The Budawangs is home to some of the best Bushwalking in NSW. This particular Bushwalk from West to East or vice-versa is a Mega-classic offering humungously diverse and spectacular scenery and bushwalking. It is home to iconic features like The Castle, Monolith Valley, Seven Gods Pinnacles, Corang Arch, Burrumbeet Brook and more.
The level of interest amongst the boys was excellent with 16 boys in total. This meant that we could embark on the ideal trip by splitting the party into two, starting at opposite ends of the Bushwalk thereby visiting all the best bits without any backtracking.
After a ridiculous amount of pfaffing around with car hire and other logistical problems, we finally headed off on Friday afternoon to our campsite for the night at Bendeela in the Kangaroo Valley.
When we arrived, we were all surpised to see a few security guards at the entrance to Bendeela - it made sense though, this place would be a magnet for 4WD Yobos in Summer.
Day 1: Wog Wog - Burrumbeet Brook (13.5km)
It's 6:30am and time to get moving as it's a two hour drive to the Budawangs. The good news is that we didn't get trampled to death by Wombats in the middle of the night - one of the really nice things about this site is the sheer number of Wombats and hence the security guards to protect them - apparently 17 of them were killed a few years ago during a Schoolies party.
The plan was to split up into two groups of 11 - one group would walk from Wog Wog to Long Gully, the second group in the opposite direction with a planned car key swap around Mt Owen. Martin and I had Adam, Anton, Brandon, Bright, James, Jason, Patrick, Saroop and Stephen. Steve and one of my Scouting friends Patrick had Brendan, Danny, Derek, Nanway, Nelson, Sinclair and Tony. Patrick also had his daughter Josephine and a German exchange student Leia with him.
Patrick and Steve led their group from the Long Gully entrance whereas Martin and I started with our group at Wog Wog. The rest of this report details our walk from Wog Wog to Long Gully.
The walk from Wog Wog to Burrumbeet is reasonably easy and very popular due to 5 star cave camping and specco scenery on the way. This has unfortunately resulted in a fair bit of erosion, particularly around Corang Peak which and so the the National Parks have started to install fancy duckboard. It's a bit of a shame that they have to do this as it really detracts from the Wilderness Experience that I so love. If you do want to avoid the duckboard, you can always take the route via Goodsell Creek and the Corang River or hang a left just before Corang Peak.
Here are the boys on the top of Corang Arch.
Corang Arch is just off the left hand side of the track as you come over the top of Corang Peak - so keep a good lookout so you don't miss it.
Panoramic view of Canowie Brook, Profile Rock Hill in the middle, Burrumbeet Brook towards the right (Mt Cole and Mt Owen visible in the background of Burrumbeet) and Pigeon House Mountain in the distant background on the right (click on the image to see the details).
We were thinking of maybe walking all the way to Bibbenluke Mountain to camp but once we arrived at the 5 star camping cave, we decided to stay here the night and spend a bit of time exploring. The main part of the cave goes back another 10m or so to the main habitat of the Aussie Black Bear.
Day 2: Burrumbeet Brook - Mt Owen (11.5km)
Yet another view of the 5 star camping cave, Patrick has obviously found a strange Golden Ring in the cave and is about to hop off to Mordor.
Looking back at Burrumbeet Brook.
Our destination for the day is a second 5 star camping cave on the right hand side of Mt Cole. In the very middle is Mt Cole, the gully to left is the route to Monolith Valley, on the right is Mt Owen where we will head after dumping our packs at the camping cave.
After a bit of break at the camping cave we head off to the lookout at Mt Owen - the first part of this walk is not for the faint hearted as it requires a scramble up a rocky slab.
At the top of the slab.
The walking along the top of Mt Owen is not straightforward as it follows a vague track through thick heath interspersed with rock platforms - luckily there are a bunch of cairns to show us the way. The last 200m metres to reach the lookout are diabolical even with the cairns.
Finally we get to the end of Mt Owen and the lookout. Stunning. In the background you can see Pigeon House Mountain, The Castle and The Sea!
We chilled here for quite a while, eating lunch and soaking up the view.
Eventually we had to head back and continue our fight through the heath. Soon after we crossed paths with Patrick and Steve's group as we were heading down Mt Owen and they were heading up.
After all that hard bushwalking the boys decide to have a shower at Trawalla Falls. In dry weather these falls are generally dry and water is hard to come by, so we were lucky that the week prior had some decent rain.
Setting up camp at the camping cave.
Day 3: Mt Owen - Cooyoyo Creek (8.5km)
Today it was time to head to Cooyoyo Creek, where we would set up camp then dump our packs before heading up The Castle. Our route takes into Monolith Valley - the jewel of the Budawangs. This first remarkable feature is the seventh of the Seven Gods Pinnacles and the easiest to climb up.
360 Pano of Monolith Valley.
The variation in vegetation is what makes this walk a classic. Here are the boys as we make our way into the Green Room.
The Green Room. Beautiful stuff.
Near the end of the Green Room is the Natural Arch.
Descending the chains near Nibelung Pass.
Campsite at Cooyoyo Creek.
After a setting up camp and a relaxing lunch it was time to head up The Castle. Given that it's been around 20 years since I was last here, my memory had faded a bit so we took the first promising track up The Castle we could see, which unfortunately ended up being the tunnel shortcut through The Castle for day trippers from Long Gully.
It may only be a 2 kilometres walk from Cooyoyo Creek to the lookout on The Castle but the scramble from the track up the cliffline is not easy and you need to take your time and tread carefully. Again, as it had been years since I had been here, we walked straight past the easy route up, and ended up taking a rather difficult route up steep stuff with fixed ropes. I got to the top thinking, I don't remember it being this difficult last time. In fact I was pretty sure it was an easy scramble.
Here Adam tackles one of the easy scrambles on the top of The Castle.
Patrick heads up the next easy scramble.
Martin Checks out the view at the start of the Plateau on the top of The Castle. Byangee Walls spreads out behind him pointing the way to Pigeon House Mountain and the sea.
The views don't get much better than this.
It really is the perfect spot for a perfect selfie.
And for group shots as well I guess?
On the way back down we found the easy route. After the first easy scramble off the track you will see a this slab in front of you. Head up the side of slab then skirt around the top heading left under the cliffline. Do NOT head up the gully as you will be facing a much steeper scramble. It would help if the fixed ropes on this section were removed to prevent confusion.
Day 4: Cooyoyo Creek to Long Gully (6km)
5:30am and most of the boys (except for Anton and Pat) are up to see the sunrise. And what a fantastic sunrise! One of the best ones I've seen. Magic.
Sunrise on Pigeon House Mountain.
Yet another sunrise shot from the lookout at Cooyoyo Creek.
Three hours later after a leisurely stroll down Kaliana Ridge we arrive at the Yadboro River crossing.