Garry, Jodie, Ed and Me
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
Time 5hrs car to car lots of photos