Bushwalking / SUBW

A secret waterhole near Faulconbridge

Party: Tim Vollmer, Michelle Vollmer, Terence Nhan, Yumi Hong, Anne-Françoise de Taillandier, Linda Diab, Peggy Huang — T2′s photos

I love bushwalking sketch maps. They come from a time before GPS and mobile phone when information was passed from person to person, and recorded in a much more human manner.

Often they aren’t precise, in fact many aren’t designed to be, rather they are a simple way of giving just enough rough information to someone who knows how to use it to let them find a secret spot. They leave a little room for exploration, for navigation, for bushcraft.

Peggy at Peggy's Pool. Unfortunately it has been silted up by urban run-off

So when I spotted a couple waterholes on a bushwalking sketch map of the lower mountains I thought it would be a perfect half-day walk, along the lines of my trip to Paradise in January.

The weather didn’t look promising in the morning, with a thick carpet of grey clouds covering the mountains and a forecast of showers. Despite this seven of us still met up at Faulconbridge Station just before 9am, ready to set off.

We almost lost Anne-Françoise when we started walking, not realising she was still at the station, but eventually we were all together and we made good time through the suburban streets to our starting point.

Aboriginal sharpening grooves used for tool-making

The walk began along an old track, built sixty or more years ago, down to what was once a popular local swimming hole called Peggy’s Pool on an upper tributary of Linden Creek.

Despite it being a track, complete with carved stone steps, it took us a minute to find the overgrown start of it. Once on it we raced down into the valley, past the stands of rare Faulconbridge Mallee trees.

Soon we were at Peggy’s Pool, which unfortunately looks quite sad these days. Years of urban run-off have silted it up, although it still has a pleasant little waterfall. There were also a few weeds nearby, again the result of careless local gardeners!

A very cocky Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo keeping an eye on us

Just downstream we found some Aboriginal sharpening groves. It seemed like it would once have been a very pleasant spot to pause to sharpen your tools.

Just across a small pool a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo was playing in a low shrub, giving us a chance to get quite close and admire his plumage.

From here we followed a faint foot-pad down the creek, crossing over a couple times as we went. The creek didn’t look too much at first, but soon opened up into an impressive wide valley, with towering trees overhead and a sea of ferns below.

Thick waist-high ferns lined the creek lower down

While the trees looked a little like Blue Gums, I’m told they are Deanes Gums, which seem to grow to similar impressive heights. The valley was so wide and fertile here it looked like a wonderful place to return and spend a night.

Soon the valley began to close in again, and the creek began to drop down to our right where we could hear a small waterfall. We followed above the low cliffs, heading around to a small side creek where we could scramble down into a gully and back-track to the base of the waterfall.

Above us towered this stunning forest of tall Deanes Gum trees

We stopped at this pleasant spot for an early lunch, enjoying a shower under the waterfall, a wade in the small waterhole and even had a few goes on the little water-slide, even if it was a tad bumpy.

By this time the sky was bright blue, and we had a patch of sunshine streaming down on us. What a great reward for refusing to be put off by a bad weather forecast!

Our destination. A secret little waterhole

Eventually we packed up and set off. The plan was to follow the creek down to the next major junction, then follow an old fire trail back along the ridge to suburbia. Unfortunately the scrub had other ideas, and it soon became clear that this was going to be a slow, painful route.

Instead we decided to simply push up the side of the ridge, which still meant some scrub, but soon enough it began to ease, especially after we scrambled up two very small cliffs.

Terence meditating under the waterfall

Everyone was relieved when we hit the fire trail, and we made great time as we raced back towards the station. We ended up making it almost an hour early — just minutes before a train was due — so we all parted ways.

Another great half-day walk in the lower mountains. Proof once again that you don’t need to walk far to escape civilisation and discover your own secret little spots most people will never know exist.

Three wise monkeys!

Lower down the creek got even scrubbier

One of the short scrambles to get onto the ridge

Beautiful open bushland higher up the ridge

Enjoying the fire trail back to civilisation

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7 thoughts on “A secret waterhole near Faulconbridge

  1. Interesting note from Dave Noble:
    “I can remember visiting Peggy’s Pool when I was a kid. I think the story went something like – Peggy was a local character that used to have an illegal still somewhere near the pool.
    “Another interesting thing at Faulconbridge that I saw as a kid was an old sawmill – this was down a valley to the north – close to Linden I think. Perhaps behind the Fruit Shop on the highway, or maybe a bit north of there? It had some means of access – an old haulage way or something?”
    Something else to go looking for now!

  2. Hi,
    This looks absolutely fabulous i can’t believe it is my back yard.
    i have lived here for only 2 years we have been down the back a couple of times and found some wonderful places. I would love to see some maps of the area if you have them. Apparently the still was behind us as are several waterfalls. We found a lovely waterfall one time but have been unable to retrace our steps to find it again.
    any info would be appreciated
    thanks debbie

    • Debbie,
      Thanks for the feedback. You are spot on about having a fabulous area right in your backyard. It is really surprising what you can discover so close to suburbia!
      I’ll send you an email with a sketch map that might help with a few places to look for, but I’d definitely recommend just spending a few hours checking out the local gullies and ridges and seeing what you can find. I’m certain there are plenty of great little waterfalls and swimming holes that have been all but forgotten that would make for wonderful escapes come the warmed weather!
      Tim

  3. Hi, I’m the Blue Mountains Greens Ward 1 candidate, and was out on a search this week for a missing person down the track off Highland Rd in Faulconbridge, and while looking up Linden Creek we came across an old boiler, rail cart wheels and some cable, remnants of an old funicular railway used from 1910 to extract timber from the valley. I think it is a fascinating piece of heritage and would make a magnificent short walk with only a bit of funding to improve the track, do some archaeological work and install some interpretative signage. Perhaps the Pegg’s Pool track could be similarly improved to encourage greater recreational and tourism opportunities int he mid mountains? Any thoughts would be most appreciated!
    Brent

    • Brent, funny you should mention that. I did a walk on Wednesday that included that area. (I was very thankful that the search had wrapped up successfully the day before!). I’ve got some nice photos of the stationary steam engine and other relics that I’ll be posting next week.
      It is very simple to follow the route of the old incline railway, and you are right about the fascinating heritage items to be found. We did a big loop further up the creek, then back along a ridgetop, and there is some incredibly nice walking to be had there.
      I doubt it would be too complicated to improve the track, although to do it properly would require the installation of two small bridges, where old wooden railway bridges would once have been. That would add more expense and difficulty. I’m not sure it would draw enough people to justify the cost, especially as you would also need to improve the parking situation at the end of Highland Rd if you wanted to avoid problems for local residents.
      Perhaps the best, and simplest, first step would be to improve the information available online so that locals and tourists can find these interesting places themselves.

  4. Ive been walking this valley, with and without tracks, most of my 56 years. There used to be another track to Peggy’s from around where Adeline runs into Shirlow, but i think you could no longer find it without going thru someone’s backyard. The next easiest pool we refer to as “Potholes”, via a footpad down from the end of the Shirlow firetrail, named for several large holes in the rockbed the creek runs, one large enough to sit in (with a convenient shelf even). Just below that a decent waterfall, but the pool below also sadly silting up

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