NEWNES VALLEY – 19-20 June 2021
This started out as a weekend of canyoning, possibly a wet canyon, but after last weekend and the cold, I felt that a wet canyon wasn’t such a good idea. There aren’t that many dry canyons in the Newnes Valley that we felt like doing so decided on some exploratory stuff.
Kavita and I drove up to John and Kathy’s on Friday night so that we could start early on Saturday morning (bonus we didn’t have to camp in the cold at Mt Wilson). The four of us picked up Penny next morning and headed down to Newnes Valley. Apparently the Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon was running and so we couldn’t get a camp site for the weekend so would be camping somewhere else. We were undaunted though and headed to a crossing of the Wolgan River so we could walk up Penrose Gully to find Kenobi Canyon … something new!
Crossing the Wolgan River via a convenient log.
We accessed the Glow-worm Tunnel track and met up with the runners, Kavita and Penny even joined in for a few metres! Kavita knew someone who was running and as we came up to the track, there was her friend, what are the odds of that!
Heading up the gully we came across a great stand of grass trees, all with an incredible number of flower spikes on them.
Kathy and John on the walk up to the cliff line.
Finally at the cliff-line, although the pass wasn’t as close as I thought it was, the climb up hill went on forever.
Finally we were at the slot that I had suspected would be our access to the plateau – took longer to get there than I expected (Photo: John G).
On top on the plateau, John pointing out other features.
Lunch with a view across the Wolgan Valley (photo: John G).
Kavita found this hole in the rock (looked like a toilet – lol) and couldn’t resist a selfie (Photo: John G)
After lunch John heading down another slot to see if we could get to the bottom. He made it down to the bottom and continued around to Kenobi, but on his return said that there were some dodgy climbs both up and down so not for us, but the good news was that he got into the bottom of Kenobi and it was a “goer”.
The Kenobi slot – looks really interesting.
Kavita, the first one down, she got to clear the rope from all the obstacles.
John’s photo of Kavita on the abseil.
Kathy, the next one down.
We actually did this abseil in two stages, everyone went down, with John stopping at a half way safe spot, I then followed, bringing the knot past any spots where it might snag, then John continued down followed by me (photo: Kavita)
Kathy and Kavita after we’d pulled the rope down, Kavita coiling it “the way M told us to coil it.”
The bottom of the slot (Kathy, Penny & Kavita), apparently someone walked in from the bottom and “discovered” the slot (photo: John G).
Shot of the slot from the cliff-face, doesn’t look as impressive as it was. (Photo: Kavita)
The route down was very steep and the rocks were loose, was definitely a hazard to those below. (photo: Kavita)
We eventually came to a spot where there were just too many loose rocks so we decided to pull out the rope and abseil down (3 pitches), with everyone way out of the fall zone as each of us abseiled down. (photo: Kavita)
Penny on the second abseil (no safe spot for me to take photos on the first one) (Photo: Kavita)
Kavita and Penny sheltering out of the fall zone on the 2nd abseil. There were “floating” rocks on each of the first 2 abseils.
It was close to dark by the time we got to the bottom, a longer day than anticipated. We headed off then to our “secret” campsite just off the Wolgan Valley Road, great to have a good campsite, out of the wind and the opportunity for a big campfire. Great day out, an easy abseil and three bonus abseils to get down the scree slope.
Before heading back to the valley, we visited an Aboriginal art gallery in the cliff-line (a well-known site managed by NPWS). Great selection of hand stencils.
And a set with “arms”.
We had a selection of options on offer for Sunday but in the end decided to explore up Petries Gully, following and exploring an old “road” from the days when the Shale Oil Mine was functioning.
Further along than I’d remembered we came across the old infrastructure the “guest houses” for the mine. (Photo: Kavita)
Another one of the chimneys, this one with some of the plaster still on it. (Photo: Kavita)
You can only just see the old road, but it appears that it’s a “road well travelled” as there was a well worn track.
Eventually we got to a big camp cave, just beside the cave is evidence that the road went through the cave – you can see the built up edge of the road.
A much better photo of the cave from Kavita, I’m definitely coming back to this on a budge overnight walk. (photo: Kavita)
We continued on up the creek, and were now in a lovely Coachwood forest.
Lovely shot of the rockface on one side of the creek, very green.
This climb stopped me, I decided that I didn’t want to risk a broken leg, particularly with my trip to NT so close.
John chimneying up the climb – you can see why I was hesitant to do it. (Photo: Kavita)
The canyon section upstream in Petries Gully – unfinished business, now I’m going to have to go back and do it (maybe as part of my overnight walk) – photo: Kavita.
Further up the canyon (Photo: John G)
The end of the road after a wade through a pool (photo: John G).
Penny returning from the end of the canyon, walking through the pool of water (probably knee deep). Photo: Kavita.
We then retraced our steps back to the cars, much more quickly than the outgoing journey. So, lots of unfinished business – we’ve determined where the canyons are that we will go back and do, and there’s some upstream canyon that I have to go back and see.
It was a great trip, big thanks to Penny, Kathy, Kavita and John for coming on the trip, and more thanks so much John for agreeing to lead it, and thanks to Kavita who pushed me to put a trip on the calendar – was very cold but well worth the cold and effort.
There’s nothing glamorous about bushwalking, caving or canyoning, but it sure is fun! If you’re an armchair bushwalker, someone looking for new adventures, or one of my friends who just wants to see what I’ve been up to, this site is for you, sign up to get email alerts now!