21 April 2019

Canberra Day Trips: Pigeon House Mountain (Didthul)

| Canberra Day Trips
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Pigeon House Mountain, viewed from the walking track. Photo: Moonlight Mile.

If you’ve ever spent time at the South Coast, then it’s quite likely you’ve seen the distinctly-shaped Pigeon House Mountain (named Didthul by the local Aboriginal people). Beloved by tourists and bushwalkers, the striking landmark is often the site of pilgrimages to its peak, from where there are panoramic views across cliffs, gorges, the Budawang Ranges, and the ocean.

Pigeon House is a peak in Morton National Park, near Ulladulla, Mollymook and Milton on the South Coast. It was named Pigeon House Mountain by James Cook because of its distinctive appearance which is the focal point of the surrounding landscape. Local Aboriginal people named it Didthul, meaning woman’s breast, because of the mountain’s similar shape. It’s now known as Pigeon House Mountain/Didthul.

At 720 metres high, getting to the top of Pigeon House/Didthul it’s a challenging climb. It’s not overly long, but it is very steep. But will be well rewarded with stunning views as you make the ascent, and once you arrive at the peak.

The Pigeon House Mountain Didthul walking track takes around 3-4 hours to complete from the starting point at the car park. Your walk will take you past forest, heath, and ancient sandstone before you hit the best part – a series of ladders that will get you to the top, where you can soak up the spectacular outlook. There’s plenty of signage and the track is well established.

Why you’ll love it

  • The views across the national park and over to the sea are magical. We saw the coastal towns of Ulladulla, Mollymook and Narrawallee when we did the walk, but on the right day, climbers can see all the way to Bermagui in the south and Jervis Bay in the north.
  • There are facilities for a picnic at Pigeon House Mountain Didthul picnic area and the site is great for a spot of birdwatching before or after your walk.
  • The mountain is home to eastern grey kangaroos and superb lyrebirds.
  • At the end of the difficult walk, you’ll have the satisfaction of having climbed an iconic regional landmark.

Getting there

From Canberra, head to the Kings Highway via Queanbeyan. Follow the Kings Highway to its intersection with the Princes Highway, just outside Batemans Bay. At the big roundabout, turn left and follow the highway to Ulladulla, where you’ll see signs directing you to Milton. (You can also get to Pigeon House Mountain via Burrill Lake, but we like to stop in Milton for a coffee and provisions before heading off).

From Milton, it’s about half an hour to get to the starting point for the walk, on a mix of sealed and unsealed roads. In dry weather, they’re fine for most vehicles but if it’s muddy, you’ll be better off in a 4WD vehicle.

Once on the Princes Highway in Milton, turn into Croobyar Road (which changes into Woodstock Road and Woodburn Road). At Clyde Ridge Road, you’ll see signs to the Pigeon House car park. Continue along Yadboro Forest Road and follow the signs. It’s about 30km all up from Milton.

When to go

  • Walking Pigeon House Mountain is most enjoyable when the weather is mild. In early spring, the wildflowers put on a fabulous show.
  • Avoid planning your walk if rain is on the way. The road to the departure point for the walk can get boggy in the wet, plus it’s safer to climb the ladders near the summit when it’s dry.
  • Start your walk early in the day, as some parts of the climb have little shade.
  • The views are better on a clear and sunny day.

Key details

  • There’s a series of very steep steps and ladders that you’ll need to climb if you want to get right to the very top. If you aren’t in the best of shape or don’t enjoy heights, you might like to cut your walk short at that stage.
  • The entire Budawang Ranges form part of a wilderness area and there are restrictions of group sizes. Check out the Guidelines for walking in the Budawang Wilderness before you set off.
  • Remember to take plenty of water. The climb is thirsty work.
  • Time: It takes most walkers with reasonable fitness between 3 and 4 hours to reach the top of the mountain.
  • Distance: Around 6km.
  • More information: Climb Pigeon House Mountain

Have you conquered Pigeon House Mountain? Do you have any tips for others visiting the area? Let us know in the comments.

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