Over the June long weekend I went for a leisurely stroll through the Grampians in Victoria with a school mate Josh and his brother. Neither Josh or I had hiked there before, so in the end we picked the hike with the toughest description that formed a loop – and man we picked well!
The Major Mitchell Plateau walk climbs from the bottom of a valley up a long but gentle track that follow the side of a ridge line right up on to the Plateau. We picked the weather window perfectly, with rain for a few days before hand the area was lush and the creeks were all running. Plus we started the walk in dense cloud and fog (which would come and go the whole weekend) so that until we were well up the side of the plateau we genuinely didn’t know what we were getting into.
The views when the clouds did seperate were spectacular!
On that first night the campsite was absolutely packed, to the point where a group of older club bushwalkers went around and hassled everyone to make sure that everyone had permits! Being jammed in did have the advantage that we met our neighbours and had some great chats – we got along particularly well with a group of outdoor ED people from Melbourne. They were telling us all about how they had a car at the end of the second day and were going to drive into town to get indian and beers for dinner. We of course put in an order, half jokingly.
The second day of our walk has a heap of hills, often quite steep so I am glad we had dry weather otherwise I imagine parts of the track could have been treacherous. However the track is in the process of being massively upgraded for the future Grampians Peaks Trail which I can’t wait to do once it all connects up. One section consisted of beautifully made stairs on the way up, and then sketchy(ish) narrow footpads on the way down, so it will be really interesting to see what the final track is like.
We were treated to a lot more views on the second day as well which was a treat.
When we arrived at camp we were in for a treat. Our friends from the previous night had beers and snacks for us! They even brought us home some indian! Thank you so much crew!
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.
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.
Friends of the Prom
Waiting for a bus…
Arriving at Sealers Cove
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.
How is that for a view?
The new tent in its natural element
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!
Shag on a rock?
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.
How is that for a view?
Such clear water!
Rocks and Lichen
Sealers Cove Boat Names
Whale bones in the beach.
Continued in Part Two of this Adventure….
Well it has been a busy week or two. Since I last posted I have covered about 2000km of south eastern Australia, visited some amazing friends (at least 12 different catch ups I think) and seen some of the most iconic places of the area. As I have been so busy and tired photos haven’t been a priority but here are a few anyway.
On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early excited about what my week had in store. Starting with a long drive from Alexandra I was heading south to Wilsons Promontory and the southern most point of mainland Australia.
My early start unsurprisingly started late with four or five coffees as Terry kept refilling my glass, and then rain, wind a fog made for an interesting drive down to my starting point at Tidal River. What google said would take 3.5hrs ended up taking 5.5hrs due to meal breaks, stops to admire the mist filled Blue Gum forests, and slow Saturday drivers.
Arrive at the information centre at 2:30pm I was a little concerned about whether I’d have time to do the walk I wanted that day, but 15 minutes chatting to the ranger set me up with an achievable route for a 5 day walk, confirmation of expected walk times and off I set. Continue reading
Tonight I have been tidying my room. This means going through boxes of old documents I know long need and receipts from adventures long ago. Finding a folder of bank statements made me thing of some of the more fun things I did in 2007, one of which was the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria. This post will mostly be a few happy snaps, and is totally out of date, but the walk was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
Back in 2007 I was part of the UNSW Outdoors Club and enjoyed the company of their members of several trips including a rogaining (click this link if you mistakenly think it is a hair treatment), caving and bushwalking. One of the most enjoyable trips was to join a mate Ian, his brother and two utterly novice hikers on a 6 day bush walk along the Great Ocean Walking track. This 100km covers the section of coastline not occupied by the Great Ocean Road, known for being the most scenic coastal drive in Victoria as well as being a whole lot of fun in a gutless corolla.
Starting from Apollo Bay, and ending at the Apostle Bay visitors centre the walk is almost entirely isolated and away from the road, traffic and other people. It is well equipped with shelters and water tanks and the scenery is mind bogglingly good, especially with the luck we had.
I won’t go into the details of the walk because they are probably covered in a better more up to date manner by Parks Vic, however some of the highlights of the trip included:
- The anchors of long wrecked ships washed up on rock platforms
- Long isolated beaches
- Campsites with cooking shelters on wet evenings, and the sort of conversations that can only happen after 5 days straight with the same people
- being absolute shown how hiking should be done by a pair of 70+ Canadian women who were walking substantially faster, and more efficiently than us kids.
- Dunnies with views. Seriously good views.
- The whole walk!
To summarise the trip even further here are a few happy snaps!
I’ve decided that blogs frustrate me because you can never find a page you want when you want it. For that reason I have created a new page called my Adventure Directory, where I intend to keep links to all the cool adventures friends and I have had over the years. I may even include some posts from my favourite blogs, like twobreakfasts, Tandem Travellers and Northern Walker.
I will also try to add some old adventures to my collection of posts because I’m fairly certain I can put up a reasonable collection of posts for each state and territory.
If anyone wants to do a guest post feel free to let me know because the bigger the directory the better really.
It is time for Christmas plans to be formalised. I’ve been thinking and tweaking my plans over the past week and have come up with an awesome but some what vague route. Starting from the highest point in Australia I will tootle into Jindabyne, meander south through the Snowy Mountains, wander through the Victorian Alps and then roll down hill to the coast.
I have made an incredibly detailed and comprehensive plan which involves a google map and a distance. Most importantly of all I know that the one store along the route will be open when I pass through.
So in summary I will be starting at the highest point in Australia, will ride through lots and lots of hills and then down to the coast. I will start taking bets on how many vertical meters I will ride in the 2228m between top and bottom.
Route for my summer ride. There should be plenty of hills along the route.
So as you know I don’t currently have a job I’ve had the realisation that I can apply for jobs from any computer anywhere I am. So I started thinking…
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like
The idea I have had is to ride from Brisbane to Adelaide over a period of 2 -3 months, and to meet up with people along the way and if possible have them join in for a few days.
The route I am considering includes so really exciting and iconic locations such as:
- Waa Gorge
- Mt Kaputar
- The Warrumbungles
- Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve
- Goobang National Park
- Parkes Radio Telescope
- Lake Cargelligo
- Hillston (where my friend Gregor lives)
- Mallee Cliffs National Park
- Mungo National Park (possibly)
- The Murray River to the mouth
- Victor Harbour
- Kangaroo Island
I am really looking forward to the ride, and would be happy for people to join me for as much or as little of the ride as they like. Even drop in if you are in the area.
I will keep everyone up to date when I am leaving and where I am. Post a comment or send me an email if you are interested in coming along and I will leave you with this thought…