Wollemi National Park (aka my first time canyoning)
After spending two weeks at home in California, landing a new job, and catching up with friends I decided to take an impromptu trip back to Sydney. I arrived Friday morning and immediately started gearing up for an adventurous weekend canyoning in Wollemi National Park with Cameron.
Trekking through the bush, twigs scratching your legs, hauling your backpack uphill, lugging your backpack down rocky slopes, searching for your location on the map, feasting on candy and granola bars - I'd take it over a day in the office any day.
The trek to Starlight Canyon started out with a steep incline. It took us the better part of an hour before we reached the top and were rewarded with beautiful views.
After many GPS readings and searching on the map we finally found the entrance to the canyon. I let Cameron secure me in for the first few abseils down, but am proud to say by the third abseil I was tying myself in and safely getting from top to bottom.
We all wore helmets while canyoning, which of course I thought everyone looked ridiculously dorky in - cue the picture taking.
Starlight Canyon is gorgeous. We trekked along the water, in the water, over and under trees - I had never been canyoning before so I didn't know what to expect, but I was loving it!
Then there was a snake. The poisonous tiger snake was perched on a log and we were unable to pass without risking a bite. We had to navigate back up and around the area to the next anchor. When we abseiled back down we were greeted with narrow walls and an overall dark, damp atmosphere. We trekked onwards and slowly stepped deeper and deeper in water until it reached my chest. We entered a tunnel and pretty soon the only light visible was from our headlamps - and the hundreds of glow worms that appeared like stars above us. It was a magical experience and for a few moments I even forgot about the poisonous snakes that could be lurking around.
My fear became a reality when we exited the tunnel and encountered two more poisonous snakes, both red-bellied black snakes. Luckily, at this point we only had one last abseil before we could head back to the safety of our tent.
The final abseil was beautiful, but difficult for a beginner such as myself. I abseiled straight through a waterfall, slipping and swinging uncontrollably the whole way. Cameron, pictured below, was much more graceful.
The whole trek took us 12 hours and we ended up in the pitch black the last few hours. We were unbothered by the dark though, and walked hand in hand with our headlamps on all the way back to camp. It was a good day.
The next morning we woke up to kangaroos thumping around our campsite. There must have been about 30 kangaroos in total! A few hours passed and we finally woke up enough to cook a delicious veggie breakfast which was followed by a low-key hike.
Wollemi was once the home to an oil mining facility and the ruins can still be found in the park. It was beautiful to see the contrast between the building remains and the wild green nature around it.
The short trek offered many great views and some less threatening animals along the way.
A shower was overdue so when we crossed the river we decided to make good use of the Wilderness Wash I brought along. I can't recommend this product enough!
In my opinion, the weekend always goes by too quickly. Before I knew it we were leaving the canyons, snakes, kangaroos and ruins behind us and heading back to Sydney. My favourite part of the trip? It wasn't the vista points, working on my abseil skills, or enjoying a freeze-dried beef teriyaki dinner after a long day of trekking. It was spending time with this goofy outdoorsman:
Missing you already, Cameron! Counting down the days till our next adventure...
Keywords: abseil, adventure, australia, canyoning, hiking, newnes, outdoors, travel, trekking, wollemi
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