Canyon closures, access changes, and safety alerts

LAST UPDATE — 21 FEBRUARY 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. Ignorance is not a defence and serious financial penalties or even criminal prosecutions can occur in certain cases.

Below is a list of current closures and access changes that impact on canyons around Sydney. Before heading on a trip, we recommend you check current closure information on the National Parks and Wildlife Service website, as well as information on current bushfires and upcoming hazard reduction burns on the Rural Fire Service website.

Wollemi National Park

In late January, dry lighting ignited dozens of bushfires across the Wollemi. As a result, NPWS closed the entire national park except for four major campgrounds. Most fires are now extinguished, but given how dry the bush is NPWS have indicated they are unlikely to reopen remote sections of the park until the area receives some reasonable rainfall.

The Newnes Plateau has been reopened, with access restored along Glow Worm Tunnel Road, Galah Mountain Road, and the Old Coach Road. Access has also been restored to Deep Pass. Canyons elsewhere in the park, including those accessed from Newnes and Coorongooba campgrounds, remain closed.

Firefly and Looking Glass canyons are likely to remain closed for longer, as one of the bushfires burnt the gully used to access these canyons from the Wolgan Valley. NPWS has formally closed these canyons due to the risk of falling trees.

Summer campfire bans: Wollemi, Kanangra-Boyd and Blue Mountains 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). A park fire ban was also imposed in late January over the entirety of Blue Mountains National Park.

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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