Dave's Blue Mountains Canyoning Page - Water Dragon

Water Dragon Trip report 31/3/03

Our party of 5 set off from the Fire Brigade shed just after 9:30am. We had a chat to another group of about 5 who were going to do Wungee Whengee. At the Wollangambie #1 exit track fork we ran into a large commercial group of 10+ people who were headed down Whungee Whengee also. The walk down to the Wollangambie was easy and pleasant, the
weather was supurb and it was quite warm. There was a log placed across the Serendipity branch track at the large anthill.

At the Wollangambie we crossed the river which was only knee deep and scrambled up the gully on the other side on the right. It was a long and steep walk up to the top of the ridge, and we stopped for bite to eat on the rock pagoda. Once at the top it was easy going for a few hundred meters until we branched off left down into Water Dragon. One of the group had done the canyon before and said to ignore the first obvious track off to the left. We proceed a bit further before turning off on a very indistinct track down a gully (at 255570, 6292278 OR S33 28.860, E150 22.166 (AGD66)). We stayed on the right out of the very scrubby creek line before going over another small pagoda and down the right hand side into the main creek. Thankfully the hard part was over with.

The creek was lovely with lots of moss and ferns and was easy going. The creek soon dropped away 2m into a small deep pool which would require suiting up for. There was a sling around a tree down in the creek, so people have gone this way on hand lines, but there was a pass up on the right hand bank. We didn't want to suit up yet so took the pass around.
This was wise move, as there was a fair bit further to go down the creek before the main abseils.

At the first abseil there were two slings on a tree up on the right side. This abseil can be done in either one or two drops, we did it in one drop with a 40m rope with no problems. Doing it in two drops seemed like much more hassle. There is another sling half way down and another two slings just a few meters below that. The first half of the abseil is more of a scramble than an abseil, more annoying than anything. The seond half is into a nice slot with a V cleft. There are shallow pools at the bottom, and we hadn't suited up yet. This was a mistake as just around the corner were the pools. Definitely suit up before the first abseil, it's easier than suiting up in the slot. Some nice wading, scrambling and walking continued until the canyon opened up a bit and then closed just as quickly again. There are a few tricky traverses were a safety line might be handy. One of our party slipped and almost slid the few meters to the bottom. Definitly not a canyon that favours short legged people. There are two or three spots where long legs are a big advantage.

A fixed rope goes 2m down a V cleft into a small deep pool, which then goes around the corner to the top of the second and last abseil. This short hand over hand can be done facing forward or backwards, but is a bit tricky due to the V nature. You probably don't need the hand line either, sliding could easily work. The last abseil has a tricky start as the slings are around some logs right at your feet. You have to clip on high and then scramble over the ledge before beginning your drop. There are no easy platforms or foot holds over the ledge so it's fairly tricky. Once you get the start over with it's a fairly easy 15m drop into the very Claustral like dark chasm. A spectacular deep, dark and narrow twisting slot continues for about 100m, this is the highlight of the canyon. A few glow worms made an appearance. You then emerge into a lovely hanging fern section, and we were somewhat surprised when we suddenly hit the Wollangambie just before 1pm. Just over 3 hours from the cars back to the Wollangambie.

After lunch we started the longgggg swim downsteam back to the Wollangambie #1 exit were we came in. This is almost one continuous 500m swim, although there are a few places to stop and rest along the way. This was slow going and very tiring. Another group doing Wollangambie #1 came through.
After changing we headed back to the cars, and returned around 3:30pm.

All up it was a great day out with perfect weather, and Water Dragon is a short but quite spectacular canyon. There was little evidence of it being heavily visited. It didn't live up to it's altrenative name of Kelvinator. There isn't much water and it wasn't all that colder than the Wollangambie.
A canyon well worth doing at least once.

The MapSource GPS track log (partial route of top entry) is here

(L) David H. in the canyon before the final drop. (C) Jim & Les setting up the final abseil into the darkness. (R) The final abseil (note someone on the rope, and a belayer)

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