Pantoney’s Crown and Mount Stewart 3-day Hike

Keen for some nature and adventure over the long weekend, and also just to get out of Sydney for a few days, E and I set out for Pantoney’s Crown. This was my second attempt to organise this trip. Last time I was thwarted by the rain and ended up hiking out to Hundred Man Cave from Kanangra Walls instead (also a good hike). Armed with a lot of safety gear and food we were expecting the park to be fairly quiet. We started down the road, which was a pretty stretch of woods and soaring rocks.

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We saw our first party (of 6) whilst filling up water at Baal Bone Gap. Shortly after we hit the infamous Boot Pagoda and then, as we reached Baal Bone Point, overtaking a group of ~8 and watching a group of 14 descend off the Point, we realised it wasn’t going to be such a quiet night after all!

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We cooked on top of a pagoda on Pantoney’s with an amazing sunset view, celebrated a couple of birthdays with the group of 6 and then called it an early night. It had been a big week for both of us.

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The sunrise on day 2 was spectacular, with a mist blanketing the valley and the sun turning the cliffs red.

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Setting off we were hoping for a little more serenity and a few less people and we got just that. Whilst enjoying a good chin wag we managed to veer more north than east and soon found ourselves chatting to some lovely country folk and asking permission to cut through their land to right ourselves once more. They kindly agreed and offered up 6 litres of water to each of us, which saved us a hunt for water! Of note, their property has very, very, very amazing views!

We took the unorthodox route up Mount Stewart and, given how easy a route it turned out to be, it was a good navigational call. Then, concerned about impending sunset we were out for a way to get up on top asap. We made it more challenging for ourselves, a lot more than it needed to be, but were happily on top with a flat spot for our tent and views in both directions as the sun set and the stars and planets came into view. Another good camp dinner and the end of the baileys had us curling up at the late hour of 8pm.

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With tea in hand we watched the reds and pinks cross the sky on the morning of Day 3. Soon after we’d packed up camp and were swearing our way through the scrub. There was another gorgeous vista off the Eastern side and before we headed back to negotiate Blue Gap. In short, Blue Gap was quite the adventure, with route finding galore and no real sign that others had been through here any time recently. (I don’t recommend this route unless you are experienced at route finding and have a hand line with you!)

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We had lunch on top of one of the Exploded Pagodas and then made light work of McCleans Pass before getting back to the cars with big smiles on our faces. What a weekend. Shame about the traffic on the way back into Sydney.


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