Gardens of Stone National Park

Submitted: Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 12:12
ThreadID: 135772 Views:3758 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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I would like to hear from anyone with first hand knowledge of the Gardens of Stone National Park near Lithgow NSW. I have checked the National Parks NSW web site but it does not give a great deal of information and the maps are hopeless.

My understanding is that the 4WD track starts almost as soon as you leave the main road but I am wondering what the track is like and what there really is to see. We are considering a day trip from Blackheath.

Any comments or information will be appreciated.

Tanks,

Kevin
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 12:44

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 12:44
Here is the NPWS track highlighted in pink on EOTopo 200K.

I've been in that area, but not on that track, so cannot provide detailed info - sorry.

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Reply By: Michael H9 - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 13:00

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 13:00
Mate, If you mean Baan Baal Gap then it starts right opposite the turn off to Blackfellows Hand track. A few years back you could do that track in a Subaru, but not now. The very first climb is extremely rutted out with a decent rock step at the top. A few kilometres along there is a spectacular lookout into the Wolgan Valley. Further on there is a massive rock step down through a very nice fern gully. This rock step is very large and you need some decent experience to do it. Like I said, you could do it in a Subaru a few years back.
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Reply By: Lowan - Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 at 12:16

Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 at 12:16
You can enter at Ben Bullen (right at rail crossing) with some rough patches but OK for a Challenger to Baal Bone Gap, then look up the ferny gully for some mud holes and an extreme rock face climb or return out to Ben Bullen the way you entered.

Good Luck,

Glen
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Follow Up By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 at 20:40

Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 at 20:40
I went in from the railway crossing in a Nissan Patrol a couple of years ago. While it was really no problem for the Patrol....a lower and lesser equipped 4WD would have some issues...especially in about the first kilometre in...where there was quite a steep and loose climb. After that there were a few bogholes made by the reckless brigade ....but most had chicken tracks. It got progressively easier towards the track out to the Wolgan Valley road...but care is needed on the exit track as it can be fairly rutted because of the aforementioned brigade. Then across the valley road onto Blackfellow hands track to the Bungelboorie campground just outside Lithgow. This track has a couple of rock ledges to climb ...and needs some care with good wheel placement....but is otherwise pretty straight forward.
HTH.

Cheers Keith
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 at 21:57

Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 at 21:57
The middle of the track going up through the fern gully in the direction you were travelling is now quite bad. You are nearly faced with a vertical wall you have to climb up. I was there a couple of months ago for the first time in a few years and couldn't believe the difference. Nothing on Blackfellows Hand even comes close. One of the trucks with us did it easy but he has a 79 series with 35's, chip, six speed auto conversion, rear axle conversion, chassis lengthen and portal axles. The rest of us turned around. Unless it gets graded it will be comp trucks only soon.
There is an easy track off Wolgan Rd about 1 km on the left before Blackfellows. It comes out on the ridge near the lookout.
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Follow Up By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Sunday, Oct 22, 2017 at 19:39

Sunday, Oct 22, 2017 at 19:39
Well OK....someone with more recent experience hey ...good!!! The climb was fairly steep when we were there ....my Patrol did it fairly easy with some judicial line picking ....but a 80 series Cruiser with highway tyres had the devil of a time ....ended up snatching them over the top....actually wrecked their strap on the exit lip at the top. So it would seem that going in from the railway crossing end is now a no go unless you have a really highly modified truck

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Reply By: Member - artheserenity - Sunday, Oct 22, 2017 at 20:28

Sunday, Oct 22, 2017 at 20:28
Hi Kevin,
I was there in August of this year and did the track East (Wolgan Rd.) to West (Ben Bullen) which would be my preferred way of attempting this track. If you pick up the publication from Boiling Billy "Tracks Close To Sydney, 6th edition 2013", it is rated as Very Difficult, a Double Black Diamond.
I have a 100 Series with 3" lift and 33's and clearance at the beginning was only just, so picking the right line will make all the difference. If you have some sort of GPS navigation you will find a track that goes around this initial section that starts approx. 7klm out of Lidsdale. The rock face descent that others have mentioned is very steep but there is an obvious line and with care and crawling your way down can be done. Not knowing your vehicle or your driving experience, only you will know. There are a couple of lookouts along the way and a beautiful fern gully to drive through. Starting at Lidsdale and finishing at the Capertee Hotel, the trek is 45klm's in distance, I'd allow a day to fully explore the area.
Cheers
Greg
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Reply By: Member - Rob S (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 17:43

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 17:43
Hi Kevin
Easy day trip from Blackheath,you will probably pick up a good map at Lithgow tourist visitor information.
I would start from the Zig zag end at Clarence,about half an hour via Lithgow,or twenty minutes via the Darling cause way.
Head from the Zigzag rail to Bungleboori, short detour there to look at rock formations on the left cant remember what they are called?
then back to the track, you can go down the track to the glow worm tunnel well worth it, short walk to the tunnel at the end of the track.
Then back to the Black fellows hand trail, and follow that down to the Newnes rd.
Then cross the Newnes rd to the Baal bonegap trail,the beginning can be quite steep and rutted and some 4wd experience may be necessary, but there is a detour track just a few hundred meters further up the Newnes rd towards Lithgow.
Baal bone gap is a lot easier to go down than up.
There will be no shortage of 4wd drives up there on the weekend, so you will,always find some one,to point you in the right direction, plus the place is reasonably well sign posted.

Rob






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Reply By: Kevin S - Life Member (QLD) - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 18:25

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 18:25
Thanks to everyone for input. We decided that the trip would be a bit of a stretch for the Challenger and for us so did not proceed with the venture. Instead we spent the day around Katoomba, the location of the our honeymoon over 55 years ago. In addition to the boost to our nostalgia the number of ExplorOz Places has increased as well.

Thanks again for input. Although we didn't use the information our combined efforts have put on record valuable information likely of use to others.

Cheers,

Kevin
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