I am a amateur freelance writer from Sydney. My passion is Aboriginal history, Australia and its unusual places. My aim is to share my knowledge to better your experience. Thank you
Published April 21st 2013
A very popular bush walking area, with expansive camping area, open fires allowed – conditions permitting.
I had the privilege as a child to explore Deep Pass and that was in 1986. Deep Pass today is still etched in my mind, like I was there just yesterday From my understanding apart from tracks, not much environmental damage has been done since then.
It was 4WD accessible, but this was closed to vehicles a few years later and only accessible by foot. Deep Pass is within the Newnes State Forest.
You enter Deep Pass two ways - Deep Pass North Track and Deep Pass South Track. I have only been in by the North Track. Dropping down a rather steep, rutted descent.
Deep Pass view from the Northern Entry - courtesy of SBW Trigger Gallery
Once on the plain, you are surrounded by huge, overpowering escarpments. Deep Pass is like a crater of this escarpment enclosure. To your left one can vividly see the Pagoda rocks (Like they have a knot/scroll on the top of the rock surface). Pagoda plateau/rocks are found where sandstone is evident. Pagodas are a form of erosion over many thousand years.
Deep Pass Camping area surrounded by sandstone escarpment - courtesy of SBW Trigger Gallery
The Bells Line of Road and surrounding areas are known volcanic regions of the Mountains, so one has to wonder if Deep Pass is a volcano. Why is the soil here so fertile and the grounds so lush? Rain forest one side, hardy Australia gums the other, such a contrast is almost like two different worlds colliding with the engulfing escarpment above us. Native animals, black and brown snakes, wombat, and a variety of birds more than likely to be seen.
Towards the Southern entry, of Deep Pass, there's an enormous Rock Formation showing a massive fault line through it. This is commonly known as Split Rock, a natural fault line has split the rock vertically, to a point it's walkable, mind you I have seen a few sections where people with large tummys have been known to have some belly outs. This is such an amazing feeling walking the middle of the cliff above you.
Aboriginal hand prints can be seen in selected areas around Split Rock side and the campsite area. Please respect these paintings and don't touch or damage them and no fires within the caves.
Abseiling is at its premium here. Beginners, scouts, rock climbers, bush walkers explore these areas within footsteps of the camp site. Then on the Northern entry there is a bush walk that endows you with its beauty.
Nayook Canyon – passing a gloriously cold, freezing, but refreshing water hole, and yes after checking the depth the rock is jumpable.
Nayook Canyon swim hole - courtesy of SBW Trigger Gallery
Continue up the hill through a transfixing rain forest
Rock overhangs, half caves/shelters maybe from the Aboriginal days, this walk is breathtaking, it will leave you speechless, with the weather beaten. The window like eroded rock formations, no two are the same.
We keep passing through rain forest and follow the shallow water (you will get wet feet here in the icy cold shin deep) creek along in and out of caves and lush green fertile plants surround you. At times along the cliff base you are almost swallowed up by the ferns.
Nayook Canyon Trail - courtesy of SBW Trigger Gallery
It's all up hill, with ropes and daunting log crossings, but the good thing is you have to come back down at some stage, and via the swimming hole for a refreshing break before heading back to camp. The Canyon is approx a 2 ½ hour hike – you can do it all or just do a section, that is up to you.
Do nothing, sit by the campfire, explore, swim, trek, it's all here.
The only downside is you have to walk in. This used to be 4WD accessible, but was shut off in the 1990's due to hoons. Unfortunately it's a rather steep hill in and even steeper on the way out. If you take your time and don't push yourself beyond your limits you will be fine. Approx 1 hour each way in and approx 2km of hill. Truly worth a visit.
Photos of deep pass are courtesy of SBW Triggers Gallery and the National Parks website.
How to get to Deep Pass - From the Zig Zag take Glow Worm Tunnel Road, Newnes Plateau turn right onto Deep Pass Trail, you will see a fork in the road, take the right fork - Mt Cameron to the left (no vehicle access).
Great Article. We've been us that way many times. And your right, it is so lush up there that it almost feels like you've wandered back in time. I found some other info on the free campground @www.newnescampground.com
25yrs ago as teens my mates and i walked from Lithgow to the pass with 5 days tucker(pasta,dried peas and deb instant potato) in our backpacks. was a long walk in but the walk back to Lithgow was the struggle. that's how keen we were about the place and still are.8 times i think I've been. it's special in a way that words or pics can't do it justice. some of my best memories are of the times spent there with good friends .formative times. went back last year after a ten year hiatus with the old crew and was surprised at how much it had changed in many ways but it's still the same old pass.magic. but as I've gotten older I've decided that newnes on the wolgan river is the easier trip. i can have more luxuries like real seats and pillows and real food and not have to struggle down and up that bloody steep hill to deep pass. newnes is a very interesting place too with the ruins etc.so farewell deep pass, you served me well and made me who i am today. anyone thinking of making the trip down there please don't put it off. do it soon as possible and you won't regret it. i just hope it has as profound an impact on you as it did me and mine.. oh, and if you do the rail motor ridge walk take a compass.