Route 1 Bird Watching Itinerary
All of the following 8 sites are accessed from the Snowy Mountains Highway by driving south (towards Cooma) into the Kosciuszko National Park. Distances shown are from the centre of Tumut.
If visiting all sites this will take a full day or more, but remember, birding is best in the morning, so a couple of days may be more successful. This route showcases some beautiful landscapes and interesting flora & fauna.
Take care on the highway, especially along the Blowering Reservoir as many wallabies, kangaroos, wombats and emus cross the road to access the foreshore. Also Wedgetail Eagles and other raptors can be attracted to the highway if there is roadkill.
Shelleys Creek, GPS: S 35.215832, E 148.162943, Altitude 284m Distance from Tumut 10km
At the Intersection of Snowy Valley Hwy & East Blowering Rd, there is a small wetland on private land with a cultivated paddock across the road on the river flats. Turn right and park then search from the bridge west along both sides of East Blowering Road including the wetland.
Seasonally migrating Robins may be seen here as well as many large waterbirds roosting in the dead trees. Sacred & Azure Kingfisher, several duck species, Swamphen, Cormorants, Egrets Spoonbills and even Pelican can be present as well as Red-browed & Double-barred finch & Superb Fairywren.
Log Creek Bridge, GPS: S 35.422153, E 148.279620, Altitude 446m Distance from Tumut 18km
Turn left off Snowy Valley Hwy 18km south of Tumut at the “Log Creek Bridge” signpost and travel 600 metres on sealed road. Park at small car park just before bridge over Highway. Grassy areas with picnic facilities on one side of road and open acacia and Eucalypt woodland on the other. A sign on the corner of this block indicates the start of “Blowering Cliffs walk”.
You should find Superb Fairywrens residing here. Honeyeaters, Whistlers, Jacky Winter, Crimson and Eastern Rosella abound and there is also a chance of Gang Gang Cockatoos, (listen for their creaky door sound). Wallabies also abound here. Keen hikers can continue onto the 3 hour Blowering Cliffs walk.
Cliffords Creek Trail, GPS: #1 S 35.475279, E 148.278587 GPS: #2 S 35.474563, E 148.287648, Altitude 470m Distance from Tumut 25km
From Log Bridge Creek continue back onto the highway for about 7km. Turn right and park at the “Hume’s Crossing” sign beside Blowering Reservoir. Walk back across the highway and follow the tracks across open grassland & up into woodland. In this woodland you should see many bush birds. Continue walking for around 1km to near the creek for contrasting habitat.
This is a restored farm with open grassy areas and many planted trees. There are Pipits in the flat grassy areas and Whipbirds in thickly vegetated creek lines. There are not many locations where you can see those two species with side by side habitats. Keen hikers can continue along the fire trail up into the Bogong Ranges wilderness areas.
Jounama Creek Road, GPS: S 35.566280, E 148.332595, Altitude 440m Distance from Tumut 40km
From the Hume’s Crossing car park continue along the Snowy Valley Hwy until directly opposite the Talbingo turnoff there is a track that follows the creek and is signposted (turn left off the highway). There are cleared areas with picnic tables and toilet facilities beside this very picturesque creek.
Search the thick undergrowth along the track for small & large bush birds including White-eared & Yellow-faced Honeyeaters. I have seen a Peregrine Falcon hunting here. The track eventually winds up into the mountainous Bogong Ranges wilderness.
Jounama Pondage & Talbingo, GPS: S 35.57964188, E 148.29675881, Altitude 390m Distance from Tumut 45km
From Jounama Creek Road cross the highway and go straight ahead for 6km (Miles Franklin Drive) into Talbingo. Jounama Pondage is used by Snowy Hydro to receive the water from the Tumut 3 power station before it is released into Blowering Dam. There is no boating or water activity allowed here due to, what can be, dangerous currents.
Musk Duck and, at times in summer, Great Crested Grebe can be seen on the pondage. This area is one of the prettiest in the region and a must see for visitors. A picnic area is located next to the pondage. Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots are common in the township, as is Masked Lapwing on the open grassy areas. By travelling another few kilometres, views can be had of Tumut 3 Power Station and Talbingo Reservoir & dam (drive behind the Power Station & up the hill). The last petrol is available here if needed, before you start climbing the main range.
Old Mountain Road Walk, GPS: S 35.587077, E 148.344566, Altitude 930m Distance from Tumut 45km
From Talbingo return to the Snowy Valley Highway and turn right. Immediately you will start climbing almost to the top of the range. Drive carefully on this winding section as you often get Superb Lyrebirds crossing the road. When you see the second sign: “Old Mountain Road Walk” park in a gravel storage area on the left. A sign with an arrow signifies the start of the walk.
Search the thick montane forest as soon as entering the track. Take care as this track has a steep drop-off on one side. Walk quietly and listen for Superb Lyrebirds. Orioles, Wonga & Bronzewing Pigeon, Satin Bowerbirds, Robins etc, and many Scrubwrens & Thornbills seen here.
Cumberland Trail, GPS: S 35.587077, E 148.344566, Altitude 930m Distance from Tumut 50km
From Old Mountain Road Walk continue along Snowy Valley Hwy passing (or stopping at) the Black Perry Lookout on the left. Continue along the highway then turn right onto the signposted Cumberland Trail. Park at the first car park to search from the gate down the hill on both sides of the trail, or 4 wheel-drive for another 4.5km and then walk to Landers Falls viewing platform. This platform offers great views of the Talbingo Reservoir below. Note this entire trail is closed from the June long weekend to the October long weekend due to the alpine weather conditions making the trail unsafe.
Lyrebirds, Red-browed Tree-creeper, Robins and many smaller bush birds may be seen here. Listen for Gang Gangs, Lyrebird or Yellow-tail Cockatoos.
Yans Crossing Firetrail, GPS: S 35.669900, E 148.471480, Altitude 1071m Distance from Tumut 65km
From the Cumberland Trail continue south on the Snowy Hwy. Watch for the Yans Crossing Fire trail sign on the right of the highway 1.7km past the Yarrangobilly River crossing as it is easily missed. Turn right onto the track and drive a short distance to the gate. A beautiful varied habitat occurs here with open & closed forest with grassy/shrubby understory bringing a great range of bird species. Continuing on the track for approx 2.5km will lead to the Yarrangobilly River (all downhill) which is an easy hike but a tough hike when returning back up the hill.
Included in the many birds seen here is the rare Black-eared Cuckoo seen in late summer. White-naped, White-plumed, Yellow-faced are some of the Honeyeaters here. Pardalotes are common. Although there are no facilities here this spot is a great place for a bush picnic or at least a cup of coffee before returning to Tumut.