Upper Middle ̶b̶o̶g̶a̶n̶ Bowen South canyon


Ed and me

I had this one on the radar for this season, I have no idea why I haven’t done it before… Anyhoo there it was on our hit list but for some reason I had it in my head it had long cold swims so I was thinking later in the year. Then people started posting trip photos. Seems all the cool kids did the trip early in the swim season. Right we’re in. Originally we planned it for a couple of weeks ago but Thunderstorms rolled in throughout the night and it was pissing down in the morning so we did Serendipity instead.

The postponement meant Gaz and Jodie couldn’t make it so it was just me and Ed.

I thought I was running early so made a quick side dash to grab a photo of Mt Banks to waist time.


Then continued on, still thinking I was early I got to the meeting spot to find Edwin already there.

During the car shuffle we briefly discussed our starting point options. There are 3 or 4 canyon sections in South Bowen creek higher up than the section most parties visit. I’m always keen to check out less visited canyons but this time around we decided to forgo the scrub bash and creek scrambling in favour of more time in the main canyon section taking photos. We could also spend a bit of time in the side trips up Cork Screw and Hobnail canyons.

The 500m walk along the highway from the drop off point bemused us a bit. Turns out there is a wide verge with plenty of parking room right where the trail leaves the Bells Line of Road and strikes out across the ridge.

The trail out was fairly straight forward but caught in the rapture of the views from the top of the pagodas we did loose it for a bit and had to back track slightly to find our way down through the upper cliff line to the little side creek we’d be using as our entry point.

A few slippery abseils later and we were in South Bowen Creek. Upstream was the exquisite section known as Cork Screw Canyon and it is well worth a visit, though the water no longer Cork Screws under itself.

Down stream some very nice canyon leads to a great sassafras and coachwood forest and a long undercut cave-like section


The next section of canyon is awesome and sustained with lots of problem solving on climb downs and duck unders. For a long section of canyon with us taking lots of photos it seemed to take little time to get through.

We made the side trip up Hobnail canyon. Another nice canyon with some cave like scrambles to allow us up. The upper most section we visited was pretty cool, like a mini canyon with low walls barely 2m high. When does a canyon become just a creek with high stone banks?

We reversed back down to Bowen creek and From there is was not far down to the exit.

Unfortunately the new “dirt” exit is the more obvious get out point but we passed this and found the proper exit up the rock ledges. Hopefully most parties ignore the dirt exit as it looks like it will erode out without too much traffic and a bit of rain.

We encountered another party of two coming through just behind us. We crossed paths on each of the side trips and again at the exit.

All in all an enjoyable day topped off with a quick visit to Dargan arch

If I was going again I think I’d forgo the abseils in the right hand entrance creek and just go for the easier left. The right creek is pretty in places and the final absiel is nice but the others are nothing to write home about. Going left would let you get away without carrying harnesses and a shorter hand line would suffice.


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Side creek
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The drop into the Bowen cr junction


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Party size 2

Time: 6hr car to car lots of photos. Another 1hr car to car for Dargan arch


The River Caves


Tim, Sarah, Mia, Poppy, Tal and me

River Caves canyon was originally called the Water Tunnel by the people who first described it, Rus and Alan May and John Norris (Who built the now burnt down hut in deep pass clearing under and occupational permit back in the 40s or 50s) Apparently they didn’t like it being called River Caves but that is the name that has since stuck.

Anyhoo my original plans had fallen through so a quick text Friday night to see if anyone wanted a lazy stroll down to the River Caves got a couple of takers.

For some reason it always put me in mind of the entrance to somewhere a pirate would bury his treasure
No words needed
Dance like no one is watching




E.Spinifer, the Giant Spiny Crayfish. No where near the size of the ones at Mt Wilson last weekend but this is my favourite colour morph. They come in a range of greens and reds and blues and blacks and can weight up to 1kg. The old tales goes if the creek flows generally east they are red and if it flows generally west they are blue









Part size: 6 2 experienced 4 beginners

Time. Couple of hours car to car


A quick trip to The Dry Canyon


This canyon has many names including “Wolgan View” and “Nobles canyon” but because it is a canyon that is dry it is mostly known by the very descriptive title of “The Dry Canyon

It’s a super easy walk in, pretty much flat, has 2 very nice constrictions and gives access to nice views over the Wolgan valley. It tends to be underatd by serious canyoners looking for something with a little more challenge and adrenaline but I really like it. The play of light in the lower constriction is magical.

Anyhoo friends were looking for more easy bushwalks to show visitors down when they came to town and I suggested this one. Finding a weekend when we were all available was proving problematic so now day light saving has kicked in we settled on a quick afternoon trip after the kids finished school

The late spring afternoon light was glorious as we made our way along the entrance trail and we soon reached the upper constriction.

I love showing newbies through here. Inevitably they are amazed at the upper constriction and I can’t help having a little grin. This is just the entree.

Anyhoo it was a nice little walk for a Monday afternoon.











Party size 4

Time 1.5hr car to car with lots of photo phaffing and looking about

Why don’t we do it in the Serendipity


Garry Jodie, Edwin and me

Soooo we’d planned an early start and a trip down Upper South Bowen creek but storms rolled in around 3am and at 6am it was still belting down so we decided to wait for the rain to clear and play it safe in Serendipity Canyon.

Yeah yeah I know naming protocol says the canyon should be referred to as Why Don’t We Do It In The Road canyon and I’m all for naming protocol but while that song may have meant something to the first descendant to be honest I’ve never even heard it and it’s a long and awkward name for a short and pretty canyon. Serendipity has caught on largely due to the Jameison guide but it seems appropriate.

Anyhoo it’s a nice spot with a relatively small catchment but the waterfalls were flowing nicely after the rain.

We meet up at Mt Wilson a few hours latter than originally planned and make our way in.

I had a slight moment on the first absiel were the rope slid up over a rock suddenly providing me with a foot of slack just as I was looking for a foot hold on the slippery slope. BLM (Bowel Liquifying Moment)

Gaz had a moment on the second last abseil, going inverted briefly under the waterfall. Other than that it was a relaxed trip down a very nice canyon

Unfortunately the late start meant the light was a little harsh

The Yabbies were out in force. One a canyon trip you normally see a larger one taking prime residence in the best pool. Today every pool seemed to have a massive one, sometimes two.

Jodie with her friend
I’ve never seen so many big yabbies so close together. the feeding must be good
Gary and Jodie in canyon
Descending the canyon
Ed in the canyon






Party size: 4. 3 experienced 1 intermediate

Time: 4.5hr car to car