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This major shady cliffline is the very best of the New Nowra crags, featuring several sectors of excellent pocketed rock and more importantly height. The fine grained grey and white rock has a particular 'limestone' like texture in many places. The entire cliff faces south west and receives almost no sun - but is strangely great in the middle of winter. Summer is ok as well due to strong breezes. At 30m high the routes at the Gold Mine are some of the longest at Nowra, and many are true classics of the south coast. Bolts are plentiful - this is a sport only crag. The biggest downside is the rough road approach, the rap in access (20m from the carpark!) and the complex and hairy exit up a series of ladders, rungs and ledges. It is not suitable for kids, pets or geriatrics. The best crags are Cafe Cruiser, Fernville and Wasp in the Willows.
The Gold Mine is located about 20 minutes South-West of the Nowra CBD and Thompsons Point. The last few kilometres of the drive are on rough roads that are only really suitable for cars that don't mind a bit of mud and rocks. After heavy rain a 4WD is mandatory - a Forestor or Xtrail is fine.
From Nowra: Continue along Braidwood road towards TJF.
Reset your speedo at the intersection of Turpentine and Braidwood Roads.
1km: Continue on and the 620 sign will be 1km on your right.
1.2km: Take the next dirt road left. Drive through open gate. Continue on this dirt road ignoring right turn.
3.8km: Turn down the second road on right it should have a small "fire trail sign". From this point the road is much rougher and there are sections which stay muddy for most of the year.
6.3km: Continue along this road until it finishes at a small parking area and turing circle. Don't park others in!
Walk 25 metres down the trail to cliff edge - directly out from the giant big dead tree is a rap anchor on a little ledge. Fix a line here or rap and pull a doubled rope here (it's 30m to the ground - a doubled 50m rope WILL NOT REACH). The rap route is straight down the west end of Rockn' Tree Cave.
Alternatively, to access the base of the cliff (without rapping in) walk toward the cliff and pick up a faint trail leading to the left. After about 200m the trail leads you into a gully. Take care at the top of the gully due to loose earth and rotten rock. Trend leftward to reach the first set rungs to gain the terrace. Go right along the terrace, again take care though the sword grass and wet ground to reach the second set of rungs. Once at the base of the cliff walk right (facing out), keeping as close to the cliff as possible, for about 50m to find a fixed ladder and rope. Scale this ladder to reach Wind Willows Wall. About 10 minutes walk from car.
The area was originally discovered in 2006 by Greg Wilson who bolted and climbed quite a few of the most obvious lines at each crag. After failing to get anyone else enthused he lost interest in this crag (but did return years later to chop some retrobolts) and the cliff remained ignored and forgotten until 2011 when the New Nowra crew of Rick Phillips, Jason Lammers and others got wind of the area. They solved the walk-in access route by installing rungs and ladders and bolted every inch of the place. The name of this crag was changed to The Gold Mine due to community sensitivities.