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Armidale Bushwalkers – 2020 Walks Report (extract)

2020 WALKS REPORT (extract), Armidale Bushwalkers

 

 

 

 

 

Like many, Armidale Bushwalkers 2020 walks program got off to a very slow start.

The Club held a one day walk in January around Point Lookout with five members. The smoke from fires still lingered in the valley below Wrights Lookout although where we walked had not been burnt.

In February the Club held a one day walk in the Sunnyside area with five members present while the Secretary was away in Tasmania.

During March the Club had two day walks with dates swapped and the outcome that neither walk went ahead. A weekend walk was organized for a Friday and Saturday later in March which meant that a number of members including the Secretary were unable to participate in the walk. The walk was to be the last for many months as the COVID crisis forced everyone into lock down. Walks were cancelled and the garden never looked better when the lockdown ended in late May.

The Club got together at Gara Gorge at the end of May and discussed walks for the winter months. A short walk along the Threlfall Track helped everyone shake off the lockdown blues and get back into shape for the winter walks. The first walk for the winter was to the summit of Mount Duval and camping near the trig with twelve participants. A wet start on the Sunday meant we were back at the cars and home for lunch.

On the following Sunday twelve members enjoyed a day walk traversing the summit of Mount Yarrowyck.

July saw quite a few walks cancelled due to weather and leaders having other commitments. Four members joined an unscheduled half day walk on the first Sunday in July in the Long Point area. See remainder of walks report here.

Our Club of the Month: Armidale Bushwalking Club

Armidale Bushwalking Club was formed in late 2004 and has approximately 50 members. The Club run walks once a fortnight – usually there’s one or two day trips and a more challenging backpack walk once a month. The Club also brings people together to organise their own trips – from an afternoon stroll to extended overseas backpack trip.

The Club is developing a loose association between clubs surrounding Guy Fawkes river- a kind of “Fawkes Fraternity” to share programs, ideas and trips including with Inverell Bushwalking Club, Clarence Valley Bushwalkers and Ulitarra Conservation Society.

Joining a  group such as Armidale Bushwalking Club is a good way to get started in bushwalking as you can borrow gear from the Club’s store, find out about great places to walk, share costs and ideas and, most importantly, walk safely with experienced walkers.  Club membership gives you access to walks with all of the NSW Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs, and excellent Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance.

Armidale Bushwalkers welcome new members and hope to see you on the track!

All Nations Bushwalkers – Little Digger and Two Creeks Track Ramble

LITTLE DIGGER AND TWO CREEKS TRACK RAMBLE, 21 February 2021, Walk Report by Dee McCallum, All Nations Bushwalkers

Parts of this track were known to me but not all, so I was pleased Leah had put this walk on. We met at Roseville Station where several of the group started with a morning coffee, then headed off through the delightful Roseville streets with many fine Federation houses, beautifully renovated with lovely gardens. We got to our first stretch of bush at Little Digger Track, which was not so straight forward but we picked our way alongside houses and past the creek. After a short detour across the wrong bridge we came back onto the main track and were met by our wet weather friends the leeches! We eventually came out onto the fabulous Middle harbour track – easy walking with view through trees to the water. There is plenty of history in the area and lots of informative signs. After passing under Roseville Bridge, we stopped for morning tea at the picnic tables near Echo Point. It was good to be under shade as temperatures were rising!

We then backtracked along Middle Harbour before joining the Two Creeks track. Parts of the track were quite exposed, so we were getting hot and just in time we had our lunch break under the shade of the trees. More friendly leeches about, they seemed to be everywhere! The track continued along Middle Harbour with lovely water views.

Shortly after lunch, we got to the most attractive part of the track, well shaded with beautiful trees and overhangs.

We then had an exciting detour through the tunnel at Gordon Creek. This would be impassable in rain but the water level was fine. Luckily there was a handrail to guide us! After exiting, a last uphill track before getting back to the road at Lindfield Station where we all dashed off after a hot but enjoyable day. On the walk, ably lead by Leah, were Dee, Francoise, Linda, Steve, Len, Tricia, Helen, Bryan, Richard, Molly, Connie, Geraldine, Elaine and Daniel.

Our Club for April 2021 is All Nations Bushwalkers

Come and explore the wonderful Australian bush with All Nations Bushwalkers. The Club visits beautiful national parks and wilderness areas around Sydney and further afield and has a graded series of walks, bike rides and water-based activities.

Most activities involve bushwalking in national parks within 100km of Sydney, including Blue Mountains, Ku-ring-gai Chase, Royal, Wollemi, Bouddi, Brisbane Waters, Dharug, Marramarra and Sydney Harbour national parks, or the parks and reserves of the NSW Southern Highlands and Illawarra regions.

All Nations Bushwalkers activities suit a wide range of fitness and experience levels. Most activities are day walks, ranging from easy to rather hard. There are also overnight camping trips and longer expeditions to destinations across Australia – bushwalking by day, enjoying the companionship of the campfire gathering at night! Club members also organise social activities, such as restaurant nights, cinema and art gallery visits, Christmas parties and various special outings.

Getting to club activities is easy – they generally meet at a train station and then car pool to the walking track. You won’t get lost and don’t need your own transport! Club members are men and women of all ages and nationalities from across the Sydney area.  You are welcome try a bushwalk walk first – choose a walk then contact the organiser for details. Visitors can try one walk for free before they’re expected to join. Membership starts from only $30 a year (for 3 years). Learn more

 

Dalmeny-Narooma Bushwalkers – Eurobodalla Regional Botanical Gardens

Eurobodalla Regional Botanical Gardens Easy 6km walk, Dalmeny-Narooma Bushwalkers, Saturday 27th March 2021

A recent Dalmeny Narooma Bushwalkers Club walk was an easy 6kms in Eurobodalla Regional Botanical Gardens. The Eurobodalla Regional Botanical Gardens are set on 42 hectares of Mogo State Forest, adjacent to Deep Creek Dam. The site has not been logged since the early years of the twentieth century and visitors can appreciate many of the region’s plants in a natural setting.  The Gardens has 8kms of beautiful public walking tracks which vary in length and gradient to cater for individual requirements and limitations.

It was a perfect day for the Club’s walk during which Margaret Lynch explained what was happening in the Gardens.  After the recent bushfires a lot of work has been completed and more is planned. The walkers were delighted to see the Gardens regrowth including many young green wattles which protect the undergrowth floor and let other native plants thrive.

The Club members walked 5.5km and had a look at Deep Creek Dam, for which a new lookout is planned. At the end of the walk Bev Brazel thanked Margaret for the walk on our behalf. Some walkers enjoyed lunch at the Cafe, some bought plants, and others had their lunch in the grounds. Overall all participants agreed that it was a very pleasant day.

Our Club of the Month for April 2021: Dalmeny-Narooma Bushwalkers

Our club of the month is Dalmeny-Narooma Bushwalkers who have been walking for 35 years. The Club meet at the Red Tractor, George Noble Park, Dalmeny, with a plywood tractor now used to represent the original to honour the Club’s history.

Dalmeny Narooma Bushwalkers was established in May 1986 to encourage bushwalking as a pleasant group activity. The Club welcomes new walkers to join in and enjoy the beautiful bush and coastal environments of the far south coast of NSW.

Volunteer walk leaders offer various grade bushwalks twice a week around the local area of Eurobodalla and Bega Valley, as well as club camps in other localities and some social activities. The Club aims to keep its procedures as simple and as affordable as possible but also has a few rules to keep all walkers safe in the bush. Walks are grouped into 3 programs a year – Autumn, Winter and Spring – and are published on the Club’s website.

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The Walking Volunteers

Sydney Trackwatch

 The Walking Volunteers Inc. have been proof-walking, mapping and providing walking routes around Sydney to walkers for 17 years. They now have over 1,300 kilometres of walking routes on their map and hope to add another 200 kilometres in the next month after approval has been granted by various land managers.

However, keeping track of changes on the walking routes is becoming more of a challenge as the network increases. The Walking Volunteers want to thank the walkers and land managers (e.g. Councils, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Western Sydney Parklands Trust, etc.) who often advise them of new and changed paths and tracks. However, tracks and paths are often closed for essential infrastructure (e.g. sewage pumping stations, light rail, etc.) or damage from natural events. It may take several months before the Walking Volunteers find out about these closures and when they do, they are able to liaise with land managers and establish alternative routes which are immediately updated on their maps and, via the magic of the Internet, updated on walkers’ smartphones, tablets or PCs. However, finding out about changes may take months and, in the meantime, walkers find it very frustrating to find a walking route on the maps has been closed.

So, the Walking Volunteers are introducing a program called Sydney Trackwatch to discover any changes or closures to the walking routes on their maps as soon as possible. It is very simple and does not require filling out complicated forms. Just let the Walking Volunteers know (Email: info@walkingvolunteers.org.au or Phone: 4784 2002) immediately of any changes or closures on the walking routes shown on any of their maps (Sydney Walking Tracks, Walking Coastal Sydney, Great West Walk). Also, let them know of any alternative routes you used to bypass the problem area. They will immediately re-walk, re-map and put the alternative routes on their maps as well as follow up the organisation responsible to find out when the walking route will be re-opened. When it is re-opened, they will immediately re-walk the route and change it back to the original course.

A good example of this is North Head, where the Walking Volunteers changed the route on their maps after the intensive bushfire in October 2020 and are now liaising with Sydney Harbour National Park and Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to change back to the original route when the fire-damaged areas are re-opened to the public.

All it takes is a quick phone call or email to assist the Walking Volunteers and your fellow-walkers!

 

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Patoneys A Different Way

Patoneys A Different Way, Capertee Valley, NSW, 19-20 Sept 2020 by Rachel Grindlay

Given how much of my time I spend looking at National Parks alerts and advising other people about closures it is somewhat ironic I failed to check all of the relevant closures information for a trip I had on the Spring Program. A couple of weeks before the trip was scheduled we drove past the access road I was planning on using. There were “STOP, CLOSED” signs – it looked like I might have a problem. At home I looked at the map to find that the road access and part of my walk were in Ben Bullen and Wolgan State Forests. Both had been closed since December so the chances of them reopening in the next two weeks were remote.

Somewhat despondent, my initial reaction was to cancel the walk. But then I felt guilty for the people who had signed up. Scouring the map I was surprised to see how many different directions Pantoneys Crown could be accessed from. Point Cameron was definitely out of the picture since Mt Jamison and McLeans Pass are in Wolgan State Forest. But a new route started to form before me, taking in some map features which had caught my attention in the past – Tarpeian Rock and Moffitts Pagodas.

The new route had the definite advantage that I didn’t need to worry about the condition of the road, and the associated issues with carpooling and Covid. The party composition changed a little with the change of route but eventually six of us convened at the start of the Moffitt Trail bright and early on Saturday morning.

A quick survey confirmed no one was a sadist with the desire to walk an extra 2km of fire trail at the start and end of the trip. We piled into two cars for a quick drive along Moffitt Trail to cut off some walking. Parking where we planned to pop out at the end left us 3km of fire trail before we left any semblance of a trail behind for the rest of the trip.

The ridge towards Tarpeian Rock was a maze of pagodas. We took some of our navigation from Beyonce (“To the left, to the left”), though at one point we were pushed quite a way right before we found a way up through the fortress of pagodas. Finding our way back to the western cliff line, a bit of exposed scrambling and a jump got us onto Tarpeian Rock for morning tea. It was a sunny, still day, warmer than most of us had expected. The next point north had an impressive rock outcrop at the end which gave plenty more photo opportunities before we hit a flat, open section of ridge to take us quickly towards Baal Bone Point.

Our lunch spot had impressive views of Pantoneys Crown and the Red Rocks – where two-thirds of the party had walked only two weeks earlier. We marvelled at the patchwork nature of the fire patterns – some sections in the valley looked like a blowtorch had been put to them, yet they were surrounded by areas where the canopy hadn’t burnt.

After lunch was where the real fun started – the scramble off Baal Bone Point – I feel like the same logs have been in place for many years to assist with the descent – luckily unburnt. There were plenty of orchids in flower to slow the botanists down, but we eventually got to the base of the South Pass onto Pantoneys.

Only one member of the party hadn’t been to Pantoneys previously, though it was the first time going up the South Pass for two in the group. We made short work of it with everyone scrambling up without issue – other than a couple of frights from a Blue-Tongue Lizard sitting in a wedge we wanted to use as a handhold! We hauled packs at the top of the lower section and then squeezed around to the left avoiding the final awkward chimney climbs.

After setting up camp most of us went looking for the fabled water source. I had some vague directions, and indications from looking at the aerials, and with the amount of rain there had been in the last few months I figured if we didn’t find water this trip it probably didn’t exist. Tom led us straight into a little canyon which had flowing water and a small pool! This was great news as I think the hot day had caught most of us a little short on the water front. After filling up we squeezed down the canyon to the cliff edge where we took in the views.

The colour palette of grey was used for sunset, but the views were still impressive. Our earlier rehab work on the fire ring had shrunk it to about a quarter of its original size, which still gave us a very cheery fire for the evening. The knowledge of a water source made us profligate with the water we had. Two party members carelessly tipped their boiling billies on the ground – fortunately only one billy also contained dinner. Right on 9pm the first spots of rain started which seemed like a good cue to head for bed.

The weather forecast was pretty accurate; we woke to a steady downpour which meant breakfast was a solitary affair as everyone huddled in their shelters. Fortunately at about 8am it eased off and we all leapt out and with amazing timing were ready to go right on 8:30am.

The views as we traversed Pantoneys were non-existent as we wandered along in the mist. Tom initially wouldn’t believe me when I said we were at the northern point! I said he was welcome to keep walking if he could find some ground to continue on – fortunately he decided I was probably right and didn’t walk off the edge of a cliff.

The top of the North Pass was located without difficulty. The collective memories of the 5 of us who’d been there before were found wanting. No one could really remember the middle scramble of the North Pass. To the extent that there was some accusations of us not being on the normal route! Everything was wet which upped the difficulty level and we used the tape on both the middle and lower scrambles. Our memories returned on the lower scramble – it was indeed the normal route.

The rest of the day we would be in the realm of exploratory adventuring. Following the cliffline of the western side of the Crown proved relatively straight-forward. The visibility was still low so we couldn’t see anything except the impressive cliff lines looming into the mist above us. By late morning we were back where we were early afternoon the day before – below the southern pass.

Opting against a second lap we descended to the saddle and then had to work out how best to negotiate the myriad spurs and creek lines which would lead us to Coco Creek. I opted for a ‘straight line’ approach rather than trying to contour. As usual 20m contours hide a wealth of lumps and bumps and we were surprised as the rock turned from sandstone to quartzite. It felt like we’d been transported to Kanangra rather than Gardens of Stone.

The minor creeks were steep enough that we had to work a bit to get across them, but Coco Creek was the biggest surprise. A rocky narrow quartzite spine led us down just above a roaring waterfall. Jon appeared to be a little disappointed we didn’t have to swim across the large pool at the bottom instead conveniently being able to rock hop across at the bottom of the spur. It’s not many Pantoneys walks which feature a waterfall!

From there we had a couple of steep climbs to get us onto to the Moffitts Pagoda ridge. It was an impressive ridge line, with equally impressive views. The weather cleared as we got near the top and so it was a slow meander along the ridge as every few hundred metres there was another view, different light on Pantoneys and we spent time savouring it all.

Once we got to Moffitts Pagodas some of the party climbed on top, while others walked out to the point to take in our final views of this amazing part of NSW. From there it was just a few hundred metres back to our cars. The drive out had a couple of nervous sections – where rain and traffic had caused some slush to form and we weren’t exactly in control as we slid down the hill back to the rest of the cars.

Everyone was very complimentary on my replacement route – I’d like to take the credit but while there’s some skill picking a route on the map, there’s also a lot of luck in how things pan out on the ground. Be assured it’s not every exploratory trip where everything goes pretty much perfectly! Always come armed with a sense of adventure (and a well charged torch).

Clarence Valley Bushwalking Club – Bunya Mountains Trip

Bunya Mountains Trip, Bunya Mountains and Girraween National Parks, Clarence Valley Bushwalking Club

Ray Bulmer originally conceived the idea of the annual trip to Bunya Mountains and Girraween National Parks for our bushwalking holiday. He put in a huge amount of preparation and drew up a great itinerary with a good mix of walking and sightseeing with some wonderful places to stay. Unfortunately he was not able to come on the trip due to ill health and we missed him greatly.

The group consisted of Michael, Christine, Steve, Moira, Joan, Jan, Stephanie, Kent, Narelle, Stuart. We set off on Saturday September 7th. As we left our area in Gulmarrad we remarked on how much the Shark Creek fire had grown in the last day and then we drove off towards Grafton, never guessing the fire would grow so big in the next few days whilst we were away.  Fires were starting up all over the valley and throughout NSW and this was to be a constant theme throughout the holiday. We packed our car up in 35 deg heat, with the sky turning orange and filling with smoke.

We consulted the night before on the best route to avoid fires and some of us kept to Ray’s original route via Glen Innes. We stopped off for the obligatory coffee break at McDonald’s in Glen Innes and a second breakfast. Others travelled via Kyogle. We passed through Stanthorpe and Tenterfield, witnessing the burnt areas from their bushfires only the day before. They had burnt both sides of the road in some places up to people’s garden fences so it was a sobering reminder of our vulnerability. We were all able to meet up at Warwick for a late lunch. Then we pressed on to our first overnight destination, Jondaryan Woolshed. We were saddened to see how dry the countryside was along the way. We set up camp in their campground and hunkered down for our first dinner in an increasing wind.

The next day we explored the extensive historic site at Jondaryan and there was certainly a lot to see. But first we had to have a hearty breakfast at their café. This was bushwalking in style. Then we visited the many historic buildings, the largest being their magnificent Woolshed itself. Many of the historic buildings had museum displays inside them. The school was one of the most interest.

The next day we set off for the short distance to Maidenwell which we were going to use as a base for our first set of walks in the Bunya Mountains National Park. The camping areas in the National Park were not accessible for some of the group so we had opted for the comforts of Maidenwell Pub.

We arrived at the camping grounds in the Showground at the rear of the pub and set up. The wind had increased even more and Michael had to secure the tent to the car with 3 ropes to ensure it did not blow away. Most of the group went for a preliminary walk to Coomba Falls which was a steep and interesting walk but little water. Later on we availed ourselves of a welcome dinner at the pub and a game of pool, hoping the wind would abate, but it did not. That night we fell asleep listening to the wind gusts.

The next day we set off on the 25k trip to Bunya Mountains National Park and were amply rewarded by the display of wildlife as we had morning coffees at the cafe. The wallabies and birds were very tame, no doubt owing to the proximity of the café. Bushwalking in style yet again. But the coffees at the end of the second day’s walking were very welcome.

We set off, stopping first for a view from the high point of Mt Mowbullan which had an extensive panorama but a lot of smoke haze.

We set off on our first walk along the Scenic Circuit and walked through beautiful rainforest areas with abundant bunya and hoop pines. It was a welcome change from the dry landscape we had travelled through to arrive there. There were many other sights to see such as extensive strangler figs, stinging trees (look but don’t touch!), bird’s nest ferns and staghorns.  Unfortunately the many waterfalls were nearly all dry. Two of the group elected to return to the starting point by a shorter route where we saw a red bellied black snake and many different species of beautiful trees whilst most of the group carried on to Big Falls and Barker Creek Lookouts. …….

It had been arranged that a car pick up would take place at Paradise Park but through mis-communication this did not happen so some members got a longer walk than they bargained for.  This emphasised the need for clear communication on walks. But we all reconvened at the end for some much needed bunya nut ice-cream in the café.

That night we indulged in another meal at the Maidenwell Pub.

The next day we set off to the National Park again and walked the Westcliff Lookout walk. The northern walks were partly escarpment walks and we had some good views from the lookout and along the way, although they were not at their best because of the smoke from the extensive bushfires. We stopped temporarily at Westcott and then all but one continued on along the Koodaii Circuit loop walk.

Our final walk of the day was to the highest point of the National Park, the Mt Kiangarow track to the summit and back. It was a short but lovely walk through the scrubby bush with smatterings of rainforest. We admired the extensive arch of grass trees and wildflowers with an extensive view of the valley below at the end.

After coffee once again we returned to camp and decided to tough it out and actually cook for ourselves like real bushwalkers should. We fortified ourselves with Happy Hour first though. Up until that point Happy Hour had not been that happy or extensive, downright non-existent owing to the strong, cold winds. The winds had dropped a little and a welcome use was made of the awning of Stuart’s caravan for a few drinks and nibbles. We had a discussion in which we confirmed that unfortunately Girraween National Park, our next walking destination was closed due to the threat of bushfires. Some fires were still active in the area and some were growing, including the large one near Drake and the Bruxner Highway on the way home.

All this while Michael and Christine had been monitoring the ever increasing Shark Creek fire near our home via the RFS website and wondering if there would be anything left of Yurygir National Park at home for future walks. What had started out as a tiny fire weeks ago had grown to threaten Woolaweyah, Angourie and Yamba.

The next day we changed our plans and spent the day in Toowoomba sightseeing. We enjoyed the wonderful flower displays at the Queens Park Botanic Gardens, where we were lucky enough to see their preparations for the Flower Festival in a few weeks’ time, followed by lunch at the Cobb & Co Museum and a look at the extensive displays there.

After that we headed south to our planned camp at Sommerville Tourist Park. This had been planned as our base for walking in Girraween National Park as that has been closed for a while due to water shortages in the park. It was now also closed due to bushfire risk so we stayed for only one night there and enjoyed their lovely facilities but once again braving cold weather of about zero degrees. We set off home the next day by mutual agreement, cutting the trip short. Some took advantage of the shortened trip to go their separate ways and do other activities but walking trails in National Parks seemed to be in short supply.

We travelled south again and most stopped at our planned lunch break at the Standing Stones Cottage where Ray had thoughtfully booked a surprise birthday tea for one of the group. We procured two cakes and a candle as there were two birthdays to celebrate. We then headed down the range to arrive home.

Our Club of the Month for January 2021 is Clarence Valley Bushwalking Club

Clarence Valley Bushwalkers Inc. was founded in 1997 by a small Group of interested bushwalkers. Since then membership has grown to approximately 90 members.

Walks are held in a range of beautiful areas including New England National Park (including Cathedral Rocks, Woolpack Rocks, Point Lookout), Washpool National Park and Gibraltar Range National Park (including Anvil Rock and Dandahra Crags). The Club also canoes and kayaks local rivers and holds relaxing bicycle rides around Clarence Valley.

There are up to 5 scheduled club activities per month. These can include bushwalking of varying levels of difficulty, terrain and duration; kayaking/canoeing trips and overnight car-camps; full-pack weekend walks, social outings, and bicycle rides. The Group also undertakes interstate and overseas adventures. Activities that are dependent on suitable weather or tidal conditions can also be added to the program at short notice to take advantage of favourable conditions.

 

Settlers Track Walk with Brindabella Bushwalking Club

Settlers Track Walk, Namadgi National Park,  1 November 2020 walk report by Luke Mulders, Brindabella Bushwalking Club

Setters Track was an utterly delightful walk led by Bill Gibson in southern Namadgi NP. The weather was cool with fresh wind and no rain. After a drive of 90 minutes from Kambah and a short car shuffle, our group of 12 happy walkers was underway on the 16 km round trip exploring the delightful huts in this totally stunning, unburnt section of Namadgi NP.

The walk was mostly on management trails which enabled side to side walking and lots of socialising. Recent heavy rains provided flowing creeks and waterlogged flats. There were some early wildflowers (billy buttons) and multiple pockets of sprouting mushrooms.

At the walk end, to cap off the beautiful surroundings, we were all treated to delicious banana/passionfruit cake and scrumptious fruit-mince tart. What a way to finish!!


Our club of the month: Brindabella Bushwalking Club

The Brindabella Bushwalking Club (aka. BBC), is based in Canberra, ACT, has around 400 members, and offers a wide range of walking opportunities.  These include half-day and full day walks on Wednesdays, and full day walks on Saturdays and Sundays to suit all standards of walkers.

Bushwalks suitable for families with young children are also offered. Day walks usually take place in Canberra, rural areas of the ACT including Namadgi National Park, and nearby New South Wales. The club is a member of Bushwalking NSW and supports our Policy on Natural Areas.

Contact the BBC today to try out a walk, and discover the pleasures of walks around the ACT. You might also get some cake as a reward!
Brindabella Bushwalking Club

Western Sydney Parklands Mapped

While walking volunteers mapped the northern section of Western Sydney Parklands a few years ago, they have recently mapped the Parklands southern section from Prospect Reservoir to West Hoxton. Walking routes are now available on their “Sydney Walking Tracks” online map.

If you haven’t walked the Parklands before, you are in for a welcome surprise!

South of Prospect Reservoir, the Parklands run along Devils Back Ridge with some wonderful views east to the City and west to the Blue Mountains including one of the best ridgetop panoramas in Sydney at The Beauty Spot.

Since 2008 the Parklands Trust have re-generated 13 square kilometres of Cumberland Plain bushland with 350,000 native trees and plants. Many of these plantings have matured into wonderful treescapes that provide shade on the bitumen shared paths network and walker-friendly slashed paths.  The Trust has signposted several walking loops but the walking volunteers map will keep you on track if you want to venture further afield and stay off the shared paths.

Now is the perfect time to walk this brilliant parkland!

If you have already downloaded “Sydney Walking Tracks” map onto your smartphone, tablet or PC these routes will automatically appear. If you haven’t downloaded the map yet, it is available on the Walking Volunteer’s website .

The Parklands Trust is running a “Get Back on Track Challenge” in conjunction with NAB Runwest. See here for details.

Walks for hot days

Have you been feeling unmotivated to bushwalk this summer due to hot weather?  To help you find some inspiration we have put together a list of cool walks for a hot day. Make sure you take lots of water and maybe choose a walk with a waterhole or beach along the way for a refreshing swim.  You could also consider leaving for your walk early to beat the heat of the day or choosing a shorter, shady walk.

Burbie Canyon Walking Track – Warrumbungle National Park

Burbie Canyon Walking Track in Warrumbungle National Park is an easy 2km walk past a creek and through a sandstone gorge and is great for bird watchers.  Read more.

Cape Byron Walking Track – Cape Byron State Conservation Area

You can enjoy spectacular views on the Cape Byron Walking Track which takes you to the lighthouse through rainforest, beach, grassland and clifftop.  It is a fairly hard 3.7km loop track with lots of stairs and steep sections.  If you prefer a shorter walk the track can be accessed at multiple locations. Cool off along the way with a refreshing swim in the ocean. Read more.

Dammerels History Walk – Moonee Beach Nature Reserve

Dammerels history walk is an easy 1.9km return walk where you can learn about the history of South Solitary Island and enjoy the scenic views. Keep an eye out for native wildlife as the reserve is home to eastern grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies and many bird species. Read more.

Fairfax Heritage walking track – Blue Mountains National Park

The Fairfax Heritage walking track is an easy 1.8km (one way) walk that is great for families and is wheelchair friendly. Enjoy spectacular views, majestic gum trees and beautiful wild flowers along the way. Read more.

Banks-Solander track – Kurnell area, Kamay Botany Bay National Park

The Banks-Solander track offers an easy 0.7km loop walk and the chance to observe native plants that were first recorded by Captain Cook’s botanists in 1770. If you prefer a longer walk the Banks-Solander track links to Cape Baily track and Yena trail. Read more.

Bald Rock Summit Walking Track, Bald Rock National Park

Bald Rock National Park is located near Tenterfield and features granite outcrops, walks and amazing scenery. The Bald Rock Summit Walking Track takes you up the largest granite rock in Australia and you will be rewarded with spectacular views across the park.  You can choose either Bungoona walk which is medium difficulty or the harder option Rockface walk. More info here

Tomaree Head Summit Walk, Tomaree National Park

Tomaree Head Summit Walk is a 2.2km return walk that offers fantastic views to nearby Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands and the opportunity to view historic WW2 gun emplacements. More info here.

Grove Creek Falls Walking Track, Abercrombie Karst Conservation Reserve

Grove Creek Falls Walking Track is a 6km walk along Grove Creek to a lookout across the spectacular Grove Creek Falls. Highlights include birdwatching along the track including colourful parrots and rosellas. More info here.

Gap Beach Walking Track, Hat Head National Park

Gap Beach walking track is a challenging 6km walk with highlights including birdwatching, swimming and scenic views. Hat Head National Park is located near South West Rocks. More info here.

Minyon Falls Walking Track, Nightcap National Park

Minyon Falls Walking Track is a challenging 13km return walk through World Heritage listed rainforest in Nightcap National Park, Northern NSW, to the spectacular Minyon Falls with scenic views of the dramatic cliffs. Look here for more details.

Have a look here for more ideas for NSW day walks.

Kiandra to Kosciuszko – Diverted

29 December 2019 – 5 January 2020 Trip Report by Anne Turner – for joint SPAN OUTDOOR CLUB and NSW NORDIC SKI CLUB walk

In October I planned a New Year Snowy Mountains adventure walk. What about Paddy Pallin’s famous K2K route? Kiandra to Kosciuszko? After contacting SPAN Bushwalking Club and Nordic Ski Club I quickly got 3 willing partners in crime.

We studied maps and websites and John Chapman’s great Australian Alpine Walking Track (AAWT) book (which goes from south to north rather than north to south). We decided on seven nights, the last night camping just out of Dead Horse Gap, with a short walk the next day then drive to Thredbo for breakfast (proper breakfast, muesli would be banned!)

We would start at Kiandra and mostly follow the AAWT to Dead Horse Gap. After Mackay’s Hut we would go off track (a break from fire trails), around the eastern side of Jugungal along Bogong Creek and Jugungal Saddle then up Jagungal. We would then go south to Mawsons Hut, and camp near water somewhere. Then along the Kerries and to Gungartan, across to the Rolling Grounds over Consett Stephen Pass and along the main range finishing with Rams Heads. What a plan – I got excited every time we looked at the maps!

The weather looked clear but bushfires were a worry as it had been very hot and we were in an extended drought. We discussed whether or not to go and decided to proceed as the park was open and we would keep our wits about us.

We didn’t have suitable car so would drive a hire car, leave it at Dead Horse Gap, and take a transfer from Dead Horse Gap to Kiandra on Sunday 29th December. We left Sydney on 28th December and on Sunday morning were on track by 11.30am walking towards 9 Mile Creek. There was water in the creeks which was good news. The march flies were around, not too bad at the beginning, but worse as it heated up.

Sue had given us a challenge to make up a limerick or haiku about each member of the walk. We were not particularly successful but there were some very funny conversations. The downsides were our heavy packs, overshooting 9 Mile Creek and walking up a horrible hill just to turn around and go straight back down. I’m not sure if singing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ helped anyone’s spirits at that point or not!

Day 2 saw us climbing Tabletop Mountain (sans packs) with the outline of Jagungal visible though smoke haze to the south. A pair of walkers we knew were going our way and joined our group. We got to Happy’s Hut in the afternoon and enjoyed its shady veranda while overhead was smoke and the red sun. During the afternoon we were joined by Catherine, walking solo, and later Ryan and his father in law Peter.

New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2019, was very warm and concerningly there were burnt leaves falling from the sky. While the sky overhead had a big billow of high smoke coming from the north east, the air around us was pretty clear. We decided to walk to Mackay’s Hut where we could exit the park if things deteriorated.

Catherine headed out before us and Ryan and Peter left shortly after us. As we walked on Tolbar Road and Grey Mare Fire Trail the light changed from clear to red then dark and at times there was a surreal brightness without shadows. The smoke cloud got bigger and darker and burnt leaves kept falling. We all started looking at each other and wondering if we were doing the right thing. We planned to walk past Mackay’s Hut to O’Keefes Hut and access Farm Ridge or Round Mountain fire trails if necessary.

As we rested Catherine came striding towards us having turned around after making contact with the outside world at a high point. She told us that there were fires to the west of us and Bega was on fire. She had decided it was time to go east and not leave it until things went wrong and she become a burden on emergency services. As we had been considering the same thing we quickly decided to join her.

We walked back to the Grey Mare Trail and Tolbar Road crossroads and the sky kept getting darker with occasional rain showers, an eerie silence and smoke haze affecting visibility. After we had been walking for about 30 minutes we ran into Ryan and Peter.

We drew heavily on Catherine’s local knowledge of the park as we discussed our options and looked at maps. Walking back towards Kiandra to Broken Dam Hut then to the highway was one option but it would take us north west towards the smoke cloud so we decided against it. We decided to go down to Eucumbene Cove was too far and instead settled on walking north east down the Tolbar Road to Providence Portal (a little cabin community on the northern arm of Lake Eucumbene). It was close to Adaminaby and we thought it should have people there and up to date information.

The afternoon was now cool and breezy – nice walking weather if there had not been a raging bushfire nearby! We had enough rain at two points for raincoats and rolling thunder all afternoon. We heard a chopper at one point but we were in trees so couldn’t see it and it couldn’t see us. We saw a burst of new smoke on the skyline behind us and to the north and another way south of us. It must be lightning strikes we theorised and were glad to be getting out of there.

We walked about 35kms on our third and final day. Fortunately the end of Lake Eucumbene wasn’t a lake anymore as there was not enough water. Peter gave us directions and the river was so shallow and divided into tributaries that we would be able to easily wade across. This was great news as none as us had enough in the tank to do the huge walk around. It was a beautiful flood plain with lots of birds, kangaroos and white daisies. We all breathed a sigh of relief as the cabins of Providence Portal grew closer.

At about 7.30pm we were greeted by the park owner Hans riding out on his quad bike greeting us with ‘Where the bloody hell did you guys come from?’ We discovered the SES had evacuated the park an hour before. Hans got on the blower and we overheard him saying, ‘I’ve got 9 walkers that have just walked out of the bush – what am I going to do with them?’ He didn’t get an answer immediately, so we camped there the night.

We woke up to a plan. Some park residents and Hans would drive us to Adaminaby. It was New Year’s Day and the town was deserted.  We then managed to get rides to Cooma evacuation centre. Ryan and Peter got a ride from Cooma back to Wagga with a friend.

Cooma was very busy with lots of smoke and traffic as everyone holidaying south of Bateman’s Bay were leaving the fire zones through Cooma.

Catherine had organised for our drivers to be taken to the cars so they could collect the rest of us. Finally at 5pm we left Cooma and got back to Sydney around 11.30pm relieved to see home and a bed.

Today, the 9th January 2020, Fires Near Me advises the fires have cut through the northern section of the park – the area we were walking. Happy’s Hut looks like it is gone, the historic Kiandra Court House is gone and Providence Portal is surrounded by fire. Watching the horror of the fires spread over the coast and alpine areas we are so glad to be out. I was very glad to be with a calm level headed group who carefully considered the situation and our options and pooled their knowledge – thank you Catherine, Phil, Sonia, Sue, Paul, Sandra, Ryan and Peter.

Some other points we reflected on afterwards:

  • The superior phone coverage of Telstra in isolated areas
  • Between the group of 9 we had 4 PLBs
  • The Roof Top Map gave us a bigger area in one view than looking at several toppos to make decisions
  • Our phone batteries ran out – write your key phone numbers, personal and things like SES and National Parks down in your first aid kit
  • Ryan had a battery pack to refresh his phone – a weight consideration, but very useful
  • Where we had signal, we used Telstra phones to let contacts and the SPAN president know we were OK and what our plan was. We also contacted National Parks with the same news and told them where our cars were so they were not concerned for their owners. And then of course we followed up once we were ‘out’.
  • Next time I would lodge a National Parks Trip Intention form. While it isn’t a requirement, it would have helped.