Canyon closures, access changes, and safety alerts

LAST UPDATE — 5 JANUARY 2018

When planning a canyoning trip, always ensure the canyons you are planning to visit are open. Bushfires, extreme weather conditions, hazard reduction burns, landslides, planned track work, emergency operations and a range of other events can lead to temporary closures. Unfortunately, ignorance is not a defence and serious financial penalties or even criminal prosecutions can occur in certain cases.

Below is a list of current canyon closures, organised by region. (Always double-check current closure information on the National Parks and Wildlife Service website, as well as potential bushfire risks on the Rural Fire Service websites, before heading on a trip).

SHORT TERM ACCESS ISSUES:

Access along Mount Hay Road has been restored after NPWS carried out urgent repairs on a washed out section on January 4. After a very brief closure, Mt Hay (Butterbox), Fortress, and Arethusa Canyons are again open. We’ve also had confirmation that the repair work means it is now possible to get to the end of the road in a 2wd vehicle.

Campfire bans in Kanangra-Boyd and Wollemi National Parks:

The NPWS has imposed blanket bans on campfires in a number of parks during the 2017/18 summer bushfire season. In Kanangra-Boyd, fires are only allowed at the Boyd River and Dingo Dell campgrounds (until March 30, 2018). In the Wollemi, campfires are restricted to the Coorongooba, Newnes, Dunns Swamp, Colo Meroo and Wheeny Creek campgrounds (until February 28, 2018). Blue Mountains National Park is currently unaffected, although short-term fire bans are being put in place on days with elevated fire danger.

Ongoing access issues affecting canyoners:

  • The Pipeline Track remains closed near Glen Davis, although canyons can still be accessed from the Newnes side
  • The traditional access route to Mt Hay (Butterbox) Canyon across the swamp has been closed for environmental reasons. Signage at the car park provides information on the new track.
  • The old Claustral Canyon access via Mt Tomah has been permanently closed. The new route enters from Bells Line of Road, just west of Mt Bell.

Long term canyon closures:

  • Minnamurra Canyon (Illawarra) is closed due to concerns over the environmental impacts posed by canyoners.
  • Spring Creek Canyon (Bungonia) remains closed due to risks posed by rock-fall.
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