This was day 1 of the bi-annual Sydney North Region Canyoning Course - coordinated by Chris Stanley. On previous courses we’ve started from the Bell Heavy Vehicle Checking Station and then spread out all over the Bluies to do various Canyons - unfortunately due to the recent October bushfires, our choice was somewhat limited so Chris made a decision to base ourselves at Barcoo Swamp and do the canyons in the Northern end of Newnes Plateau.
All up we had 36ish odd participants, ranging from n00bs through to a few instructors with decades of experience - so a really good mix of ages and experience. Chris as the Canyoning Coordinator split us up into six groups and each group selected a canyon for day - Galah, Breakfast Creek, Coachwood, Tiger Snake and Rocky Creek were all on cards.
Our group voted for Breakfast Creek - the last time I did Breakfast Creek I didn’t think it was that great so I wasn’t really fired up to do another repeat - but maybe I was just grumpy that day as Breakfast Creek is a good canyon and reversing Rocky Creek as the exit makes for a fabulous day.
After the obligatory gear checks, risk assessment and general pfaffing around we finally shot off From Barcoo Swamp and by 10:00am started walking towards Breakfast Creek. I’ve always found that the walk from the ridge to the start of Breakfast Creek somewhat problematic and this time was no exception as it wasn’t long before we were heading down the gully and lots of scrub bashing. I’ve dropped in into the start further up the other side of the gully - there’s not as much scrub bashing but it’s still ugly. Maybe dropping in earlier would be better?
At least this time we didn’t get accosted by swarms of Marsh Flies at the first abseil but the Ants obviously had an agreement with the Marsh Flies as they had a pretty good go.
Reuben at the first Abseil
Ross at the second slippery abseil
Not too far past the second abseil is an awesome amphitheatre known as St. Pauls Cathedral which is so wide that I couldn’t fit it in the camera frame of my little Panasonic FT3. Check my previous writeup where I used my wide angle lens on my Nikon DSLR to fit it in.
The Obligatory Group Shot!
Ross at the main 25m abseil into the narrow slot. The canyon here is nice and narrow which then …
opens out into a really interesting groove that needs to be shimmied down.
Patrick at the short 4th abseil
And also at the 5th which is rather nice.
We finally reached Rocky Creek at around 1:30pm and after an hours lunch starting walking up Rocky Creek to the start of, well, Rocky Creek Canyon at 4:00pm
It’s a crappy photo, but here is Ross and the others swimming up Rocky Creek through one of the very dark, very cold and very narrow sections of Rocky Creek.
The finish up Rocky Creek Canyon is just great. It only takes about an extra hour over the usual exit, which quite frankly I find rather boring.
We finally got back to the carpark around 6:00pm, so a great day out and much better than I remember.