Machinery Creek is a pleasant canyon that is suitable when rainfall / high water make other nearby canyoning options too dangerous. The creek gets its name from the rusted machinery and scrap metal left behind from nearby old mines.
Difficulty — Medium
Time — 3-5 hours
Elevation — 300m
Number of abseils — 6
Longest abseil — 28m
A car shuffle or hitch-hike is required to avoid the 4.5km exit beside a winding road with no shoulder.
Park behind the Round Hill Café, near the intersection of Cethana Road and Staverton Road, Cethana. If you are doing a car shuffle, park the lower vehicle in one of the pull-ins either side of the Forth River Bridge.
From behind the cafe, follow a dirt road west. Veer right as you pass a driveway that leads to a house on the left. The road is blocked to vehicles from this point, but is a distinct and well made old dirt road.
Follow the old road for approximately 1.5kms as it winds its way gently around the hillside. At one point you pass one of the old mines that give the creek its name, which can be explored.
Just after a small creek crosses the road an obvious footpad drops to the right, leading down to the creek a short way below.
Once in the creek, continue downstream for about 500m.
All abseils anchors are bolts with chains (likely installed by Cradle Mountain Canyons, which run commercial tours through Machinery Creek when high water levels make Dove Canyon too dangerous). Some abseils have multiple sets of anchors, allowing you to either follow the flow of the water or descend a dry option.
The first abseil is 15m. This is followed by a second 15m abseil. The third abseil is 12m.
The next drop is an awkward 5m abseil from on top of a large boulder. The chains are awkward to reach (they were placed here to avoid a pinched pulldown). Consider installing a safety line from two bolts further back.
A nice 10m abseil spits you out above a series of chutes and pools.
The final 28m abseil -- from a few metres to canyon right on the low-angle slab -- deposits you in a large pool.
Follow the creek downstream for about half an hour. When you reach the culvert where the creek flows underneath Cethana Road, either climb up the slope to the road, or walk through the concrete culvert to the river. An easy track goes from here up to the road.
If you have not left a vehicle at the bridge, either try to hitch a ride or walk beside the road as it winds up the hill and back to the cafe.
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