TRIP: Red Rocks 12-13 Nov 2011

PARTY: Nuria, Adrian, Emma, Yumi, Robert, Lluisa, Diana, Ashley

The above company of walkers met on the Friday evening and drove together to Newnes. On Saturday morning the group woke to the sound of birds and morning views of sandstone cliffs on all sides. Over a breakfast cup of tea we looked at maps and decided on the route we would take into the Red Rocks.

The route to Mt Dawson involves a steep climb through the cliff lines and Adrian soon realised this wasn’t for him. It didn’t take long for us to agree that the best course of action would be for him to return to Newnes while it was still practicable to do so. So I carried his pack back down to the fire trail on the valley floor from where Adrian could walk out. I then returned to where the others were patiently waiting under a rock overhang. After some more climbing and wandering through a glade of ferns we emerged on the clifftops for superb views. The overcast morning had cleared to a warm and sunny spring morning and the air was heady with humidity and the smell of eucalyptus. We lingered here for photos against the backdrop of valley views.

We then followed trackless ridges through the bush until finally we emerged on delicate rock formations which gave more amazing views into a different valley. It was pretty warm now, and everyone welcomed the opportunity to stop for a relaxing lunch in the shade. The jaffle iron did the rounds. After lunch we passed a delicate arch formation and ahead we could see across mountain heath to plateaus and mesas into the distance. All along I had promised everyone that we would find water soon, yes soon. We just had to get through the last bit of scrub to Mt Dawson. The moment of truth came at the base of Mt Dawson as everyone wearily laid down their packs and off we went to the promised waterhole. Sure enough there was one small deep pool of clear cool water and we all filled our bottles and bellies with the clean albeit slightly sulphuric water. We then returned to Mt Dawson and climbed it for 360 degree views of the Wolgan and Capertee valleys. Nuria demonstrated her athleticism with an amazing pose on a shelf of rock, a kind of improbable looking diagonal handstand called the “crocodile”. Then we set off north along the clifftops.

We enjoyed superb scenery throughout the afternoon and picked a campsite in a lovely spot among the trees with nearby viewing platforms from where we could relax and enjoy the sunset panorama. Below us an enormous rock tower caught the evening light and further away was Pantoneys Crown and The Airlie Plateau. We setup tents and Emma went to bed early, not feeling the best. The rest of us lingered around the clifftops until sunset. Nuria and Yumi snacked on nutella and marshmallows, and Nuria did a few more crocodile handstands. The sting went out of the sun as it scraped the horizon and finally we retired to the cheerful fireside. We enjoyed a perfect evening and stayed up late. Some of us wandered out to the clifftop again to take in the night-time scenery on this warm still evening.

The next morning heralded another day of perfect weather and we completed the Red Rocks traverse, enjoying superb scenery for the entire morning. We descended a gully and disturbed a large goanna that scrabbled its way up a tree to get away from us. Running water was a welcome sight in this little gorge and we filled our water bottles and headed down to a peaceful open glade for a long leisurely lunch. From here it was a fairly short walk back to the cars.

A really great weekend and great company.

Ashley Burke

Email: aburke at

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