When I hiked this trail I was the fourth generation to retrace the steps (fifth if I could’ve convinced the kids!) of my Great Grandfather Mr. Percy Kennedy. A keen amateur geologist and an active citizen of Wollongong, Percy was convinced of evidence of an extinct volcano under Mt Robertson as he explored the beautiful Byarong Creek and it’s cascades in the early 1930’s. Today I set out with my Dad in tow, with some vague directions recalled from the 1950-60’s from his own personal adventures as a kid.
Today, I think Byarong Creek probably looks much the same as it did in the 1930’s – at least. Starting from the back of Mt Keira initially in the suburbs, the creek quickly turns into pristine wilderness so typical of the surrounding rainforest areas. A relatively flat creek with a distinctive fork, leading you up towards Mt Keira Scout Camp, or South towards the cascades under Mt Robertson. Taking the creek to the left, we are also overtaken by some great young kids who were venturing up to the waterfall too. Immediately, we find a natural water slide which in wetter conditions would be amazing with a slippery smooth surface already carved out – I should’ve had a go I guess!
The trail consists of lots of rock hopping and ample opportunity to check out the local wildlife, aquatic life and gorgeous plants including native fruits, flowering trees and majestic red cedars. Along the way, there were lizards, water dragons, yabbies, frogs and fresh water tortoises and fish, not to mention the chorus of birds the entire hike. I’m not sure on the exact status of the water quality, however to the amateur eye it appeared very pristine, save some algae in the stagnant pools.
True to Percy’s observations there are some very distinctive shale outcrops on the left which can be surveyed (watch out for some minor rock falls we observed with the unstable shale!), petrified wood fossils, sandstone conglomerates and of most interest granite – typical of volcanic activity. There are many interesting rocks that you jump on that tell the tale of the geological history of the area.
The cascades lead you up to various pools and waterfalls, very similar to the cascade trail in Macquarie Pass National Park, and there is even rope to assist climb up the side of the larger waterfall to again be greeted by more pools and cascades, had time permitted – it would have been great to explore how high you can actually reach nested under Mt Robertson.
This walk is an obvious favourite for the young local kids spending a few hours searching under rocks for yabbies and cooling down in the summer months, and it is certainly a welcome sight to see that the younger generations haven’t lost that evolutionary yearning to explore and be in nature – at least for a short-lived alternative to the screen for a change!
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