Mt Alfred – An Awesome Day Walk

Disclaimer: I probably shouldn’t have done this walk – it is closed above the tree line but in a moment of weakness I followed the crowds (which were significant) and finished the walk. Check with the landowners before completing this walk!

The walk up to the summit of Mt Alfred is somewhat arduous but well and truly worth it. The walk begins with a long and steep climb up from a very small car park up through beech forest. For several kilometres you walk upwards on a slightly eroded and warn track that when I was there a lot of fallen trees. It takes a fair chunk of time to get up there because it is a continuous incline without any level ground.

Anyway, you eventually break through to the tree line and after a slightly scrambly section you are up on the ridge and the views are simply stunning. I had a perfectly clear skies with views in all directions – basically it was amazing.

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The Queen Charlotte Track – NZ

The Queen Charlotte Track (or QCT for short) is a 4 to 5 day walk at the northern end of the the South Island of New Zealand. It is stupendously well built and managed track that is a cool collaboration between landowners and public bodies. The track is mainly well built, wide fire trail that makes for very easy walking that is not challenging except for the grade of some of the hills.

The walk is largely along the ridge lines that divide Queen Charlotte Sound and Kenepuru Sound. In good weather is it ludicrously beautifully, in bad weather the winds and rain on the ridges can be intense. On my trip I was lucky to have a wide range of weather including persistent rain for a few days, beautiful warm sunshine, and sunsets worth staying up until 10pm to see.

I am not going to write much about this trip because to be honest the walk isn’t one worth writing all that much about. There are views, hills, bays and sounds etc. There are fancy bars and resorts, campsites and the odd bench. Basically it is a super long walk along  headland – but that is not to say that it isn’t worth it. It is great. So, instead of reading have a look at some photos.

Cotter Liloing

Recently a few friends and I have re-discovered the joys of lazy days liloing on local rivers. These little micro-adventures allow us to escape the city for the morning, have a whole heap of fun and then still get to the cafe for lunch which is pretty awesome. Even better has been the fact that Canberra has multiple stretches of river that are accessible by car and allow car shuffles so you get to avoid the massive walk outs associated with lil0 canyons in the Blue Mountains, like the Wollangambe River (see the following posts Wollangambe 1 or Wollangambe 2.)

Thanks Alex, Rose and Lou for the fun on this little outing!

ANUMC Kayaking

For the past few months I have been kayaking semi-regularly with the ANU Mountaineering Club kayaking group on Tuesdays. It is a great crew of people and kayaking on Lake Burley  Griffin is just great.

Three cheers for mid-week microadventures!

 

Wilsons Prom – Another Amazing Adventure – Part 2

 

We left Part One at Refuge Cove – my favourite campsite at Wilsons Promintory. From there I started heading up the hill at a fairly leisurely pace. The cloud and broken and for the first time I was hot but not concerned about an incoming rain shower. Towards the top of the big climb out of the cove I found a beautiful flatish rock for lunch in the sun and out of the worst of the wind. A fairly long and unearned break followed as I hadn’t walked far and wasn’t planning on doing so.

Eventually I got my act together, wandered up to the peak and down towards Little Waterloo Bay. I had intended on another short day but when I arrived at the campsite it was packed to the point of overflowing and the only sites left rather damp and boggy so after topping up my water I continued walking. After crossing the creek at the north end of Waterloo Bay the rain returned in full force. A cross between fog, heavy downpours and steam it was way too hot to walk in full rain gear so I walked in a rain coat and boots which would surely have looked silly, but luckily I didn’t come across anyone.

Eventually I made it to half way hut which is my favourite campsite on the prom because no one is ever there.

The next day I plodded along to the light house and very nearly the southern most point of Australia, then back up towards Little Waterloo Bay. As luck would have it it was the ranger change over at the lighthouse again so i still haven’t seen the museum, but perhaps next time I will get a chance.

The sun came out properly on the way to LWB which mean by the time I got to Waterloo Bay beach I was hot and sticky so I took myself for a little swim (again luck no one was there to watch) before setting up camp and enjoying a spectacular sunset from on top of a rock.

In the morning I ate breakfast but discovered Ihad run out of gas so was sadly lacking in coffee. Consequently I decided to walk back to the car and skip a campsite. I marched across to Oberon Bay and desperate for a coffee. While I was having a swimming break I meet a lovely couple hiking with their three kids and they offered to heat water for me that night and in the morning which absolutely saved the last day of my trip – as I had  marched in and arrived early it meant I could swim and read for the rest of the afternoon.

The next morning I wandered out before heading back to Melbourne for my mates wedding.

Wilsons Promontory – Another Amazing Walk – Part 1

Almost exactly a year after my last adventures at Wilsons Prom I was back down in this amazing national park for another wander. For this adventure I had a mates bucks party at Tidal River (the park’s main campground) and then a week until the wedding back in Melbourne, so rather than driving back up to Sydney I decided to make the most of the opportunity and see how I found a longer walk by myself.

As this adventure started with a two night bucks party (we won’t talk specifics) lets just say I wanted to have an easy start to the trip. Catching the bus from Tidal River up to Telegraph Saddle I started a slow meander down to Sealers Cove. Almost immediately I met a group of walkers who were all members of Friends of the Prom, a local conservation group who mixed bush regeneration and other conservation activities with their love of the outdoors. Happily they let me wander along the amazingly well constructed walking track with them, stopping very regularly to talk about what every plant and rock was. This was both fascinating and welcome given my state of exhaustion.

Eventually I found a little bit of a walking rhythm and left them behind on the descent down to Sealers Cove. The stead rain over the past week had made the track we and boggy, but heading down hill was fine – the Scout group I met coming the other way had different views.

Eventually I made it down to the beach and the campsite. For anyone who is considering going there – take aerogard! After a quick dinner I was in bed well before dark and enjoying a solid 14hrs sleep.

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Monday saw me reluctantly stirring from my slumber to discover a swarm of mosquitos between the inner and fly of my tent. Seriously there were hundreds of the things!

Eventually I got going and made my way to Refuge Cover which has to be one of the best campsites anywhere. It is a sheltered and well protected, with some much interesting stuff just lying around. According to the informative sign there is even a whale skeleton 50m of shore that is visible while snorkelling. Next time I am definitely taking a snorkel and a wet suit because when I got sufficiently tempted to strip off and splash in the water it was way way too cold to swim out 50m!

The next day consisted mostly of sitting around, reading books, and chatting to the interesting people around. It was particularly cool to meet a guy from Launceston who had sailed up in an open topped 16ft skiff by him self and was just camping out until the winds were in the right direction to head home, and a Canadian couple who were gradually working and sailing their way around the Australian coastline.

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Continued in Part Two of this Adventure….

Planning a new style of Adventure

SO…

I have bushwalked, cycle toured, canyoned, canoe toured, lived out of a 4WD and a whole lot of other things but this January I have committed myself to a new style of adventure. It isn’t new technique-wise but this adventure means gear weight and equipment generally will be more of a consideration than my previous trips. What am I do? I am going to walk a section of the Te Araroa!

The section I have selected to do is at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, from Ship Cove to St Arnaud.

Now the walking doesn’t inherently worry me, nor does 18 days tramping by myself (though if anyone wants to come you are more than welcome to join me!)

What worries me is the fatigue of carrying a pack and knowing that weight will have a significant impact on how my body handles a long walk, and then combining that with the fact that New Zealand’s weather is notoriously variable and wet. I think basically my inner gear freak is having a field day worrying about what gear to carry!

I am torn between taking a tarp, bivvy and bug net or a small one man tent (which I don’t own currently).

I am sure I will write more on this, but any thoughts or ideas would be more than welcome!

 

 

Corang Peak – Burrumbeet – Corang Lagoon

Canberrans are lucky enough to have two long weekends in a row over the end of September start of October. For the Family and Communities Day weekend Alex, Rose and I decided to head out into the Budawangs for a Bushwalk. Originally we’d planned on heading into the eastern side of the Budawangs but luckily laziness intervened when I decided I couldn’t be bothered leaving on Friday night, or even particularly early on Saturday. As a result we headed to Wog Wog camping area early on Saturday morning (via the Braidwood bakery) packed for a 3 day walk.

The walk we’d chosen was described in a few blog posts but didn’t seem to be in anything  more formal. Heading out Wog Wog we aimed to climb Corang Peak, check out Corang Arch, camp at Burumbeet and then find a way through to Corang Lagoon which was described as having  a vague and difficult to follow foot pad before heading back to the car.

From the car park the track crossed a small stream (where Rose got her new shoes wet for the first time) and started the leisurely stroll along ridge lines. Our path took us around the south of Goodsell Basin, along the edge of Korra Hill and then to Corang Peak. We initially missed the turn that would have lead straight over the Peak, instead walking past to the junction and then heading back up without packs.

Following a little bit of a photo session at the top we headed off towards Corang Arch and then the Conglomerate Slope. Somehow we managed to miss the Arch itself, I guess that will have to be an adventure for next time, but had a great time wandering down the fun and fascinating rock formation to the bottom of the hill. Alex did a great job with a tricky decent which she never particularly enjoys.

At the bottom of the hill we found a large group of some what elderly bushwalkers set up at the Canowrie Brook campsites. Luckily we were headed to Burrumbeet Brook with its camp caves and drop toilets. The girls hadn’t quite believed me when I said we were going to be sleeping in a rock overhang without tents – luckily once we’d picked a spot they were more than just a little excited.

The next morning after a lovely nights sleep, a few minor wildlife sightings and such we wandered back to Canowrie Brook and then we’re pleasantly surprised to find a well formed footpad heading in the direction we wanted to go. This footpad, marked by cairns and pink spray paint, lead all the way to the Rock Ribs and then on to Corang Lagoon.

The Rock Ribs were spectacular, though the walk back out was similar to a canyon exit really.

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The Rock Ribs!

Corang Lagoon was astonishingly beautiful, and luckily it was our campsite for the night. A brief storm and showers didn’t stop Alex and I going for a swim, but did almost drown the tent .

Our final day should have been a fairly leisurely stroll out along a well formed track, but about half way I decided to walk up a hill and we ended up somewhat off track which was an excellent idea as we came across a whole series of extremely large pagodas to explore with some absolutely stunning views!

Once back at the car we headed to the Braidwood Bakery again for a snack before finishing the drive home.

Rams Head Snowshoe Trip

On Saturday Tol (of SmilingLeaf fame) and I headed into the Snow for an end of season adventure. Her amazing write up of our adventure – with awesome photos of yours truly can be found below!

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Reunited with my outdoors buddy the Graceful Cyclist, after too many months apart, we headed to the Snowys. My plan for months had been to do an overnight snowshoe trip. However, the forecast for t…

Source: Rams Head Snowshoe Trip

Blue Lake Adventures

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Last week three mates and I headed out to Blue Lake in Kosciusko National Park for a five days of snowshoeing, igloo building, relaxation and for Dom and Stu some ice climbing.

The trip was dreamed up during our Davies Canyon trip in January and as we all now hail from very different parts of the country there was a huge volume of messages shared in the planning and lead up to departure. However Friday night arrived and after dinner and drinks with friends I went home, loaded the car and waited for Dom and Stu to arrive from Sydney.

Saturday morning we were up at five and on our way to the snow. We picked up Josh from the bus station just after six and had a very leisurely trip down to Guthega with stops in Cooma for fuel and second breakfast and then Jindabyne for all the gear everyone had forgotten.

We eventually made it to Guthega at about 11:30 and started walking at about 12. The walk in to Blue Lake is generally upwards once you’ve crossed the swinging bridge but firm snow with a slightly icey crust actually made for fairly quick travel and we had selected a campsite but just after 4. An hour or so of digging had the platforms dug and tents set up in time for an early night. With bad weather forecast for Monday we knew we’d need to secure the camp pretty well on Sunday to get ready.

Waking up Josh and Dom generally got ready before heading of  to do some ice climbing while Stu and I spent the day building snow walls to shelter the campsite and building what was planned to be an igloo but ended up as more of a coracle. It snowed gently on and off through the day (the snow was in frequent, the wind was not) but by 5pm we’d set up a substantial snow kitchen for the evening and were pretty much knackered.

On Monday morning the weather arrived. Rain and wet snow were omnipresent and the day was pretty much tent bound as we tried to stay warm and dry despite the elements. The wind was an advantage as it meant we could actually cook in our vestibules with great care, but at various points during the day when the snow got heavier we took turns in digging out the tent on a half hourly basis.

During the evening the winds dropped, and then the temperature plummeted so that we didn’t have to dig out the tent, but we did have stiff frozen jackets in the morning!

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The walk out was spectacular as the skies cleared and we ended up back in just thermals on the walk out.

All in all a spectacular and somewhat character building trip.