Four Day Budawangs Walk - by Sandra Kelley
Six intrepid souls (Allan, Barbara, John, Lillian, Sandra and Barry) left on Wednesday morning. After a ninety minute drive we arrived at Newhaven Gap, the start of our walk. It was a lovely sunny morning and our walk took us through woodland and partial rainforest, accompanied by a medley of birds serenading us. We detoured through the entrance of Hidden valley and after a little searching found our way onto the top of Mount Sturgiss. What a view awaited us - Island Mt, Folly Point, little Forest Plateau and Talaterang were among a few of the notable landmarks. Barry left us at the turn-off to Hidden Valley to return home. Thank you Barry for your company and the transport. We continued on to Style's Creek where we set up our first camp and where we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset that set Hoddle's Castle Hill and the Pagoda Rocks aglow.
After a very cool night that left ice on our tents, we set off across Styles Plains skirting the edge of the marsh, up a gentle ridge with a very steep ending finding ourselves under the cliff line of Mount Haughton. After a torturous walk under the cliff line passing several caves lined with a variety of ferns, moss covered rocks, gnarled tree roots and discovering a secret chasm for morning tea, we crossed the saddle to Mount Tarn.
We then travelled across the top through heath country, making a short detour to the cliff edge to view the grandeur of Holland's Gorge. We spent some time soaking up the atmosphere there, then crossed Tarns swamp, down the third ravine, through a lovely fern garden meeting up with the track from Wog Wog and onto Bibbenluke. The final stop for the day was the overhang under Mount Cole where we set up camp and a cosy fire.
The third day we trekked up to Mount Owen (day packs only). With gusty winds and overcast conditions, we crossed the top through hakea and low growing spiky bushes - sustaining a few scratches on the way - out to two stunning vantage points. One looked West to Corang Peak and Admiration Point, the second South East overlooking The Castle, Mount Nibelung and Byangee Walls. The rain came in and our plans to climb Mt Cole were changed to a hasty retreat to our Camp site to warm up. We had a lazy afternoon giving us time to reflect on the beauty and vastness of this area.
Our final day was sunny with a gentle breeze as we wound our way through the crevice between Mt Donjon and Mt Cole. The Seven Gods Pinnacles loomed up in front and we were able to view Holland's Gorge from a different angle. We moved on into the Monolith Valley. Words can hardly describe the beauty of this area. It felt as if we had stepped into another world. Tall fern trees, shady coachwoods, soft ferns, velvety moss covered rocks, twisted tree roots, delicate fungi, lacy lichen all wrapped in a pungent earthy smell. Our next stop was on top of Mount Nibelung to view the rock faces guarding the pass, then on down to Meakin's Pass. We encountered numerous fellow bushwalkers meeting the challenge of the Budawangs.
A steep descent beside the Castle down an eroded track where the National Parks and Wild Life Service has installed some wooden planks and bridges to make the trip a little easier and to stop further erosion, bought us to the top of Kalianna Ridge. This was the final leg of the trip and as we walked down the track in silence we each pondered over the last four days, marvelling over the wonders of nature. Henry was a welcome sight waiting patiently in the car park to take us home to a nice hot shower and a comfortable bed. Thanks Henry.
"At dawn of day we could feel the breeze that stirred the boughs of the sleeping trees,
And bought a breath of the fragrance rare that comes and goes in that scented air."
- from 'In the Droving Days' by Banjo Paterson