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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Devil's Pinch and Starlight Canyons

Some Sons of the Desert and many stalwarts from the Sydney University Bushwalking club spend the last weekend in Newnes, in the Wolgan Valley.

The plan was to visit two classic canyons: Devil's Pinch and Starlight. The usual approach to these canyons is to abseil down from the plateau, but instead we climbed up into them. This is possible because these canyons are cracks in the high plateau which go down to the cliff line on the edge of the plateau. But below the cliff line is a couple of hundred metres of steep vegetated hillside which descends to the Wolgan river. So by following the river down to where the canyons are and clubbing up the hillside and crawling along the cliff edge, it's possible to enter the canyons from below at the point they break out from the cliff.

So off we headed on the only cool break in a period of unpleasantly hot weather, and soon gained the cliff edge.

First canyon was Devil's Pinch (named for a pinch in the river below a rock formation which looks rather like diabolical horns)

Here's a view of the exit from the canyon with the thin strip of light and the Coachwood trees growing in the entrance...

Then it was on to Starlight Canyon.

It's easy to see how it gets its name: the glow worms look like constellations in the night sky. In this image the sky is red because of the red head torches we used (red light doesn't disturb the glow worms). I thought it better than the alternative which is pure unlit black rock with nothing but the little lights, as it gives some sense of the rock of the cavern.

And here (lit with white light from head torches) is an image of the little slimy cords of sticky droplets that the glow worms use to trap prey. You can see some poor insect caught in this diabolical trap. The glow of the worms attracts insects, and as it reflects off the droplets, makes a truly deadly trap.

And finally my favourite image;  a section of the Starlight Canyon where a shaft of light descends in front of a section covered with green moss:

A great weekend indeed! Thanks to all who organised it!


  1. I have just found your blog, through the Great Walks Magazine which I have also only recently discovered.
    Your photography is stunning and I love your concise but descriptive writing style.
    This hike looks amazing as does the Laparinta Trail. I look forward to reading more of your groups hikes.


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