Sunday, 28 December 2014

Abbott Falls Walking Track - Olney State Forest

Abbott Falls Walking Track
Only State Forest
Lake Macquarie NSW

Track notes.

Sunday, 28th December.

It has been a week since we spent two nights on the Hastings River and exploring Werrikimbe Trail. With nothing planned until late January both of us were keen to slip out of suburbia, even if it was just for a few hours.

Considering the Watagans and Olney State Forest are right on our doorstep the Abbotts Falls Circuit should provide a reasonable respite.

Today we embark with Grace and Thomas. Two very eager hikers who conquered the circuit without raising the slightest of sweat.

The trail head. Proudly presented by Grace and Thomas.

Abbott Falls Walking Track is part of Olney State Forest and accessed from Freemans Drive, Cooranbong.

From Morisset on Freemans Drive take the left onto Martinsville Road.

Turn left onto Watagan Road following the signs to Watagan State Forest.

Watagan Road becomes Martinsville Hill Road. Follow the road off to the right as it becomes Watagan Forest Road.

Follow the signs to 'The Pines' picnic area which is a right onto Palmers Road. Simply follow this road to its conclusion and you are at the trail head.

Having worn synthetic Underarmour shirts in the past today I am trialling a 100% merino light wool shirt in attempt to reduce body odour. The synthetic shirt is both comfortable and wicks the water away well. Should the wool do the same and remain relatively stink free I will change over.

Trialling the new wool shirt.

The trail commences in open bushland of casuarina and small eucalypts and is easily traversed. Trail bikes share the first few hundred meters of the track. These obnoxious toys have chewed deep ruts in the path yet the footing remains fine.

Open bushland.

Fortunately the trail soon depends steeply into lush, humid rain forest which is not accessible to these nuisances.

The trail continues downward and is at times steep. Caution is required but the trail remains not overly challenging.

The journey down to the valley begins.

As the vegetation changes so does the demeanour of Grace and Thomas. Excited chattering has given way to the occasional thoughtful question. Mostly they are concerned with taking in the beautiful semi tropical rain forest and keeping a sure footing.

It is refreshing to see them away from their technology and enjoying vigorous activity amongst such stunning scenery. I am encouraged that they both embrace the outdoors.

Thomas takes point.

The decline is becoming steeper and while the temperature is cool the humidity is very high. The trail steadily becomes more challenging. Never becoming treacherous it requires some care and concentration.

About the thirty minutes into the circuit.

A fallen tree presents a clearing to the valley below.

As the trail levels you approach a small clearing with sign posts indicating both left and right. To the left is a small yet pretty pond in a clearing down a particularly steep set of stairs.

After my expert instructions and advice all of the party made it to the clearing. During my descent I slipped and slid to the base on my backside producing plenty of laughs. My place is assured in the team if only for comedic relief.

Worth the tumble?

Taking the right we continue toward Abbotts Falls. The track has now levelled out and we can hear Dora Creek running over the falls. The sound of running water is soothing to the senses. Rather than rush to the source of the sound the group seems to slow and enjoy its hypnotic rhythm.

A fallen tree and its still standing partner mark the access to Dora Creek at the top of the falls. I wish my knowledge of natives was more astute so I could put a name to these timeless sentinels of the forest. These ancient old trees are truly magnificent.

 The fallen tree.

Blackbox? I have no idea.

Finally we reach the falls. Deep in the humid rainforest it is a beautiful spot. We pause only for a short while to enjoy its peaceful sounds before the journey out.

Crossing Dora Creek at the falls.

These deep holes are common on the waters edge.

The top of the falls.

Dora Creek cascades over Abbotts Falls.

Soon after departing the falls the party comes across a clearing and we rid ourselves of leeches. Both Grace and Thomas handle the ordeal with relatively little fuss. Shell, while making huge improvements in recent times copes somewhat worse with the experience. I estimate a total of over twenty removed throughout the trip.

Nature provides a clearing to remove leeches.

At this same clearing the track becomes a little confused. Future travellers are urged to resist the temptation to head into the small trail on the left. It leads nowhere. The true trail heads right but is obscured by some fallen branches. Once over the branches the trail is easily followed.

The trail continues upward. One continuous steep climb. Thomas with youthful enthusiasm runs the incline. My memory fails me as I cannot recall being eight years old, weighing twenty nine kilograms and being gifted with seemingly unlimited energy.

He stands at the top of the hill with hands on hips declaring the rest of us slow.

The incline. This picture does it no justice.

Throughout the entire journey we came across various fungi. I find fungi fascinating. Quite beautiful in its unique, somewhat alien appearance.

The top of the incline delivers onto German Point Road and a well signed left hand turn. While we travel much faster it is disappointing to be on a 4WD track. The scenery remains pretty but the ever present wheel ruts and bogs are a constant reminder of things made by man.

Acacia on German Point Road.

We stumble upon some animal scat. Grace and Thomas love the word. They use it as one would a profanity. Very amusing, it has been the subject on and off for the entire trip. As they have been constantly on the look out there is much excitement when we finally stumble on some.

My guess is snake scat.

We continue along this road until a sign post directs us to Turpentine Road. This leads to several camp grounds. Unfortunately campers, of the variety that possess chainsaws and tents larger than our house, are camping over the trail and it becomes a little confusing.

We eventually find The Pines Walking Trail. A separate walk which represents the very last leg of our hike.

The bridge leading to The Pines Walk.

We arrive at an intersection which does not indicate Abbotts Falls Road and we head left which takes us to a pretty waterfall.

Waterfall on The Pines Walk.

The trail quickly leads us away from our destination and we consult the map. Turning around we head past the intersection and within a few hundred meters we are at The Pines Picnic Area.

The girls lead us home.

It is here we will cook a much earned hot lunch and discuss the journey. Grace and Thomas are in great spirits and both Shell and I are proud of their efforts. We covered almost eight kilometres today and neither missed a beat.

Lunch at the Pines Picnic Area.

The Abbott Falls Walk Track is great fun. Challenging at times I can't imagine anyone with a decent level of fitness being overly troubled.

The conversation is excited on the way home. Mostly concerned with our next adventure. And scat. Often scat.

Artistic indulgence.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the photos and report. Looks like a great spot. Disappointed in the condescending tone with which you refer to campers and 4wders. These people are just as keen to enjoy the bush as you. You should be united with them to ensure access remains rather than thinking you are above them because you are a walker.