A hidden gem

Newnes Plateau – 1st January 2017
Ever since I’d read Rod’s trip report in the MSS magazine about a canyon on the Newnes plateau, I’d wanted to do it.  So I paired it with Death Trap (also on my wish list), and put them on the MSS calendar.  It helped that Rod said he’d go along so I didn’t have to navigate!  Trish, Rod, Jim and I rocked up to the campsite on Friday afternoon, joining Jo, Ed and Heather who’d been at Mt Wilson over the Boxing Day to NY break.  We went off to do Death Trap on the Saturday, drank champagne on New Years Eve and then set off Sunday morning for our canyon.

Jo and Ed joined us and Heather went bike riding (am pretty sure she had a bad case of FOMO but her knee just wasn’t up to canyoning).

Reading Rod’s trip report, I wasn’t expecting much but it way surpassed my expectations.  It took us roughly 5 hours car to car.  The walks in and out were a piece of cake, although there is no track, the navigation is easy.  You don’t need a wetsuit (most of us did it in shirts/t-shirts) and the two abseils are great!  A lot of the waterfalls are quite mossy and there aren’t many wear marks so despite the fact that it’s a published canyon (really only a grid reference) I expect it doesn’t get much traffic, probably due to there not being a track and no-one talks about it much … it’s been suggested therefore that I don’t name it!

Jo casually walking in … you know it’s easy when you can walk with your hands in your pockets!

Rod, stepping down into the creek at the bottom of our descent

The creek was quite scrubby so we got out and walked along the top, for about 50 – 75m

We then came to a small, slippery waterfall that we had to cross over and drop down on the far side of it, back into the creek

Not far along was our first compulsory swim, there were differing ways of getting in, some opted for a jump and full immersion, I sort of slid down on the side of it

Not much room on the ledge after the compulsory swim, which was followed by a very slippery slope, Rod put in a tape for us to hold onto to control the slide, I lost traction though and just slid right in!

Rod on the top of the slide, minus the tape that he’d packed away

And he looses traction!

The creek widened out a little and we were back up on the bank to avoid the scrub

Not for long though then we were at the first abseil.  Ed leading the way

The first abseil was a really mossy waterfall, and it was covered in something close to mud but not mud, you could easily break all the moss off – the fact that it is still mostly intact is evidence that the canyon doesn’t get much visitation.

Stalactites in the cave along side the waterfall

Walking downstream again, we came to a small overhang.  Jim walked in to look at the hanging bird’s next on the right and ended up in mud half way up his calves

Jo at the start of the final abseil – we figured it was about 30 – 40m

Trish near the top of the abseil. Apparently the last time Rod did this, he and Natalie abseiled over to the left in the course of the waterfall, someone had removed the anchor that he’d put in there

Rod, a little over half way down the abseil

Rod at the bottom of the abseil, when you were descending looking down into all the tree ferns was amazing, really beautiful


One part of the rope was covered in mud so when you abseiled through it, the mud splattered all over you, we were all filthy, so we took advantage of the waterfall to have a shower, the beautiful shirt that Tanya gave me for Christmas may never be the same!

The creek from a distance showing how it drops into an amphitheatre our waterfall was in the middle of the photo

A close up of the waterfall we’d abseiled down

Everyone admiring the view on the walk out (up a series of pagodas)

Ed on a pagoda overlooking the creek

We were all amazed with the final abseil, the fact that the creek was actually quite small and then it just plummeted over the 30+m drop.  I’ve looked at the map, and there is now only a 3k section of this creek that I haven’t walked, and over that section (on my old map) it drops about 80m … I think I’m going to have to go back in there on an overnight walk!  And given the waterfall that we came across (with no way around it), I’m thinking ropes will have to be taken, just in case!  Anyone up for the adventure?

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5 Responses to A hidden gem

  1. Trish says:

    Of course!

  2. Jeff says:

    Looks like a great day canyoing!

  3. Jenny Hughes says:

    looked like another great weekend!

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