Reconnaissance Monday

Party: Wombat, Alfred, Rocky

With a huge number of people keen to come on our beginners canyoning weekend, I thought it might be wise to actually do some preparation for once. With Monday off work I figured I’d head out to the Newnes Plateau, check out the possible camp sites, look for some good cliffs to do abseiling training on and do a quick walk-through of Wolgan View Canyon (aka The Dry Canyon / Noble’s Canyon).

T1 decided to join me, thanks to an RDO, and Joshua managed to abandon his wife on day one of a week off work. It was a great call, with perfect warm weather and lush green bush from the recent rains, as well as plenty of spring flowers.

We had a great time checking out all the forestry work that is going on at the moment. Several huge trucks bulging with logs roared past us, but thankfully the roads have all been recently graded and are in the best condition I’ve ever seen them in, so it didn’t feel quite so death-defying to be sharing it with them. With much of the pine plantation already logged the usual landmarks are gone, and in their place is a post-apocalyptic wasteland that has both a harsh brutality and an other-worldly beauty to it.

Anyway, we checked out a few camp site options, soon deciding we would avoid Barcoo Swamp when we stumbled upon a beautiful area close to the road, full of flat camp sites and with plenty of fallen wood.

Next came the cliff search, and regular stops along the road to check out possible areas that soon provided a wealth of spots with a mix of short, easy drops and harder ones including some nice overhangs. It will be great to see how the beginners go!

We popped down to the end of the road, walking through the Glow Worm Tunnel which disappointingly seemed to have a pretty poor population of the little fellas. We followed the track until it opens out above the Wolgan Valley, admiring the towering cliffs and impressive engineering before heading back via the pleasant Bells Grotto canyon.

Finally it was back to Wolgan View, which was much more impressive than I expected. The walk in through flowering wattles, towering trees and verdant ferns was stunning in itself, but the canyon sections, especially the second, were incredible.

At the end we stopped to admire the views over to Donkey Mountain before T1 and I decided to push our way up a dodgy pass to the tops to admire the views into the canyon from above. The pagodas here are spectacular and well worth the visit.

An attempt to head back via another small canyon was foiled by the lack of a hand line, so we retraced our steps down the dodgy pass and made our way back up the canyon to the cars and back to civilisation at a most respectable time of day.

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