Rusted machinery at old iron ore quarry.

Geoff in the rainforest.

Tesselated hill Cliff Line.

A boulder balancing on another on Tesselated Hill.

Looking down at Bowen Creek Canyon.

First views of the Tesselated Pavement.

Tesselated Pavements cover most of the rock platform.

Aboriginal grinding grooves.

Water seeping over the rocks and gradually eroding the shapes.

Water collected in ponds after rain.

Northern cliffline boundary ot the tesselated pavement.

Cascades on Morleys Creek.

We had to work around to the right to get past this rock face.

Track Notes - Mt Irvine to the Tesselated Pavement

Date:  21/12/2007

Maps:  LPI Wollongambe 89312S

Route:  Mt Irvine to Tesselate Hill to view the Tesselated Pavement.

Gear:  Daypack, Gaiters, Camera, EPIRB, Maps, Compass, GPS (set to WGS84), 2.5 litres water.

Party:  Peter Medbury and Geoff Fox


I had wanted to visit the Tesselated Pavements from the first ime I heard about them.  I knew the location of Tesselate Hill & I'd seen a couple of references on the Web.  It had just been a matter of fitting the walk in sometime.

Originally I had planned to go by myself but Geoff wanted to go too, provided we could leave Orange after we dropped his car off for a service and were back in time to pick it up.  I checked the map and it the distances looked OK.  So the plan was leave Orange a bit after 8:00am, walk to Tesselate Hill, have a look around and be back by 5:30pm.

We got away from Orange and arrived at Mt Irvine about 10:30am.  We tried to approach from the Fire Trails to the east of Mt Irvine but couldn't find any access points.  In the end we chose the western approach along Danes Way & drove as far as we could along the Danes Ways Extension Fire Trail.  The last portion is through private property so Geoff made sure the gates were closed.

We parked adjacent to the remains of an old iron ore quarry.  There was some old rusting machinery that looked more to do with the timber industry than with mining. Very old.

We set off in the general direction of Tesselate Hill expecting it would be easier to work our way around the top of Morleys Creek and onto the ridge out to Tesselate Hill.  The vegetation quickly turned from open forest into thick rainforest.

Our progress was frequently impeded by lawyer vines that grabbed our clothes and scratched our arms.  Morelys Creek was flowing well with attractive pools, rapids and ferns where we crossed.

As we worked our way up from the creek towards the ridge I noticed the Climbing Guinea Flower (Hibbertia scandens) in flower at various places.  We were pleased when we finally reached a fire trail that headed in the right general direction and away from the lawyer vines.

We made better progress down the fire trail than I'd anticipated but when I glimpsed Bilpin through the trees I knew we had missed a turn.  About 250 metres back the fire trail had split and 50 metres up the other fork and we were back on track.  We were surprised to find a well formed track heading out along the ridge towards Tesselate Hill.

The walk along the ridge was very pleasant and we made good time.  All the plants were growing well, making the most of the recent rains.  Mountain Devils, Trigger Plants, wattles, tea trees and conesticks were all in flower.  The temperature was pleasant and the sun was shining.

Although not shown on the map, Tessolate Hill is surrounded by low cliffs.  We went up through the cliffs and found some rock platforms with great views over the Wollangambe River and more open forest.

While we were admiring the view I noticed we were sharing our rock with a Mountain Heath Dragon which boldly posed for a series of photos.

Conscious of our time constraints we headed north across Tesselated Hill.  Along the way we checked ot a couple of other rock platforms on the eastern side that provided terrific views of the Bowen Creek canyon.  A lyrebird was performing a complicated mimicry routine in the bush below us.

A few minutes later and we emerged from the forest and descended gradually to a large rock platform, covered with tesselations.  We dropped out packs and has a good look around, amazed at the shapes and effects caused by erosion.

At ther northern end of the platform it was possible to see the Wollangambe Canyon (left) and the Bowens Creek Canyon (right) in the same view.

The rock platform was some sort of sandstone, not the basalt usually associated with tesselation.  In some places tanks had developed and these were filled with water.

On the western side there were several places with the grinding grooves and pots used by aborigines to sharpen spears and axes.

Geoff and I found a shady place where we could sit and admire the views while ate our lunch.  After a short lunch break we had another brief look around before heading back.

I climbed down to the next platform had a quick look around.  The vegetation was different and I noticed several Pink Spider Flowers in flower.

After a few photos I made my way back up the cliffs a different way.

I had heard of an aboriginal engraving on the Tesselated Pavement but in the time available we hadn't been able to locate it.  It would have to wait for another trip.

So it was packs on and we were on our way, but later than planned.  The trip back would have to be quicker than the walk out or we wouldn't have made it back in time for Geoff to pick up his car.

As we descended though the broken cliff line that marks the endge of Tesselate Hill I noticed a lyre bird nest in a cave high on a rock wall, well out of harms way.

Mountain  Devils were glowing in the afternoon sunlight like brilliant red beacons in the bush.

I checked the map and decided to  go straight across the valley at the point where the track met the fire trail.  We turned west and followed the fire trail a short distance till it stopped and headed into the bush following a faint pad.  Our progress down to Moreleys Creek was quick and I grabbed some photos before heading up the hill.  The going was a bit rough here, immediately hitting a low cliff line.  Geoff checked to the left and found his was blocked by the steepening rock face.  I found a way up to the right and we continued on.

After the rocks we were immediately back with the lawyer vines and our progress was slowed down again.  We worked out way up the slope following animal pads where possible or just pushng through the bush.  It was hard going but it didn't take too long and we were back in the open forest where it was just a short walk back to the car.

A drink, a quick change of clothing and I was ready to head back to Orange.

We made it in time, arriving just in time for Geoff to pick up his car.

The thick rainforest vegetation had made progress much slower than I'd anticipated, a reminder that just because it looked easy on the map it could be much harder.  Nevertheless, it had been an interesting day.  We'd seen some wonderful sights.  I will have to go back.


Times, Locations and Grid References
Time Location Grid Reference
10:30 Leave car GR 644 942
11:20 Cross Morleys Creek GR 646 941
11:40 Start down the ridge towards Tesselate Hill GR 646 939
11:55 Reach the first fire trail GR 651 940
12:00 Reach the second fire trail and turn south east GR 652 941
12:05 Realise mistake and turn around GR 654 938
12:10 Reach intersection with the first fire trail and continue    GR 651 940
12:12 Head down track to Tesselate Hill    GR 652 942
12:30 Reach Tesselate Hill GR 653 952
13:00 Reach Tesselated Pavement GR 651 958
14:00 Leave Tesselated Pavement GR 651 958
14:20 Leave Tesselate Hill GR 653 952
14:35 Reach intersection with the Fire Trail GR 652 942
14:40 Cross Morleys Creek GR 648 941
15:20 Arrive back at car GR 644 942

Looking north from Tesselate Hill you can see the canyons formed by the Wollangambe River (left) and Bowens Creek (right).

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