Wog Wog, Corang Peak and Monolith Valley

Mongarlowe Travel Blog

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View from Corang Peak.

A bit of planning went into this trip, as we decided to spend at least 4 nights in the bush. A had bought two 10-litre bladders (and made us "practise" the week before with the full 10 litres, climbing Camel Back mountain in the Tidbinbilla range). We had enough food and chocolate to last us days, a compass, topographical map, a first aid kit and even some port. We were ready.

We started at the Wog Wog entrance, the same as last year, except we veered south which led us to Corang Peak by midday. The sky was grey and clouds stretched out over the valley. We decided to spend our first night in one of the camping caves that hug the rock structures lining the valley. I had never seen a camping cave before, let alone slept in one, and was imagining a dark (but warm and dry) cavity that you might have to crawl through an opening to get to.

Camping cave in the valley.
Perhaps there are such caves elsewhere, but these caves are more like hollowed out spaces with rock overhang and sandy ground. Some are more open than others, and also more conducive to sleeping or large groups (ie. larger flat spaces). The night temperatures necessitated thermals and a beanie but were relatively pleasant.

The next morning, we braved another grey day and headed east along Burrumbeet Brook part of the way, along the valley floor. We hiked up to Yurnga Lookout (although we didn't intend to, but obviously took the wrong path), which had fantastic views of Mt Owen (where we were headed) and beyond that, Pigeonhouse Mountain.

The path became a little muddy, but the weather held. We rounded Bibbenluke Mountain, hiking through some almost rainforest-like areas and climbing over huge fallen logs, before a short descent and then a steep enough ascent to the base of Mt Cole.

We explored our options before settling on a long but open camping cave close to Mt Owen. After some hot mushroom soup to fortify ourselves, we left our gear and headed south to check out the trail into Monolith Valley.

We ran into two guys from Nowra with only daypacks, who had come from The Castle entrance (along the apparently gruelling Kalianna Ridge) and were heading to Mt Tarn. They said the entrance into Monolith Valley was a little tough, although they were powering through. We decided to head back to our cave, have a little fire and settle down for the night.

Rain was on the cards the next day. We hiked down to the split between Mt Cole and Mt Owen, which is one of two ways to enter the Monolith Valley from this side of the park.

Mist rises from Monolith Valley.
There is no discernable entrance, except heading up - scaling rock faces that were dangerously slippery in the wet. After several attempts and some exploring of other options (including a failed attempt at chimneying across some water), we turned back and pondered our next move over more hot soup in our cave.

We decided to try the northern entrance, but took only daypacks and some lunch. This proved to be more successful, as the path is somewhat easier to follow. There were some wonderful mossy rocks and gnarled trees on the way in. The path is marked by cairns and traverses some reddish rock faces with thick scrubby bushes growing out of it. As we emerged onto what we believed were one of the Seven Gods Pinnacles, the sun broke through. Mist rose from the distant valley, which is something special, surrounded as it is by towering cliffs.

Drying off after the rain.
We ran into a couple who were heading out, and as they said, you could almost hear the scream of pterodactyls, it was quite enchanted. Unfortunately, the respite in weather did not last long and, with the sun heading down, I pushed us to head back to the dry warmth of our cave. This is one place we will be back to explore, for sure.

We had company that night at our cave - two older men, an Aussie called Doug and his German friend Helga. We admired their camping equipment while sharing a fire, chocolate and conversation. Poor Doug's hiking shoes had just about split in half horizontally. They were heading into Monolith Valley the way we  had attempted that morning, so we hope they had more success than we did.

The next day was walk across familiar landscape.

Near one of the entrances into Monolith Valley.
The recent rain meant my shoes were soaked with mud and leeches abound. We stopped at one point while I rolled up my pants (complaining of their wet heaviness), only to find a fat leech gorging itself on my shin. It took some willpower not to scrape it off, but it fell off once A held his lighter to it.

We found a cosy camping cave around the same place as our first night. Shielded by trees, we could walk out onto the rock face and have a clear view of the valley and sunset. We explored higher up and found some wonderful hollowed out rock formations. Our clothes almost dried in what little sun was left of the day.

Our last day saw us take the negotiable route that we had fought our way through a year earlier. The sun shone strongly, which probably gave us enough motivation to battle the 30 minutes of seriously thick scrub. The rest of the walk was pleasant, and we made it back to our car by early afternoon, our packs about a third as light as they were when we started out.

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View from Corang Peak.
View from Corang Peak.
Camping cave in the valley.
Camping cave in the valley.
Mist rises from Monolith Valley.
Mist rises from Monolith Valley.
Drying off after the rain.
Drying off after the rain.
Near one of the entrances into Mon…
Near one of the entrances into Mo…
Mongarlowe
photo by: Raches