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Boyd River Camping Area.

Morning on Pindari Top.

Arabanoo Creek Canyon from Wallaby Pass.

Looking through Wallaby Pass.

Cliffs above Barralliers Falls.

Old rockslide.

Greenhood colony near Mt Bungin.

Track Notes - Kanangra Walls to Barrallier Falls

Date:  29/3/2008

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

Route:  Marrilman HeathPindari TopWallaby PassMt Bungin to Col Knoll & try to follow the slight ridge from GR 320 319 down to Barrallier Falls.  Distance: 12 kilometres.  Ascent: about 800m.

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

Party:   Peter Medbury and Geoff Fox

Notes:

For as long as I can remember I've been interested in the exploits of the early explorers who tried to cross the Blue Mountains.

In 1802, Barrallier almost made it.  He got within a days walk of Kanangra Walls and what was to become the stock route to Oberon.

There is some dispute about just where Barrallier's expedition got to.  Some who have attempted to unravell his journals and maps and retrace his route contend he made it to Barrallier Falls on Christys Creek, others that he actually got to Johnston Falls on Wheengee Whungee Creek.  Regardless of just where his expedition turned around, it was an amazing journey.  

I'd like to see both places and today we'd attempt to get to Barrallier Falls.

We camped overnight at the Boyd River Camping Area, a terrific spot, very convenient and quite well equipped.  Camp sites have been created that allow you to set up your tent close to your car so there isn't much carrying.  Fireplaces had been specially set up for each camp site and there were piles of firewood.  At one stage after dinner I looked up and counted 4 sets of eyes in the trees, reflecting my torchlight.  Possums - waiting for us to settle down so they could come in and look for scraps. 

We woke early, had breakfast and packed.  From time to time we chatted with some of the other people at the camping area, mostly there to do some of the canyons in the area.  When everything was packed we headed off down to the track head.  There is sufficient parking off the road for several cars.

Packs on and we were on our way.  This was my fourth trip along this track and the first where I could actually see anything.  On the first occasion I had  come across from Cottage Rock and it had been pitch black by the time I left Mt Bungin while on the second and third (during daylight) the cloud had been so thick that there had been no visibility either way.

The views were spectacular.  And they just kept coming as we worked our way along the narrow track.

It had been raining and there were large pools of water at a couple of places on Marrilman Heath.  In places the track was well under water, leaving no option but to get your feet wet.  No obvious leeches.

As we moved up onto Pindari Top we could hear the water going over the waterfalls in Christys Creek.  We made our way west to a point where we could see down into Miles Gorge and get a glimpse of Wallarra Falls.  The creek was flowing fast.

Back on track and we soon reached Wallaby Pass at the southern end of Pindari Top.

Just before the track heads down into Wallaby Pass a track branches off to the east.  This short track takes you out to a rock platform that provides wonderful panoramic views across the whole region.

After a short break for photos we headed down Wallaby Pass.  The rocks were quite wet and in places it was very slippery.  Looking back up the Pass you could see the morning sunlight highlighting the different colours in the rock walls.  Quite spectacular.

When I walked through this area last October there had been a lot of plants in flower.  This time there was virtually nothing.  All nice and green after the rain but very little flowering.  There were some Native Iris flowers, just opening to a deep purple, in the middle of Pindari Gap.

At Mt Bungin.we climbed up to have a look over the gorge formed by Christys Creek.  We could hear the waterfalls from up there again.  There were excellent views across Tartarus Deep and over to Mt Barrallier and Barralliers Crown.  More photos and back on the track.

Part way along the track past Mt Bungin we encountered a recent rock slide.  A huge piece appeared to have broken away from the top of the cliff and smashed down into the valley, devastating the area.  We crossed very carefully, going above the large boulders that were perched precariously at the top of the landslide.  When you leave Mt Bungin the track almost disappears completely, more of a pad really. 

Our original plan had been to reach Col Knoll and head down the ridge towards Barrallier Falls.  As we crossed Bungin Gap we decided to leave the pad and work around the contour to the ridge rather than climbing up to the top of the Knoll and then walking down again.  It was easy walking and we reached the ridge quite quickly.

We started working our way down the slope and made steady progress.  At about 830 metres we encountered the first cliff line.  It wasn't large and we were able to work our way around it by moving up the gorge to the north.  Once past the cliff line the slope got steeper and steeper.  The surface changed and we had to cope with layers of pink rock flakes that we found very slippery.  Our progress became slower and slower as we adjusted to the conditions..

I saw Geoff was getting a lot of assistance from his Trek Pole and I followed suit with a large stick.  The extra support made it easier.

Through the trees we could see the slope on the other side.  The western side of the gorge appears much steeper than th eastern side  on the Topo Map and in reality it is almost vertical.  Sheer walls of rock with trees growing out of the cracks.  The Topo Map doesn't show cliffs on either side.  Google Earth images hadn't revealed any cliffs either.  Dunphy's Kowmung Map and the Uni Rover Gundungera Map both call the western side Titan Slants and show the cliffs.

As we descended deeper into the gorge the vegetation changed suddenly.  An open forest of moderately sized trees became an almost tropical jungle.  Huge trees were festooned with a creeper that looked like Twining Guinea Flower gone beserk.  The creeper covered the ground and blocked paths.  Luckily it's not a plant that has thorns.  But it still made progress very slow.  In some places, a large tree had come down and we made better progress through the clearing it had made.

All the time, the footing was unstable.  We encountered places covered in soft, deep soil which  gave way under your weight, places where the surface was made up of small pieces of stone that slipped out from under your feet and others where it was a jumble of rocks, remnants of rock slides perhaps.  Often the surface was covered with creepers or long grass and you had to step carefully.

At about 600 metres, and only about 80 metres away from Barrallier Falls the ground dropped away again.  Another cliff line, much larger than the first.  The slippery surface made it impossible for us to approach the edge.  From our viewpoint the cliff line extended in both directions, upstream and downstream.  There was no obvious way through the cliffs and movement in either direction along the tops of the cliff looked treacherous.  So close... but so far...

It was midday.  Geoff and I considered our options.  It was a day walk, we weren't equipped to camp overnight.  Moving up the hill and looking for a way around the cliff  and then going down again was out of the question if we were to be back at the car before dark.  We decided to head back.  We'd make another attempt another day.

We didn't retrace out steps.  We were heading up the slope and we could see further and that gave us a few more options.  The way looked easier heading a bit to the south.  The slope was extremely steep but we were able to work our way up through the thick undergrowth.  At one point we encountered an old rock slide and we were able to climb it like a set of stairs.

We made good progress till we met the cliff line.  We had to find a way throough or clamber along the bottom till we reached the way we came down.  I could see a couple of possibilities.  The first we tried proved to be a goer.  On the way up we encountered those small and slippery stones again and we had to be very sure of  our footing.

Halfway through up cliff line I found a large rock that had been broken to expose a wonderful display of crystals. The crystals were like hexagonal prisms, clearer than glass and extremely hard.  I'd love to know what they were.  I had to satisfy myself with photos.

Once above the cliff line the slope was much easier to negotiate and we made much faster progress.   We stopped at 13:00 at 900 metres for a well earned lunch break.  Thirty minutes later we were back climbing the slope.  It took us another 25 minutes to reach the pad where we had left it between Col Knoll and Mt Bungin.

As we walked along the track beside Mt Bungin I notived a colony of Green Hood orchids.  Somehow I had missed them completely on the way out.  More photos.

When we reached the northern end of Mt Bungin we climbed back up onto Colleys Lookout to have a final look at the views from Mt Bungin.  Its amazing how different things can look in the morning or afternoon light.  Gulleys & valleys that were invisible earlier could clearly be seen.

Geoff took the opportunity to adjust his boots as we took in the views.  I glanced down and saw the largest, fullest leech I have ever seen making its way very, very slowly across the rocks.  It was just below the rock Geoff was sitting on.  I showed Geoff.  It turned out the leech had spent the day attached to Geoff's leg under his gaiters and feeding.  What a mess.  Geoff applied an alcohol pad to the wound to clean it up.

At the top of Wallaby Pass we stopped for a late afternoon tea.  More photos, hopefully suitable for dynamic panoramas.  Hopefully. 

The track was still wet as we crossed Marrilman Heath but thankfully no more leaches.  The afternoon sun still was lighting up the cliffs in the distance when we arrived back at the car.

While I hadn't reached Barrallier Falls I knew I couldn't get there that way.  Next time I'll probably camp down at Central Christys and try walking up the creek.  

.

Times, Locations and Grid References
Time Location Grid Reference
08:30 Marrilman Heath and Kanangra Road GR 319 346
09:30 Snack - Top of Wallaby Pass GR 322 334
09:50 Pindari Gap GR 322 332
10:00 Reach Mt Bungin GR 321 330
10:10 Lookout on Mt Bungin GR 321 330
10:55 Leave Mt Bungin GR 322 326
12:05 Abandon Attempt GR 316 318
13:00 Lunch Break GR 319318
15:10 Arrive back at Mt Bungin GR 322 326
15:45 Colleys Lookout on Mt Bungin GR 321 330
16:30 Leave Mt Bungin GR 321 330
16:45 Snack - Top of Wallaby Pass GR 322 334
17:05 Leave Wallaby Pass GR 322 334
17:50 Marrilman Heath and Kanangra Road GR 319 346


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