After missing the Banks trip last season I was keen to run it
Ian had raved about the canyon saying it was one of the best, I was
eager to find out what all the fuss was about.
Nicole and I got to the ZigZig early to find Jim and Sharon already
there. It didn't take the 2hrs from Sydney we expected, only 1:45.
Ian and Peter soon arrived and we sorted into two cars for the trip
to the HITW carpark.
The trip didn't take long at all, and the Glowworm tunnel Rd was
certainly a lot better and easier going than last time, thanks to
the recent grading work. Three other cars were at the HITW carpark.
After packs were sorted we headed off past the endless pile of logs
placed across the road. 25 minutes later we hit the old car park
with the sign, so the road closure only adds 1 hour total to any
trip in the area.
Another 30minutes later had us at the HITW track which ovbiously
branched off to the left.
Another 30 minutes and some step climbing down (with some narrow
ledges) bought us to the Bungleborie. There looked to be no way
across without getting wet, so it was strip down time and a deep
wade across the pool to the gully on the other side slightly
downstream. Nicole chose to suit up in the wetsuit for the wade.
A climb up the gully on the other side put us against a cliff
right hand side which we followed along until we hit North East
canyon. This is an interesting little canyon, certainly not one
you'd do on it's own, but a nice additional canyon. When at the top
it's a nice view back down the canyon.
Once at the top it was a short walk down trending right until
hit the creek and turn right into Banks. I twisted my ankle on the
climb down here, and it hurt like hell for 5 minutes or so until
semi-normal function returned. The canyon doesn't take long to close
in and soon starts to impress. It wasn't long before we hit the
first really narrow bit which has water so it was time to suit up.
Ian and Jim suited up in the slot which is barely half a meter wide,
which must have been interesting to say the least.
The rest fo us suited up slightly downstream in a more open area. An
interesting feature was a perfect water spout coming out the side of
the wall in the slot.
Once in the slot it gets REAL narrow, and it was packs off at
point to squeze through. Long arm wetsuits come in handy for this
canyon, as you have to take your weight on your elbows several times
throughout the canyon. I made do with my short arm wetsuit and was
lucky to avoid major scrapes.
The first slot doesn't drop much but is very pretty and really
narrow, most impressive.
The first abseil (10m sloping) was from a tree on the left which
one sling one it. We elected to use only the one used sling as it
looked in good nick and the drop was all but a hand-over-hand
anyway. You probably don't need to abseil this one if you want to
scramble with the aid of the rope. Several deep swims through an
impressive and narrow slot followed. Banks was so far living up to
all I was told about. Not a deep canyon, but green and very narrow.
The second drop is not an abseil but either a slightly tricky
over a rock nose and bridging the narrow walls down into the water
(there are sufficient foot holds), or a scramble down the right into
the slot (the last bit can be jumped into the shallow pool and then
duck under a rock bridged between the walls. The former is probably
the best option for taller people, and the later is better for the
vertically challenged. Some more narrow canyon takes you to the
The second abseil (5m) is from a sling around a chockstone down
slot into the dark. You can't really see anything, and just when you
think you have hit the bottom you realise there are still several
meters to go. This was one of the highlights of the canyon. No need
for head torches really, it's more fun in the dark!
The third abseil (5m) is from several slings on the creek bed
the water which is rather unusual.
The canyon now opens up and you have to scramble your way down
unimpressive and rather unpleasent (to my liking, esp after the
great slot before) creek.
The forth abseil (15m?) I don't remember much of, but it started
from a tree on the right of the canyon where you hope down to a
lower level to clip on.
The fith abseil (16m) is from a tree on the right hand side
canyon. Some scrambling and a fun "firemans slide" down a tree gets
you to the slings. This is a long sling which takes the rope over
the edges. This is a great abseil and lands you in the water. This
brings you imediately to the Bungleborie.
Upstream on the Bungleborie (many deep wades, no swims) I found
rather unpleasent, and not the "third canyon" I was hoping for. This
went for about 15m minutes until the "Hole in the Wall" was reached.
Not really what I was expecting, it's not really a hole, more of a
narrow slot really, but still very nice. From then on though the
Bungleborrie got really impressive, and much narrower than I had
expected, it certainly is a "third canyon" from this point on. Some
final track waking on the left to avoid the rocks bought us back to
where we crossed the canyon before.
The walk back was easy, almost simple. Once you do the first
climb it is surprisingly flat and easy going. A canyon walk out that
I actually found very pleasant and enjoyable!
It was a fairly brutal day for me, for seom reason I seemed
banged my legs into every underwater obstacle possible. My knees and
shins were all battered. Several large bruises came up within the
next day. I guess that'll teach me for having a short legged wetsuit.
All up, a very enjoyable an interesting days canyoning taking
9 hours total. It certainly was the "three canyons in one" claimed.
I must say though that I was rather dissapointed with the creek
sections of Banks and the lower Bungleborie, they really took the
shine off the trip for me. But overall, Banks is a great canyon, and
if you enjoy narrow slots this one is really for you.
I thinks Banks deserves a place in my Top 5 canyon list, but
just. I think that Whungee Whengee is a much better value canyon,
with a similar quality but much less effort. Given it's a long day
out, not one I'll race back with newbies too, but I'll do it again