So my nephew is keen on canyoning but for one reason or another his options for doing a long wet canyon are limitted.
I’ve been meaning to get him down another dryish canyon for a while. My original plan was to take him down Tiger Snake canyon but we had to get back to town early and I had not taught him to abseil yet so we descided on this one with an optional abseil for the hell of it.
Now some people dismiss the smaller, drier non abseil canyons but this one has one of the prettiest constrictions going and it’s close to home so it was a no brainer
Nathan and Mandy enter the canyon from the bottom
A massive storm 18months ago scoured the sand out of this bit leaving a puddle just on balls deep. Today it was icy
With frozen toes we decide to slip up onto the tops for a bite to eat and a bask in the sun
It was glorious
looking back into the depths
Warmed and fed we continue on
And make our way back to the cars for a bit of wedding cake action
What if something is on TV and it’s never shown again? :Smudge- Outdoor type
So we were hosting the 24hr on our home trails at Rydal. In return for getting the trails ready Martin offered us a free team entry.
We’ll just ride around as marshals. says I. I’ve had a few injuries and haven’t been doing a lot of riding.
You may as well be timed…
Richard was keen, Phil less so. What about you Mick
I have a bit to do on Saturday but could do a few laps late afternoon.
We’re not taking it serious you may as well be involved.
The team was entered.
I’d have to say I got a little excited the morning of the race but with the 3 of us there racing in a 4 man team we had a chat and agreed we’d go for double laps and go as hard or not as we wanted and if we weren’t feeling it we’d sit out and have some beers.
Set up next to us Gaz as doing it solo so we were happy to give Jodie a bit of a hand supporting his efforts
All good nice and casual.
Except 3hrs in someone looked at the times and realised we were just 30seconds of 3rd place an dnot far in front of 5th. I’m not a competitive person, or so I sometimes tell myself, but if I’m on the track I want to do my best. Game on.
Turned out the team we were chasing was that of a work mate from up at one of our sister mines. Definitely game on.
We began swapping back and forth from 4th to 3rd.
I was feeling pretty good, Mandy was out there massaging for Mind Body Intigration and I was lucky enough to get a bit of maintenance after each stint.
I’d forgotten how awesome the atmosphere is at a 24hr race. It’s really special. Last one I’d ridden was Dargle Farm in about 2005.
Music was blaring. At one point old mate came up to me and asks what time the music was going off as he was trying to sleep. It was 8:45pm…
It’s a 24hr race mate.
But we are trying to sleep!
You know the whole concept of 24hr race?/!
The music went off around 10:30. It came back on at 5:30 super load and techno. Sounds horrible but it was such a great pick up after a long night of riding
A couple of Rydal residents didn’t think so and rang Martin to complain. He invited them up for coffee and an egg and bacon roll. all smoothed over.
Anyhoo I get ahead of myself
We were doing well, each of us with very consistent lap times.
Mick turned up around 6pm. He is quick anyway and with fresh legs shot out for a couple of fast laps.
What the hell was that. Muddy says, coming over. We were wondering how you’d go when you 4th rider showed up. He has just punched out a 27min lap!
W’d all been lapping in the low 30s.
Pity he isn’t staying.
Richard goes out, we are up into 2nd.
Mick goes again. We are in first
I go expecting that was Mick last stint. It’s good while it lasts.
Katrina, I might drop you home and come back. Woohoo Mick is in it for the long haul.
We extended out a bit of a lead over night. Get almost 7mins up but come day break the teams in second and third sent their fast riders out for some catch up laps.
Long story short heading into my last lap there was about 3min between the top 3 teams, not bad over a 24hr race. I got back giving Mick a 1min lead. He brought it home well and We found our selves on the top step of the podium.
Fantastic event. Martin and Juliane put on a great show.
Thanks to outer image collective and Lithgow Council for the photos
Ed, Ethan, Caius, David, Shaz, Tom, Claire, Tillie, Skinny, Dyso and I
For the 3rd year in a row we’ve decided to spend new years day floating down a canyon rather than nursing a hang over (Why can’t we have both? Maybe we do)
Anyhoo this year Tal and Beth both ditched us but Shaz and her kids were back and Skinny and Emily joined us as well.
We opted for the section of the Wollangambe commonly reffered to as the Lower Tourist Section or Wollangambe 2. That’s a little misleading as there are many canyon sections (Including some of the best bits) up stream. It is also reffered to as the Greg section by some of the older bushwalking club stalwarts.
While I’ve done bits and pieces of this section as part of trips to the steeper, narrower, more canyony side canyons I’d never done this bit in it’s entirity on it’s own so I was keen to check it out.
We met at the Fire Shed at the crack of 9:30am. chuck all the gear and most of the people out and then drop cars down at the camp ground in the spirit of being lazy.
The walk in was uneventful, we set a handline on the exposed down climb that had made the news 2 nights before after a seriously under prepared group on a bucks party required rescuing when several members were too worn out/freaked out and couldn’t climb it…. Do your research and go prepaired people
Every one made it down without incident before I told them that story. I reteived the rope and made my way down.
Did I mention the spirit of being lazy? We get to the water and it looks so inviting. People pull out lilos and start huffing and huffing. Me on the other hand had had a brillant idea before leaving that morning. I’d pulled out the soldering iron and rigged a little high volume pump to plug into my MTB light battary.
I had worried it might ruin the serenity of other groups but no one was around and it had most of the lilos up in no time (After some manipulating the cheap pool beds Shaz had got the kids who valves were plastic welded shut). It was certainly less disturbing than listening to a bunch of people hyperventilate trying to blow air into the air beds.
Despite a number of cars at the fire shed and at the camp ground we didn’t see a single group in this section of canyon.
I was pleasantly surprised with this bit of the river. There was some nice long pools through some reasonable canyon sections and there seemed to be a bit less boulder scrambling than in the more popular “Upper tourist Section/Wollangambe 1”
You can make your way a fair way up Whungee Wheenge but even the first hundred meters or so is worth a look. Walking up it is impressive but when you turn around to come back down the bottom chamber is something else again
By now we’re starting to get a bit peckish but the exit isn’t far down and that’s probably the best lunch beach near here so we keep on going.
It’s time for a late lunch as we let the floaties deflate, wetsuits dry and bodies warm up
Then it’s a steep climp up through the cliff lines and a longish walk up the ridge, all up gaining about 400m elevation, and back to the camp ground
Party Size: 11 mixed experience
Time: Didn’t really pay attention but I’m guesing around 7hrs relaxed pace
Gaz, Lauren, Renee, Jodie, McKennzie, Rob, Sav, Dick, Luke, Swav and me
I think I have mentioned before that Rocky creek canyon is my all time favourite. I’ve no idea how many times I’ve been through but I still get goose bumps every time we get to the spot on the entry track where you start to hear the little waterfall at the start.
We leave town at sparrows fart and make our way up to the carpark. We are early but there is one other car already there. It looks vaguely familiar but I don’t take a lot of notice as we gear up and swing down the entry track towards Twister (not Sheep dip).
I’m a bit excited.
Wet suits get donned. stuff gets crammed into dry bags. For some reason I always seem to get a lot of go pro footage but not many photos in Twister and the opposite in Rocky but I digress.
For quiet a few of the group this is their first canyon and despite a few nerves on the jumps the smiles are big
Up ahead the waterfall can be heard. My pace quickens. And then Rocky creek comes in on the right and where our little stream meets it it plunges into an inviting slot
It was about here I walked around the corner and see the light of a camera ahead. Think I might have walkedinto someones carefully composed long exposure shot.
Sorry, calls I, How awesome are these rays.
Is that you Flynny, comes the reply.
Oh Autal. I couldn’t see who it was, how are you mate.
We have a quick chat. He has been in there for a while already and is keen to stay a while longer chasing the changing light. We leave him to his snaps, can’t wait to see them, and continue down.
We do our best to catch a bit of sun to warm ourselves while having a quick snack.
Now it is posible to continue down the creek aways and then climb out via a break in the cliffs then follow the ridges back to the car. I prefer to reverse back up the canyon. In the little time it takes to turn around you can guarantee the light will have changed. Plus you see things you missed on the way down.
We grab packs and head back up the canyon
All in all a great day out.
With the early start Autal was the only one we saw in the canyon itself. A few groups walking in as we were walking out and a few cars in the car park but much quieter than I thought i would be on such a nice weekend near christmas.
Party Size. 11. 4 experienced 7 beginners though most of them have experince in varying outdoor activities
Time: 4hrs 20min car to car
Rocky creek canyon dwarfs you, engulfs you. Your troubles fade in the face of it’s grandour. They aren’t even a blip on Rockys geological time scale
Built in the early 1900’s to cart goods and supplies (and people as an afterthought) into and out of the new shale mine in the Wolgan valley the Newnes rail line was a marvell. 31miles (~50km) long, including 2 curvng tunnels carved through the sandstone where the line descended through the clifflines at Penrose gully, it took just 18months from survey through wild terrain to having trains run.
The trains themselves were special Shay locomotives that had a unique vertical piston and gearing arrangement that was able to deliver steady power to all wheels via drive shafts thus they were able to negotiate the steep grades and tight bends required to get out of the valley.
The line was always a bit of a problem child though. Not only were mining conditions in the Wolgan far harsher then expected (the seam was easier to mine from the Capertee) but maintenance on the track was expensive. The little culvet bidges used to span the “Dry gullies” proved completely in adiquate for the “gully rakers” and flash floods produced by summer storms. By 1934 the line was closed. Much of the remaining track and infrastructure were pulled up and shipped over seas for the WW2 war efforts in Egypt and Turkey.
The line was left to deteriorate but the second tunnel, with water now running through it from tunnel creek became the home of glowworms which exist naturally in the canyons and caves throughout the plateau and are a larvae stage of a gnat.
Being able to see glowworms in the day in an easily accessable spot soon became a draw card tourists and much of the line above tunnel became an access road.
Anyhoo. I’ve visited the tunnels many times and I always enjoy it. Dad took us there as kids, I took my kids when they were little and we’ve done it many times with friends and family. Now days though my visits are usually part of either a longer mountian bike ride or as a side trip from near by canyons. Each time I go I try and snap a photo of the ferns looking out of the tunnel and invariably it the photo ends up either with the ferns too washed out in the bright sun or the tunnel too dark or both.
Then I had a bright idea and contrived a plan to slip up at night to see what I could capture.
Tiger snake is a cool little canyon. The two canyon sections are very short but the top one is tight with some interesting climb downs/absiels and the bottom section is magnificantly deep and narrow making it very cave like. One of the few “dry” canyons where you need a head torch in the midde of the day.
It’s a hard subject to photograph well but we had a goal in mind for sun set shots at a spot close by and thought this would be a good way to fill in the day.
-7.5° is almost a record low over night temp for the ‘Go, lucky its a short day and we weren’t planning to leave until 10am. By then most of the frost had melted and while cold, the sun was shining nicely.
The walk in was fairly uneventful and we reach the cleft where the small creek drops into the upper section without incident
In all our previous trips we have absieled directly down here. It is an awkward absiel, as you have to bridge out over the narrow section to a bit that gives a bit more room, then you are pretty much down climbing on rope, if you slip you are going to swing in and get grated into the narrow bit… This time we deside to check out the alternate anchor point from higher up on the pagodas next to the slot.
The views fromthe top are amazeballz
It also gives you a great perspective over the top section of canyon. It really is narrow and short
Once in there is a slipery down climb, another advantage of the high anchor and long ropes is you can leave them set to assist you dont this bit and along the log to keep your feet dry again
And then it’s the infamous bundle of sticks anchor. Where some one has placed a surperfluous fixed line.
With the advantage of a bit of hieght I managed to bridge across easily. Tal had a bit of a go but decided the risk of slipping in outweighed the thought of getting his socks wet so just stepped in. Ed took a bit of time and all but done a Van Dam like set of splits but made it across the small, wet, slippery, sloping ledge.
It is possible, with some good scrambling and down climbing skills to do the entire top section, including this bit, without abseiling but it is risky and why would you miss this one? It’s a very nice abseil
It’s a short walk down the gully, the creek is dry again with the wtare from the canyon soaking into the sandy soil, to the lower constriction
There are acouple of ways in. Entering straight down the creek is nice but it is an awkaward drop and you do get wet at the bottom. This is the way I have been on all previous trips except the last one.
The other way is to scramble along the top of the canyon on a dodgy ledge to a anchor high up on a chock stone bridge. You do miss a bit of very pretty canyon but with a bit of scrambling/climbing skill you can make you way all the way up to the bottom of the awkward drop.
On the plus side the high entry is a great absiel down a dark hole and you keep your feet dry
We spend some time in the dark depths snapping photos. Hopefully Ed gets some shots he can work with. My little TG struggled a bit in the darkness with my small head light trying to light paint the walls. My bike lights might have been better able ot illuminate the scenes.
After doing all the “extreme” stuff I go arse over tit on the flattest part of the trail back to the car. I slipped on a slimey log, thought I’d caught my slef only for the momentum of the haeave pack to tip me over and drive my head into the ground. Mush laughter was had at my expense..
Driving back along the Coach rd we are stopped by a car coming the other way. How much further is the camp ground? says he
Which camp ground ar you looking for? say I
The one at New-nes, is it New-ness? says she
Newnes. You wont get there going this way.
We lost GPS when we turned off the highway.
Yep but you turned off the highway 20km to early and have gone 30km out of your way. 45years ago you could drive down from here…
they ask if there were any spots to camp up here and decide on a rough camp rather than trying to drive all the way back around in the fading light. Did I mention -7.5°? The night promised to be just as cold and they don’t really look like the outdoors type.
We point the way to a bit of a area where they might set up camp and wish them well then head off to capture a sun set from the cliff lines above the Wolgan
Tiger Snake canyon
Party Size 3 all experienced
Time: about 5hrs car to car with a lot of photo phaffing
‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”” — J.R.R. Tolkien
It might be hard to beleive but the town of Rylstone has one of the best Yum Cha/Tea house in Australia (29 Nine 99, do yourself a favour). I’d booked in with Mandy for a late Mothers day lunch and we thought why not do a walk while we were there.
Dunns Swamp is the gate way to the Wollemi and a hot spot for outdoor activity in the area but it’s a long way out of town and with the limited openning hours for Yum Cha we needed something closer and a bit more touritsy.
A quick google search told me there was a little nature reserve about 16km north of Rylstone that might offer up a pleasant walk. Fern Tree Gully
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, certainly not a little canyon, but I was in fr a pleasant surprise.
A well maintained (Not a thing out of place, 1 discarded chip pack the solo piece of rubbish we carted out.) tourist trail winds down into a pretty gully the vegetation is completely different to what I’m use to in the blues and there were lots of little information signs to let us know what we were looking at.
At the base of the gully I commented it was almost a canyon… then we rounded the corner and it canyoned up. Sweet!
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At the junction with the exit gully a short board walk lead down the main gully to a little chair where a natural spring rises
There was more canyonette in the exit gully
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The Lookout trail winds along the top of the canyons 1.4km back to the car park and offers some very nice views
Navigation: Navigation is fairly straight forward if you stay on the trail
The Grand Canyon loop is a sign posted tourist walk from Neates Glen to Evens lookout and back. The 7km walk involves a lot of rough hewn stone steps into and out of the valley. In between is a nice tourist trail winding through rainforest, a small tunnel, long overhung ledges and waterfalls.
Below the trail Greaves creek cuts a deep slot canyon and you may catch sight of canyoners either at the abseil point or down in the canyon from a few vantage points along the trail that offer views down into the depths.
Turn onto Evans Lookout rd at Blackheath. Follow this 3.5km and park in the Grand Canyon loop car park on the right (Note: When doing the loop use this car park rather than those at the Lookout or further back at Neates Glen.)
Follow the marked trail back toward Blackheath to the Neates glen car park and then down into the valley on the marked trail.
The trail follows a smaller creek to where it meets the larger Greaves crk. Here the trail crosses Greaves on stepping stones and then follows it down on the right hand bank. The trail passes under a picturesque waterfall and through a short tunnel.
Greaves creek soon carves itself into a deep canyon while the tourist trail continues high above it. There are several spots along the trail that give views down into the slot. The best is at a small bridge over a steep side creek.
Once the trail descends back down to creek level it is possible to head back up stream and visit the bottom of the canyon. Not far in that is a deep 20m section that is a nice spot for a swim on a hot day.
The trail continues down, crossing the creek a few times in the next couple of hundred meters before reaching another intersection. Take the left up toward Evans Lookout with very nice views into the Grose Valley where Govetts and Greaves crks join.
The follow the trail along side the road back to the car.