Waddell Mine and Shoebridge Track

Saturday 17 June 2017

Photos by Phillip and Ian

Six club members (David, Mark, Phillip, Bob, Lin and Ian) participated in this walk.

The walk commences on the Araluen Road west of Goodenough Gully (height 100 m). As in most mountain walks the first part of the walk was upwards, first through a trackless little bit of private but unoccupied bush and then into the Deua National Park onto a steep 4WD track used to install a Telstra cable.

Morning tea was at the top of this first climb (height 385 m). From here we picked up the old cart track that runs north along the ridge line to the Mt Waddell Mine. As the ridge steepens the track changes direction to run along the western side of Goodenough Gully. A few fallen trees with attached mass of vines provided a few obstacles to be negotiated. After 300 m of valley side walking we reached adit No1 of the Mt Waddell Mine gold mine (height 400 m).

Packs off and torches in hand we explored the first 85m of the 120m long mine tunnel. Up to the 85m mark the tunnel is dry and through solid rock with little sign of any rock falls. At the 85m mark there is a side tunnel and what appeared to be a water filled shaft in the floor. Past the 85m mark the floor of the tunnel is under water held in place by a small dam so that’s where our exploration finished. If you are not keen on bats zooming past your ear or occasionally hitting you in the chest then exploring the tunnel is probably not for you!

The next leg of the walk was a tough climb of 100 vertical metres in 140 horizontal metres to reach a ridge line west of the mine. Our route then follows this ridge line north passing an old hut site and two sites of mine shafts. Lunch was at the high point (height 600 m) at end of this ridge.

It was now time to descend the 500 vertical metres back to Araluen Road. But rather than retracing our steep inward route we used the gentler gradient of the old Shoebridge bridal track which we picked up 500 m northwest of our lunch stop. To our surprise persons unknown has obviously done a lot of work on the Shoebridge Track clearing it of fallen trees and the carpet of ground ferns that normally cover the track.