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Marrilman Heath.

Clouds rolling in.

Geoff taking a picture.

Wallaby Pass.

Narrow Cliffs at the southern end of Pindari Top.

Mt Bungin completely obscured by cloud.

Geoff beside Mt Bungin cliffs.

Mt Bungin cliffs are quite substantial.

Grinding grooves in a rock in an overhang.

Overhangs on the southern side of Mt Colboyd.

Looking across Mt Colboyd from Krok's View.

The clouds lifted for a moment and we could almost see Central Christys.

We traversed the heath and cliff tops back to the pass.

It just kept getting darker and darker.

Marrilman Heath in the gloom.

 

Track Notes - Kanangra Walls to Mt Colboyd

Date:  24/10/2007

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

Route:  Marrilman HeathPindari TopWallaby PassMt Bungin to Mt Colboyd.  Find the pass up through the cliffs onto Mt Colboyd shown on the Kowmung map.  Visit Barrallier Falls if time permits.  An easy day with time to enjoy the views.  Distance: 12 kilometres.  Ascent: about 150m.

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

Party:   Peter Medbury and Geoff Fox

Notes:

It was warm and overcast as we left the Kanangra Car park at 8:30am for the quick 1 kilometre walk up the road to where the path across Marrilman Heath starts.  We were looking forward to the views over Christys Creek from Pindari Top and Mt Colboyd.

It was not to be!  As we started across Marrilman Heath we could see thick clouds coming up out of the valley to the east.  By the time we reached Pindari Top we were in the clouds.  It was an eerie feeling with all points of reference gone in moments.  Despite the threat it didn't rain.

There is a fairly well defined track all the way from the Kanangra Road to Wallaby Pass, used by canyoners coming back from Dione Dell.

Open heath gives way to thick stands of isopogon and banksia that are almost inpenetrable.  In some places there are forests of small emergent mallees.  If it wasn't for the narrow track it would have been very tough going.  A couple of times the track opens out to large areas of bare stone.  Some care is needed to pick up the correct track when you leave the stone.  There are lots of false starts  where animals have pushed through and these are much lower.  If you're going the wrong way, go back and try again.

The grey clouds and the muted green browns of the heath combined to make everything seem very sombre and mysterious.  Here and there the gloom was broken by dazzling floral displays.  With no pressing schedule we were able to photograph everything that caught our attention.

Clouds continued to develop as we crossed Pindari Top and at Wallaby Pass it was like the edge of the world.  All the views just stopped.  We had expected to get photos to help plan longer walks into Christys area but there wouldn't be any chance today.

Wallaby Pass is a deep slot eroded into Pindari Top and allows easy access down to Pindari Gap.  From there the choices get better and better: Christys Creek, Arabanoo Creek or on to Central Christys via Mt Bungin and Mt Colboyd.

The pass has a rainforest micro-climate which supports a plant community quite different to the rest of the area.  The Possumwood was flowering today.

There is a small cave known as Uranus Grotto at the bottom of Wallaby Pass on the western side.  After a quick inspection and some photos we walked south under the cliffs.  The western cliffs and the southern cliffs meet to form a narrow point just above Pindari Gap.  We had a quick morning tea there before crossing Pindari Gap to Mt Bungin.

The vegetation once off the tops is a dry sclerophyll forest with very little understory.  There are occasional isopogons, some in flower.

Mt Bungin is only a little over 200 metres due south across Pindari Gap but the cloud was so low and so thick we could not see it.  We found the ridge and followed it to Mt Bungin and along under some quite impressive cliffs.

I noticed some grinding grooves on a rock under an overhang, well away from water.  I've no idea if they are authentic or when they were made so I reported the location to NPWS at Oberon.

Mt Colboyd is another kilometre south.  There still was no visibility and we reached Mt Colboyd by following the ridges around Bungin Gully.

As we crossed Bungin Gap we noticed a change in the forest understory with communities of oxylobium, stypandra and the occasional diuris orchid.  Stypandra was everywhere and in flower.

I am amazed how plant communities seem to work.  There will often be quite different communities growing on one ridge to those growing on another ridge on the same mountain at the same height and with apparently the same geology.  It is a pattern I've seen over and over again.  Could it be related to seed setting and subsequent fires?

The Kowmung Map shows a lookout named Krok's View on the southern tip of Mt Colboyd.  That was our lunch destination but`first we needed to find a pass through the cliff line.

We followed the western cliff line in a south-easterly direction for about 500 metres until we reached the point.  We turned north-east and followed the southern cliffs for almost 250 metres crossing through some large sandy-bottomed overhands until we found a way up.  From there it was an easy scramble up to the top and after a quick look around the top of Mt Colboyd we headed south-west to Krok's View for lunch.

The top of Mt Colboyd is mostly covered with dry sclerophyll forest with areas of thick low heath the edges of the cliffs on the northern, southern and eastern ends.

Krok's View is an open stone platform and normally there would be excellent views over Tartarus Deep and Middle Christys.  Today there was nothing.  While we were eating the clouds lifted for a moment and showed us a hint of what we were missing. 

And then the clouds came down again and it really started to get dark.  It was almost like navigating at night but with a gray background rather than the usual black.  Time to head back!

We saved some time by traversing north-east along the cliff tops to find the pass.  We had to negotiate a lot of small ledges and shelves bythe time we intersected our route up we were just above the little climb up.  Easy in the end.

The walk out was a bit faster than the walk in.  We weren't looking for the pass anymore and we were aware that the sky was still darkening even though it was still only early afternoon.  We hadn't anticipated such low visibility.

This time we noticed tiny Streaked Rock Orchids flowering.  We had missed them completely earlier.  On the walk out we had been much closer to the cliff and looking up.  We had passed right by them.  There were hundreds flowering at various places along the western side of Mt Colboyd and Mt Bungin.  It was the same species at each site but the orchids on Mt Colboyd mostly had short stems while those on Mt Bungin had stems approaching 600mm.  We made time to photograph the different growth forms.

We worked our way along the ridge from Mt Bungin to the cliffs and up Wallaby Pass to Pindari Top in the increasing gloom.

As we walked back towards the Kanangra Road we could hear thunder getting closer and closer. We increased our speed along the road to the carpark.  About 300 metres out it really started to rain and I was soaked.  Geoff had just made it under shelter when the heavens opened up.

The Picnic Shelter was a very comfortable place to change out of wet clothes and have some refreshments before starting the 2 hour trip back to Orange.

 

Times, Locations and Grid References
Time Location Grid Reference
08:30 Leave Kanangra Car Park GR 327 353
08:40 Marrilman Heath and Kanangra Road GR 319 346
09:40 Top of Wallaby Pass GR 322 334
10:00 Morning Tea - Pindari Gap GR 322 332
10:20 Reach Mt Bungin GR 321 330
10:55 Leave Mt Bungin GR 322 326
11:30 Col Knoll GR 322 319
11:40 Reach Mt Colboyd GR 322 317
12:30 Pass onto Mt Colboyd GR 328 314
13:00 Lunch - Krok's View GR 326 313
13:30 Back at Pass off Mt Colboyd GR 328 314
14:00 Large Rock Overhangs on Mt Colboyd GR 327 314
14:10 Rock Orchids GR 326 312
14:25 Leave Mt Colboyd GR 322 317
14:35 Col Knoll GR 322 319
14:50 Arrive back at Mt Bungin GR 322 326
15:35 Leave Mt Bungin GR 321 330
15:55 Top of Wallaby Pass GR 322 334
16:40 Marrilman Heath and Kanangra Road GR 319 346
16:50 Back at Kanangra Car Park GR 327 353

 

Geoff and Peter at Krok's View (photo: Geoff Fox).


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