Saturday 11 March 2017
Photos Philip I, Bob T, Mary T
Early Saturday morning 8 walkers met to drive out to the aptly named Oulla/Burra Wilderness area west of Moruya to walk to and along Diamond Creek. We hoped to view 4 waterfalls. It is not often that the drive in the comfort of a vehicle is worthy of comment. However the last stretch on the Coondella Fire Trail is one such occasion. The track along and up and down the ridges is rough, steep and downright scary for someone whose normal driving experience is tarmac, some unsurfaced at times slippery, pot holed forest ‘highways’. Fortunately the club has drivers of excellent ability and experience so we were in the safe hands of Len our leader and Mark who bravely took his brand new vehicle out for a baptism of fire.
On arriving at our starting point, a small car shuffle was organised. This was to assist us at the end of the day when a steep climb would have been necessary, not ideal Len said, his words proved to be prophetic.
We set off down the first spur in warm sunshine. The floor of the forest was strewn with dead, fallen branches, some large tree trunks and loose rocks everywhere all trip hazards for the unwary. Signs of a bush fire in the last year were apparent with blackened surfaces but also indications of the resilience of our native flora with new, bright green growth, still low lying but well on the way to rejuvenating the area. Our early start and long drive had us looking for a suitable spot on the first spur for a welcome morning tea.
The relatively clear forest thickened as we descended towards the viewing area of Waterfall No 4. As we bush bashed our way down to a narrow, rocky ledge the air was full of the pungent aromas from the surrounding shrubs. The view of the top section of the falls and distant hills and valleys was spectacular and worth the effort despite a few of us experiencing close encounters with the ground. Growth further down the hillside hid the bottom of the falls but did not dampen our delight or the photographer’s zeal.
It was soon time to turn away from the cliff edge and make our way up and along the ridge on a further descent to the next scheduled sight, Diamond Creek. This is indeed a gem of a waterway. Not having seen this creek before I am not sure if it always has such a vigorous flow of water or if the volume was due to recent rains but it really was magnificent. The character of the creek is one of deep waterholes, in places so dark and deep we could not see the creek floor, interspersed with small cascades over large boulders, followed by longer tannin stained stretches of free flowing water. The one common feature was crystal clear, cool water, so clear and cool that later in the day Philip couldn’t resist temptation any longer and went for a dip. He declared it beautiful but refreshing!
We made our way along the creek sometimes on the bank until the vegetation became too thick to negotiate and then in the creek, rock hopping to and fro until we reached Waterfall No 3. This waterfall allowed the brave to get up close and personal as with careful steps and some ‘crab’ crawling we were able to make our way down the rocks to see the fall of the water and of course get those important photos to prove ‘we was there’.
All too soon it was time to continue, we had another waterfall to see and the day was moving along. Due to time restraints we were unable to get to Waterfall No 2. Our next stop; after another scramble along the creek fighting vines and ferns and the by now familiar rocks and fallen branches, was waterfall No 1. Len decided he had viewed enough falling water for the day and opened his pack to hand over two long ropes to Mark. Why is Len giving Mark ropes I heard one group member ask? I vaguely remembered hearing something about ropes. Oh well ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ and off to Waterfall No 1. At the top of a steep slope Mark secured and let down the ropes that were to assist us on our descent to the viewing area of the waterfall. This time we were looking up at falling water which meant we had viewed falls from 3 different aspects, as a bird, a leaf or other floating object and finally a frog.
Some of us decided we had had enough rope work and made the return ascent via a rock climb rather than haul ourselves up via the rope. We all reached the top without incident and returned to meet up with Len and proceed along the creek to the point where we would leave the beautiful Diamond Creek and end the walk.
Sightings of local life were scant, one eel, a small fish, a frog, a deserted Scrub Wren nest, thankfully only about 3 leeches and Mark frightened a brown snake back down into its hole in the ground. Anna was the only member of the group to take an unplanned dip in the creek.
The last welcome sight was 3 pink ribbons marking our exit from the creek to where Len, with characteristic fore thought had left a car. An exhausted but very contented group thanked Len for a physically challenging day full of visual delights.