Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sheridan Hill, Wollemi Nat Pk, NSW, Australia


2016 February: A pleasant stroll to Sheridan Hill near Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park, NSW, Australia

Prolog - Sheridan Hill

It seems that Sheridan Hill, 725 meters, is not as exciting as other areas in the Dunns swamp area ... probably because the route we have chosen is too tame. Scroll forward to the satellite photo ... there, the area north-west of the summit looks like prime pagodas territory, but we were no where near it. Ah well, next time we'll definitely explore over there !

Nonetheless from its summit, DH & I can see both Mt Touwouwan and Mt Towinhingy which we climbed earlier. Well, that makes Sheridan Hill interesting enough for us  :-)

Photos and trip report on the Mt Touwouwan climb are in my blog:
    http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/mt-touwouwan-wollemi-nat-pk-nsw.html

Photos and trip report on the Mt Towinhingy climb are in my blog:
    http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/mt-towinhingy-wollemi-nat-pk-nsw.html

Maps

LPI 1:100,000 scaled  8932 Mount Pomany
LPI 1:25,000   scaled  8932-3N Olinda

Below is the relevant part of the 1:25,000 scaled LPI Olinda map


Here is map on a brochure on the Dunns Swamp area:
- Upper red arrow points to Beehive Pagoda by the bank of Dunns Swamp, opposite the carpark and picnic area ... refer to photos #1, #2, #8 and #9.
- Lower red arrow points to Ganguddy Ford just south of where Ganguddy Creek flows into the south arm of Dunns Swamp


GPS tracklog file & Route

The GPX tracklog file of our route can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSVU9YUUs0VjlHc2c/view?usp=sharing

Below is our route, red colour, clockwise, superimposed on the 1:25,000 scaled LPI Olinda map:


Satellite view of our route, red colour, clockwise ~~~
The summit of Sheridan Hill is at the bottom right hand corner of our route. The area north-west of the summit seems to be full of pagodas. But our route was too tame ... we didn't go anywhere near it  :-(   Next time, we'll definitely explore there.


A summary of our route is:
- Start at Dunns Swamp picnic area
- To Beehive Pagoda
- To Cudgegong Picnic Area
- Climb Sheridan Hill
- Return leg is along east side of Ganguddy Creek
- Then cross Ganguddy Ford to return to Dunns Swamp picnic area
  (Ganguddy Creek runs parallel to the access road to Dunns Swamp.)


Timeline & Distance

13:10  0.0 km  Start at carpark at Dunns Swamp Picnic Area
13:28  0.7 km  At Ganguddy Ford where Ganguddy Creek flows into Dunns Swamp
13:41  1.6 km  At Beehive Pagoda

13:42  1.6 km  Leave Beehive Pagoda
13:59  2.7 km  At Cudgegong Picnic Area

14:07  2.8 km  Leave Cudgegong Picnic Area
14:46  4.4 km  At Sheridan Hill summit

Afternoon tea and explore around

15:08  4.6 km  Leave Sheridan Hill summit
15:55  5.8 km  At Ganguddy Ford
16:06  6.4 km  End at carpark at Dunns Swamp Picnic Area

==============================================

Total:  2 hrs 56 mins  at leisurely pace
           6.4 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           7.3 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS


Pictures - Dunns Swamp

1)  From where we start the walk, looking across Dunns Swamp at our first destination, Beehive Pagoda, the red arrow. A well maintained track for tourists will take us there.


2)  Zooming onto Beehive Pagoda


To Beehive Pagoda

3)  This is the track that will take us to Beehive Pagoda.


4)  Walking along the west bank of the south branch of Dunns Swamp

5)  A few of these termite mounds along the track


6)  And some interesting rock formations


7)  DH posing inside a tree  :-)


At Beehive Pagoda

8)  We arrive at this rock formation named Beehive Pagoda by the bank of Dunns Swamp.
- Upper pic: West side, as we approach it
- Lower pic: East side, the side facing the water


9)  Dunns swamp as seen from Beehive Pagoda ~~~
- Towards north-west is Mt Touwouwan pointed to by the red arrow.
- The picnic area is in the red oval. Photos #1 and #2 were taken near the left tip of the red oval.


10)  Zooming onto Mt Touwouwan, towards north-west


On Waterside Walk to Cudgegong Picnic Area

11)  On the Waterside Walk along the southern bank of Dunns Swamp ~~~
We are now walking towards Cudgegong Picnic Area.


12)  On the Waterside Walk and looking back ~~~
In the upper photo, the mountain in the background is Mt Touwouwan, towards north-west.


13)  Plenty of pagodas along Waterside Walk


Cudgegong Picnic Area

14)  Arrive at Cudgegong Picnic Area ... quiet, no one around


15)  Quite a picturesque place


To Sheridan Hill

From Cudgegong Picnic Area, we head south to climb the nearby Sheridan Hill.

16)  These pics are taken when we are bushbashing up the slope of Sheridan Hill. The vegetation is not thick, easy going. The summit itself is at the centre of the pics.


17)  Bushbashing up the hillside


18)  Interesting tessellate pattern on a rock


19)  I wonder what tree is this?


Sheridan Hill Summit

20)  This is it, the summit of Sheridan Hill, about 725 meters above sea level.


21)  The summit is a few large rocks. I am at to the top of highest one.


22)  We can't find any cairn at the summit, so we stack a few stones to make one.
By the way, the rock formation in the 2 pics below and also in the above pic are of the same rock.  They look different to each other because they are viewed from different angles.


23)  Moving a little away from the summit and looking back at it ... The red circle has the small cairn that we had just built.


Views from Sheridan Hill Summit

24)  At the summit, there is not much of a view due to too many trees. Move away a bit and there are good lookouts. This view is towards south and west.
- Left arrow: Mt Durambang, south-ish
- Right arrow: Mt Towinhingy, west-ish.
DH and I climbed Mt Towinhingy this morning. Photos and trip report are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/mt-towinhingy-wollemi-nat-pk-nsw.html


25)  Zooming onto Mt Towinhingy, west-ish


26)  Zooming onto Mt Durambang, south-ish


27)  Zooming onto some pagoda rock formations in the middle of the panorama of photo #24.


28)  From a different lookout, towards north-west, is Mt Touwouwan. We climbed it yesterday. Photos and trip report are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/mt-touwouwan-wollemi-nat-pk-nsw.html


Descend Sheridan Hill

29)  We climbed up Sheridan Hill from the north. Now we descend down its western slope.


30)  As we climb down, we are met with another marvelous view of Mt Touwouwan which we climbed yesterday.


31)  Passing by a rock with a hole in it ... One always reaches for the camera when one encounters such a rock  :-)  The 2 pics below are of the same rock but from opposite directions.
- Upper pic: The hole is on the left side of the rock.
- Lower pic: The hole is on the right.


32)  DH climbing down


Along Ganguddy Creek

33)  We've descended Sheridan Hill and are now walking northward along the east side of Ganguddy Creek ... nice scenes and a pleasant walk.


34)  Wombat hole ... plenty of them in the Australian bush


35)  Ganguddy Creek, near where it flows into the south arm of Dunns Swamp


36)  (Continuation to the right of the previous pic)
This place is called Ganguddy Ford. It is near where Ganguddy Creek flows into the south arm of Dunns Swamp.
We have been off-track walking. But as can be seen in the above pic, we are now back on track and crossing Ganguddy Creek to head towards our car at the Dunns Swamp picnic area.

Mt Towinhingy, Wollemi Nat Pk, NSW, Australia


2016 February: Climb Mt Towinhingy and its pagodas near Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park, NSW, Australia

Prolog

Despite having lived in Sydney for so long, I've never heard of Dunns Swamp ... until one day, the All Nations Bushwalking Club came back from there and raved about how interesting the place is. So DH and I went there to check it out.

Well, we are not disappointed. Around Dunns Swamp there are lots of pagoda rock formations awaiting us to explore.  One such place is at Mt Towinhingy.  Although the All Nations Bushwalking Club didn't go there ... they encountered some bad weather, but no such bad luck for DH and I. So today we are going to climb it.

Dunns Swamp

For pictures of the Dunns Swamp area and Mt Touwouwan, see my blog:
    http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/mt-touwouwan-wollemi-nat-pk-nsw.html
(We climbed Mt Touwouwan yesterday.)

Quoting from NSW National Parks website:

"Dunns swamp, or Ganguddy as it is known to local Wiradjuri Aboriginal people, is a beautiful, serene waterway on the Cudgegong river, created when Kandos weir was built in the late 1920s.

It is a perfect place for a range of recreational activities, from birdwatching and fishing to canoeing and swimming. You’ll also find a network of easy walks offering expansive views over the Cudgegong river and Wollemi National Park.

This idyllic setting is great for a family camping trip, car-based and small-caravan camping and, with wood barbecues on-site; you can hook dinner and cook up a camping feast ..."

Camping fee as at 2016-02 is $6 per adult, $3.50 per children ... self-registration, so you would need to bring the correct change.


Mt Towinhingy

965 meters is the height estimate from the LPI map.

It is not hard to climb Mt Towinhingy from where we park our car by the side of Coricudgy Road. Although the base of Mt Towinhingy facing Coricudgy Road is lined with cliffs, but if you search around, you should be able to find ways to scramble up the cliffs ... or you can just follow our route  :-)

The most interesting feature of Mt Towinhingy is its pagoda rock formations. Scroll forward to the satellite view below and you can see that the entire northern slope of the mountain is dotted with them.

Unfortunately DH and I only have time to explore a teeny-weeny portion of the pagodas. If you are interested to do some explorations there, contact me and we can have a go together.


Maps

LPI 1:100,000 scaled  8932 Mount Pomany
LPI 1:25,000   scaled  8932-3N Olinda

Below is the relevant part of the 1:25,000 scaled map


GPS tracklog file & Route

The GPX tracklog file of our route can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSN1JSNTAwdHRGb0k/view?usp=sharing

Below is our route, red colour, superimposed on the 1:25,000 scaled map:


A satellite view of our route:
Note all the interesting pagodas on the northern slope of the mountain that we didn't visit  :-(


A summary of our route is:
- Start at Coricudgy Road ... refer to the above maps and also photo #1 below
- Climb Mt Towinhingy
- Explore some pagodas north-west of the summit
- Return directly to car


Timeline & Distance

07:06  0.0 km  Start at an open space by side of Coricudgy Road where my car is parked
07:23  0.2 km  Encounter unscalable cliffs

Explore around to find a way up the cliffs

07:38  0.2 km  Start climbing up the cliffs
07:44  0.3 km  At top of the cliffs
08:30  1.0 km  At Mt Towinhingy summit

Morning Tea & build cairn

08:48  1.0 km  Leave Mt Towinhingy summit
09:44  2.1 km  At top of highest of the local pagodas

Explore around

09:50  2.1 km  Leave highest of the local pagodas
10:32  2.6 km  At a point as far north-west of Mt Towinhingy summit as we are willing to explore.
     Turn around and return to car.
12:08  4.0 km  At top of the cliff - same spot as at 07:44
12:18  4.2 km  Finish at where my is parked by side of Coricudgy Road

==============================================

Total:  5 hrs 12 mins  at leisurely pace
           4.2 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           6.0 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS


Pictures - Climb Mt Towinhingy

1)  I park my car at an open space on the east side of Coricudgy Road.  It is not a carpark, but it seems perfectly designed for us climbers intending to climb Mt Towinhingy from the east.


2)  To climb Mt Towinhingy, first cross Coricudgy Road. But soon after, we are confronted by a looong line of cliffs.  While searching around for a way up, we come across this cave.
If you inspect the upper pic closely,
- You can see the cliffs across the entire background.
- You may spot DH facing the wrong way  :-)  It is because the upper pic is taken on the return leg.


3)  Not far from the cave in the previous pic is this rocky slope which we need to scale over.  It looks easy, but when we try to climb it, it is incredibly difficult ... well, we are not rock climbers. So we give up; and search towards the right to find an easier way up the cliffs. Sure enough, just climb up the ridge on the right side of this rocky slope and follow the yellow arrow (right edge of this pic).


4)  (This and the previous pic are of the same slope.)
Around the area of the yellow arrow of the previous pic, we look towards the left at the rocky slope which we had spent some time trying to climb ... the slope was too difficult for us to handle  :-)


5)  Now at the top of the cliff of photos #3 and # 4 ... looking back at Coricudgy Road ~~~
My car is parked somewhere in the red oval.


6)  Afterwards, the climb to Mt Towinhingy is quite easy as the vegetation is not thick ... as in this photo.


Mt Towinhingy Summit

7)  Pretty soon, we can see the summit of Mt Towinhingy.
Note the mass of small yellow flowers carpeting the top of the mountain. The same yellow flowers also carpet the top of Mt Touwouwan which we climbed yesterday ... see photo #48 in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/mt-touwouwan-wollemi-nat-pk-nsw.html
Photo #46 of the above mentioned blog is a close-up view of the flower.


8)  The yellow flowers !
If you know its name, please let me know.


9)  Looking back at DH climbing up ~~~
Both of the below 2 pics are towards the north:
- Upper pic: The red arrow points to Mt Touwouwan.
- Lower pic: The road in the red oval is Coricudgy Road. (My car is not parked there; it is towards the upper right side of the pic.)


10)  DH and I at the summit of Mt Towinhingy, 965 meters ~~~
There is no trig nor cairn here ... an indication that hardly anyone comes up here.  The cairn you see in this photo is built by us !
It would be interesting to come back here in the future to see whether anyone has added more stones to the cairn  :-)


11)  Found this bird at the summit. It looks like a Phaps chalcopterais (Common Bronzewing), a pigeon native to Australia. (Thanks to MK who provided this information.)


12)  Also wonder what is this plant found near the summit?  Let me know if you know what it is.


Climb down to a lookout

There is not much view from the summit, too many trees. But climb down a bit and you'll get a good view ... for example, the upper pic of photo #9, or the pics below.

13)  Here, we've climbed down the mountain roughly in the same direction as we climbed up, and come to a rocky lookout.


14)  Nice view looking towards the north.
- Left red arrow: I don't know what mountain is it. Probably unnamed, but looks inviting to be climbed !
- Right red arrow: Mt Touwouwan
- The lower photos are zooming in onto the unnamed mountain and Mt Touwouwan.
DH and I climbed Mt Touwouwan (above pic) yesterday. Photos and a write up on the climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/mt-touwouwan-wollemi-nat-pk-nsw.html


15)  Coming down from the lookout and looking back at it.


To the pagodas on north-western slope of Mt Towinhingy

From the rocky lookout in photos #13, #14 and #15, instead of retracing our steps by descending east to the car, we go west instead to explore the pagodas there.

16)  On the way to the pagodas, we encounter plenty of cliffs/rock formations. By comparison, the side we climbed up the mountain (east side) seems quite tame.
- The two lower photos are continuation to the right/left of each other.


17)  The 2 photos below are also continuation to the right/left of each other.
- The rock formation in the 2 red circles are of the same rock.
- In the lower pic, the main rock there looks like the head of a crocodile.


Lookout to the pagodas

18)  We come to a lookout marked by this rock ~~~
- In the upper pic, the mountain in the background is the same as the one in photo #14.


19)  From the lookout, we have our first glimpse of the pagodas ... they are so inviting !
I would love to explore more of them one day.  If you wish to do so too, please contact me.
- Upper pic: Panoramic view (The pagodas we are going to climb now are not in this pic ... they are beyond the left edge.)
- Middle pic: Zooming onto the pagodas on the left side of the upper pic.
- Lower pic: Zooming onto the pagodas on the right side of the upper pic.


In pagodas territory

20)  We've come down from the lookout and are now in pagodas territory ... we are going to climb some of them, especially the highest one - the one in the red circle.


21)  Inching forward towards the pagodas


22)  Inching forward towards the red circle - the highest pagoda in this local area


23)  Looking back at DH going over one of the many pagodas


At top of the highest pagoda

24)  We reach the top of the highest pagoda in the red circle in photos #20 and #22.


25)  Superb panoramic view from here ... this and the next pic. This pic is towards south-west.


26)  This panoramic view is from west to north and is the continuation to the right of the previous pic.
The red arrow points to Mt Touwouwan which we climbed yesterday.


27)  Google Earth view of where we are now - the red arrow. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
- Our tracklog is in turquoise colour.


28)  Towards west and zooming onto the left side of the panorama in photo #26 ~~~
Would be interesting to climb the rock formation at the centre of the pic. It is honeycombed with caves !


29)  Towards north-west and zooming onto left of the centre of the panorama in photo #26 ~~~
Later on, we'll explore a little bit in that direction.


30)  Towards north and zooming onto right of the centre of the panorama in photo #26 ~~~
Just like the previous pic ... the wonderful pagodas !


31)  (Continuation to the right of the previous pic) ~~~
This one is zooming onto the right side of the panorama in photo #26.


32)  (Still at the top of the highest pagoda)
Some close by pagodas


Explore towards north-west

After a short stop at the highest pagoda, we now explore towards the north-west.

33)  We go down a passage between 2 pagodas ... the yellow arrows ... this pic is looking backward.
- The pagoda on the left is the one in photo #31.
- On the right is where we have been ... the base of the highest pagoda in this area.


34)  Further along our exploration ... we are heading down this gully.


35)  Yellow arrow: Going down the gully of the previous pic


36)  Down in the gully of the previous pic and looking back ~~~
You can just make out DH bashing through the scrub in the middle of the pic.


37)  At the end of the gully and looking back at it.
The red arrow points to the highest pagoda in this area. We were there in photos #24 to #32.


38)  Continuation to the right of the previous pic ~~~
The red arrow points to the highest pagoda ... we were there ... photos #24 to #32.


39)  Now closer to the rock formation seen in photo #28


40)  Closer still to the rock formation


41)  Zooming onto the rock formation ~~~
Would love to climb it.  But it is not so easy ... there is a big drop just in front of it and we don't have time to explore around to find a way up. Will have to be next time  :-(


42)  Red circle: The rock formation of the previous pic as seen in Google Earth.
(Our tracklog is in turquoise colour.)


43)  Around where we are in photos #40 and #41, looking back at where we came from:
- The red square is the pagoda in photos #31 and #33.
- The rectangle has the pagodas in photo #38.
- Red arrow points to the highest point of the pagodas ... we were there in photos #24 to #32.


44)  Zooming onto the red rectangle of the previous photo ~~~
The red arrow points to the highest point of the pagodas ... we were there in photos #24 to #32.


45)  Nearby rocks


46)  We try to go down this mini gully ...
... but the end of which is a vertical drop.

So we backtrack to find another way forward.


47)  Nearby pagodas


48)  Exploring the pagodas


49)  Another nearby pagoda ... no, we do not have time to climb it.
This is as far north-west as we go.  In the afternoon we intend to climb a nearby Sheridan Hill, hence we need to return to our car now.


Return to car

50)  On the return trip, we keep to higher grounds. This pic is reminiscent of photo #43.
- The red arrow points to the highest point of these pagodas, we were there in photos #24 to #32.
- The yellow arrows mark the gully where we walked earlier on.


51)  Zooming onto the left side of the previous pic.


52)  We are now outside the pagodas territory, but the terrain is still interesting.


53)  On the way to the car ~~~
The lower pic is the right side of the upper pic.


54)  Passing by more rock formations on the way to the car


Afternoon

In the afternoon, we go on to climb the nearby Mt Sheridan. A trip report will be written up soon ... whatever soon means  :-)

Post Script

I like Mt Towinhingy. We have only visited a small fraction of its pagodas ... so much of them remain to be explored ... and probably no one has ever set foot on most of them.  As a rule, I don't repeat a trip ... but this mountain is worth repeating!  Contact me if you wish to join in too.