Whungee Wheengee Canyon is a spectacular canyon that flows into the Wollangambe River north of Mt Wilson. As well as impressive, narrow canyon constructions, it involves a number of duck-unders and short tunnel sections. The water is usually quite cold, so large and slow-moving groups are not recommended.
Difficulty — Moderate
Time — 8-10 hours
Distance — 11kms
Elevation — 520m
Abseils — 3 to 6
Swimming — Yes
Quality — 9/10
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.
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, which requires an exposed rock scramble using tree roots (and usually fixed ropes).
Cross the river at a small sandy beach before following the track up the small gully on the other side. This takes you to the ridge on the left (west). Once on top of the ridge, follow it for about 800m before the track heads downhill to the right, into a dry gully. This gully ends at a cliff that requires an abseil from a tree of about 15m.
The canyon starts after about 100m of creek walking. It begins with a down climb (there are a number of possible spots to do so). Soon after this you come to the first swim, the first duck-unders, and the first chance to spot glowworms. Usually there is an air gap between the water and the rock above, but if you are concerned or water levels are dangerously high, it is possible to avoid this section on the right hand side.
Some groups will abseil up to six times in this canyon, but half of these can be avoided with careful down climbing and good teamwork. There are two compulsory abseils, both of which are less than 10m. (There are currently bolts in place for both, but always ensure you have extra rope and slings in case these anchors are damaged or removed.)
The canyon is extremely impressive from here to the Wollangambe River, with deep, narrow walls.
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.
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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