31 August 2010 Bonnum Pic
Map: Hilltop 8929-2N Third Edition 1:25000
This walk was organised and led by me as an irregular CBC Tuesday walk:
Tuesday 31 August - Bonnum Pic - M/M. This narrow neck with 160r sides is in Nattai National Park, overlooking the Wollondilly River. After seeing it on Google Earth, we have to go. A long drive W of Mittagong. Around 13km and 300m climb. Map: Hilltop. Leader: John Evans - firstname.lastname@example.org, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$160 per car. Further details at http://jevans.pcug.org.au.
6 of us met at my home and we picked up another 2 in north Canberra. We drove up the Hume Highway around 180km to the Box Vale Rd turnoff before the Nattai River. Then another ~25km along the Wombeyan Caves Rd to turn right into Wanganderry Rd. This proved to be 5.5km (public) access through farm land to the Nattai National Park along a gravel road. Many cows and cow pats. 3 gates and a couple of grids later we arrived at cattleyards that Graham S, who had recommended this walk to me, said was the starting point.
Around 180km one way from Canberra to the turnoff from the Hume Highway. Around 24km from there to the start of the walk. So total drive of around 410km. All this is black top, except for 10km return of good gravel along Wanganderry Road.
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|Track overview Bonnum Pic||Track a Bonnum Pic||Track b Bonnum Pic|
|NB The water seen is Lake Burragorang!|
Unsuccessfully negotiated the cow pats on the road coming in, splattering a couple up under the wheel arches. We sorted ourselves out at the cattle yards and wandered through the gate and down the Wanganderry Pass fire trail a couple of hundred metres to the NSWP&WS signage. Here (after it was pointed out to me - I still get flustered when I have a party of living legends) we headed right down the side of the spur along a faint (because it was thin soil and rock ground) footpad to the first of a number of Bonnum Pic Walking Track markers. Most of them were only one sided, which made coming back later in the day a matter of peering around the back of the sign. The track became more distinct in the gully and, with the signs, took us E through an arm of Burnt Flat Creek, over a spur and into another gully. Here, instead of following Graham S's instructions and heading up the gully to the fence (which forms the W border of blocks 39 and 37 on the 1st edn map (blocks not shown on 3rd edn paper map)), I faffed around in the light scrub going generally parallel with the fence. But we eventually made the fence corner (and did better on the way back).
|Trail signage||Blooming wattle||Fence corner|
From the fence corner, an old track headed away, first in the general direction that I thought we should be going, then off to the right. Another poor decision as I headed into the light bush and again faffed around for nearly a kilometre until we spied a tape on a well worn footpad/track. So, back on the marked Bonnum Pic Walking Trail, it was an easy amble to a significant cairn on the edge of the cliff line, overlooking Burnt Flat Creek as it ran down to join the Wollindilly River. Morning tea was enjoyed. This, no doubt, is the end of the Bonnum Pic Walking Trail to the Nattai Wilderness, as signposted.
|Well taped footpad to 'Nattai Wilderness'||1 Morning tea - end of footpad, now entering Nattai Wilderness|
The next leg, of around 2km, took us from morning tea to the camp site and cairn location, just N of the W most extent of the cliffs. Fabulous runs of open rocks, weird and wonderful formations and huge views down to the W. The route was cairned - to a greater or lesser extent. I'm a lousy track follower, so was glad of an experienced party willing to point me in the correct direction (probably self-preservation).
|Wild flowers in bloom||Possible indigenous axe grinding groove||Wonderful rock formations||Sandstone sculptures||Looking west over Burnt Flat Creek|
|The cliff edge continues N||Wattle and wild flowers||A section of rocky going around SH737||Camp site and cairn|
Great walking N from this point through bush right alongside the edge of the cliff. An excellent area of honeycombed sandstone reminded me a bit of what my brain must look like. The neck continued to narrow and Bonnum Pic reared up ahead. The footpad was still cairned, distinct in places where the soil allowed, more difficult (for me) over rocky areas in other places to follow.
The stitched photo below Approaching Bonnum Pic along the narrow neck is a bit of a mess, but the olny way I can indicate the narrow ridge with huge drops and views either side - it's genuine! As the climb continued the E view opened up to the staggering Wananderry Walls.
No trig structure at the map-marked Bonnum Pic trig. A deep slot separated us from the nose of the feature and I was not prepared to tackle it without a rope or to split the party. Lunch taken.
|Grass tree and view W||Cliff edge footpad||Weathered sandstone||2 Bonnum Pic rears ahead|
|3 Approaching Bonnum Pic along the narrow neck||140m Wanganderry Walls||Not visited nose of Bonnum Pic||Lunch at Bonnum Pic|
We set off back at 12.30pm, covering the 8.2km in 2hrs 45mins. This way we followed the taped Bonnum Pc Walking Trail all the way back to the corner fence post. It took a slightly more E path from the 'Tape' waypoint than our inward leg and, in fact, came out along the old track noted at this spot above. From the corner, we tracked along the fence over cleared ground, then spoted tape a little way down a drainage line which led to the wooden trail markers.
Route description: Easy when you know how, after a poor attempt going in and a better track coming out -
From the car park area, past the cattle yards and through the gate. 500m down the Wanganderry Fire Trail to the Bonnum Pic Walking Track sign board. Head right down the side of the spur, following green-painted timber walking track signs and an occasional pink tape. 800m through a gully, across a spur and up a drainage line to a fence. Left (north) across open ground for 560m along the fenceline to a corner with gate. Pick up an old vehicle track which continues generally N. It deteriorates into a taped walking trail/footpad with the occasional cairn. Follow it for 2.65km to a cairn at the edge of the cliffs. This is the end of the marked Bonnum Pic Walking Trail and the entry to the Nattai Wilderness. From here the footpad is cairned to Bonnum Pic. The next 2km section heads generally NW and covers rocky ground (easy walking as long as you keep an eye out for the cairns) to just past the western most point of the cliff line, ending at a fire place and cairn. The final 1.6km leg trends E of N across a combination of rocky ground and open scrub quite close to the cliff edge. There are a couple of deep-ish gullies to negotiate where the cairned footpad deviated from the direction to the objective. The spur becomes quite narrow and there are a couple of very easy rock scrambles.
(We did not continue N from the Bonnum Pic map-marked trig area across the slots and to the nose of the feature.)
I know I disappointed at least one party member by not traversing the slot N of the Bonnum Pic trig area and going to the nose, but at least we all walked out alive.
Thanks for your company, support and fine cairn and track finding Ann, Eric, Henry, Ken, Max, Philip and Roger.
Distance: 16.4km Climb: 400m. Time: 9.00am - 3.15pm (6hrs 15mins), with 45mins of breaks.
Grading: L/M,X; M(11)
KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Bonnum Pic
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