Hassans Wall Undercliff track

Access: Easy access to the start of the trail then steep and vague in spots

Navigation: Navigation is fairly straight forward .

Map: Lithgow

Time: It takes about 1.5hrs

Traditionally known as Gnallwarra, Hassans Walls was named by Governor Macquarie who thought the stunning pagoda topped cliff line reminded him of the hill forts and Hasanamba temples of the Hassan district of India.

The Under Cliff track began construction in 1916, Largely the work of Richard Merrick and the Lithgow Progress Society, and stages were added over the years.

It largely fell into disuse but was reopened for a short time in the late 90s or early 2000s before being closed by council due to concerns over the stability of the cliffs above (I think a cliff collapse may have taken out part of the trail so be warned or whatever)

Its a shame because its a great walk under some spectacular coloured cliffs with little alcoves of rain forest hidden in the nooks. Just beware of falling rocks, small and large.

Getting there: Head up Hassans Walls Road. Before you get to the top there is a spot people park on the right near the imaginatively named “First lookout”. Park here and look for a road angling back up to the right.

Most of the gullies between here and the lookout will give access to the track but head up to the right passed the locked gate.

The easiest access is in a gully to the left as the road starts up the steep hill https://goo.gl/maps/BcPjZqdgfqBtjD1

But for a more adventurous start keep heading up the hill. Take the left fork at the top of the hill and the next left fork as well.

The road dips down into a saddle, just before the bottom it flattens out. Head into the bush here and find a break in the cliffs to the right of the main gully (main gully cliffs out) https://maps.app.goo.gl/NyPxTjhz5dGzcgQZ9

Alternatively go to the bottom of the saddle and just before the road climb up the other side go left into the bush and find a break to the left of a great lookout. But note the undercliff track is vague at the point.

Once through the cliff line follow the base of the cliffs around to the left. The track can be vague in spots but if you loose it follow the base of the cliff and you’ll eventually pick it back up.

The colours of the cracked and errored cliff line is stunning in afternoon light and you will find small pockets of rain forest in their shadow, unfortunately the biggest section of rain forest is below the car park of the lookout so littered with shopping trolleys, toilet paper and other crap shit humans throw off the top.

Eventually the track will take you around King Georges head ( AKA Indian Head or Iron Dukes head) and it appears to peter out. But continue around and head up the ridge keeping near to the base of the cliff and you will pick it up again on the otherside of the lookout.

This will bring you past the table and chairs in Gannon cave before winding back up to the road near the turn off to Hassans walls Lookout. A short walk down the road will take you back to the car

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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.

CLAUSTRAL WITH SOME OF THE BEST

23/04/2022

Stirlo, Madie, Leo, Kylie, Jason, Aimee, Mark and meeeee

I was hankering to get out. Some options were discussed then Leo says BMNP is set to re-open.

Claustral it is than.

It seems impossible to me but I’ve never done Claustral with the above mentioned folk before. It’s one of my favourite canyons and they are some of my favourite people.

Time to fix that.

I’m a bit early so I make a quick stop to check in with the ancestors,

And on to Claustral. Whether you think it Claustrophobic inducing or Cloister like or a combination of the two is irrelevant right now. We meet up, gear up and shut up….

Wait, that’s not right.

We meet up, gear up and set off, chattering like magpies with lots to chatter about.

That’s more like us.

Once again photo credits go to a mix of the crew

Rightously Ferntacious
I’ve never abseiled this one before but Madie had the rope set up and threatened to cut me if I didn’t use it. Kylie follows me down

And we work our way down to where the real show starts

Stirlo on the first drop into the Black Hole of Calcutta

Click the photos to make the magic

Compulsory “Hulks Fist” photos and shenanigans ensue

Get fisted ©Aimee

Click to enbiggen

Then there’s not much left to do but make our way down the gorgeous canyon and in the gorgeous company of gorgeous souls.

Oh, The “National Geographic” shot is also compulsory ©Jason

We are too early and it’s too misty for Sunbeams but the muted misty light is nice too

There was a little bit of pump in spots
Top bunch of humans and me. ©Madie

A bit of team work never goes astray

The tunnel swim

and all to soon it’s over.

We have a quick bite to eat on Tash’s rock of Shame and then it’s up Rainbow Ravine and onward

I have a fear of heights and I’m claustrophobic: Kunal Nayyar

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Yileen

04-04-2022

The Mad One and meeeee

Something weird was happening.

It wasn’t raining..

An after work run through Yileen seemed like just the thing for a Monday afternoon

Probably should have invited the others.

We were pulling into the carpark.

If you run you’ll catch us. Madie messages the group implying I’m slow or sumfink

Blue bird day

We make our way in and nearly step on a Red Belly Black no-bop-noddle just as it canyons up.

Yilleen isn’t that deep as far as canyons go but it always seems to surprise me at how pretty it is. ©Madie
©Madie
©Madie
I’ve still only ever done 2 abseils in Yileen. I know some people abseil this and that’s fair enough but I still don’t know where they get the 4th…. ©Madie
©Madie
©Madie

And then we get to the end with it’s awesome views into the Grose and a 55m abseil to finish.

The anchor looked a little M. E. H. Meh. so we spend time to back it up and then Madie goes.

I jump on rope, work my way down the boulder and do a final check before going over the lip.

Hmmm

That’s my bag up there next to the anchor with the pull cord in it…

I go back up and grab my bag. Then instead of feeding the rope out of the bag on the way down like a normal person I decide to feed it all out now…

What happens next we shall never speak of again but some time slightly longer than it should have taken me I’m down.

©Madie

“If happiness is the goal – and it should be, then adventures should be top priority.” – Richard Branson

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BILLABONG

Mandy Beth and Meeee

03/01/2022

Mandy hasn’t abseiled for a few years, she lost the passion so when she asked if I’d take her out I got a so excited that I didn’t explain the 2 options she proposed, while short trips were actually 2 of the more awkward abseils…

Anhoo after a week that involved Danae, Rocky, and a quick afternoon running throu Empress 3 times squeezing another little canyon in sounded like just the ticket

Beth decided to join us and off we went to a pretty but short little canyon near Clarence

Off through the flannel flowers we go
It’s tight, twisty and very slippery
But very pretty and a nice spot for a dip on a hot day

and what better way to finish it off with

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night― Sarah Williams

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Another Night in Rocky Crk

Ed Ethan Dick Russ Aimee and Tash

01/01/2022

So for some years (with a break in 2020 due to bush fires) I’ve been joining Ed and Ethan for a New Years Day recovery canyon.

It started as a family thing but kinda morphed and pretty much has had different people joining each yea . This year we decided to do a trip to Rocky Creek New Years Day Night and the above mentioned legend joined us

Anyhoo I first visited Rocky cr nearly 30 years ago. It blew my mind and have made a visit to it at least once a year ever since. I have waxed lyric about it both in day and at night heaps before so I wont bang on to much this time around

I was surprised to learn Aims hadn’t done Twister or Rocky before. It was Also Tash’s first time
I think people dismiss it as it’s a bit of a drive and no abseils but bang for buck fun and beauty I reckon you can’t beat it
Entering the beast
©Dick
The water temps were as warm, or I should say least cold, as I can ever remember so we spent a lot of time laying about with lights off soaking in the ambiance ©Dick
©Dick

and of course the Glowworms.

I honestly think the displays in Rocky are just consistently awesome
Getting a shot of glowworms in a canyon with a night sky above has been a bit of a goal of mine. 1 day I’ll manage glow worms and star trails
But for now light sabres will do
Iddy biddy Giant Water Spider Megadolomedes australianus. This things can have a leg span up to 18cm. I always thought they were fairly harmless but Caro tell us she once got a bite and it took ages to heal
©Dick

We went in earlier than usual for doing a night trip but had enjoyed the serenity so much it was the 2nd before we were were out of the canyon

People are just like worms. The best ones glow.

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Hole in the Wall with Elly

Kylie Madie Leo and me

Every now and then people come into your life that lift your soul or make you laugh or both or sumfink so when the chance came up to skive off work and do such an awesome canyon with 3 of those people I thought why the hell not

Kylie told me she had a licence to get out of dodge. She also mentioned she’d never been through Hole in the Wall so we concocted a plan and I took a day off. It just so happens Madie and Leo also had the day off so we met up at the ZigZag railway and set off to test out the bypass that would get us around some clean up work that currently had Waratah ridge rd blocked.

In the end the bypass was pretty straight forward and we were shouldering packs and heading off into the glorious sunshine, spirits high and smiles wide.

The usual banter and catchup chatter had extra depth and post lockdown feels that ate up the walk in and before we knew it we where suited up and heading into the confines of the upper section.

But first we needed to get past the gate keeper

and then we were into it

And because the day was early we then head to the Dam cliffs to hang off more cliffs for fun

Surround yourself with awesome people. Experience Awesome things

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Newnes Plateau

02/05/2021

Edwin, Ethan, Russ and meeeeeee

Anyone available to do something on the 2nd? Asks Ed

Sure, says we.

You want to do a Flynny bash to look for a canyon of probably poor quality? says I

And so we find ourselves walking down a long disused fire trail that is barely distinguishable from the rest of the post-fire landscape.

Soon we leave even that vagueness of a trail and make our way due(ish) north down a ridge looking for a short slot. The only thing I’d heard about it was a. “it’s ok for an unpublished canyon on the Plateau” and ii. The last abseil was meant to be “a gooden” (TM)

When I say “unpublished” there is a grid reference in the guide but checking the satellite that GR looks well off what I am sure is the target, so we go with my gut feel and just wander down for a look, find the slot we are looing for and drop on in.

Careful Russ its slippery

The start was pleasant. Straightaway dropping down a small waterfall. We contemplate setting the rope but after a good look I decide to slide. We had considered not taking wet suits…. Glad we did

Almost immediately we were greeted with another drop, one that would require abseiling

©Edwin

everyone safely down, rope and pull cord stowed and just around the corner the bottom dropped out of the creek dramatically.

We set a temporary anchor and throw down 27m or so of rope on a releasable and Ethan volunteers to go first. Its a tricky start and then an awesomely spectacular abseil. I bleed out rope and as Ethan reaches the bottom the end is just high enough off the ground for him to land and dismount comfortably.

Ed follows him down then Russ helps me set the fiddlestick and takes the pull cord.

Russ about halfway down ©Edwin

There are some dry canyons around the edge of the Plateau that have long abseils but it’s rare to get a wet one this high in these parts.

Me taking a seat ©Edwin

And that was it. All over red rover.

Plenty of action for a shortish walk and 150m of canyon

OK, right should get us out. Says I, but left looks interesting.

We follow Ed and Ethan up to the left through the king ferns

©Edwin

All the (short) way up the gully teased us with the prospect of turning a corner into a canyonette that would ramp up through the cliffs

But in the end it cliffed out in a gloriously over hung ampitheatre

We head back down and up the other side. The gully looked like it would go easily but we opted to climb out early

We have lunch on the cliff tops above what becomes a major gully as it makes it’s way towards the Wolgan. Its barely 12.30.

Shall we do sumfink else? says I

After not much deliberation we opt for one of a pair the rest had not done before. I didn’t have my notes or map with me. But how hard could it be?

Last time I remember the scrub leading to the good bit was horrendous and the fires hadn’t seemed to touch this little bit of the forest so I drive a bit further down the road, check google maps, and aim for the most canyony looking bit.

A lovely little meadow gave us a deceptively steep and slippery way down

and we arrive smack bang on the most canyony bit

Only as soon as I see it I remember the most canyony bit was the very end and we’ve missed a few jumps and slides and fun bits.

The boys find a cave ©Edwin
©Edwin

And then it’s back up the hill to the car before it pisses down.

another great adventure with great mates.

How many worlds are in your world? Andy Anderson

They are all worth visiting at least once: me

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3 little canyons on a Saturday afternoon, just because

19/12/2020

Izy, Ed, Dick, Madie, Leo and meeeeeeee

‘Twas the Friday before Christmas with zero plans for the Weekend

And it just kinda hit me, I must make amend

So I sent out a late invite, with little remorse

And 5 Friends replied “hell yes”, as a matter of course

We started earlier then planned ’cause Madie was bored

They piled in my ute and the accelerator was floored.

Leo tried his best to wet not even his feet

We jumped, slid and abseiled and had lots of fun

Then Madie threw mud at me, it was the end of canyon 1

Canyon 2 is a cracker, an absolute blast

but the best was to come, we saved it ’til last

The next is my favourite, I whispered to Iz

The thing is I meant it, it absolutely is

Dick left us early, he was coming back the next day

He shook hands, he hugged and went on his way

The rest of us pushed on and our excitement it grew

And we got to the slot and made our way through

We slid and we jumped, we spashed and had fun

And looked around in awe at this place where we’d come

To soon we reached the end and had to turn around

but we smiled as we cherished the joy that we found

this might be a bad poem but I bet you wish you had been us

and doubt all you want but rhyming “Iz” with “is” well… that’s just fucking genius

Party Size: 6

Times

Sheepdip: ~ 2 and a bit hrs car to car

Twister and Rocky Creek: About 3hr car to car

The best friends force you to lever yourself up

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Rediscovering back yard gems

2/8/20

Mandy And Me

When I was a kid a lot of amazing adventures started or finished at 166 Bells Street. We are 13 or 14 popping wheelies on our BMXes, or hanging out high up in the climbing tree, or digging tunnels in the river bank or making home made fireworks out of stuff you could still buy or find when we were kids or sumfink.

Let’s go yabbying.

We grab some string, stuff some form of meet into our pockets, race off on our bikes and head up to some long forgotten little dams in a long forgotten gully right at the edge of town. It all sounds very Huckleberry Finnish. But it’s nothing so grand, just a day in the life of me and my mate Smiddy some time in the 80s. Nothing overly memorable except we didn’t catch any yabbies and on the way back while bridging through what I’d now call a canyonette (but back then was just a nice bit of narrow creek) Pat slipped in. We are wearing jeans and jumpers, it was an icy winters day (the yabbies had been smartly tucked up in their nests) and it was cold ride home for Smiddy.

Anyhoo, fast forward mumblemumble years. (Would you believe 10? No? How about 20? Ok it’s closer to 30, and by closer I mean over 30) Mandy is keen for a small walk and thinks Ida falls might be the go.

Pulling up in the little car park it’s packed (well 4 or 5 cars but enough to ruin the uncrowded feel I like.)

Hey there’s another gully we use to frequent and from memory it’s kind pretty too… says I

Understatement!

Especially after we’ve had a bit of rain through the week.

Memories are Golden. Get out there and make some

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