Six to eight (6-8) hours.

Canyoning is a strenuous day. Getting to and from the canyon requires a descent and ascent of over 300m on a track that is steep and rocky in places. The entry / exit tracks require an exposed climb on tree roots.

The canyon involves many long, cold swims, for which lilos and wetsuits are recommended, and there is a significant amount of climbing up, down and around house-sized boulders.

The exits may be hard to identify and can easily be missed. Parties need to ensure that all members are capable and know what the day entails.

The path commences behind the Mount Wilson Fire Station and is well worn as hundreds of people use it in summer. Follow the well worn path and you will be right. About a kilometre from the Fire Station there is a sign where the track down the hill leaves the fire trail. It leads down through a lovely rough bush with good views till you come to a stand of rocks. The path divides here and you go between the rocks to the left. (If you go on the right hand track you end up at the top of the canyons and it is difficult to get down). Walk along the spur and then over the top and you will see that the river is on both sides of you. Again the path divides:

(a) Upstream: Go down the track to your left and picnic at 'the beach'. You can then clamber up along a rough track upstream on the right until to the junction of the Bell Creek and the Wollongambe River. You cross there and again walk up into a wonderful ravine on your right. Walk on the left hand side of the river where you can walk beside the water. It is rather awesome and well worth exploring. But take care on slippery rocks!

(b) Downstream: If you take the right hand track you soon come to the river. Take off your shoes and follow the river down to the start of the canyons. There are some lovely cliffs and nice sandy stretches of river.

(c) Lilo-ing: A lovely thing to do on a hot summer's day, but it is not easy and one must take great care. It takes three hours from the top of the canyons to the exit, mostly on lilos, but one has to carry them around rocks in some places so one has to be fit and agile. Wet suits are very useful or a warm jumper as one gets very cold. It is an hour's steep climbing walk from the exit and this includes a climb up a small cliff face. It is best to do this activity with some who has already done it before or go with an organised group.

(d) Precautions: 

  • It is a full day activity. Expect to take 6 to 8 hours; up to 10 hours for bigger or slower groups.
  • Make sure you are prepared to spend a night in the canyon, either to stay with an injured party member or due to running out of daylight.
  • Make sure those at home have a realistic time of return and are prepared for the group to be out overnight without unnecessarily calling in emergency services
  • There is only patchy mobile coverage at the top and no coverage in the canyons.
  • Know what track you are on and what canyon you are doing
  • It can take 3 to 4 hours for rescue parties to reach injured people.

(e) Gear required:

  • Carry a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) to give location if injured or lost. Please only set off if genuine injury or life at risk.
  • Map and compass, plus be able to navigate in and out of the canyon. Do not rely on mobile phones for maps as they are of no use when flat or wet.
  • Gear needs to be waterproofed in dry bags or a number of sealed garbage bags
  • Head torch, first aid kit and matches
  • Lilo, plus wetsuit or thermals for in the water
  • Warm dry clothing (thermals & woollen jumper or fleece)
  • Suitable footwear for both walk in and walking in the water/canyon (good grip)