Posted by: EPIC | September 29, 2010

Ti Willa Plateau, Kanangra-Boyd NP

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17-19 September 2010

Tom Gleeson
Stewart Dennis
Catherine Larque
Thomas Polden
Zoe Lagarde
Sarah Buckerfield

For quite a while now I’ve been wanting to make a traverse of the Ti Willa Plateau in Kanangra-Boyd National Park. Previous attempts to organise such a trip have been unsuccessful for various reasons, but this time we had a good group of self-sufficient bushwalkers and a weekend of perfect weather – nothing was going to stop us now.

This was a lightweight bushwalk, without many of the unnecessary gadgets which the outdoors shops would like to convince us we all need to purchase. Instead of carrying stoves, we used billies to cook on the fire; instead of carrying tents, we shared lightweight fly sheets; and the Dunlop Volley was the ideal choice of footwear. I comfortably kept my pack weight to just 8kg (including a very comprehensive first aid kit and PLB), with two litres of water taking it to a maximum weight of just 10kg.

On the Friday evening we drove from Canberra up to Kanangra, stopping at the famous Paragon Cafe in Goulburn for a meal and a review of the maps. We arrived at Kanangra Walls and began walking around 11:00PM, taking about an hour to reach our camping cave in the dark.

On the Saturday we rose early at 6:00AM and began walking soon after, with breakfast enjoyed in the morning sun atop Cottage Rock. A very pleasant day of ridge top walking followed, until we reached the junction of the Kowmung River and Gingra Creek just after 1:00PM. The water in the Kowmung was invigoratingly cold, and it was very refreshing to take a quick swim at lunch time. We then spent the afternoon exploring the lower reaches of Gingra Creek, before taking our packs about a kilometre downstream to a nice campsite known as ‘The Garden of Eden’. We took off our Dunlop Volleys to cross the Kowmung, then we set up our fly sheets and got a fire going to prepare some billy tea. Platter was served, and the wine followed. As nightfall came, we enjoyed conversation around the campfire and some nice hot meals, including a grass seed rice-like treat from Stewart.

Huey remained gracious and we had a clear sky overnight. Waking up to the gentle sounds of water flowing in the Kowmung and birds singing in the trees was wonderful. We got the fire going again and boiled some water in the billies for tea. After breakfast it was time to re-cross the Kowmung, and start the long climb up the spur to the cliff line around the Ti Willa Plateau.

The ascent went very well, and we navigated our way directly up to the base of Compagnoni Pass. The metal spikes and chains were in good condition, and we quickly gained the top of the pass. We continued our climb up to Ti Willa Hill, reaching this point around lunch time. We decided to press on regardless to the Hundred Man Cave where, after some horrendous scrub bashing through fire-burnt banskia bushes, we enjoyed a late lunch. En route to the cave we took a detour to the edge of the plateau to look over the Inner Ti Willa Walls and into the deep green Ti Willa Gorge. The remote wilderness and beauty of the area left us amazed and humbled.

After lunch we climbed up to Mount Cloudmaker, signed the log book, then began the return leg to Kanangra Walls via Mount Stormbreaker, Crafts Wall, and the Kanangra Tops. As it was getting dark, we set a furious pace, and going up Mount Berry we unintentionally split the group in two. The first three walkers followed a track straight up on top of Mount Berry, whilst the other three took the main track which sidles around the hill. Arriving at Crafts Wall, the second group were not sure what had happened to the first group, who they had expected to reach Crafts Wall before them. Cooes were given off, but the echo from the surrounding cliff-lined mountains made the direction of the cooee’s origin difficult to ascertain. Eventually though the two groups were reunited on the Kilpatrick Causeway and we completed the final section of the walk back to Kanangra Walls together, reaching the cars at 9:00PM.

Overall this was one of the best walks which I have ever done. The combination of a really interesting and challenging route, a weekend of perfect weather, good food and wine, and a great group of bushwalkers made this such a fantastic trip. Thanks to those who came along on the trip and made it so great. I will be talking about this trip for years to come.

Tom Gleeson

ANUMC President & Bushwalking Officer

See more photos from Tom G and Thomas P

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