Saturday 03 February 2018: Bundanoon Creek – S/E. From Gambells Rest camping area we walk on a fire trail to Tooths Lookout then descend on a steep track to Bundanoon Creek. There is a good swimming hole where the track ends. Visit nearby Vances Falls. We then climb out a different way via Fairy Bower Falls; this track is also steep in places but less so than the descent via Tooths. Much of the walk is in shady rainforest. Leader: Jeff B.
I’d never been here before, so this was a beauty! Some NPWS temporary track closures changed Jeff’s plans a little.
Distance: 9.7km | Climb: 700m | Time: 9.55am – 3.35pm (5hrs 40mins), including 45 mins of breaks and a bit of extra walking | Grading: M/M; M(10)
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Waypoint and Track Files
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We left the northern outskirts of Canberra at 8am and were ready to walk at 9.55am, so a 1hr45mins easy trip, all on sealed roads except for the last 50m which was into the car park. So I took the town car. Great to walk with new and old friends.
After Jeff’s trip briefing, we walked fire trail and good track to Tooths Lookout, for views down into Bundanoon Creek and the sandstone cliffs on the other side. Just near the lookout, the descent track began. Very steep in sections, especially the track passes through the initial and final cliff lines. In all, a drop of 300vm over 1.2km, taking 1hr 15mins. Easy walking, but care needed because of the drop-offs from the track.
The pool we reached on Bundanoon Creek was nice. Not crystal clear, but it did invite two of the party in for a swim. A few showers on and off during the day (and also some lovely sunny skies). Morning tea under an over hang on the true left of the creek after crossing it.
Jeff had a surprise up his sleeve and most of us set of up the creek for 100 metres or so and crossed again to where a side creek flowed into Bundanoon Creek. After an abortive attempt to worm up the true right side of the little creek, we gained the other bank. Just a few tens of metres took us to the bottom of ‘Vances Falls’, named after CBC tiger walker and life member Vance Brown. A lovely spot.
We returned to the morning tea overhang, recrossed Bundanoon Creek and began the long haul back up. Jeff set me running with some faster walkers, not knowing that Peter and Richard can far out walk this old faster pastor. They soon passed me and I was walking alone (although Max was not far behind). Fortunate that I was alone, as there is no need to admit that I missed a little turn and strolled a few extra metres. You can see it on the track map. Still, I wasn’t the only one to do it 😆 . Returning to the track junction, I joined the middle markers and we puffed up to the top. With my extra mucking around, my 1.6km climb took 1hr 5mins. (So you can see from the down and up legs that a lot more care is required coming down.) We regrouped at Tooths Lookout for lunch.
We next back-tracked along the fire trails and took the track towards Fairy Bower Falls. The track crosses the creek (the same one with ‘Vances Falls’ at the bottom!) where it is channeled through a narrow slot in a rock slab – most spectacular. We visited the top of Fairy Bower Falls – not much of a view, as from the lookout you can’t see the falls, just the rear of the top. So we retraced to the channeled creek crossing, where signage set us going on the track to the bottom of the falls. Unfortunately we reached a point where the track was temporarily closed due to potential landslide concerns. Jeff correctly stopped the party here. Whilst a private party might continue to the bottom of Fairy Bower Falls, a CBC trip could not.
So we retraced our steps to the fire trails, then took a different one back to the cars.
A wonderful walk in a new area for me, thanks Jeff and all. Jeff said there are other and even better walks in the area, so I will lean heavily on him to put that one on, maybe on a Saturday in April.
13 walkers – Tommaso A, Jeff B (leader), Cynthia Br, Chris C, Nathan H, Richard H, Sabra L, Stephen and Lisa M, Peter M, Max S, Steven S, me.