TRIP: Mt Wilson Beginners Canyoning

DATES: 14-15 Mar 2009

PARTY: Steph Compton, Tom Murtagh, Pete Harvey, Nazih Chammas, Jacqui and friend, Tony Ruzeck, Matt Lyster, Lynn, Ryan, Chris, Helen Smith, Jo Boyd, Kyung Jun, Dominique Welt, David Jacobs, Ashley Burke

(I think I’ve got everyone’s names right)


First and foremost a big thank you to Lois who organised the trip, taking and answering emails from more than 20 people, organising, reorganising and deorganising cars and who was in them, who needed what gear and so on, right up until the last minute. In the end and after having done all that, Lois couldn’t join us on the trip due to a subluxed 5th metatarsal (whatever that is – something to do with foot bones).

Anyway, on Saturday morning people started arriving in dribs and drabs and in time a group assembled at the Mt Wilson fire station, the members of which loosely correlated with the identities on the list of people Lois had given me a day or so before.

Once the assembled group reached the quantity of 16 people and the time now 10am I deemed that all that were going to arrive had in fact arrived and we all set off together for today’s canyon, Du Faur Creek.

There had been an almighty deluge of rain at Mt Wilson the previous evening so when we reached the creek it was flowing nicely and the rocks along the river were still wet. But we had come prepared with a range of flotation devices, predominantly lilos but not excluding inflatable tori and other watercraft.

We then floated, or in some cases floundered, downstream – yes downstream – the intuitive direction to follow a river in when on a lilo.

Once everyone got the hang of how to propel their unit with varying degrees of efficiency down the river everyone had a great time, and the river was beautiful with some deep pools, sandy reaches, and vertical walls and overhangs rising on both sides.

At lunch the group was introduced to some SUBW traditions such as jaffle irons, cups of tea and Hughie, as brief sprinkles of rain brought the latter identity into the conversation. Then it was back into the water to complete the canyon followed by a climb up a track back to the cars.

Then it was on to our camp site at the Cathedral picnic area where we got a fire going and introduced other SUBW traditions like drinking a lot around the camp fire and the Wild West Show, only the latter never really got off the ground for some reason, most likely due to howls of protest from those who insist it is the preserve of the PBT alone. Hughie showed his form again, sending us scattering to our tents at around dinner time. But the downpour didn’t last long and we quickly resumed the evening from where we’d left off. Pete Raines turned up for the evening and brought with him some firewood that kept the fire nice and warm.

Next day after some obligatory faff we split into two groups, one comprising beginners who were taken by Pete and Tom to Du Faurs Rocks for an introduction to abseiling. The other group were taken by myself down Why Don’t We Do It In The Road Canyon. This was great fun, the canyon particularly enjoyable due to the slightly higher than normal water levels. The only thing was that we were stuck behind two commercial groups ahead of us. But the first of these groups kindly allowed us to use their ropes and go on ahead, and the second we managed to overtake thanks to Steph who found an alternative route down one of the abseils which allowed us to make a deft overtaking move.

With the commercial groups behind us we were free to enjoy the canyon by ourselves and we had a great time on the several short abseils and swims.

After the canyon we enjoyed a very leisurely lunch on a dry rock with views and it was sunny for most of the time.

When we got back to the cars Tom and Pete’s group was there having recently returned from Du Faurs rocks so we all piled into our respective cars and parted company, concluding the weekend.

Another nice weekend with many new club members getting out into the bush. Thanks again to Lois for organising and to Pete and Tom for running the abseiling and for everyone who helped.

Some photos from the abseiling day at

Ashley Burke
Mobile: 0414 633 315
Email: aburke at
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