Ian at the top of Sluice Box Falls

Saturday 29 September – Tuesday 2 October: Budawangs – L/R,ptX. This walk is mainly on track with some off track sections to visit interesting features. From the Nerriga entrance we will follow the Redgrounds Track to the Endrick River and visit the Natural arch and Peg-Top Monolith with close views of Battleship Rock. We will then follow the Endrick River Trail to just past Camp Rock and take a short cut over to the Folly Point Track and then walk out to Folly Point. From there we go down Watson Pass, past both Munnuldi Falls and Sluice Box Falls and up to Sturgiss Mountain. We will climb down into Hidden Valley and then go via track to south of Round Mountain and then through some open forest back to the cars. Please note that this is a 4 day walk. Leader: Ian H.

Further Information

It’s been a while since I’ve been on an overnight trip in the Budawangs, the last were 18-20 May 10 around Quiltys and 9-10 Aug 10 to Folly Point.


Distance: 64.1km | Climb: 2050m | Time: 4 days | Grading: L/R; H(14)

Day 1 – Nerriga to Endrick River Distance: 17.3km | Climb: 350m
Day 2 – Endrick River to Folly Point Distance: 18.6km | Climb: 510m
Day 3 – Folly Point to Sturgiss Mountain overhang Distance: 10.3km | Climb: 1070m
Day 4 – Sturgiss Mountain overhang to Nerriga Distance: 17.9km | Climb: 210m


Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slideshow.


Waypoint and Track Files

Download the gpx file for this trip (if your browser does not automatically download the file, it will open the gpx file in a new window and you can then save it). To use in Google Earth, do File, Open… and select Gps or All files as the File Type.

Track Notes

Day 1

We set off over the half picket fence and along the right of way from the car park. Soon at the Endrick River crossing, in these dry times just a series of murky looking pools. A little logistics problem held us for a while, but 4 of us continued walking along the Redground Track. Views on our left to the wonderful sandstone of the Budawangs and Morton National Park.

A patch of lovely forest just south of Quiltys Clearing. We crossed the Endrick River a second time, turned left at the T-intersection and very soon turned into the bush to set up camp. The following 2 in the party would easily see our location.

Set up camp, ate lunch, then set off on our afternoon adventure.

We handrailed the Endrick generally east for around 2km and, after a short break, climbed to the rocky heights for views to Battleship Rock. Unfortunately, we could not find the ‘Natural Arch’ or ‘Peg-Top Monolith’, as marked on the Budawang sketch map:

Small portion Budawang sketch map 1998 9th edn

We returned pretty much the same way, including another break on the way back.

The rest of the party had arrived at camp and had a fire going. A convivial time around it for tea. A mild night, no condensation in my single skin TarpTent Moment.

Day 2

Away at 7am. Lovely walking after about 45mins through The Vines. We passed the turnoff to the bora ground on Quiltys Mountain and popped in to have a look at Red Johnnys Cave.

A little further and we went into Camp Rock, where some cyclists and a family walking party were camped. I marked a further tent site down on a grassy area nearby.

Back on the track, we topped up water from Camping Rock Creek as Ian had an evil plan.

It was to cut the Newhaven Gap corner, by going bush and heading east to the Folly Point Track, from around SH703 to SH798. Well, we got less than 500m in around 30mins, pushing, crawling, swearing through 98% banksia and hakea and 2% rock platforms. Half way through we abandoned the ‘short’ cut and returned to the fire trail. So to Newhaven Gap it was and morning tea at the turnoff to the Folly Point Track.

It’s around 10km to Folly Point (including the detour to Folly Point Lookout) and in several places the track is problematic. I, and others leading at different times, lost it. A bad one just after lunch.

But at last we arrived at the turnoff to the Lookout and headed west to the edge of the 109r cliffs. Magnificent views!

View from Folly Point Lookout

Sated, we returned to the track and completed the km to the Folly Point camp sites – a fireplace and several individual tent sites cut into the banksia and scrub. Water from the creek just near the fireplace (although better seen the next morning a few tens of metres downstream). Another great night; Lisa celebrated her birthday.

Day 3

This was to be the hardest day of walking I’ve ever done with an overnight bag. The plan was to drop down through Watson Pass and follow an old sketch map route above Munnuldi Falls, across the top of Sluice Box Falls, between Mt Elliott and Sturgis Mountain and down to the Styles Creek camp:

Day 3 on the Budawang sketch map

We began at 7am and made our way along the cairned route to the log book, then the pegs and chain at the top of Watson Pass. A pack pass required (and another two times descending Watson Pass). We left the cairned route towards the bottom (enormous towering cliffs above us) and headed across to the NW, then down to the W. The going wasn’t too too bad initially, but as the gradient increased so did the scrub. The contours on the map don’t do justice to the route across a side creek as we tried to get down to Camping Rock Creek above Munnuldi Falls, but eventually a way opened. In the end it was a mild mannered part of the creek where we crossed.

Our route continued generally west and I was appointed the up-hill leader. Thankfully, both legs, up out of Camping Rock Creek and later up out of Kilpatrick Creek from Sluice Box Falls to the Elloitt-Sturgiss pass, were both relatively benign.

We had morning tea just over the crest between the two falls, continued down to the west to cliff lines, then north to lunch. Exhausting. From here, down to another cliff line which had to be skirted to the south, then north and down to the top of Sluice Box Falls. We were all grateful for the break (and the success of reaching this destination!).

By now it was 2pm and we’d covered less than 6km. The huge cliff lines of Mt Elliott and Sturgiss Mountain (hiding a gap in their folds) had been looming in front of us for the last few of them, so it was uphill again. We passed a few old cairns on this leg, whereas there were none seen on the leg down to Sluice Box Falls from the east.

It was a real scrub battle through the gap, with Ian and Pete doing the front work. At last the ground began to level and then fall away and we were through. The cliffs on both features were stupendous.

The footpad across the base of the Sturgiss Mountain southern cliffs was mostly identifiable. It hugged the bottom of the cliffs. WE rounded the SW corner and began along the western side, but light was fading (so was I). We passed an overhang/cave, kept at it for another couple of hundred metres, then returned to the overhang for a dry camp.

Again, it was a beautiful mild night (not so down in the Styles Creek valley we learned the next morning). A space was found to lay out footprint, tent, mat and sleeping bag between the rocks. Too tired to cook any tea; just ate a bit. But the view from bed was cool – 3/4 of the sight was towering cliffs, 1/4 starry sky!

It had been an 11 and a ½ hour day to cover 10km off-track, with 1070 vertical metres of ascent and 995 vertical metres of descent.

Day 4

We broke camp at 5.15am, completed another 500m of cliff based walking up the west of Sturgiss, turned NW and down to break out onto the Styles Creek valley and walked into Styles Creek camp site for breakfast and water. Another camper there said it had been a cool night – we’d seen the valley fog as we came down.

I’d done this trip out with Max on 18-20 May 10 and knew it was long and on hard surfaces. That it was and 5 pain killers in 4 hours got me and my feet home. We were grateful for water from Sallee Creek, Grassy Creek and Running Creek. I had a ziz at lunchtime.

For me, this was a once in a lifetime (and I mean that), epic trip. I’ll never attempt anything like it again. It succeeded because of Ian’s superb navigation, route finding and driving enthusiasm. Pete’s bush craft is second to none and they are both extremely efficient bush bashers. The rest of us in the party contributed a few “pharque-s” from time to time as we began various challenges, but we made it 😆 .

Thanks Ian for the trip of a lifetime. Thanks Pete for your expertise and those fires so quickly started and holes so expertly left with barely a trace. Thanks Lisa, Julie and Andrew for your company and encouragement.

Post Script

Some after trip research of old CBC walk descriptions turned up:

One of the many discussions that we had considered the frequency that the club has been going to Sluice Box Falls over the years.  I had a quick look and the last mention of Sluice Box in It was in May 2010 in a trip report by Dave Hatherly.  They did a 4 day trip, started from Sassafras and camped at Folley Pt, Sluice Box Falls and near Red Johnnys Cave.  The report is well worth a read and it seems that not much has changed in the last 8 years.  As expected the further you go back in time the more frequent the mention of Sluice Box in It, especially in the 70s and 80s.  One trip in the walks programme that caught my eye was from the April 1975 it:

Budawangs – (24)25-27 April (Sue Vidler) In view of the long read travel to this area there will be a Thursday evening departure from Canberra and a drive to Yadbero (we will camp that night near Backhouse Crk) . Friday we should go up the ridge to Castle Gap, down to the junction of Ceoyeye Creek and the Clyde River then up the Clyde to its junetien with Gorge Creek. This open area offers a possible site for the Friday night camp though we may go further if the group is fitter than its leader. Next morning the General direction of the route is up to Watsons Pass, round to the west via Sluice Box fails, – then between Mts Elliott and Sturgiss towards Mt Houghton where we hope to find a camping cave for Saturday night; water a little way off. . Sunday will probably degenerate into a leisurely ramble through the Mt Tarn, Mt Co1e-Monolith Valley area, finishing off with a descent areundithe Castle, down Kalianna Ridge to the cars,

and one from the May 87 it:

May 30-31st – Hidden Valley and Side Trips – M/M Approach the Budawangs from the north and visit an aboriginal bora ground and Pagoda Rocks. Camp in a cave in Hidden Valley. Sunday’s route will be over Sturgiss and Elliott to Sluice Box Falls then up Kirkpatrick Creek. Map: CMW Sudawangs. Leader: Eddie De Wilds 589940(h). Transport $16.

I particularly liked the grading on this one.

Track Maps

Track overview

Track overview

Track day 1

Track 1

Track day 2

Track 2

Track day 3

Track 3

Track day 4

Track 4


Profile Budawangs

GE snip

Google Earth snip


6 walkers – Julie H, Pete H, Ian H (leader), Andrew M, Lisa Q, me.