But how many visitors see London Bridge Arch, a 20,000 year old scenic marvel usually found only by those who get off the tourist trail in search of Australia’s hidden gems?
This striking geological feature is tucked away in a hidden valley near Australia’s national capital, Canberra.
Over thousands of years, the arch was carved from local limestone by the constantly flowing creek water.
Cracks in the limestone enlarged, forming caves and the spectacular arch itself. One cave resembles the head of a giant serpent guarding the waters below. Local residents say this cave has a mysterious past, because large numbers of human bones were found there in the late 1800’s – possibly part of some ancient burial ritual.
Archaeoligical digs around the arch late last century also unearthed remains of extinct native rats, mice and small marsupials.
London Bridge Arch was first recorded by Europeans in 1823 and was described by the explorer, Captain Mark Currie, as ‘‘a natural bridge of one perfect Saxon arch, under which the water passed’’. It certainly is a remarkable attraction and only its bushland location has prevented it from drawing huge numbers of tourists.
The arch is part of the Googong Foreshores, which surround a local dam about 30 minutes by car from the town centres of Canberra.
These local waterways attract a wide variety of native Australian plants and animals and the dam is a magnet for bird-watchers and bush walkers.
At various times of the year, the surrounding bush can be thick with Kangaroo and Wallaby, wombats, galahs and other colourful Australian birds.
Googong Dam foreshores is popular for sailing boats, canoes and kayaks, although fuel-driven craft are prohibited. The area is a great place to fish and is stocked with Rainbow Trout, Murray Cod and both Golden and Silver Perch.
There are numerous fire trails throughout the reserve providing great opportunities for leisure and mountain biking.
Googong Dam offers several great bush walks that allow visitors to get up close and personal with the nature of this typically Australian rural attraction.
The walks range from easy strolling routes to more difficult treks.