Devils Pinch Canyon is an excellent canyon on the north side of the Wolgan River downstream from Newnes. It has two constrictions, and the lower one is long and impressive. Its name comes from the proximity of the canyon to the Devils Pinch on the Wolgan.
See here for information on how to get to Newnes.
From the main (Little Capertee) campground at Newnes, follow the track along the left bank of the river for 2km to the bottom of the Pipeline Track to Glen Davis (signposted). There are some tracks leading to the left, away from the river, and these should be ignored. Crossing Petries Gully may involve wet feet. The bottom of the Pipeline Track is reached just after the Petries Gully crossing. Climb up to the top of the hill on the track. A sign points to a good lookout about 100m walk to the south. Continue along the main track to the watershed, where there is a National Parks sign about Starlight Canyon.
Follow the Starlight Canyon track off to the right, up and around the small hill to the east. The track then heads north-east, then east, and then SSE around the back of a large flat hill. Continue heading SSE over the ridge in front of you and in to the headwaters of the creek at MGA457278 (AMG456276, Mount Morgan). Continue down the creek to the first section of canyon at MGA458276 (AMG457274).
Climb along a ledge to the right and do a 26m abseil into a shallow pool. This avoids a series of tricky shorter abseils leading straight down the creek. If you do the tricky abseils, the third probably needs to be rigged while on the second abseil, as the anchor is on a chockstone well off the ground.
Either way, a 5m climb down a groove follows. It may be possible to abseil this by continuing the previous abseil, but the pull down becomes difficult.
Soon after the canyon opens out for several hundred metres. Following this are a number of short climbs into pools. There are likely to be a few swims in this section. The water level in Devils Pinch can change quite a bit depending on the recent weather. You may be largely able to avoid many of the swims by judicious scrambling and bridging.
Shortly you reach a spectacular 17m overhanging abseil. The anchor is a long way back, so the drop is probably 23m all up. The bottom section of the canyon is narrow, high and awesome. At the end of the canyon you can scramble down the left hand side of the gully to the Wolgan River, or continue straight ahead and do two slippery abseils of up to 25m down the big waterfall first.
Cross the river and walk upstream for about 400m until you reach the track from Newnes, which you can follow back. Alternatively, you could also pick up the track by walking 100m downstream.
- Difficulty: M
- Abseils: 2-6
- Longest abseil: 30m
- Quality: 9/10
- Time: One day
- Distance: 13km
- Ascent: 420m
- Wetsuits: Optional
Tom Brennan : firstname.lastname@example.org : updated 2014-01-11