Wollangambe Two (Lower Tourist Section)

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T2
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Wollangambe Two (Lower Tourist Section)

Post by T2 » 30 Jul 2018, 14:20

Wollangambe Two, or the "Lower Tourist Section" of the Wollangambe River, follows directly on from the more popular Wollangambe One Canyon. This trip is extremely popular in the summer months as most of the canyon involves floating down the river between high sandstone walls. There are several impressive side canyons that join the river in this section. It is well worth making time to explore the lower parts of both Whungee Wheengee Canyon and Why Don't We Do It In The Road (Serendipity) Canyon.

Difficulty — Easy
Time — 6 to 8 hours
Distance — 8kms
Elevation — 320m
Abseils — none
Swimming — Yes
Quality — 6/10

*** WARNING *** In recent years there have been a large number of unprepared groups requiring rescue from the Wollangambe River. In the worst case, a young man died after his group became lost. Make sure your group knows that canyoning is a strenuous activity requiring good fitness. Completing this trip usually takes 6 to 8 hours, but large or slow moving groups will often require up to 10 hours. It involves a descent and ascent of more than 300 vertical metres, including an exposed climb down tree roots. It also involves long, cold swims and climbing around large, house-sized boulders. Ensure your group has the appropriate equipment, including a first aid kit, floatation, and thermals or wetsuits for warmth. Make sure you have a map and compass — and know how to use them — as mobile phones do not have reception. Exits can be easy to miss. Be prepared to spend the night in the canyon if you need to stay with an injured party member or run out of daylight.

Access:

Drive to Mount Wilson, via Bells Line of Road. Once at Mt Wilson, continue on to the Cathedral Reserve campground, parking at the lower (northern) end.

Equipment:

Lilos or some form of floatation is required. While there are several scrambling sections, most of your time in this canyon is spent swimming in deep water. Wetsuits and/or thermals will also make the trip much more pleasant. The rocks can be extremely slippery, so ensure shoes have exceptional grip.

Entry:

From the carpark, cross the road to the start of the fire trail that heads downhill in a westerly direction. Follow this fire trail for approximately 1.8kms. The trail climbs up a hill before reaching a distinctive clearing. Turn right here down a foot track.
After about 400m this track forks near a termite mount. Take the left (western) branch. Follow this north for another 1.2kms, initially along the ridge top before dropping downhill beside a small gully. The most challenging section of the entry involves an exposed rock scramble using tree roots (and usually fixed ropes).
Shortly after this you will reach the river at a small sandy beach where lilos can be inflated and wetsuits put on.

Canyon section:

The canyon involves floating through long, deep pools between the impressive sandstone walls. There are some sections that require scrambling over rocks and through vegetation.
Soon after entering the canyon you come to a tricky boulder that requires an awkward 2m downclimb or careful jump into the pool below (ensure someone checks the water depth and indicates a safe landing spot if you plan on jumping).
At several points side canyons join in. The first, about 600m downstream from the start, is Why Don't We Do It In The Road (Serendipity) Canyon, which joins from the right. It is worth scrambling up into the impressive chasm at the end of the canyon. The second, about 800m further on, is Whungee Wheengee Canyon. It is possible to scramble quite a long way into this canyon, which is deep, dark and very impressive.
From here it is just under 1km to the exit, which is on a large right-hand bend in the river. Keep an eye out on your left for Waterfall of Moss Canyon, which joins shortly before the exit. After this junction you will move through a section of boulders before reaching a beach on the right at a point where small gullies join the river from both sides.

Exit:

From this beach, follow the track up the gully on your right (south). This track takes you up onto a major ridge which you follow south for about 1km before the track turns into a fire trail. Continue along the fire trail until you reach a clearing. Turn right and walk about 200m before heading left at the next junction. Go right at the next two track junctions, following the track downhill, through a gate, and back to your car.

Tom Brennan has produced an extremely useful map showing the popular canyons and access tracks around this area. He also has good track notes for this canyon.

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T2
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Posts: 363
Joined: 15 May 2018, 10:33
Full name: Tim Vollmer
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State: New South Wales

Re: Wollangambe Two (Lower Tourist Section)

Post by T2 » 07 Oct 2021, 10:52

Mt Wilson Mt Irvine RFS undertake a lot rescues in the Wollangambe -- most weekends during summer -- and most of them could be avoided with proper preparation and planning.

They have installed new signage to ensure groups heading into the area understand what the trips involve and are properly prepared. Simple things like a dry set of clothes and matches can make a big difference if your group needs to stay in the canyon overnight. By being properly prepared, we help free up rescue resources to respond to genuine life-and-death emergencies. A PDF copy of the signs can be downloaded by clicking here.

Here is the full text of the warnings.
A MESSAGE TO CANYONERS FROM THE MT WILSON MT IRVINE RURAL FIRE BRIGADE

WALK WARNING

THE LOCAL RFS WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU, JUST NOT TONIGHT IN A CANYON, SO PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION BELOW AND IF YOU ARE NOT PROPERLY EQUIPPED TO CANYON SAFELY, PLEASE DO NOT PROCEED PAST THIS SIGN

Canyoning is a strenuous day. Getting to and from the canyon requires a descent and ascent of over 300m on a track that is steep and rocky in places. The entry/exit tracks require an exposed climb on tree roots.

The canyon involves many long, cold swims, for which lilos and wetsuits are recommended, and there is a significant amount of climbing up, down, and around house-sized boulders.

The exits may be hard to identify and can easily be missed.

Parties need to ensure that all members are capable and know what the day entails.


LENGTH OF TRIP

WE WANT YOU TO GET HOME SAFELY AFTER YOUR CANYONING TRIP. CANYONING CAN BE DANGEROUS AND WE HAVE HELPED IN A NUMBER OF RESCUES OVER THE YEARS. WE WILL BE THERE TO HELP BUT PLEASE TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS SO THAT YOU CAN COMPLETE YOUR TRIP SAFELY.

It is a full day activity. Expect to take 6 to 8 hours:- up to 10 hours for bigger or slower groups.

Make sure you are prepared to spend a night in the canyon, to stay with an injured party member or due to running out of daylight.

Make sure those at home have a realistic time of return and are prepared for the group to be out overnight without unnecessarily calling in emergency services.

There is only patchy mobile coverage once you leave here and no coverage in the canyons.

Know what track you are on and what canyon you are doing.

It can take 3 to 4 hours for rescue parties to reach injured people.


GEAR REQUIRED

CANYONING CAN BE DANGEROUS. IT IS EASY TO GET INTO TROUBLE. WE ARE THERE TO HELP BUT WOULD MUCH PREFER THAT YOU ARE FULLY AWARE OF THE DANGERS AND TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS. LET’S NOT MEET BY ACCIDENT.
  • Carry a PLB to give location if injured or lost. Please only set off if genuine injury or life at risk.
  • Map and compass, plus be able to navigate in and out of the canyon. Do not rely on mobile phones for maps as they are of no use when flat or wet.
  • Gear needs to be waterproofed in dry bags or a number of sealed garbage bags.
  • Head torch, first aid kit and matches.
  • Lilo, plus wet-suit or thermals for in the water.
  • Warm dry clothing (thermals and woolen jumper or fleece).
  • Suitable footwear for both walk in and walking in the water/canyon (good grip)

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