History, views & kangaroos on this short, family walk
The Murrumbidgee River is the second-longest river in Australia and travels for 66 kilometres through the ACT with picnic areas, camping spots, fishing zones and river swimming areas to take advantage of its fresh, flowing waters. There is also a 27 kilometre walking trail along a section of the river called the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track, which is an enjoyable way to go for a walk and feel part of the natural, rugged wilderness of the Murrumbidgee River.
As the 27 kilometre track is too far for my weary legs to walk on one long hike, I have been walking sections of this trail to break it up and make it more manageable. Last year I started at the southern end and walked between Point Hut Crossing and Pine Island (South), which was a 5 kilometre return walk along the riverbank. On this occasion, I thought I would start where I left off and begin at Pine Island (North) and walk north along the trail to the historical Tuggeranong Wall, which is 2.3 kilometres one way - making it another short round trip. It may be short but it is particularly scenic - guaranteed to make you stop in your tracks to simply admire the view.
One of the many scenic spots to view the Murrumbidgee River
This section of the walk begins at Pine Island North recreation area, which is just a short drive from the Tuggeranong Town Centre. If you follow the signs to the northern end of the picnic area, you will find a small playground and car park area. From here you follow the track along the river's edge leading north and it doesn't take long before you see the small signs, which you follow along the whole length of this walk. The track is fairly narrow along the Murrumbidgee River, so if you are walking with friends, you will be walking single file along this mainly flat terrain.
Follow the river from Pine Island (North) and look for the small signs
Although the track isn't right on the edge of the river, you catch glimpses of the water as you walk along. If you find a particularly scenic spot, it doesn't take much effort to walk through the undergrowth to get to the water - although be aware of snake activity in summer. If you have kids, they will enjoy exploring the sandy riverbanks and throwing stones into the water, looking for fish in the clear river and splashing their faces with the cool water. For lovers of wildlife, also look for rosellas in the trees, wombat holes along the walking track, finches hopping beside the path and curious kangaroos on the hillside.
After approximately half an hour of walking, with a few stops for exploring, you reach the historical Tuggeranong Stone Wall, which was built by the early settlers in the region between 1867 and 1875 as a divider between properties. This wall can also be accessed by Athllon Drive in Tuggeranong, if you want a shorter and more direct route to get there. This wall is a good place to stop and take in the views up the length of the wall and then across to the river. As this river feels so remote, it is easy to imagine what it would have been like for the early settlers in the region, mapping out the land and patiently stacking the stones, sourced from the land around them. The wall itself is fascinating to look at up close and marvel at its longevity, still standing over 150 years later.
Tuggeranong Stone Wall, which snakes over the hills for 790 metres
If you have done enough walking and exploring, return back the way you came, or if you have awakened your inner explorer, then keep going and follow the map to Kambah Pool along the Centenary Trail. For myself, I was happy to return the way I came and take advantage of the views and listen to the gurgling sounds of the Murrumbidgee River along the way.
If you enjoy nature, then this walk is a peaceful way to completely immerse yourself in it. Listen to the sound of the rapids, the calls of the birds and the crunch of your shoes on the path as you enjoy the simple, quiet nature experience just minutes from the hustle of city life. There is nothing fancy about the walk - no modern bridges or interpretive signage - but it is all about getting back out into nature and appreciating the simple things in life. On my walk, I didn't see another person the entire time - which gave me plenty of time to dawdle back to the car and enjoy the moment, just a little while longer...