Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Prospero, NSW, Australia

2015 May: Climb Prospero, just outside Barrington Tops National Park, NSW, Australia


My nephew KinSum is in Sydney for a one-week visit. So I take him to Barrington Tops for a walk.

- The morning was spent in the Polblue Swamp area. Afterwards we looked for the summit trig in Mt Polblue. Photos and a write up of that trip is in my blog:

- The afternoon is spent in climbing Prospero ... this report.


Prospero, 1189 meters, is just outside the Barrington Tops National Park ... between the Park and Moonan Flat.

I don't know whether it is Mt Prospero, Prospero Mountain, Prospero Peak or Prospero Hill. In the 1:25,000 scaled Moonan Brook 9134-2S map, the only map that I have, it is simply Prospero.

And the web doesn't help ... there is no write-up on Prospero anywhere on the web.

But the view from the top of Prospero to the rural areas below the Barrington Tops plateau is very good. So this hill is an undiscovered gem that not many people are aware of. Although from the conditions on the ground, it seems it was frequently climbed. So there are hikers who know about it. It is just that no one bothers to write it up. So in this blog, you'll find the first set of photos and the first account of the Prospero climb on the internet  :-)

If you ever approach Barrington Tops from the west, you really should make an effort to climb Prospero.


•  Paper map - 1:25,000 scaled Moonan Brook 9134-2S

•  Online - (Note: Prospero is not labelled on this map.)

The below map is from 1:25,000 scaled Moonan Brook 9134-2S. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
- The small black circle on the left edge is where we park our car.
- The blue dots trace out a well formed track / fire trail to the top of Prospero.
- Moonan Outlook is at bottom right hand corner - we'll take a photograph of Prospero from there, see Photo #2.

GPS tracklog file & Route

The GPX tracklog file of our walk can be downloaded from:

In summary - referring to the above map:
•  Park car at the small black circle on the left edge of the map.
•  Walk on track (the blue dots) to Prospero summit.
•  Then walk along ridge top to the knoll north-west of the summit.
•  Then descend directly west back to the car.

Timeline & Distance

14:27  0.0 km  Start walking
15:26  3.4 km  At Prospero summit

15:37  3.4 km  Leave summit
15:54  4.0 km  At knoll north-west of Prospero

15:57  4.0 km  Leave knoll
16:19  4.9 km  Back at the car


Total  1 hrs 52 mins
           4.9 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           5.2 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS


The morning was spent circumnavigating Polblue Swamp and climbing Mt Polblue. After lunch, we hop into the car and drive in the direction of Scone, heading to the foothill of Prospero.

1)  First, need to pass this gate, called Dingo Gate, at the boundary of Stewarts Brook State Forest.  Post Script: Ken wrote in the Comment Section that the gate is to restrict dingos from getting through to the farmlands.

But look at the gap between the bottom of the gate and the ground ... wouldn't a dingo be able to crawl through the gap easily???

2)  There is a rest area just after passing Dingo Gate of the previous pic. Nearby is a lookout. On the 9134-2S Moonan Brook map, it is called Moonan Outlook. From the lookout is this view towards Moonan Flat and Moonan Brook area. Prospero is also in the pic - pointed to by the red arrow. We'll climb it along the top of the ridge from the left. After reaching the summit, we'll continue to the nearby knoll - the blue arrow.

3)  We hop back into the car ... here is a closer look at Prospero from Barrington Tops Forest Road.

4)  We've parked the car and are a minute or two into the walk to climb Prospero - now looking back at the track, and at my car (yellow arrow) parked at the side of Barrington Tops Forest Road.

5)  The track goes all the way to the summit. First, it meanders towards the red arrow, then makes a U-turn and climbs roughly along the top of a ridge (yellow arrows) towards the summit which is above the top left hand corner of this pic. (On the return trip, we won't be re-tracing our steps. Instead, we'll go off-track to climb a nearby knoll (blue arrow in Photo #2), then descend directly to the car.)

At any point along the track, one can go off-track and bushbash directly towards the summit. An indeed we notice a few indistinct trails heading in that direction - an indication that people have been doing just that. But we stick to the track.

6)  The track is quite muddy. Perhaps it rained around here not too long ago. In this pic, we are passing through a swampy area.

7)  Prospero is in the middle of the pic.

8)  Now closer to Prospero ~~~
Around here, The track goes along the left side of the fence. The ground vegetation is different across the fence.  It looks like that the right side has farm animal grazing on it ... see photo #18.

9)  We are close to the summit now. The right half of this panoramic view is towards the west ... towards Moonan Flat / Moonan Brook area.

10)  These look like a pair of breasts  :-)  Does anyone know the name of this mushroom ?

11)  Prospero summit is in front. I thought the ground covering plants are strawberries. As I'm not wearing long trousers, my calves are soon hurting from stings and I realize they are the nasty Stinging Nettles.

12)  To reach the Prospero summit, we pass this gate which is not locked. If you take a look at , switch to "background" map (instead of satellite image), then zoom in, it seems that there is a square fence, 300 meters each side, that encloses the summit. So it looks like the summit maybe a nature reserve.

13)  Prospero and its summit trig ~~~
The peak is one big pile of loose rocks.

14)  At Prospero summit, 1189 m, with my nephew ~~~
He is almost 20 years old, but looks like a 13 year old kid.  :-)  After the trip, I dare not take him to a pub for a drink because he looks too young.  :-)

15)  View from the summit towards the north (Omadale) & northeast ~~~
The red arrow points to Omadale - the view to it is blocked by the trees.

16)  At the summit, someone had laid down the stones to form a circle.

17)  Time to leave the summit ~~~
Instead of re-tracing our steps, we descend along a ridge towards a knoll north-west of Prospero. The right side of the fence is private property ... I think ???

18)  We are glad that these goats are on the other side of the fence. We don't want to lock horns with them.  :-)

PS: After the trip, Ricky, a friend of mine said they were wild goats. But why were wild goats in a private property?

19)  Quite a few of this plant along the ridge. I think they are Verbascum thapsus (Mullein) ... correct me if I'm wrong.

20)  We are climbing up this knoll which is northwest of Prospero. The knoll is also where the blue arrow was pointing at in photo #2.

21)  At the knoll - nice view of the farmland below - towards north, towards Ellerston ~~~
Afterwards, it is climbing down the knoll and head towards west - back to the car.


  1. Access to theTops is only restricted when there is actual snow, and from memory the gates are further up the road. The Dingo Gate is supposed to restrict access from the Tops to the farmland, at least for dingos that aren't level enough to find a bit of the fence that was broken. Last time I was there it meant walking about 10m.

    Just because a gate is unlocked doesn't mean that it is fine to walk through it. Farmers can be rather unhappy about this.

    1. Thanks Ken, I have updated the blog accordingly.