SPRING CREEK GORGE
YANUNUNBEYAN RESERVE, NSW
Well, it was Linda’s turn to lead the inter-club medium to hard weekly Wednesday Walk, and what a great walk she put on.
We met up at Queanbeyan, the small town just across the border from Canberra. We were due to leave there at 8.30 am and what with signing the walk register and organising cars (for we run a car pool) it is usual to get there 10-15 minutes ahead of time and as usual, a number of good folk arrived only just before the deadline. More delays! Gosh! It was cold waiting around. It was overcast, cold and a bitter wind was blowing. Later on the weather improved.
Unusually for the medium to hard Wednesday Walks we had a large crowd, 20 of us, so there was a small convoy of 5 cars that headed out. From Queanbeyan we took the Kings Highway and then the Captains Flat Road before branching off along the lengthy Woolcara Lane, a dirt road, to a picnic site at about 130E, 635N. From here it was all off-track.
Initially we headed about north-west to the Corner Hill trig station. Once through some thick tea tree scrub at the very beginning nearly all the day’s hike was either along creeks or in open forest. Great walking. From Corner Hill trig we descended a long ridge to a creek which we followed for a while, before coming out on the Queanbeyan River, which looked lovely in the morning sunshine. Just a little way up stream on the Queanbeyan River we came to a very large pool with a large shingle and sand beach, at about 124E, 624N. The clouds had lifted, the sun was shining and the wind had dropped. The reflections were superb. The birds were calling. Linda’s timing was perfect : here we stopped for morning tea.
Our fragile earth. What a fantastic spot. Peace, beauty, contentment. Far from the madding crowd. We are so lucky. One day, I suppose there will be made up tracks all through here and throngs of people will be visiting every weekend. After all, what is wilderness for except to attract people to it, spoiling what drew us there in the first place. And don’t bushwalkers just love to increase public useage of the places they find so beautiful. Should I be writing this? Well, at least my readership is small.
Fish could be seen in the pool, but refused the lure of one of our number who had taken a light rod along.
After morning tea we continued up the river for a short while before climbing a little way up onto the flanking east ridge. We crossed over a couple of small unnamed creeks and headed broadly south along the contours through lovely open forest which looked beautiful in the clear winter light, the white-trunked eucalypts looking splendid. Eventually we started to descend a steep ridge and soon had our first glimpse of the incredible Spring Creek Gorge.
The ridge we were descending took us right down to the Gorge, at about 128E, 605N. We came out right on the downstream end of the Gorge, just a hundred metres or so up from the confluence of the Queanbeyan River and Spring Creek.
The Gorge is quite stunning. It comes downstream and ends in a pool flanked by vertical cliffs only metres apart. Absolutely stunning. Suddenly, in all the usual ancient rounded hills of a water-worn landscape and the usual vegetation of everyday Australia there is this quite remarkable place.
After lunch we climbed up out of the gorge on the true left bank, to bypass those cliffs, before descending back down into the gorge and going right down to that final, stunning end. From there, we walked up Spring Creek for a while before ascending a ridge onto what is virtually a plateau along which we walked almost back to the cars, coming back onto the road less than a kilometre from them.