Wondabyne East

Sandstone Climbing


Wondabyne East (aka The Oyster Beds) is the large, black, west facing slab visible across the water and downstream of Wondabyne station on the Newcastle line (on the northern side of the Hawkesbury).


The first recorded visit to the crag was in March 1977, by the (now defunct) Wondabyne Climbing Club. On that trip the club put up two routes but never returned to claim more. The next recorded visit was almost exactly 21 years later (in April 1998), when three members of the UNSW Climbing Club visited the crag on two separate trips and put up a further 3 routes. It seems unlikely that such a prominent crag will wait another 21 years for its next visit, particularly seeing as there are any number of first ascents still awaiting those who are willing to attempt the epic access.


To get to the crag you'll need a boat; if you don't have one you can hire one from Brooklyn (which is easily accessible by train). From Brooklyn, follow the railway line north (between the railway bridge and Dangar Island), across the Hawkesbury, and up into Mullet Creek. Once in Mullet Creek, you need to head north past 3 points. The first is the most prominent and contains a series of rock formations known as "the Icicles". After the third point, a bay opens up on the right and the crag is visible up the hill. Take great care on entering the bay, as there are a number of oyster beds located here, and they are submerged at high tide. At low tide access to the shore is difficult because of 50m wide thigh deep mud flats. Once on shore, a short walk leads up the hill to the crag. This can be thick and require heavy bush bashing if it's been a while since the last bushfire. There is also good camping in the bay, and a fairly reliable creek for water (take care if you plan on drinking it, however). There are also a number of caves at the base of the cliff that are suitable for bivying in.

The climbs are described left to right (north to south), facing the cliff.

Black Slab

The obvious black slab visible just north of Wondabyne railway station on the northern side of the Hawkesbury River. The obvious crack line visible from the train is Granuous.

* * Granuous 17 25m
At the right hand end of the undercut section at the bottom left of the Black Slab, slightly right of the crack. Offers great and fairly continuous jamming up a granulated crack, with plenty of gear. Pull onto the wall and drift left to the base of the crack. Jam up the crack, over a bulge and then follow the chimney to the top. Belay off a tree 12m back from the edge. To get off, walk 20m right (facing the cliff) and rap off as for E. Only known to have been top roped.
FTRA: Will Monks 1998-04-18
* Excrescense 15 18m
20m right of G. Up the crack to the tree then up the wall behind. Tree belay then rap off.
P. Stallard, S. O'Brien 1977-03-13
* Rugosity 13 15m
Twin cracks 7m right of E. Up the right hand crack to the tree, then continue up the wall behind.
P. Stallard, S. Hoy, S. O'Brien 1977-03-13

Cave Wall

Located at about half height at the right end of Broken Buttress, approximately 300m right of the Black Slab. Distinguishable by the massive choss roof just to the left. A toprope can easily be set up for these routes from the tree on top - descent gully on right.

E- 13 8m
1m right of the left arete. Cruise up the slab. Only known to have been top roped.
FTRA: Carolina Roman, Marko Furschke, Will Monks 1998-04-18
Na 13 8m
1m right of E-. Blank start then easy to top. Only known to have been top roped.
FTRA: Will Monks, Carolina Roman, Marko Furschke 1998-04-18