{Macquarie Rivulet Group Walk}

{adventure} noun /ədˈven.tʃər/

an unusual, exciting, and possibly dangerous activity, such as a trip or experience, or the excitement produced by such an activity CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY

If ever there was a cracker of a walk in the Illawarra, this is it. It’s got it all; mesmerising waterfalls, luscious pools and gorgeous rainforest – and enough scare factor to keep the adrenaline pumping…!

The Bushwalk the ‘Gong crew joined with Scott and his crew from Dapto History in Photos to start our adventure at Clover Hill. The walk starts demurely along a gated Parks’ road leading through rainforest and a few very large trees that managed to escape the logging here a century ago. The kids in the group led the charge and the big kids followed on behind enjoying a chat along the easier trail. Copping a few spots of rain; but being in a rainforest it was fitting and a cool relief from the muggy weather.

Reaching the old dairy farm a little fog was settling in and we set down the along the old logging trail to the banks of the Macquarie Rivulet. Immediately we are presented with stunning falls and a tribe of canyoners setting down the gap into the abyss.

Misty mountain views at the old dairy farm site
Misty mountain views at the old dairy farm site

So here starts our adventure. Without abseiling gear or ropes we clamber down a slippery, steep embankment, it is here when a few people start thinking ‘what the hell did I get myself into’, and rightly so! Everyone nails it at their own pace and we continue to rock hop and wrestle boulders down the Rivulet.

We  are absorb pool after pool and incredible vistas the whole way. The kids follow the lead with our botanist and nature-man Marcus and continue along barefoot and through the creeks with a spot of yabbie fishing. The rest of us continue ahead to the point where we eventually give up on the dry shoe idea and just walk right through the creek at those tricky sections. The action doesn’t stop with some good spills on the slippery rocks and bonus points were given for stylish or prim landings – well done ladies!

It's a long way down...
It’s a long way down…

We walk with the canyoners in sections and the boys from our group take on a good jump spot into a lush pool below, the sensible people are happy taking a video of them. We eventually leave the canyoners and Scott leads us up the embankment when they take on some abseiling sections. We scramble into some dense rainforest as the storm clouds and some ominous thunder close in, we are almost in complete darkness barely seeing our feet in front of us as we duck and weave through hanging vines and watch our footing through steep slippery leaf litter trails.

The crew work together and we hold back vines for each other, point out the wobbly rocks and always reach out a steady hand or two to ensure those rock hops are safe and not so scary. We are doing well; naturally the kids are nailing it like little ninjas and the rest of us are just taking one rock at a time, other than Marcus who is now shirtless and wading through the water somewhere downstream, possibly catching fish with his teeth.

We now take a little snack stop as the sun starts to peak through and enjoy some banter and some rays together. We have certainly used some energy, but this fit bunch are taking it all in their stride and ignoring the sweat beads.

Break and catching some sunlight
Break and catching some sunlight

With the trail flattening out a little we start getting into some drier sandstone alleviating the pressure of slipping, we enjoy the last 20min down to jump rock. Along the way we all enjoy some very tame water-dragons who happily let us take a photo which is a nice bonus for everyone. We take the last climb up and over an embankment and settle into Jump Rock with the rest of the crowd hanging out there. It is definitely popular, but its lovely to see a mixed group hanging out and just having a good time.

After helping Sharon de-leech, I can’t get in the water quick enough. The girls have a nice chat in the deep pool while we cringe watching the big boys do backflips of what looks like a good 11m drop. The kids find the waterslide and are content there, thank goodness – this is too stressful watching these crazy people! But all is surprisingly safe and everyone is looking out for each other.

Bushwalk the 'Gong and Dapto History in Photos crew enjoying Jump Rock
Bushwalk the ‘Gong and Dapto History in Photos crew enjoying Jump Rock

At this point, everyone is a getting a little weary and we inform the crew the way out is easy and short. It’s not long before we get the evil eye when there are skinny trails, big drops, ropes and slippery mud.. Ok so it’s ‘easier’ than where we have been, just to clarify! We pick up a nice pace and all relax back into the road at the bottom of the pass to our cars after 5hrs of solid fun.

I re-clarified that the walk specifically stated ‘adventure’ as my disclaimer, but thankfully all agreed it was a fantastic challenging walk and was much better than a standard average trail. Success. We went above and beyond our comfort zone and walked out with barely a scratch (maybe a few bruises, leeches and nettle stings) but hey, isn’t that what adventure is all about…??

A special thank you to Dapto History in Photos and the NPA – Illawarra Branch for all of their support and guidance.

 

 

 

 

 

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