Devils Pinch Canyon is an excellent canyon on the north side of the Wolgan River downstream from Newnes. It has two constrictions, and the lower one is long and impressive. Its name comes from the proximity of the canyon to the Devils Pinch on the Wolgan.
See here for information on how to get to Newnes.
From the main (Little Capertee) campground at Newnes, follow the track along the left bank of the river for 2km to the bottom of the Pipeline Track to Glen Davis (signposted). There are some tracks leading to the left, away from the river, and these should be ignored. Crossing Petries Gully may involve wet feet. The bottom of the Pipeline Track is reached just after the Petries Gully crossing. Climb up to the top of the hill on the track. A sign points to a good lookout over the Wolgan Valley about 100m walk to the south. Continue along the main track to the watershed and saddle above Green Gully, where there is a National Parks sign about Starlight Canyon.
Turn right and follow a fainter track up and then north around the small hill to the east. The track then follows the ridge north-east, then east, and then SSE around the back of a large flat hill. Leave the track and continue heading SSE over the ridge in front of you and in to the headwaters of the creek at MGA457278 (AMG456276, Mount Morgan). Continue down the creek to the first section of canyon at MGA458276 (AMG457274).
Climb along a ledge to the right and do a 26m abseil into a shallow pool. This avoids a series of tricky shorter abseils leading straight down the creek. If you do the tricky abseils, the third probably needs to be rigged while on the second abseil, as the anchor is on a chockstone well off the ground.
Either way, a 5m climb down a groove follows. It may be possible to abseil this by continuing the previous abseil, but the pulldown becomes difficult.
Soon after, the canyon opens out for several hundred metres, before dropping in to the lower canyon section. Following this are a number of short climbs into pools. There are likely to be a few short swims in this section. The water level in Devils Pinch can change quite a bit depending on the recent weather. You may be largely able to avoid many of the swims by judicious scrambling and bridging.
Shortly you reach a spectacular 17m overhanging abseil. The usual anchor, a tree, is a long way back, so the drop may be up to 23m in all. After a couple more short wades or swims, the generally dry lower corridor is reached. This section of the canyon is narrow, high and awesome. At the end of the canyon you can scramble down the left hand side of the gully to the Wolgan River, or continue straight ahead and do two slippery abseils of up to 25m down the big waterfall first.
Cross the river, turn right and walk upstream for about 400m until you reach the old road from Newnes, which you can follow back to the campground. Alternatively, you could also pick up the old road by walking 100m downstream.
- Difficulty: M
- Abseils: 2-6
- Longest abseil: 30m
- Quality: 9/10
- Time: 7-9 hours
- Distance: 13km
- Ascent: 420m
- Wetsuits: Optional
- Maps: 8931-4S Ben Bullen, 8931-1S Mount Morgan
An outstanding canyon. The bottom section is both interesting and sustained.
Depending on recent weather, you may be able to stay relatively dry if you are careful.
One 60m rope is sufficient for at least two abseils.