Tarlinton Track, Woila Creek Packwalk

Saturday 13 – Tuesday 16 July 2019

Photos by Donna & Barry

This three day walk was attended by seven Club members including three who were novices to overnight pack walking.

The Friday night weather forecast was for strong winds to abate on Saturday evening. So on midday Saturday we commenced our drive to the starting point on the Curranbene Creek Road where we camped beside Breakfast Creek ready to commence the walk proper on Sunday morning. Apart from setting up tents out of range of suspect tree branches our evening entertainment included the inevitable dance around the camp fire to avoid the smoke and a spotlighting walk where we observed two Greater Gliders high in the tree tops.

Historical note:  The Tarlinton Track is named after W. Tarlinton, who in 1829, apparently after being shown the route by Aborigines, pioneered a stock route from the headwaters of the Shoalhaven River to Belowra via Woila Creek.

Local recreational pack horse riders have continued to use the track.

Day one commenced with three km 4 WD track walk up to the base of Euranbene Mountain where the track proper starts.

After skirting around to the southern side of Euranbene Mountain the track follows a twisting ridge line that allows a mostly gentle 800 m vertical descent over 4km to reach Woila Creek about 1.5 km south of the Woila Creek Breakfast Creek junction. Clear evidence of former use of the track by horses was found in the form of a rusty horse shoe on the track.

Day one concluded with 1.5 km of creek flats walking to reach our camp site which was on portion 1 Parish of Jillaga which appears to be a small parcel of private land now surrounded by the Deua National Park.

Unfortunately the strong winds of Saturday afternoon returned with a vengeance. Luckily the camp site was in a clear area allowing tents to be pitched away from potentially hazardous trees. Camp fire dancing to avoid smoke turned to movement to avoid the occasional flurry of embers blown by the swirling wind. About midnight the wind subsided this was followed by a few rain showers, enough to mean a wet tent to pack up in the morning.

Day two was an undulating walk which I think included about 15 (I lost count) crossings of Woila Creek. Luckily all of these the water crossings were shallow but care was still need on slippery rocks. In various places there was cliff faces and deep pools in the creek which made scenic spots for morning tea and lunch stops.

Just before selecting our nights camp spot Ian & Sally found and identified a rock that showed evidence of being used for Aboriginal stone tool making.

Day three of the walk was about 4 km, initially easy going through mostly treeless river flat former cattle grazing land. At the end of the flats it became clear we had lost the trail so a bush bash through box thorn scrub soon brought us back to Woila Creek where we were able to join the track again after a short climb up the slope on the east side of the creek.

The track then made two further creek crossings to avoid the cliffs of a small gorge like section of Woila Creek. Then it was an easy 1 km of creek flats walking to our end point where Belowra Road fords Woila Creek.