Sarum Lookout, Salisbury Waters and McDirtys Lookout
Click on the photos to see an enlarged version
McDirtys Lookout Panorama.
Sarum Lookout and ridge on the right.
Adapted from Wikipedia:
These track notes and photos are for the interest of armchair travellers only, and do not constitute comprehensive instructions for bushwalkers.
From the carpark at Dangars Gorge, cross the river and follow the track to the lookout above the falls (1.4 kilometres return), and Rock Wallaby Lookout (2.1 kilometres return). The track follows the gorge rim along a ridge to McDirtys Lookout (6.9 kilometres return). There are good places for picnics, camping and bushwalking. Salisbury Waters Walk - 14 km, 8 hours, difficult. This walk is an excellent introduction to gorge bushwalking, and can be undertaken in one strenuous or two leisurely days. From Dangars carpark cross the river (if the river is high do not attempt to cross), and follow the track past the turn off to McDirtys, heading out along the ridge as sign-posted past the Sarum Hill Lookout turnoff (10.7 kilometres return), [stay on the main track to Salisbury Waters or return to it if you have a look at Sarum Lookout] then descending 500 m to Salisbury Waters via the made track (14 kilometres return). [While enjoyable for fit walkers, most will have sore legs the next day if they have not done much ridge walking recently.]
The circuit from Sarum Lookout down the ridge, along Salisbury Waters, and up McDirtys Creek and McDirtys Ridge is for very fit, very experienced and well prepared bushwalkers only. There is no track for most of the way, it is very strenuous, and bush craft, topographical maps and compass are required. Sufficient water and food and survival equipment should be carried in case things go wrong. Always carry a Personal Locator Beacon, and tell reliable people where you are going and how long you will be away. Mobile phones do not work anywhere in the gorges for sure, and almost never even on top of the cliff line.
Looking upstream. I headed upstream and down hill after crossing the scree slope, until I got to the cliff line at the next creek heading into Salisbury Waters, and followed the cliff line and then the ridge down to Salisbury Waters.
A little further on there was a site which could be made into a usable area for one tent by terra forming the gravel under the tree. I have used it since, but it is really only for emergencies for a single walker.
It was sometimes necessary to climb a little way up the cliff face, in this case to a horizontal shelf of rock tangled with trees and undergrowth. Salisbury Waters at this point demonstrates a series of rocky pools with a rock fall between each.
Easy going on smooth rock, at the base of the climb out up McDirtys Creek and Ridge. There were one or two places just here where McDirtys Creek enters Salisbury Waters that could be used as camp sites with a bit of work.
The bed of the creek must be a series of waterfalls when rain falls. At about this point, about 100 metres up the creek, I abandoned the route up the creek and headed up the broad gully in the previous image towards the ridge line.
The circuit above is best done in the anticlockwise direction as described. I first tried to do the trip in the clockwise direction, going down McDirtys Lookout first, but found that access to the river if you go straight down the ridge is difficult.
Brush Tailed Wallabies. Although rare and endangered, there are many of them in the Salisbury Waters Gorge system. These were at the rocks near the bridge over Salisbury Waters at the Carpark.
Down McDirtys Ridge
It is, as always, much easier to find your way up a ridge than down it. I tried to go straight down the ridge, and got within fifty metres of the bottom, but was not happy with the steepness and exposure when I got close to the bottom, and turned back. The circuit described above comes up a side ridge, not up the main McDirtys Ridge that I tried to go down.
Below are images from my first attempt, the week before the images above.
The trip down McDirtys Ridge is for very fit, very experienced and well prepared bushwalkers only. There is no track at all, it is very strenuous, and bush craft, topographical maps and compass are required. Sufficient water and food and survival equipment should be carried in case things go wrong. Always carry a Personal Locator Beacon, and tell reliable people where you are going and how long you will be away. Mobile phones do not work anywhere in the gorges, and often not on top of the cliff line.
I got a little further down the ridge than shown in this photo, perhaps fifty metres from the bottom, but decided to pull the plug when I could not see a safe way down to the river without a rope. I climbed back up to the lookout, and took the tourist track down to Salisbury Waters.
Anyone (e.g. students, libraries, government agencies such as tourist bureaus, the general public) may use, print and publish the photographs taken by me and presented on this bushwalking file for any legitimate non-commercial purpose, at no cost, and without asking permission. However a note such as "Photo: Don Hitchcock" somewhere in the document would be appreciated if it is to be published.