[Short Notice] Creek Exploration – Sunnyside Ridge
Leader:Felix Ossig-Bonanno

There is a creek I want explore – looks good on the aerial imagery 🙂
Expect to get wet, and abseil.
Should be some pagoda-style canyon.

Not sure what to expect, so previous experience is important on this one.
Attendees: David, Leo and I
I had bee considering visiting Splendour Rock for the ANZAC dawn service, but since I’m not a great fan of ceremonies and crowds thought I’d visit the creek nestled between fire trails six and seven on the Sunnyside Ridge Rd.
This creek named ‘Waterecho Canyon’ has been on my to-do list for some time. After examining aerial imagery some weeks earlier,  had contrived a plan to drop in via a side creek fairly far to the north that looked quite canyony…
After getting a lift to Blackheath with Alex and Sierra, I continued to Lithgow where my trusty Hilux was awaiting me. The next morning, I met David in Lithgow and then Leo at the Bungleboori camping area.
We drove out along FT6 to the National Parks boundary, where we continued on foot to the saddle at 385 135. The high point to the NE of here proved to by a pagoda where we relaxed for some time before continuing down the target creek. This was nice walking and the creek was trickling thanks to the rain during the week. We soon came to a narrow section that dropped away. I was affraid this was going to be an abseil, but after peering around the fern growing at the top I looked down through a climbable slot into a deep pool… After a belly deep wade the canyon opened back up with some nice rock formation.
Me playing around in a small cave.
Before continuing down the creek we headed along a ledge to a lookout into the Wolgan (there was actually a cool exit here to). We the scrambled down to a 15m pitch. We rigged of a big tree, dropping down beside the waterfall. There was another drop shortly afterwards (about 20m) – but it would probably have been better to continue along the ledge as shortly upstream we encountered a 5m waterfall… We thought about prussicking back up but made the call to try and scramble up on the oposite side. After a near miss on a slippery log, we found a way up and managed to scramble around to above the waterfall.


David on our second and final abseil.


The unexpected waterfall
The creek was quite scrubby but soon I was really excited to see the water emerge from a small constriction. We got some nice canyon here – quite different to anything else on the Sunnyside Ridge. Also quite unusual was a light pattering of pea sized hail. There was one spot in the canyon where the rock formation funnelled the hail in making a kind of pop-corm machine affect 🙂
Towards the end of the canyon we got a lot of cool echoes of the water which is probably where the canyons name comes from! The canyon finished in a boulder pile we managed to climb through.


 Some great wet canyon with several wades.


Climbing out brought us into a large bowl with a cool dome-like overhang on the eastern side. We did a bit more creek walking (creek had a rock base further up) and then exited the creek. I was very close to stepping on a Red Belly here which really freaked me out! (David said something along the lines that he hadn’t seen me so alarmed before). It was a short walk back to the car. Seeing as it wasn’t too late, we headed out to the lookout at the end of the Sunnyside firetrail at David’s recommendation. David spent the night at our place, whilst Leo headed of to Mt Irvine to scout out some exits for the lower Wollangambe.