Why Don't We Do It In The Road? Canyon, often known as Serendipity Canyon, is a relatively short canyon on the south side of the Wollangambe. It is popular because of its easy access, relatively large number of abseils, and the fact that it can be done fairly safely in inclement weather. It was named by Tony Norman, a Beatles fan, who was in one of the first parties to visit the upper section of the creek. It is commonly known as Serendipity Canyon, an alternate name given by Glen Robinson. The lower part of the creek was well known to parties visiting the Wollangambe.
The best entry to take depends on the exit option. If you are taking the shorter exits, it's probably easier to start at the fire station at Mt Wilson. If you are going downstream, it is definitely better to start from Cathedral Reserve.
Park at the fire station at Mt Wilson, and follow the fire trail around behind the fire station. Turn left on to another fire trail at the T-junction after 200m. Past the top of the hill, the main trail swings right and then reaches another fire trail. Turn right and follow this for 700m to a junction and sign, where a foot track goes off to the left. Take this track.
Alternatively, from Cathedral Reserve at Mt Wilson, head along the fire trail that leaves to the west. After about 1.2km, this forks, and you veer right down a hill. At the top of a long hill, turn on to a foot track that branches to the right.
Either way, follow this for 400m to an obvious fork at a large anthill, where the track to WDWDIITR veers off to the right. 200m past here there is another fork. Left goes to an exit (see below), so take the right fork. This winds around and down into a side creek at a waterfall.
There are a couple of options in the side creek. One is to cross the creek and abseil 15m in two stages down the right of the waterfall. A 30m rope just reaches here. Then there is a 3m abseil from a ledge on the right, or possible hand-over-hand, but the bottom section is overhung.
Alternatively you can bypass both abseils on the left and return to the side creek just before it drops into the main creek. However, it seems a slight waste to do it this way.
At the junction with the main creek, there is a 9m drop from a tree on the right, or 16m from trees on the left, which are some way back from the falls. This drops you in to a fairly wide section of canyon, which opens out after about 200m. From there, there is a pleasant creek walk of around 45min to the main canyon section.
The first drop is a slightly awkward one of 10m down a waterfall, but there are ledges to get off from about 8m down. It is not too far to the second drop. This is about 8m from large slings around a big boulder, and this has a very awkward start. This abseil can sometimes be jumped, but the takeoff point is not easy, and someone will need to check the depth first. The last drop is an easy abseil of 6m from a long sling on the right, or a tricky jump. You need to know where the ledges are underwater, and unfortunately they are under the easier jumping zones. It requires jumping rather close to a wall.
It is then a short scramble to the end of the canyon, at the Wollangambe River.
There are several short swims in the lower section of canyon, but none in the upper section. There is little point in putting wetsuits on until the lower section is reached.
There are a number of options for exit.
The shortest and easiest exit is about 100m upstream, just as the Wollangambe River bends to the left. To get there you can scramble down the to the river, and wade upstream until you reach some good ledges for jumping. A path leads up the obvious gully and then up the ridge, where it joins back to the entrance track mentioned above. It is also possible to traverse left along ledges (a little exposed) to this exit from the end of WDWDIITR if the water level in the Wollangambe is too high for wading upstream.
Alternatively you can go further upstream to the normal exit track from the Upper Tourist Section (Wollangambe 1). There is a somewhat tricky climb up of about 2m before you reach the exit beach.
Finally, you can go downstream, in which case proceed as for Wollangambe Lower Tourist Section (Wollangambe 2). This probably adds 2-3 hours for moderately experienced parties. Lilos are a good idea, as there is a fair bit of swimming.
- Difficulty: M
- Abseils: 2-6
- Longest abseil: 20m
- Quality: 4/10
- Time: A short day (more if you take the downstream
- Distance: 7km
- Ascent: 300m
- Wetsuits: Recommended
Tom Brennan : firstname.lastname@example.org : updated 2016-02-13