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Pindar Cave

Climbing the trail from Wondabyne Station.

Nothing like the prospect of running somewhere new and interesting to get you out of bed in the morning.  One of my Terrigal Trotters club-mates had proposed an Easter Monday trail run with a difference, and I put my name on the list.  Nine of us met at Woy Woy Railway Station and caught the 7:23am Sydney-bound train, asking the guard to stop the train at Wondabyne as we boarded.  Wondabyne is unique, a request-only station with a platform just one carriage in length at the water's edge, accessible only by train, boat or on foot.

Looking towards the Hawkesbury River and Dangar Island
from the Pindar Cave trail.

It was clear cool and sunny as we set out from the station into Brisbane Water National Park and the chatter soon died as the steep climb took its toll.  We reached the plateau and after a kilometre, took an unmarked firetrail westwards towards Pindar Cave, a place I had never visited.

Pindar Cave.

The running became more challenging as the firetrail ended and we followed an unmaintained overgrown and scrubby foot trail.  It was narrow enough that I had to keep my head down to take the brunt of the overhanging scrub, ever ready to protect my eyes, while legs, knees and arms were scratched by prickly undergrowth.  It was dour slow running and seemed to go on forever, but it was an adventure.  There was an excellent view point en route looking south to the Hawkesbury River, and after a couple of unintended detours in the thick vegetation, we found our way to the very impressive cave, a massive sandstone overhang.  There, we surprised a family camped with a breakfast fire burning and took a break to enjoy the cavernous space, before starting the return trip.

Approaching Mount Wondabyne.

On the way out we rescued the balance of our party who had lost their way by shouting directions to help them return to the trail through the wiry scrub.  More good-natured banter.  Soon we were back on the familiar Great North Walk trail and heading eastwards towards Mount Wondabyne via a mix of technical single track, sandstone slabs, firetrail and the cool glen beneath Kariong Creek falls.

Looking down to Wondabyne Station from the top
of Mount Wondabyne.

We made the short detour to the top of Mount Wondabyne where the 360° views were exceptional.  Our starting point, Wondabyne Station, was visible way below, seemingly a stone's throw away, and it was hard to believe it had taken us so long to get to our present location.

The remainder of the run was a little ordinary, especially the sections past the Woy Woy Waste Transfer Station and the sewerage treatment plant followed by a couple of kilometres through the town, and it became quite warm.  By the time I reached my car, four hours after we had started running, I was ready to stop.  However, it was more the pain in my right Achilles and knee that were the problem rather than fatigue.  I didn't feel exhausted, and felt lucky to have enjoyed a beautiful day in the bush, visiting new places in the company of friends.  Wondabyne to Woy Woy via Pindar Cave 25km.