Canyoning for the Australia Day Week

Part three - Bungleboori and Dope
29th to 30th Jan 2005


Ken H, Dug F, Tania K, Dave D, Monika B, Dave S.

After a good night, up for an earlier start as we plan Banks or Nosedive canyon depending on how long it will take.  The Glow-worm Tunnel road has deteriorated significantly since we came in on Tuesday evening, so it takes longer than expected to drive to the Waratah Ridge Car Park.  Away walking by 9:15am.  Two men pass us on mountain bikes going out to Hole in the Wall Canyon but catch up with them where they stash their treadlies and take the sidetrack so they didn’t gain much really.  Then meet them again trying to find the track; they are expecting to turn off from a saddle and haven’t gone far enough.  They follow us out to where the usual track goes down while we go up over the pagodas towards the Bungleboori exit.  Arriving about 10:45 for morning tea and then across the creek without getting our feet wet and find a foot-pad going up the gully opposite, Dave and I remember going down stream 50 m to the next gully in the past, but what the heck.  This goes ok with a bit of wandering around and a scramble.

Follow the ridge west to head the other gully then go north down into Banks Ck and up the other side over the ridge and dive into Nosedive.  A pleasant overhang just down stream provides a good lunch spot since it has become a hot day.  As we wander on down the canyon, which is well worth the visit, we come to a hole in between the boulders where we go underground in the dark briefly.  We find another underground section and a couple of tricky abseils.  Nosedive Canyon is a deep and spectacular place – notice Monica the tiny figure down the fourth level you can see in the water sculptured rock (about 2cm from the bottom of the picture and 3cm from the left).

Then the final abseil where the creek nosedives into the Bungleboori, this looks more than the reported 20 m. do we have enough rope?  I set up from a sling round a chockstone in the creek bed with a loose log set to keep the rope out of a crack.  No problems we have a couple of metres spare rope.  Hook on and then lower myself to take up tension before committing to the free fall.  I notice everyone is very thoughtful about this abseil despite the years of experience, especially the last couple who found the chock stone moved as it took the weight.  Notice the look of concentration on the faces in the pictures.  A very pretty place all the same, defiantly worth the trip. 

 The Bungleboori is a great canyon in its own right, we swim, wade and rock-hop upstream between tall dark cliffs, about 100 m to where Banks enters, then another 150 m to where Hole in the Wall enters.  Some members haven’t done this canyon and take the opportunity to crawl up through the entrance to see the first section to the abseil.  Very interesting, I remember being surprised when I first saw it after a Banks Canyon trip and watched people emerge seemingly from nowhere. A few hundred m and we’re at the exit, where we came in.  Get out of wetsuits ready for the walk up.  Back to camp around 8pm after a fairly long day.  Well worth it and one I will do again, probably camp on the Banks side of the Bungleboori and do several Canyons in the one day.

Tea is much later tonight but we still have nibbles brought in by the relief crew from Canberra.  Another pleasant night gives way to a bird call morning.  Our aim is to be packed up and away early so we don’t have too late a start for the long drives home.  Tania has things on today and is leaving us.  Out of camp by 7:30 but because of the state of the road we are not walking on Waratah Ridge till 8:30. 

Today is Dope Canyon, which shouldn’t be as long as yesterday (or Banks if we did that).  I have done this before but no one else has, so navigation is up to me – not often you find me with a map and compass in my hand but I must admit I found it tricky in the past.    No problems we are soon in the right creek, after delightful ridge walk.  A good place to stop for smoko, on the beautiful rock formations, with great views in every direction (no sign of human construction).  The creek is a bit scrubby to start with, but we soon come to the 20 m abseil to start the narrow section.  A couple of us haven’t taken wetsuits but the pool at the bottom of the abseil has a convenient underwater log.  Again a good canyon picturesque a number of abseils, a few wades but in each case a lucky log to keep some of us dry.  The wetsuited ones are seeking the cooling water today.  I particularly like the final section of canyon a bit wider with square block cliff walls extending up.  The floor flat and sandy gives way to a boulder jamb where you can scramble over the top or squirm down through the boulders to follow a series of drops to the level of the Bungleboori – “interesting”. 

The south branch of the Bungleboori is different to the north branch sandier bottom, more vegetation, beautiful in a different way.  Lunch in the sun, on a sandy bench above the creek at the foot of the cliff.   Then we wander upstream 40 min or so to Arch Canyon to exit.  The outstanding feature here is the huge tree root hanging across in front of the face of a small waterfall (3 m or so).  Up the nose of the bank on the left (of Arch creek) and keep left into the small gully.  As we scramble up we have excellent views of the natural arch and it is a beauty, with trees growing out of seemingly bare stone.  A number expressed interest in walking over it but time is a pressing if we want an earlyish  finish.  Back to the cars and ready to leave by 4pm, bit later than I had hoped.  A great day canyoning.

Arch Canyon Exit - a beautiful place Again a great extended canyoning trip of 7 days, with great company, thank you everyone who came.  Pity about the weather early on (and the two lost days because of rain) and a great pity about Grahams car, still we did 9 or 13 canyons depending if you count Rocky creek and the two arms of the Bungleboori, 2 new to me.  A lot of the bushwalking is magnificent in its own right.  You beauty.  © Copyright 2005 Dug Floyd.