27/03/2005 - report - photos - Newnes (Starlight) Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, James Yorston, Caoimhin Ardren, Ella Millard, Steve Thomsen, George, Kathleen

On the Sunday I had planned to do Newnes (Starlight) Canyon, which after several visits to Newnes I still hadn't done, but it took a while to sort out who was coming and for what. Our navigation was a little off and after ending up on the wrong ridge, we had to traverse across some scrubby sections to get to the easy abseil into the creek. The creek dropped dramatically into a deep pit, and Caoimhin went down first to check that the way through the tunnel was clear. There was a log jam that proved tricky to navigate, as James can attest when he arrived to find my legs and bum sticking out of a hole I was trying to squeeze through! I was surprised how long the dark section was. It was mostly knee deep in water, presumably from the rain a week and a half before.

After lunch in the sun at the end of the canyon, Rachel, Kathleen and George headed back for camp while Steve, James, Caoimhin, Ella and I headed up another canyon. This was quite pretty at the bottom, before several tricky climbs needed to be negotiated. After the canyon opened out, we thought we would be able to climb out, but the walls again narrowed into a canyon section reminiscent of The River Caves. Caoimhin led a 15m climb up a treacherous waterfall, and dropped down a rope, and after some more scrambling we were soon out on the ridge.

Dropping into another creek, it looked like it would canyon out immediately, but it tantalised for a while until we reached a 10m hand-over-hand. Unfortunately that was it for canyon for a while - a pleasant creek walk took us quite some way downstream before dropping 20m into a fissure. Being late in the day I raced off with the other rope to rig up the next drop - except there was none! There was a good long section of canyon before the creek started to open out and drop through boulders. We headed for the river, and a long walk back to camp. Another great day of canyoning.