Twister and Rocky Crk Canyon

The Twister/Rocky Crk double is another favourite of ours.In fact I’d go as far to say it’s my all time favourite.

While Twister itself is not all that deep, dark or sustained it is like natures own water park with slides and jumps and cool stuff around every corner. It’s a lot of fun and when combined with Rocky Creek Canyon provides a great, shortish day of diverse canyoning without the need to abseil

Twister was one of the first canyons we took the kids through (Wollangambe was the first, then possibly River Caves). It’s is relatively short and easy, that said it has caught a lot of people out and there have been many rescues from lost parties, injuries and even fatalities so don’t get complacent.

I’ve done this trip many, many times and I always down climb the drops to check the water levels before allowing anyone to jump, even if I had only just done it the day before. All the drops can be down climbed and then reversed back up fairly easily so why risk getting impaled on a tree branch that has fallen in over night?

Rocky crk Canyon was the first canyon we ever did with the intention of “going canyoning” We’d been swimming at Deep Pass and followed the canyon up but this time we were “going canyoning.” My little brother and his mates had gotten into it somehow and  while it all sounded great it hadn’t really sparked my interest enough to do it myself.

It was Mandy who convinced me to get Scott to take us out. I remember that trip well, it was new years day and I was hung over as all get up. Mandy was bored and frustrated with me. It’s a great day out there, said she. Give Scott a call and see if we can do that canyon. Ahh, said I. Come on, said she. I’m not sitting around here all day.


Off we went. We didn’t do Twister, we went in via the scramble down to the left of the ridge( the long way). I thought the walk in was nice. Then we got to the canyon.

Mind Blown!

Rocky crk is every thing a canyon should be. Deep, narrow, dark, sustained. Unfit, hung over and dehydrated I thought the walk out, with the scramble up the exposed rocks (not the usual entry/exit), would kill me but I was hooked.

Because of the spectacular nature of Rocky crk and the absence of abseils it is now probably the most popular canyon out there after the Wollangambe. This means you need to do it mid week or go very early or late (in the day or in the season) to miss the crowds, even then you have to be lucky not to run into other parties. And so it has lost a bit of it’s wilderness appeal but every single time we get to that bottom chamber it reminds me of how awestruck I was on that very first trip.

Twister and Rocky Crk

3 hrs or so car to car with a reasonable sized group.

Unfortunately I’ve seen groups of 20 or more in there which just causes bottlenecks and delays for every one else so allow extra time.

and an older video of a trip we did when the kids were little



I guess some comment should be made about the name Twister or Sheep Dip.

The first recorded group down Twister, lead by the younger Dave Noble (NP Rnager and discoverer of the Wollemi Pine) thought they were in another canyon done previously by a group that included the older David Noble (Canyoning stalwart from the 60(?) and70s- through to now, having been on so many first descents it’s hard to count. No relation) and while they preferred the name Twister naming convention gives preference to first parties name. Jamison repeated the error in his guide book and referred to the canyon as Sheep Dip. It was only years later when David asked Dave how he found Twister that Dave realised they were 2 different canyons.

By that stage the Jamison guide was in it’s second or third edition and was probably the most popular source of canyon information and so those from outside bush walking clubs came to know it as Sheep Dip Canyon, including most commercial guide companies. The error was somewhat rectified in the Fifth Edition which now has it as Twister (known by some as Sheep Dip). Oddly it compounds confusion by naming Sheep Dip “Death Trap Canyon, AKA Sheep Dip”. Twister is definitely not Sheep Dip and Sheep Dip is definitely not Death Trap. They are 3  different canyons

More dtails on that on my post about sheep dip


5 thoughts on “Twister and Rocky Crk Canyon

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