Nail Can Hill and WJ Steers Hike

Yesterday, Jesse (my 15 year old son) and I decided that it would be a good to spend some time outdoors instead of being inside and attending church. And so after some discussion we decided to do some hiking in an area with a very inviting name called Nail Can Hill (can you sense the sarcasm). Actually the Nail Can Hill reserve is a very pleasant area to hike in inspite of the name, and is very accessible from numerous roads in the Albury (New Wouth Wales) / Wodonga (Victoria) area. The reserve, and the WJ Steers tracks, basically follows a set of mountain ridges between a War Memorial monument that overlooks the Albury central business district to a location called the Jindera Gap.

War Monument Albury

War Monument Albury

The reserve is home to eucalyptus trees and various wildlife, the trees generally being quite short (20 feet or so). The ground is generally rocky. The main tracks themselves are quite well defined and are about wide enough to drive a car along although it is usually used by walkers, mountain bikers, joggers, and the like.

Walking Trail Nail Can Hill Reserve

Walking Trail Nail Can Hill Reserve

View of Albury from Nail Can Hill main trail

View of Albury and Airport from Nail Can Hill main trail

Rebecca dropped of Jesse and me at the Albury Botanic Gardens, and we proceeded to hike up to the monument between the houses and on the well defined asphalt paths leading up to the monument from the urban area. Then we hiked through a ‘wildlife corridor’ into the Nail Can Hill reserve proper. Some of the tracks we walked were quite steep and required considerable effort. But as we are both fairly fit we made it up each ascent without problems.

Along the way we found a side track to a lookout, and decided that as it was only a kilometre to the lookout that we would go and have a look.

View of Wodonga and Murray valley

View of Wodonga and Murray valley from lookout

View of Wodonga and Murray Valley

View of Wodonga and Murray valley from lookout

View of Wodonga and Murray Valley

View of Wodonga and Murray Valley from lookout

Lookout Summit

Lookout Summit Cairn

After that we continued on our way and eventually reached Centaur Road, one of the only about 3 roads that crosses through the reserves. I think at that point the reserve changed name to WJ Steers or Hamilton Range, according to the map I was using to navigate. North of Centaur Road the trail was quite different – it was not as well defined, and so was harder to follow in places, and more ‘wild’. The sounds of the city of Albury and it’s suburbs could no longer be heard either.

Steep trail north of Centaur Rd

Steep trail north of Centaur Rd

The plan was to try to go from the southern edge of the combination of reserves to it’s northern most extent, but along the way we must have taken a wrong turn because we ended up back at Centaur Rd after looping around somehow, and so we decided to have lunch there instead of Jindera Gap like we had planned. Then we hiked back to the Monument, where we had a well deserved rest while we waited for Rebecca and the girls to pick us up.


Fungus? Around a tree root on the trail.

The weather was overcast for most of the hike, so the humidity was quote high and so the sweat didn’t dissipate but at least the cloud cover made the breeze on the hills quite pleasant! We really enjoyed the day and the suggestion that we set one Sabbath aside each month we we go for a hike or do something outdoors was well received!



For GPS data for the hike, try the following links:

Metal sculptures, verandahs and the Gaelic influence

In the Riverina district of New South Wales, Australia, there is a town called Lockhart. When my Mum was visiting with over the weekend, we decided to do some exploring and as none of us had ever been to Lockhart I set an itinerary for the day which included Lockhart and a few of the attractions in Wagga WaggaLockhart was named after C.G.N. Lockhart – a commissioner for Crown Lands in the Murrumbidgee River area in the 1850s. An average small-ish country town, Lockhart has one main street and as one looks down that main street along the shopping precinct the shops are flanked with what looks like one long single verandah which in reality is a verandah for each shop. The verandahs are wide, and I suspect they would offer considerable relief from the hot Aussie sun in the middle of Summer!


Above: Verandahs (or maybe one long single verandah?) along the Lockhart main street.

Verandahs in the shopping precincts of Australian country towns are not that unique, except when they cover nearly the whole main street! Like they do in Lockhart. You could say there are verandahs galore.

Which bring us to the next place we visited – Galore Hill Reserve. About 15 kms (around 9.5 miles) north of Lockhart is the Galore Hill Reserve. It is a small mountain ‘range’ a few kms long, and around 370 metres above sea level and owes it’s name to a statement made by a Mr Henry Osborne who while travelling between Wollongong and Adelaide (South Australia) climbed the hill and is reported to have said “there is land and galore”. The lookout offers a 360 degree view across the mostly flat terrain or nearly flat terrain of the Riverina. Around the immediate vicinity of the mountain itself there is farmland stretching as far as the eye can see, and in the distant there is The Rock and another mountain range with a distinct dome shaped mountain in the opposite direction.


Above: The Rock (I think) looking from the top of Galore Hill tower.


Above: View of farmland from the top of Galore Hill. The land looks dry, but in reality it has probably just been plowed! There were some tractors raising some dust seen from the lookout.


Above: the lookout tower at the top of Galore Hill.

As we were travelling through Lockhart I noticed a number of metal scruptures, and on the way back from Galore Hill we stopped in the town and had a closer look at them. Two of the structures I had seen before (see the October 1st, 2012 entry), and it turns out they were natives of Lockhart.


Above: ‘Rain Dragon’, looking a little more rusty than it did last October! Thats my youngest daughter sticking her hand down the dragon’s throat.


Above: I’m not sure what this sculpture was called.

Closer to the shopping precinct there was a sculpture of a horse and cart, complete with metal man. We almost missed this one, but it was certainly worth turning around for,


Above: “These aren’t much bigger than me. They must be shetland ponies” says she. Can’t beat that logic. This sculpture is called “The Good Old Days”.


Above: The cart and the metal man.


Above: A one-sided conversation? It’s a good thing the ‘real girl’ on the right has the gift of the gab.

At the crossroads on the eastern end of town, on the road from Wagga Wagga, there is also a collection of metal sculptures in a small rest area and short walk. The rest area is enclosed on two sides by some interesting paintings, very iconic of the country Australia…


And one final photo, not because I ran out of objects to take photos of, but because the batteries on my camera required recharging (I guess this gives me a good excuse to go back and take photos of the other sculptures in the town one day)!

Lockhart_metal_sculptures_5039_500You may be wondering about the Gaelic connection alluded to in the title of this post. I have recently been reading a book called “The Story of English”, which describes how the English language became to be what it is. And one of the chapters talks about the influence of the Gaelic languages on the English language. The word “galore” which in Scots Gaelic is gu leòr, and which in Old Irish is go leor, which are literally translated seems to be “go enough”. Galore in English is normally used to describe “in abundance, or in plentiful amounts”. Mr Osborne, although speaking English, was using a word ‘imported’ into English from the Gaelic languages!