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Sat 10 Aug, 2019 8:04 pm
Last weekend I decided it had been a long enough time between drinks and therefore long overdue for a visit to some of my favourite walking country, the Southern Blue mountains.
I had no exact route planned for this trip just three days of wandering and seeing what there is to see. So I packed the “Barrallier” and “Bindook” maps, took the long drive to 500 acre flat, parked the car and headed off.
It was 8:30am by the time I got away (those 3 damn farm gates are only slightly more annoying to deal with on the way in then on your way out) and there was a thick frost on all things not moving...it was bitter cold. I cut the “Wonga” property away from the homestead, up under the tree line and then made way down to the Wollondilly, after the big bend and where it narrows to its thinnest.
Although it feels like it hasn’t rained in an age I have seen the river dryer and still didn’t manage to cross without getting wet feet...but it was only ankle deep. Here I headed downstream and soon found an old farm road that took me up and easily across Shawneen flat. Lovely walking. Then I rounded the next major bend in the river and found myself at the junction of Tomat Creek. “Why not” I thought to myself it’s a fall I’ve wanted to inspect for some time as last year I did a couple of trips up Millnigang falls a comparison would be in order.
Lower Tomat Ck for the most part was dry as a bone and not so much as a trickle was on the rock face at the falls but still worth the journey with plenty of interesting rock formations as the sides of the surrounding mountains close in.
So here I decided it was time for a different perspective with a view from the top...I looked East and then looked West and decided West, although steeper would be fastest so the shorter/sharper option was taken. The path up was definitely not what you would call a ridge, not exactly a spur either...more a pregnant bump in the valley wall. But it did the trick and before long I was enjoying views off the falls top, down the creek and back to the Wollondilly.
Here I took off West cross country until I hit the Bullnigang FT at a fork in the road. I had heard rumours off an old authoritative that there was an unused, unmarked road that branched off West of the Bullnigang FT and finished above the last long flat along the Murriun Ck. So with a keen eye to my left I began the walk North up the road. Couldn’t locate the mystery track for love nor money and by the time I had hit the Honey Suckle Ck property I knew I had gone to far as any Westward travel from then on would be met with either Talavins Ck or Bindook Ck both edged by gorge so I found nice grassy spot 20 meters off the road and hunkered down for a cool night.
Next morning I was up and at it early first thing on the agenda was to check out the high bluffs above Talavins Ck then Bindook Ck then across more country until the Bindook property was reached. Here I walked to the eastern end of the farm so I could descend into Murriun creek via an old cattle route that follows a fairly gentle spur down. Missed it. Not sure how as I have walked up it in the past? I guess it was the alluring sound of running water and I hadn’t had a drink in awhile so the draw of hydration had me ambling down a steep but basically open spur North of the proper spur.
Walked down stream a spell to where Neville Lang’s now ruined hut used to stand and noticed with sadness the pigs have totally destroyed what was once a ideal camp site fit for 10 tents on bowling green manicured grass. Walked further down stream from here to the aforementioned last big flat on the river. I would camp here and find that pesky Bullnigang track from this end...if it killed me. But this would have to wait till the morning, I was exhausted.
Up with the sun and standing at the base of the mountain up I went and low and behold, after some searching, there it was. I followed it back roughly 3 kilometres to the Bullnigang FT and wondered if I need to go to spec savers. It definitely isn’t obvious nor is there any indication of a road other than very faint tyre ruts...but it is there.
Nothing for it now than to follow the track back to the tops which affords magic views of the valley , climb down the very rocky, scrubby mountain, pack up and head on down the creek and onto the car.
Fun 3 days out but spotted at least 8 pigs over the walk which is a major concern.
Sat 10 Aug, 2019 9:41 pm
Great report Dingo. I'd love to get back there one day.
Mon 12 Aug, 2019 9:27 am
Great to hear you have been out that way again. Fascinated that you found that track down off the Bullnigang FT. Never even knew it was there but having consulted the map I see the top end is marked. These things can be easily missed. I camped at the inholding on the Bullnigang once years ago. Came in from Mt Egan. The track goes right through.Then cut across to the Millnigang FT. Now that is an interesting fire trail. Keep the reports coming. Did you take any pics?
Mon 12 Aug, 2019 10:53 am
Took a couple but the hassle of getting the phone out, turning it on with pin numbers, then having to wait for the fog to clear from the lens etc...keeps me from bothering too much.
- Tomato falls. Parched....and for some reason upside down??? COMPUTERS!!!
Mon 12 Aug, 2019 11:01 am
Looking back South from atop the falls
Mon 12 Aug, 2019 11:06 am
Mon 12 Aug, 2019 11:10 am
I’ll try again later with pics...having a nightmare on this little phone.
Mon 12 Aug, 2019 11:43 am
By the way is that old Bullnigang train carriage still out there? There is a property on the point at the end with a lot of abandoned cars. Dropped straight off the end of the Bullnigang Ridge once. Steep descent. Tripped on an old fence part way down and went face first.
Mon 12 Aug, 2019 2:50 pm
Not sure mate. I hit the bullnigang fire trail a tad North of the carriages so I'd assume they are still there? Hell of a job removing them if not.
I've came down from that property your talking about too. Except I ended up in Murruin co rather than the Wollondilly.
Tue 13 Aug, 2019 1:11 pm
Rotated and enhanced. Nice cliffs.
Thu 15 Aug, 2019 11:55 am
Ah now that's better.
Fri 16 Aug, 2019 12:23 am
Thanks for sharing. Tomat Falls are quite impressive. Had planned to abseil down them on a 2014 trip, misled by the "70r" on the map. Had far too little rope! I couldn't believe how tall they were when standing on top. Ended up descending via a steep and scree-filled slot to the true right. We then travelled down Tomat Ck and back to the car at Barrallier.
Prior day we had walked up Murruin Ck to the old route up to Bindook Mountain. Then descended Bindook Chasm via rope, good fun. A video of this section here (made by someone else on the trip) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbRxV3HNEO4
Water in Murruin is just beautiful, crystal clear and some even with a blue tint. I'd love to explore the upper reaches one day, maybe link in with the Limeburners Trail.
Fri 16 Aug, 2019 11:52 am
I'm with you on that. Amazing water quality in the creek. Some excellent grassy camping spots with beer bottles from the 1930's. Then the big flat that Pure dingo recently visited. Like you though I've always exited by going up to Bindook.
The old SURC did a lot of exploration further up the creek and the Gundungra map and guide book have lots of intriguing details.
Fri 16 Aug, 2019 12:39 pm
Yes! I’ve already got my next walk in this region planned but it’s like all my walks in this are, loose...there is just too much to see.
I reckon I’ll head up Murriun to the Bindook track, along the Colong stock Rte until the limeburners branch, follow that down to the Murriun Crossing, head back down stream to the big flat, climb the spur opposite up to the old Buck trig then follow the Few different FTs back to the Barrallier homesteads and onto the ford.
Not for everyone but sounds like a good day, possibly day/night out to me?
Fri 16 Aug, 2019 10:04 pm
Now that is what I call a trip. But you'll need a lot more than a day for that one!
Fri 05 Mar, 2021 8:26 am
Great trip report, although it's now over a year old.....
I'm a newbie to the site but I'm reasonably familiar to the area of Bullnigang, Millnigang, Bindook and Tomat creek and the falls, though I used to drive in via the Oberon stock-route and camp along in various places off the fire trails. These have all now been locked up.
I've not been in from the bottom at Barrallier and I have some questions if anyone out there has some suggestions:
1) Is parking near Barrallier an issue? Is this private road? I read of several gates that need to be accessed.
2) My aim is to get on top of Bullnigang ridge fairly quickly. I was wondering if there is a good access point? I don't need to go all the way up Murrin creek to Bindook (done that from the top years ago)
I saw some posts discussing the Barrallier Hilton being burnt. What is the condition of the countryside in the burnt areas?
I've not been to these places for just on 20 years but it seems like yesterday. It such a magic area. Tomat falls is a hidden gem.
The posts by Kanangra and Puredingo have been most helpful.......
Oh, to be clear, despite my user name, I'm not an animal hunter.
Fri 19 Mar, 2021 6:29 pm
G’day mate, to access the The Millnigang/Bullnigang region I find it easiest not to drive all the way to Barrallier, rather start from Bullio, Cross the Wollondilly and climb one of the spurs. I’ve given up on the preferred ridge that rises above Palen flat, in recent years it’s just too scrubby. I can only imagine what it’s like now.
I’ve often gained the tops using the spur starting from the western bank of cockpit Ck,you’ll need to bust out the map and compass once atop but very easy, clear walking.
Have fun,might see you out there!,
Fri 02 Apr, 2021 7:49 am
Thanks for the tips. Those areas (that I've been in and around previously a while back) are a little too east for me. Your descriptions of the area have been a great to read and I'm glad I'm not alone thinking it's a magic part of the world. There's something special about its relative remoteness and uncomplicated history.
Rather than simply walking there for the sake of it (though that's a great bonus!), I'm part of a group that includes some ex-RAAF people searching for a missing aircraft from WWII. The likelihood of it being found is remote at best, but it gives a purpose to my walk. (look for one thing and find so much else, so to speak.) There are also 5 souls on board that have never been found and having met many of the relatives, they still hold out hope of knowing where it ended up.
We changed our plans a bit and were planning to drive in and park near Bindook and walk around the steep areas of Murriun creek this Easter, but the Oberon stock route has been closed till at least May so all plans have fizzled until then. We may strike out in May some time however. We've only touched those areas above Murriun creek and there is a lot of loose basalt that looks like it would come down like an avalanche.
Searching for this aircraft has consumed me since the mid 1990s up until early 2000s when we were lucky enough to get the use of a helicopter (a free ton and half back pack!) and get into places around Kanangra and some other remote areas. We ran out of clues and my fellow searchers had reached an age that they couldn't give anymore. I'm picking up the threads again with some younger colleagues though I'm pushing 60 myself. I do this for bringing some peace of mind to the relatives and nothing else.
Bit of luck we may bump into one another out there one day. I look forward to any other posts you put up on the area.
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