Many had fond memories of the Erskine Falls track. Others have had it on their wish list for years. So finally after access to the track was re-opened about a year ago, and this walk could appear on the Angair walks calendar, 27 keen walkers descended the 300 bluestone steps to the base of the majestic Falls.
In perfect cool but dry weather we found ourselves in a spectacular pristine wet sclerophyll forest, mountain ash and ancient tree ferns dominating. Ahead lay 7 river crossings, and a boulder strewn track, just beyond a sign warning the way ahead was for “experienced walkers only”.
Thankfully the river level was low, though recent rains had washed a natural foam into the rock pools, creating artistic swirling patterns of white bands.
For the first 5 crossings the going was slow and careful, as the meandering narrow track involved clambering over sizeable boulders, a multitude of exposed tree roots and requiring rock-hopping skills on the crossings.
There was water over the Straw Falls, but none over the partly obscured Splitter Falls.
Unsurprisingly, only a third of the distance was covered by lunchtime.
After that the track was easier, though quite up and down, with several fallen trees along the way to crawl under or over. Notable vegetation included huge bright orange fungi, and two types of Coprosma with red berries.
Eventually we arrived at the historic “Sanctuary”, a site just off the track in a natural river bank amphitheatre where church services were held in the 1850s. After a final clamber across the river, the remaining path led past a wide rocky water race, then on through the Caravan Park and on to a local tea house and gaggles of cautious wood-duck families.
So ended a fabulous walk, at times challenging, but safely concluded and thoroughly rewarding.
Joe Bolza (Leader)
Photos by Lynn Bunning