Bell Creek Canyon is a beautiful canyon, with a long dark lower constriction. Most parties enter via a hand-over-hand into a side canyon known as Belfry Canyon, which is a good canyon in its own right.
From the Fire Station at Mt Wilson, head west along the fire trail towards Du Faurs Lookout, and turn left after about 300m through a gate to the left. Follow this fire trail until it heads downhill and veers left. Take the foot track that continues straight ahead. When you reach the saddle at MGA537885 (Mount Wilson), turn right and follow the track down into a creek. Towards the end, climb to the right out of the creek and do a short hand-over-hand (10m rope may be needed) down a slab to get down to Du Faur Creek.
Cross the creek, climb up on to a ledge and traverse to the right along the ledge until you can scramble. Continue scrambling through several small cliff lines up to the knoll, and then head up the ridge to the top of the big hill.
Head W or NW into a creek - the NW one has a couple of very short canyon sections and needs a 10m handline. Both of these lead into a larger creek, which also has a canyon in it. This starts with a log slide which again needs a 10m handline. It is quite spectacular in its own right.
Finally you reach Bell Creek proper, where you turn right and head downstream.
There is a short section of canyon, before a scrambly section through boulders. Below this are a number of canyon sections, the first couple being the longest and most spectacular. There are quite a number of chilly swims, including one of about 200m. Lower down there are some more canyon sections interspersed with creek walking.
At the junction with Du Faur Creek, you can go upstream or downstream.
If you head downstream, about 300m after the Du Faur Creek junction, the creek starts to drop through boulders, and then flattens out. This last section is the trickiest, as there is a fair bit of scrub, and the creek bed is covered with large slippery rocks. Bell Creek then flows into the Wollangambe River, which is much the same, although you can walk along the left hand bank quite easily. About 200m after the junction, the river turns a sharp left hand bend. There is a large sandy beach on the left, and the exit track starts directly across the river.
Alternatively head upstream for about 800m through some long pools, and exit left through Joes Canyon. Where the creek splits, follow a track up the left branch up to the saddle.
The track heads up to the top of the saddle, and turns right. The track from Joes Canyon joins after about 600m. The main track then contours round the gully and then heads steadily up, reaching the main ridge, and the entry track to the Tourist Section of the Wollangambe, between two pagodas. Turn right and follow the track up, crossing a fire trail, and joining another fire trail. When you reach the road, turn right back to the Fire Station where you left your car.
- Difficulty: M
- Abseils: No
- Longest abseil: NA
- Quality: 10/10
- Time: 7-10 hours
- Distance: 11km
- Ascent: 510m
- Wetsuits: Lilos
- Maps: 8930-1N Mount Wilson, 8931-2S Wollangambe
A very good canyon. Despite the lack of abseils, Bell Creek involves a fair number of boulder scrambles, and is not a good canyon for beginners. Navigation is reasonably straightforward, although there is an exposed scramble to get out of Du Faur Creek. The canyon is very cold, and wetsuits are recommended, and a thermal top underneath is probably not a bad idea. Some people use lilos to keep warmer. These are best inflated after the boulder scrambling in the main canyon. Otherwise there is a lot of lilo hauling involved. There are some tricky down climbs in the canyon, and some drops in the entry canyons need a handline. Abseiling gear is not normally required.