Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mt Polblue & Polblue Swamp, NSW, Australia


2015 May: Mt Polblue & Polblue Swamp in Barrington Tops National Park, NSW, Australia

Prolog

My nephew KinSum is in Sydney for a one-week visit. So I take him to Barrington Tops for an outing.
- The morning is spent in the Polblue Swamp area. Afterwards we look for the summit trig in Mt Polblue.
- The afternoon is spent in climbing Prospero.

The Prospero climb is in a separate blog - click on:
    http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/prospero-nsw-australia.html
for the photos and an account of that trip.

Mt Polblue

Mt Polblue, 1577 meters, is the 2nd highest mountain in the Barrington Tops National Park.

It seems hardly anyone ever climbs it. There is only one or two lines on the internet of someone having been there, but no detailed accounts.

3 months ago I went there to climb it ... see my blog http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/brumlow-top-polblue-nsw-australia.html

As this mountain is extremely flat and full of trees/shrubs, at the time, I came to a spot which I thought was the summit. But there was no trig nor cairn. Not convinced that I actually reached the highest point, so after returning home, I did an enquiry on the "Bushwalk Australia" forum:
    http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=19387
It leads to the NSW Land & Property Information website:
    https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/
Lo and behold, it says there should be a trig at approximately latitude -31.97135, longitude 151.446745. Hence today, I'm here again, determined to find its trig and the true summit.

(There is an uncertainty about the name of Polblue ... Search the internet and you'll find Mt Polblue and Polblue Mountain. On the 1:25,000 scaled Moonan Brook 9134-2S map, it is simple Polblue.)

Polblue Swamp

In the same previous trip to this area 3 months ago, I didn't visit Polblue Swamp ... Now making amends by circumnavigating it. As it is now the end of Autumn, the swamp is a bit quiet. But the vegetation is full of colour ... see photos #1 to #8. Just imagine what it would be like if it is in late Spring with the flowers blooming and wild life in full swing !

Highest peaks in Barrington Tops Plateau

For reference, here are the 3 highest peaks:

#1 : 1586 m  Brumlow Top ... Photos and write up on this climb is in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/brumlow-top-polblue-nsw-australia.html

#2 : 1577 m  Mt Polblue - this trip

#3 : 1556 m  Mt Barrington ... Photos and write up on this climb is in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/mt-barrington-careys-peak-nsw-australia.html

Maps for Mt Polblue & Polblue Swamp

•  Paper map - 1:25,000 scaled Moonan Brook 9134-2S

•  Online - http://www.mud-maps.com/map-store/mud-map-barrington-tops-national-park-ed1/map-226507/preview/

The below map is from 1:25,000 scaled Moonan Brook 9134-2S
The small blue circle near top right hand corner is where we park our car for the Mt Polblue walk.



GPS Tracklog files & Route

The GPX tracklog files of our walks can be downloaded from:
- Polblue Swamp:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSekY2N1ljQktXbU0/view?usp=sharing

- Mt Polblue:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSOTZiM2Z5MEdzcGM/view?usp=sharing

In summary:
•  At Polblue Picnic Area, circumnavigate Polblue Swamp on the Polblue Swamp Track.
•  Afterwards, park car at Barrington Trail, 210 meters from the junction with Barrington Tops Forest Road.
•  Walk on Barrington Trail until we are at west-south-west of Mt Polblue.
•  Leave trail and bushbash to Mt Polblue summit.
•  Retrace steps to our car.

If you are from Sydney, to drive to Polblue Swamp, best is to go from the west, via Moonan Flat, with about 25 km of unsealed road towards the end.

Timeline & Distance

Polblue Swamp:

09:30  0.0 km  Start walking on the Polblue Swamp Track from the Polblue Picnic Area
10:16  2.8 km  Finish
=================================
Total:  46 mins
           2.8 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           2.9 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS

Mt Polblue:

10:36  0.0 km  Start at Barrington Trail, 210 meters from junction with Barrington Tops Forest Road
10:57  1.8 km  At Nolans Swamp
11:16  3.3 km  Take a rest at a spot west-south-west of Mt Polblue

Put on gaiters

11:36  3.3 km  Resume walking
11:37  3.3 km  Off-track bushbash to Mt Polblue
11:55  3.7 km  At Polblue summit

12:09  3.8 km  Leave Polblue summit
12:18  4.1 km  At Barrington Trail

Take off gaiters

12:22  4.1 km  Resume walking
12:39  5.6 km  At Nolans Swamp
13:00  7.3 km  Finish

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

Total:  2 hrs 24 mins
           7.3 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           7.7 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS

Pictures - Polblue Swamp

1)  There is a well maintained track, called Polblue Swamp Track, that circumnavigates Polblue Swamp. As usual with swamps, tussock grass are abound.



2)  Delightful colours of the Polblue swamp.



3)  Delightful colours of the Polblue swamp



4)  Delightful colours of the Polblue swamp



5)  Green moss



6)  Delightful colours of the Polblue swamp



7)  Delightful colours of the Polblue swamp



8)  Delightful colours of the Polblue swamp



9)  Two different mushrooms ~~~ Does any one know their names?


Pictures - Climb Mt Polblue

After the Polblue Swamp walk, we park the car at Barrington Trail, 210 meters from the junction with Barrington Tops Forest Road.

10)  Now walking on Barrington Trail, towards Mt Polblue



11)  On the Barrington Trail, passing Nolans Swamp



12)  Nolans Swamp



13)  We are still on the Barrington Trail, but by the side of Mt Polblue now, and peering into it. If you are wondering where is the summit, it is somewhere inside !  Well, it is extremely flat around here. The summit is probably only a few meters higher than where we are standing. It explains why 3 months ago I couldn't find the summit trig. With all the trees/scrubs, I had no idea where was the highest point - everywhere was of the same height !



14)  About 1.5 km after passing Nolans Swamp is this opening by the side of Barrington Trail (west-south-west of Mt Polblue). It is a disused track with a log blocking the entrance ... probably to prevent 4-wheel drives from barging in. It is here that we now go in to search for the summit and its trig.



15)  The track soon peters out and it is scrub bashing time. The scrub here is Cytisus scoparius (Scotch Broom). Close up photos of the yellow flowers are in Photo #18.



16)  Finally, the summit trig is in sight. Even though this time I have the coordinates of the summit, but because of the shrubs and trees, it still takes us some searching around to find it.



17)  Mt Polblue summit, 1577 meters, 2nd highest mountain in the Barrington Tops National Park ~~~
With my nephew

There is hardly any information on the internet on this mountain. So, besides us, has anyone else been here recently??? The above two photos maybe the only ones showing you what Mt Polblue summit is like  :-)

By the way, as has been mentioned already, I was here 3 months ago. At the time I reached a spot 50 meters south-west of here and turned back ... well, the place is too flat and has too many trees !  I'm glad I come here again and find the trig and the true summit !

18)  It is the end of Autumn, not much flowers around, except this one ... quite cute looking. The flower points downwards ... the photo on the left is taken at eye level. To take the photo on the right, I have to bend down and point the camera skyward.
Post Script: In the comment section of this blog, Ken said it is Cytisus scoparius (Scotch Broom). In that case it is a perennial leguminous shrub native to western and central Europe, but is declared as a noxious weed in Australia. The plant is hard to eradicate as its seeds can lie dormant for 80 years !!!



19)  After climbing Mt Polblue, we return to Polblue Picnic Area to have lunch. 3 Kookaburras are sitting on a gum tree watching us.



After lunch, we go on to climb Prospero, a nearby hill just outside the National Park. Photos and a write up on that trip is in:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/prospero-nsw-australia.html

2 comments:

  1. I've always given Mount Polblue a miss, simply because there is no view, and I expected to have to bash through more Scotch Broom than you did. The scrub in photo 15 is Scotch Broom, and has the yellow flowers in 18. It is a weed, and a horrible one. Eventually it will be 2-3m high and form dense thickets in the area you were in, similar to some of the other areas, unless the biological controls start working. The seeds lie dormant for decades, so there is no point in manually killing it.

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    1. Ken, thanks for helping out on the identification of Scotch Broom. I've updated the blog with your information.
      You don't miss much by giving Polblue a miss. I'm a peak bagger and hence have to tick off Polblue, view or no view :-)

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