Water Dragon Canyon is a very good canyon on the north side of the Wollangambe River. It is visited less frequently from the top as about half of its impressive constriction can be visited by walking up the canyon from the Wollangambe. Nevertheless, the whole constriction is quite long and well worth the trip.
Water Dragon Canyon is also known as Kelvinator Canyon, due to the temperature differential between it and the Wollangambe River.
Follow the Wollangambe Lower Tourist Section (Wollangambe 2) entrance track down to the river. Cross and climb the gully on the opposite side, tending left at the bottom. Once up on the flat part of the ridge, continue for about 200m to the spot just before the track starts to go up to a small knoll. There may be a cairn at this point, and possibly a faint track.
There are two main options. One is to contour to the north for about 100m, on the west of the knoll, and then head west down the steep slope. Near the bottom, drop into the gully to the north, which takes you down into the main creek. Most parties will probably find this the quicker of the two routes.
Alternatively head due west, into a small, unmarked gully which ends with a drop into the main creek. Traverse right for about 30m to a tree with slings for a 16m (12m for the minimum drop) abseil into the creek.
Once in the creek, there is a 3m drop that can be climbed down, or optionally hand-over-handed, and a wade. The main canyon starts a little way after this at MGA554918.
Use slings around a tree on the right to do a short hand-over-hand or abseil of 4m down to a lower stance. There are then bolts on the right for the first abseil of 8m into a shallow pool.
There is a bit of a walk through the canyon to the second abseil, which is at the obvious creek junction on the map. You can climb down a crack using a handline if needed (about 4m), swim across a pool and abseil 12m from bolts on the right.
Then there is 200m of very good, but dark canyon to the junction with the Wollangambe.
At the Wollangambe, walk and swim downstream for 500m to where you crossed before. Flotation in your backpack is advisable, as much of the distance is swimming. Weaker swimmers may want a lilo.
- Difficulty: M
- Abseils: 2-4
- Longest abseil: 15m
- Quality: 7/10
- Time: 6-8 hours
- Distance: 8km
- Ascent: 480m
- Wetsuits: Recommended
- Maps: 8930-1N Mount Wilson, 8931-2S Wollangambe
Water Dragon is a very good canyon with a couple of interesting abseils. There are only a couple of short swims in the canyon, but some very long ones down the Wollangambe to get back to the exit.