Archive for the ‘Canyoning’ Category


The Grand Canyon walk in the Blue Mountains is a very popular 3-4 hour walk. What fewer people know are the little side trips deep into the gorge, away from the hoards and into the bosom of nature.

The start of the trip is a short cycle from Blackheath station in the Blue Mountains.

Start: Blackheath Station
End: Blackheath Station
Total distance: 20km
Strava link

At the start of the Grand Canyon walk

At the start of the Grand Canyon walk

The main path drops down into the valley. At two points, rather than following the sign to the canyon walk, go in the opposite direction upstream. It is beautiful.

Upstream in the Grand Canyon

Upstream in the Grand Canyon

The light penetrates into the Grand Canyon

The light penetrates into the Grand Canyon

A bit of scrambling over logs

A bit of scrambling over logs

You can only get so far going upstream until a swim is required. Being a bloody cold day, I made this the end of my little foray.

A cold dip

A cold dip

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon


A second in the series of Bikes and Canyons, this time, a pleasant cycle from Lithgow towards the Glowworm Tunnel and down a dry, dark canyon to burst out to a beautiful place with an amazing view over the Wolgan Valley.

Start: Lithgow Station
End: Lithgow Station
Total distance: 70km
Strava link

Canyoning usually involves abseiling down cliffs and waterfalls, scrambling over slippery rocks and logs and wading and swimming in narrow, beautiful canyons surrounded by tall walls of rock on either side. As much as all of this is very appealing, I chose Dry Canyon on this cold day as a winter trip one I could do without getting too cold and wet, and one I could safely navigate by myself.

The trip to the canyon is a 35km jaunt along a beautiful dirt track from Lithgow over the Newnes Plateau.

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

The path from the car park to the canyon and through the canyon is flat with no challenges at all. You are just left to concentrate on the beauty of your surroundings.

The path to the canyon

The path to the canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

The canyon ends and a quick scramble brings you to a rock sitting over an amazing view over the Wolgan Valley, staring at the beautiful Donkey Mountain.

Wolgan Valley

Wolgan Valley

Seeing this canyon should be classified as bushwalking rather than canyoning. It remains beautiful!


With winter approaching, there are not enough hours of daylight to fit in a long cycle in and it’s time for something different. In 1997 I went canyoning with my university friend Hamish. This is a return to that really cool activity in the same really cool place – in the Wollangambe Canyon.

Start: Bell Station
End: Mt Victoria Station
Total distance: 55km
Strava link

Today I lay on my lilo inflatable air mattress and floated down a beautiful canyon deep in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. It was offseason and borderline cold, and so I was the only one. A short walk to the canyon from Mt Wilson town saw me inflating my lilo on the lonely beach surrounded by high cliffs on the edge of the beautiful clear-watered river.

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

With estimates of 6-8 hours for the trip, with upper estimates of 10 hours, I wanted to get back before dark and so hurried down the deep parts of the canyon. I should have stopped to jump off the cliffs into the cool, clear water. It is an amazing part of the canyon.

The deep canyon

The deep canyon

On the lilo

On the lilo

There were some rocky scrambles. At times they were a bit tricky.

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

There were also lots of shallow bits which were very relaxing. I could walk along side the lilo and didn’t need to scramble over rocks.

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

There was even a little side canyon.

Side canyon

Side canyon

The trip back to civilisation saw me cycle 7.5km along the Bells Line of Road. With the Easter traffic trying to leave Sydney, some people found my presence on the road unbearable, informing me that I was a f*ing w*nker and that I should get off the f*ing road. I’ve been living in Australia long enough now to be used to this. Shame though.

My day was, however, a big success. Canyoning is awesome!