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.


south bowen02.jpg
Side creek
south bowen03.jpg
The drop into the Bowen cr junction


south bowen07.jpg




















Party size 2

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


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