Bush Walk: Lower Portals – Mt Barney Creek circuit hike. (Mt Barney NP)

Lower Portals – Mt Barney Creek

Today I went on the second of two additional walks with Horizon Guides. This time we were back in the Mt Barney National Park. A few months ago we walked to the Upper Portals in Mt Barney Creek, today we went to the Lower Portals. Teresa’s description of the walk is:

Lower Portals – Mt Barney Creek circuit hike. (Mt Barney NP) Approx. 9.5km. 7 – 8 hrs. Moderate – challenging. Some steep rough climbs. Creek rock hopping requiring balance / agility. Description: The walk begins at the Lower Portals car park and the first section is an easy walk (approx 2.4 km) on a track to the Portals. From here we bypass the Portals via a saddle and follow a path over forested ridges before dropping steeply back down to the creek at the Gorge Campsite. The next section follows Mt Barney Creek downstream to the Lower Portals. There is no track as such and going may be a little slow if the creek is flowing well. There are, however, plenty of beautiful rock pools to enjoy – and if the day is warm we could take a dip… We then return along the Lower Portals track that we arrived on in the morning.

Here is the route shown on Google Maps.

Ready to start walking
A fire had passed through a section of the park recently. This one was started by a lightning strike. The grass trees are all bouncing back already.

On the way in, we were treated to a view of a pair of Glossy Black Cockatoos. These birds are endangered because they only eat the seeds of the allocausurina and their habitat is disappearing.

A Glossy Black Cockatoo.
Either the mate of the bird above or a juvenile.
The walk in was through some very dry rocky country.
We had smoko on a dry old ridge.
More rocks

After a long dry walk in, we made it to Mt Barney Creek. But we didn’t stay there long. Teresa doesn’t have a walk without a bit of a climb and we were soon climbing a steep ridge for a circuit before dropping back down to the creek upstream of the Lower Portals.

Mt Barney Creek…
Mt Barney. Look at the blue sky!
It was rugged going…
…then back to the creek.

Along the way we saw many interesting things. Many of the plants were in flower.

These are the flowers of a type of pittosporum.
King Orchid in bloom
The seeds of a native wisteria.
Native Wisteria flower.
This pretty little plant was growing on the side of a ridge.
A pink rock orchid out in flower
A funnel web spider’s home.
We saw a few eels in the creek.
This fellow was just sitting here.
This hole in the rock was perfectly round. When the creek is in flood, the two rocks in the hole must swirl around grinding out the hole.

We had lunch in the creek then rock hopped down the creek towards the Lower Portals. In two places the creek was not conducive for walking so we we went up and over a ridge and back to the creek. 

It was a hot day, so all of those rock pools looked very inviting. We stopped at one and had a dip. The water was very refreshing (cold!). The ladies in the group decided that where the water flowed into the pool would make a good water slide. 
But all too soon, we had to keep going.

When it was too hard to walk down the creek, we detoured over some ridges. They were steep!
A beautiful waterhole and a perfect spot for a swim. So we did…
The rock formations were amazing.
This is an old gnarled tree on top of a ridge.
A cave near the top of a ridge.
The elevation from start to finish of our walk.

We walked to the Lower Portals before we left the creek. It was a beautiful spot. Then we treated some water from the creek to replenish our supplies before starting the long walk out and back to the cars.

We left the cars at 8:25am and got back to them at around 4:30pm. I’m not sure whether it was because the weather is warmer now but I was exhausted by the time I got home. Sore, tired but satisfied from another lovely day spent in the bush with some really nice people.
And then my son offered me an icy cold beer soon after I walked in the door. He’s a good boy!

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