Summary: A short, off-track bushwalk in Wollemi National Park off the Box Tree Clearing Trail (Lilavale Track), to visit and record a shelter with Aboriginal hand stencils.

I’m joining Mark, Michael, Yuri and a few other hardy bushwalkers for a few short bushwalks around the Box Tree Clearing Trail, which is now called the Lilavale Track. (The firetrail was officially renamed in February 2021, so it’s often labelled with its “old” name). Leaving our cars on the recently graded road, we head down into a fern-filled valley.

We’re heading for a shelter with Aboriginal rock art, which Mark and Michael have spotted on a previous exploratory trip – but which hasn’t yet been officially recorded. Although it’s a very shallow and exposed overhang, it contains about ten Aboriginal hand stencils.

We spend some time photographing and documenting the stencils, which are all in white pigment.

It’s a fairly short distance to the shelter, but we take a longer route back as we explore some of the other impressive shelters and overhangs in the area.

Allthough it’s still too cold for snakes to pose a threat, we almost trip over a coiled black snake who’s enjoying the afternoon sun. I would have liked to get a few more photos… but it slithers off surprisingly quickly as a small crowd gathers around.

After a wide loop, we return to the bottom of the gully below Box Tree Clearing Trail / Lilavale Track.

Taking a slighly different route back up to the road, we push through some almost head-high ferns that cover the floor of the valley.

A small scramble up a low cliff-line sees a change from almost rainforest, to open forest.

An easy stroll along Box Tree Clearing Trail / Lilavale Track gets us back to our cars, with (after some discussion) just enough time for one more short bushwalk at the very end of the unsealed road.

Getting to the Box Tree Clearing Trail

There are no bushwalking tracks off the Box Tree Clearing Trail (now the Lilavale Track), about half of which is within the Wollemi National Park – but it offer many options for off-track walking. The Box Tree Clearing Trail / Lilavale Track branches off Putty Valley Road (4.4km from Putty Road), and continues for 10km before reaching an impassable mound of earth. lt’s about 2.5 hour drive from Sydney.

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