Though the Bungonia area is famous for its limestone caves, Bungonia Creek Canyon and the other canyons cut through quartzite and similar rock. The creek is fairly open and in comparison to the northern Blue Mountains canyons it would be better described as a gorge. The abseils are all fairly large, particularly the 70m drop down Bungonia Falls.
From the campground at Bungonia, follow the Yellow Track for about 10 minutes down to Bungonia Creek, and from there walk down the creek for about 500m to the first drop. This is labelled Bungonia Falls on the topo, but is probably incorrect.
Note that two of the longer abseils end in pools. Abseil lengths are conservative - the drops may be shorter when the pools are full.
The first waterfall is about 35m, from a long sling around a tree on the left hand side (and a 60m rope won't reach). You may be able to land on a very small ledge to belay, but there is a 30m swim across a pool straight away. About 50m further down there is a short drop. You can either scramble down the slippery slope to the edge, and jump left, or climb up to the right to slings around a tree and abseil 12m into the water. Some more easy scrambles and a few shorter swims follow, until you reach the big drop (probably the real Bungonia Falls).
At this point you have a number of options, depending on your ropes:
- Climb around the right to a large gum tree and abseil from bolts on the boulder next to it 60m to the bottom of the falls (and it is the full 60m - the ropes will be off the ground with no weight on them). If you only have 50m ropes, it is possible but difficult to climb down.
- Abseil about 25m from a large casuarina on the left hand side down to a double bolt anchor (hard to spot), and re-rig for another 45m abseil.
- Scramble down on the left hand side to a lower casuarina and abseil 60m to the base of the falls.
At this point you can take exit (2) below (the "quick exit" in Jamieson). However, it is better to continue down the creek.
You soon reach the junction with Jerrara Creek. A little way below this is another large drop. It is possible to scramble around this drop to the left. Otherwise, there are a couple of options. Scramble or abseil down a few metres to a large casuarina on the left, and abseil 45m to another ledge above or into a pool depending on whether the pool is full or empty. There are also slings on the right hand side for a 45m abseil. If the pool is empty it may be difficult to get out. Swim across the pool.
There is one more big drop but it is easily scrambled on the left. Continue down exit (1). There are a lot of large boulders in the creek, which makes the going quite slow until the creek swings east.
There are a couple of options to exit:
- Walk down Bungonia Creek to Breton Creek and the Red Track, and exit up this. Note that Breton Creek flows down a narrow slot at the bottom, so keep an eye out for it. Then walk back along the Green Track, or via the roads, back to the campground
- Scramble up the steep slope on your left about 50m downstream from the pool just after crossing the pool after the abseil, heading right a little. After a short climb you reach a lookout/anchor point for an abseil into the pool below Jerrara Falls. Continue climbing up to the top of Jerrara Falls. This is largely scree and quite exposed, particularly near the top, and a rope belay is probably a good idea. Then climb the knife edge ridge to your left. This is very exposed, on scree and poor rock, and is quite dangerous. The rock can also get very hot in the afternoon sun and be painful to hold. There are limited opportunities to set up safety lines or belays.
- Difficulty: M
- Abseils: 2-6
- Longest abseil: 60m
- Quality: NA
- Time: A long day (less if you take the quick exit)
- Distance: 8km
- Ascent: 360m
- Wetsuits: Optional
Tom Brennan : email@example.com : updated 2013-11-02