This walk was the southern part of the Wolgan-Capertee Divide from Baal Bone Gap to Newnes. This is a trip for experienced parties, as there are frequent route and pass-finding challenges. Expect water to be an issue as the small creeks don’t hold water for long after rain and almost all of it is on the plateau.
The route starts at the car parking area near Point Horne and heads North towards McLeans Pass. After a brief visit to the Stargate Tunnel the pagodas and passes are negotiated to reach Point Cameron, then Mount Stewart before retracing our steps back to the start.
Also visited were -
- Blue Rock Gap
- Mcleans Pass
- Stargate Tunnel
- The Pondage and it’s canyon outlet
- The Nipple
- The Exploded Pagoda
- Mount Jamison
- Mount Davidson
Getting to the start
From Wallerawang head North and follow the Wolgan Valley Road towards Newnes. 7.7km after the serice station on a right hand bend take the signposted Long Swamp Road. This gravel road is rough in places with some deep potholes. Follow it for 6km til to hits the Bicentennial Trail then head left for a further 4km and take the right trail just as it starts heading downhill. After less than 1.5km a flat rock parking area appears on the right, and the walking starts a further 50m on the left.
Following this 4wd trail to Point Horne offers good views up towards Donkey Mountain and beyond.
The aerial view starts in the South and ascends gently up a faint pad before skirting to the left of the obvious bluffs. A slightly better pad follows the ridge right to Mcleans Pass and the Stargate Tunnel.
After descending through the thick bush into the pass, the next stop was a 70m sidetrip to the Stargate Tunnel and its logbook.
Across the ridge past Mount Jamison and then to Point Cameron via the Pondage and its canyon and the Nipple.
Surveying the route to Point Cameron from the lower slopes of Mount Jamison.
And the pagodas and cliffs of Point Cameron. The Nipple is the distinct smooth pagoda that is visible on the skyline from afar.
Closer to the Nipple.
Looking back from Nipple towards Mount Jamison and Baal Bone Gap
The pondage is a level silted up area towards the Western edge of Point Cameron. We were fortunate enough to visit it after a rainy period.
The outlet is blocked by rocks and piled earth. Water seeps from underneath it and funnels into a narrow and deep canyon.
The short canyon is easily negotiated and soon ends with a 3m overhang into a pleasant ferny but inaccessible cave.
The route was either negotiating pagodas or it was swimming through thick above head height bush.
Although about half the ridgeline to Mount Stewart was a meadow of wildflowers.
After visiting Mount Stewart we headed Eastwards back towards the main ridgeline, before descending down a ramp and some logs into the impressive Blue Rock Gap.
Exiting up tree roots, we turned North, and after crossing a pleasant meadow of wildflowers eventually the end of the Mount Stewart ridge was reached. Mount Stewart was just beyond the steep and wide gully. It is best negotiated to the North, before heading up the easier slopes to the South. The final summit is a slightly tricky climb from the East, or much more easily ascended from the other side.
Frequent flannel flowers and occasional paper daisys were encountered.
And then it was time to return, mostly retracing our steps.
A tricky pagoda descent into Blue Rock Gap.
The views on the return trip were equally impressive with towards Baal Bone Point and Pantoneys Crown for much of it.
Views towards Baal Bone Point, Pantoneys Crown and Point Cameron from the Mount Jamison Ridge.
Yet another steep pagoda descent (YASP’D)
It was only on the return trip that the Exploded Pagoda became an obvious feature. It’s a flat rocky area that faces North and lies 50m West of the ridgeline. While walking North the eye is drawn to the stunning panoramas ahead, and any exploded pagoda on the periphery of vision is rendered invisible.
However, on the return trip it’s hard to miss it.
And shortly after the EP, the party returned down the pagoda into Mcleans Pass.
920m of ascent.
Route finding is the tricky part of this walk.
There are many opportunities to misstep on the cliffs and pagodas. No rope or tape was used.
The Mount Stewart extension is entirely optional - it makes a full day walk into a long day walk.