Honeysuckle Creek Picnic 2024
29 January 2024 / Words and photos by Mike Lawless and Joanne Blackburn
On 20 January 2024, 23 members of our club gathered at the Morning Dew cafe at Felstead Vista, Denman Prospect, for a picnic run to the historic Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station. We had a pre-departure coffee meetup.
The planned route took the group through picturesque locations, including Uriarra Crossing, Cotter, and Tharwa. We drove on the Cotter Road, Paddys River Road, Tidbinbilla Road, Naas Road, and Apollo Road to the ultimate destination of Honeysuckle Creek. Honeysuckle Creek is high in the catchment above Canberra, offering a taste of the mountain environment and cooler temperatures in the summer.
The Honeysuckle Creek tracking station, with its 26m dish, is renowned as the station that received and relayed to the world the first televised footage of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon on 20 July 1969. The station was decommissioned in 1981 and the dish relocated to nearby Tidbinbilla Deep space Tracking Station.
While the Tracking Station itself may not boast much now, the drive there in an MX-5 promises an enjoyable experience to what is the geographical centre of the ACT.
Participants were encouraged to use Google Maps to familiarize themselves with the route, as it wasn't a strict convoy run, thus allowing everyone to drive at their own pace.
(Google reference https://maps.app.goo.gl/yzEBUCzyA74XAyLp8?g_st=im).
The run was classified as a 'Cruiser' run, suitable for all drivers. The route featured narrow, winding country roads, generally in good condition, with some potholes to navigate.
For those interested in the history behind the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station, further reading is available online. We include a few public images of the tracking station from half a century ago.
The Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station Picnic Run offered a blend of history, nature, and camaraderie. Participants were encouraged to enjoy the drive, take in the breathtaking views, and make the most of the picturesque picnic destination enjoying the epicurean delights of their own curated picnic lunches.