Cooma North Ridge Reserve

Welcome to Cooma North Ridge Reserve - A Place for Space

Cooma North Ridge Reserve provides an important place for personal space, passive recreation and education. It is a local place for people to reflect and build personal resilience. 


Click here to download the brochure(PDF, 588KB)

Click here to download the map(PDF, 236KB)


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Darby Track

Grade: 3

Colour totems and signage: Blue

Access Point: Darby track at Crisp St distance to:

  • Balli Place 1 km
  • Water Tank 1.8km
  • Three Poles 2.5 km

Starting at Crisp Street in the south, the Darby Track runs the length of the reserve, along the ridge and parallel to the fire trail. It showcases scribbly gum woodlands, rock outcrops, panoramic vistas, diverse floral communities, marsupials and bird life.

This walk can also be started at the Main Information board at Balli Place. Follow the blue totems along the Darby Track.

The semi-circle shape of ‘The Pines’ area at the top of the ridge was originally planted as a wind break for grazing.

At the Three Poles Gate, take time here to admire the Bunyan Vista from the natural rock lookout a few metres to the right.

Grevillea Track

Grade: 3

Colour totems and signage: Dark blue

 Access Point: Grevillea Track from Geringa Ave distance to:

  • The Pines: 750m

Access Point: Grevillea Track from Minawa Place distance to:

  • The Pines (250m)
  • Three Poles (500m)
  • Crisp St (1.8km)

Branching from the fire trail at Geringa Ave and snaking to the east of The Pines, the Grevillea Track treats walkers to displays of woolly grevillea from spring to summer.  The sweet-scented heath also flowers in the spring.

Three Poles Walk-Walkers Only area

Grade: 3

Colour totems and signage: Green

Beginning at the Bunyan Vista, this track links The Pines to the Orchid Loop providing views across Cooma Creek to the Lambie Street end of town. On the horizon, the basalt grasslands and the volcanic plugs of “The Brothers” can be seen. Take time to admire the view northwards to Bunyan and Bredbo from the rock lookout, Bunyan Vista.

From this point north, the environment is extremely sensitive and hosts a wide variety of rare native orchids in season and rare bryophytes.

Return can be via the same route with a variation along the Grevillea Track, Dark Blue totems and signs, or walk on to the Orchid Loop Orange totems and signs.

Orchid Loop-Walkers Only area

Grade: 3

Colour totems and signage: Orange

  • Orchid loop 750m return

From late October through to the end of November, and again from March to late April, you may see local native orchids in flower. These ground dwelling orchids are sensitive to rainfall and fire and don’t appear regularly. Scattered throughout the reserve they are most often seen along this loop.

Please admire them but leave them to regenerate.

At the northern end of the loop this track continues along the ridge through inland Scribbly Gum woodland (Eucalyptus rossii) for another kilometre to the northern extremity of the Reserve.

Borrow Pits Walk

Grade: 4

Colour totems and signage: Brown

Access points: Mulach Street or The Pines

  •  (2km return) Walk in either direction

Branching from Darby Track, near The Pines, the track takes its name from a period when council borrowed the rich basalt soil for gardens and other uses. The track descends steeply through the gully, with many rock steps.

It passes the ruins of saddler JE Pretty Walker’s stone house, now an overgrown garden of irises, quinces and plum trees, to Cooma Creek where you may spy a platypus. The track finishes at Mulach St, the major western entrance to Cooma North Ridge Reserve.  The ford may be covered with water and the rocks are slippery. 

To extend this walk you can return to the CBD via Mulach St and Nijong Oval. This is approximately 2 km. Please take your time and enjoy our wonderful reserve.

In 2022, a Bushfire Community Recovery Resilience fund was used to upgrade and extend the steps and improve the drainage of the section of track from the ridge to the valley floor.


Grade: 4

Colour totems and signage: Shared  

Morundah to The Pines is 400m. Check the Trackhead at the crest of the ridge for these walk options.

Three Poles Trackhead at top of Morundah distance to:

  • Three Poles (200m)
  • Orchid Loop (300m)
  • Balli Pl (1.2 km)
  • Crisp St (2km)



Flora and Fauna

Black Cypress Pines

(Callitris endlicheri)

The name callitris is derived from the Greek words kallos (beauty) and treis (three) and refers to the arrangement of leaflets in whorls of three.

It was named in Honour of Stephan Endlicher (1804-1849) – an Austrian Botanist. 

This species occurs in unnaturally high numbers in Cooma North Ridge Reserve due to their proximity to housing. 

The timber has been a valued resource that was used on local farms for sheds and fencing posts. 

This species regenerates mostly from seed after fire. It is a slow growing native and therefore needs time between fires to produce seeds for next generations.

The main eucalypt species are the widespread Manna or Ribbon Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), Broad-leaved Peppermint (E. dives) and the Inland Scribbly Gum (E. rossii)

The ridge in season has a rich understorey of plants including flowering shrubs, peas, heaths, daisies, bluebells, orchids and native grasses.

Among the 184 species of plants are the native Bearded, Donkey, Tiger and Greenhood Orchids.


Spring is heralded by the yellow shades and heady perfume of the wattles. The first to flower is the feathery-leaved Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata). This is followed by the widespread shrubby Red- leaved Wattle (A. rubida). Not until November-December do the pale yellow flowers of Black Wattle (A. mearnsii) appear.

In the sky…..

The acrobatic Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, colourful Crimson Rosellas and the tiny Silver Eyes are included in the list of 80 species of local birds. Honey-eaters including Eastern Spinebills are attracted to the reddish flowers of the grey-leaved Grevillea Lanigera bushes. Some grevilleas have greener less hairy leaves, the result of cross pollination with other grevillea varieties in nearby gardens. You may also hear the raucous Gang-Gang Cockatoos or a melodic Grey Shrike Thrush.

Cooma North Ridge Reserve functions as a significant bird migration corridor.

On the hop…

In the daytime or walking along the creek at dusk, you may hear one of the four species, Eastern Banjo, Spotted Grass, Common Eastern Froglet or the Whistling Tree Frog.

Slinking and slithering…

Of the many reptiles in the Reserve, the Rosenberg’s Monitor is particularly interesting. It is up to one metre long, has powerful limbs, eyes with movable lids and a deeply forked tongue like that of a snake, which constantly flicks in and out. Four species of snakes have also been recorded, these creatures pass through our landscape, so take care where you place your hands and feet.

On the ground…

On the Ridge’s scenic walks, you may meet one of the Macropod family, like the Large Grey Kangaroo, the heavily built Wallaroo, the Red-necked Swamp Wallaby all are residents of the Reserve. Watch out for tell-tale signs of our Monotreme, the Spiny Echidna, as it forages through the bush and termite mounds for ants.

The mainly nocturnal Common Wombat makes its burrows in the banks of the Cooma Creek but marks its territory throughout the Reserve by its prolific dropping, recognised by its cubed shape. Their scat is usually left on rocks and accompanied by scratching.  They feed on grass and low vegetation.

Dusk brings the possums out to forage for leaves and fruits. The Common Brushtail Possums produce a single young each season. When it leaves the pouch, it is carried on the mother’s back until maturity. The smaller Ringtail Possum use their tails as a fifth limb to climb or carry nesting materials up a tree. The third possum is the Sugar Glider with a dark stripe down its back.

Science of the Ridge

Dr Chris Cargill;

The word bryophyte is the collective term for mosses, hornworts, and liverworts.

They are plants, scientifically classified within the Plant Kingdom and they are spore-producing, rather than seed-producing plants and are all without flowers.

Most bryophytes are small plants frequently overlooked because of their size but often found growing on many different substrates in bushland and urban environments alike. They clothe the surfaces of rocks and boulders, fallen logs and rotting wood, soils of all kinds, and even grow as epiphytes on the surfaces of living leaves or bark.

Bryophytes are survivors! They have been around for millions of years, amongst the first plants to colonise the land. They are also survivors of quite harsh conditions. They are unable to control their internal water content so as the environment dries, so do they. But as soon as water comes available, they quickly rehydrate and are able to function normally.

Bryophytes provide important ecosystem functions within their environments – including sequestering carbon, nitrogen and minerals, water conservation and as conservators of our earth providing a geo-blanket over the surface of soils as part of biological soil crusts (BSC). BSC’s are composed of many different organisms, such as fungi, lichens, algae and bacteria.

One of the common bryophytes making up these soil crusts is the liverwort Riccia which is found across Australia and across the world. It tends to like Mediterranean type climates and bare compacted soils to grow on. Australia has almost 60 of the 200 species found worldwide.

Recently a new species of Riccia that appears to like cooler climates and was first collected near Dangelong Nature Reserve has now also been located at the North Ridge Reserve in Cooma and also on Mt Canobolas near Orange. Its closest relative is a species found in the highlands of Lesotho in southern Africa.

Riccia-Cartilaginosa.jpeg  Riccia-Crinita.jpeg

Riccia Cartilaginosa                        Riccia Crinita

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Bird images


Golden Whistler


Eastern Spinebill


Fan Tailed Cuckoo


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