As mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t particularly want to reprise (even in the opposite direction) the super narrow, super twisty route by which I’d arrived at the Caves, and since there was another road out of there with a brown-and-white “tourist drive” sign indicating that something called Kanangra Walls was 32 km (if memory serves) away, I decided to give it a go. What on earth was a Kanangra Walls anyway?
The alternate route out (still Jenolan Caves Road), also winding but not as narrow and certainly not as busy, led me to an intersection with Kanangra and Edith Roads. I followed the sign to the left and immediately found myself on an unsealed road. Okaaaay . . .
There was more than 27 km of this:
except for a short section, of which more later.
The road wasn’t too bad and had recently seen the attentions of a grader: no ruts or potholes, new earth berms at the sides. Everything was bone-dry and there was plenty of loose gravel on the surface. The highest safe speed, by my estimation, was 70 km/h. Great clouds of dust rose behind me. I encountered no traffic except for a ute going in the opposite direction.
Then came a cleared area which had no reason for existing that I could see. Just well-established grass, some rocks, a few trees, no animals. A barbed wire fence ran along both sides of the road until the forest resumed.
The forest abruptly turned into brushland and the road dead-ended at a gate, beyond which there was a walking trail. A family with two very young children was having a meal at a picnic table, and not 50m away there was a public loo.
Signs like this were placed prominently along the trail:
It was already 1700, so I gave the Plateau Walk (an hour’s walk) and Waterfall Walk (ditto) a miss and headed for the lookout (S 33° 59.091′, E 150° 06.673′, 1080m), which was an unfenced (see? truth in advertising) rocky outcrop about 200m from the car park.
The stuff in the bottom right corner of the photo is the sort of material I was standing on: rock, potentially crumbly. I stayed a cautious 2m from the edge.
More informative signs (click on each picture for a giant detailed view):
After the spectacular landscapes I made another delightful discovery: Droseras in the wild, the first time I’d seen any:
Although the general area looked bone dry to a casual inspection there were damp spots on the path which prompted me to look a little further. My thought processes went thus:
Hmm, damp spots.
Oh, lookie, there’s a gutter with moss.
Wow, longer moss here, maybe sphagnum? And it’s partly submerged too, there’s deeper water here.
Greg (Bourke) said there were Drosera in the mountains, and this has got to be a suitable ecosystem.
Drosera! Drosera! Awww yeah! My first wild Drosera!
And then it was time to go, even if it wasn’t likely to get dark until 1900. The way out was rather more interesting than the way in because my familiarity (ha!) with the road caused me to take a couple of curves faster than I should have, and I fishtailed a couple of times.
I had to slow down for a mob of kangaroos that bounded onto, along (I followed them for a while), and finally across the road just before we reached the clearing.
Regrettably, there was also the dead wombat at the side of the road, the photo of which I decided not to publish. Too depressing a sight.
The journey home was uneventful, and I arrived after dark.
Date: 18 March 2010
Camera: Pentax K100D Super
Lens 1: Pentax DA 16-45mm F4.0 ED
Lens 2: Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED
Ambient light only.
Cropping and resizing in Irfanview.