Vanitys Crossing and Upper Cotter River
This walk is about 14 km long and requires two river crossings. Whether or not it can be done will depend on the flow in the Cotter River. It is suggested that, before attempting this walk, the flow in the Cotter be checked. When I did it I could walk across the ford with water up to my mid-thighs (I am 165cm tall). (I did this walk prior to the bush fires of January 2003 so I can not say what it is like now.)
Drive to Concrete Crossing (738874), a 16 km drive from parking area at corner of Uriarra Rd and Cotter Rd. There is a reasonable parking area at Concrete Crossing. Be careful after leaving Paddys River Rd, as the road into Concrete Crossing may be difficult to follow due to the number of tracks in the area. The best way to get there is to go up the hill from the Cotter Reserve until you see the sign to Vanitys Crossing just before Laurel Camp Road.
From Concrete Crossing take the road that goes up the hill, slightly south of west, the right hand road. After about ½ km you will reach a saddle at 734873. Keep following the road going south of west down the hill. After about 300m you will pass under a power line; keep going. After a track junction you will pass through a sort of gate and into eucalypt forest. Keep going down hill until you reach the Cotter River at 716867. This is Vanitys Crossing
Ford the Cotter; this is a reasonably safe crossing as there is a concrete ledge on the downstream side of the ford; if you slip you will be brought up on the ledge. The crossing is not slippery, but great care must be taken. It is suggested that, if in groups, people should use the normal method of river crossings by crossing in groups of two or three, each person holding onto the person beside them.
From the ford walk up the hill for about 400m and take the left fork. Keep walking up hill staying on the best-made road. There is a track, not shown on the map that branches off to the left at about 712866. Do not take this track. Keep following the “main” road; there is also a map error here as the “main” road is actually the one marked as a single lane track. It goes off to the west and then turns south of west. After about 400m it takes a sharp left U-turn through a gully. The map shows a power line going up the gully; that power line does not exist. After 150m or so the road takes a right turn and heads up the hill in a westerly direction. Continue up the hill to the saddle, at the junction of 4 tracks. Again there is no power line. Take the track that veers off to the left and goes down hill on the south east side of a prominent gully.
Follow this track for about 1200m until you come to a gully. In front of you will be a very steep track that goes up the hill, sort of following the state forest boundary line shown on the map. Take the track that branches off to the left and keep going down hill until you reach the Cotter River.
The crossing here is a bit deeper that the Vanitys crossing and the riverbed is pebbled making the crossing a bit harder. There is a nice open area on the south side of the river, but the north side is only a track with a relatively steep climb, but not difficult, out of the river.
Walk up the hill until you reach Pipeline Road at 705847 where you turn left and head northeast up the hill. It is a long, but shallow, climb to the saddle at a locked gate at 721859. After going through the gate take the well-used road, shown as the centre road on the map. (There is a small track, not shown on the map, going off to the left; going up to the knoll, which is to the NNW of the gate. Continue down the well-used road until you arrive back at Concrete Crossing.
If with a large group this walk may be better done in reverse. This is because the southern Cotter crossing is probably easier as people can dry out on the north river bank
It took me 45 minutes to reach Vanitys Crossing and a further 75 minutes to reach the next Cotter crossing. I took 90 minutes to walk from the southern Cotter crossing to Concrete Crossing. If going in the reverse direction the road down to the Cotter branches off the Pipeline Rd to the right at a large pipeline relief valve, which has the number 860 clearly painted on it.
Maps: Cotter Dam, 1:25000, CMA, NSW, 8627-11-N