24/12/2005 - report - photos - Wollangambe Canyon - Upper Tourist Section track notes

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, James Yorston, Gill Fowler, Caoimhin Ardren, Anthony Dowle, Tania King, Alex Turner, Jamie Turner, Liz Drummond, Charles Blumer, Debbie King, Nathan Chan, Alison Colyer, Owen Shepherd, Jo McLellan, Ken Shepherd

Given that we had a group of fifteen coming, it was quite surprising that we all managed to make it to the North Richmond Bakery within about 10 minutes of each other. After consolidating into fewer vehicles, we reassembled at the Fire Station at Mt Wilson.

We set off down the track to the canyon, although at the big pagoda I made the impromptu decision to turn left and start at the river crossing before you head up to Geronimo. Probably a mistake in hindsight, but some of us were interested in checking out the top section of the canyon. Down at the river, people squeezed into wetsuits, blew up lilos and paddled off down the Wollangambe. The first section of river was nice, with some large overhangs and caves, but after a while the creek got rather scrubby, and there was a fair bit of time involved in climbing over and under fallen trees. Caoimhin had checked out one of the side creeks, which turned out to be a good canyon. We couldn't get up past a waterfall, but what looked like a good pass gave us hope for a future visit. Caoimhin's lilo was suffering a bit of a puncture by this stage, which required him to ride it like a pool pony to keep the air in.

At the start of the main canyon section, quite a few people did the jump from the right hand side - at varying heights. By this stage, liloers were strung out along the river over quite some distance. After some more paddling we reached the long boulder scramble, which took us quite some time to negotiate. There were lots of little climb downs, and lots of lilo throwing to get to the end. A little further on, we found most of our party already eating lunch on a pile of boulders. I got a bit of amusement pulling the whole watermelon and large kitchen knife out of my pack. However, despite much effort in getting people to eat it, I ended up with a quarter of it left that I had to carry out.

Lunch had been pretty late, and as Rachel and I were hosting drinks back in Sydney that night we had to get a move on. Not far after lunch, Rachel paddled her lilo over a sharp stick and pfffft! It rapidly deflated. She and Liz joined forces to paddle sideways for the rest of the canyon. Rachel, Liz, Nathan, Alison and I climbed up the roots and headed out at a rapid rate, with Caoimhin to catch us up. A number of the others headed just downstream to do the big jump before heading back to Sydney for drinks.