There are places that people walk past all the time and do not stop to look at. Styles Creek is one such place. Located in the centre of The Budawangs, this area is a key link to many bushwalking destinations.
It is also a good place to spend some time.
My last access to this area was from the Nerriga entrance to the park. The walk to the campsite was an easy five hour walk, including morning tea and lunch. Our route was via Round Mountain, with morning tea just before the park entrance sign, past Mt Foster, with lunch at Sallee Creek and past Hoddles Castle Hill. The campsite was beneath Quilty's mountain and beside Styles Creek.
A friend from Nowra, John O'Donnell, and I camped there for two nights. My reason for going was to photograph this area. I also went because I believe too much bushwalking is of the "bust a gut all day to get to a distant campsite" type of walk. I find it interesting poking around, finding unusual things.
Styles Creek is an interesting place to explore. From here you have access to Hidden Valley, Sturgiss Mountain, Mt Elliot, Mt Haughton, Quilty's Mountain and Hoddles Castle Hill. You will need a few days to do all. In the middle of all these mountains is a large grassy/shrubby plain.
When walking to Mt Haughton, for example, may I suggest rather than taking
the direct route across the swamp you take the longer but more scenic route. When
heading south from the Styles creek crossing, a couple of hundred metres along, there is a
track off to the left that crosses back over Styles Creek. Take this. This
track will take you close to the Pagoda Rocks of Sturgiss Mountain and to a small hill
between Sturgiss Mountain and Mt Haughton that has a great view of Hollands Gorge and the
mountains that surround Monolith Valley. From here the track then leads you up to Mt
Haughton and on to Mt Tarn.
On the other side of the valley is Hoddles Castle Hill, with those remarkable erosion formations. Our point of approach was up the slope at the Northern tip of the Hill. A straight forward bush bash up the ridge leads you to an open section with outstanding views of the region. The final section is steep but safe. There was a good selection of wood at the two overhangs we found before time sent us back down. The second was the best I had found. Suitable for two people only, it was sheltered and had a large flat log to sit on complete with rock armrest.
At both overhangs bushwalkers had left supplies of wood, ready to light. In fact it was relatively easy to find wood, a good indication that this place is not used often. Probably because water has to be carried up from Sallee Creek. (We didn't find any water coming off the top of the Hill) Hill is not a correct description. It, like all the other mountains in the area are more like a mesa, a flat top mountian with steep sides.
Styles Creek, on the other hand is devoid of firewood. Generations of bushwalkers using the area have made sure of that. Water is always plentiful.
About a half an hours walk north of Styles Creek on a track off to the east is Hidden Valley. The valley used to be a straight forward three hour walk from the old Sassafrass entrance. This now is a four to five hour walk because of the decision to move back the car park. Access time is therefore about the same as walking in from the Nerriga entrance.
An interesting place is Hidden Valley. It is now suffering from over use. Basically it is a swamp surrounded by cliffs with a narrow entrance in the west and one to the north and another to the south. There are good campsites near the entrance but again not a lot of firewood. The source of water is a small creek which drains the swamp near the campsites. Be careful of the water because the sign of women having a pee - single pieces of toilet paper - littered the ground next to where you draw water on the last two visits. The only other source of water being water coming off Sturgiss Mtn, near the overhang called Darkes Brothers Cave at the south end of the Valley. It is from near here that an exposed ascent of Sturgiss Mtn can be made.
For the three days that we were there we saw no-one. My kind of place.
Any text and images found on this web page are copyright © Geoff Wise, 1998 - 2009. All rights reserved.