11-13/06/2005 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, David Noble, John Murray, John McGrath, Allan, Stacey Ly
Allan and Stacey picked me up from St Leonards at about 8pm and we drove out along the Great Western Highway through rather light traffic, given it was the Friday night of the June long weekend. Along the dirt road to Newnes, Allan realised that he had forgotten to get pasta for himself and Stacey! Neither Dave nor John Murray ("Sydney John" henceforth) had any to spare, so Allan turned around after dropping us at the campsite at Newnes and headed back to Lithgow, aiming to get there before midnight. Meanwhile the rest of us headed for bed, with John McGrath ("Canberra John") arriving after we were all asleep.
The morning dawned gray and cool as we walked up Little Capertee Creek and through the old farm. A side creek yielded a bit of a track, and so we climbed up it on to the tops. The drought-breaking rain that had been forecast since the start of the week began to fall, and continued to fall lightly as we reached our intended campsite (the "Room") for the day just after 11am.
After unsuccessfully searching the local area for any good camp caves, we sat around the fire for lunch and then into the afternoon. Eventually we overcame the lethargy brought on by the inclement weather and headed north to find an impressive camp cave and spectacular views at an overhang near the north end of the Red Rocks.
Back at camp, we warded off the occasional shower by building up the fire and consuming plenty of red wine and port. Sydney John used his engineering skills to put up his fly in the Room, although a bout of heavy rain wet the ground underneath. As a result, he, Dave and I retired to a dry but slopey cave to sleep.
Sunday dawned fine, and most of us climbed up on to the pagodas before breakfast with cameras to capture the excellent views. The rest of the day was a relatively lazy stroll south along the Wolgan-Capertee divide, with superb views most of the way. Highlights included a climb up a particularly improbably looking pagoda, a short canyon and a spectacular pinnacle, as well as plenty of cliffs, chasms and caverns. Our campsite was a series of excellent overhangs, with a great lookout only a short distance away. We sat out on the lookout drinking port, eating cheese and taking photos as the sun slowly set.
Dinner was a leisurely affair around the fire, again with plenty of wine and port to wash it down. Stacey seemed to have acquired a tapeworm, as by the time dinner arrived, she was on to her 11th or 12th meal for the day!
On Monday morning we again climbed pagodas before breakfast with cameras for another round of photos, before an early start. The weather started to turn gray again as we set off. We climbed Mt Dawson, and then followed scrubby ridges for some way to the creek we would use as a descent. There were more spectacular views of pagodas and cliffs once we cleared the scrub. The creek turned into a canyon, with a couple of short tricky drops where we had to pass packs. The canyon was not very deep, but quite narrow and sustained.
Eventually the canyon ended and we found a nice big overhang for lunch, around a small fire. We didn't notice that the rain had started again until we set off again after lunch. It was not far back to the road, and then a wet walk back to the cars at Newnes. An excellent walk in fantastic country.