Wollangambe Crater 18km return
Wollangambe Crater Tips: A bush fire ravaged this area in 2013 with plenty of rain late 2014 regeneration has taken hold resulting in the track difficult to follow in places.
We started this walk by meeting at Richmond Station Maccas car park, a large coffee which turned out to be flavoured hot milk followed by a brief introduction and car pool arranged to Bell Station
As some walkers were already in the Blue Mountains we met them at Bell Station, did the introduction and jumped in as few cars as possible for the short drive around 500m down the road (out the car park turn left) there is a small dark red sign on a tree right side of road “Wollagambe River 5km” which is difficult to see and a small parking area with a sign stating “Bell Perimeter Trail”
Here we parked and readied for the walk, anticipation was high as we knew the scenic beauty of the “pagodas” but also the nature of the walk, a bit adventurous. Off we set 18 of us chatting down the short driveway 10m long! Part of a private property, turn right then down a short fire trail to an open area underneath power lines, turn left and follow it down into the trees and a locked gate slightly to the right, sign states “walkers only” this is our trail, off we set into the bush nattering along the way, after about 750m a junction on a bend to the right, turn left along the track strewn with fallen trees/logs a few obstacles to keep us alert.
We followed this trail through the bush nicely shaded but no sunshine, mostly overcast with threatening mist every now and again, chatter was high on the agenda and before long came to our first pagoda, these sandstone outcrops are just like a free standing pagoda created by mother nature herself. A small creek crossed the path and hopped across, wonderful photography with the lush ferns on the banks of the crystal clear creek, up the other side and meandering to the top of the ridge, slow long incline to a plateau, our first pagoda top views of the Wollangambe wilderness
After stopping for a brief snack and water drop, everyone was amazed at the way I eat carrots, yes I nibble the outside first, the complete carrot top to toe leaving just the inner stalk, the juicy sweet bit in the middle until last to devour in utter gratification!
Off we walked up over the ridge and followed the crater around in a large arc, this kept us fairly level walking rather than dropping down to the canyon and back up again, another pagoda lookout point on the other side, clambering up for magical views in the mist which was closing in. From here the trail dropped down through the bush into a short canyon but the track was difficult to follow, overgrown by regeneration and few walkers out this way, we basically followed a GPS track which was handy, at least we knew we were heading in the right direction! Then clearly up through a grassy section where I waited for everyone on a tree that had almost mimicked a chair, I have been the proud owner of an Alite Mayfly hiking chair recently so comments were I do not need it anymore as nature provides our comforts! The trail headed towards a large canyon wall, someone nicknamed it Great Wall of China or should we say Great Wall of Wollangambe!
Here the trail goes over the top of a pagoda, up we scrambled, a fun part and around the top onto a plateau, rocky outcrops forged through thousands of years of erosion and possibly 50 years of bush walkers! Here we picked up some small cairns guiding the way which were great, but found it easily to wander off the trail, using the GPS to get back on track again, the trail finally down the other side through thick bush, overgrown in places but a clear track produced itself eventually and followed it down to an open campsite, we could hear running water that sounded like a waterfall but did not explore, will save that for another time. The track was fairly clear out the back of the campsite to the river where a large tree fallen is our way across and a fun interlude makes for good photographs, crossing the crystal clear river by a fallen tree, the other side bracken thick but 500m bush bash or so to our destination the Wollangambe Crater
Lunch was overdue and everyone was hungry, mist was setting in and we opted to scramble up the hillside for some rocks to sit on instead of our backpacks or wet grass. The walk was very enjoyable although not so easy to follow, good navigation is required, return the same way. Maj-Brit took pleasure in commenting how Norman would look so good in his Mankini, with Norman boasting how that is not all he likes to wear! Maj-Brit also claimed Norman would look great in a pink tutu with Norman saying he prefers pink tights, but that is a totally different story entirely
Wollangambe Crater Getting there: From Bell Station enter Sandham Road and turn left about 500m down the road a red sign on a tree on the right states Wollagambe River 5km”
A small car parking area with a sign stating “Bell Perimeter Trail” about 4 cars maximum or park down the road in a safe place. From here walk down the private driver around 10m turn right into an open clearing under powerlines, about 100m follow the trail around to the right into the trees to a locked green gate with a sign “Bell Perimeter Trail”
Note: Always be prepared when bushwalking, carry enough water, purification and adequate food/snacks for your walk, never go without a map, compass, and personal locator beacon, first aid kit. For more information see the NSW National Parks website about staying safe:http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/safety/bushwalking
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