Attendees: Jonno Downes, Lisette van Niekerk, Ingrid Andresen Lund, Nicolaas Venekamp, Olof van der Werf, Carina Lucchinelli
Leader: Jonno Downes
Date: 30/08 – 01/09/2013

What was advertised:

Friday night: Drive out to Kanangra Walls, camp in the Dance Floor Cave
Saturday: Wake up to the magnificent views of Kilpatrick Causeway, then a gentle pace along the Gingra trail and down Brumby Ridge to Orange Bluff on the might Kowmung River
Sunday: back to the car, drive back to Katoomba

What really happened:

Friday Night: Car breaks down on Jenolan Caves Road. Car towed to Lithgow, we pitch our tents in a bitter cold wind at “Millionth Acre” picnic area at the corner of Duckmaloi and Jenolan Caves Road.

Saturday: we wake up to the sound of honking trucks, and gaze at a hideous brown hillside, scarred with brambles and burnt pine trees. We trudge beside the road for a few KMs till we reach a pine plantation. We see a kangaroo, and tramp along on Pardon’s Road, then Ruddy’s Road, with alternating stands of pine trees and bare desolate hills. We stop for lunch at Lippy’s Creek, and spy some eucalypt forest, which seems more fun to travel through than more logging roads, and so find our way into the head of Beefsteak Creek, which turns out to be lovely open eucalypt forest, with dry ferns alternating with grassy clearings. We pitch our tents in the first flat clearing, then explored the creek down to the fire trail crossing (finding several more good campsites, and 2 little piglets in the process).

Sunday: I am keen to get to Jenolan Caves as early as possible because I don’t know what time the bus leaves, so we set a good pace up a ridge, through the bush and along logging roads till we eventually hit the 6 foot track. We have a short coffee break at the Black Range campsite, then continue along the 6FT as it meanders through more eucalypt forest, and the final steep descent to the caves. We see a few rozellas, a trio of kangaroos at Jenolan Caves, and a sleepy goanna near Carlotta’s arch.

After a refreshments break at Caves House, we negotiate a good rate for a bus back to Katoomba, which leaves us a couple of hours to , then follow a lovely track down beside the river from the Blue Lagoon to the old power station. The track crosses over the river a few times via suspension bridges, one of which sways very disconcertingly. We make it all the way down to a superb grassy clearing on the river bank before retracing our steps in time for a long and windy bus trip to Katoomba.

So the trip was not quite as advertised, but fun all the same, thanks to some good company. I believe Olaf will post some photos.