5 in a Kelvinator on a very hot day.


Amie, Dave, John, Scott, Ken, Dug


Johno rolled over and pushed his face and chest into the course sand. "Ahh that's cooler", followed by general laughter.  We had just toiled up and then along the ridge before dropping into the gully to the left and following the creek bed until we came to this big overhang on a sweeping bend. Time middle of Saturday and a stinking hot day too. What are we doing walking on such a day? This is a canyon called Kelvinator and the water is the temperature to keep beer just right for drinking, its cool and pleasant down here. Cold in the water and then you get a blast of hot hot air but we don't care. Very unusual to get wind in these narrow winding deep crevasses. Boy the conditions up at Mt Wilson must be unpleasant.  Well what else would you do we've just splashed down Serendipity and up the Wollangambe.

But we get ahead of ourselves a bit.  Ken and Dug have met up with Amie, Dave, Johno and first timer Scott from Canberra in the Mount Wilson camping ground.  My trip to Gloucester has fallen through due to a locked gate and drop outs at the last minute. Fortunately Amie agreed to us joining them.

Saturday morning is sunny but cool enough when we start at 9 am.

We head into Serendipity canyon a pleasant little creek that will take us to the Wollangambe. Delightful way to get there, few nice little abseils and wades with all the colourful sandstone cliffs and special canyon vegetation to please the senses. The new comers do well with the abseils, the water is pleasant but not as deep as usual, there is general good humour and much laughter and good feeling.

Amie jumping

This increases when we go upstream in the Wollangambe, where first Amie then everyone delights in scrambling up above the deep holes and jumping and bombing in.  In another place we struggle against currents in a narrow channel, to then try and climb the waterfall against the flow.

At the normal exit place we stop for lunch in the warm sunshine beside the cool water. A lilo group arrives having done the 1st section of the Wollangambe, some of them decide to go on and do the second section, after some encouragement from our group.  The rest pack up and exit, up the ridge, in the hot sun (I know which way I would have gone). We slog up the ridge on the other side of the river to get into the Kelvinator canyon.  Most wearing ½ of the wet suits, as it's only a few 100 m. As I said before, fairly warm going. Kelvinator canyon is very nice, not much water, several abseils, a couple with tricky starts. Most enjoyable.  Back into the Wollangambe, we have 700 - 800 m to swim and wade back to our start place. All agree this is the highlight of the whole weekend, particularly lying on your back supported by your pack and backstroking down the 400 m swim. Tall water sculptured cliffs each side. The water has that sparkling green blue clarity you rarely see nowadays

We wander back up the track to arrive at the camping ground about 6 pm it is much cool now. The electrical storm overhead is mostly dry and mostly passes to the west (probably the one that caused the Bungleboorie fire which started that night). A pleasant night of good food and good company, the radio news of the fires in Canberra did bring a more sombre mood. 

Sunday dawned overcast but still warm.

We did figure that the sun would break through soon. Today is Yileen, so that we will have an early finish for the long drives home. Gross views Over on to Bell Line of Road with one car parked near the exit by 9:30.

The wander over the ridge with views of cliffs or forest in all directions well worth a walk on its own. There is a well defined track into the creek system now.


We're soon strolling in a narrow gorge between tall cliffs and we soon come to the first obstacle, a 6 m jump/abseil. There is some discussion on how deep the water is, so Ken abseils first to test the depth but instead  finds away round without getting wet.  "But you've got to swim soon" gets a non response.  John follows Ken but. "fortunately" Dave falls in.  The water proves to be deep enough (just). I jump and its ok, Amie follows from higher up but Scott hasn't abseiled before this trip so he uses the rope for more practice. The whole party has to swim eventually so Ken and John didn't gain much. The next abseil from a tree has an indication of the airy spaces to come and is the tallest John and Scott have done so far (the next is Yileen from the topmuch taller) and it has an overhang to negotiate.  This is a beautiful area.

Yileen's last abseil is a beauty, tall with airy views of the Gross way way down below. Amie rigs up and slides down no problems, but I do detect some slight tremors in other fingers as they thread the rope through the descender to follow.  


From the bottom we look up 50 m of nearly dry waterfall (just a few splashes below the overhang). From the top you can't see the landing, only the Gross Valley way way down below. You clip on to the rope, do the checks, while someone confirms all looks ok. Then you back down the slippery water course - carefully.  At the edge you take another lingering look at the tree your tied to and then look down where your about to go. The first part is bare rock with lots of vegetation either side of where the water normally falls. Then there is bare cliff under an overhang going a long way down to where a small figure on a ledge belays the rope. Below that again are the rest of the party, just midgets, variously, staring in wonder or awe, getting out of harnesses, changing wet gear or just standing. Hell it is a long way down. Big cliffs either side reach forever into the sky above but also out away from us into haze. Across the wide forested valley of the gross are more tall cliffs, seeming more to scale because of the distance. Part way down you stop and turn round to take in the views, after all that's part of the reason you're here. 

Yellen from the bottem

A short walk under the cliffs and across a creek and we're on the Pearce's pass - Bluegum walking track. We're soon out and having lunch as the picnic tables as a very neat and tidy walking party passes coming up the track from the Gross River - Bluegum Forest. A really good weekend thanks to every one for your company.  © Copyright 2002 Dug Floyd.