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Event description

What: Monkeyfest. Camping. Climbing. Weeding

When: 0830 Saturday 17 June 2023. It is essential to be on time for the safety briefing.

Where: Bangalow campground, Watagans National Park

What to bring: 

For weeding: Helmet, long sleeve clothing and long pants that will tuck into socks. Insect repellant and sunscreen. Gardening gloves and secateurs if you have them. Other equipment will be supplied by the NPWS.

For climbing: your own climbing equipment. Climbing occurs separate to the weeding event and is not covered by the NPWS volunteer insurance that covers the weeding. You climb at your own risk. Sunday is optional crazy tights day, so BYO Lycra. 

For camping: you need to be self-sufficient. There are drop toilets, some picnic tables and fireplaces. Bring some firewood and your own water. 

How to register: the tickets are free, buy them below. Numbers are limited. 

Further enquiries email:  

For more information and some FAQs:

The Australian Climbing Association NSW and its Hunter and Central Coast climbing coalition and the Sydney Rock climbing club welcome all rock climbers to Monkeyfest in the Watagans National Park. Activities include a half day of crag care on Saturday morning followed by Saturday afternoon climbing and campfire talks. On crazy tights Sunday there will be climbing challenges and prizes for participants. Families are welcome. For non climbers there is the nearby Awaba mountain bike park and the walk to Gap Falls should not be missed. At least one member of the family group must participate in the weeding to register. the cliff walking track and climbing will be off limits Saturday morning for safety of the weeders.

Can I arrive Friday night? 

People are welcome to arrive on Friday night and set up camp at Bangalow campground or Gap creek campground which is 300m further down the road.

What is involved with the weeding? 

Weeding participants must be at the safety briefing at 0830 on Saturday in the Bangalow campground car park, Bangalow Rd. It is important to be on time for the safety briefing and to sign in for the crag care for insurance purposes. Weeding will be until midday followed by BYO lunch.
The weeding will involve clearing lantana and some track clearing. You will receive instruction in this at the safety briefing and experienced crag care members will be on hand to help throughout the morning along with the NPWS ranger. Liberally dousing your clothes in insect repellant is recommended to dissuade leeches and ticks from biting.

What is the climbing like? 

The climbing is predominantly trad and mixed climbing though a weekend of sports climbing and toproping is possible. There are a number of worthwhile cracks. is up to date and it is suggested that you screenshot this as there is no internet reception at the base of the crag or in the camping area. Despite extensive rebolting and in some cases retrobolting the climbs will still feel quite stiff for their grade. A few climbs still require bolt plates. Lists of good climbs in various styles to aim for will be provided.

Is there internet reception? 

There is no reception at the base of the crag or camp grounds. There is reception from Monkeyface lookout above the crags which is a steep 10 minute scramble up central gully. 

Are there snakes? I have heard there is a climb called Reptile Park!

The snakes that are seen on the cliff are mostly Brown Tree snakes (columbrids) and although venomous their fangs are in the back of the mouth unlike regular brown snakes (elapids) so it is difficult to get bitten. Reptile Park and the nearby Weena often have a few reptiles sunning themselves on ledges. They do not seem interested in climbers and it’s best to leave them alone. There are also many other pythons, whip snakes and crown snakes in the area. 

What else is there to do? 
Walking: The NPWS has just completely refurbished the walk to the base of the impressive 50 m high Gap Creek Falls.

On the way to the crag you will pass the Awaba mountain bike park. 

It is a 30 minute drive to West Lake Macquarie from the camp ground. The Visit Lake Mac council website covers the many attractions in the region. 

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