Bonnum Pic - Nattai National Park - 20-21 Feb2014 - Trip Report

With the "Craghoppers" of the Southern Highlands

GPS Note I used UTM readings with Eastings and Northing. These are the accepted format for bushwalkers as you can directly relate the figures with co-ordinates on the latest 1:25000 map series which use datum GDA94. This is close enough to WGS84 which is what you need to set most GPS units to. Even Geocache sites offer UTM readings for caches

Maps The base maps used with Oziexplorer are either from Topoview with NSW Land and Property Information (was Land and Property Management Authority) approval for display, or using OzRaster Map with permission of © BKK Enterprises Pty Ltd, The following two used OzRaster

Pictures below to the right - Click on these to enlarge. In order these are:

Map - Overview Topographic Map
Map - Bonnum Pic Walk Topograhic mainly the Hilltop map
Day 1 - View of Bonum Pic at sunset
Day 2 - Climbing to Bonnum Pic
Day 2 - View from Bonnum Pic

Historic Background

Francis Barrallier (1773-1853) is believed to be the first European to see Bonnum Pic. In November 1802 he was directed by Governor King to find a way over the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney. He made three attempts to cross the mountains from his depot in Nattai. The first two were west across the Wollondilly near Yerranderie and up Christy's Creek off the Kowmung. The actual route is disputed. However experts agree that his finishing point was "towards the head of Christy's Creek, about 15 or 16 miles in a direct line southerly from Jenolan Caves". On the 3rd journey, commenced in Dec 15, he went up the Wollondilly to a point not far up past Bonnum Pic which he described as "a mountain very remarkable on account of its pyramidal form" and which his map exaggerated as a "Peak about one and a quarter mile high".


Barrallier's Journal | Francis Barrallier; A Life in Context | Crossing the Blue Mountains

Day 1 – Thu 20th Feb

On Thursday 20th Feb 2014, seven of us set off from Wanganderry Road and headed to Bonnum Pic in Nattai National Park. The 7 were: David Beasley, Phillip Crampton and Evan Smith from Bundanoon, Ant Burridge from Moss Vale, plus Ian Burridge from Brighton (UK), Chris Humphries from Castle Hill (Sydney), and Greg Hutchison from Canberra.

Initially Chris drove to Moss Vale at Ant's place and Greg drove to Phillip's place at Bundanoon. Evan picked up Phillip, Greg and David in Bundanoon, and Ant took Ian and Chris and we all met at the corner of the Old Hume Hwy and Wombeyan Caves Road about 12.30PM.

We then drove in convoy down the road 17Km to the Wanganderry Rd turn with a further 5.4Km of good dirt road to the cattle yards where Nattai National Park starts and parked just through the gates on the left. (The Wombeyan Caves turnoff is about 1Km off the Hume Hwy)

We set off about 1.20PM. Soon we left the road at a NPWS sign and followed the at times vague track around over two creeks and up an incline until we saw a fence on our right and followed this for a while until we reached a corner of a fence. We then left the fence behind but it was now on level ground on an old fire trail. This soon finished and we continued on a well-used footpad which was crowded by scrub on both sides until we approached the Wanganderry walls at a right turn marked by a cairn. This affords the first view of the Wollondilly Valley.

The track continued for about 600m and then fads. It's then best to keep to the west and along the rocky areas that straddle the escarpment. On this day we often went too far east and ended up in scrub. Our return journey gps track is thus more effective. There are numerous cairns placed along the rocky sections and looking for these provides the best way forward. After about 2.5 hours of walking we reached the campsite around 4PM.

We then set up camp although a couple decided to try and pitch their tents on flat rocky ground and tie down the tent with sticks and rocks. Most were able to use some sand on the south side of the obvious rocky camp site where fires had been in the past.

Today we did about 7Km.

We didn't have a fire and cooked on gas or shellite stoves. After dinner we were entertained by some Banjo Patterson and others poetry mostly read by David Beasley. Most went to bed by 8.30PM although these here guy read for 45 mins or so on his Kindle. The paperwhite version with light worked well in the tent with no headlamp.

Day 2 – Fri 21st Feb

Arose 6AM for breakfast: packeted porridge, mountain bread with peanut butter & honey and coffee. Oh great. Where was my yoghurt!

We set off about 8.20AM just carrying some food and water and leaving our packs for later.

We headed pretty much north along the escarpment and soon entered a deep ravine before we had to climb steeply up onto Bonnum Pic ridgeline proper. I must admit I wondered if it was going to be easy to get down one of the steep sections. Also we had to carefully sidle around a thin shelf at one point which we avoided on the way back by going slightly lower.

We reached our end point close to the northern end of Bonnum Pic with only one more section to go.

It was at UTM 55H 247774 6206044 where we had morning tea from 9.30AM. There is a sharp drop north of here which required sliding down a dangerously exposed rocky slope for 3-4m before being able to proceed with no obvious hand holds. As we had no rope it was deemed unnecessarily dangerous as well as being awkward to get back up. Some had done it before but most of us were glad to take the sensible approach and return from here.

We had morning tea and enjoyed the views out over the southern Blue Mountains and the south end of Lake Burragorang.

It was about 1.8Km from the campsite to Bonnum Pic; where we stopped anyway.

We returned from Bonnum Pic to the campsite at about 11.15AM, rested and left about 11.35AM reaching our lunch spot about 12.30PM.

Certainly our return journey was faster and slightly shorter as we looked for the cairns and thus enjoyed an easier route back. We reached the car about 2.40PM.

I must admit I just finished all my water as we reached the car having started with 4 litres in total. One or two of us supplemented water using some water from sandstone pools from recent rain.

The easier return journey was about 7.0Km ignoring any side tracks.

Thus a journey from the parked car to Bonnum Pic could take about 8.8Km if done correctly.

We returned home via Berrima where we retired to the Surveyor General Inn for a couple of beers for some and lemon squash for yours truly (ps. I had to drive home to Canberra)

The trip had been especially arranged for Ant's brother Ian who was visiting him from UK but could not stay on a for the planned Six Foot Track walk in April.

It was a good choice with great views and some interesting history behind the name. Unfortunately the ridges around Bonnum Pic were quite dry and although near the end of summer we were lucky with a couple of low 20C days. However it was still energy sapping and I was a bit dehydrated at the end.

It's best done in autumn to spring.



Distance (km) per day

1 - Wanganderry to Campsite


2 - Campsite to Bonnum Pic to Wanganderry


The most appropriate is NSW Hilltop 1:25,000 new topographic

Car Distance

The distance was about 180Km one way from Canberra, along Ferderal and Hume Highways to Wombeyan caves turnoff, then 23-24Km to the car park

Diagrams and Pictures Available

One Google earth kml file, one gpx file and one Garmin gdb file covering the trip with waypoints and daily tracks.

On the screen captured Ozieplorer maps the two days GPS tracks are Dark Blue and the access track along the Wanganderry Fire Trail is in thinner Black. These are for the actual trip on a topo base from Topoview and the newer Ozraster. There is a wider perspective showing more of the overall area and the Firetrail from the Womeyan Caves Road on the Ozraster base.

Shared Google Drive folder contains gpx, gdb, kml and some jpg map pictures

My pictures of this trip are available on Picasa. Better quality pictures are on Google+. The original pictures are all ~4320 x 2432, 16:9, 10.5 Megapixels, ~ 5Mbytes. The GPS map extracts are about 1900 pixels wide.

One Google earth kml file covering the trip available on Google Drive. Note opening this link will go the Google Drive and open the trip file in Google Earth; you do not have to install Google Earth. You also have the option to download the file or view in Google Maps. Put your mouse over and click on a waypoint and it will bring up a small description.

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