Access: Easy walk though a bit steep in spots, muddy and slippery after rain, which tends to be the best time to visit. There are unfenced clifflines and some steep uneven steps
Navigation: Navigation is straight forward on signposted paths.
Time: It takes about 2.5hr return
Somewhat underrated ( well I’d not heard much of it, then again I wasn’t paying attention either) This pleasant loop in Hazelbrook takes you past 4 nice little waterfalls. Fairy Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Oakland Falls and Burgess Falls
Getting there: Drive to Hazelbrook and navigate to Oaklands road. There is a small parking area at the bottom of the hill. Parking here you note trails heading into the reserve. In the words of Obi Wan These are not the trails you are looking for.
Instead walk back up the road 50m, and you see the track on the other side a small bridge.
The trail is reasonably well signposted and soon you’ll get the option to branch off and head down to the creek bed to the base of the fall. Lower trails take you in past the waterfalls and you can loop back along the upper trail
Each water fall has a little cave behind it. Tip for the adventurous, Glowworms at night
Note 1: Taking care While reasonably well known these spots are still wild places and care needs to be taken around cliff edges and on the steep trails. Carrying the right gear as well as having adequate food, water and clothing is important. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to get back.
Emergency beckons (PLBs) can be hired from Katoomba Police for very little.
Note 2:First aid A basic first aid kit is essential bit of kit whenever heading into the Aussie bush. A basic first aid is highly recommended
Note 3: Maps and Navigation Having the right map, a compass and knowing how to read them is very important when heading into the bush. If you are new to bush walking joining a club or accompanying more experienced walker for you first few outing is a very good idea. I found practicing map reading on well defined trails was helpful when I started out.
The Maps mentioned are the 1:25000 series. They can be purchase at Lithgow tourism information center, from outdoors shops or online for around $10 each.
Note 4: These are wild and beautiful places, respect them. If you are able to carry something in you can carry it out. Don’ be a tosser. Leaving your rubbish behind is a sure way to ruin it for every one else.
Sure I’d done a heap of other cool stuff in mean time but I was itching to get back out.
Wanna do Arethusa?
Does the pope shit in the woods…. wait, um, that’s not it. I mean, hell yeah
Anyhoo we meet up. Head in and gear up.
It’s a big call but Imma call it anyway, Arethusa is the best bang for buck micro adventure in the Blue Mountains.
All thrilla no filla. Beautiful canyon sections with minimum creek walking. Pretty waterfall and cascades. Abseils that can be techie unless it’s supper low water levels. Interesting down climbs with optional jumps. Stunning views at the end. And some easy but adventurous climbing to get out.
Some extra bolts have appeared recently and I would caution people to assess the landingzones. We scrambled/walked past most (all) of them simply because it was quicker and easier (even in the slipperiest-shoes-known-to-man(tm). OK I had a few moments but none of them near the optional abseil bolts) but one anchor in particular looked like it would drop you into recirculating water at the flow level we did it in. At lower levels (and maybe higher levels) it mightn’t be an issue but today we looked and said nope to that.
So make sure you assess things yourself rather than just blindly follow. And that goes for all canyons. We got use to the low water levels during 10years of drought, now they are flowing again reassess things.
Plans were hatched but the weather played havoc with them.
I wasn’t comfortable entering the canyon we wanted to do after so much rain. Luckily the others sort of agreed with me.
Alternate plans were needed. In the end we settled on a return to Wolgan Falls
When Laurie first took me on the trip he had pioneered I was impressed. It’s a lovely waterfall and I had wanted to get out to it for a long time. It’s a testament to his drive to find the line in and out.
But…. Well, I’ve said it before, abseiling for the sake of abseiling doesn’t really do it for me. Sliding down a rope on one wall is much the same as sliding down a rope on another.
For me it’s always been just a means to see new things and get to the next bit of canyon.
So after we had done the standard dry line we were itching to get back and do a wet line. Which was fun but now we had done that too.
Still, in the back of our heads was always, Geez it would be good with more water.
After 2 weeks of constant drizzle interspaced with a couple of good gully rakers we thought it would be worth a look.
Hearing the roar of the falls from the ridge top sent a tingle down my spine. But I’m a notorious over thinker and despite what some might think I tend to the cautious side so we dropped down the first abseil knowing we had an escape route and wandered down to the point to get a look at the falls.
My only concern now was that the water coming across the shelf above the falls might make it tricky getting off rope on the standard line that required you to swing in to land on the shelf.
So we modified the line and dropped into the side just to play it safe. As it was the water wasn’t quiet all the way across
And then there was only 1 thing left to do
The water wasn’t a bad temp. The icy wind thou….
Mission accomplished. What now?
I knew of another waterfall on the other side of the plateau that might be worth a look in the rain.
I’d first done it last year with Russ after a good dump of rain in what may have been a first decent. But anyhoo the drive to get back across was longer than the trip….
Sadly H and Kris had to leave us.
That left 3
Ok so last year was not long after the fire and the gully out was an easy scramble… Post fires, bit of rain and it’s Jurassic Park with full grown T-Rexs hidden in the ferns. Like lots of them.
Breaking a trail through the ferns was tough but we were soon back at the top. People knock my nav but we popped out onto the road 100m from the car. I aint need no stinking map and compass…
And as it was so close it would be rude not to drop into Alcatraz.
So I squeeze. I strip of clothing. I try bridging higher. I can’t bend me knees to get lower….. There is just 1 bit where I can’t get past. If memory serves there is one more tight bit further in so rather than forcing myself through and possibly getting stuck further in I opt to reverse out, with some difficultly and let the young skinny beautiful doggo continue through with Madie and Leo…..
At one point the crack drops sharply, here Pippa decides to take advantage of things and crawl onto Leo’s head.
I slip around and scramble down Crack of Doom 2. We then check out some of the other cracks/Canyonettes in the area
And check out a possible First Nations occupation site before reversing up Crack of Doom 2
A Short easy scramble gets us out the top
Lets get wet. Alcatraz on the way home!!!
Winter Alcatraz Undie run comingup
TBH I sooked a bit and put a top on so that I could go first and then stay to help Madie at the bottom with Pippa and then pull ropes.
Getting back into dry clothes felt soooo good and we relished the sunshine one back up top
The following day we head into the Freezer. Despite the name its a pleasant crag out of the wind and, today at least, sheltered from the rain (mostly)
Madie leads up the delightfully run out slopperfest, Soul Sister (18). Leo then leads up making it look easy before I struggle my way up on top rope.
Then I leave them to play on the harder stuff and head for home feeling somewhat out of shape and deflated but determined to crack myself back into gear.
Your future. It awaits only you, to live it and to write it. R Hobb
Hey, I know you’ve just done Kanangra Main but would you be interested in doing it again with us? says Kylie
Hell yeah. Says I
‘cpet the water levels are up.
A week of dry should settle it. says I, let’s suck it and see.
Good theory but the week wasn’t exactly dry and as the gang set up camp it pissed down then rained steadily all night. I felt sorry for them as I opted to snuggle up in my nice warm bed at home but I’m sure they were having a great time.
When I rocked up in the morning Kanangra brook could be heard gushing away in the gully. I wandered down for a look. The amount of water on the ground was concerning and the little brook below the car park trying to burst it’s banks.
If the brook is flowing like that Kanangra creek will be pumping. Say I. We can walk out to check it out but I’m thinking we need to play it a little safe.
The others agree and we opt to do Kalang Falls instead. It is a bit more open with bigger stances between abseils. It’s usually done as a dry trip but has options so we could choose to get into the flow if it was safe.
And off we went
The rocks at Kanangra are always slippery and loose and the dampness added to this so we went slow and steady, setting up a small abseil to get to the first abseil.
But soon we opt to take the wet line.
We were bleeding the ropes each abseil but a few drops in we core shot Jason’s 70m rope.
A few abseils later I notice a cut in my 60m, right in the centre
Luckily the bigger drops were done as that was our two longer ropes relegated to pull cord status.
There were lot of laughs and plenty of smiles in between the serious stuff.
There was lots of highlights but I think THE highlight was this two stage drop in a good bit of flow
The final drop gave us a good show too
And reaching the junction with Kanangra creek we get back into semi dry gear, have a bit of lunch and then make the steep, slippery, scratchy, bitey haul back up to the cars.
Kylie may have swore once or twice.
The most scared I was on that entire trip was the exit. Says Mon
Stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path. Well unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means follow that.
Russ and meeeee. With a late inclusion of Leo and Madie
A few options were thrown about for weekend adventures but in the end it was cold and damp… Perfect weather for descending a couple of pretty little slots on the Sunnyside plateau
First stop Zorro
The road out is surprisingly clear. Of course I took the first fire trail, belatedly remembering the rough hill down the rocks. I pull up and explain my error. Madie doesn’t look too keen on testing the 4WD capabilities of her ute. Leo, in the drivers seat, looks like a kid on the way to a lolly shop but I decide to turn back and do the detour. Lucky, as looking back up the hill at the junction the link trail hadn’t been cleared for fallen trees
We find our car park and in no time we are descending between the parallel walls of the entrance hall.
And it’s not long until we get to the first abseil
Last year the canyon was as dry as I’ve ever seen it. Today more normal conditions saw a couple of pools, some of which required some tricky bridging to keep feet dry.
I’ve always just down climbed this one. With some careful bridging you can stay dry. I missed a step and right leg went in up to my knee. That leg was too warm anyway
Have I ever mentioned how pretty the central chamber is
The soft light and mist really adding to the beauty
The exit hall was also very atmospheric today with the mist rolling in
Then it opens out for the final abseil.
Not mentioning any names but somebody <Coughitwasrusscough>may or may not have left the safety draw attached to the pull cord and had to prusik back up to retrieve it. Fun times
Then it’s a short stroll back up the hill to the car and we drive back up around the head of the main gully to some cool little features on the other side. The Cracks of DOOM!!
Finally, a quick stop at Bardens lookout where Madie and Leo romp up a pumpy little climb to finish the day off
Mandy and me
We’d had a lazy morning but decide to head out of a lunch date.
I’ve always thought this one a pretty little canyon so I was a little apprehensive as to the state it would be in post fires.
Turns out the canyon itself was fairly untouched. Some of the ferns in the main chamber were brown but that looks more a result of drought
Some people like to cause commotion. Others like to be the commotion.