Kent, Tim, Ruth, Doug, Sue, Pete, Toby, Scott and Me
When Kent put out the invite for this one I was pretty keen.
The weather forecast improved slightly as the weekend approached and a final check of the radar and 48hr forecast and it looked like we might be missing the deluge that seemed to be about to strike the rest of the state but rain predicted for around 3pm so I headed off nice and early to meet the others who had camped down there.
The usual meet and greet, sorting of ropes and then it was off to pick our way up through the cliff lines.
A weakness in the towering cliff allows us to zigzag up between scrambles as the valley steadily drops away below us
A series of ledges guide our way, some ledges wider than others
And then we come to the most rock climbesque section. a Scramble up a chute that gets steeper the higher you climb.
It looks loose so I choose to wait for the others to clear the climb. Tim and Pete get up without issue. However Ruth has a bit of trouble so I scramble up to help her with the foot holds. Tim offers to drop a rope. With a little assistance Ruth gets through the hardest move to where she can sit on a ledge, wedged into a bit of a crack.
I look up to see a house brick size rock tumbling toward us. Shit. I tuck in as close to the rockface as I can.
Whack. FUCK! it slams into Ruth’s shoulder and I feel the breese as it tumbles passed.
I’m OK, calls Ruth. My arm’s dead. I need a moment.
Fuck I’m on some ballancy footholds. Ruth is wedge into a ledge above. A smaller rock goes whizzing past, thankfully out in space.
No one move up there!!! I call. Just stay still until we are set.
Ruth takes a moment and signals she is fine. Tim drops the rope and she continues up. I scramble up.
Watch your footing, Tim instructs. and if there a loose rocks on the path pick them and put them some where safe.
Thankfully Ruth is OK. Everyone agrees helmets for the walk in are a good idea. The others come up without incident
We continue on. We are at the halfway ledge but from here up the climbing is easier.
Belatedly Toby suggests there is an easier gully just around the corner that bypasses the chute.
It’s taken us 2hrs to get through the main cliff line. One small line of cliffs to go then we can start to descend into the canyon
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Slight drizzle turns is to proper rain and it pisses down. Within a minute what had been barely trickles turn into proper waterfalls.
One more spectactular 30m abseil I didn’t manage photo then we make our way down the ridges.
Cycad in fruit
And after a 4km trudge up the maintenance trail we are back to camp
Another great day with great people.
Group: All experienced
Timing: 9hrs car to car steady pace.
“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert
Tucked high up in a deep gorge that eventually runs into the Bungleboori is the little canyon. I’m sure others have different names for it and too be honest given the ease of access and how pretty it is I’m surprised it’s hasn’t received more visitors. Maybe because it is so short it’s avoided the attention of the masses therefore the entry into the top is still trackless and wild.
Anyhoo, I went up to do a bit of droning nearby and thought why not have quick side trip while I was close.
Time: 2hrs car to car with an 1hr of so mucking around with the drone near by
So I was looking for people to go canyoning. Lewis and Ben were looking for people to go canyoning. We went canyoning together.
Koombanda is a short canyon, but it has some nice bits too it. My last trip with Mandy and Tal we started fairly high up in the creek and while there was some nice pools and features up there was also a bit of scrub. This time around we shortcut the entry a bit and entred by a short abseil down a now dry waterfall
This put us in the creek not too far up from the canyon. Unfortunitely the creek was bone dry. Last time we were wading here, and the small stagnant pool was a swim.
Anyhoo, it not before the creek canyons up and we done wetsuits and drop on in
Directly below is a deep plunge pool that is a bit awkward to get out of, especially in low water, we were all able to bridge across the the, er, um, bridge today
The water was a tad refreshing. Thankfully the swims are short
Now the next abseil is just around the corner, down through a hole but we had a bit of a WTF moment as there is the anchor above a pool, no hole.
Wow says I, That’s where you normally abseil. That’s freaky.
So that is normally a hole?
Yep we’ll need to find an alternate tree down stream….
Only just down stream is the actual anchor and abseil through the hole…. No idea what the other anchor is for other than messing with my head…
The next drop is really nice down through what looks like a giant clam
Below is a very nice chamber, unfortunitely the anti fog lens cleaner I tried on my camera this morning mad it fog up worse than usual..
As we are waiting for Lewis we hear a crash-bang-karfuffle.
Are you OK calls Ben
F@#$ing kangaroo just fell into the canyon replies Lewis.
Poor old skippy takes off up the canyon. With the abseil up up stream I fear he is trapped, unless he wants to take the 10m jump down in the the next bit. In any case he wants nothign to do with us and Lewis comes on down.
So we get back up to the second car which we dropped at the exit point and Ben looks a bit sheepish. Um, sorry I think I misunderstood my keys are in your car….
Taking it back a bit. When we met up Lewis was driving and we dropped what I thought was his car at the pick up before jumping in mine and driving a coupel of km up the road to the start of the walk.
When Ben asks will I be right to leave my keys here, I’m still assuming it’s Lewis’ car and Ben has his house keys or something.
Yeah sure say I, just leave them in the car there…
Anyhoo an extra 2km walk along the railway in the heat of the day never hurt anyone.
I thought he was joking, says Lewis….
Party Size: 3 all experienced.
Time: About 3hrs car to car
It’s still early in the day so I deside to take a stroll down to check out something else close by.
Some people like chasing the big epic canyons, and don’t get me wrong I enjoy the long, sustained canyons as much as anyone but I get just as much joy out of the shorter ones too. They all have their own uniqueness, beauty and share of challenges.
I suspose being surrounded by canyon country I don’t need to justify the long drive up from the cities so am happy exploring the smaller stuff too.
Today was one of those days where we’d combine a couple of the smaller pagoda canyons. The first one dry(ish) the seond one wetter.
I’ve done both before but I’ll have to admit I had completely blanked out the amount of tea tree needed to push through on our way up the ridge on the first one….. Shorts may not have been the best bet…
Anyhoo. We all meet up at the car park and head off.
Wild flowers were out in colour
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And after a hot climb through some scrub we arrived at our first slot.
We wasted no time dropping in
Last time we bridged out and then abseiled in at a slightly wider bit. The flaring nature of the slot meant the abseiler invariably swung in and cheese grated themselves. I knew it was possible to walk the ledges high above the canyon floor. Tiny ledges, wet feet. It makes for an interesting traverse.
We all make it. Somehow.
Last time I did this canyon we followed the creek down a bit and then around for a short dirty abseil off a lower cliff line. But I had soem beta that a better option was on offer so we follow the clifflines around past some stunning views
Then scrub bash a bit before dropping in to a lost world near a trouist destination
Knowing how popular this spot is with tourist I was very careful dropping the ropes over, a carefull lower rather than a toss. Not a soul to be seen thou. It amused me a bit that on the way out we pass a steady stream of people heading in very all five of us abseiled down with only us as spectators 😉
We even had the place to ourselves for a selfie
Anyhoo, after a spot of lunch it was back to the car and bike for a bit of a drive to our next destination.
All in all an enjoyable day in the bush visiting two short but beautiful pagoda canyons
Party size: 5 all experienced
time: I have no concept of time….
Life is too short and the world too amazing to be bored
Tim, Allan, Sheila, Marchelle, Ev, John, Peter and me
I jumped in on this trip last minute but, as always, Tim runs well organised and welcoming trips.
A lot of rain on Friday and a drizzlely morning had the Wolgan river up a little but the fog lifted and the sun broke through on our way up the pipeline track.
The views from the to were as stunning as always but we wasted no time in continuing on.
The short cut in is new to me. It misses the top section of canyon but takes you in via a small side canyon that meets Pipeline canyon just after the lower section closes in.
We arrive at our first abseil point. Do we put wetsuits on here? someone asks
You can if you want, says Tim. But we can do without
Will we know the spot to put them on down further?
Sure, just before you experience a sudden drop in temperature and an increase in wetness…
Tim should have taken his own advice, He and Al went through sans wetsuits. There was some cold bits…
I go forward and set the rope for the next drop which is done two stages. I descend the first then realise the rope isn’t lone enough for the second so I can up for the second rope to be tied on before continuing down
The spare ropes are thrown down and while the others make their way down I head down to set the next abseil.
I encounter a small drop just before the junction with the main canyon. It would be possible to down climb on tree roots but it’s slippery so I set the rope and drop in.
While waiting I decide it would be a good place to put my wetty on.
I do that. More waiting. Fire off some photos. more waiting. Hmm
I hear voices from what sounds like above, sounds like someone is setting a rope. Shit maybe the rest of the group stayed out of the creek and are abseiling in to the main canyon from above. Not a problem except Tim likes to use single rope techniques in his group so my rope has a stopper knot at the top. I start thinking I’m going to have to climb back up to undo it…
The other thing Tim likes to use is walkytalkies. Two way communication in these situations is awesome. Crisis avoided, they are still making their way down the creek.
I still hear voices, not just in my head either.
Ducking around the corner I see another group coming in from the upper section.
The two groups arrive at the junction pretty much at the same time. How’s that for a slightly out of the way canyon early in the wet season?
Anyhoo they are a smaller group so we let them play through and then follow them down.
Pipeline canyon is a value for money experience. Lots of smallish abseils, some with tricky starts in a very pretty creek.
Waterlevels are up a little after the rain on Friday but not that noticably
We catch back up to the other group at the top of the largest abseil and enjoy a bit of sunlight as we wait.
the next drop is just a few meters down stream.
You can stay dry be traversing a ledge on the left. Calls Tim
I drop down and begin heading left and promptly fall in. It’s a little brisk.
We scramble out into the sun shine. 1 Abseil to go.
Al decides to take the spare rope and rig up the next one.
I wait for the other but after a short stay in the sun am not too keen on swimming back across to belay.
Do you really want a belay?
I swim back across and climb up and wedge myself in above the water. It’s still cold..
I’m sure there was a bit of posing for photos as the rest of the crew come on down. Marchelle has a couple of ropes in her pack and as she swings under the water fall the extra weight has her go briefly upside down, giving her a bit of extra time in the cold embrace of the falls as she swings back and forth a few times.
Then every one is down and I pull and coil the rope, then have to jump in after it as my cold hand drop it into the pool…
All in all another greet day out in the bush with a greet bunch of people
Party size 8: all experienced
Time: 6hr 15min at a very relaxed pace.
I can’t go away with you on a rock climbing weekend. What if something’s on TV and it’s never shown again: Smudge- Outdoor type
Most people do Newnes ( or Starlight) Canyon as a round trip, climbing up the pipeline trail, working their way around the ridges and abseiling in. And don’t get me wrong that’s a great way of doing it but there is a lot to be said about doing it as an up and back from the bottom.
The canyon is off limits over winter as it is an important hybernation cave for bentwing bats and disturbing them during their sleepy time invariable leads to a percentage of them dying as there is no food around food them to replenish the energy it takes to come out of hybernation.
Anyhoo, I had planned to do this earlier in the year on the last weekend before the closure except in the week leading up NPs put out a notice that they were hazard reduction burning and all the canyons in the area were closed…….
Fast forward to the other end of hybernation season and we were good to go.
The plan was to ride down the maintenance trail from the locked gate, stash the bikes then make up way up to the cliffline and into the canyon.
I’ve done it this way several times and have always been able to get all the way up to the bottom of the abseil point (the top of the canyon) no dramas. However, last summer people were reporting deep swims in the tunnel and while that is normal after heavy rain the fact that the water hung around post rain had me thinking maybe something in the floor or blockage had changed.
Not tha I was too worried about long swims after the dry winter we’ve had but the thought of a deep wade through stagnant, bat shit filled water wasn’t that inviting. I needn’t have worried as the tunnel was as dry as a nun’s nasty.
But I get ahead of myself
While bikes arn’t necessary they do turn an hour long fire trail walk either way into the 20min ride and the ride down was uneventful, almost. Tina had a small off at the bottom of a loose down hill on a sandy corner and hurt her elbow. As a mad trail runner that didn’t bother her. a sore elbow would not stop her from running so no worries. We hide the bikes in the thick scrub and head across the river which is about as low as I’ve ever seen it.
Up the hill we went taking a bit more of a meandering route than I usually take which made the climb up fairly simple, then we took in the views down the Wolgan from the base of the upper cliff before working our way around into the canyon.
Entering into the lower canyon is like entering another world. The micro climate is completely different to the scrub out on the exposed hill side
This is magical, Flynny, says Sav as we make our way up through ferns, coachwoods and vines so big that at first you think you are stepping over a fallen tree, only to realise its a living vine.
I smile to myself, this is just the appetiser and I think that is the reason I like doing the reverse trip of Newnes Canyon. The starlight section is so awesome that when you come through it from the top you are in such awe of the top section that you kind of over look how spectacular this bottom section is.
And then, just as you are thinking the walls are petering out and the canyon is about to open out the upper cliffs encroach and suddenly the canyon closes in
And then we reach the Amazing Wallaby tunnel, better known as the Starlight section, high up the walls close in so much, become so twisted, and are jammed with chock stones that it forms a high narrow tunnel.
I feel on previous trips the glowworms were far more abundant, maybe that has to do with the dry winter, maybe it’s just the time of year as I think it’s around mating season for the flies, maybe it’s just modern headlights are so bright now you don’t notice the worms unless you tuen them off and give your eyes a few minutes to adjust, or maybe the bats had a wormy feast when they awoke
I have known people to absiel in here but be blocked by deep water in the tunnel so they had to prusik back out and abseil in further down. I also know of at least 1 group who pulled their ropes without checking the tunnel was passable and were forced to spend a couple of days huddled here waiting for rescue…. When absieling in the first person need check all the way through the tunnel before getting others to absiel or pulling ropes.
And after taking time to enjoy just being there we leave Ed and TJ to get about photo phaffing with their good cameras and the rest of us make our way back down
We have a bit of lunch and then explore up a side canyon called Upside Down canyon.
The bottom section of Upside Down involves some tricky climbs up through small holes. I made the first look far harder than it was mainly as I forgot had the go pro on a chest mount and had to do some contortioning so as not to scracth the crap out of it.
I remeber the water fall from previous visits and started brisging up, the walls were a tad slippery, I had no doubt we could get everyone up, what I did doubt thou was getting people back down safely without ropes… I’m sure there use to be a log or something here to make the down climb simpler.
Anyhoo despite knowing the top section has some pretty bit I decide it’s not worth the risk today so we turned tail and headed back down.
Ed and TJ are still phaffing so we sit back and just take in the surrounds
The ride back up the valley is a bit more difficult than the ride down but for a mountain biker it’s still better than trudging along a fire trail.
Party size: 7 mixed canyoning experience levels but all experienced outdoors
Timing: 6hr 20 with lots of photo phaffing and chilling out
People talk about their comfort zone as though it’s a place they want to stay don’t they realise your comfort zone is the most dangerous place to be
Last time I did Coachwood canyon was about ’97. I couldn’t remember much about the trip other than the Coachwood forest made for nice photos and as I abseiled out the end I could hear what I first thought was airforce jets zooming over the gully. Turned out it was a wall of hail that was just about it hit. It struck with avengence just as Della and Mandy joined me at the bottom. Gathering the rope as Rocky creek began to rise we made a dash down stream to the big bend where we cimbed up to a little cave to wait out the fury. An hour or so later we climbed up a hail covered ridge. Photos below (Click to enlarge)
Della in the coachwood forest
Mandy watching Della on the absiel
That white stuff isn’t snow it’s hail
Hail on the ridge top
Anyhoo, I had a week off work and I know Julie is always looking for people to go canyoning mid week so I hit her up.
Yep I’m off Wednesday, says She. Want to do Coachwood?
Sure do, says I
I was keen to get back, it’s reasonably dry but I had no recolection of the canyon itself.
Want to reverse up Rocky creek to exit? says she.
Are you freaking kidding how freaking cold is that going to be… I think but instead my brain replies with, Yeah, sure.
Anyhoo We drive up to the Bungleboori picnic spot to meet Michael. Instead we meet Geoff, Anna, Peter, Ruth and other assorted UBMW members heading off to do a rarely visited canyon not so far from ours. Anna looks confused as she does a head count. Oh we arn’t with you guys we’re meeting someone else.
all good they pile in cars and head off. Michael arrives shortly after and we do the same. Veering on the the Galah mountain road we see Geoff and his group driving backout. That was quick.
Big tree down just up ahead, we couldn’t move it. He informs us. We’re changing plans.
Oh we might as well have a look. Yep big tree. we go bush and carefully edge around it and continue on our way.
I think I know why I couldn’t remember much of coachwood. It’s not much of a canyon. A bit of fun but nothing overly “Wow!”
Now traditionally for me Rocky Creek is a NewYears day or later canyon. It’s always cold so I was a little apprehensive. But we’d layed up. I had a thermal top, 3mm steamer wetsuit with a 3mm spring suit over the top. Woolen beanie to keep the noggon warm and over it all a light spray jacket to keep the wind off.
With all that on and working our way up stream I never felt cold at all. Infact because the beanie stayed dry it got a little warm and I ended up splashing water over my face a couple of times to cool my head down.
And of course the early waratahs were out on the ridge
all in all a fun day out. I’d class it more of a trip up Rocky Creek with an alternate entrance
Party Size: 3 all Expereinced
Time: 5.5hrs car to car
What if something is on TV and it’s never shown again? Smudge
A long time ago dad told me about this timber chute up a slot that gave easy access to the cliff tops above the Wolgan. They use to slide logs down it, said he. It’s somewhere around here, it’s an easy road up to the base of it and you can sit on the cliff edge at the top and see the whole valley.
So I’ve been looking for it on and off for years, well not really. I’ve always hoped to come across it in my travels but hadn’t really done any detective work or set out with a goal to specifically go looking for it, just had it in the back of my mind that it would be cool to stumble across.
Once I found an old timber platform hanging over the Wolgan cliffs out past long swamp and thought maybe that was it, may be dad had is spot mixed up and they accessed it from the top rather than from the valley. No, he said, it’s down past the pub somewhere. Well that left a big somewhere. Not sure what it was we found, someone suggested a hang glider launch… Anyhoo
Last year while flicking through an old climbing guide that I had read and read again back when we had first gotten into climbing, one that has been sitting in my draw for the last 20 years, Lo and behold there it was staring me in the face. “The Timber chute walls”. You eeejiot Craig!
How had I missed that?
So I dragged Mandy out for a walk and we followed the cliff lines around and found a likely creek. But just up stream we were blocked by a small water fall. Our up and down route along the cliff had sucked up too much time and we needed to beat a retreat. Next time Gagdet.
12 months later I was keen as keen for another look.
This time we followed the old road up the gully before spearing off and making our way up to the cliff line. The lower cliff line here is more a jumble of broken slabs and each time we got into the creek we were stopped by another unclimbable waterfall so we traversed back and forward up through the scree and finally reached the base of the upper cliff. From here it was an easy walk around into the canyon.
And what a little ripper it is.
Party Size. 2 Both experienced
Time: 3hrs car to car with lots of photos and a long lunch
You have Nothing to loose and a world to see. What are you doing in here?