The Lost Waterhole

A couple of years ago a friend of the family went looking for a waterhole hidden in the bush near Cowan NSW. Her husband remembered it from his youth and wanted to show his family. He used his memory of the area to try to find it but the terrain was steep and time was short so they left, leaving a note on Facebook asking if anyone else knew the location. They had been very close apparently.

This sat at the back of my mind for a while. I looked at maps but I really had no clue as to where it could be. Then I made a breakthrough! I looked through the geocaching app and saw a few geocaches in some likely places. I read all the details and checked their locations closely . One of them, called labyrinth, described a steep climb to a river and…. a waterhole!

Of course it was another year before I had any time to go searching. Then I strangely found myself with two hours to spare so off I went!

The view from the top of the Firetrail was stunning, with Berowra creek clearly visible through the valley.

Berowra Creek in the distance
A closer look

The walk descended rapidly. It was an incredibly steep trail and I slipped a few times, thankful that I had brought along my poles to stop me falling. When the Firetrail ended a path appeared in the bush to the right and I followed it, descending steeply again through very rough bushland. I had to jump across a gap to avoid stepping in a little creek and at one point I wasn’t sure if I was following the path or a dried up water course.

The way in

I heard a trickle of water in the distance and soon enough I was crossing a larger stream and caught a glimpse of a large pool of water through the trees. I carried on and realised that I had found it! The lost waterhole was lost no more!

It was stunning. There were large cliffs and rock overhangs, a small trickle of a waterfall, a pool for swimming, rocks ledges for sun baking or maybe jumping off when the water is deep enough. The overhangs has sooty roofs so a folks must camp here. There was also some graffiti (I believe it said “the person who wrote this is a loser with no sense of decency or respect”….)

Pretty waterhole

I wanted a better look at the waterfall so I pushed my way along the overgrown shoreline, dunking my shoe in the process. I snapped my photos then thought about looking for the geocache. I followed the trail a bit further and discovered an old bridge. It was two trunks with branches as the walking surface, a proper bushcraft bridge. I crossed it and pushed thru the bush but realised I was moving away from the geocache. So I crossed the bridge again, more confidently this time, and began walking back along the main track leaving the pool behind.

The water trickling into the pool
Bushcraft bridge
The trickle that fills the pool
Is this a grinding groove?

I noticed that time was ticking away and that if I didn’t start climbing out I would not make it to school in time to pick up my kids, so I abandoned my hunt for the geocache. It was a secondary goal and really it only exists to show us this place so it’s done it’s job. On the way out I thought I saw a grinding groove in the creek. Can’t be sure on that though, could just be erosion.

I climbed back up the steep trail, taking it slowly but still having to pause frequently to catch my breath. I reached the top with plenty of time to spare but more than a little sweaty.

I was thrilled to bump into our family friend outside school as tell her that I had found it. They had been so close! (Note that it is actually just over the border of Muogamarra Nature Reserve and can thus technically only be visited in the six weeks that the reserve is open to the public. Just an FYI.)


6 thoughts on “The Lost Waterhole

    1. Thank you – I do enjoy a good adventure, even the little ones that I’ve totally made up. There is a beautiful poem by Mary Oliver that sits at the back of my mind that resonates with me:
      “Instructions for living a life:
      Pay Attention
      Be Astonished
      Tell about it”

      I love it and sometimes I feel as though I’ve ticked all three off.
      Thanks for reading.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s