“This is the bestest trip ever!”
When you hear those words from a 5 year old, you know it’s a successful bushwalk.
This is my first hike with Lori (my beautiful lady and I should also mention, a fellow-blogger, over at RRSAHM) and her two kidlets. I’m hoping it will be the first of many, so this sentence is music to my ears.
Waking to a glorious autumn day, we decide it’s the perfect time to finally go and check out a spot we’ve driven past many times but never stopped at, Cave Creek Walking Track, in the tiny town of Hill Top on the edge of the New South Wales Southern Highlands.
We set off from the trailhead with no idea what to expect, but it isn’t long before we’re pleasantly surprised. As we descend the eroded, rocky track through dry sclerophyll woodlands toward the creek, we come across a massive set of Hawkesbury sandstone outcrops beside the track. Surrounded mainly by flowering Hill Banksia, juvenile grass trees, and Scribbly Gums, it’s quite picturesque. I’d be satisfied if this is as pretty as the scenery gets, but the surprises continue.
Coming to a turn-off we see a metal staircase and, figuring it leads down to the creek, we go for a look. It does indeed lead to a creek, but the creek meanders into the darkness of a huge sandstone cave. For some reason the kids are slightly freaked out by the cave, and unimpressed when their mum races off to explore with only a mobile phone for light. Lori tells me later that she thinks it probably has something to do with all the ghosts and monsters that inhabit caves on Scooby Doo. I work on convincing them the cave’s more cool than freaky, and soon she emerges.
We meet some other walkers on our way back up the stairs and they recommend continuing on to the end of the main track. The kids still aren’t showing any signs of having had enough, so we go with it. After a few hundred more metres the track curves back around toward the creek and we descend into a lush valley, kept dark and damp by the high sandstone cliffs on either side. The valley floor is thick with ferns, and exceptionally tall Coachwood trees stretch up in search of sunlight. The creek, having found its way out the other side of the cave, winds its way between them.
We stop here and cross the creek to explore. The kids notice the finest details of this little hidden world, especially in awe of all the moss-covered rocks and fallen-trees.
“This looks like a fairy garden”, the 3 year old remarks. I agree without much thought, but then I realise I can see what she sees. For a brief moment, I get a glimpse into just how awesome it would be to see the world through her eyes.
Update (08/07/2013): On our visit with the kidlets, we didn’t continue all the way to the end of the track, since it was quite muddy. We returned today kid-free and the track finishes at a gorgeous waterfall, where the creek comes out the other side of the cave. I couldn’t believe what we’d missed out on.
Last Visited: 08/07/2013.
Length (km): 2.6 km (return).
Time (hrs/min): 1.5 hours.
Return / Circuit / One-Way / Partial Circuit: Return.
Region: Southern Highlands.
Park: Bargo River State Conservation Area.
Further Info: The trail starts from a picnic area on Wilson drive, Hill Top, about 8 km north of the Hume Highway / Wilson Drive intersection. A sign can be seen from Wilson Drive.
Have you visited Cave Creek? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.