Wollangambe Wilderness Canyons

All images and text © David Noble. No image or text can be used for any purpose without permission

The Wollangambe Wilderness is the tract of country north of Mt Wilson, west of Bowens Creek, East of the Newnes Plateau pine forests and south of the Mt Mistake ridge system. It is a wild area with relatively few officially named features. The ridge systems are complex, often scrubby and sometimes broken up by chasms and so they can present navigational and route finding problems. Deep gorges, flanked with sustained clifflines are in abundance.

A large number of canyons are to be found in this spectacular and wild area. Creeks such as Bell Creek, Wollangambe Creek, Yarramun Creek and Dumbano Creek have very long sections of canyon. This is perhaps due to the fact that they flow from west to east - and cut down at a rate similar to the tilt of the strata - so they flow in and out of the same rock layers for long distances. A consequence of this is that they don't tend to have major waterfalls.

The creeks that flow in a north-south direction however are more vertical when they form canyons. A large number of the tributaries of the major creeks - Wollangambe, Yarramun, Dumbano, Bungleboori Creek, Nayook Creek are canyons.

The finest canyons include - Bell Creek (deep and dark - with long, cold pools. This creek has long sections of canyon and its lower constriction is quite remarkable), Dumbano Creek - like Bell Creek has long sections of canyon and a very fine lower constriction, Crikey Creek - a remarkable set of abseils in a deep tunnel section, Hole In The Wall Canyon - a dark and impressive upper constriction. Whungee Wheengee Canyon - a long cold canyon.

There are other canyons in this area equally fine but they are less well known.

Wollangambe Canyon

Together with its tributaries such as Bell Creek, Wollangambe Canyon is probably the longest section of sandstone canyon in the Blue Mountains. It would be possible for parties to spend 4 or 5 days just traversing the canyon sections of the Wollangambe alone without visiting any of its side creeks.

The most commonly visited sections are immediately north of Mt Wilson - the easiest access. It would be a mistake to only visit this part of the creek for the canyon upstream of the Du Faurs Creek junction is very fine indeed. Also, the lower sections are very rewarding.

When these canyons were first discovered, Col Oloman described the trips as "swalks" a mixture of swimming and walking. Many people take flotation devices such as lilos for the swimming part.

Wollangambe Creek has many tributaries and a lot of them are fine canyons in their own right. Bell Creek and Whungee Wheengee are probably the most spectacular of these but there around a dozen others that are worth a visit.

Bell Creek Canyon and Tributaries

Bell Creek is the finest canyon near Mt Wilson. It starts near Bell and soon drops into a slot. Canyon continues a lot of the way to its junction with Du Faurs Creek shortly before the Wollangambe junction. The long constricted section just prior to the Du Faurs junction is very fine indeed - it is deep and very dark with long, cold pools of water stretching into the distance.

The above two images show Bellfry Canyon - a popular entry point for parties visiting the lower constriction.

Above - Bell Creek Canyon - near the end of the lower constriction

Clatterteeth Canyon

Clatterteeth Canyon is found in Du Faurs Creek. It is like a less extreme version of Bell Creek - and a narrower version of Wollangambe Canyon. It contains some very fine sections of canyon but is somewhat uneven - with frequent non-canyon sections.

Above - the last images shows Joe's Canyon, one of the tributary canyon of Clatterteeth Canyon, and a popular entry and exit point to the system.

Why Don't We Do It In The Road Canyon

Not much of a canyon but popular amongst novices. It can be done relatively safely in wet weather and it also provides a good entry point to Wollangambe Canyon.

Above - flowing from south to north - it has a number of abseils, some of which can be climbed around.

Above - near the end - looking down to a cave section where glow worms can often be  seen

Above - a large cave above the Wollangambe junction provides dry shelter for lunch

Whungee Wheengee Canyon

This canyon is long with some very fine dark sections. It has two abseils to get into the lower section of canyon and quite a few sections involving tricky scrambling to get down awkward drops. The canyon is not always sustained and it has been marred by unnecessary bolts being placed at both the abseils.

Yarramun Creek

Contains excellent sections of canyon in two main constrictions. Early on it has a north and south branch which are both worth visiting. The south branch is longer and has a short  abseil, the north branch has a tunnel section. Like some of the other major canyon creeks its tributaries are often interesting canyons.

Dumbano Canyon and Tributaries

Dumbano Creek is one of the finest canyons - one that rivals Bell Creek perhaps. It contains long sections of canyon with many swims and obstacles to be surmounted. The remote and less commonly visited lower constriction begins with an abseil and continues with superb quality canyon.

Above - the above images show a tributary canyon

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Areas -

Southern Grose
Carmarthen Labyrinth
Northern Grose
Bowens Creek
Wollangambe Wilderness - north (Bungleboori - Nayook)
South Wolgan
Newnes Plateau - the pagoda canyons
Newnes Area
Glen Davis
Coorongooba Labyrinth
Other Areas