Access: A nice walk up along a gentle ridge. Tar to parking area
Navigation: Navigation is fairly straight forward though the trail can be easy to miss in one spot
Map: Mt Wilson
Time: 30min out to the end. 30min back
Date walked: 28-10-16 Mandy Tal, and myself
Dalpura ridge is a spur off the Bells Line of road that gives nice views over the Grose Valley, south towards Blackheath and Mt Vic. A trail runs from the Bells Line of road out between Dalpura and Birrabang creeks which are popular with canyoneers so the trail is fairly well trodden
Getting there: From the weigh station at Bell follow the Bells line of road toward Sydney for approximately 5km and park on the side of the road. There is a wide clearing on the side here (An over taking lane starts on the west bound lane opposite the car park area). Look for the start of the trail on top of the embankment on the opposite side of the highway. This was marked with a small rock cairne at the time of writing.
The trail is an old fire trail and is easy to follow until it goes over the high spot. Just past here and just before the fire trail peters out a walking track veers off, slightly left to stay on the east side of the ridge. If you miss this and get to the end off the old fire trail walk left 10-20m and you should pick up the walking trail.
Follow it out for views over the Grose Valley from high pagodas. Becarefull near the cliff edges as they are all over hung and brittle.
Legend has it that when offered the choice between a romantic date with her new boy friend or a trip down Magnifying Glass canyon one particular Rover ditched the love interest and chose the later.Thus Magnifying Glass canyon has come to be better known as Better Offer Canyon.
You do have to wonder what the bonny young lass thought of her decision afterwards. I mean, its a pleasant trip with some nice abseils but it doesn’t have any mind blowing “Wow” bits.
The canyons in this part of the Grose are a bit of an anomaly. A little bit to the east is the canyoning mecca of the Claustral/Thunder gorge systems. Just over the hill a little to the north is the canyons the Wollangambe wilderness. Just across the valley to the south the Katoomba and Blackheath canyons. 10min west the Clarence canyons such as Dargans creek.
In between all these mazes of sustained slots and narrow constrictions the canyons of the North-Western Grose Valley are a little hit and miss. Some of the major creeks don’t canyon up at all while the side gullies and minor creeks pop in and out of short,shallow canyon sections each with it’s own sort of flavour.
Better Offer isn’t often talked up, but then again neither is Yileen, Dalpura or Koombanda all of which I enjoy for different reasons.
If you want a deep, dark, sustained canyon look elsewhere. If you want a pleasant day with easy access the Canyons of the North Grose are worth a look.
Anyhoo. We head out along the easy access trail and catch the Valley shrouded in mountain mist
The wild flowers along the ridge we resplendent with waratahs if full bloom joined by orchids, shaggy peas and tea tree and many more.
And within about 30min from the car we arrive at the first absiel point. The only thing more abundant than the wild flowers were the mozzies. Mozzies so big we were tempted to saddle them up and ride them out.
But we absiel the first short drop no worries and make our way down stream. True to expectations the creek wound it’s way down through some small canyonettes inter-spaced with easy creek walking.
A few abseils later and we arrive at one that ends in a deep pool. The guys strip off their shirts and tuck them into dry bags. Jodie chooses to leave hers on… Understandable.
Ed goes first. Gets to a bit of a ledge. Stops and manages to swing his pack across to keep it dry. To save having to bob around int he cold watch trying to get off the rope he unropes and jumps the last little bit. The ensuing tidal wave picks the pack up and pushes it into the next deep pool. So much for keeping it dry.
Gaz follows Ed down. Stops on the same ledge. Unropes and drops his descender in the the crisp clear pool leading to a bit of duck diving action between gasps and muttering “that’s cold”
Jodie opts for the more sensible approach and abseils all the way into the pool and I follow suit.
After another drop the gully opens out before closing in for the big drop. After a bit of an awkward start over chock stones this is a very nice free fall abseil into a picturesque chamber.
The last drop has a shit of a start but only drops 2ms or so before you can walk off to the side.
From here we need to head around to Birrabang Brook. The track notes say to stay low so you don’t get enticed onto hairy ledges… I didn’t read that. We stayed high got on to a great halfway ledge. Past the narrow chossy section of sure death and then chose to read the notes… It’s a shame the ledge gives easy access almost to where we needed to go. Back tracking we continue down the creek a bit before finding the here it is, now it’s nothing but scrub trail around to our exit gully. Working our way up and down a little too much along the way.
All in all a nice half day out in the bush
Party size 4: 3 experienced 1 getting more experienced
After a lazy long weekend in the Wolgan, with just a stroll up to the arch to break up the eating and drinking
I was keen to head back down and have a bit of a look around a dry canyon I knew of but hadn’t explored before and so I dragged Mandy out and ventured back down the valley.
I’d heard about this in the early to mid 2000s but never got around to having a look.
The road in crosses some private property, a couple of old school mates owned a block up the end but wasn’t 100% sure there weren’t other properties on the way up so in the interest of doing the right thing we left the road at the first gate and wandered up through the scrub on the other side of the creek.
We soon passed Ringo and Karl’s block and started climbing the steep hill that would bring us to the lower cliffline and the first short canyonette.
It was steep and loose and the weather had decided to play spring so it was fairly muggy too but we made our way up and reached the base of the cliffs without too many dramas.
The first canyon section started with some promise, a scramble up through another impressive arch. The slot carved up through the lower cliffs but opened out almost as soon as it started.
Climbing out of this brief slot we wandered up through a pleasant, if sometimes scrubby amphitheater to the next cliff line
The scrub was thick with lawyer vines as the valley rose up to the base of the upper cliffs but once there the cool breeze racing up the constriction was like a sigh of relief.
We had to negotiate a squeeze through a tunnel section under boulders
And then we were into the main constriction
My original plan had been to scamper up and out the top to admire the views and check out some other little canyons near by but Mandy hadn’t been feeling the best so I contented myself taking a bunch of photos and then we retraced out steps back the way we came.
If you stick our tongue out it helps you squeeze your gut through
Party size 2, both experienced, but Mandy feeling unwell on the climb up so taking it slow