Garden of Stones

Newnes Pondage.  August 2005


I joined a party of Sydney Bushies on a walk to a part of the Garden of Stones I haven’t visited before.   We drove to the camping spot, on a fire trail by the Coxes River, just off the Newnes road (before it winds down into the Wolgan Valley), with enough daylight to set up camp comfortably.  This area obviously gets lots of company of the 4WD variety, testing or training up and down the steep ridges, but all is quiet this Friday evening.  A pleasant night and we are up early to greet the rest of the party, at the turn off of the Newnes Road from the Lithgow, Rylstone/Mudgee Road.  Then away to our jump off point, where the trail crosses the Great Dividing Range (very approximately 310120 Ben Bullen).

A pleasant day for a stroll, we are away about 9am following the ridge northish before we turn right to McLeans Pass (not sure of the history,  a N/S pass between Wolgan and Crown Creek or E/W along the ridge from Baal Bone Gap and Mt Jamison/Mt Davidson, but it seems you would be able to doth).  There is a delightful very small canyon section here that you can walk through to view the way down into the Wolgan.  Quite a large camping cave, very suitable for morning tea.  We followed the ridge generally NE to the Newnes Pondage (WNW of Mt Davidson) around 311202.   A pleasant enough wander along a general ridge top track. Everywhere the rock formations the Garden of Stones is famous for, lots of wild flowers and some scrub.

This ridge system offers wonderful views all over the park; we can see the Wolgan Valley with its high colourful sandstone cliffs; Baal Bone Gap and the ridges out to the Claw Hammer with the saddle to Pantones Crown.  Pantones Crown is one of those features that stands out proud for the whole district to see.

The Newnes Pondage is a flat sandy area formed in a depression, obviously often under water but dry at the moment because of the drought.  There is however a small canyon section leading to the cliff edge with convenient permanent water.  One of the party has brought abseil and prussic gear and continues on down a 6-7m water fall to explore to the cliff edge and see the views beyond.  We all then continue the exploration of the ridge system towards Point Cameron.  We are thwarted by failing light and the Pagodas typical of the area. 

We notice that the distance has defiantly ominous misty.  Back in Pondage area we start to set up camp and get the cooking going.  I defer setting up a tent because there is a nice camping overhang in the canyon section mentioned before.  Sure enough drizzle sets in and some of us retire to the overhang to finish preparing our meals.  I also set up my sleeping gear in a nice flat dry area.  One other does likewise and sets up his fly to dry.  A pleasant evening and night, bit drizzly outside though and still drizzly in the morning.  Because of the general dampness of the bush an exploratory side trip on the way back is canned.  We are back to the cars by early afternoon for a welcomed early mark.  A good trip thank you everyone for your company.  Till next time.  © Copyright 2005 Dug Floyd