Trips

Jerrara Creek flows in to Bungonia Creek, and Jerrara Creek Canyon is similar to Bungonia Creek Canyon. Though the Bungonia area is famous for its limestone caves, the canyons cut through quartzite and similar rock. The rock is slippery when wet, and the canyon is best avoided in these conditions, as a number of the anchors are on sloping ledges.

Entry

Start from the north-west corner of the campground in Bungonia NP, just before the campground road passes the water tanks.

Follow the Green and Yellow Tracks until they branch, and then left along the Yellow Track down to Bungonia Creek. Cross the creek and climb up on to the ridge on the other side. Continue along the Yellow Track to a fenced lookout over Jerrara Creek. Continue along a track north from the lookout, across the end of an old fire trail, and north down a gully into Jerrara Creek. The first abseil is immediately downstream.

Notes

Scramble down into the pool and climb into the cleft on the right. Abseil 20m off slings around a chockstone. There is a very small stance at the bottom, before a 40m swim.

200m of creek walking follows before the next series of drops. There is a 5m waterfall that can be scrambled. Then a jump in of a couple of metres before the next big abseil. This is about 45m from tapes around a tree up on the left, or 35m from bolts and slings on the right. Both are a bit tricky to get to if the rock is wet. Another swim follows.

The next short drop is about 6m, and can be abseiled or hand-over-handed on the right or hand-over-handed on the left.

The next drop is 8m, from bolts on the top of the big chockstone, or bolts and slings to the right for easier pulldown. It is also possible to jump, but the landing zone is very narrow. The abseil ends in a deep pool, with a 50m swim to the end.

50m of walking rings you out at the top of Jerrara Falls (even though not marked as so on the map). At this point it is possible to take exit (2) below.

To abseil the falls, scramble down about 10m vertical from left to right to a ledge, where the slope steepens. This section can be optionally abseiled from slings around casuarinas.

There are several options for abseiling the falls - the best is probably via 3 sets of bolts to the right of the falls, the first of which are found about 5m down. It is about 80-85m to the bottom of the falls from those bolts. The next bolts are about 27m down on the next ledge. This ledge has a small sloping stance, and you should have either a small party or additional ropes to re-rig. A further 35m down is another small ledge with bolts. It is another 30-35m from those bolts, depending on water level, past a larger ledge, to the edge of the pool. A 30m swim follows.

There are also various casuarinas on the way down that could be used as alternative anchors.

Walk downstream to the junction with Bungonia Creek.

A little way below this is another large drop. It is possible with some difficulty to scramble around this drop to the left. Otherwise, there are a couple of options. Scramble or abseil down a few metres to a large casuarina on the left, and abseil 40m to another ledge above or into a pool depending on whether the pool is full or empty. There is another large casuarina about 10m from the top for a rebelay. There are also bolts on the right hand side of the creek, for a 40m abseil through the falls. There are many boulders on the right side, which may make the pulldown tricky. Swim 30m across the pool. Note that if the pool level is low, the abseils may be longer (5-10m longer), and it may be difficult to get out.

One more big drop follows immediately, but it is easily scrambled on the left. Continue down to exit (1). There are a lot of large boulders in the creek, which makes the going quite slow until the creek swings east.

Exit

There are a couple of options to exit. Option 1 is recommended:

  1. Walk down Bungonia Creek to Breton Creek and the Red Track, and exit up this. Note that Breton Creek flows down a narrow slot at the bottom, so keep an eye out for it. Then walk back along the Green Track, or via the roads, back to the campground
  2. From the top of Jerrara Falls, climb the knife edge ridge to your right. This is very exposed, on scree and poor rock, and is quite dangerous. The rock can also get very hot in the afternoon sun and be painful to hold. There are limited opportunities to set up safety lines or belays. Once at the top, walk along the ridge until you pick up the Yellow Track, which can be followed back to the campground.

Comments

Jerrara Creek has a fair few swims, some of them long. However, being an open canyon the water in summer is fairly warm, and wetsuits are optional. Outside summer, wetsuits are recommended.

The abseils down Jerrara Falls are big and exposed and an experienced leader is needed to decide which ledges to stop on.