Dalpura Canyon - Mt Wilson
Highly Recommended. This is a very impressive and fun little canyon. It's dead easy to get to (just to the side of the Bells Line of Road), a short walk in, and it has many spectacular canyon sections and awesome creek walking. This is normally an abseil canyon, but we have found a way around this, see below.
How to get there:
Park 2.6km past the MtWilson turnoff on the Bells Line of Road after the safety rail ends (GPS S33-31.983 E150-18.834), there is room for 2 maybe 3 cars. There is a road that leads around a rock hill to a dead end, just at the entrance is a track leading left down the mountain through the scrub, this is the track in to the canyon. BTW This is not the road shown on the topographical!. You will soon hit a creek which the track crosses several times. This creek and several others that join it along the way lead into Dalpura. Follow this track all the way to the start of the canyon (GPS S33-32.328 E150-18.800) GR505857 Mt Wilson map, it's a 25min walk from the car to the start of the canyon. The start is a largish rock at the bottom of a cliff where you can change. There is an obvious track going up the cliff to the left, just ignore that. Suit up and jump into the creek and follow the canyon. When we were there, there was a coathanger on a tree! (someone wanted to hang their wetsuit up perhaps?)
You immediately enter a lovely canyon section and some great creek walking. There is a short pool not too far in. You will eventually get to the main abseil point which drops directly into a cavern below. This is a great 5m overhang abseil, it curves back in a few meters directly under so it's a direct drop. Poke your head over and take a look!. It's shallow in many parts so don't even think about jumping!. The belay is a notch in the rock you can see in the photo. When we went we had a rope but no abseil gear. From what we had heard we could hand-over-hand it, but not with that direct drop, so we looked for an alternative way in and found one!
The alternative (non-abseil) entry:
Beware, this option has some exposed cliff faces.
Back a few dozen meters from the abseil, climb up the cliff on the right until you hit a cliff face. Follow this cliff face left following the canyon all the way around until you hit a very low overhanging rock. Crawl on your stomache under this overhang (you can just fit with your pack still on). Follow the cliff face a bit more until you come to a track leading down the side of the cliff. Follow this down and jump onto a long rock ledge. This is as far as it goes, you have to go straight down. It's about 3-4m down into the canyon. On the left of the cliff (where you jumped onto it) is a smallish tree about 1m down a slope. Loop your rope around this and climb hand-over-hand down the cliff face onto the canyon floor - tending to the left, the middle of the rock ledge. You should land in front of a large tree, that is the highest point to the ledge. Leave the rope there to climb back out if you want to. It's not too hard, there are plenty of foot holds.
You are now in the canyon on the other side of that abseil point. Head left into the canyon to check out the awesome cavern where you can play and swim under the waterfall. Continue to do the rest of the canyon which has many spectacular parts. You will eventually come to another drop similar to last one but not as high. We had an injured person so we had to turn back at this point so I don't know what's beyond there, but it looks awesome twisting away to the right in a narrow constriction. Looks to be dangerous to scramble around, the only way is straight down I think. Will attempt it next time. The entry to this was blocked up by many tree stumps.
We went back out the same way we came in.
Trip Report Number 2 (abseil entry):
Yep, we went back to Dalpura to finish it, abseil gear in hand this time (and
injuries mended). It had rained for many days before, and on the day and the
water level was awesome (but not dangerous). This is definately one canyon I'd
recommend doing in high water!
The water was pounding over the entry to the cavern this time, and with 3 first-time abseilers in our group (myself included), this was exciting stuff!. The abseil is easier than it looks. You start off through the waterfall but after about a 2m drop you end up hanging behind it. Even for first timers in high water it's pretty easy. The water level was so high in the cavern this time that we couldn't stand up anywhere and had to disconnect from the rope while treading water. My first abseil - fun stuff!
That second drop is actually an easy but exposed scramble around to the right. There is some more spectacular creek walking after this until you get to the end overlooking the valley - lovely :)
The exit track is very clear at the exit on the right side up the mountain.
We saw another party do the canyon with no packs, no gear, no rope, nothing! They probably have no brains either - not recommended.
Waterproof gear. Abseil equipment (optional). 15m rope.
Above Left: Inside the large cavern that you can abseil into or scamble around into. It's not deep, only waist deep in place just under the drop. I wouldn't recommend jumping in. (This is the waterfall in low water level)
Above Right: The water isn't all that cold, have some fun!
Above Left: The abseil point into the main cavern. Note the belay is the notch scoured into the rock on the right, just below the backpack.
Above Right: One of the many little fun parts of Dalpura. You can scramble around this drop, but what fun would that be? (This drop would have been suicide in high water on our second trip!)
Above Left: Another little fun part of Dalpura. There are many little gems like this all the way through!
Above Right: Some lovely creek walking is to be had at Dalpura.
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