Moving 'round Megalong


Megalong is thought to be an aboriginal word roughly meaning "Valley under the Cliff". Some ill-informed people have recently lobbied to have the name changed to Megalong Valley which will translate as "Valley under the cliffs Valley"! Admittedly locals often refer to it as Megalong Valley. You can have an enjoyable day just driving around exploring Megalong . Old Mr Collins' orchard is the first property on the right as you come out of the forest and is worth a visit in summer for it's juicy peaches. You'll get a good feed and cuppa at the Tea Rooms a bit further along Megalong Rd and Werri Berri horse rides are just across the road on the left. Further on again is the Megalong Valley Model Farm which is well worth a visit with the kids. Keep an eye out for Mary Shaw's old pise (rammed earth) house on the right and the little one-teacher school further along on the left with the old church opposite set on the hill. Old Ford Reserve is a good picnic spot with good swimming holes both sides of the bridge. Carlons Farm (Packsaddlers) is at the very end of Megalong Road and there's a lot of history associated with this place alone.

Firstly have a look at the Medlow Bath page and sketchmap for walk ideas beginning at the Quota Picnic Area.

A large (over 2m) Lace Monitor (goanna) near Apple Tree (Frying Pan) Flat in Breakfast Creek, Oct. 2002.
That's just a dead branch which appears to be coming out of its mouth. Photo A.Wells.

1. Six Foot Track (middle section) to Coxs River and return. Medium day walk. Total distance approx. 14km.
To get into Megalong turn left at the traffic lights in Blackheath, cross the railway lines and immediately turn left into Station St which runs parallel with the railway. Follow Station St for 350 metres, turn right into Shipley Rd. Continue along Shipley Rd for about 750 metres till you approach the multi signpost for Megalong. Turn left here and descend down into the beautiful rainforest of Blackheath Glen. Keep an eye out on your left for signposted walks to Mermaid's Cave and Coachwood Forest. These are short walks which are well worth doing. Continue past the picnic area on your right for about another 7.5km and cross over Megalong Creek at Old Ford Reserve, which is a picnic area to your left. Continue along the road for approximately 350 metres which should bring you to a car parking area on your right. Park your vehicle here and look for the signs indicating the Six Foot Track to the Cox's River. The track is well signposted along the way but you will need to take all your drinking water, say 2-3Litres per person as the Cox's River is unsuitable for drinking ie it's polluted. Take your cosies if you do this walk in warmer weather and keep your eyes out for red bellied black snakes which are shy and retiring unless trodden on or provoked. It is usually a shallow wade to cross the river opposite Murdering Creek but if the river is up you can cross over,one at a time, at the suspension bridge you passed a short way upstream. I recommend you get an early start, say 8 am from the track head, so you can spend plenty of time swimming or exploring the river upstream before your return.

Galong Ck Falls

2.Green Gully/Carlons Farm (Packsaddlers), Carlons Creek, Breakfast Ck, Coxs River, Harrys (Jenolan) River, Coxs River, Galong Ck, Carlons Farm.
Experienced walkers only. Day Walk - medium hard. Overnight Walk - easy/medium. Approximately 18km.

This is a lovely river and creek walk but you must have reasonable navigation skills. The climb up beside the waterfalls in the granite canyon section of Galong Creek is particularly memorable. If doing it as a day walk get an early start, say 7.30 am from Packsaddlers.

Galong Creek Falls. Photo A.Wells

Doing it as an overnight walk gives you time to walk up through the lower Jenolan River Gorge and back on the first afternoon. Make sure you boil for 5 minutes, or treat with iodine, any water you take from Coxs, Jenolan or Galong . Breakfast Ck is safe to drink from (barring any dead wallabies in pools etc). It's probably best to camp beside the Coxs on the opposite bank and just upstream from it's junction with the Jenolan River.

3. Green Gully/Carlons Farm (Packsaddlers), Carlons Creek, Breakfast Ck, Black Horse Ridge, Blackhorse Gap, Mobbs Swamp, Warrigal Gap, Mount MerriMerrigal, Dingo Gap, Mount Dingo, Splendour Rock. Return via Medlow Gap, White Dog Ridge road, Carlons Farm. Experienced Walkers only.
Day Walk - hard, allow 9-10 hours. Overnight walk - medium.

This walk is best done in the cooler seasons. It is a long day and reasonably good navigation skills are required. The hard part is the steep climb up Blackhorse Ridge.
After parking your car up on the hill (Jenolan 434575) head for Carlons Ck (431575) and when you hit Breakfast Ck walk downstream about 20-30 metres, fill up your water bottle (at least 1 Litre) cross over to the southern bank and look for a track to climb up onto the ridge. You'll soon pick up the foot track which ascends Blackhorse Ridge. Once you get to the top there is a lookout (Jenolan 429547) on a rocky spur/platform over to your left with excellent views of Narrowneck and the surrounding hills and gullies. Continue along the now relatively easy Blackhorse ridge until you come onto the footrack where you turn to your right(west). Continue west along the track for 700 metres or so and keep an eye out for the track junction in a fairly clear area (often, but not always, marked with a stone cairn). Take the left track which leads to Mobbs Swamp. Clean water can usually be obtained here. There is no water between here and Splendour Rock so take at least one litre if daywalking or take four litres if you are going to camp the night up on Mount Dingo. There is a large camping cave at Mobbs Swamp(popular with Duke of Edinburgh school groups in foul weather) immediately below where you obtain water as well as some good camping sites further along into the casuarina forest. From Mobbs Swamp back track a short distance and head up into Warrigal Gap via a foot track which you'll soon locate as you climb. From the top of Warrigal Gap follow the foot track which skirts the western side of Merrimerrigal (Playground of the Dingoes), keeping an eye out for a narrow gap/tunnel on your left which enables you to scramble up onto the top. Walk across the flat stony plateau, heading to the SouthEast corner where you will pick up a track as you descend into a shallow, wooded gully. Follow the track right out to the very southern end of Mt Dingo and jump across the narrow gap onto Splendour Rock. There is a plaque placed here by bushwalkers in the 1940's in memory of fellow bushwalkers who died while fighting in the Second World War. It certainly makes you stop and reflect on how blessed you are living in Australia.
From Splendour Rock there are splendid views of the Cox River Valley and the Gangerang ranges with Mount Cloudmaker and Kanangra Walls in the distance. Return the way you came till you get to the track junction at Blackhorse Gap. Instead of heading down Blackhorse Ridge keep heading along the main track in an easterly direction till you hit the dirt road. Turn left at the road and walk the short distance into Medlow Gap and take the next turn left at the junction with Cedarland Ridge Road. It is now about a 4.5 km walk along the road in a generally north direction till you come to the turnoff to your left opposite Carlon's Head. The powerlines cross over the main road here. Turn left and follow the track back towards Carlons Farm, taking care after about 500 metres to keep over to the right which soon descends the hill and not veer to the left which can land you on the track heading out along Bellbird Ridge. Another 700-800 metres should see you back at the car.

4. Carlons Farm, Carlons Creek, Blackhorse Ridge, Blackhorse Gap, Mobbs Swamp, Mount Yellow Dog (Jenolan 401493), Yellow Pup Ridge, Coxs River, Kananga Ck (camp), Coxs River, Breakfast Ck, Carlons Ck, Carlons Farm.
Medium 2 days. Approx 33km. Experienced walkers.
You could program in Splendour Rock on this trip by dropping your packs at the stone cairn at approx. Jenolan 417605 and taking the side track on your left which ascends Mt Dingo. If time permits you could make this a three day walk and explore the lower part of Kanangra creek and Whalania Ck where there is a plaque to Norbert Carlon, early pioneer and cattleman of Green Gully (Bert Carlon's father). The plaque is actually on the right hand bank of Kanangra Ck as you head upstream, just before the Whalania Ck junction.

5. Quota Picnic Area (Katoomba 466702), Double Echo Point cliff base (K460710), Shipley (K458713).Medium. 1.5hrs.
This is a little known pass from Megalong up onto the Shipley Plateau. See the notes for walk 1 above to get into Megalong. The Quota Picnic area is about 4.5km down Megalong Road on your right. If you drive out to farm clearings beyond the forest of Blackheath Glen then you've come too far. Park your car in the picnic/camping area and locate the old dirt road at the back (NthWest) side of the area. Follow this road uphill as it follows a high spur. It terminates near some large sandstone boulders and an old termite mound. Continue up the spur staying up high till you reach the base of the high cliffs. From here turn left and follow the narrow footpad around under Double Echo Point and then NthWest up into the right hand side of the narrow gully. This will eventually bring you out onto Shipley Road opposite the Shipley Bushfire Brigade shed (Rural Fire Service). From here you either go back the same way or take the long walk back to Blackheath. A better alternative is to leave a car parked near the Shipley Bushfire Brigade shed before you drive down into Megalong to start the walk. If you're on your own you could leave your pushbike instead. It's an easy pleasant ride back down into the valley or explore the Shipley Plateau by riding 3.5km out to Mt Blackheath which is a popular take-off spot for hang-gliders. Alternatively ride 3km out to Hargreaves Lookout for great views of Megalong and across to the Wild Dog Mountains, Gangerang Range and Kanangra Walls.

6.Glen Shale Mines. (Katoomba 462623).
These can be accessed from the talus slope below Redledge Pass (see notes for Narrowneck Passes) by heading well over to your left as you descend. The old overgrown mine road contours the slope at about the 830m contour level. You'll know when you've hit it as it's about 3m wide and very obvious. The old Glen Shale mine adits, a few of which are still open, are at various points along this road. An item of interest is the large old cable pulley wheel at K462624 (see photo below). The old road continues south to at least Jamison 421621. From the old pulley wheel the road heads downslope in a north-easterly direction to cross Coral Creek where some old ruins can be observed. The track then continues, becoming vague in places, to exit just east of the Devils Hole track on the old four wheel drive road at approximately K478644. The history of Glen Shale mines is covered in Eardley and Stephens book, "Shale Railways of NSW".

Glenshale cable pulley