Bell Creek


Kylie, Hywaida, Kris, Jason, Aimee, Tash and meeeeeeeeee


I’ve done the lower section of Bell creek a couple of times. It’s beautiful.

Like really, jaw droppingly beautiful

But the first time it took us 3hrs to walk into the start of the access canyon, Bell Fry(which is a pretty little canyon in its own right)

Next time we knew where we were going and a hazard burn had taken out a lot of the scrub on the ridge. So we cut that down to just under 2hrs.

But it was still a difficult walk, having to scramble into the start of Du Faurs creek then climb up the other side.

Anyhoo, the Jamieson guide says a good overnight trip is to include the upper section. It also suggests you could do both in a very very long day.

Myself and Madie had mentioned a few times about having a crack of doing it in a day. But we never got around to it

This year a trip got planned. Unfortunately last minute I had to work😢

I get a text. Ok we are heading in.

Just over 6hrs later. We are out.

Wait! What?

Anyhoo I finally got the chance to give it a crack.

Now I’m not as quick as Madie and Russ but a 30min walk down a fairly easy ridge, with me just following my nose until Aimee checked the map and corrected my course and we slipped down a short side canyon and entered Bell creek just upstream of where it canyons up.

Our entry “canyon” was a short slot with 2 tricky down climbs, some parties would opt to rope up or at least handline. We used some sticks. Oh and it had an arch:-) ©Jason

I’ve said before that Du Faurs creek is a more canyony version of the Wollangambe. Bell creek is even more so.
We wade scramble and float down some long, impressive canyon sections @kylie

So the girls hadn’t caught up for a while and there was a chatter. Well, I say chatter but it was more weird noises and giggling. And, I say giggling, but it was more like cackling. Like b grade movie witches planning downfalls.


TBH I wasn’t expecting the upper section to be so good.

“Upper sections” as described in the book can be hit and miss around here. The upper section of Du Faurs creek is good. The Bowens (North and South) have upper sections that contain pretty canyon sections but they pop in and out and there is scrub and scrambling between. Upper Wollangambe is basically a creek walk…. But this one has sustained sections of quality canyon.

Ok so there are no abseils… I get that’s what some people are after but it’s like 2 totally different sports. Vertical canyoning and this.

Maybe the old skool bushwalkers had it right when they described these trips as Swalks (Swim/walks)

either way it’s an adventure in beautiful surrounds with great people. Winning
It even had some duck unders
And spots for p̶l̶o̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶c̶h̶e̶m̶e̶s̶, I mean quite contemplation
As green as green is
It’s not easy being green…. or brown.. or sumfink. Not 100% sure but I think its a Whistling Tree Frog, Litoria verreauxii. If you can confirm or offer an alternate ID comment below ©Aimee

Because I knew it wasn’t the very very long day Jamieson suggested we weren’t rushing at all. We even stopped for little lunch… I never stop of little lunch… but we still managed get from the car to the junction with Bell Fry in just a bit over 3.5hrs. So not much longer than the standard way into the lower section and far more interesting.

The gate keeper to the lower section

As surprisingly nice as the upper section is the lower section really is special

It might not be as iconic as the Hulks Fist in Claustral but its the Hulks Hand

and soon

Magic happens

The Lower Section just keeps going

Click the images to enbiggen ’em

We stop for a bite to eat and Kris finds this little beauty

And then the Canyon opens out a bit. It’s still grand and dwarfs us as we boulder hop down to the junction with Du Faurs creek. Then up to exit out Joes and up to the fire shed.

Group Size: 7

Time: 8.5hr car (Water Trough Hill) to car (Fire Shed).

Some of God’s children just are naturally wild: Ray Wylie Hubbard


A peaceful dapple in Dalpura


Aleasha, Gibbo and Macca and meeeeee or sumfink

With too many hobbies and a bunch of commitments I just wanted to get out for a pleasant, short afternoon canyon and thought to myself Dalpura is pleasant and short and a canyon and Saturday has an afternoon. A plan started to form…

I’d hadn’t caught up with this lot of awesome folk for few weeks and they were keen enough to join me. Awesome.

Dalpura starts with a nice little section
You only get wet to your waist, said I. Forgetting that takes a bit of effort and even then it was more like chest deep

Um, Russ, did you not pack your harness and stuff? said all of us as Russ rigged up a munter hitch on makeshift tape harness

I have them in my bag, says Russ. But I couldn’t be bothered getting them out. I’m a minimalist….

OK then, cool beans. Rock on,

It is still a nice spot thou

From there the canyon opens out, closes in and opens out again. There are some nice bits but nothing mind blowing

It’s odd how compelling these little challenges can be. We were already wet but we all had a crack
The I’ll have a Crack kid may or may not have made it to the end… You can do it Jez… Maybe
Never overly deep or narrow it does have pleasant bits
And crystal clear water

Hey there is a little ledge down here with stunning views…. It was fogged out

Hey from up here there awesome views toward Mt Vic and Blackheath…. FoggyMcfogfog.

Still the wild flowers were out on display

How awesome are Waratahs? The correct answer is Very.
And Spiderwebs in the rain… this one was tiny, Captured with the macro setting

Party Size: 4

Time: 2.5hrs car to car

If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be,


Previous trips 26/03/16 / 31/03/2018

A dabble in Dalpura


Tal, Ben and me

With an early Easter combining with a few family birthdays I wasn’t able to organise the usual Easter Epic Ride this year so instead conspired with Tal to do a quick early morning trip to Dalpura canyon.

Ben posted that he was down from Qld and keen to check out a canyon or two and I messaged to say if he didn’t get a better offer he’s be welcome to come with us. He accepted the offer and we met nice and early in some typical mountain mist. AKA, fog.

Last time we had done Dalpura we dropped into the western tributary, which had some nice bits high up but also involved some thick cutty scrub. This time around we followed Toms track notes and found a reasonable track into the Eastern tributary which also had acouple of short and shallow but nice canyon sections.

Anyhoo it doesn’t take long to get to the abseil. It’s a short drop into a very nice chamber. Last visit I was still using and iPhone4 for photos so I was hoping for some nice light to see how the TG4 would go.

We waist no time rigging up and drop on in.

Ben descending

It’s a nice little abseil into a deep green pool. Luckily you land on a ledge just below the water and can work your way around the side.

Ben gets busy with a big camera

While Ben was setting up his tripod I remember I have the glass ball thingy my sister bought me. It’s been in the top pocket of my pack for about 3 months, I keep forgetting it is there but decide to have a play with it.

With auto focus and hand holding both ball and camera it was tricky getting a shopt but I think it’s definately worth playing with a bit more


For some reason my camera was struggling to focus at all in here. Not sure if it was just the low light or what


Ben in the canyon

Dalpura is more a series of short canyonish section but it has some nice bits


A tube like section


The water is so clear but the deeper bits have this gorgeous blue/green tinge

All too soon the canyon opens out and a final optional abseil snakes it’s way down a cleft.

We can walk around it if you don’t want to abseil.

We’re here to experience the canyon….

Ben on a tricky start

Before the easy bottom bit

Tal enjoying it.

And with views like this at  the end waht’s not to love?

Party size: 3

Time: 3.5 hrs car to car with some photo Phaffing

Some people are so obsessed with reaching the top they forget it’s the side of the mountain that sustains life.


Ranon Canyon


Kent, Anna, James, John, Tal and me

Last time I had done a trip through Ranon canyon Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas were Smooth and Mmmbop was unfortunitely still a thing. A drunken conversation between myself Della and Lerch on the wrong side of 2am saw us up a few hours later working off hangovers in the heat.

It was Lerch’s first big canyon I remember getting to the Junction with Claustral and him asking where the exit was. The look of dejection when I told him it was 2hrs down stream was almost as good as when we got to the top of the camels hump and I pointed out our destination up on Mt Tomah that looked to be separated by another deep chasm and I jokingly said we had come up the wrong ridge…..

Lerch is not a violent man but I think I saw murder in his eyes that day. Luckily he was too stuffed to chase me.

Anyhoo, I had some time off and Kent was out on another one of his multiple day canyon extravaganzas and he happened to be doing Ranon on a day that I could get to. Sweet.

The “normal” entrance to the Claustral system through the Black Hole of Calcutta Falls is spectatualr and all but I always preffered going in via Mistake Ravine and Ranon Canyon. Originally that was probably a snobby thing knowing it was far less visited but it does give you more bang for your buck with some very nice canyon above the junction that gives Claustral a real run for it’s money in terms of greenry. IMO it’s even more fernilicous and still has few signs of visitation.

Anyway there was so much beauty in this trip I think I’ll leave the words to a minimum and let the photos tell the story.

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Looking down Mistake Ravine towards the Ranon Brook Junction

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Tal on a slippry hand over hand into Mistake Ravine

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Like a lost world

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Sandstone, Sassafras and Coachwood

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Tal giving Anna some tips on foot placement


After the junction with Ranon it somehow gets even more ferntacualr

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John dropping into Ranon

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Fern ceilings are cool

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Kent all chilled out and relaxed

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Work life ballence or something

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Tal resetting after having negociated the deep pool mid abseil

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Anna on another 2 stage abseil with a deep pool between drops.

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Kent and James pulling ropes

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John dropping down towards the Claustral junction

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James in the slot at the Claustral junction

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Sun beams in Claustral

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Looking out of the Black Hole of Calcutta towards the Ranon Junction. You can make out Anna belaying Kent down the final abseil

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Claustral Canyon

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The Hulks Fist

OK so this location/pose is probably the most snapped shot in any canyon in the Blue Mtns, if not the southern hemisphere. Sure it’s almost getting cliche and is certainly the classic “Claustral photo” but who cares it is such an epic spot. I thought it became “the shot” after it was featured in National Geographic but a quick google informs me that was the next one down which Ed has captured from a slightly different angle for the 2017-18 Ozcanyons banner.

So who first took it? No idea but two of the best comes from Ed and Jake 


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Claustral canyon

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Claustral is such a great slot, deep and sustained. Unfortunitey in 1982 3 people lost thier lives when they got caught in this section in a  severe storm. Between the Black Hole and the Thunder Canyon junction there is little to no refuge in rising water. The Claustral system has a large catchment so it’s important to stay uptodate on weather forcasts and if it looks dicey or you are unsure… Well the canyon will stillbe there next week, next month, next year


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Enjoying a bit of sun light

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Looking up Thunder canyon

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Me and Tal go for a quick look up the bottom 100m or so of Thunder. The water is so much colder

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From the Thunder junction down there is a bit of boulder hopping before the canyon closes back in

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Tal in the tunnel swim. On my first trip though here it was silted up and was more a shallow wade. Deep and clear today

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In the tunnel swim

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The chock stones in the tunnel swim seem so far above you as you swim through but the cliffs above dwarf them

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A final swim to the exit spot

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And then it’s up and up and up

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Though the exit gully, Rainbow Ravine is very pretty itself

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Looking across to Mt Banks

in my report on our Claustral trip last year I explained how George Caley thought it would be an easy traverse from Mt Tomah across the “low saddle” to Mt Banks. Without knowledge f the deep canyons, only some of which we had just traversed, it’s easy to see why he had thought that.

Anyway anther great trip with great people, thanks again to Kent of organising.

Anna was pleased that on a canyon trip with 5 blokes no F bombs were dropped. Personally I think she blanked a few out.

Party Size: 6 all experienced

Time:8.5hrs car to car, relaxed pace

Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves-Friedrich Nietzsche