Wendy had organised a trip to Newnes for some canyoning. She planned to head up there on the Saturday afternoon – so some of us went up early with the intention of visiting an easy canyon.
In the first group were Albert, myself and John and Chuin Nee and their toddler Jasper. This first canyon would be suitable for Jasper to visit. It was a dry canyon that you could walk up and then back down – so no swims or abseils.
The canyon was pleasant and everybody seemed to enjoy the visit. However on the way back down we were hit by a thunderstorm. Lightning, thunder and heavy rain! We sheltered back in the cars and then drove to Newnes.
Once there, we set up camp and also put up some tarps to shelter from the continuing rain – at this time not too heavy. The rain continued most of the evening.
We were then joined by Stu, Enmoore and Roscoe. We also expected Wendy to come – but she did not show up. When she arrived the next morning – she told us that the ford near the Emirates resort was in flood – too high for her Mazda to cross – so she had decided to spend the night in her car and see how things were in the morning. The rain had eased and the water level had subsided and so she had then been able to join us.
It was a nice morning at Newnes. There was a lot of valley mist, but the sun was shining above it was soon causing it to disperse. Lots of kangaroos were in the campground – seemingly oblivious to the many campers also there.
On the Sunday, our plan was to visit either Newnes Canyon or Devils Pinch Canyon. After several parties set off for Newnes Canyon, we decided without much debate to visit the Devils Pinch Canyon. This is probably the finest canyon in the Newnes area.
John was going to miss the trip to look after Jasper. He was joined by Enmoore.
It was a hot day and it was a struggle to climb up the Pipeline Track and then along the plateau to the top of the canyon. Once in the cool of the canyon things improved. The upper constriction was nice – but a bit short, then there is the walk down to the much more impressive lower constriction. This starts with a few pools, most of which can be climbed around. There is really not much swimming.
The best part of the canyon is just after a 20 m abseil. From there on there is a truly deep and impressive corridor – a very spectacular section of canyon. It is horizontal and largely free of water.
It was a good place to get some photos.
At the end of the canyon, where the creek meets the Wolgan cliffs, it is an easy walk to the left and then down to the Wolgan River. From there it was about an hour’s walk back to the main campsite at Newnes. On the way we met up with John, Jasper and Enmoore.
Sunday evening was very fine, and when the moon set, which was quite early, some of us could indulge in astrophotography.
On Monday we awoke to overcast conditions. It wasn’t raining – but only just!
Stu and Enmoore headed off for some climbing and both John and Chuin Nee were going to look after Jasper – so that left only Wendy, Roscoe, Albert and myself for canyoning. This time our objective would be Newnes Canyon.
From the campsite, it took us about an hour to reach the top of the cliffs, and then about another hour to the creek just before the abseil into the Amazing Wallaby Tunnel. Back at the campsite, one of the parties that had set out for the canyon on Sunday, had told us they had made a bit of a navigational mistake. It seems that their mistake has been made by other parties too. They and followed the Pipeline Track to the Wolgan/Capertee divide and then turned off and headed east and then north east out along the plateau. After about 2 km the track splits and a faint branch leads off to Devils Pinch Canyon and the other branch heads off in the rough direction of Newnes Canyon. Since bushfires, a few years back, this track does not lead all the way to the canyon any more. I have stated this on my blog before. But if you continue on from where is becomes faint – then you have a big chance of stuffing up. The party from the previous day had told us they had gone down about 7 abseils – all from trees with slings. But they had not taken them to the start of the canyon – they found the last abseil took them to the far end of he tunnel! So my advice is to watch your navigation and carefully navigate down the north end of the ridge – and with a bit of scrambling – you should arrive at a cliff line overlooking the creek. then look around for a tree with slings and use it to do a 20 m abseil sown to the creekbed. Once down, it is only about 10 minuets to the start of the main section of canyon.
A 45 m rope just makes it down this drop, and then we could start the Wallaby Tunnel. One of the groups from the day before (Ashley, from SUBW who did not stuff up their navigation) had warned us to look out for snakes – and sure enough – we spotted 4 snakes in or close to the tunnel.
At the end of the Wallaby Tunnel is a short but quite spectacular section of canyon – a nice slot! A good place for more photos.
Then it was time for lunch. It was a cool day and we lit a small fire to warm up. Next is the half hour walk down the rest of the creek – through a really nice section of gorge. This took us to the Wolgan cliffs once more. This time you head to the right a bit and then down an easy slope to the Wolgan River and after that the walk back to the campsite.
John and Chuin Nee had taken Jasper up Petries Gully and they had also had a pleasant day.