Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mugii Murum-Ban State Conservation Area

You might know this place as Gardens of Stone Park. It is very close to Wollemi National Park and the usual access is off the road to Glen Davis. There are a few trails to walk, and lots of potential for off-track exploration. Gardens of Stone is pagoda country, mostly dry eucalpyt forest except for patches of rain forest and sandstone pagodas everywhere.

Glenowlan Point

Mount Airly:

Our first afternoon in the area we walked an old road up to Mount Airly. The road is steep and business like climbing quickly from a locked gate to the large treed summit area. The best views are gained from pagodas along the way.

Point Hatteras and Tayan Peak

Glenowlan Point, Mountain and Trig:

A very steep 4WD road leads up past Airly property to the Glenowlan Plateau. Apparently, the area is popular with hard-core 4WD'ers. While some may consider the road a marvel of construction - at one point it passes through a slot between two sandstone cliffs - others will be appalled by the erosion.

We parked near where the road forks at the top of the plateau and continued on foot. The track is steep and loose up to a pagoda area and then goes down to follow along the course of Glenowlan Creek (just a trickle). It is all big sandstone walls, pagodas, huge house sized boulders, ferns and tall tree ferns and very pretty. After following the creek a short distance SE, the track turns north and climbs steeply up to the plateau top again through more slots, small canyons, caves, overhangs, and pagodas.

Doug under cliffs on Glenowlan trail

The final three kilometres is pretty much due north along the plateau top with sporadic views and lots more pagodas, the vegetation changing to low heath, and the final 500 metres is right along the side of a west facing cliff line with great views to Mount Airly and the Capertee River valley. At Glenowlan Point, there is an endangered plant that grows in only that one location and a fence protects this small population from grazing goats and wallabies so you have to climb over a stile. It is appalling to note that the 4WD track goes right the way to the cliff edge through this isolated and threatened plant community.

We also walked out to Glenowlan Trig but the views are obscured by trees. There is, however a good viewpoint back to Glenowlan Point from the track to the trig.

Doug at Glenowlan Point

Tramway Trail:

This is a good walk past the ruins of another old mining town that starts near the Mount Airly track and ends on an escarpment just to the north of Airly Mountain with a view out to the west, The track is good, the old ruins are interesting to explore, and you can extend the walk and make a loop by bush-bashing up to the top of Mount Airly and following the track back down.

Capertee Valley

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