Water Dragon Canyon is a very good canyon on the north side of the Wollangambe River. It is visited less frequently from the top as about half of its impressive constriction can be visited by walking up the canyon from the Wollangambe. Nevertheless, the constriction is quite long and well worth the trip.
Water Dragon Canyon is also known as Kelvinator Canyon, due to the temperature differential between it and the Wollangambe River.
Follow the Wollangambe Lower Tourist Section (Wollangambe 2) entrance track down to the river. Cross and climb the gully on the opposite side, tending left at the bottom. Once up on the flat part of the ridge, continue for about 200m and then drop off to the left, just before the track starts to go up to a small knoll. There is a track, and possibly a cairn at the junction. This leads into a small, unmarked gully which ends with a drop into the main creek. Traverse right for about 30m to a tree with slings for a 16m (12m for the minimum drop) abseil into the creek.
An older route traversed slopes further to the north into the gully at MGA553922, and the main creek can be reached from this without an abseil.
Once in the creek, there is a 3m drop that can be climbed down, or optionally hand-over-handed, and a wade. The main canyon starts a little way after this at MGA554918.
The first abseil can be done from anchors at the top, but the pull down is probably easier if you climb down a few metres and rig off slings around a log directly above the drop. From there the abseil is about 9m (7m for the minimum drop).
There is a bit of a walk to the second abseil, at the obvious creek junction on the map. You can climb down a crack using a handline if needed (about 4m), swim across a pool and abseil from bolts high on the right.
Then there is 200m of very good, but dark canyon to the junction with the Wollangambe.
At the Wollangambe, walk and swim downstream for 500m to where you crossed before. Flotation in your backpack is advisable, as much of the distance is swimming, and weaker swimmers may want a lilo.
- Difficulty: M
- Abseils: 2-3
- Longest abseil: 15m
- Quality: 7/10
- Time: One day
- Distance: 8km
- Ascent: 480m
- Wetsuits: Recommended
Tom Brennan : firstname.lastname@example.org : updated 2011-02-12