The Castle, Budawang National Park Adventure

The Castle Adventure 2021
Well this adventure has been in David’s to do list for a very long time and having done some research on it I can understand why.There were many stories of how difficult the ascent and descents were along with climbing through small gaps, up ropes over sheer cliffs with a very long drop below. I was a little concerned I may not be up to the challenge so spent a little time watching a couple of people do the walk. Having done this I felt more comfortable with the adventure but a little disappointed that I had already seen the view.

Quoting from blog “The Castle Walking track is one of the most challenging yet rewarding days hikes along eastern Australia. The trail is technical and diverse across varied terrain, with some open woodland walking, tight crawls through vegetation and steep climbs toward the summit, not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced.”

Whilst planning the adventure we realised besides the physical challenges that the time of year was going to add its own concerns weather wise. The week ahead was looming with clear skies but very cold temperatures ranging between -3°C and 11°C. Very chilly. We haven’t hiked in this low a temperature since the NT Larapinta Trail in June 2018.

Saturday 28th May 2021
Davistown to Blue Gum Flat Camp via Pigeon House Mountain
Well we got up early to be on our way for our 1st day of the Budawang and Morton National Park Adventure. We left home with our hiking buddies Ange and Alice at about 8am.

We headed inland from Milton at about 12.30 for our first hike. The Pigeon House Mountain Didthul walking track in the Morton National Park, a Grade 4, 6.6km return hike to the summit (485m ascent). We started the hike at 1.20pm walking through forest, heathland and age-old sandstone before coming a series of ladders that lead you to the summit and the view. The sight of the amazing cliffs and gorges within the Budawang Wilderness showcasing ‘The Castle” which was our adventure for the next two days was spectacular. Looking east you were also able to see the coastal waters of the Ulladulla region. It was fantastic yet again. They have improved the track since our last visit. Originally the track went up at a very steep gradient straight up from the start but they have made it a little bit more user friendly with many switchbacks for the first 20 minutes or so. With a stop for about 20mins we headed back down again as we still had a 30min dirt road drive to our camp for the night.

Unfortunately Long Gully Campground which is at the start of tomorrow’s hike was booked out so we headed to Blue Gum Flats. This was a lovely campsite with a river nearby and a pit toilet. We arrived at our camp after a pretty easy drive at about 4.30pm to find all the campsites taken, luckily for us the young campers were happy to vacate one site for us as they were all together and didn’t realise other campers had booked there. After setting up camp we then had a lovely Salmon and stir fried vegetables on quinoa and rice for dinner. Yummy!! We experienced a little trouble with our Isobutane gas which was struggling with the cold. It took a lot longer to cook our dinner and fusspot Dave had to put his back on because the veggies were too crunchy. We enjoyed a lovely campfire compliments of Ange and stayed warm for the night.

We were using our new blue camp mats for the first time and were very happy with them, we had the best night sleep even with our young neighbours. Yay!