[Mother’s Day] Starlight

Leader:Felix Ossig-Bonanno

Hi All!
The last (and only) time I went here was with CWBW and we went in from the bottom.

Will be talking mum to do the trip from the top on Sun.

Might explore the creek a bit too; So there might be some wading.

Please note that spots will be limited by transport.

Previous abseiling and canyoning experience is important for this one.


Date: Mummies Day (Sunday 10th of May 2015)
Attendees: Mum, Nam, Cody, and Me
Timing: Left home at 6:30, Left the car just after 7(:30)??, Got back to the car at 2:15. Not rushing. Nice lunch break.

Waking up quite early (just after five) we arrived at Newns around seven. After a toilet stop and some discussion about canyon wetness, cold wind, sickness and torpor bats† we decided to change plans and do Windows instead.
We headed back a short way along the road and were soon crossing the Wolgan River and heading up into Penrose Gully. We made very good time, partially attributed to a well defined pad I couldn’t recall from previous trips.

We stopped for a group photo at a rocky outcrop at the top of the cliffline – the typical morning tea spot – but retreated quickly from a biting wind.
I decided to try a variation on the walk-in to avoid some thick scrub that my bare shins would be happy to avoid and before long we were overlooking the canyon catchment and weaving a path down along the rock ledges.

We followed the creek down which (as could be expected) was a little wetter than it normally is. Avoiding a small drop that has caused trouble in the past, we soon reached the first pitch. This proved to be tiered, and having misjudged the height we ended up adding an additional rope and doing a partial pull-down to equalise them.


The change in trip meant we were going to have to be a little creative, as we knew we probably didn’t have two lengths of rope to make the final drop…
Seeing as Cody was familiar with some single rope techniques, I used the opportunity to practice techniques such as Biner-Blocks, which proved to be time effective on longer pitchers (you could set up one rope and sort out the pull down while people where abseiling) and it also helped reduce the stress on the knot (probably the weakest point in the system).


We stopped for lunch at a spectacular rock ledge overlooking the Wolgan, enjoying the sun-warmed rocks while we ate.
The cold wind encouraged us to move on a little quicker than we may have liked. We proceeded with the canyon’s namesake abseil under a bridge of rock with a small window.




Looking through the window.

A bit wet from some spray we approached the final pitch. We set up our longest rope with a Crab to stop it pulling through and a volunteer was sent down with a spare rope to see if it would reach. We where in luck! and the spare rope was left part way down the pitch (if it didn’t reach, this rope could have been attached to the end to avoid prussicking). The final person (abseiling single rope) then connected two shorter ropes on the pull down side.

(left) – mum exploring a rockpile. (right) me abseiling ‘out of the bag’, I think i’m attaching another length of rope for the pull-down

The great thing about many Newns canyons is that you do the ‘walk-in’ in the morning.   This was the situation we were in and a short scramble down the hill saw us to our awaiting car with many hours of daylight to spare!

Thanks to everyone for a fun and educational trip!


† The canyon should be avoided in winter (May-September) due to the risk of disturbing torpor bats (Eastern Horseshoe and Eastern Bentwing).  If disturbed, the awakened bats can use valuable energy supplies, increasing the chance the bats starve (die) during torpor.

“Up to 1000 large Bentwing Bats (Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis) live in the canyon … These bats are listed as vulnerable under both state and federal legislation, and any disturbance while in torpor can threaten their survival.”