Canyoners in the Mist

MT WILSON, Corkscrew Canyon – 22 February 2019
I looked at the weather forecast before leaving home, and it really didn’t look that bad, but by the time I got up to the mountains (3 hours later), it was raining, drizzle and cold-as. Rather than camp in the wet, I rocked up at Marcia’s with a good bottle of wine and stayed the night there. Next morning she and I drove out to Mt Wilson to meet up with Anna and John. None of us was keen to start walking in the mist.

So, we stood around, weighing our options, and eventually we talked outselves into it. We decided that a little rain/mist/drizzle wasn’t going to deter us.   It was effectively a new canyon for all of us, John had done it probably 18 years ago and couldn’t remember it.  I had walked up a short way about 15 years ago and couldn’t remember it, Anna and Marcia hadn’t done it before.

We took the obligatory photo so that we had proof that we’d headed off in almost zero visibility! This was followed by lots of walking through wet scrub on a very, very faint footpad.

Before long we were in the canyon proper, and it exceeded our expectations, quite constricted and very green.

We soon came to a pool, Anna elected to skirt around it on a high ledge, Marcia and I put our wetsuits on and decided that the low route through the water was the safer option.

Lovely green mossy walls.

Anna in the foreground, Marcia in the background, very pretty tree ferns.

The canyon opening out a little and there’s more vegetation including this huge tree, hollowed out like a canoe and Marcia sitting in it.

Anna framed by some aerial roots.

John’s photo with the three of us in the canyon.

And then it’s constricted again, easy walking on the sandy streamway.

My photo of Anna on the top rock and Marcia on the chock-stone.

John’s close up photo with me under the chock-stone.

More stunning canyon formations with the tree ferns.

A compulsory swim.

And another one.

Not far from the end of the canyon is this big open forest, this is where the canyon gets its name, the stream/creek disappears down a hole in the ground and travels underground for quite a way. Many years ago, someone saw that the creek turned around on itself, like a corkscrew. That feature has disappeared over the years. When I first came into Corkscrew, we walked in from the entry downstream and this is as far as I went. We didn’t think much of it, oblivious to the really nice canyon sections upstream.

John making his way down the small waterfall (that’s only about 75m from the end of the canyon. Anna, Marcia and I climbed down on the right hand edge, John’s way looked dodgy.

Straight after the waterfall there’s a pool, John and Anna did a big stretch across and didn’t get wet.

Marcia and I opted for the swim!

The canyon exits into South Bowen Canyon right at the waterfall (which we abseiled down two weeks ago).  More water in it today.

The ferns beside the waterfall.  If it had been a bright sunny day, you wouldn’t get the green contrast that we got in the low light.

We decided to exit via a small canyon that John knew of Hand Over Hand.  It is the next creek down on the left hand side just after a large Coachwood Forest.  We turned into the creek and started walking upstream and came across orange tape (used to mark a route through the bush), and there was a footpad.  A lot of logs had been sawn too, we figure that someone’s put in a route so that bushwalkers could walk down into South Bowen without doing the abseils.  We followed this route all the way out of the creek.

But before exiting, we walked a little way up Hand Over Hand and then got stopped by this small waterfall.  Anna and John climbed up it but it was very, very slippery, so Marcia and I chilled out until they came back.  We figured we’d come back and do the whole canyon anyway, so why risk falling on the slippery rock!

The route up had a dodgy climb but fortunately whoever put the track in, also put in a few hand-lines, made it a lot easier on this particular climb that Marcia and Anna nailed but I struggled with it.


We were back at the cars by 3pm after a short fire trail walk. We all agreed that Corkscrew is a very under-rated canyon, it’s got some extremely pretty canyon sections in it and just when you think “that’s it”, there’s more.  Apart from the waterfall that you climb down it’s not technical at all but well worth visiting.  Plus, we’ve found another canyon to put on the wish list – Hand Over Hand – an easy half day for sure.

Thanks John for suggesting this canyon and Marcia and Anna for joining us on such a wet miserable day!

Thumbnail:  a log covered with bracket fungus.
Banner:  Every little gully and depression in the rock created waterfalls through the canyon after the rain.  A totally different experience than what you would get in a period of fine weather.

This entry was posted in Canyoning, MSS. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Canyoners in the Mist

  1. Lindsay says:

    Looks neat!
    Have to give it a ‘go’ sometime.

  2. Jenny hughes says:

    Looked amazing! Just as well you persisted through the fog!

  3. Neil says:

    Hi M.

    I gather you guys walked in and out along range fire trail?

    How quickly did you guys leave range fire trail to drop into the creek above corkscrew? Rough set of coords or which creek?

    Thanks so much


    • marilyn says:

      Hi Neil, not sure where Range fire trail is, but we took the fire trail which is off the Mount Wilson Road. There’s a bit of a horseshoe just off the road, parked there, and the sign is nearby. We probably walked 100m or so, it wasn’t far in, and we just headed down into the creek system, all off track. Sorry but I don’t track my route that often, so can’t give you co-ordinates, but it’s a large creek system that flows into South Bowen Creek, you should be able to pick it up from a map. Sorry can’t be more precise that that.

      • Neil Miller says:

        Well, we went and did this yesterday, just stunning after a good flush out and the Corkscrew is back and on display which was particularly interesting.

        South Bowens Upper was a bit higher than usual, and a number of places that had sandbanks are now deep wades.

        We exited via Hand over Hand Canyon, never saw any tape or hand lines, so must have gone up and out a different way to you.

        A stunning long day out returning to the car just as the sun gave up…

        Thanks for the inspiration!

        • marilyn says:

          Hi Neil, so pleased you enjoyed the trip!
          Yes quite possibly you went a different way, did you reverse Hand over Hand?
          If so, that would be why you wouldn’t see any tapes, handlines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.