Big Hole and Marble Arch Walk
21 May 2023
After the last few years of Covid – 19 and road damage due to bushfires, we finally completed our trip to the Big Hole and Marble Arch. Eight of us meet in Cooma North so we loaded into two cars and headed off.
The road trip to Berlang camp ground was better than expected with only a few ruts to deal with, taking just under 1.5 hrs to complete the drive.
From the camp ground there was a short walk to the Shoalhaven River crossing. Luckily this river crossing was quite manageable. Various supplementary footwear was tried with gum boots turning out to be most convenient.
It was a steady uphill walk on the trail which now has very attractive new stone steps almost all the way (2km) to the Big Hole. This is a significant limestone sink hole of over 90m deep and approx. 30m across. We admired the tops of the tree ferns in the floor of the hole which are apparently over 2m high and marvelled at how small the appeared.
From here we continued on the trail first down and then gently undulating for 4km. The forest here is woodland, closely spaced new trees with well defined canopies and low under-storey. And numerous large termite mounds. There were many examples of fallen trees that had sprouted branches vertically, which was an interesting feature. Once we met the fire trail again we started a steeper descent for 0.5km.
Here we found the Marble Arch which is an extremely narrow gorge through limestone. The Arch is marked by a large rock forming a chock stone joining the two sides of the valley. We spent a good hour in here enjoying the scramble under and over some very smooth worn sections of rock. Two of our more intrepid members went further downstream and discovered a small waterfall coming out of a hole in the side of the cliff just above the final pool at end of the gorge. All very picturesque.
Lunch was enjoyed together back at the entrance before making our way back the way we came. We were back at the campground by a very respectable 3pm, and back in Cooma well before dark. This made for a successful and very enjoyable walk.