Bungonia Gorge

Bungonia Gorge Is The Deepest Gorge In Australia

This dramatic gorge is located about 22 miles east of the town of Goulburn and only 78 miles south west of Sydney. It is in a region of New South Wales known as the Southern Tablelands.

This area consists of flat-topped limestone hills with the gorge having been cut through them by the errosive action of water. At its deepest point Bungonia Gorge is almost 400 metres deep and its centrepiece, a place called Slot Canyon, has vertical cliffs walls that soar upwards to a height of 275 metres.

View Of Bungonia Gorge From Adams Lookout

The gorge is part of the Bungonia State Recreation Area which is one of Australia`s oldest conservation areas dating back as far as 1872. Much of the region is in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Bungonia is adjacent to the larger Morton National Park, which is slightly to the east, while a number of State Forests such as Wingello, Yerriyong and  McDonald are close by.

Because of its relative proximity to Sydney, Bungonia Gorge is a popular spot for climbers, cavers and hikers but you will never find this wilderness crowded.

One of Australia`s major inter-city highways passes close to Goulburn. This is the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne so access into this recreation area is very straight forward. 

The Sheer Walls Of The Gorge Can Be Seen In This Photograph

Bungonia State Recreation Area is bounded to the east by the Shoalhaven River and to the north by Bungonia Creek.  A large number of activities take place within this area such as bushwalking, canoeing, canyoning, camping, caving and climbing. Base jumpers also make use of the sheer cliffs of the gorge.

However, it is as a site for rock climbing that Bungonia Gorge is best known. Himalayan mountaineer Peter Coker said of the gorge that it was "the scariest place I have ever climbed with some of the best climbing in Australia." 

Bungonia is also famous for its caves.  This is a common feature of limestone hills, for example, Cheddar Gorge and its caves are located on the Mendip Hills, a limestone escarpment in Somerset, England.

However, many of the caves in Bungonia run vertically and entrance to them is difficult, often requiring entry by abseiling down into them. Dangerous levels of CO2 can sometimes lie at the bottom of these vertical shafts, so experience is required when exploring them.

Of the 190 or so caves in Bungonia a number are important breeding sites for endangered bats and are closed at certain times of the year to protect them. The well known Drum Cave, for example, is home to the Large Bent-wing Bat.

Slot Canyon At The Bottom Of The Gorge (Photo By Greatlettuce)

Bushwalking through Bungonia has always been a popular pasttime, mainly because of the solitude and some spectacular views. There are a number of signposted trails and the longer ones are colour coded and marked.

However many visitors take the easy option, which is the short hike from their cars to Adams Lookout and the Bungonia Lookdown - it really is quite special.

For those that enjoy a weekend, or longer, camping then Bungonia does have a large campground with toilets, showers and a communal kitchen. Bush camping is allowed near the Shoalhaven River, but not close to Bungonia Creek or limestone cliffs for fear of dangerous rock falls.  

This Shows The Location Of Bungonia Which Is Just To The East Of Goulburn

There are some fees associated with visiting the Bungonia State Recreation Area. If you need more information about them, or the area itself, then there is a park office - here are the contact details. 

National Parks and Wildlife Service,

838, Lookdown Road,

Bungonia,

New South Wales 2580

Telephone -                  (02) 4844 4277

Fax -                              (02) 4844 4331

Recorded Information - (02) 4844 4341

Email -     bungonia@environment.nsw.gov.au