Kunghur Flying Fox

Queensland specific bushwalking discussion.
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Queensland specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby markpayne » Sat 12 May, 2012 1:07 pm

Hi All,

Am thinking about heading down to Nightcap National Park starting at Mt Nardi in a weeks time to try and find the remains kunghur flying fox. Does anyone have any info or advice about this walk. I understand that it will be quick overgrown and will require navigational skills. I talked to the ranger a couple of weeks ago and he just said that it is fairly straight forward and is basically about trying to stay on the tops of the ridges without heading too far up or down steep sections.

Has anyone ever attempted or completed this walk?
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby under10kg » Tue 15 May, 2012 1:24 pm

I have done this walk several times from huenbrook road on the way to sphinx rock which is an amazing special place and fun to climb!!.
Navigation is easy to the flying fox remains as you are following an overgrown fire trail.
Take note to wear gloves and long sleives, pants and sunnies to protect eyes.
I usually take a small secator and try to clear the track as I go through.
Depending on how much trafic has been through before you, it can be heavy in layer vine in places and not much fun for most walkers.
Take plenty of water as there is no water on this walk.
Continuing on to spinc rock is off track but makes the walk magic.
This would be a very long day walk from Mt Nardi.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby phan_TOM » Tue 15 May, 2012 3:20 pm

I last did it a year or so ago and the track wasn't too bad, mainly small trees, palms & some lawyer vine springng up. There was quite a bit of feral rasberry too so I'd wear pants. It's an old logging road that apart from the bit of regrowth is 'fairly' obvious from the rest of the rainforest though it can be a bit confusing in places as there are a few other remnant logging tracks/animal pads. Go well prepared as it gets cold up there this time of year and go early as it also gets dark really really quick, you don't want to get caught out there for 3 days like THIS lady did, I think it took me 8 hours return. I rode my bike around the Nightcap track a few years ago in winter and wrongly thought I had plenty of daylight left, it was lucky that I threw a bike light in my bag as an afterthought right before I left as it got dark only halfway round adding some excitement to an already fun trip!

Can be done in a day from Mt Nardi if you're reasonably fit. Take the Pholis Gap track, at the end follow the ridge west staying high until you get to the meaty timber beams of the flying fox...
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby markpayne » Tue 15 May, 2012 3:37 pm

Thanks for the advice guys. When i was talking to the ranger he said it would be a good idea to just do it overnight so that we can take our time. That way, if we get lost its not a biggy because we'll have our overnight gear with us anyway.

Hopefully we get out there with enough time to get to see sphinx rock! Sounds like that might make the trip even better.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby phan_TOM » Tue 15 May, 2012 4:28 pm

Sounds like a good plan, its so nice up there its almost a shame rushing to do it as a daywalk. A lot of that really nice open rainforest (in places!! :D ) with more fungi, plants and animals than you can poke a stick at, far better to take your time and enjoy it!

Heres a few shots from from between Mt Nardi & the flying fox

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Nightcap-4.jpg


Nightcap-5.jpg
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby phan_TOM » Tue 15 May, 2012 4:30 pm

and watch out for the stinging trees, what they can inflict makes all the other nasty vegetation seem tame

Nightcap-6.jpg
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby markpayne » Tue 15 May, 2012 8:09 pm

Sweet pics mate. Thanks for uploading them. Just got me a bit more excited! Ill have to take a few and upload them when i get back.

Those stinging trees look nasty! Definitely try and steer clear from them.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby phan_TOM » Thu 17 May, 2012 10:12 am

Hi Mark, those spiky leaves are actually of a nightshade not a stinging tree just so you know (and thanks for pointing it out pteropus, I hate to lead people up the garden path... or jungle path as it may be :D ). There are plenty of stinging trees though, they have small hairs unlike those larger spikes and in some clearings left by deadfall/windfall they are sprouting up large numbers.

Anyway, heres some pics and some info if you're interested
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby markpayne » Thu 17 May, 2012 1:32 pm

Thats great info. I had looked them up sometime ago because a friend of a friend came in contact with one and it was pretty bad. That will be something to keep our eyes out for.

Looks like we are going to head out there in the next week or so. Cant Wait. Get to try out my new hiking tent too!
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby under10kg » Thu 17 May, 2012 2:12 pm

If you are doing it in 2 days I would go on a bit more to the base of spinx rock. There is a bit of a track. You can camp on the ridge line. You can climb this on the south side but it is a bit tricky. No water for all this walk.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby markpayne » Thu 17 May, 2012 9:31 pm

So you can actually climb sphinx rock? I was looking at the topo and it looked pretty steep. I figured that it may be unclimbable without ropes. Probably not something to attempt after rain im guessing.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby under10kg » Fri 18 May, 2012 8:05 am

Yes you can climb the rock if you are compident in scrambling from the track from Mt Nardi.
You go up close to the face on the ridge and you will see a ledge going of on the left side.
You need to climb on huge spear lillies at times which is pretty special!
You traverse the south face and then climb up to the ridge on the west side of the ridge.
You do not need ropes if you are comfortable in scrambling.
Great views on top. One of the magic spots in the Northern Rivers.
I do this as a long 2 day walk from Huenbrook lane when I want a long training walk.
It is much less distance to start from Mt Nardi. Just remember to take plenty of water for 2 days.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby markpayne » Mon 21 May, 2012 11:12 am

Hi all,

Two friends and I completed the overnighter out at the flying fox on the weekend. Was a really really great walk. Had perfect weather! There was a few tougher sections where i regretted forgetting my long sleeve shirt but other than that the track was relatively easy to follow. We made it out to the peak next to the sphinx on the afternoon of the first day and ran out of time so we had to stop there and turn around to head back to camp. Its a really prime time to do this walk at the moment.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby phan_TOM » Mon 21 May, 2012 11:57 am

Good work Mark, yeah its a great time of year for it, its getting nice and cool and how's the weather!
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby under10kg » Thu 31 May, 2012 9:06 am

You can also go up sphinc rock and over blue knob and continue down the other side. I think you need permission from a private property at the end of this walk.
I did this as a long day trip from Mt Nardi with the northern rivers bushwalk club. Note this is a long day and you need to be pretty fit. You also need a car shuffle.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby markpayne » Thu 31 May, 2012 9:21 am

Yeah i had heard about the one way walk, but wouldn't have had the faintest idea on how to get permission, and car shuffles can be a pain the butt sometimes. Where about is hueonbrook lane starting point? i was trying to find it on my map but cant seem to figured it out.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby phan_TOM » Thu 31 May, 2012 10:19 am

Look for North Rocks Road which is a few k's before the end of Huonbrook road or go right to the end of Huonbrook Road and go up Oscars Road which is the one that leads up to the saddle which separates Huonbrook valley and Doon Doon. Hope that helps.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby markpayne » Thu 31 May, 2012 2:36 pm

yep i think i found it thanks for that
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby under10kg » Fri 01 Jun, 2012 12:09 pm

For the private property at the west end of this through walk you could contact the northern rivers bushwalking club and they might have the phone number. Just google this for their web site.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby splash » Tue 19 Jun, 2012 5:57 pm

Here is an account of walking to Sphinx Rock from Mt Nardi.....

The hippy, the straight and the Sphinx.
Sphinx Rock is between Blue Knob (Mount Burrell) and Mount Neville. I can see it from my place. Returning from a long trip I know I am nearly home when Sphinx Rock reveals itself, silhouetted against the skyline. I want to be near it, spend some quality time there, climb it. I decide to go, but there are many barriers to this endeavour. Firstly it is mostly surrounded by private land. You would need permission. Lots of people don't want you up there. It's their personal meditation spot, they are self-appointed protectors of the aboriginal sacred site or they just don't want you to see what's happening on their land.

A few months ago I joined a group from the Northern Rivers Bushwalking Club who planned a day walk to the Sphinx. We got permission from a Community whose land we needed to cross and slogged up the slopes of Mount Burrell from the valley floor. After 4 hours we made it to a lookout a few hundred metres from Sphinx Rock. It was a gratifying moment to see the Sphinx, end on. Out of time, we had to turn around (after just 10 minutes) and spend the next 4 hours going back down through virgin, trackless rainforest. Much closer, but not good enough.

There is a public corridor in Nightcap National Park that will take you there, the skyline traverse, Mount Nardi to Blue Knob. I have spoken to people who have been out and back in a long day. They say you have to stride it out. Vague details. I decide to take two days and put the trip in The Nimbin Bushwalkers Club walks programme. A young club, not even a year old, this is the first overnighter, only one other person responds. So it came to pass that Franca and I stepped off the bitumen at Mount Nardi and straight into the forest, not to see the sun for the next 5 hours. We wandered down to Pholis Gap, named after a timber worker, Athol Pholi, who was killed here felling a tree. Catbirds call from the forest. Is it a warning or a greeting? We turn left and follow Googarna Road, now overgrown with trees and weeds. Back in the 1980's Franca drove down this road all the way to the flying fox. She was part of the protest in 1982 that blockaded the Mount Nardi Road and took on the loggers. She remembers silk-screening the banners. The action was successful and logging here was stopped. Protesters have written a lot about their experiences of this action and the earlier 1979 Terania Creek protest but what of the loggers memories?

The next four hours are spent plodding along this remnant of the logging infrastructure. Where the canopy opens a little and lets in sunshine, wild raspberry and lantana thrive. The forest proper is full of palms, ferns, figs, pademelons, snakes and scrub turkeys. The latter have built nests 4 metres across and 1.5 metres high, covering the road completely. No maps are needed, leave the 'road' and you are back in the Big Scrub, dominated by lawyer vines.

We have lunch at the flying fox, built in 1948 to lower the logs down the mountain to the Kunghur Sawmill. The cable, once 1.6 km long, is still tied to its anchor point. A lot of the massive timber structure is still standing and I am surprised at the size of the trees that have grown back in the intervening 24 years since logging was stopped. Forty five minutes later we reach the lookout that reveals the challenge ahead, how to get up on to the Sphinx. Nobody I spoke to could give me any specific directions, only that you had to go around one side or the other. There was an intervening peak to get past. We spent an exhausting and fruitless hour trying the south side only to be stopped at some dangerous cliffs. We found it was possible to just go over the top and we sat there with our first uninterrupted view of Sphinx Rock. At this spot we were on a narrow web of rock that was part of the Mount Warning caldera. If our nerves could take it we had 200 metres to go, along a strip of rock just a few metres wide with a sheer drop on both sides. It had the catenary curve of a suspension bridge, but was covered in grass, lilies and stunted trees. There was no hesitation from either of us, we were being drawn to the Sphinx as if by a string. On the way over I noticed that wallabies had grazed even here. We finally got to touch the Sphinx, appearing as a sheer cliff rising above us. We sat for half an hour without speaking a word. The view was breathtaking. To the north was Mount Warning and the nearby sisters. To the north-west the Border Ranges and to the south Nimbin Rocks, the township of Nimbin and the Koonorigan Range. The sun was bright, the air clear and the whole place had a mystery and reverence similar to Ayres Rock. This was easily one of the best experiences I have had in 44 years of bushwalking.

Hoping to summit, we followed a ledge for about 50 metres on the north side, but it ended in sheer cliffs. A falcon took to the air screeching and tried to see us off. It may have been the spirit of the old woman, the message was clear enough. We had a look at the southern side which appeared to be an almost vertical slope covered with trees. It looked possible but reckless. Time to find a campsite. We made it back to the flying fox and pitched our home-made tents on a thick layer of leaves, over a fine, loamy tilth. As night fell Wampoo Pigeons called from the forest, a soapy gargle, the last gasp of a drowning man, wam-poo, wam-poo. A sugar glider called from a tree, no doubt attracted by our lights. Twenty seven years ago Franca left her university art course in Victoria, bought a share in the Tuntable Community, lived in a tent, knocked up a shack, built a house and had babies. In 1973 I had just graduated from university and heard of the Aquarius Festival in Nimbin. People, hippies some would call them, were coming up here and starting communities. I decided not to, but ended up here anyway 33 years later. Franca, a vegetarian, munches into some nori she had made earlier. I tell her nothing of my meal which has home-grown beef in it. Specifically a Murray Grey heifer that I watched being born, lovingly tended for 18 months and, in an act of betrayal, sent to the place where the knives are sharp. All our food has a history, a life story.

Not much chance of sleeping through the first-light chorus of birds in the forest. Our packs were significantly lighter, each of us had brought 6 litres of water. Temperatures of 29 degrees were predicted. A first for me was the wearing of leather gloves to grasp the thorns that would ensnare me. Franca carried a pair if seceteurs to deal with the lawyer vines. Either way we had to wait-a-while. On the way out we ran into Sandy and Rob. They were off to do much the same walk as we had hoped to do. Their plan was to sleep on the top of Sphinx Rock that night and continue over the top of Blue Knob, ending on the Blue Springs Community. They have done the trip before and gave us all the instructions we needed yesterday. For the time being Sphinx Rock was, for us, an unfinished project. We soon passed a dozen members of the The Nimbin Bushwalkers Club who had come out to meet us on a day walk. They needed to climb a mountain before turning back, so we left them to it. National Parks have taken all references to this track off their brochures and signage. It was good to see it still being used. Franca decides to go back and finish her university art course next year, and I resolve to try and embrace some of the Aquarius values. Nimbin is that sort of place.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby splash » Tue 19 Jun, 2012 6:00 pm

A walk over Blue Knob to Sphinx Rock......

A walk to Sphinx Rock.
Ringed by sheer cliffs and rising 800 metres above the surrounding farmland, Mount Burrell looms as an impressive landmark. I can see it from my place and have often wondered what it would be like to be up there in a lost world. Too inaccessible, it has never been logged or farmed. I only know a few people who have been up there. They spoke of an ocean of lawyer vines. There were some who claim to have been on the top of Mount Burrell, but when questioned details became vague. It was as if their memory had been erased. A few mentioned not being able to go further due to a paralysing fear. There is a sacred cave up there somewhere. Others reported seeing little shrines and meditation places where locals come to be with the universe, or something. Mount Burrell (possibly derived from the Aboriginal word 'burrul' meaning wallaby), is in the north-eastern corner of NSW and dominates the skyline to the north of Nimbin. Most locals know it as Blue Knob. Mount Burrell is the highest point on the Blue Knob Range and forms part of Nightcap National Park. However, access to it is limited because it is largely surrounded by privately owned land. Most of these land owners are concerned with liability and that is reason enough to deny entry.
I put an advertisement in ‘The Nimbin Good Times’ newspaper for a walking companion to spend two days on the mountain and three people responded. Between us we knew enough people on the surrounding ‘intentional communities’ to get permission to do the walk at one, and finish it at another. The plan was to walk the whole length of the Blue Knob Range (4 km) and try to get on to Sphinx Rock from the west. Sphinx Rock, another remarkable landmark, is a mysterious, enigmatic slab of rock that resembles, in profile, its namesake in Egypt.
I knew Neil (new tent, rucksack and sleeping bag), from us both being members of the Nimbin Bushwalkers Club. The other two were teachers at a local High School who I had not met before.
Early one morning four bods silently padded past the shacks, dwellings and steep driveways of community people and climbed the ridge that would take us ever up to the top. Afoot were clumps of soft grass and centuries-old blackboy trees. We met with a fixed rope on a vertical cliff face and took our chances. If the rope breaks you are dead. A madness of fear and adrenaline got us all up the roped sections and on to the Range proper.
From civilisation below, Blue Knob has the shape of Ayres Rock, looming and spiritual. From the air, Google shows it to be scorpion-like, long and narrow with leg-like buttresses each side, and a tail leading to Sphinx Rock, the stinger. Along the top we passed through eucalypt forests, then rain forest, the ground littered with kilometres of lawyer vine. We wore tough clothing and leather gloves to deal with the backward-facing hooks on this slasher of flesh. We could have come across anything here. You will find this hard to believe, so check it out at www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2008/02/26/2172927.htm where you will find fifty accounts of Tassie Tiger sightings in the area around this mountain. Rob (new volleys), kept them away with his ‘Condamine bell’ a clipped-on metal mug that clinked and chinked against the embracing undergrowth. Huge trees, after growing unmolested for centuries, had died, collapsed and rotted where they were born. Scrub turkey nests were everywhere. Catbird and wampoo pigeon called to keep in contact. Olivier (new tent and sleeping bag), a stick-insect of a man, high stepped the forest litter in his size 13 shoes. His blue foam sleeping mat, strapped outside his rucksack, was losing chunks to the spiky undergrowth and ended up looking as if he had used it to fend off a mob of snarling thylacines.
We were seeing the ‘Big Scrub’ as it had always been. Nearing the top, the loamy soil gave way to rocks and finally, after six hours of walking, a trig station called Blue Knob. I left a visitors’ book here and we put up our tents. We had walked the scorpion’s back and it was time to slide down its tail to the stinger, Sphinx Rock just visible a kilometre away. The ridge we trod was narrow, about 5 metres wide, and had a steep drop on both sides. Half of its length was covered in a type of giant lily with stiff leaves three metres long. At times these leaves embraced us or tried to push us back. It got more and more serious, until we found ourselves on the knife edge of the Mount Warning caldera. We propped in very fear at the prospect of going further. Just 200 metres short of Sphinx Rock was a ledge, one metre wide, bare but for loose dirt and crumbling rock, with a sheer drop of 200 metres on both sides. I offered to rope somebody up if they wanted to cross it. No one was game. We took it in turns to cling to the last stunted tree in this wild and spectacular place and gaze upon Sphinx Rock in its terrible isolation. Rob wandered back to a spot where he could not see the anxious place we had ended up, and sat down, leaning up against an improbably placed scrub turkey nest. A metre above our heads we heard a whoosh as a falcon tried to see us off. It was time to play happy campers and return to our tents to enjoy the vibe of this special place, 933 metres above sea level.
According to Bundjalung mythology there is a sacred cave high on the mountain at Blue Knob (a dangerous place). It is home to an old woman who had a role in training the men who wanted to become clever men. They went to this witch to learn the things that such men should know. At the finish of the training the final test came when the witch threw them over the cliff to see if they could save themselves. Whatever the outcome the witch used her magic power to stop them from coming to harm.
At nightfall it got windy and a deep cold came over us. We crawled into our tents just as it started raining. My home-made shelter, weighing just 400gm, was now being tested. Through the night I listened to heavy forest-drops of rain hitting the material. This would send a fine, barely noticeable, spray of condensation over my face. Warm and snugly, I drifted off, to dream of a family of thylacines wandering through our campsite.
We woke in the clouds. I, (new EPIRB), set a compass bearing that would take us down the correct ridge. We were home to our other lives before lunch.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby north-north-west » Tue 19 Jun, 2012 7:24 pm

Ayers Rock. Or you could call it Uluru to prevent the spelling problem.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby pastuseby » Wed 29 Aug, 2012 5:35 pm

I wish that I had read this blog before doing the walk to the flying fox this last tuesday 28/9/12. It was my second attempt, my first was solo in Oct 11 and was aborted due to time. This time I had company and still did not make it to the Sphinx.
Once again aborted due to time. It was an 8 hour return walk along Googana Road to about 700m past the flying fox. I have logged it on my GPS if anyone wants a copy (21.8 kms). I will now prepare for it as an overnighter. Thanks for all the interesting information supplied here.
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby Moocattle » Mon 29 May, 2017 11:14 pm

Hadn't seen a whole lot of info about it other than this thread; still I ventured out to the Flying fox and Sphinx rock over the weekend.
NSW parks site got it pretty right - took us about 5 hours to get to the flying fox through considerable scrub of lawyer vine, lantana and blackberry(?) vine. There was about 4 thorny overgrown sections where trees had fallen between Mt Nardi and Mt Neville. Inbetween this in the shady sections was a large amount of lawyer vine - almost impenetrable off the loggin trail. Decent dirt patch at the flying fox for a campsite. Another hour of finding a way around the overgrown 'clearing' there's a bit of a footpad to the top of the mountain at 744m where there was a great spot for a camp before it headed downhill to the base of the knoll east of Sphinx rock (Which is where we set up our tents on a narrow footpad). A lot of lantana between the flying fox and where we camped. At our campsite next to small rock there was a nice view up to Sphinx rock. A short scramble up to the knob for great views north, south and again to sphinx rock. There's a rocky pylon here which we weren't too keen on climbing which would have a great 360 degree view above the trees. Started losing daylight so we sadly couldn't continue to the base of the rock itself. Looked to be some caves on the east side of it, would be a fun climb!

Woke to Lyrebirds calling in the morning (could be Albert's, saw a few that were light brown with lesser plumage)
Recorded a vid here:

Nice time of year with the foggy mornings, I scrambled back up the knoll for sunrise. The walk back was much easier after flattening the many spiky plants the previous day. The last 1km from Phollis gap was painful as it's all stairs that we managed to forget about.

Overall was a pretty rewarding hike, definitely should be done as an overnighter just to hear the birds and see the sunrise.
Small album can be seen here: http://imgur.com/a/3FSD8
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby ofuros » Tue 30 May, 2017 5:38 am

Been on the radar to explore the area for quite a while, enjoyed the serene view with bird calls in the background.
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby Tobiasc » Mon 12 Aug, 2019 11:54 am

Talk about an old Thread!
I had the chance this weekend just gone to attempt a hike to Sphinx Rock via the Flying Fox Trail
We commenced from the wide bend in Newton Drive just below the transmitter masts which was the original vehicular trail to the Flying Fox. NOTE: If you start from the transmitter masts you will end up adding an hour to your walk as the trail is not as direct to Pholis Gap.

Once you hit Pholis Gap the trail is not in any way, shape or form maintained. I have read here about people doing this hike from Huronbook Valley (Red Road, North Rocks) You will no longer make this hike as an overnighter from this point. Start at Nardi. Whilst the trail is now almost fully overgrown you can easily see the earthworks of the road and let this and the gap in the canopy guide you. A few hours in and you will encounter large thickets of raspberry and lantana. Long Jeans, gloves and hiking poles were essential here and were definitely scratched up badly on return. The Flying Fox is located beyond Mt Neville, on a Topographic map look for a peak that lines up with Kunghur Creek, it is much closer to the sphinx than an optimistic hiker might imagine. It is now easy to miss, and I have attempted to cut the word FOX into a palm tree with an arrow nearby. I was amazed it is still standing and quite stable too. There is a campsite just around the flying fox near the anchor point with the thin steel cable on it. It appears the trail went on from the campsite to the Sphinx but the trail became almost indistinguishable. Be very aware particularly on the way back of phantom trails, there are lots of slip roads going off into the bush that can easily be mistaken as the main trail or correct way to go.

Whilst I am glad I was able to see the Flying Fox and would like to go and attempt the sphinx again, I would be hesitant based on the condition of the track.
If anyone has any questions or would be keen to go to the Sphinx get in touch! tobias.caldicott@gmail.com

Photos are too large to upload see here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ipBKinCiYUWQ8sBbA
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Re: Kunghur Flying Fox

Postby ofuros » Tue 13 Aug, 2019 9:38 am

Thanks for the update & pics, Tobiasc.
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
https://ofuros.exposure.co/
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