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(Another) Trestles Track-Shoalhaven Trip

Sun 04 Mar, 2018 7:35 pm

By some coincidence, over the weekend I set out to do the same trip as described in Lizzy's trip report, only on foot without the benefit of a packraft.

Setting off from Bungonia, it was pleasant walk along the Great South Road to Stan Jones Carpark, with some nice views along the way. Worryingly, a few of the side creeks were full of exotic weeds (Tree of Heaven?), especially Becks Gully.
Shoalhaven Gorge.jpg
View from the plateau

Shortly after the carpark, I began wandering down the Trestles Track, imagining that I'd been the only person to walk down here for ages. The density of spider webs that I crashed through certainly supported this! I'd never have thought for a moment that another group had been down the same track just the day before.

I'd based my weekend, a nice introductory loop on the Shoalhaven, on the idea of visiting Tolwong Ruins and lower Bungonia Creek, plus a nice campsite near Fools Gold Gully. So, I was rather concerned when the gentle rushing noise that I'd assumed to be wind in the valley turned out to actually be the Shoalhaven River, still hundreds of vertical meters below me. When I got down to the bottom of Trestles Track, the river was clearly still raised from the rain the previous weekend.
Shoalhaven Upstream.jpg
But it looks so calm...

Despite much crashing around in the flood debris on the islands in the Shoalhaven, I was unable to cross the river. I got 2/3 of the way across; sadly the remaining 1/3 of the riverbed also contained the majority of the river's flow, which was clearly still raised after the recent rain. It was possibly swimmable, however on my own, unable to see the bed of the river and with a decidedly non-waterproof camera I elected not to try.
Crossing at Tolwong.jpg
How good am I at swimming?

So, I turned around and aimlessly wandered downstream. I wasn't sure how far I was going to get on the west bank- it eventually becomes impassible before Bungonia Creek. Plus, I wasn't going to be able to cross the river to my intended campsite anyway. However, the west bank goes to Becks Gully, which thus became my campsite- I couldn't go any further downstream and didn't want to turn back or start climbing the Bee Box Track. Unfortunately, Becks Gully is also dry, so my water had to come from the flooded Shoalhaven. Delicious.
Becks Gully.jpg
Very Dry

The morning was a pretty standard push uphill back to my car at Bungonia, which contained a much anticipated drum of clean, fresh water. I'd forgotten just how steep the Shoalhaven gorge is- it was hard work climbing up the Bee Box Track. The Bee Box Track is a nice route- you just stick to the top of the ridge, and at one point it even forms a bit of a knife-edge. But there's no formed track, only the vague remnants of it- don't let its presence on SIX Maps confuse you.
Shoalhaven from Bee Box.jpg
The west bank very much comes to an end

Despite the disappointments, it was still a fantastic walk along a very pretty river, leaving me keen to come back for more Shoalhaven (when the water level is lower). I can absolutely see why there's a few people on this forum who keep coming back and back again to this region!

Re: (Another) Trestles Track-Shoalhaven Trip

Mon 05 Mar, 2018 1:44 pm

Nice one!
Was wondering if Bee Box was an actual track- good to know.

Re: (Another) Trestles Track-Shoalhaven Trip

Fri 09 Mar, 2018 10:23 am

Yeah, it's pretty good route, although a bit vague at both ends. It felt really, really steep though- moreso than the Trestles Track.

Re: (Another) Trestles Track-Shoalhaven Trip

Mon 12 Mar, 2018 8:19 am

Nice report. Good stuff!
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