Machinery Creek Canyon

Machinery Creek Canyon is a great day out involving a series of abseils and some walking in a creek bed. While it is generally seen as the option to take when there is too much water to run other canyons it is worth noting that it can still flood and should therefore be treated with caution after sustained heavy rain in the area.

Despite being one of the easiest canyons to check out in Tasmania it is still very committing and requires solid rope skills to ensure a safe and fun trip. If you are in any doubt as to your ability to run a multi pitch canyoneering through trip it is best to go with a commercial group. Cradle Mountain Canyons regularly run trips here and it would be well worth giving them a ring regardless to ensure you are not getting stuck behind or impeding a commercial group.

The track begins from the rear of Round Hill Café. It's well worth poking your head in there, grabbing a coffee and saying hi. These guys are very accomodating of canyoneering and it's nice to give them some support and make sure they're happy with your vehicle being parked in their carpark for the day.

The track heads in to the bush from behind the cafe, stick right to avoid the driveway and you will end up on a badly run down old vehicular track. This continues for just under 2km until you arrive at a split in the track, the right hand route obviously taking you down to the creek. You will pass an old mine on the way that you can check out if you have a head torch.

Once you're at the creek you will need to follow this for about 500m until you arrive at the first abseil. This is mostly very straightforward rock hopping with one down climb. There are bolts rigged for this if you want to put a hand line in place but all bar the most uncoordinated and risk adverse should have no issues unless it's very wet and you're carrying everything but the kitchen sink... At the base of the down climb you will be forced to take your first couple of very brief swims (a few small pools under 3 metres) before you arrive at the top of the first abseil.

The first abseil is a 15 meter drop, there are two anchors to choose from one in the flow of the water, the other to the side. All anchors are bolted. With big groups I run both options simultaneously as with most of them.

Second abseil is also 15 metres with a pretty view down the canyon. This transitions to a free hanging abseil half way down so it's well worth briefing those new to abseiling about not getting your hand stuck between the rope and the rock. The landing is in water and it can be a bit tricky to climb out for the uncoordinated so worth sending someone down first who can give others a hand if you have beginners (although that should be done regardless really).

Third abseil is 12 metres but can be shortened with a down climb if you are trying to speed things up. If I have a big group I'll have 2 people going at once with others bottom belaying as given how short it is this can be easily managed unlike the other drops which I will top belay if I have concerns about beginners.

Fourth abseil is a bit awkward, the anchor is well out from the edge to avoid rub points. Setting up an approach line is essential for all who are not experienced. For big groups or for a lot of beginners I will rig an abseil from the natural anchor on canyon right which is easier/quicker.

Fifth abseil is a pretty 10 meter slope in to a pool. Very photogenic and there is a second anchor on canyon left which can be rigged simultaneously and/or used for photography.

At the base of the fifth abseil there is a series of pretty pools. This area can be quite slippery though and it leads in to the final drop. Be mindful of beginners and consider hand lines if required.

Sixth and final abseil is a 30 meter drop in to a large pool, bolts are on canyon right up out of the canyon on the slab. I like to rig a hand line to assist people in climbing out. It is possible to walk around the drop on canyon right down a gully in the event time constraints or other issues warrant it.

Once you get the bottom of the final abseil you can ditch harnesses and walk out, it’s about 30 minutes of following the creek before you hit the road again. At this point you will be just under 5km down the road from the start point and will need to get back either by doing a car shuttle (having dropped a vehicle at the bottom before hand) using a bike, walking or hitching a lift.

To summarise; Easy walk in that takes around 30 minutes. Six abseils the biggest being 30 metres. Then another 30 minutes walk to the road. From there you need to get 5ish km back to the start point. Keep in mind It’s a through trip and walk out options are pretty much nonexistent. You need to be completely self sufficient and prepared to fix problems and self rescue if things go pear shaped!

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