Passes - Rennies Tunnel
|Track Type||3||Unmarked track.|
|Track Condition||3||OK, some work needed.|
Although technically not a pass Rennies Tunnel does allow access to and from the valley. Running through the rock of the first Narrow Neck, it was used as an access tunnel for the mining industry of the 19th century. It is only 1.4 m high and was built to accomodate a cable tramway which brought shale/coal from the Megalong valley mines to the bottom of the (now) scenic railway for haulage up the cliff face and out to the railway siding at West Katoomba. Remnants of the tramway still exist in the tunnel including sleepers, spikes and a section of cable at the western end.
- Devils Hole track / Narrow Neck climbers track
- Federal Pass
The eastern entrance to Rennies Tunnel can be found on Federal Pass (488 644) about 1.2km from the Golden Stairs junction. It is easy to see, although it is half covered by a boulder, and has a fence just inside it. The fence does not block the entrance completely. The water is normally about knee deep and contains oxides which will colour any clothing / footwear orange, so wear old clothing. After a lot of rain the water in the first section of tunnel can be quite deep and allow less easy access. The tunnel is only 1.3m in places so a helmet would be a good idea. The tunnel is about 400m long so you will need a torch and be hunched over for quite a while. You will see bits of old tramway hardware at the eastern end of the tunnel and whole sleepers with the spikes still in towards the wester end. These is a colony of microbats in the large chamber just before the western end, although I didn't notice them there in Jan 2022. The western end of the tunnel is quite low and looks at first to be blocked off but there is room to squeeze around some boulders and exit.
Upon reaching the end you can either reverse your journey or scramble up to the north (no track). Continue up till you reach the bottom of the cliffline, there you can connect with the climbers track which eventually leads to the Devil's Hole track. You will know you have got it right if you come upon a chain which assists in the upward journey.