TRIP: The Annual SUBW Christmas Dinner Walk plus Grand Canyon


Catherine Stansbury
Lilian Donoso
Meredith Dodds and Yves
Roger Butler and Luisa Ngeow
Annie Cote and Barry
Helen Smith
Peggy Huang
Chee Wong (Grand canyon only)
Mariacristina Merlo
Dave Noble
Don Cameron and Elata
Jo Boyd
Pauline Foster
Emma Hickey
Lisa Jonas
Amy Foster
Denise Wong
Gregory Symonds
George Karpenov
Ashley Burke
Melanie Luxem
Roger Lembit and Rowan
James Bevan
Albert Chetcuti
Wendy Au
Mitchell Isaacs + 2
Rob Hynes
Dave Forbes
Tom Gleeson

(I think that is everyone, please accept my apologies if I’ve missed anyone!!)


The Christmas Dinner Walk is an annual SUBW tradition dating back many decades and this year there was a huge turnout for this relaxing weekend by the Coxs River. Many of us decided to precede the short walk down the 6 foot track with a trip down Grand Canyon and this was an opportunity for many of the new members who had never abseiled before to give it a go. And so, on a very un-summer’s like summer morning several cars departed various locations in Sydney and eventually we all made it to the Neates Glen car park, thinking that the cool overcast conditions were not what you’d normally consider canyoning weather.

We all trooped down into Neates Glen and a rope was setup for some practise abseiling down some rocks before heading into the canyon proper. Everyone had the chance to get used to the idea of walking backwards over a cliff – an activity which doesn’t exactly come naturally. But what the beginners demonstrated was that once you’ve started over the cliff edge, it’s all downhill from there, and looking up from the bottom makes the drop look a lot shorter than looking down from the top.

Time was getting on so Dave, Helen and Maria went ahead to the canyon, taking those with them who had done enough abseil practise. I stayed back with anyone still doing the practise abseils, and then brought up the rear. Most of the group did the 15m abseil into Grand Canyon whilst some kept to the walkway high above. Those who did the canyon found waterfalls, pools and high walls of sandstone, this was the cool, damp and dimly lit world of the sandstone canyon. We all waded and swam through and some distance downstream we picked up the walking track again and climbed back up Neates Glen to the car park. There was a fair bit of faff once we reached the cars, one car had mysteriously disappeared due to some kind of misunderstanding, but in the end we had a late lunch on the run and then all drove down to Megalong Valley.

The weather was mild as we walked down to the Coxs River and there the rapids and traditional waterhole were pumping with fresh runoff from recent rains. We settled in nicely, although Wendy and some others suffered some nasty bullant bites from a nest of these aggressive oversized insects right near the campfire. We retaliated with fire and grass clippers. We lazed around the smooth granite slabs near the waterhole, and Jo’s new inflatable raft took some beating as we used it in an over-optimistic attempt to run the rapids. We settled around the fire for dinner, Helen made a huge dessert after shaking a bottle of cream for what seemed like hours to make it into whipped cream. Other delicacies did the rounds and some fine bottles of wine were opened. Later the Wild West Show eventually built up momentum as did the singing and it was well after midnight by the time the campfire circle began to thin out.

The morning was an opportunity to relax and sleep in, and get up late. After a leisurely breakfast it was down to the waterhole again for more antics with the raft and more lazing around on the granite slabs. People began to make their way back to the cars by around mid morning, and the main group left the campsite at around lunch time.

It was certainly a great Christmas Dinner Walk with a fantastic turnout this year. It was really great to get the whole club together at this time of year to celebrate and reflect on all the great trips and events of 2011. All had a great time and lots of fun. And bullants beware .. “we’ll be back”.

Ashley Burke

Email: aburke at

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