Driving into Mt Wilson, it felt like we’d gone through a time warp. As we drove along the road we passed antique cars from the 1920’s while dirty, depression era people casually strolled along carrying century-old tools. A roadside stall sold fruit from stacks of wooden boxes. We actually seemed more out of place than they did, given some of the spectacular old building in the area like the tree fern surrounded church and impressive Turkish bath house.
It took us a minute, but eventually it clicked. We’d stumbled upon filming for Baz Luhrmann’s latest film, The Great Gatsby. Once we realised what was going on we started looking more closely at the occupants of the fancier cars, but didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire or any other recognisable Hollywood names involved in the production. We did feel a little sorry for Pete Raines when we realised the day’s filming was happening directly outside his front door!
We drove on to the Cathedral of Ferns, where the film crew had set up several huge tents to cater for the massive number of people involved in the production.
We’d spent the weekend doing two very impressive canyons near Glen Davis. A combination of the physical demands, fairly miserable weather and a throbbing hangover from the night before had convinced me there was no way I’d make it through either of the tough Glen Davis options we were considering for the day. Thankfully the others were willing to accept a substitute, so we decided to head to Mt Wilson, where we had to go anyway to pick up Adrian’s car, and just do an easy canyon in the process.
On the way we stopped in Lithgow for an early lunch, finding a spectacular old-fashioned take away place (which is the first decent food I’ve stumbled upon in Lithgow). By the time we hit Mt Wilson the weather was actually improving a fair bit.
We’d decided to do Why Don’t We Do It In The Road (Serendipity) Canyon because of its ease, and the fact two of the group had been forced to twice skip it because of major thunderstorms. Once we’d decided on the canyon there were a few joking comments about how it was so easy that it would be the perfect nude canyon.
Finally, as we stood in the crowded car park we all decided that we were up for a nude trip, and that to be done properly we had to do it car to car! With gear sorted we were just about ready to strip off when two oldies pulled up right in front of us. One of the group politely warned them, which gave them a laugh, then it was pants off and packs on.
As we started walking through the bush the sun came out for the first time all day. Soon we were working up a sweat and thinking that sunburn was going to be the biggest risk we’d face all day. It felt amazing to be strolling along au natural, breathing deep of the fresh air.
Despite the entry track being very obvious we got briefly turned around at a point where a large tree has fallen across it, leading to a very distinct false track forming. Eventually we were back on track and dropping down into the side gully that leads into the canyon.
A couple easy abseils beside pretty waterfalls had us down into the lush creek which had a healthy flow of crystal clear water from the recent rains.
After the initial canyon section it is a long walk along the pleasant creek. While a lot of creek walking turns into a bash, with thick scrub, this one is pretty throughout, with lovely ferns and mosses lining the banks.
Eventually we reached the main canyon section at the end. There are several short abseils, down some very nice waterfalls, as we as a few swims and squeezes.
In no time we were at the end, where the creek drops down through a stunning cavern to the Wollangambe River. We followed the exit track along the high ledge, dropping packs at the point where the track starts heading.
We headed down to the nice swimming hole for some fun water jumps (including some very impressive tandem efforts). The ‘spa’ that usually offers are nice back massage was pumping way too hard, with a strong flow threatening to wash us past the exit on the bank. With a final pause to wash the sand from our shoes we were off.
The group flew up the hill — well all bar me — and in no time we were back on the fire trail and heading for the cars. The whole trip had taken just three and a quarter hours. We got changed, packed up, and went to collect the car that had spent the weekend sitting nearby.
We eventually regrouped at the Royal Family Hotel in Richmond, after one of the group paused for some nettle hunting on the way home. Here we enjoyed a well earned drink and a great feed while seating at the pubs renown viking-style tables.
While we sat there the phone rang. Apparently the police had become a little worried by the canyoner’s car sitting abandoned at Mt Wilson and had rung his wife to confirm all was okay. Good to know they were looking out for us!