Dione Dell: The easiest of the Kanangra canyons

Party: Tim Vollmer, Tim Gastineau-Hills, Joshua Hill, Nigel Butler, Drew Morcom, Niro Yoganathan, Trang Pham, Stephen Sheehan, Rhyse Vaughn, Denis (Boris) Alexandrov, Melissa Freer and Angie Bulic

Most of us made it out to the walls at by night, enjoying a pleasant night by the fire in Dance Floor Cave, although a couple decided to meet us in the morning and Boris couldn’t be torn from his well-equiped 4wd in the car park.

When we all met up in the morning it was clear the group was pretty unwieldy in size, so we decided to split into two, with the first group setting off down the pretty creek.

I’m not sure if it was slow walking, too much time spent enjoying the lush, green, ferny creek, or just slow rigging, but we’d only sent a couple people down the first abseil by the time the next group arrived.

With a change of plans forced on us, we decided to instead move to our favoured leap-frogging technique, with the ropes sent down each drop first, meaning the group was abseiling several drops at any point in time.

This worked a treat, and we made great time down the very impressive creek. The walls never close in like a traditional canyon, but the angled rock ensures plenty of small cascades, while several large waterfalls flowing heavily thanks to the recent rain provided some enjoyable drops.

We chose the dry lines at each drop, avoiding the need for any swims, but had it been a warmer day we’d probably have braved the heavy flow and taken the wet route.

The weather was at least as temperamental as the day before, with sunshine turning to rain then back again at regular intervals.

We pushed on to the top of Margaret Falls for lunch, where the creek plunges more than 100m down a massive waterfall into the valley below. Here we enjoyed lunch, before a hardy band of three decided the small pool directly above the main drop was just too appealing.

Joshua, Melissa and I used a hand-line to get down, stripping off in a small overhang before plunging into the freezing pool. We had to move quickly through the main flow to get to the main part of the pool, which was pretty nerve-racking given the drop next to us.

After an enjoyable time swimming and getting a massage from the small waterfall above us the group packed up and got ready to move on.

The climb up the hill was pleasant and not too hard, taking us past the humorously named “Grotto of Uranus” (there is actually a second one next to it, so there were comments made as to the gender of this particular cliff) before we climbed up a nice pass to the tops.

Trang had a slip here, on the wet rock, tumbling several metres down the slope and giving the rest of us a heart attack. Thankfully she was unharmed and laughed the fall off, so we could keep moving.

The weather took a turn for the worse here, with howling wind, heavy rain and fog all blowing in. This made the navigation a bit tougher. On the flatter swampy parts with downfall had the water up at about knee height.

When we hit the road it was with great relief, so once the group was back together we raced along to the cars, looking like a group of drowned rats by the time we arrived.

Those of us who’d thought ahead changed clothes, enjoying the first genuine dry feeling of the day, before we drove to Oberon for dinner at the Royal Hotel.

When we arrived the kitchen was winding down, with just one staff member left, but rather than turning us away they called in extra staff, putting on the kind of impressive spread that place is known for.

For the group that had come out for the day it was a long drive for a short canyon, but everyone enjoyed what is probably the easiest of the Kanangra Canyons.

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