Dunphys Campsite to Kelpie Point
Dunphys Campsite to Kelpie Point

Dunphys Campsite to Kelpie Point

Starting at Dunphys Campsite, take the Bellbird Ridge firetrail, turn right at T-junction onto powerline trail to Medlow Gap, follow White Dog Ridge for 3km, take left fork to drop off the ridge and descend 600m to Cox.

This is a route I’ve done most of before, it’s almost all good firetrail, undulating for the first 9km, then descending 600m over about 4.5km.

We’ve had moderate to heavy rain over the last couple of weeks, so the river levels have been high. As the crossing point on the Coxs River has approx 80km of catchment above it, it took a while to drop to safe levels. The BOM kindly has river level gauge info at, however it only shows the last four days. It peaked at 80cm after the rains stopped, and slowly descended to 24cm over the following week.


Aerial view of the full route.

GPS route to Kelpie Point

Planned timing

  1. 60 minutes to Medlow Gap
  2. 45 minutes to Coxs River
  3. Break at river for 10-15 mins
  4. 2:00 minutes to ascend to White Dog Ridge
  5. 15 minutes to Medlow Gap
  6. 55 minutes back to carpark

Total 5-5.5 hours


Starting at Dunphys Campsite, go over the stile, and ascend steeply up towards Bellbird Ridge. Ignore the turnoff to Belbird lookout and continue for 500m to turn right at T-junction onto the undulating Powerline Trail to Medlow Gap. Turn right on the ridge to pass to wide open area towards the gate.

After 1km, ignore the right turn to Kanangra and Mobbs Swamp, and continue to the base of Mount Mouin where the trail heads South and becomes White Dog Ridge. After 1km you’ll find a Water Board sign emphasising that you’re heading towards a restricted area with fines of $11,000 for non-compliance. It also mentions a bushwalkers corridor through the area, so stick to it.

After a further 1km or so, take left fork to drop off the ridge - avoid continuing straight as it will put you in the restricted zone. The good trail descends 600m to the Coxs river along the Kelpie Point Trail.

The return is a reverse of this route, so savour the downhills.

Yerranderie Sign

At this point it’s worth mentioning that the planned route down the firetrail to the river was aborted with 100m of elevation still to lose. The (v. dirty) sign clearly stated that Mount Cookem was down the steep, weedy and trackless slope to the East.

The threat of an $11,000 fine was enough to persuade me to abandon the firetrail, and follow the arrow. The only upside was it was about 1km shorter.

Sign pointing to Mount Cookem

The track was non-existent for the first 10m, and the next 20m too.

It had occasional cairns, unfortunately they were only visible if you peered down through the weeds from directly above them. It had about half a dozen sections of bare dirt that were rarely more than 10m long - the alleged track. It was steep and weed ridden all the way. Fortunately, the only way was down (or up) with the river (or firetrail) as the obvious waypoint.

Details of final section of GPS route to Kelpie Point

Eventually, I reached the Coxs River at a crossing point. The BOM stated that the level at Kelpie Point (800m upstream) was 24cm, after being at 80cm a week ago.

Coxs River at crossing point

As a precaution I used a stout stick as a third point of contact. It was around knee deep, but fast flowing. Half a meter higher would have been impossible to wade, even 20cm higher would have been risky alone.

After failing to locate the alleged cairn that starts the track up Mount Cookem partly due to stacked fallen trees laced with head high weeds, but also becuase it was 600m of steep & rough ascent & descent.

Relectantly, I re-crossed the river & returned up the slope to the sign by the firetrail.

And returned up the remainder of the 600m of ascent. I had hoped to fill up at the Kowmung, but the route avoided it. The Cox is polluted by grazing land upstream, however I tried a couple of handfulls, and spat out the third - didn’t taste right.

Towards the top of the firetrail there were a couple of shallow soaks - the first had tiny tadpoles and mozzie larvae - I managed not to get any into my water bottles - it tasted fine.

After returning to Medlow Gap, and filling up at Breakfast Creek (an excellent & reliable source), I almost tripped over this Lace Monitor on the way back. He didn’t escape up the steep bank, so I got a few close ups.

Lace Monitor

Including his tongue.

Lace Moniror

And claws.

Lace Monitor

Actual Timing

  1. Left car park at 8:12AM
  2. 56 minutes to Medlow Gap
  3. 55 minutes to Coxs River
  4. minutes to ascend to White Dog Ridge
  5. 15 minutes to Medlow Gap
  6. 55 minutes back to carpark

Elapsed 4:54


GPS says 27.4km
1587m of ascent.
Elapsed 4:54 hours

  • 22/01/2021