Mares Forest Creek Canyon
Mandy Tal and I
Mares Forest Creek cuts through a delightful little canyon upstream of the Tinted cave at Wombeyan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve.
It’s different to anything in the Bluies as the rock is limestone with a marble bed. The water has that tinted green you get from minerals leaching out of the limestone so it looks like something you would see in Spain or somewhere. Whats more it’s a 30-40min walk in on a clear, sign posted tourist track.
Its a prefect little canyon for first timers and experienced heads alike.
Anyhoo. Mares Forests Crk Canyon has been on our to-do list for ages. Then it appeared in the “Wild Swimming Australia” guide book and featured on Australian Geographic’s websites as one of the top 10 swimming holes in Australia and we said, we really should do that this year.
But for some reason we never got around to organising it. Then Tom Brennan posted some awe-inspiring photos and I says We should so do that this week. and Mandy says I haven’t got anything booked for Wednesday. It’s on.
Wild Swimming Australia advises to get good light you should be in the canyon before noon so we shake Tal out of bed at sparrows fart. You can sleep in the car, says Mandy.
How far is it? says Tal. ‘Bout 2hrs. Ok then.
Just past the Abercrombie crossing Tal peels open an eye. You never said it was half way to Canberra. Mummbles he
We waist no time in parkign the car and slipping up over the hill and down the other side, making a detour into the Tinted cave (Open to all park visitors for free)
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This rock might be a bit slippery once we get wet I remark as we climb back out of the cave and head down the stairs to the creek.
I needn’t have worried. Once in the creek the rock was surprisingly grippy. Far more so than the moss and slime covered sandstone we are accustomed to.
The trip is a simple one. Just follow the creek up stream for about 1.5km to the waterfall then reverse back down.
We inflate lilos, don wetsuits and off we go
In hindsight we could have done without both. On a hot day the wetties were, um, hot and the water was pleasant enough to do with out them and while there were a couple of long deep pools unless you are a poor swimmer the lilos were more effort over the scrambling sections then they were worth.
click images to enlarge
It’s a very nice little canyon and the sculptured limestone walls are something else.
A few long pools and some rock scrambling interspaced with creek walking brings you to a blissful pool fed by a small waterfall. There is a rope hanging down beside the falls you can use to haul yourself up to slide back down or climb right up for a small jump. There is only a narrow bit deep enough to jump into with big submerged rocks either side but the green tinged water is clear as clear so it’s easy to see the obstacles and spot your landing zone
We splash about here for a bit before retracing our journey back down through the canyon.
You can hike in and start the trip from the top but it’s such a short and pretty canyon going up and coming back down so you see it twice makes more sense to me.
Click on an image to enlarge
And all too soon we arrive back at the bottom of the stairs where a young family as made the trek across for a cool dip. How awesome is this place?
Party Size: 3 all experienced
Time: About 3.5 hours car to car with a lot of photo phaffing and splashing about
Video was done with a hand held go pro so it’s a tad shakey