The next Molonglo River crossing disappears

The Molonglo Valley floods regularly and one of the river level crossings has been washed away – again. This leaves the Molonglo with one less rideable crossing and fully intact cycling path. This might be the first, but it is not likely the last.

The Molonglo Valley featured a few river level crossings that were popular with walkers, gravel riders and mountain bikers. Unfortunately, without regular maintenance none will survive the destructive force of floods. Now that the Molonglo River Reserve is under the control of ACT Environment, it will be stamped with their management style: the limited funding to be directed towards the preservation goal. The consequence is that the flood plain will return to its natural state. The features that are not natural will have only heritage value and are likely left as monuments days gone by. In our opinion, the level crossing featured in this article has no future. Having said that, we’d love to be proven wrong.

Journey from Coombs

There was a time when there was a good river level crossing at the end of the Coombs Peninsular. This was a shortcut for gravel riders and mountain bikers to ride to the National Arboretum. Having crossed the river, this excellent gravel road climbed the hill with a minimal gradient and finally straightened out to run over a series of low ridges, through a pine forest, over a distance of about two kilometres to reach the Arboretum. This route was very fast, fun and family friendly and recommended for consideration of the CBR Cycle Route C10 Coombs to Civic.

The old gravel route was 6.6 km long. With the crossing lost, the detour is now almost 3 km further. The Molonglo River has few crossings, which makes the loss of any existing crossing most noticeable.

Coombs river level crossing. © Komoot, Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Coombs to C5 gravel ride. Map: Leaflet, © Komoot, Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Coombs to C5 gravel ride. Map: Leaflet, © Komoot, Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Coombs to C5 by bike path. Map: Leaflet, © Komoot, Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Coombs to C5 by bike path. Map: Leaflet, © Komoot, Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Descent to the river

Starting at the Coombs management trail.

Start at the Coombs management trail. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

Take the dirt track down to the river.

Descend to the river along the dirt track. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

The river is in sight.

The river is in sight. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

You will reach the river level crossing on the Molonglo River.

The river level crossing on the Molonglo River. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

The area is very relaxing.

River level crossing. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

There are still signs from the last flood.

There are still signs from the last flood. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
There are still signs from the last flood. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
There are still signs from the last flood. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

The level crossing comes to an abrupt stop, where the river is forming a new bed.

The level crossing comes to an abrupt stop, where the river is forming a new bed. Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

The river level crossing has begun is being washed away, and strongly reminded us of river beds in New Zealand.

The river level crossing has begun is being washed away. Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

The new river bed

The river bed moves and changes with every new flood. The river level crossing is destroyed a little more with every flood. A new river bed is forming that avoids the dam formed by the level crossing.

Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, ACT.

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