03/12/2005 - report - photos - Upper Bowens Creek South Canyon track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan

After pulling out of the Danae trip due to some exciting looking storms on the BoM radar, I did some shopping in Sydney in the morning before heading up to the mountains. A minor tributary of Bowens Creek South called Ferny Cave Creek looked interesting, since there was a fire trail in and out for much of the way. Also, the whole round trip was only about 4km so I didn't think knocking it off in an afternoon would be too difficult.

Well the fire trail bit was easy. From there it was a bit scrubby down the ridge to the power lines, on a very old fire trail. Continuing along the ridge looked particularly unpleasant, and I was planning on dropping into the creek not too far down just in case it canyoned out, so I headed down under the power lines. Unfortunately the slightly clear area stopped, and the options were basically scrub, scrub or scrub. It was a fight all the way to the creek, and then a fight for every metre along the creek. One of the least pleasant scrub bashes I have ever had to do. It took me the best part of an hour to cover about 500m. The creek opened up a little, and walking in the creek became possible. After a little further I reached a drop, which I started climbing down. However, it looked a bit dodgy, with slippery ledges, and I threw up a handline instead. Then followed another short drop into a cold pool, before the creek dropped into a coachwood section with a large cave on one side.

Nearing the junction with Bowens Creek South, there were two more short abseils, one through a hold under a large boulder and then I was at the junction. No real canyon - another Jamieson special. Still, I treated myself to a walk up Bowens Creek South to the bottom canyon section. It was quite spectacular, and I spent quite a while taking photos. There was a repulsive smell in one section of the canyon, and I was wondering where something had died ... until I put my foot on a bloated dead wallaby!

Then it was downstream to the supposed exit. The creek climbed steeply and pleasantly and I thought it was going to be a great exit. However, it soon hit a large waterfall. I traversed back under the cliffs until I could climb out, and then worked my way up slabby ledges for quite some way until I neared the top of the ridge. It was only a short bash through more thick scrub to reach the power lines, and the start of the fire trail back. An interesting trip, but not one to repeat.

Then it was back to Mt Wilson for the Festival of the Canyon. I stayed up drinking red wine and port with Rik and Kate until around 3am when we finally called it quits. So it was a surprise to be woken up by Kate before 7am!