The lower section of Dunphy's Pass.

The ledge Dunphy called 'Wallaby Parade'.

The top of Dunphy's Pass.

Looking across Glen Raphael Swamp.

The top entrance to Harmil Ledge

Sprengelia monticola flowering on Harmil Ledge.

Typical Harmil Ledge views.

Ready to climb down (photo: Bill Beck). 

Looking back & up at Glen Raphael Head.

Dunphy's Pass & Harmill Ledge

Date:  11/09/2010

Maps:  LPI Jamison  89302N

Route:  Dunphy's Camping Area, Dunphy's Pass, behind Glen Raphael Head, Harmil Ledge, Glen Raphael Head & back to Dunphy's Camping Area. Distance: 11.5 kilometres.  Ascent: about 500metres.  

Gear:  Day Pack, Camera, PLB, Maps, Compass, GPS (set to WGS84), 2 litres water & a 25 metre tape.

Party:  Peter Medbury & Bill Beck


Despite all the recent rain there wasn't water lying around as I expected. Galong Creek was running well as we drove out to Dunphy's Camping Area to start our walk.

I'd been over Dunphy's Pass in June but hadn't done Harmil Ledge or Glen Raphael Head.  Bill hadn't been to the area before but like me, he'd walked right past it often enough.  In preparation for this walk I'd read the relevant reports & track notes & discussed the Glen Raphael descent in some detail with Geoff Fox.

All the reports I'd read suggested crossing Glen Raphael Swamp after finishing Dunphy's Pass & coming down to the top of Harmil Ledge from a gully near Sliprail Creek.  I planned for us to stay on Glen Raphael Head & approach the entry along the cliff line, provided the heath wasn't too bad.  It promised to be an interesting day exploring. 

It was warm & sunny when Bill & I set out along the firetrail, far better conditions than I'd hoped after the recent badly needed rain.  There wasn't much breeze & the air was crystal clear.

The walk proper starts where the ridge running down from Glen Raphael Head meets the firetrail to Medlow Gap - a short 3 kilometres from Dunphy's Camping Area & for us, an easy 40 minute walk.  The ridge climbs about 230 metres in the 500 metres to the cliff line, & again it was easy walking.  A short way up the ridge we saw the beginning of a pad which became clearer the higher we went.

At the top of the ridge you can look up the sheer cliffs on the western side of Glen Raphael Head & be excused for thinking there is no way up. 

The pad goes around to the east under the cliffs, heading for Dunphy's Pass.  Around the corner the cliffs are much smaller & we would be descending through them, coming off Glen Raphael Head.

When I was here last, in June 2010, we didn't see any sign of a track & had to push through the thick stands of black wattle (Callicoma serratifolia).  The pad made it much easier.

The bottom of Dunphy's Pass is reached by climbing a gully that gets narrower & steeper the higher you go.  To enter the gully you have to walk through a beautiful forest of tall tree ferns.  On a sunny day the morning light really makes the tree ferns glow.

As you climb you gradually notice a gap to the left which appears to be the obvious route.  Don't be fooled.  Dunphy's Pass is to the right, a short, steep scramble up to the Wallaby Parade or a slightly longer sidle around to an easy climb up.  The scramble can be difficult in wet conditions.

In 1914 Myles Dunphy was exploring Narrow Neck with Ray Doyle looking for routes down through the cliff line.  They'd camped by Glen Raphael Swamp & found the top section of the pass down to the ledge Dunphy called Wallaby Parade.  For some reason they didn't explore the ledge & it wasn't until 1926 that Dunphy followed his Wallaby Parade & found the route that completed the pass.

The Dunphy's Pass Logboook is in a tin at the Glen Raphael end of the pass.

The Wallaby Parade ledge runs from the 1st re-entrant eastwards from Glen Raphael Head to the 3rd re-entrant, a distance of 550 metres & quite easy walking.

There are terrific views along the side of Narrow Neck Plateau to Tarros Ladder, over the Wild Dog Mountains to Kanangra Walls & out over Breakfast Creek to the Krungle Bungles.  In some places the ledge is very wide, in others it is quite narrow but there is no significant exposure.  In a few places the vegetation is pretty thick but it never creates a problem.

The top of Dunphy's Pass is a scramble up a usually dry creekbed.  In dry weather it isn't difficult but during or just after rain it would be very slippery.  The heath gets thicker & thicker the higher up the pass you climb & towards the end it is necessary to push quite hard to proceed.  The heath is so thick that, once at the top, the only way to know there is a negotiable route is the cairn.

The usual route out to the firetrail or around to Harmil Ledge is to push through the heath to Glen Raphael Swamp, cross the swamp & head up the hill.  There are several clear tracks through the heath & it isn't all that bad getting across to the swamp.  Most people going to Harmil Ledge head back in to Sliprail Creek & work south towards the re-entrant.

We headed up towards the back of Glen Raphael Head through the heath.  Following animal pads through the heath made it easier than expected & we soon emerged into fairly open forest.  We skirted the back of Glen Raphael Swamp & pushed on to the cliff line quite easily.  The views that rewarded us were simply stunning.

The heath along the cliff tops was very low & we reach the re-entrant gully that we thought to be the top of Harmil Ledge very quickly.  As we made our way down through the gully we found ourselves once again on a well used track, confirming we were going the right way.

The first time Harmil Ledge is known to have been used was in the 1950s when Don Harley & Geoff Milton explored the area & located the pass.  It had remained largely unknown until 2006 when, after a lot research, Michael Keats led a walk to relocate the pass.  Michael called the ledge 'Harmil Ledge' after the 2 bushwalkers who originally located it. 

The Harmil Ledge Log Book is at the northern end of the ledge, stored in a plastic bag under a rock slab on a chest high rock shelf.  It is worth spending a bit of time reading the entries - very interesting reading!  Geoff Milton, aged 80+ has revisted the ledge several times.  Amazing stuff.

Harmil Ledge runs south towards Glen Raphael Head for a distance of 750 metres.  It is quite easy walking.  In some places the ledge is quite wide but in others it is very narrow.  There are no problems with exposure.

In most places the vegetation on Harmil Ledge is quite open.  There are some interesting little plants growing on some places.  The Sprengelia & Dracophyllum were just flowering.

Like Dunphy's Ledge, the views on Harmil Ledge are incredible.  It is well worth spending some time taking in the panoramas which include the Wild Dog Mountains, Kanangra Walls, the Krungle Bungles, Breakfast Creek & Ironpot Mountain.    

The end of Harmil Ledge is reached quite suddenly at Glen Raphael Head.

Glen Raphael Head is considered one of the original Narrow Neck passes and it is probably the hardest.  The pass is in 2 parts.  The scramble through the lower cliff line and a very steep scramble through the upper cliff line a coupe of hundred metres north of Glen Raphael Head along Harmil Ledge.  The route through the lower cliff line is the way down from Harmil Ledge. 

A path leads through the bush onto a rocky promontory overlooking the lower cliffs of Glen Raphael Head.  The views on the promontory are wonderful.  The way down is the steep scramble down the southern side of Glen Raphael Head.  It is the only way - to the west & the north there are only sheer cliffs.

I had carried a 25 metre tape on this walk just for this scramble.

I looped it around the sturdy base of small tree growing near the top of the scramble.  A quick check showed the tape only went halfway down the rock wall to an area large enough for us both to stand safely.  Bill climbed down first & I followed.  After checking we had a suitable anchor for the tape & we could negotiate the next part of the rock wall I pulled the tape down.  For a moment it stuck but it finally came free.

Some people prefer to use a rope because a rope doesn't seem to catch as easily as a tape but a rope is bulkier & takes more space in a pack.  Bill looped the tape around the anchor, a thick root, conveniently exposed & climbed down the next section.  This was a bit trickier because it was over a large chimney-like gap.  It was easier to work into the gap with the tape providing added support.  In the end it wasn't hard.

Looking back up at the scramble I'd guess the tape might not really be needed.  It certainly made the climb down very easy.

From here the obvious route leads out onto another large rock promontory.  There are more terrific views but nowhere to go.  The route is to the right, down the side of the rock shelf.

From there we continued out to the point only to find our way blocked by small cliffs to the north, west & to the south.  The only route was around to the east.  Here the slope, while very steep, was negotiable & we were able to work down though the low cliffs & rock shelves till we reached the dry rainforest growing on the southern slopes of Glen Raphael Head.

Almost immediately we were back on the path we had followed out to Dunphy's Pass earlier in the day.

The walk down the ridge to the firetrail was quick & uneventful.  From there it was back along the firetrail to Dunphy's Camping Area.   We arrived back at 3:15, well satisfied with our day.


Times, Locations and Grid References
Time Location Grid Reference
08:20 Leave Dunphy's Camping Area GR 435 576
09:00 Start climb up ridge to Glen Raphael Head   GR 455 565
09:35 Base of Glen Raphael Cliffs GR 459 565
10:00 Bottom of Dunphy's Pass GR 462 568
11:15 Top of Dunphy's Pass GR 465 568
12:05 Top of gully above Harmil Ledge  GR 462 574
12:10 Beginning of Harmil Ledge GR 462 574
12:45 Start Lunch GR 461 570
13:15 Continue GR 461 570
13:35 End of Harmil Ledge GR 459 567
14:15 Bottom of descent down Glen Raphael Head GR 460 566
14:25 Start descent down ridge from Glen Raphael Head   GR 459 565
14:35 Back on the fire trail GR 455 565
15:15 Back at Dunphy's Camping Area GR 435 576



Recent Changes
Item Date Type
Banks Wall 07-06-2017 Add
Pulpit Hill Creek 04-06-2017 Add
Lions Head Pass 22-05-2017 Mod
Lions Head 21-05-2017 Mod
The Goat Track 20-05-2017 Mod
Wombat Parade 15-05-2017 Mod
Dingo Gap 13-05-2017 Mod
Green Cape 12-05-2017 Add
Toothed Helmet Orchid 09-05-2017 Add
Valley Of The Dinosaurs 04-05-2017 Add
Splendour Rock 27-04-2017 Mod
The Pondage Canyon 16-04-2017 Mod
Donkey Mountain 16-04-2017 Mod
Coachwood Glen 15-04-2017 Add
Genowlan Pinch 20-03-2017 Add
Valley Of The Kings 14-03-2017 Add
City In The Sky 13-03-2017 Add
Torbane Balcony 02-01-2017 Add
The Great Wall 29-12-2016 Add
The Towers 11-12-2016 Add
Flat Top 14-11-2016 Add
Zorro Canyon 11-11-2016 Mod
Dalpura Canyon 10-11-2016 Mod
Waratah 10-11-2016 Mod
Twins Canyon 11-10-2016 Add
Tall Leek Orchid 06-10-2016 Add
Vertigo Slot 22-09-2016 Add
Grand Canyon 16-08-2016 Add

Images and Text are Copyright • © 2007 - 2019 Dingo Gap • All Right Reserved • Privacy PolicyTerms of UseSite map