|Maps:||LPI Burrier 8928-2N 1:25000|
|LPI Caoura 8928-3N 1:25000|
Caoura Ridge extends out between Tallowa Gully and the Shoalhaven River, with good views available from many vantage points. There are a number of old fire trails which can be explored. It is a good area to introduce walkers to off-track walking as the scrub is relatively light and a fire trail is never too far away.
If you are coming from Sydney take the turnoff from the Hume Highway on to Highland Way (just before the Marulan Exit). Follow Highland Way to the village of Tallong and turn right onto Caoura Road. Follow Caoura Road, which is sealed for around the first 9km, after which it is good quality dirt. 14.3km from Tallong, you pass Blues Point Rd on the right. A further 5.6km on, you reach the junction with Caoura Ridge Fire Trail on the left, which is not signposted. However, there is a sign on the post next to the gate to number 2027.
Turn left and follow this for 2.7km, and park at a clearing on the left just before the locked gate.
2WD vehicles may have difficulties with the final 2.7km along Caoura Ridge Fire Trail.
From 06 May 2017, last checked 06 May 2017
The route as described below explores a number of the old fire trails leading off the main ridge. These typically lead to or near lookouts on the cliff edge. The fire trails off the main ridge are in most cases not maintained, and may not always be easy to follow.
One option is to do the trip as an overnight walk, camping near Purnoo Lookout, and visiting two of the side lookouts/fire trails on each day. Take a small day pack. Most of the side trips can be done without carrying full packs.
Unless there has been recent rain, there is unlikely to be water available on the ridge. Either carry it in, or expect to have to descend some way into one of the side creeks in order to find it.
The main fire trail runs for around 8km east to near the end of the ridge at Purnoo Lookout. From the end of the fire trail, there are short tracks leading in various directions to the cliff edges, with expansive views over Tallowa Gorge, Tallowa Dam, Kangaroo River and the surrounding ranges. This is also a good spot for a camp.
From the western side of Delamonts Swamp, a hard to spot fire trail leads off to the north at MGA509515. If you can't find the start of it, walk east up the hill for 150m, and head NNW along the ridge for about 300m to intersect it. The fire trail wanders about a bit but ends up at a rock platform at MGA506525. It is a short walk from there to the cliff edges to the north, which have sweeping views up and down Tallowa Gorge and Bundanoon Creek.
From the main fire trail, about 300m east of Rowland Hill, a fire trail heads off to the north from a rocky clearing at MGA524514. It is a little over a kilometre to the end, at a clearing at MGA529524. A further hundred metres or so across rocky slabs leads to the cliff edge. By wandering east and west there are various lookouts both over the dam downstream, and the Bundanoon Creek Gorge upstream.
700m back from Purnoo Lookout, an obvious fire trail leads off to the south at MGA539509. This descends a gully, and then first through beautiful rainforest, followed by open casuarina forest for 1.7km to Pauls Lookout. This gives views over Tallowa Dam and the Shoalhaven River.
A further 600m back along the fire trail (1.3km back from Purnoo Lookout), a somewhat overgrown fire trail leads off to the south at MGA533507. It winds around for 800m to near the cliff edge. A short off-track walk to the south west leads to cliffs with views over Tallowa Dam.
By looking at the map in conjunction with aerial photos, it will be noted that there are other old fire trails beyond those listed above, and further exploration is possible.