[SUBW-A] Trip report - Wondabyne to Pindar Cave 17/3/02

Roger Butler R.Butler at lake.com.au
Tue Mar 19 16:09:56 AEDT 2002

Party members - Louisa, Luke, Naurence, Michael, Roger.

The challenge was issued!  Cityrail was determined to spoil our day, but we
were having none of it.  Despite this, only Louisa and I managed to catch
the right train to Wondabyne from about 12 interested people.  Wondabyne
station is a gem in itself.  It's less than a carriage long and we exited
via the guard's compartment.  We explored the open-air gallery of sandstone
sculptures near the station and watched the water police hassling some
people camping there.  We then retreated to a shady rock overlooking the
river and awaited the next train an hour later.  Sure enough, another three
walkers alighted, complaining bitterly about Cityrail's trackwork. 

With our final contingent of five, we climbed up from Wondabyne onto the
sandstone heath country above.  A fire trail took us to the top of the
ridge, where we turned onto a smaller one.  Unexpectedly, we came across a
school group of 10 adults and 25 kids.  They'd camped in the cave overnight
and gave us advice on how to get there.  More usefully, they also gave us a
map!  I'd looked for the Gosford topo in all the Kent St shops the day
before and none had it.  So we were relying on the verbal description in a
guide book.  The school group's photocopied sketch map was quite useful. 

So on we laboured in the midday sun as the temperature raced above 35
degrees.  The prickly banksia and hakea threatened to overgrow the path in
some places but we had no trouble finding it.  Several kilometres later, we
came to a lookout with great views over Dangar Island and the Hawkesbury.
This then led to a pool that was refreshingly cold given the heat of the
day.  After a brief swim, we retreated to the sanctuary of Pindar Cave for
lunch. This is a big, long camping cave in the style of most sandstone
overhangs.  It has many complex tesselations in the rock and a sandy, dirty
bottom.  The roof is black, possibly from thousands of years of cooking
fires, but certainly from tens of years of them. 

After lunch we followed the directions of the guidebook and markings on the
ground to a waterfall on the nearby Pindar Creek.  Well, that was the plan
anyway.  The track we followed runs almost parallel to the correct track but
peters out into nothing and leaves you in a scrubby creek.  Louisa headed
upstream through the scrub while the rest of us retraced our steps and found
the correct track all the way back at the cave.  We ended up in the same
place eventually. The heat of the day had diminished our water supply
dramatically and we collected more from the creek before making our way back
to the cave.

Again, we stopped for a quick dip in the pool on our way out.  The heat was
oppressive and made the journey back arduous.  This is definitely not a
midsummer walk, and we'd unluckily chosen a mid-March day that felt like
midsummer.  But our spirits lifted as we hit the shade of the casuarina
forest above the station. We arrived ten minutes before the train and caught
it one station to Brooklyn, where we disembarked and feasted on fish, chips,
and oysters.  An hour later, we were on another train back to Sydney.  

But of course, Cityrail wouldn't make things easy for us.  After waiting 20
minutes at Hornsby our next train was cancelled.  Trains weren't running on
the normal route via Strathfield either.  Most of us arrived home having
caught eight different trains that day.  But we'd beaten the trains and the
heat to see the majestic Pindar Cave.

Photos here:


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