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Forest on Gogy Ridge.

Descending to cross Christys Creek..

A cascade on Upper Christys Creek.

Sunshine Hill, an eminence on Wallarra Heights.

Thick heath above the cliffs on Mt Barrallier.

Barralliers Crown, viewed  from Mt Barrallier.

Mt Misery, viewed Mt Barrallier, somewhere near the Temple of the Shining Orb.

Mt Wallarra, from the cliffs on Mt Barrallier.

Rock formations.

 

Track Notes - Kanangra Walls Road to Barralliers Crown

Date:  20/7/2008

Maps:  LPI Kanangra 89303S, LPI Yerranderie 89294N and Dunphy's Kowmung

Route:  Kanangra Walls Road, Gogy Ridge, Sunshine Hill, Mt Barrallier, Barralliers Crown and return via Upper Christys Creek and Dione Dell.  A long day.  Distance: 11 kilometres.  Ascent: about 400m.

Gear:  Daypack, Gaiters, Camera, EPIRB, Maps, Compass, GPS (set to WGS84), 2 litres water & a tape.

Party:    Upper Blue Mountains Bushwalking Club, Geoff Fox (Leader)

Notes:

This has got to be one of the best walks you could imagine.  It is almost entirely off track in wilderness country and has something for everybody - ridges, steep slopes, thick heath, creeks and waterfalls, exploration, cliffs, scrambling and of course, fantastic views.

Geoff had put a lot of work into this walk.  The trick had been to add interest by providing a different route back to the cars while avoiding the thick heath that covers the tops in this area.  Geoff and I had explored the area a couple times looking for ways around the heath and following the creeks, including an approach to Barralliers Crown over Wallarra Heights from the Morong Creek Fire Trail.  Geoff had also been out to Barralliers Crown at least one other time.

Our walk started early on a cold, crisp sunny day from a point on the Kanangra Road.about 500 metres east of Kanangra Pass.  It is less than 2 kilometres across Gogy Ridge to Upper Christys Creek.The forest is quite open for most of the way and by sticking to the eastern side of Gogy Ridge we avoided the worst of the heath.

Gogy Ridge is covered with open forest.  There is plently of light but you can't see very far because there are so many trees.  It is esy to walk through the trees.  The heath to the west is made mostly up of banksias, isopogons and dwarf she-oaks.  She-oaks are easy to negotiate but the banksias and isopogons get very hard, with lots of sharp stakes and it isn't pleasant pushing through them. 

It seems Gogy Ridge was named (I'm assuming by Dunphy) after the interpreter who accompanied Barrallier on his 1802 expedition.

It is a very steep descent down into the Christys Creek valley.  In some places the surface consists of small pieces f rock that move underfoot and care is needed in these areas.  Our party was soon at the bottom and crossing Upper Christys Creek just near a small cascade.

We certainly weren't the first to use this descent.  We noticed a number of old metal tags indicating the route had been well used in the past.

At the bottom of the slope just near the creek there is a small, faded sign and if you look carefully you can just make out the work 'Trail".  All the markers were on the southern side of the trees, making me wonder whether this route used to be a way out rather than a way in.

The Gundungera Map published by the Sydney Uni Rover Crew in 1970 shows a route running across Gogy Ridge, meeting the Kanangra Road just near Rocky Top.

Upper Christys Creek is caught in a tight valley between Gogy Ridge, Mt Dione & Wallarra Heights.  Basalt is the predominant rock and it is extremely slippery when it is wet.

There are lots of cascades in this beautiful creek.  Our plan was to see them this afternoon as we walked along the creek from our crossing point to the junction with Dione Dell.

After a short break to admire the cascade we headed up to Wallarra heights and Sunshine Hill.  The climb was knocked over in a few minutes.  No long slopes and ridges on this walk.

Wallarra Heights is thickly forested but there are several places where the heath is inpenetrable.  These areas have to be avoided.

Our route took us through thick dry forest and we had no problems with the heath.  There were some thickets we had to work around but on the whole it was quite easy.  Before we knew it we were past Sunshine Hill and walking down the ridge to Mt Barrallier.

The heath on Mt Barrallier is so thick that there just isn't any way through.  To get onto Mt barrallier you have to work your way east along the foot of the cliffs for a hundred metres or so.  Once though the cliff line you are still confronted with thick heath but it is possible to work your way along the rock shelves to the estern boundary.  There are two options then.  Either push your way through the heath or continue on around the rock ledges along the eastern cliffs.

We choose to push through the heath to a large tree we could use as a guide.  Our party re-grouped in the forest.  We walked south through the forest for a short distance and then worked our way south-east through the heath towards some large rock shelves.

We planned to have morning tea on those shelves, enjoying some fantastic views of Barralliers Crown, Mt Colboyd and Tartarus Deep.

What a great  spot for morning tea!  With a bit if time and the great views came the inevitable discussion about just what features were what.  Most of the party hadn't been out this way and it was their first view of some well known landmarks from this direction.

Maps were produced, bearings taken, identities confirmed and of course, lots of photos taken.

But soon it was tme to move on.  There were better views of Barralliers Crown a bit further on.  Bushlanders Point perhaps.  We had to push through more heath before we moved back into more open forest.

A short while later we could see far more of Barralliers Crown than we'd been able to before.  It was clear that Barralliers Crown is a butte, the eroded remains of a much larger structure with two large pylons towering above the trees.

We weren't side on but we could see the northen and southern pylons and the flat area in between where we planned to have lunch.  We'd have to climb to get there but it would be worth it and Geoff was carrying a tape.

But we missed Bushlanders Point.  By the time we pushed through the heath we were quite a bit further round the cliffs.

Bushwalks often have sections that are exploratory and this walk was no exception.  Looking for a better view of Barralliers Crown had taken us a lot further round the cliffs than had originally been planned.  It was a fair way back and if there happened to be a way down through the cliffs near here it would save a lot of back tracking through the heath.  Geoff agreed and our party started looking for ways down.

From my study of the area I didn't think there was any chance of a way down until we reached the far south-west corner, shown as Shamash Point on Dunphy's Kowmung Map.  I didn't mind having a look and it was taking me closer to a spot with a really intriguing name - the Temple of the Shining Orb.

Dunphy's map shows the Temple of the Shining Orb as the highest place on Mt Barrallier but I've never been able to find any reference to it or comment about it, anywhere.  And as we moved further south looking for a pass we were getting closer to it.

Soon we were at a point I estimated to be no more than 100 metres south of the Temple.  I couldn't resist and asked Geoff if he had any objections to me leaving the group to investigate.  No problems!  I was off up the slope and into the heath.  It didn't take long to work my way up to the summit of Mt Barrallier.  My reward?  Incredible views over Shamash Deep to Boyd range.  New country I'd not seen before.  And a fantastic opportunity for photographs.  But I couldn't really see anything that looked like a Temple.

I had to be quick because the party would be heading on to Barralliers Crown, either by a pass through the cliffs or back the way we'd come. So I could have a better look later I took a full 360 degree set of photos and headed back down the slope to where I thought our party would be.

I had to go through some thick isopogon heath, the tallest I had ever seen.  It was far taller than me, very tough and very scratchy.  I pushed through it and made my way to the cliff line.  No one had passed this area and after a pause to listen I could hear the group heading back the way we had come.  It didn't take long to catch up to them.

After we passed the ledge where we had morning tea we stayed close to the cliff edge.  It turned out that it was just possible to move from ledge to ledge, without having to go back into the heath.  There was some exposure at a couple of spots but taken carefully it wasn't too bad.

The views from the cliff line across to Mt Wallarra, Mt Colboyd and down into Tartarus Deep were fantastic.

The last time I'd been out here, in April this year, the view had been nothing like today.  On that occassion, NPWS had been dropping incendiaries onto the Boyd Range and down into Wheengee Whungee Creek near the junction with Christys Creek.  Hazard reduction!  The Uni Rover Trail had been closed because of the fires.  The smoke had been fairly thick then but not today - the air was crystal clear.

There are several places on the northerm cliffs of Mt Barrallier where you can climb up or down through the cliff line.  Geoff took the group down to the base of the cliffs at the first opportunity.

From there to the ridge down to Barralliers Crown our route followed the base of the cliffs.  Very easy walking past some extremely interesting rock formations.  There is a large overhang along the eastern side that could be used for shelter if necessary.

Barralliers Crown is on Wallarra Ridge about 200 metres south-east from Mt Barrallier.  Wallarra Ridge meets the base of the Mt Barrallier cliff line just under Bushlander Point.  As well as Barralliers Crown, other points of interest on Wallarra Ridge include Hercolton Rocks Lookout, Bradbury Knoll and Mt Hyperion.  It could be used as a way down to Wheegee Whungee Creek and on up Amble Easy Ridge to meet the Uni Rover Trail at Mt Savage on the Boyd Range or back up via Mount Colboyd.

The forest at the top of Wallarra Ridge is quite open, so it didn't take long for us to reach Barralliers Crown.  The trees blocked any view and it wasn't until we were quite close that we could really see Barraliers Crown and then it just appeared.  From ground level Barralliers Crown looked huge.

We were going to have our lunch break on a rock platform on Barralliers Crown.  The platform lies between the large pylons we has seen earlier looking down at Barralliers Crown from our vantage point on Mt Barrallier.

We walked along the eastern side of Barralliers Crown, wondering at the colours and texture of the different rock strata and each searching for ways up.  At the other end we turned and walked back along the western side to a point where it was possible to climb up.

There are two sections to be climbed.  The first is more like a ramp with quite a few tree roots to help.  The second is much steeper and requires care.  Geoff had brought a tape just for this section.  I secured the tape firmly to a small tree and lowered it over the edge to the rest of our party.  The tape made it very easy and soon everyone was up on the rock platform, taking in the views and getting ready for a well earned lunch break. 

After a nice break it was time to start heading back.  The plan was to go around the Mt Barrallier cliffs, back up over Sunshine Hill and down to Upper Christys Creek.  If time permitted we planned to walk down the creek to the junction with Dione Dell and walk out along the canyoner's track back to the car.  The laternative was to go back up over Gogy Ridge.

Geoff's tape made the climb down off Barralliers Crown easy for everyone.

We walked along the western side of Barralliers Crown & up along Wallarra Ridge to Mt Barrallier.  We retraced our steps around the base of the Mt Barrallier cliffs.  At the first chance we climbed up through the cliffs and traversed the northern ledges to avoid the thick heath. Then  it was back down through the cliffs and across the saddle to Sunshine Hill.

We reached Upper Christys Creek quite quickly.  Time was on our side for the Christys Creek and Dione Dell exit.  No-one wanted to go back up Gogy Ridge so after a short break we started walking downstream along Christys Creek.

Upper Christys Creek rises to the west of Gogy Ridge near Rocky Top.  Caught between Gogy Ridge, Mt Dione and Wallarra Heights the stream flows quickly through a series of beautiful pools, cascades, small waterfalls until it joins with Dione Dell and plunges over several large waterfalls into Myles Gorge.

In places Christys Creek is forced though deep, narrow channels between the layers of rock.

For the most part, the route along Christys Creek is fairly easy walking, provided you have plenty of time.  The wet rock is very slippery & there are obstacles to climb over.  The creek twists and turns so much that you end up walking a lot futher than is suggested by looking at the map.

If you are interested in the reflections of the ferns in the pools and the beautiful cascades then you will really enjoy the walk.  If you are using the creek as a route to somewhere else you will probably find it frustrating, tiring and slow going.  So it was with some of our group.  After working our way along the creek for almost a kilometre the conditions were starting to cause problems.

We needed another route but our choices were limited by the thick heath that grows on the tops on both sides of the creek.

We could go back to Gogy Ridge and out the way we came in.

I had explored this area before so I was able to suggest a suitable alternative.  We could climb up the north side of the valley to just below the heath and head east to Dione Falls and head out via the Dione Dell track.  We chose to go high and continue to Dione Dell.    

After a very steep climb up from the creek we had easy pretty easy walking again along the slope just below the heath.  There were some ups and downs as gullies cut through our route but it was much easier than the creek.

At one point, opposite the Wallarra Pinnacles there were two very large rocks.  Ordinarily we would have investigated these but the group wanted to get back to the cars so we just walked past, but not without noticing a tiny birds nest nestled in a small rock overhang.

My plan was to come down off the shoulder of the ridge at the Dione Dell abseil anchor point.  The closer we got, the steeper the valley wall became and the more the heath pushed us towards the steep slope.  We managed to stay high until we were able to climb down the slope and take a short break at the top of the falls at Dione Dell.

While I took some photos the group headed off up the Dione Dell track.

I've walked the Dione Dell track in both directions.  Most people walk down from the Kanangra Road to abseil the falls in Christys Creek.  Not many people walk up the creek.  It was getting late and quite gloomy making the track hard to see.  There are a series of animal pads in the eastern side of the creek higher up the slope where there was more light.  We were able to make good time & were soon back to the cars.   

It had been a very interesting walk to an spectacular destination.

 

Times, Locations and Grid References
Time Location Grid Reference

GPS Track:


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