Zobel Gully descent

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Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Wed 23 May, 2018 7:26 pm

Referring to the Gully at the end of the Mt Banks Road Extension.

Is the descent negotiable without rope? How exposed is the scrambling?
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby Grabeach » Thu 24 May, 2018 12:07 am

Is the descent negotiable without rope?
Yes.
How exposed is the scrambling?
Not at all.

The waterfall is bypassed on the eastern side.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Thu 24 May, 2018 9:51 am

Excellent, thanks for the info, I'll be sure to check out the lookout on Mt Caley that you've mentioned in a pervious post as well =)
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 24 May, 2018 2:20 pm

This got me thinking of a possible circuit route.

Is it possible to accend/decend banks gully without ropes/exposure/significant danger?
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby tom_brennan » Thu 24 May, 2018 5:20 pm

wildwanderer wrote:Is it possible to accend/decend banks gully without ropes/exposure/significant danger?


Unlikely!
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 24 May, 2018 5:41 pm

tom_brennan wrote:
wildwanderer wrote:Is it possible to accend/decend banks gully without ropes/exposure/significant danger?


Unlikely!


Haha I'm gathering it's a cliff then..

Any other way up aside from pierces pass, zobel gully and exploreers wall?
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby Grabeach » Thu 24 May, 2018 9:27 pm

Any other way up aside from pierces pass, zobel gully and exploreers wall?

Not sure where you mean by Explorers Wall (Garrard Gulch to the east perhaps?), but the only routes up on the Bell Rd side between Zobels and Pierces are David Crevasse and Gordon Smith Chimney. Both are covered in NSW and ACT Trip Reports and Notes - David Crevasse topic. Last post 20/5/12, currently near the bottom of Pg. 5.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 24 May, 2018 9:58 pm

Grabeach wrote:
Any other way up aside from pierces pass, zobel gully and exploreers wall?

Not sure where you mean by Explorers Wall (Garrard Gulch to the east perhaps?),


Yep that was the one. Couldnt remember the name as its not on the maps anymore.

Cheers for the rest of the info.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Thu 24 May, 2018 10:38 pm

Interesting discussion. I'm actually thinking of a ~27 km loop going down Zobel Gully and out via Pierces. I've done Pierces->Blue Gum so I guess I'll aim to do Zobel->Blue Gum, from that I'll be able to work out if that loop is doable in a day or not (while still being pleasant).
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 24 May, 2018 11:00 pm

mandragara wrote:Interesting discussion. I'm actually thinking of a ~27 km loop going down Zobel Gully and out via Pierces. I've done Pierces->Blue Gum so I guess I'll aim to do Zobel->Blue Gum, from that I'll be able to work out if that loop is doable in a day or not (while still being pleasant).


Will be scrubby and slow between Zobel and Govetts/Grose Junction. I was on the east side of the junction a few weeks ago and there was no water coming down from walford walls creeks. (there was a few small pools if your willing to walk up the creek beds for a way) I didnt go as far as butterbox point so unsure of water in that creek.

Should be an adventure. :)
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Mon 28 May, 2018 2:18 pm

A very smokey adventure.

Also a note for the future readers of this post. Do not, and I must repeat, do not climb Mt Caley in shorts, t shirt and sandals. That has to be some of the worst scrub I've seen, my skin is thatched with scratches. No complaints though
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 28 May, 2018 8:14 pm

mandragara wrote:A very smokey adventure.

Also a note for the future readers of this post. Do not, and I must repeat, do not climb Mt Caley in shorts, t shirt and sandals. That has to be some of the worst scrub I've seen, my skin is thatched with scratches. No complaints though


Top effort, though a bit curious about the sandals approach :shock:

Did you make it down Zobel?

and if so did you cross the Grose near Zobel or wait till you got to the junction?
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Mon 28 May, 2018 9:24 pm

I've worn sandals on pretty much every bushwalk I've ever been on, including a leech infested 6 day trek in Kakadu. It's become a matter of principle at this point.

I ended up leaving late as I had to work to 3am, so I only made it part of the way down Zobels (to the first really steep bit). I'll be sure to return when RFS isn't burning everything. I walked\cycled back to my car at night, which was nice with the full moon. Might even write my first trip report on here if I ever go all the way down, I can't see much on this site about that particular gully.

Are there any walks you'd recommend for the winter wildwanderer? I like dawn-to-dusk daywalks but my usual areas, Colo\Yengo etc, have a bit less appeal in the cooler weather.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby tom_brennan » Tue 29 May, 2018 8:40 am

mandragara wrote:Also a note for the future readers of this post. Do not, and I must repeat, do not climb Mt Caley in shorts, t shirt and sandals. That has to be some of the worst scrub I've seen, my skin is thatched with scratches. No complaints though


I've crossed Mt Caley and I can fully agree.
http://ozultimate.com/tom/bushwalking/2 ... /index.htm

But what were you doing on Caley? Zobels is before you get to Caley!
Last edited by tom_brennan on Mon 04 Jun, 2018 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Thu 31 May, 2018 9:16 pm

I went up Caley because it looked pretty and to investigate the views, it was a longer detour than I had planned due to the scrub. Thankfully the route I took was only 45min 1 way!

I like the look of this 'Garrad Gulch' you visited. Do you think It'd be possible to do a loop down Zobels and up and out via Garrad Gulch without climbing rope\tape? Or down and out via Mt Hay? I'd like to visit that area but I don't feel like doing an overnighter. If so, I wonder if you can use Explorers Brook as a way to bypass the Basalt purgatory
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby Grabeach » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 12:15 am

Do you think It'd be possible to do a loop down Zobels and up and out via Garrad Gulch without climbing rope\tape? Or down and out via Mt Hay? I'd like to visit that area but I don't feel like doing an overnighter. If so, I wonder if you can use Explorers Brook as a way to bypass the Basalt purgatory

Based on times from a number of day walks I did in that area a couple of decades back, the loop from Mt Banks car park (10 hours continuous walking) can be done as a long day. To do a loop via Lockleys and Shaw Gully (13 hours continuous) is probably a bit much, even if you managed to find and follow the Engineers Track between Blue Gum and Zobels. Neither walk would require rope or tape, but both would require a masochistic approach to walk quickly over Caley.

I have not been down Explorers Brook, but I believe rope is required. And it would probably add a few hours to the trip as well.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 9:21 pm

Thanks for the information Grabeach. That 10 hour Mt Banks loop looks appealing, perfect length I reckon, something for the spring. A small part of me is tempted to take my machete for the walk over Caley, just to clear the way a bit, but I know that'd be massively frowned on. Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories :)
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby tom_brennan » Mon 04 Jun, 2018 12:35 pm

mandragara wrote:I like the look of this 'Garrad Gulch' you visited. Do you think It'd be possible to do a loop down Zobels and up and out via Garrad Gulch without climbing rope\tape?

Probably - don't think we used tape going up Garrad Gulch, but there were spots that might be tricky finding the way down from above.

mandragara wrote:Or down and out via Mt Hay? I'd like to visit that area but I don't feel like doing an overnighter. If so, I wonder if you can use Explorers Brook as a way to bypass the Basalt purgatory

You can see the extent of the basalt purgatory on the aerial photos. Explorers Brook is a way of bypassing it, but will probably involve rope and a lot more time than it takes to cross Caley!!
http://ozultimate.com/canyoning/reports ... report.htm

mandragara wrote:A small part of me is tempted to take my machete for the walk over Caley, just to clear the way a bit, but I know that'd be massively frowned on. Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories :)

I won't tell if you don't :)
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 1:06 pm

Hi all,

Almost two years later, I finally came round to giving this area the attention it deserves.

Three weekends ago, I did a return day trip down Zobel Gully to the Grose and back. Then last weekend I did the same, but went over Mt Caley and descended to the Grose via Garrad Gulch. Two lovely areas for those who don't mind losing their footing occasionally.

I can report that both routes are traversible after the fires and floods.

Zobel was quite steep and loose in the upper parts, as the fires burnt a lot of the upper vegetation of the gully. I rebuilt the cairn that marks the entrance\exit from the gully, as it had been washed away in the flood. There are a few uprooted trees and the fires spread into the gully at a few points. On the way down to the Grose, the understory had burnt and was experiencing regrowth, the canopy was unburnt.

On the way to Garrad Gulch, the summit of Mt Caley (famous for it's terrible scrub) had burnt, however the horrible vines are regrowing with a vengeance, currently sitting at about shin height. Long pants and possibly gaiters would be a good bet for this area, possibly even some gloves. The Gulch itself was nice, easier than Zobel, however still quite loose. There was also a landslide into the gully about half-way down, which flattened all the vegetation. Thankfully, it's only a small area that was affected.

I did not walk along the Grose itself on either occasion, although the banks appear to be flood damaged, with all the river bank vegetation now pointing downstream. This would make the going a bit slower than normal.

If you plan to visit these areas, please bleach the soles of your shoes to make sure you don't inadvertently spread fungus to these burnt areas. Both return routes took me 12-15 hours to complete, with the aid of a mountain bike. Keep this in mind if you plan to walk in the winter months, the gullies would be hard to traverse safely after dark. You really want to be back on the track by nightfall.

Hope this is of interest to someone :)
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby Warin » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 1:44 pm

:?: Ummm from
https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/vi ... cal-alerts

Closed:
All walking tracks into and around Grose Valley including Perrys (below Docker lookout), Cliff Top, Bridal Veil Falls, Rodriguez Pass, Victoria Falls, Mount Banks, Pierces Pass (Hungerfords) and Short Ridge (aka Lockleys Pylon closed below Pylon) due to fire damage.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 2:08 pm

Warin wrote::?: Ummm from
https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/vi ... cal-alerts

Closed:
All walking tracks into and around Grose Valley including Perrys (below Docker lookout), Cliff Top, Bridal Veil Falls, Rodriguez Pass, Victoria Falls, Mount Banks, Pierces Pass (Hungerfords) and Short Ridge (aka Lockleys Pylon closed below Pylon) due to fire damage.


Banks Walls cycle and lookout are open. The Blue Mountains National park is open (no yellow 'CLOSED DUE TO CURRENT ALERTS' banner at the top). From what I can tell, the only things closed are the walking tracks down to the Grose.

The walking tracks into the Grose are closed themselves as the trails need to be rebuilt and signed off by an engineer for safety. See Bob Turners track for an example of a roasted area that was rebuilt, approved and reopened. They're currently working on Grassy Hill FT. The routes I walked down to the Grose are off-track, so this isn't a factor.

I'm basing this off of signs I've read on firetrail gates along Putty Rd. I've emailed and called NPWS a few times to get clarification, but they never respond (they're underfunded and overworked, not criticising!). So I'm just piecing together what I can using my best judgement. If anyone works for NPWS on here, I'd love some clarification.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby Warin » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 3:32 pm

mandragara wrote:I'm basing this off of signs I've read on firetrail gates along Putty Rd. I've emailed and called NPWS a few times to get clarification, but they never respond (they're underfunded and overworked, not criticising!).


Possibly park or subject dependent, but the last email I sent to parks was responded to within 5 days. That was a week or 2 ago. You could email the minister with copies of your unresponded emails .. that would stir them up (in public service speak it is a 'ministerial' and needs to be answered quickly).
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 3:52 pm

Warin wrote:
mandragara wrote:I'm basing this off of signs I've read on firetrail gates along Putty Rd. I've emailed and called NPWS a few times to get clarification, but they never respond (they're underfunded and overworked, not criticising!).


Possibly park or subject dependent, but the last email I sent to parks was responded to within 5 days. That was a week or 2 ago. You could email the minister with copies of your unresponded emails .. that would stir them up (in public service speak it is a 'ministerial' and needs to be answered quickly).


That's good to hear! Which office did you contact? I've been bothering NPWS Richmond. Sent email late Feb and early March, called early March. I don't think I'll bother the minister, too much on their plate at the moment with this COVID stuff. I'll just risk being told off in person, every park ranger I've met has been super nice, I'm sure they'd understand.

It's always tricky working out what less visited areas are open or shut. For example Canoe Creek, Mailes\T3 track or Crawfords Lookout. You can only tell if they're open or not by driving up to the gate and seeing if there is a closed sign up or not. An exception is during the fires, the firetrails where explicitly listed as shut.

It'd be nice if they provided information on less used trails. Maybe not on the NPWS main website, but maybe another layer on SIX Maps or something, or list them as closed roads on Live Traffic NSW. They must track this stuff internally somehow.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby johnw » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 4:02 pm

mandragara wrote:Which office did you contact? I've been bothering NPWS Richmond.

For the upper Grose Valley, it's managed from the Blackheath (Govetts Leap) office (02) 4787 8877.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby Warin » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 5:10 pm

mandragara wrote: Which office did you contact?


I went through the general contact email (something environment) rather than a specific park. Probably takes longer but it should then go through to the right area.


mandragara wrote: It'd be nice if they provided information on less used trails. Maybe not on the NPWS main website, but maybe another layer on SIX Maps or something, or list them as closed roads on Live Traffic NSW. They must track this stuff internally somehow.


Different departments -Environment - LPI - RMS. They don't often publicly cooperate. Don't think NPWS want to publicize less used trails, just like most here they don't want the less experienced/cautious on them.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby FatCanyoner » Tue 28 Apr, 2020 10:26 am

While I'm a big fan of exploration, I have to second Warin's comment. There is absolutely no question this area is off limits. The entire Grose Valley is shut. Yes, some tracks above the escarpment are open, but even a cursory glance at the National Parks alerts page makes it clear that walking into the valley is off limits. The area was badly burnt, it needs time to recover, and people trying to find sneaky ways to avoid the closure only threaten to degrade the landscape and spread weeds. Please don't do it.

I'd also make the point that the current restrictions on non-essential travel mean visiting National Parks (that are open) should only be for exercise and if in your local area. Unless you live close to Mt Wilson or Mt Tomah, you were probably in breach of those restrictions. We are likely to see those restrictions eased soon as new infections remain low, but disregarding the law and promoting that fact on this forum is not only irresponsible, it risks access for other bushwalkers if we are seen to be a law-breaking group.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby johnw » Tue 28 Apr, 2020 12:07 pm

FatCanyoner wrote:While I'm a big fan of exploration, I have to second Warin's comment. There is absolutely no question this area is off limits. The entire Grose Valley is shut. Yes, some tracks above the escarpment are open, but even a cursory glance at the National Parks alerts page makes it clear that walking into the valley is off limits. The area was badly burnt, it needs time to recover, and people trying to find sneaky ways to avoid the closure only threaten to degrade the landscape and spread weeds. Please don't do it.

I'd also make the point that the current restrictions on non-essential travel mean visiting National Parks (that are open) should only be for exercise and if in your local area. Unless you live close to Mt Wilson or Mt Tomah, you were probably in breach of those restrictions. We are likely to see those restrictions eased soon as new infections remain low, but disregarding the law and promoting that fact on this forum is not only irresponsible, it risks access for other bushwalkers if we are seen to be a law-breaking group.

Have to agree with Tim 100%. As much as I'd love to be down there myself, pretty much the whole valley, not just the tracks, from the Darling Causeway to Yarramundi has been officially closed and off limits during and since the fires. Even if Covid-19 restrictions are eased I think it may be some time before access into the Grose is restored. And having worked in there as a volunteer for 15 years I don't want to have to deal with any more weeds than I need to. It's hard enough to keep them at bay as it is.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby mandragara » Tue 28 Apr, 2020 10:42 pm

johnw wrote:
FatCanyoner wrote:While I'm a big fan of exploration, I have to second Warin's comment. There is absolutely no question this area is off limits. The entire Grose Valley is shut. Yes, some tracks above the escarpment are open, but even a cursory glance at the National Parks alerts page makes it clear that walking into the valley is off limits. The area was badly burnt, it needs time to recover, and people trying to find sneaky ways to avoid the closure only threaten to degrade the landscape and spread weeds. Please don't do it.

I'd also make the point that the current restrictions on non-essential travel mean visiting National Parks (that are open) should only be for exercise and if in your local area. Unless you live close to Mt Wilson or Mt Tomah, you were probably in breach of those restrictions. We are likely to see those restrictions eased soon as new infections remain low, but disregarding the law and promoting that fact on this forum is not only irresponsible, it risks access for other bushwalkers if we are seen to be a law-breaking group.

Have to agree with Tim 100%. As much as I'd love to be down there myself, pretty much the whole valley, not just the tracks, from the Darling Causeway to Yarramundi has been officially closed and off limits during and since the fires. Even if Covid-19 restrictions are eased I think it may be some time before access into the Grose is restored. And having worked in there as a volunteer for 15 years I don't want to have to deal with any more weeds than I need to. It's hard enough to keep them at bay as it is.


The valley being closed isn't clear to me. The NPWS website lists the park as open, but walking tracks that head down into the valley as shut. I'm reading the NPWS word for word, and it qualifies the tracks specifically as being what is closed, no mention of the valley itself. I made sure to enter only via open trails (Banks Wall).

Tracks in the Wollemi that were closed due to fire and flood damage have been rebuilt and reopened. How can it be that these areas are environmentally safe to reopen, as well as the Mt Wilson canyon area etc. but not the Grose? They all burnt within weeks of each other. The walks around the rim of the Grose open, from which human contamination will flow into the Grose, plus the usual contamination from upstream. So in light of this, the Grose being closed to off-track walkers doesn't make intuitive sense to me. Perhaps someone can explain? Especially how you know the entire Grose is closed, not just the tracks.

I'd be very keen to understand things better, plus it would help me to not make similar mistakes in the future. I've only owned a car and been hiking for ~3 years now, I'm not as informed as the more veteran walkers on this forum, I wasn't alive for the 1993-1994 fires.

Also, as I mentioned in my initial post, I bleached the soles of my shoes (and bottom of my pack) before I headed out, so the chances of any contamination were minimised. Plus the firetrail walking\cycling to get in would have further cleaned them off. If you still feel I've done environmental harm, I'd be more than happy to volunteer for weed removal once the Grose reopens. Just send me the details, I've already investigated doing some work for Friends of the Colo.

As for the COVID stuff (this is now going off topic a bit), I'm following the guidelines that are laid out by the Guardian (first result if you google "How far can I travel for exercise NSW"), which states:

How far are you allowed to travel for exercise?
No states have specific rules on the distance you are allowed to travel to exercise, however many have appealed for people to use “common sense”.

NSW – You are allowed to drive across town however you aren’t allowed to travel hours out of the city.


Mt Banks is 1 hours drive from where I live, so that can't quality as 'hours out of the city', so should be OK. I also passed plenty of police doing speed checks, none of whom were bothered with my presence. I'll leave it up to them to be judge, jury and executioner on this matter. I'm also fuelling locally and not stopping for a coffee etc on the way up, so I wouldn't feel concerned even if I felt I was breaking the law (which I feel I'm not).

Looking forward to your responses. Thanks for your patience! :)
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby Warin » Wed 29 Apr, 2020 8:59 am

mandragara wrote:Tracks in the Wollemi that were closed due to fire and flood damage have been rebuilt and reopened. How can it be that these areas are environmentally safe to reopen, as well as the Mt Wilson canyon area etc. but not the Grose? They all burnt within weeks of each other.


My impression is that an area is checked for trees that may fall and those judged a problem are cut down.

The wording on the National Parks website states:

[u]All[/u] walking tracks into and around Grose Valley

I think the word 'all' is of significance? But you should contact the park to check your particular expectations.
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Re: Zobel Gully descent

Postby FatCanyoner » Wed 29 Apr, 2020 2:04 pm

There is no question that National Parks could improve their communication, particularly with closures, but it's also important to understand the limitations of closures covering large areas. If they were to list every single place an off-track walker could go, the closure pages would be impractically long. They focus on general terms, tracks, and areas. If in doubt, call them. The Blackhealth office is very responsive, as is the Hawkesbury one. They will answer specific questions for you. But best practice is to err on the side of caution, not look for technicalities to try and dodge them.

mandragara wrote:The valley being closed isn't clear to me. The NPWS website lists the park as open, but walking tracks that head down into the valley as shut. I'm reading the NPWS word for word, and it qualifies the tracks specifically as being what is closed, no mention of the valley itself. I made sure to enter only via open trails (Banks Wall).


You must be taking the *&^%$#!. This is actually one of the clearest things to me. It states "All walking tracks into and around Grose Valley " are closed. To assume that means you can enter the valley off track seems bizarre to me.

The open track is also really specifically about what is above the valley. It says: "Bells Line lookouts (Banks Walls cycle and lookout, Walls lookout and Rigby Hill lookout and walk)" are open. It's clearly only the track and lookout that are open.

mandragara wrote:Tracks in the Wollemi that were closed due to fire and flood damage have been rebuilt and reopened. How can it be that these areas are environmentally safe to reopen, as well as the Mt Wilson canyon area etc. but not the Grose? They all burnt within weeks of each other.


Again, completely untrue. Most of the burnt areas in the Blue Mountains remain closed. The entire Gardens of Stone NP remains shut. All of Kanangra-Boyd NP, other than the Six Foot Track, is closed. Large swathes of Blue Mountains NP remain closed, other than specific areas that have been reopened. Only a small number of canyons have been reopened. There is only one formal track in Wollemi NP listed as open.

mandragara wrote:As for the COVID stuff (this is now going off topic a bit), I'm following the guidelines that are laid out by the Guardian (first result if you google "How far can I travel for exercise NSW")


I'm not a lawyer, but I also know a news article doesn't help you in court. In the Blue Mountains, the advice police have been given when you ring them up is that they will allow people to drive 15 to 20 minutes for excercise. If they pull you over and find you've come from Sydney, you can expect a fine. Feel free to ring them and have that confirmed. In fact, that's my advice for all of the above. If in any doubt, take five minutes to ring the relevant authority to confirm what is and isn't allowed. If you'd called National Parks, they've have told you the Grose was closed. Likewise, I'm sure the police would have told you to stay away.
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Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
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