Whungee Whengee Canyon
Great photos of our recent trip to the magnificent Whungee Whengee
Whungee Whengee Trip Report - 7th Feb 04
Party of 5, all relatively experienced canyoners, only I had done WW once
After meeting at the Cathedral camp groud, with intentions of heading off from
there, we decided to pack into one of the cars and drive to the fire shed
instead. We figured this would make the walk in easier.
We left around 9am, with perfect skies and the sun really heating up. The Fire
Shed carpark was jammed with cars, along with another very large group at the
Cathedral camp area. We were hoping that they were all headed for the
The walk in from the fire shed down to the Gambie was fairly quick, certainly
quicker and easier than coming from the camp ground. While splashing round at
the Gambie, which was very low, we saw another large group coming down the WG1
exit track, setting up handlines for the tricky climb down parts. A body board
went flying down the drop, so we figured they were headed for the Gambie.
The climb up the gully on the other side of the Gambie was hot and tiresome,
with one of the group feeling a bit light headed and having to rest for a while
and take in some sustainence. On our way again, the level terrain at the top of
the ridge was a welcome relief in the heat. Before we knew it we were headed
down the right side of the ridge into the creek. The track was pretty much a
highway, and would be difficult to accidently loose. It leads right to the main
obvious abseil tree. I have heard others say that there are many ways into
Whungee Whengee, bypassing the abseil. But to do this you'd most likely have to
Another party of 6 soon arrived as we were about to drop. One of them had a
Pitt Stop and wasn't quite sure now to use it, he said the guy who sold it to
him didn't know either. One of our group had one, so we demonstrated.
The first drop is quite nice, from a tree about 3m back from the edge, with a
drop of about 10m. The tree in the path of the abseil wasn't much drama this
We decided not to suit up at the first abseil, as my recollection was that it
was a fair distance to the next abseil and swim. This turned out not to be the
case, and the next abseil was soon reached (5-10min?)
There did not appear to be much water down the bottom of the drop, but I knew
there was a swim to come, so we suited up here.
There were three options:
a) a sling around a tree on the left side of the canyon, with what looked like a
tricky scramble to get to.
b) another sling around a tree on the left side, with an easy and large bridge
c) a hand-over-hand or scramble from a tree about 20m downstream on the left
We opted for B, as I had taken option C last time.
The abseil was short (4m), but a little tricky, with a swing and overhang at the
end. Each one of us went down a different way, much to everyones amusement.
A few meters on was another tricky drop which we decided to abseil from a log
(3m). The bottom of which was the bottom of option C. So we ended up taking the
long way in.
Last season we had a deep and long dark swim just after this, but this time
was a deep wade through a stagnant pool. WW was not looking like as much fun as
Next was a tricky drop (5m) down a slab from a tape around a tree. You get
the tree by either a swig-over from a long tape on another tree, or a squeeze
through a gap on the right. We tried another bigger drop from a tree (no sling)
further on, but it seemed a lot trickier, so we opted for the slab. One of the
group took some skin off the fingers, that taught him not to keep his gloves in
The next obstacle was an unexciting slide down a nice water chute. We did this
instead of the optional traverse and tree root climb on the left wall.
The canyon then doglegged 90 degrees right through a narrow enclosed tunnel (one
of many for the trip) and took us to the famous "duck under".
Once again, the water was very low in all the swims up to this point, and I was
feeling that it certainly wasn't as fun or nice as last time.
Another group of two shot past us at this point and bypassed the "duck-under" by
climbing up on the right and over the top. I don't know why you'd want to miss
one of the most exciting parts of the canyon.
The others were about to follow the two over the top until I pointed out the
small triangle shaped tunnel down on the lower right. I got a few funny looks as
they poked their torches into the darkness. But off they went throug hthe dark
tunnel. Some of us had to take off helmets and packs. With my helmet off the
water was up to my chin. Last time I had to tilt my head back and the water was
still up to my mouth. A most enjoyable swim through the tunnel, and everyone was
finally raving about WW. Up to that point I think everyone had been a bit
dissapointed after I told them how fantastic WW was.
The canyon opened out almost completely a fair time after this. I lost track
events after this point, but several more swims, scambles and hand-over-hands
bought us to the final "tunnel". Two of the group quickly scrambled over the
top, but the rest of us were intruiged by the small dark entrance below us. I
did not remember this tunnel from last time, so was not sure if there was a way
through. A quick look with the torch showed that it looked ok, so in we went. We
were glad that we did, this is by far the best tunnel in WW. There were glow
worms high up on the ceiling, and a big rock jutting down from the ceiling. The
water was clear and lacked that dank smell of the other pools. Just after
getting around the rock from the roof you hit some rocks on the bottom, and it's
a bit of a shuffle to get through.
We soon hit the main abseil of around 10m. We used the ring bolt up on the
wall. The eveidence of old slings around the rocks below were still present.
This was an akward abseil, but enjoyable, with a short swim through a clear blue
pool at the bottom. This abseil was very tough on the rope, with lots of sand
grinding away at it.
The other large group caught us at this abseil, but it was the last we saw
The next abseil of about the same height was much better, allowing a big swing
into a dark cave underneath.
The green walls in this lower half of the canyon are pretty amazing.
Then it was up climb up a small log onto a platform. From this platform you
either jump or slide off the edge onto a lower ledge on the right, or else
abseil over the edge from slings on a tree above you. We elected to jump it,
with some help from the first person down.
Then it was through the magnificent straight slot and out into the warm
Wollangambie around 3:30.
The downstream on the Wollangambie was definitely much easier and less swimming
than the upstream exit. There wasn't much in the way of swimming, a lot of it
was wading or boulder hoping.
All up, it was probably slightly longer overall to go downstream on the Gambie,
but it's certainly an easier day out than going upstream.
All up it took us about 9 hours, but we went very slowly and stopped to take
lots of pictures.
With the lower water level I felt that this trip wasn't nearly as good as the
higher water level last season. The upper half of the canyon was fairly
dissapointing this time around, but the lower half of the canyon was still
really good. The dank smell of many of the pools was not very pleasent.
Definitely one to do after some good rain.
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