Please note that while the maps on this web site are useful and generally contain more, and more accurate, information on trails, the relevant topographic maps should be carried on most walks. These are available from the Lands Information Centre, map shops, and most outdoor stores.
Time:3 days
Distance:29km
Fitness:M
Skill:MH
Ascent:550m
Maps: LPI Nerriga 8927-4N 1:25000
LPI Touga 8928-3S 1:25000

Introduction

The Ettrema region is a Wilderness area. There are very few formed tracks, and significant amounts of scrambling and route finding can be expected. As a result, specific track notes will not be given on this web site. Some general information on routes will be presented and one three day route suggested. This should be sufficient for experienced walkers to plan trips of various lengths. Ettrema is not a place for inexperienced walkers to learn skills.

Access

To get to the Ettrema area you have a couple of options. Via Goulburn is probably easier unless you are coming from southern Sydney or Wollongong.

From Goulburn, take the turnoff to Bungonia State Conservation Area, just past the big petrol stations at Marulan. Continue through Bungonia, and then Windellama, crossing the Shoalhaven River at the bridge at Oallen Ford. Turn left towards Nerriga/Nowra, and pass through Nerriga to cross the Endrick River. The Tolwong Rd turnoff is on the left at the top of the next major hill.

Alternatively, take the HMAS Albatross turn-off from Nowra, veer left at the roundabout, and follow this for about 5km. Turn on to the Nowra-Braidwood Rd on the right just before the Nowra airport. If you are driving in the night before, there is a good car campsite (Nerriga MGA468144) on the left about 250m before Gretas Rd.

Either way, take the Tolwong Rd turnoff (Nerriga MGA398142) to the north, signposted as Touga Rd. This is dirt but reasonably good quality. The Jumps is reached about 7km down the road. To get to Quiera Clearing, continue on 3km to a junction and take the right fork. Quiera Clearing is 4km past the junction. This is private property. Drive through the clearing and park on the right hand side beyond the private property.

Track notes

From 01 Jan 2000, last checked 28 Jan 2019

Map references are to the Nerriga and Touga sheets.

Most access to the Ettrema area is via the Tolwong Rd. There are a number of more commonly used routes on this, the western side of the wilderness.

Bullfrog Creek is a reasonably straightforward, although scrubby way to Ettrema Creek. The usual starting point is near The Jumps. It is very slow at the top, but opens out nicely near the bottom. The spur and side creek at MGA405197 can avoid some of the scrub at the top, although some good route finding and scrambling may be necessary.

Myall Creek is probably the most commonly used entry. One option is to skirt the edge of Quiera Clearing and get into the minor gully that joins Myall Creek at MGA421257. Like Bullfrog, the top of Myall Creek is scrubby, but there is a pad for much of this. The creek then becomes bouldery, before the main cascades are reached at around MGA422249. Scrambling is required, and a rope for pack lowering may be needed. There are two larger waterfalls of about 10m lower down, one at MGA427244 and one at MGA433243, both of which can be bypassed by exposed sidling on narrow ledges to the true left.

Transportation Spur is a common exit. It is quite straightforward, although steep at the bottom. The pass at the top starts on the right side of Pardon Point, and passes through a gap to the left side where it is easy to scramble out. Follow the ridge back to the road. The green areas involve heavy scrub, and can be very slow going. An alternative is to contour back to Quiera Clearing, which stays below the thick scrub.

Howards Pass is another reasonably straightforward route, although the pass is incorrectly marked on the second edition map. Climb Barrons Crown, and continue up the ridge. At the top keep to the right of the ridge line (north) and you will be in a steep creek bed. The pass is just on the south side of the creek bed (not north, as indicated on some maps), with a small scramble through the top line of cliffs. The tops are very scrubby, and a compass bearing of 280 degrees will get you to Tullyangela Creek. Follow the creek to the clearing (private property).

Campsites in the gorges can be a bit ephemeral. They come and go depending on use and recent floods, so information may be out of date.

In Ettrema Creek itself, there are good campsites on the two sets of bends in Ettrema Creek downstream of the Bullfrog junction. There was a good campsite at the Myall Creek junction, though it has been somewhat taken over by nettles in recent times. There is still enough of a grassy area for a couple of tents. Other campsites include: at the Jones Creek junction; at a sandy bend at around MGA456266 (AMG455264); opposite Gallows Gully; and at the Tullyangela Creek junction.

Ettrema Creek is excellent walking between Bullfrog Creek and Myall Creek. It is mainly rocky open slabs with rock-hopping on boulders, and occasional large pools for swimming. The water levels can be quite variable, and wading is likely in a few places. Experienced scramblers may be able to keep their feet dry most of the time. Just before Myall Creek you start running into weeds in Ettrema Creek, presumably from the grazing on the tops at Quiera Clearing. Downstream from Myall Creek it is similar, with rock hopping and intermittent large pools. Past Jones Creek, Ettrema Creek widens, the rocks for rock hopping get further apart, and some wading is almost inevitable. The last few kilometres to Tullyangela Creek are relatively easy going.

Jones Creek is well worth a visit. The walking is excellent, there are some beautiful waterfalls, and the mines are worth a look if you remember a torch. The waterfalls need a bit of scrambling to bypass. Tinga Falls are the biggest set of falls in the creek, at around 40m high. This is about as far as most parties would come.

Water quality cannot be guaranteed, particularly in and below Myall Creek due to grazing on the tops. Best is to take it from the smaller side creeks where possible. Ettrema Creek above Myall Creek is probably fine. Water from Jones Creek is best avoided due to leaching from the silver mines near creek level.

A good three day walk starts by descending Myall Creek from Quiera Clearing and camping at the junction with Ettrema Creek. On the following day, make your way downstream to the Tullyangela Creek junction and camp. Side trips to Sentry Box Canyon or Jones Creek can be done. On the final day, exit via Howards Pass and make your way to Tullyangela Clearing from where you can can walk back to Quiera Clearing if you have not arranged a car shuffle.

For further information on the area, see the references below.