WOMBEYAN CAVES – 13 October 2017
This trip had had a lot of interest on FB nine months ago and suddenly everyone and their brother was flocking to the creek. I liked the look of the trip but didn’t like the thought of hoards of people nor the fact that it was only short and for me involved a 3.5 hour drive, an hour of it on winding fire trail. As I was going to be at Wombeyan Caves on the weekend, going up on Friday morning and checking out the creek seemed pre-ordained.
The fact that it was a wet canyon and it was still way early in the season didn’t deter Cathi H-H from joining me to the brave the cold. After an hour of winding fire trail with precipitous drops off the side we were both glad to arrive at Wombeyan and dump our gear at the Post Office Cottage, our base for the weekend.
We picked up a tourist map from the Ranger’s Office and decided that we’d follow the track notes of David H from the early 90s when they did the trip. There is an access route up over some ridges, but it was a hot day and without a map and compass I wasn’t willing to “wing it”, even though we passed what looked like a track off to the left.
We got down to the creek and were changing into our wetsuits when a young couple of tourists swam around the corner and walked out of the pool, in swimmers and a bikini, they did say the water was chilly, but obviously not THAT cold. We were reassured that we wouldn’t freeze, plus as we were going upstream, we could always turn around and come back if it was too cold!
The weather was fabulous, just the sort of day you want to go canyoning! The water level in the creek was quite low, they’ve not had much rain in the area this winter.
Cathi at the end of the first pool, it was chilly when we first got in but was fine after that.
Walking upstream in a pool that was only waist deep, Cathi bravely carrying her big camera
Between each pool there were sections of boulders
Still looking upstream, section of canyon, Wombeyan’s caves (and I’m guessing this canyon) were formed in a layer of marble.
Another short pool. We crossed one that had a wombat dead in it (about the size of a juvenile), must have fallen in from above.
Swimming up a lovely deep pool in a section of canyon
The point where David H’s group turned around because there was a lot of water flowing over this small waterfall and they were unsure as to how deep it was, turned out it was really shallow.
Another pool, this one had a lot of weed in it, but the edge of the pool was thick vegetation and I wasn’t willing (in snake season) to be walking in the bushes.
Still making our way upstream, we had to walk through the rushes behind Cathi, that was a little off-putting, more visions of snakes for me. It didn’t help that when I told someone that I was going Mayes Forest Creek, they said “be careful, I saw a brown snake in there last year”.
Wasn’t easy but I’ve just climbed up the small waterfall … from a pool well over my head with hardly any foot/hand holds! Cathi said it couldn’t be done – then because I’d managed, she had to do it too!
The last pool, and a small waterfall, I thought we could climb up this, so we did. I found an old anchor and handline floating in the water of this pool, looks like not so long ago, there was a handline to help you up, you really didn’t need it with so little water though.
By now we’d reached a section of the creek where it widened out considerably, my guess is that this is where most groups come in from the ridges. We turned around here and headed back.
Cathi getting ready to jump in the pool, it was after all a pool and despite the fact that we’d be totally immersed, we felt that jumping in was obligatory.
Cathi was braver than me, she jumped.
I sort of slid in (grimacing as I imagined my head going under), may as well have jumped.
The creek obviously gets a lot of action, apart from the hand-line that we picked up, we found a muddy pair of men’s blue boxers (God only knows what the guy walked out in, how would you loose your boxers in a creek, and wouldn’t you think he’d notice?) Cathi gingerly carried those out, they weren’t going into her backpack, and a beer bottle.
Such an easy walk back to the Cottage, we didn’t bother changing out of our wetsuits as it was 4pm and getting chilly.
Car to car it took us 2.5 hours and we took heaps of time going upstream taking photos. A lovely short trip, but you’d only do it if you were in easy driving distance from Wombeyan or were there on a weekend’s caving. Thanks for braving the chilly water with me Cathi!
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