The mark of Zorro


Mandy Tal and myself

The slash of the Z, ‘Cept it’s upside down miss Jane

Neither Mandy nor Tallis came with us last year when we did Zorro and I thought it was one they’d both enjoy, I’m not 100% sure they did but anyhoo we had a spare weekend and organised a trip.

The drive out was uneventful and this time I had no dramas negotiating our way through the scrub to the start of the canyon. I had it in mind to go back around the top to see if the magnetic anomaly we encountered last time was an actual thing and not just a figment of my imagination but I still get excited about canyoning and forgot all about it.

Anyhoo. I skirt across the top of the canyon a little way to get a shot of Tal and Mandy as they enter

It doesn’t look that promising at the start
Mandy and Tal starting down the unassuming canyon

The canyon formations in Zorro still blow me away. Straight and narrow, it’s just got a different feel to it.

The straight walls give it a unique feel
It gets nice pretty quick


So it was all going fine until Tal was down climbing a little drop. Hey Tal, calls I. Trying to get a surprise photo. Photos of him looking at a camera are a tad rare. I almost got 1 at the expense of him loosing his hand hold and almost falling. Bad dad!


The first abseil comes soon after. It’s a nice drop down a narrow cleft, though it’s a little awkward with a sloping ledge coaxing you out a little before running out and having you swing back in under the over hang


More narrow canyon follows


Mandy and Tal making their way along the canyon

Near the bottom of this drop there are two short, shallow, stagnant pools (this was 1 pool last time) I opted to walk through the smelly water. Mandy Reluctantly followed. Tal showed us up by climbing around it on a narrow ledge about shoulder height.

The pool at the bottom of the next little drop is a bit more awkward. Deeper (still only about knee deep) and shorter but the walls are wider there arn’t too many convenient ledges to bridge it.

Now I don’t like jumping across things in canyons, and people who do jump across things in canyons tend to get put on the “lets not go with them again” list as slight slips can have big consequences in these remote, hard to access places and the heavy packs make it easy to get over balanced. But the thought of wading through is pongy water had me willing to jump this one.

I jump, just make it to the other side with a little splash. Mandy decides to roll her pants up and wade. Tal decides to jump.

Tal contemplating the leap

But as he goes to launch his foot slips sending him pretty much face first into the cold, smelly, horrid water…

Luckily its a soft sandy floor so no harm done but he is now soaked and a little shook up by the ordeal.

Next up is a tricky down climb. There is an anchor set up but I assure Mandy we got down fine without rope last time. She looks dubious. How about I set the cord as a handline to assist? I think it hindered more than helped to be honest but we slid our way down and the canyon narrows even more

Mandy in the squeeze, bridging across a pool of unknown depth

I have no idea when we last used the cord but it was full of twists and took a bit of careful rope management to avoid it getting stuck on the pull down.

Mandy and Tal unknotting the rope and coiling it back up

Next we come to the Z chamber. The light in here is awesome and you wouldn’t pick it for the dark hole we were looking down into in the top picture

The Z chamber from the bottom
The same chamber from the top, doesn’t look so light and airy here

From here the canyon runs straight and narrow to the end.

Some careful bridging is needed to stay out of a long pool of unknown depth just before the canyon opens out


Mandy between the nether worlds of water and sky
Mandy almost at the end of the canyon
Looking back up the slot

1 more abseil and then we scramble around to the base of the cliff and follow this a short distance to the fern filled exit slot.

Tal lead the way as I check out a higher ledge back toward the entrance for a view over the Eremites Wolgan resort. Suddenly there is a crash and a bang and the sound of tumbling.

Shit! Tal are you OK. I call? It wasn’t me, replies Tal. There’s a Wallaby up here. It just bounced it’s way up that crack

Looking back down the exit slot, Mandy is in amongst that greenery somewhere
Mandy hauling herself up the same exit slot the wallaby took

Once out of the exit slot its a short stroll back out to the cliff edge with staggering views over the Wolgan Valley and Donkey mountain.

With extreme care the ridge between the two slots give great perspectives back long the full length of Zorro from the top



Group size: 3 All experienced

Time: I really didn’t pay attention but I think it was around 3hrs car to car with a bit of time photo faffing on the cliff edges

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