Wollemi National Park - Wollemi Pine - Ancient Aboriginal Rock Engravings:
It is the widest enclosed valley in the world (30km wide, but the Grand Canyon is the deepest). It features exposed sandstone cliff escarpments, a volcanic plug and isolated hills rising abruptly from the lush rolling grazing land. A steep-sided, flat-topped formation on the right called Pantoney's Crown is prominent in many of the views. The valley vistas are stunning and always changing - depending on sunlight, cloud, fog or rain.
There are many rare plant varieties and fauna and it is a bird watchers paradise and home to the endangered Regent Honeyeater. The valley has been internationally registered as an Important Bird Area.
You can venture on to the ghost town of Glen Davis (about 30 minutes from Capertee) - this was the site of a shale oil industry, producing gasoline during WWII. Although on private land there are tours at 2pm on Saturdays. There is a pipeline track bushwalk from Glen Davis to Newnes (about 20 km return) . Newnes was also part of the shale oil industry.
Some of the activities you can enjoy are - bushwalking, camping, climbing (Pantoney's Crown for example), bird watching, photography, painting and more...
In 1906 and 1907 the Wolgan Valley Railway was built to haul oil shale from the mines at Newnes up to the main railway at Clarence. The railway has been long since abandoned, but the tunnels remain. The Glowworm Tunnel is the second of these old tunnels. The long steady curve means that the middle of the tunnel is pitch black, and the walls are always damp with water, ideal conditions for glowworms.
The walk follows the railway embankment up under the cliffs to the tunnel, and returns via the Old Coach Road back into the valley. It can be done at any time of year, although the climb can be fairly hot in summer. You will need a torch for the tunnel itself, as it is completely dark in the middle.
From the old hotel at Newnes, drive south along the road for 7km until you see the second of two fords less than half a kilometre apart. Park your car opposite.
The Capertee Valley - Australia's Grand Canyon - a glorious place within the traditional country of the Wiradjuri people. The introduction to the valley is from Pearsons Lookout on the Castlereagh Highway approximately 5 kms south of the village of Capertee.
The Valley is broad, dramatic and canyon-like.
Click any image to view.
The Gardens of Stone National Park - a 15, 031 hectare park which is part of the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains Wilderness Area. The drive from Capertee to Glen Davis winds through part of the Gardens of Stone National Park and you will view many stunning sandstone cliffs and gullies with treeferns and pagoda shaped rock formations.
There are some interesting caves in the Gardens of Stone National Park area with visiting permits obtained from the NPWS Blue Mountains Region office in Blackheath. The eucalyptus forest and woodlands of the park are home to many rare animals such as koalas, wombats and yellow belly gliders as well as kangaroos. At the head of Baal Bone Creek in the Gardens of Stone National Park are some spectacular stone pagodas. These pagoda rock formations are a prominent feature. They occur near sandstone escarpment edges where erosion has sculptured bee hive domes and curious arrays of other shapes.
From Ben Bullen on the Mudgee road the park is accessible via a 4WD trail that extends to the Wolgan Road. This trail provides access to Baal Bone Gap.
NEWNES - situated in the beautiful Wolgan Valley and surrounded by the Wollemi National Park used to be a mining town. The town has virtually disappeared over time but there are extensive ruins remaining of the old oil shale processing plant (approx 1906 to the early 1930s). Today the old Newnes hotel is all that remains from the mining period. It no longer trades as a hotel - just a kiosk at weekends.
On weekends, long weekends, Newnes is a popular place for camping. There are free National Park camp areas as well as camp sites on private land with private toilet facilites (attached to the old Hotel - now Kiosk) where a small fee is charged. There are also 3 cabins available now.
Newnes is a truly special place, where nature meets history - surrounded by wilderness with canyons and spectacular sandstone cliffs.
Apart from exploring the old shale ruins, you can climb 'Mystery Mountain', visit the Glow Worm Tunnel (details below) or take the pipeline track bushwalk to Glen Davis and back as mentioned above. There are also three popular canyons in the area where you can abseil.
The Wollemi National Park is the largest wilderness area in NSW and is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area - a maze of canyons, cliffs and undisturbed forest.
The Wollemi National Park protects, permanently, the largest remaining forested wilderness in NSW, including the Colo-Capertee river system. The Colo River and its gorge is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular in Australia.
The Wollemi is dissected by deep canyons, in places almost impassable but archaeologists have found hundreds of ancient rock engraving sites. A recent discovery was an enormous slab of sandstone 100 metres long and 50 metres wide - an unprecedented collection of powerful ancestral beings from Aboriginal mythology. Said to be the most amazing rock engraving site in the whole of south-eastern Australia.
Of course there is also "The Wollemi Pine" - a very rare discovery, in a deep, narrow canyon of the rugged Wollemi National Park .. A ‘Dinosaur tree’ or ‘living fossil’, the Wollemi Pine is certainly one of the greatest botanical discoveries of our time.
Activities in the park include bushwalking, canoeing, liloing, bushcamping...