Gibraltar Falls was memorable to both Julie and I because it was the lone publicly accessible significant waterfall in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) that we were aware of. In fact, this was our waterfalling excuse to visit Canberra – Australia’s capital. However, as we were slowly starting to accept the reality that the major drought that plagued our November 2006 visit might render this waterfall dry (and we had every reason to think this given how brown all the hills surrounding Canberra and the neighboring Queanbeyan were), we were pleasantly surprised to see it at least have some decent flow. We also didn’t expect that it was a pretty tall waterfall even though the photos here didn’t do it justice since we were only able to capture part of the falls in one shot.
From the well-signed car park (see directions below), we took a short downhill walk that took us alongside the upper tiers of the falls to a viewing platform right in front of the falls somewhere in the middle of its overall descent. Not only were we able to get a direct view of the main upper tiers of the falls, but we were also able to get nice panoramic views of the foothills and valleys as we looked away from the falls. Gibraltar Falls continued cascading and tumbling well below the platform, but we couldn’t get better views of those tiers given that the trail ended at the official lookout and we didn’t want to do any off-trail scrambling.
Finally, even though Gibraltar Falls was the only ACT waterfall that we were able to access near Canberra, we were also not far from Ginninderra Falls, which sat just outside the ACT boundary (technically in the state of New South Wales). Unfortunately, that waterfall was on private land, and the landowners decided to close off its access due to the cost of liability insurance in keeping it open to the public.
From Canberra CBD, the most straightforward route to Gibraltar Falls would be to take Route 5 west from the Parliament Building (Adelaide Ave). Then follow Route 5 for nearly 40km as the route would go through numerous name changes (Adelaide Ave, Cotter Rd, Paddys River Rd, and finally Tidbinbilla Rd). When the route 5 becomes Tidbinbilla Rd, look for Corin Rd on the right, then follow Corin Rd for about 7.3km to the signposted car park for the falls.
Julie and I took a different route to get to the falls since we were coming back from Cooma and the Snowy Mountains. So from the Monaro Hwy (Hwy 23), we took the junction with Hwy 5 via Johnson Dr and Tharwa Dr (near the southern outskirts of Canberra). We then turned right from Tharwa Dr onto Drakeford Dr (about 3.3km from the Monaro Hwy). After 600m, we turned eventually turned left onto Woodcock Dr, went 2km, then turned right onto Jim Pike Av. After 700m, we turned right onto Point Hut Rd, then we followed Point Hut Rd for 4.7km to Tidbinbilla Rd on our right. We followed Tidbinbilla Rd for 6.4km to Corin Rd on our left, then we followed Corin Rd to the car park.
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