A Day in the Nattai Valley.

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A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Mon 12 May, 2014 8:48 am

When the opportunity arose I decided to spend a day in the Nattai south of Sydney on the weekend. I arrives at the car park at Wattle Ridge just after 8 and set off soon after. I decided to go in via Starlights Track as I hadn't been down that way for years. It is signposted at the top but not the next junction where you need to turn right. A short way on the road ends and the foot track begins. It is a gradual descent into the valley, no doubt used to get cattle in and out in the early days. It comes out on a lovely grassy flat on a high bank above the river.

P5100182 (Medium).JPG
Small flat on the river


P5100183 (Medium).JPG
Room for plenty of tenets


P5100184 (Medium).JPG
Park like.


P5100185 (Medium).JPG


From here I followed down a feint pad with the odd metal markers to Emetts Flat where there are a few remains from the pioneering days.

P5100186 (Medium).JPG
Anyone know the story behind this?


From there it was on down the valley till the junction with Wanganderry Ck. Thus far so good. But from here on there was virtually no visible track. I saw plenty of markers of different colours but there was nothing to speak of on the ground. So I gave up trying to follow them and just made my way down stream.

It was 3 hours of solid going before I struck the Nattai Rd. A small cairn marked the spot so someone else had come out there too. From there it is a steep pull back up the hill to the car park.

The round trip was just on 30k's and took about 7 hours.

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Mon 12 May, 2014 9:15 am

Here are a couple of views of the river. It looks nice enough but then you certainly wouldn't want to drink it.

P5100187 (Medium).JPG
Nattai River


P5100188 (Medium).JPG
Nattai River


P5100189 (Medium).JPG
Nattai River


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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby michael_p » Mon 12 May, 2014 9:17 am

K,

Nice report. Thank you for sharing.

Looks like someone has been down there with a mower or the wombats have returned. Last time I was down there (March 2013) the grass was a lot longer.
DSC08167.jpg


The camp kitchen belonged to Emmett. He was a hermit that lived in a shack down there. To the best of my knowledge he lived there until his passing around 1994. His hut was destroyed by a bushfire (2004?). Here is a photo from 2008.
DSC04303.JPG


Great spot for a overnighter.

Cheers,
Michael.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby jackhinde » Mon 12 May, 2014 9:59 am

No side trip up Russell's Needle? Missed opportunity!

A vehicle could be driven to about 20 metres from that hut site via the troys creek track, my father drove us down there sometime in the mid 80's, no doubt that is how Emmet got there. Just past Wanganderry creek there are remains of another habitation, and near where K would have left the river is the remains of a truck that presumably was driven up river from Allum flat.
The hut was an abandoned ruin prior to 1994, I recall camping there in about 92/93. A year or two earlier my younger brother did the same walk K describes (but overnight) with scouts and they had an altercation with a hermit, I think it had something to do with pinching passion fruit from a vine. It was the 2001 fire that finished off the hut, the same fire allowed all the black wattle growth in the area, reclaiming the cleared flats that existed there either side of the river.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby michael_p » Mon 12 May, 2014 10:30 am

Jack,

Thanks for clearing up the dates. Next time I'm leading a walk down there I'll be able to give a better history of the place.

Cheers,
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Mon 12 May, 2014 10:48 am

Jack,

Thanks for that. I must admit I did wonder how they got the heavy stuff in there. I will definitely put Russells Needle on my next trip down there. Can you still get out via Troy's Ck track? I didn't notice any track at all?

It is interesting to see how neat the flat looks compared to your photo Michael. It just goes to show that nothing stays the same in the bush.

As a matter of interest there is a passionfruit vine still growing close to the river down near Hidden Flat.

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 12 May, 2014 11:37 am

Lovely spot for some camping! Looked up on the location on LPI's SIX map but note that the Starlight Track is no longer marked on their dataset. Checking Nattai NP, that section of Starlight Trail is still listed as an official walk within the park.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Mon 12 May, 2014 11:52 am

Yes and it is still very clear on the ground. Not marked in any way but very easy to follow just the same.

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 12 May, 2014 11:59 am

Just to clarify, where exactly did you find the parking spot? On SIX's map, the intersect b/n Nattai Rd and Wattle Ridge Rd seemed to have a bit of space for parking. Was that where you left your vehicle? Road was good enough for an average 2WD?
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby michael_p » Mon 12 May, 2014 12:14 pm

Official NP Parking is further along Nattai Rd not at the Wattle Ridge Rd/Nattai Rd intersection. Technically it is Nattai Rd but everyone I have ever spoken to refers to it as the end of Wattle Ridge Rd. Map might help: http://goo.gl/maps/EHJeu.

Generally the road is OK for 2wd. It can get a bit rough after the Rifle Range but I've never had to use a high clearance 2wd or a 4wd to get there.

You know you are in the right place when you see this:
DSC04276.JPG


Through the gate and on your way:
DSC04277.JPG
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Mon 12 May, 2014 1:00 pm

What Michael said. NB they have a sign up saying the Nattai Rd is closed due to a landslide. There was a landslide but it was quite a while ago now and it is no problem to walk around the boulders.

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 12 May, 2014 1:39 pm

Entered in my list of potential to-do walks. Thanks again for sharing of another great location and walking ideas.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 12 May, 2014 4:20 pm

A Q: Is there a way to come down from Ahearn's Lookout to the Nattai River level without going all the back to the trailhead? NP's site map seemed to suggest that there's a way down from just a little to the north-west of the lookout. Anyone can confirm this?
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Mon 12 May, 2014 6:53 pm

I know of no track down off there.

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby michael_p » Mon 12 May, 2014 7:27 pm

GPSGuided wrote:A Q: Is there a way to come down from Ahearn's Lookout to the Nattai River level without going all the back to the trailhead? NP's site map seemed to suggest that there's a way down from just a little to the north-west of the lookout. Anyone can confirm this?

Firstly, Ahearn Lookout from the Nattai River:
DSC08148.jpg

There is no way to get down directly from the lookout. For about the last 2km of the walk out to Ahearn it is all high cliffs. There is a route down on the south side called the Slot Way. It runs down to the river via the Rocky Waterholes Creek valley. I have a waypoint for it somewhere, give me some time and I'll see if I can find it.

On a walk out to Ahearn several years ago one of our party spotted some cairns that led off towards the Starlights track side. (Edit: the cairns were a long way back from the lookout) We didn't have time to see where they went on that trip so on my next trip out there we tried to follow them. The cairns led to a break in the cliffs not far off the Ahearn track. We scrambled down to the next level. After a bit of stuffing around we found a trail of yellow electrical tape that took us to a spot that could be scrambled down which gets you below the cliff line and it appeared possible to scrub bash to the Starlights track. Unfortunately we did not go down this way as I was not confident that some of our party would be able to do the scramble. Maybe one day I'll organise another attempt to see if it is possible to get down to Starlights via this route.

I read somewhere of people coming a long way back along Ahearn to then scramble down to Starlights. Can't remember where I read this.

Here are some GPS waypoints for the Ahearn track:
Parking - S34 17.830 E150 25.729.
At the national park information sign there should be a walkers book, you should put your name into the book.
Walk through the gate and continue along Nattai Rd (11E fire trail).
Turn left at the sign for Starlight’s Trail.
Turn left onto Rocky Waterholes Ck Trail – S34 18.225 E150 24.747. There is no sign for this trail but a clear track branches off to the left (south). The right hand branch is the continuation of the Starlight’s Trail.
Turn right onto the Ahearn Lookout Trail at – S34 18.296 E150 24.717. Track heads around Point Hill. Great views from the western side of Point Hill. Good morning tea location. In one spot you can see all the way from Mt Jellore to Yerranderie Peak.
Great lookout just off the main trail here – S34 17.919 E150 23.246
The track will lead you to a spot that has great views across the valley to Russells Needle, Mt Jellore and beyond. A short walk to the north of the end of the trail is Ahearn Lookout proper, which gives great views along the Nattai River valley to the NW including Emmetts Flat.
When you get back make sure you note in the walkers book that you have returned.

Hope this is of some help.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby puredingo » Mon 12 May, 2014 8:31 pm

Nice little trip K. Such a convenient, accessible yet wild place. Definitely makes it hard to stay away for long which reminds me I'm well over due.

How was the road where the deep rut runs down the middle, must be in pretty rough condition by now?
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 12 May, 2014 8:31 pm

Thanks guys for sharing your knowledge.

I was looking at NSWPWS' Nattai NP site and their listing of Starlights Trail. The map they had looked like below and to me, it strongly suggested there's a direct connect b/n the section going down Nattai River and Ahearn Lookout. That connecting section may be what Michael read about that "scramble down to Starlights". When I carefully compared this map below and what's on OSM, I note the track that connects down and to the Starlights Trail goes off just near the additional lookout Michael suggested (S34 17.919 E150 23.246). Yet again, the bulk of the trail shown in PWS' map isn't the Starlights Trail proper until to the north-west of Ahearn's Lookout.

Image

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/nat ... alking/map
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby michael_p » Mon 12 May, 2014 9:05 pm

GPSGuided wrote:... goes off just near the additional lookout Michael suggested (S34 17.919 E150 23.246).
Image

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/nat ... alking/map


OMG...I'm stunned...I don't know what to say. That map is so wrong it is dangerous.

GPSGuided thank you for showing me this. I never use the NPWS website. I've been to Ahearn 4 or 5 times and I've been down Starlights at least 4 times and I can assure you that there is no way to get down at that point unless NPWS have installed an elevator.

Photo taken at the "additional" lookout. Note the cliffs on the left of the photo. Stand on the edge anywhere around here and it is straight down.
DSC02853.JPG


Cheers,
Michael.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 12 May, 2014 9:37 pm

Thanks Michael. I was quite surprised and couldn't figure out how anyone can get down a few hundred meters in elevation along that cliff unless they installed something similar to that at 3 Sisters. It's a long trek back to the trackhead of Ahearn Lookout track to get back on Starlights Trail. You wouldn't have a detailed photo of the info board at the Nattai NP gate would you? Maybe there's something more there?
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Tue 13 May, 2014 7:48 am

Michael, What a great shot down the valley. That would have to be the Wanganderry Valley coming in on the left at the top of the photo. There the Nattai turns sharp right and heads due north to the stored water.

Pure dingo the W11E is now in a poor state of repair the heavy rains a year or so back did scour out a lot of the track near the bridge over the creek. But the huge rock fall over the track is even more of a problem.

Further down past Vinyard Flat it is in excellent shape and quick travel can be had around to Thirlmere Lakes although this does take you through the prohibited zone. :shock: 8)

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby michael_p » Tue 13 May, 2014 9:59 am

GPSGuided wrote:Thanks Michael. I was quite surprised and couldn't figure out how anyone can get down a few hundred meters in elevation along that cliff unless they installed something similar to that at 3 Sisters. It's a long trek back to the trackhead of Ahearn Lookout track to get back on Starlights Trail. You wouldn't have a detailed photo of the info board at the Nattai NP gate would you? Maybe there's something more there?

I had a look through my photos and I am sorry to say the only one I have of the signboard is the one I posted earlier and it is from a few years back.

BTW - Last night I had a look at the info on OSM. I checked the edit history for that area and someone has very recently been doing a number of changes. I then logged into OSM and had a look, the link track wasn't visible in the editor and the Ahearn Track had been renamed. My experience with editing on OSM is that changes can take a while to be processed and appear on the regular map. May be worth waiting a bit to see if the regular map gets updated, if not I may go and do some editing.
Also the location of Ahearn Lookout is wrong on OSM as well. The lookout is closer to the point to the north. How can I be sure, well there is a plaque dedicated to the memory of Leon Dennis Ahearn there (see photo below).

kanangra wrote:Michael, What a great shot down the valley. That would have to be the Wanganderry Valley coming in on the left at the top of the photo. There the Nattai turns sharp right and heads due north to the stored water.

Spot on. Ahearn Lookout is my pick as the best day walk in the area. Relatively easy walk, easy navigation and a really good payoff at the end.

If you are thinking of doing Russells Needle have a read of the trip report by Fatcanyoner here: http://fatcanyoners.org/2013/04/13/russells-needle/.

Cheers,
Michael.

Ahearn Plaque (be warned it is really close to the edge):
DSC07604.jpg
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Tue 13 May, 2014 10:36 am

Thanks for the tip. Just when you think you are starting to know an area you find out that you are only scratching the surface. so much more to do. :wink:

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Tue 13 May, 2014 10:48 am

Michael as you appear to be quite an authority on the area do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions that have intrigued me for a while?

The first is; do you know if it is possible to walk up Martin's Ck. Canyon and exit onto the fire trail on Long Nose Ridge? I've thought for a while that would make a good round trip from the car park on Nattai Rd.

The second is; do you know if a way down can be had from the look out over the Nattai Valley from the end of the track on Long Nose Ridge. I was out there last year and from the top at least it looked as if a way down might be possible but I didn't have the time to check it out. If so then this also would make a good round trip with Nattai Rd or even Martin's Ck canyon? I am referring to the lkt on the western side that looks across to Belloon Pass.

Then again maybe I should just get out there and suck it and see? :P

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 13 May, 2014 12:09 pm

Took another look at the PWS map of the Ahearn Lookout and Starlights Track by satellite view. There seemed to be a jump off point... Ouch! I think I'll ring up the relevant office and find out what their story is.

Image

Yes, OSM does have a habit with missing tiles and slow updates. Not too surprised given it is a free service and there are constraints. Still, quite impressive for the services it provides.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby michael_p » Tue 13 May, 2014 5:38 pm

kanangra wrote:Michael as you appear to be quite an authority on the area do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions that have intrigued me for a while?

The first is; do you know if it is possible to walk up Martin's Ck. Canyon and exit onto the fire trail on Long Nose Ridge? I've thought for a while that would make a good round trip from the car park on Nattai Rd.

The second is; do you know if a way down can be had from the look out over the Nattai Valley from the end of the track on Long Nose Ridge. I was out there last year and from the top at least it looked as if a way down might be possible but I didn't have the time to check it out. If so then this also would make a good round trip with Nattai Rd or even Martin's Ck canyon? I am referring to the lkt on the western side that looks across to Belloon Pass.

Then again maybe I should just get out there and suck it and see? :P

K.

I am in no way an expert on this area, you give me way too much credit. There are a lot of people who know a lot more about this area than me.

My second edition Nattai map shows a vehicle track going a very long way up Martins Creek but I doubt the vehicle track would exist anymore. Appears an ascent out of Martins Creek was done in 2006. Have a look at the photos down the page: http://www.david-noble.net/bushwalking/KatombatoPicton/Part2.html.

I have no idea about out along Long Nose Ridge. I have spent many hours pouring over my Nattai map looking at walking opportunities but to be honest the fire trail plodding (which is not to my liking) has put me off exploring the area. I had thought of bikepacking the area on my mtb but you can only go so far these days before you hit the bikes not allowed area. So getting out to explore the area is not a priority. Only thing that really interests me is the Nattai trig station (TS6909 for the trig nerds), one day I might get out to see it.

Michael.

Edit: Edited to fix some typos.
Last edited by michael_p on Tue 13 May, 2014 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Tue 13 May, 2014 5:42 pm

Thanks mate you really have to get out there for the view.

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby icefest » Tue 13 May, 2014 6:02 pm

GPSGuided wrote:=Yes, OSM does have a habit with missing tiles and slow updates. Not too surprised given it is a free service and there are constraints. Still, quite impressive for the services it provides.

Useful hint, I used this to see if what I was drawing last week would render correctly.

Right click when zoomed all the way in and open the image in a separate tab and then:
If you want to get more information on a tile you can append /info /status to the end of the url. You might also force a rerender by appending /dirty at the end of the url, but overuse might overload the tile server.


https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/1049/how-to-trigger-a-repaint-for-a-specific-osm-map-tile
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby jackhinde » Tue 13 May, 2014 11:19 pm

kanangra wrote:Jack,

Thanks for that. I must admit I did wonder how they got the heavy stuff in there. I will definitely put Russells Needle on my next trip down there. Can you still get out via Troy's Ck track? I didn't notice any track at all?



K


If you head up the slope/embankment from the stove you will hit the Troy's creek track in under 30 seconds at the pace i gather you walk at. Fairly easy grade with sapling regrowth, I have carried a 3 year old up it on my back with ease. Best way to get to Russell's needle is via Slott way, using Starlight's means a bit of nasty Nattai bashing and a sometimes confusing island.
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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby kanangra » Wed 14 May, 2014 8:36 am

Thanks for that Jack.

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Re: A Day in the Nattai Valley.

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 14 May, 2014 8:53 am

icefest wrote:Useful hint, I used this to see if what I was drawing last week would render correctly.

Right click when zoomed all the way in and open the image in a separate tab and then:
If you want to get more information on a tile you can append /info /status to the end of the url. You might also force a rerender by appending /dirty at the end of the url, but overuse might overload the tile server.


https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/1049/how-to-trigger-a-repaint-for-a-specific-osm-map-tile

Thanks! Not sure this still works. Just tried and it doesn't seem to make a difference. Irrespective, not a big issue. Their server is already well loaded.
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