren’t quite yours for the taking, they do provide a perfect place for you to take shelter for a mid-hike cook up or warm weary legs beside the fire.


Highlights

  • Eight beautiful historic huts and their added comforts
  • The perfect bike-packing break from civilisation

Yankee Hat Carpark

We drove in to Yankee Hat carpark, located on Old Boboyan Road – about an hour’s drive south of Canberra. The carpark marks the beginning of the Yankee Hat Walking trail. The road is well kept and easy travelling by mountain bike. We rode south along Old Boboyan until we reached the junction of Sams Creek Firetrail and Grassy Flat Firetrail. We stayed to the right, and continued up Sams Creek Firetrail to reach Lutons Crutching Shed.

Lutons Crutching Shed

Lutons Crutching Shed is built in open country and the surrounds are spectacular. The shed is an open structure and provides basic shelter from the elements. It was built in the mid 1960s, while the log fencing surrounding it dates to the 1800s.

From there, we continued back where we had travelled before turning south along Waterholes Fire Trail. The trail is relatively flat and easy-going.

Hut Hunting in Namadgi National Park (ACT) Emily Rowbotham waterholes hut, historic hut, bikepacking

Waterhole Hut

Waterhole Hut is a simple structure with a fireplace, water tank, a pretty untrustworthy cot and dirt floor. Just before reaching the Waterhole Hut, you’ll pass the historic stockyards and fencing which is well worth a look!

From Waterhole Hut, we continued south on Waterholes Fire Trail until we reached Westermans Hut after only 4km.

Westermans Hut

The beautiful Westermans Hut dates back to 1916. It has multiple rooms and 2 stone chimneys. The homestead has views out to Pheasant and Wrights Hills on either side.

From Westermans Hut we took an unmarked trail north-east towards Brayshaws Hut. The path was grassy but rideable and a good shortcut. After just 2km we burst into the valley to see Brayshaws Hut lit by the golden hour of the afternoon.

Hut Hunting in Namadgi National Park (ACT) Emily Rowbotham brayshaws hut, historic hut, bikepacking

Brayshaws Hut

Brayshaws Hut was built in 1903 and was originally occupied as the Brayshaw family home until the 1930s, when it was converted into a shearer’s quarters. It is located just off the main Boboyan road.

We turned north onto Boboyan Road and rode the easy downhill for 3km before taking a right towards Mt Clear Campground, continuing on to the undulating Naas Valley Fire Trail.

We had planned to make camp at Demandering Hut, but found it closed for some maintenance and could not enter. No matter, with light fading we quickly sped on towards Horse Gully Hut.

Horse Gully Hut

We stayed the night camped beside Horse Gully Hut. The hut is a corrugated iron shelter with a wooden floor, a large fireplace and is equipped with some minimal furniture. The ground is flat and clear around the structure and it’s equipped with an adjoining water tank. Unfortunately, some previous visitors had left a bag of plastics and food remains behind (big reminder to take all rubbish out with you!).

Early morning on day 2 we rode north on Naas Valley Fire Trail. While there were some bursts of uphill, it never lasted long and the downhills made the ride enjoyable. The road tracks along Naas Valley River, with plenty of spots to fill up if you have purification tablets.

Hut Hunting in Namadgi National Park (ACT) Emily Rowbotham, historic hut, bikepacking Horse Gully Hut

Max And Bert Oldfields Hut

If you fancy yourself to be a bit of a navigator and have a topographic map with the hut marked, we recommend taking a walk to find Max and Berts Hut. The hut isn’t accessible from the road. Tracking from Horse Gully way, the road crosses Naas River about 1km from Horse Gully hut. The first ford after the hut, about 10km north, is the easiest place to stop to begin your search.

From the river, ascend the spur on the bearing of 240 degrees. You may find an indistinct trail at times. It will climb steeply, flatten out and then climb again. The hut is located just south of this spur and will come into view after about a kilometre of walking.

From Max and Berts Hut, we continued north along the undulating Naas Valley Fire Trail. The road turns west after about 9 kilometres and crosses Naas River. Follow the signs through Caloola farm and keep to the left onto Gudgenby Creek Fire Trail towards Brandy Flat Hut.

Brandy Flat Hut

Accessing Brandy Flat Hut demands a gruelling climb regardless of which direction you come from. It was a hike-a-bike from Caloola. Despite this, the roads are well maintained and the well-preserved hut is a satisfying reward.

The hut is well maintained and is blessed with the luxuries of an outhouse toilet and water-tank. It has wooden flooring and a fireplace. It’s situated in the grassy flat, which was dotted with wildflowers.

Continue along Brandy Flat Fire Trail for the final stretch back to the car. Exercise caution on the road from Brandy Flat Hut towards the Brandy Flat South Carpark – it’s a real brake-burner at times and can be loose in parts. It’s a big down-hill section into the valley (followed by an equally big uphill).

The carpark links onto Boboyan road, which we followed to the right until it quickly linked back on to Old Boboyan road. It wasn’t too much further until we reached the car back at Yankee Hat Campground!

Distance / Duration / Elevation

Overall distance – 76km

Day 1 – 36km – vert gain 600m

Day 2 – 40km – vert gain 1200m

Hut Rules

The most fundamental rule of using the huts is to leave them as you found them. This means a few steps should be followed:

  • Huts are not for accomodation, just for temporary shelter.
  • Be sure to sweep the inside of the hut and remove all your rubbish.
  • Replace any items that you may have found. Sometimes logbooks and instructive materials are positioned in certain places or in plastic containers to protect them from the elements. Make sure you return them!
  • Where possible, replace and restock any used firewood and kindling. Campers are required to bring their own firewood, as taking wood from national parks is not permitted.
  • Close all the doors and windows when you leave.
  • If in doubt refer to the Kosciuszko Huts Association (responsible for hut maintenance and restoration) or contact the national park rangers.
  • A copy of the Huts Code is available here.

Essential Gear

  • A map of the area – we took the ‘Namadgi Special’
  • Mountain bike and helmet
  • Shelter (tent)
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat
  • Food, water and some water purification tablets
  • Sunscreen, long sleep clothing and a hat
  • A camera
  • A mobile phone
  • A first aid kit, equipped with a snake bandage and whistle

 


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