WATAGANS STATE FOREST – 31 March 2019
Just when you think you’ve seen all that the Watagans has to offer, you find out that it still has some surprises … a cave with what looks like old limestone formations, and an old drywall staircase. Not to mention the waterfall of course, but then that was to be expected.
I wanted to do a training walk (getting in a few decent hills) on Sunday afternoon, so Heather offered to take me to an area that she and Trish N had been exploring over the past year or so.
The first few ks were on an old fire trail, 4WD only and we didn’t want to take Heather’s car down it (well, not with the rooftop tent on the top anyway), so we walked. Eventually we were on a track, a little overgrown (but at least we weren’t bush-bashing through rainforest).
Before long we exited the track and dropped down into the creek, very mossy and green.
Some nice slabby sections of creek as we made our way downstream. On a warmer day you’d just stay in the creek, but we initially didn’t want to get wet feet, eventually though we just lived with the wet feet.
The first “point of interest” on Heather’s tour, a small waterfall with big pot holes in the second level.
After all the rain we’d had there was a lot of water flowing down the pot holes.
Then we dropped down to the next level and looked under the ledge, into a cavern, if there hadn’t been so much water we could have crawled into the back and up the pot holes (you can see the daylight hole at the back). Heather and Trish had crawled to the back, but just too much cold water today. Good place to come back to in the summer to explore all the holes.
After this small waterfall, we headed downstream for another k or so and came to the “big” waterfall. A cascade first and then the water plunged out of sight, including the cascade, the waterfall was probably 30 – 40m. We exited the creek on the left and skirted around the waterfall, eventually finding ourselves on the cliff top, with the creek in the gorge below. And then we went “off track”.
On a previous trip, Heather and Trish had looked around for a way down to the base of the waterfall and found this old “track” that had been cut into the side of the hill.
Which led straight to a slot which allowed us to get down the cliff.
Looking back up the slot. In years gone by, I recon they would have had “steps” here, they’ve eroded over the years though.
At the bottom of the cliff and slot was a landing and then lovely stone steps.
The dry-wall that had been built beside the steps, the landing is at the top of the dry wall.
We suspect that the steps and dry wall were built in the days when the Watagans were home to the “timber getters”, those men who scoured the Watagans for the rainforest hard-wood trees (there were a few tree stumps, all that was left of massive trees that had been felled). Once below the cliff, we followed at the base of the cliff upstream to our waterfall.
Passing through this overhang (there was a fireplace but not many flat spots to sleep).
At the end of the overhang was the waterfall. And you can see on the roof of the overhang what we believe are stalactites.
And columns and stalagmites! It doesn’t look like limestone, looks more like sandstone, but what do we know!
And more of them with the waterfall in the distance.
There was one on the ground which even looked like it was active, a drip spot with what looked like calcite formation.
Close up of the waterfall.
And the pool, would have been lovely on a hot day.
Retracing our steps, when we climbed out of the slot, we found this bark tied around a tree. Some people need a hand-line for the slot, maybe this is an early “natural” anchor?
For 50m or so, you could see where the track had been cut into the side of the slope and then it just disappeared, which is not a bad thing, keeps the riff raff away!
We retraced our steps back to the creek, then headed up hill to where we’d parked Heather’s car. Heather and Trish have explored all the way downstream, but not upstream, so that’s the next adventure, dropping in way higher and seeing if there are any more waterfalls, it’s got a big catchment, there has to be!
All up we walked for about 3 hours, with a decent hill to climb at the end. Thanks so much for taking me to this magical place Heather and so close to home, looking forward to the next adventure!
Distance: about 8k
Leeches: 1 that I found when I got home!
Banner: Stals on the ceiling of the cave Thumbnail: the waterfall
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