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Looking up the valley at the start of the pagoda chain. 

Looking across Dunns Swamp to the Kandos Weir wall.

The path across the pagodas is like a maze.

Canyons cut through the pagodas. 

Our way was blocked by 2 large, deep fissures. 

Looking for a way across the fissures.

Looking along Dunns Swamp towards the Camping Area.

Our path off the pagodas.

Track Notes - Dunns Swamp Pagodas

Date:  8/6/2008

Maps:  LPI Olinda 89323N

Route:  Explore the chain of pagodas between Dunns Swamp Camping Area and the Kandos Weir.

Gear:  Day Pack, Camera, EPIRB, Maps, Compass, GPS (set to WGS84), 2 litres water.

Party:  Peter Medbury and Kathryn Medbury

Notes:

Dunns Swamp is located about 25 kilometres from Kandos. It was formed after the Kandos Weir was built in 1930.   The flooded pagodas make the scenery at Dunns Swamp quite unique.

We stayed at Kandos overnight and arrived at Dunns Swamp at 10:30 am after a leisurely start to the day. 

The Dunns Swamp Camping Area had just reopened after 6 weeks maintenance.  Large areas of the camping area were still closed to visitors and the work was continuing.

There were lots of people camping at Dunns Swamp.  If you plan to camp here on a weekend or holidays you'd need to be early.  It didn't bother us - we were only there for the day.  Like most visitors we wanted to see Dunns Swamp, the Kandos Weir and the Aboriginal Hand Stencil site.

We also intended to explore the pagodas between the camping area and the dam as much as possible.  We hoped to leave the Track to the Kandos Weir at about GR 377 634 near the Pagoda Lookout and work our way along the chain of pagodas to meet the track again at about GR 375 638.  From there we would follow the track across to the Weir, along past the Long Cave and back to the Camping Area.

Paths around Dunns Swamp are excellent.  Where necessary, there are good steps, ladders and hand rails on the paths.

We walked around the Campsite Rocks circuit, taking time to wonder at the 7,000 year old Aboriginal hand stencils and then headed off down the track to the Kandos Weir.

We reached Platypus Point quickly and spent some while looking at the views.  Platypus Point looks like the top of a flooded pagoda and it was quite strange to see water lapping at the edges. 

Talls Spike Rush reeds grow along large areas of the Dunns Swamp shoreline.  A group of Purple Swamp Hens were fossicking through the reeds at platypus Point,  just a few metres away from where we were standing. 

From Platypus Point it was only a short walk to the Pagoda Lookout sign.

No well made track here.  Once on the rocks you have to find your own way.  Carefully.  We made our way up onto the pagodas along a steep ramp between two of them, threading our way between the bushes blocking the way.

Immediately we were rewarded with some amazing views across Dunns Swamp.  It was almost raining but it seemed to be just holding off.  The clouds were low and we could see rain falling in bands over towards the east.  The light was muted, highlighting colours in the vegetation often lost in bright sunlight.  

Many of the pagodas have tesselated surfaces, similar to the Tesselated Pavement near Mt Wilson.  The tesselations formed unusual and sometimes crazy patterns across the rock surfaces.

There are lots of different plants struggling for survival in ephemeral sand beds that have formed in cracks and depressions in this harsh rocky environment.  Many have beautiful flowers.

The only plants really flowering today on the pagodas were Epacris reclinata and some wattles getting in early.  At other times there would be grevilleas, orchids and leucodendrons flowering, just to suggest a few.  Many of the plants are quite rare.

The topo map showed the area we were walking over as a ridge running down to the Kandos Weir & it looked quite easy.  The satellite map showed the area to be criss-crossed with fissures and slots.

The features on the satellite map images were confirmed as soon as we reached the summit of the first pagoda.  In some respects it reminded me of Donkey Mountain.  To get to our objective we would have to find a way though the maze.

We worked our way along the pagodas that formed the ridge, taking our time to explore each pagoda, take in the views and look at the plants we found. 

In most spots we could see exactly where we wanted to get to but the route we had to take across the pagodas wasn't very straight forward.

Some pagodas just blended into the next.  Others required us to cross narrow saddles and at one place it was necessary to cross two very deep fissures.  There were several quite steep scrambles up and down the sides of the pagodas.  In some places the pagodas sloped gently away.  In others there were large cliffs.

There were several beautiful, sheltered canyons, worth exploring in their own right on another day.

The wall of one of the slots was covered in orchids.  It would be spectacular when they were flowering.

In a damp, sheltered section of pagoda wall facing us across a canyon, we could see a splash of red.  It stood out very clearly against the grey-brown of the rocks.  It took us a while to work our way out and around to our target.  When we got close we found some beautiful, red flowering Epacris reclinata plants clinging onto the side of the pagoda.

While we were looking at the Epacris it started to rain.  Time to get down off the pagodas in case the mosses were slippery when wet.  From there it didn't take long to reach the end of the pagoda chain.  As we'd moved north the walls had become higher and steeper.  Getting down looked like it might be harder than climbing onto the pagodas.

And it was - a 5 metre climb down from ledge to ledge about a metre at a time.  Part-way down we saw a Grevillea evansiana plant.  This Grevillea grows in a restricted area around Dunns Swamp - a terrific way to finish our adventure.  

The rain stopped just as we reached ground level.  Wet-weather gear ready, we headed off along the track to see the Kandos Weir and follow the track past the Long Cave and back to the camping area.

Well made tracks make walking easy but exploring pagodas is fantastic

 

 

Times, Locations and Grid References
Time Location Grid Reference
12:00 Leave Track near the Pagoda Lookout Sign   GR 377 634
12:05 On the first Pagoda GR 377 634
13:30 Climb down off the Pagodas GR 375 638 
13.40 Return to track near the Long Cave Circuit Sign   GR 375 638 


 

GPS Track over the pagodas at Dunns Swamp:


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