Danae Brook Canyon is a spectacular and challenging trip through the most slot-like of the big Kanangra canyons. It is typically done as a day trip, but it needs a small, efficient and fast moving party to avoid being benighted. It can be difficult and dangerous in high water and it is not advisable to do it after rain. A very early start is needed, and torches should be carried.
Wetsuits, helmets and spray jackets are recommended, as there are several swims, and you will get very wet in a number of the waterfalls.
Leave a car at Kanangra Walls and drive the other either to the Mount Thurat Fire Trail (2.5km back from Kanangra Walls) or to the King Pin Fire Trail (3km north of Boyd River Campground). Walk along the fire trail to the ridge between Danae Brook and Kanangra Creek, and head down the ridge and into the creek, trying to avoid the scrub. Walk down the creek to the first waterfall at MGA327375 (Kanangra). You should be here before 9am.
The first waterfall can be abseiled (28-30m) from a tree on the left, or scrambled on the left. The next drop (27-28m) is abseiled from a tree on the left, into the slot.
The third drop (28m) has a tricky start. The anchor is at your feet, but there is a single bolt that can be used to aid down to an easier start. It is best abseiled behind the small chockstone lower down to avoid rope jams.
The next three abseils are the highlight, and all are difficult in high water. The fourth abseil ("Waterfall Abseil") (27m) goes straight down the waterfall. There is a lower anchor that can be used in low water. The next abseil ("Danae Direct) (31m) goes down a hole, with anchors again at your feet. Alternatively scramble on the left along a ledge to a tree for a 31m drop. There is then a short scramble. A narrow ledge with pitons anchoring a safety line leads to a double bolt anchor for a 20m abseil (the "Slippery Log Abseil", though the slippery log is no longer there). This goes down a chute and you are forced into the flow near the bottom.
The seventh abseil (15m) is an easy one from pitons on a ledge on the left. Then there are four short (5m) abseils or hand over hands, some of which may be climbable in low water. The last of these leads to the final major abseil (28-30m), from bolts on a ledge on the left.
From the far side of the pool, climb over the small knoll and down to a tree for a 12m abseil into the boulder chute. There is then a long period of scrambling down the steep boulder chute. Abseiling can generally be avoided by good route finding. Near the bottom of the chute there is a 15m abseil from two pitons on the right side of a pool. The boulder chute can take a couple of hours to negotiate.
Continue rock hopping down the creek to the major junction with Kanangra Creek.
The easiest route out is straight up the steep ridge south of the junction to the Kilpatrick Causeway (short scramble may be needed at the top). Then follow the walking track back to Kanangra Walls. The track is difficult to follow on the tops in the dark.
Other routes include walking up Kanangra Creek to Murdering Gully and exiting as for Kalang Falls or Kanangra Main, or over Thurat Spires (abseiling required).
- Difficulty: H
- Abseils: 9-13
- Longest abseil: 35m
- Quality: 9/10
- Time: A very long day
- Distance: 13km
- Ascent: 640m
- Wetsuits: Recommended
Tom Brennan : firstname.lastname@example.org : updated 2010-02-20