Walked 29th March 2018.
I was running out of time to complete this months walk in my 12 Hike Challenge, and after cancelling one plan and throwing around a few options I settled on a hike to a cave. Fortunately, the spectactular Pindar Cave hike, in Brisbane Waters National Park, NSW, lay only a half hours train ride away.
I always enjoy the trip to Wondabyne, a station so small and infrequently visited that you need to tell the guard to stop there and only get off via the last door of the last carriage! The walk initially follows the Great North Walk and begins with a 300m climb followed by an uphill walk along a firetrail. The turn off to the Pindar Cave trail was marked by ribbons attached to trees that signified that there would be no directional markers of any kind along the route. That was okay as the track was quite visible. There was a fire scar indicating some folks had camped at the intersection.
There would be three highlights of this walk: Mt Pindar, Pindar Pool, and Pindar Cave. There was the option of a stroll to a waterfall (I assume called Pindar Waterfall…) but I would decide on that once I reached the caves. The track was essentially a side trail on the Great North Walk and well worth doing if you are completing this trail.
The first part of the Pindar track was along fire trail, and was easy enough. There was thick vegetation displaying yellow and white wildflowers on each side. Huge rocks rose up deep within the bush and I had to resist the urge to go off track and explore. The bush was quite thick so it would have been tricky anyway. The firetrail soon ended and I was walking a well trodden route that passed over many rocks and boulders. There were glimpses of a view but only gained by clambering around the rocks to get a better vantage point, something I am more than happy to do!
The walk was mostly uphill and it wasn’t clear where the summit of Mt Pindar was, so I kept leaving the track to get whatever views I could. There were some lovely rock platforms to explore. I’ve become a fan of the heath that grows on them so always pause to investigate.
I found a lovely rock face to stop for lunch and I had views down the mountain as I ate. I had reception so I sent an update to my wife. Carrying on uphill, I was soon rewarded with a view out to what I think was Mooney Mooney Creek. At some point the uphill turned to downhill and then to flat.
I passed though a spot with a very strange mix of vegetation. There were densely packed old man banksias, grass trees and a few other plants of which I do not know the names. I seem to recall a cabbage palm but can’t see it in my pictures so maybe that was elsewhere. The whole area was so different- it kind of looked like a prop maker from the set of Lost In Space had been working on the area. I took a video but I really couldn’t capture how odd and out of place it looked compared to what I had been previously hiking through.
Shortly after, I reached Pindar Pool and any thoughts of dangling my feet in the water were dashed as the pool was completely dry. This was odd as we had had quite a bit of rain lately. The bush is so dry this year it must be just sucking up anything that falls on it.
A final push led me to the cave itself and I felt like I was entering the lost world. The cave occupied the far wall of an amphitheater and I descended into a hollow filled with vegetation. There was a tricking sound caused by a small waterfall to the left of the cave. It formed a kind of natural shower and I thought I could hear a bird or some other animal splashing in it. I crossed the theatre floor and climbed up to the cave. It was huge! Essentially one big overhang, I wondered how stable it was whilst standing underneath all that rock. There were a few fire pits and I thought it would be interesting to camp here, especially given there was a functioning shower! I heard a few bees in the cave, they had made a hive in some of the holes in the rock face. You would have to pick your spot wisely I think.
I sat and ate. I decided not to go on to the main waterfall as the pool had been empty so there was unlikely to be much of a flow. It was not meant to be a picturesque spot so there was not much motivation to add another twenty minutes to my trip. I’ll save that little adventure for when I camp here one day. The cave was very clean. It obviously gets a work out but it was still an attractive place to go.
I checked the time. Trains ran every hour so I decided to try to catch an earlier service. It was all downhill on the return journey so I should be able to make it.
So I left the cave behind and sped off back along the trail. Back past the empty pool, through the lost-in-space prop land, over the summit of the undetectable Mt Pindar, past the views and my morning tea spot, over the rock platforms with their heaths that fascinate me so, back up the boulders and on to the firetrail, rejoining the Great North Walk, until I finally began the descent to the railway station. I made it with ten minutes to spare! I was rather chuffed with myself, having completed a six hour walk in only four hours. I know it’s not a race but it does make me feel like I’m a little bit fit!
I’m loving my 12 Hike challenge as it encourages me to look for fun new places to explore. I’m also enjoying reading about the adventures of the other people whom have taken on the challenge. The variety of experiences is amazing! There are sunset and sunrise walks, coastal hikes, island adventures and mountains climbed! I can’t wait to see what the coming months will bring. Personally, I need to find a way to finish the Great North Walk. I’m glad I was able to walk one of its side trails but I’m itching to walk the main spine of it again! Stay tuned.