Tag Archives | abseiling

Results – BNSW outdoor adventure terminology survey

Thank you to Paddy Pallin and Wild Magazine for providing great prizes!

By Jon Gray, BNSW Young People in Clubs Working Group,

The Terminology Survey aimed to examine people’s opinions and perceptions about the terminology currently used to describe bushwalking, related activities and associated clubs. It was exploring a proposition that naming and terminology used in conjunction with bushwalking clubs may influence the level of interest and desire to participate in our clubs, particularly from younger people.

The survey was open for the 4-month period to the end of January 2024, and had a total of 173 respondents. The key findings are summarised below, followed by a graphical presentation of the results:

  • The three most popular terms were 1. outdoor adventuring; 2. Hiking; then 3. bushwalking, followed by wildwalking, trekking and walking. The precise ordering varied depending on the use of either a weighted score or first preference score system (Q1).
  • The three most popular names for the fictional bushwalking club were: 1. Highlands Outdoor Adventure Club; 2. Highlands Bushwalking and Outdoor Adventure Club; and 3. Highland Hikers, which were all notably ahead of the Highlands Bushwalking Club. The two club names that contained the term ‘outdoor adventure’ received a combined 50% of first preferences, compared to just 8% for the club with ‘bushwalking’ alone (Q2).
  • 83% of respondents strongly or slightly agreed that the name of a club should include more than bushwalking if other activities such as cycling, canyoning or kayaking were undertaken (including 55% who strongly agreed) (Q3).
  • 75% of respondents indicated that it was highly or somewhat likely that their perception of how exciting, dynamic and ‘cool’ a club or organisation was, would be influenced by its name (Q4).
  • 59% of respondents indicated that they were highly or somewhat likely to be encouraged to join an outdoor club and possibly participate in leadership roles if it had an exciting, dynamic and ‘cool’ image (Q5).
  • Of the 73 specific comments received, there was a wide range of views. 34% supported the importance of terminology, 49% were neutral or raised other issues to consider, and 16% were clearly not supportive of the importance of terminology. The comments emphasised the importance of other issues besides terminology such as the need for a strong social media presence (with images portraying younger generations); a welcoming club culture and varied club programs (Q9).
  • There were no significant differences between responses from the younger to older generations of respondents.

The results of the survey, particularly the hard statistical data, do overall suggest the potential importance of naming and terminology in the bushwalking and outdoor adventure movement for enhancing our image and possibly appealing more to younger generations. There is a strong preference for naming and terminology that includes ‘outdoor adventure’ and for names that indicate more than just ‘bushwalking ‘where other outdoor activities are undertaken. A large proportion of respondents indicated they might consider participating in leadership roles if a club or organisation had an exciting image. The qualitative comments reflected a range of views but highlighted the importance of multiple issues in attracting younger members into clubs.

A conclusion from the results would appear to be that individual clubs should at least consider possible slight renaming and rebranding of their clubs, with an enhanced focus on outdoor adventure activity in addition to bushwalking alone. Such a change, in conjunction with other measures such as enhanced social media presence, welcoming attitudes and promotion of the benefits of joining our clubs, may revitalise our clubs and possibly help attract younger generations.

Graphical presentation of survey results

Q1. Please rank the following terms from the most to least inspiring and ‘cool’

Q2. Rank the following Club names from most to least inspiring and ‘cool’. Which Club would you be most proud to be a member of?


Q3. Do you believe a club name should reflect more than bushwalking if other activities (eg, cycling, canyoning or kayaking) are undertaken?

Q4. Would the name of an outdoor club or organisation influence your perception of how exciting, dynamic and ‘cool’ it was?

Q5. If an outdoor club had an exciting, dynamic and ‘cool’ image, would this encourage you to join it and possibly participate in leadership roles?


Q9. Other comments?

73 respondents made comments, ranging from:

    • Supportive of the importance of terminology: 34%

    e.g. ‘Image can be everything when it comes to membership’;

    Words matter! the name is important’

    • Neutral or raising other issues: 49%

    e.g. ‘I would love to join outdoor clubs but cannot usually see myself in any of the imagery. It is usually people 30+ years older than me’

    • Statements clearly not supportive of importance of terminology: 16%

    e.g. ‘I think terminology is probably much less of an issue than technology and culture of clubs’

Respondent personal data  (total 173)

Age Range (Q6):

Bushwalking Activity with (Q7):

Jon Gray

BNSW Young People in Clubs Working Group






















Kelgoola to Widden Valley Walk Via Mt Corigudgy the Hunter Main Trail and Blackwater Creek, Easter 2023

On Friday ‘Good’ there we stood with the Coricudgy in far sight.
With final tweaks to the packs on our backs – a slight heave left & right.
We bid farewell with a nod and a wink, we’ve got this – you’ll see.
We’re off then – our lungs ‘chock-a-block’ – a rhythmic stride us three.
The grade got steeper, our gait shortened up – we’ve now hit reality.
Saplings appeared, undergrowth thickened and fallen trees hindered the ways.
Firm in our mind the known fact – stored water must last two days.
Then out of the bracken a sign post appeared – Coricudgy or Hunter Main Trail
Swift choice, Hunter Main Trail – we’ll walk the planned distance without fail.
But fail we did with the weight of the carry and our bodies seemly weary.
Shoulder to shoulder saplings now rise from a trail – once compacted and dreary.
The wreckage of fires, storms and land slips resulted in trail passage – a farce.
To think one could walk without blundering step – was knowledge that’s simply sparse.
Short of our target with a great threat of rain ‘n’ the wind with a blistering throe.
Rain it did with the push of time, we were sure our tents would go.
The camp was established at an opportune site, sheltered by a Rocky Bluff.
‘Save for’ an anchor to peg rock or tree – proved our tethering was made of good stuff.
With laboured yawn, quick rub of eyes – our bodies still seemingly aching.
The crisp breath of dawn accompanied our yawn to start our bodies a shaking.
The shrill from the dawn bird gave call to rise and welcome a brand new day.
We crawl from tents onto wet sodden ground, muttering ‘four letter words’ on the way.
Oh Saturday’s rise to bitter blue skies and rain mist that’s already proved dreary.
We stretched and nodded with circular gaze and cursed like Farther O’Leary.
We scoffed some breakfast we stuffed soggy packs, at last we’re ready to ‘roll’.
But delay to the start further stifled our heart and surely did sodden our soul.
Intent on regaining lost time, we now fixed on a better day’s sum.
But there at the ready were trail statuettes – of Myrtle and Wattle and Gum.
T’was fresh water we seek from Coachwood Gully, a spring, 12k’s down the track.
The pace was slowed the further we go‘d – thru vine ‘n’ thistle ‘n’ fern we’d hack.
Now the spilling of ‘springs’ gave joy to our ears as we approached the Coachwood seep.
The joy was short lived – as the water ‘let fall’ was from a level – too distant – too steep.
We scooped trickling water from the trail’s sullied surface – yet not a welcoming blend.
We topped reserves, quenched our thirst – allowing our worries to mend.

With dimming skies/stumbling feet – realising the target – we’d fail.
Oh’ for a camp site that’s rock free & level – we’d raise our arms and hail.
There we stood, peering ahead as much as the landscape allowed.
But no such site availed itself, aside from the Hunter Main Trail, whose timbered
growth would stand steadfast and form a protective shroud.
By torchlight that night we circled the ‘wagons’ and discussed our ambitious campaign.
The first to wake would summon the ‘rally’ – without further voice of disdain.
While agreement was made to break camp early – before the hint of ‘first light’.
The Moon’s outstretched fingers, had traced on the ground – Easter Sunday’s delight.
In respect of belief we paused to give thanks then shared our eggs around.
But we refrained from tradition to hide the eggs, simply placing them on a mound.
Breaking camp, quick check of the map to ensure matching numbers we yearn.
Off we strode thru the eerie blue light – towards the ‘point of no return’.
With reserved excitement, quick glance around, we gave the Garmin a check.
A tentative voice was heard to say, not far, just up ahead, I think we’ve got it by heck.
The point to exit the Hunter Main Trail into a gully – so timbered – oh so steep.
A route devoid of direction – down to the banks of Blackwater Creek.
Marking our exit with a ribbon or two we also recorded, grid reference.
Over the ledge us – one two three, to centre the gully was preference.
We gazed around and then looked down to see what we had encountered.
Confirming the grade that we would battle was not one, for the fainthearted.
Many trees had fallen due to rot and decay, thus exposing Tuff’s Rock and grass.
But the rocks were loose and the grass was slippery – we promptly fell onto our brass.
To slow down descent we used our packs to drag tracks and act as a temporary brake.
At each opportune moment we’d slowly rise (some tears in our eyes) – to pluck the burrs
from our arse.
With a grade 1 in 6 and narrowing rock shelves the pace slowed to just a dawdle.
The descriptive expression of some sections to pass – shall remain for all time inaudible.
There lying in wait was a silent bait, covering ground and rock and tree.
Discreet by nature, grey green lichen was defying the eyes to see.
Just add moisture nature declared – to find how slippery it be.
Down we went like bags of spuds to injure, a shoulder, a cheek, a knee.
Counting our blessings we assembled again and continued to the rocky ledge,
A quick ‘memory refresh’ of an abseil book, a plan was hatched, with a ‘sign of the cross’
and a pledge.

Ropes were produced to conquer the ledge, first lowering each backpack down.
Two sets of eyes then gazed on me; I stuttered and agreed with a frown.
We will let you go first, the lightest you be, best to test our knot.
I swung like a pendulum in a grandfather’s clock, when all the slack was got.
The ropes a ‘bit short’ was my retort, realising my feet hadn’t reached the ground.
A quick adjust that saved the day and a bit of a thud when my feet were finally found.
The lasting sweep towards Blackwater Creek was slow but worthy of ‘thy’.
Giant sandstone boulders, long narrow crevasse and a rock face seeking the sky.
With gully bed seemingly narrow, while bordered with sickening vine.
Backpacks required removal, with body and shoulders aligned.
Water increased around our feet that flowed with gathering tempo.
The gully meandered around every bend and dropped into every hollow.
We pushed and shoved dead branches, we skidded on rolling rocks.
The gully bed slowly widened, in short – we had smiles like Goldilocks.
Then was heard the rigorous churning of water flowing afore us.
The mountains sent streams into Blackwater Creek; in parts – nearing ‘full flush’.
Wounded bodies with tempered minds, we finally broke vision upon her, where
time stood still, as we endorsed our will – for the past 3 k’s were tough.
The joy of our meeting enormous, emotions running high, us three blokes in the rough.
She looked so sleek in her movement, her swish ‘n’ sway, with very impressive sass.
While her stream was wide, her banks either side were narrow and tricky to pass.
Again time was against us, we simply failed to complete – the best of a good days walk.
We elected to camp ‘on a snug little spot’ as there was nothing, elsewhere we’d gawked.
Around camp that night we discussed our plight with concerns of what lay before us.
Day 3’s poor achievement, 4k’s out of 9, gave cause for a curse and a cuss.
We rested that night the best we could, with a sloping site and our bodies worse for wear.
At dawn’s first light we peered down the stream and lamented the scene awaiting us there.
Oh blackwater creek you’re coursing’s unique, befitting the terrain that surrounds yee.
The carving you trace over each rapid’s race makes us proud to have finally found thee.
Fallen trees of ancient descent, once so grand ‘n’ noble, are now strewn across your way.
Large battered boulders embedding the sand like warriors defying the fray.
Your carry of water was swift and deep with bottomless pools in the hiding.
To conquer your route, one could not walk your bed, as the sand defied solid striding.
Your banks were steep with toes in the creek and access either side, concealing.
Straddling of boulders, clinging to branches proved clear-cut approach unappealing.

Blackwater Creek ‘oh’ Black water creek what is it from us that you seek.
We pursue you with kindness, we treat you with care, we wonder at your mystique.
Oh you treat us so cruelly, we think you unfair and sometimes you don’t really care.
Is this your true nature or healing you seek from treatment of our forebears.
Why is your water so black so bleak are you bleeding from what lies beneath.
Your name is befitting of the stealth you display, with the obstacles you bequeath.
You flow at will, with regular spill around hazards that are well connected.
You flow thru the groin of thighs, so high, so steep; your secrets are well protected.
Over three days we criss-crossed your flows with varying degrees of success.
On one occasion my legs disappeared into a seemingly sandy abyss.
I eagerly called for assistance, exclaiming I think I’ve got troubles – and
If you don’t pull me out any time soon I think you’ll be looking for bubbles.
Time after time we climbed your slopes to conquer the obstacles bestowed us.
The slopes themselves were a footprint to hell with a view that certainly feared thus.
With thickets of vine grass as high as our thigh and dense scrub obstructing our eye.
Walking was clumsy and hindered by holes and rocks and stumps and logs that lie.
Progress around and along your slopes was agonising and deliberate
Each step performed like a Kremlin guard, lift, stretch, place, transfer the weight
Lift, stretch, place, transfer the weight to stamp ‘n’ pack – swards of vine and grass.
Sweat drips, shirt rips, spill of blood running in silence – an unbearable way to pass.
Lawyer Vine – Oh Lawyer Vine I never knew you existed.
You lay in wait for each weary step with a plan that is utterly twisted.
You run at length upon the ground, hidden in bracken and grass.
You flourish on shrubs with low hanging branches thus blocking our chances to pass.
You invade the canopy of your surrounds and cling with fishhook fingers.
You have no place in this garden of lace – better suited where the Devil lingers.
You’d grab our ankles you’d grab our arms you’d noose our neck our packs.
You let us stride till the tension applied – then you jerked our bodies back.
Step by step we’d fight you off with an angst we failed to surmount.
Over & over we’d tumble & fall into a drunken sprawl – t’was too many times to account.
Ah – quick thoughts of ‘tracks’ with mown grass, all edged with a border of fern.
The weight on our hearts could not be defined on approach round every turn.
The burden on body – the burden on mind – a torment from nature herself.
For the realisation of any such ‘track’ – was ephemeral fiction with stealth.

Over the next three days we battled the maze, with our supplies now running low.
3k’s a day was the best we could make – on the map, really nothing to show.
Our last camp was kind‘a solemn, with pain of injuries that may long-term affect us.
We opened our tents, dragged our bodies thru, and managed to gain Homo Erectus.
Microwaves up and microwaves down – the heavens abuzz with concern.
The message of reply to our welfare – gave no confidence of an upturn.
The garmin seekers, still wearing sneakers, squirmed with disbelief.
Authorities of high degree were let know and offered standby relief.
On the seventh day we were advised we’d be met by a welcoming party.
Quick thoughts of the words, we’ve got your back, felt warm and kind of hearty.
The welcoming team arrived, to our surprise having drinks and food and face washers.
We shook hands and hugged the bad things we shrugged and continued in boots, with the
sound of wet galoshes.
In our quest for success there was never a ‘wrong’ decision made, but one must say, some
were more character building than others.
For must I declare, the days of steep climb, the days of wet clothes, the days of lawyer vine,
were likened to – ’10 rounds’- with Jimmy Carruthers.
In agreeing to walk Blackwater Creek I couldn’t tell if I’ve opened the door to heaven or hell.
If there’s a God in heaven then I’m fairly sure he’s got it in for me, right now I think I can tell
Memories – Oh Memories of events that were bestowed us
I remember the washed out drains that prevented car access at start
I remember first sight with some delight when we first encountered Hunter main
I remember the regrowth that nature provided to recover from the human zoo
I remember first night at the camping site, the blistering wind and the rain
I remember the end of each walking day to feel defeat in one’s toiling heart
I remember the leadership when moods were low, ‘triangular method’ as we all had a go
I remember the moments on Easter Sunday as we gave thanks in a personal way
I remember the scents and the sounds that enlivened true enjoyment in me
I remember descent into Blackwater Creek the experience beggars’ belief
I remember the slips, trips and falls and consoling laughter that fell upon deaf ears
I remember the ‘labels’ we each had carried, like “three points” “wombat” and “stirrer”
I remember the eerie calls at night, not knowing on foot or by flight – and
I remember at night the perils encountered – just for the need to pee,
I remember each morning the shock on my feet, when sliding into – sandy wet socks
I remember the sheer frustration on faces of those with lingering pain
I remember no ill word was ever spoken, just a need to grin and refrain – and
I remember the flak, that I got back, on saying – “just follow the water/ just follow the water”,
whenever the garmin was showed

They say good friends are made in times when the going gets tough
They say good friends are made of, generally bloody good stuff
They say good friends can see through the limits and faults of others
I ask you then, who you think will remain good friends if ‘dark fortune’ should shine upon us
In the safeguarding of pride, real names I would hide, as the intent was not to claim fame.
But for the sake of this story, if you must apply glory, then refer to Eric & Wayne & Graham
While feeling pretty chuffed and proud that we had walked, from where we once started,
came a whispering voice from the cool of the creek, “I warned you it was not for the faint
We thank those who assisted, we thank those who collected and we thank those waiting at
With apprehension, a little tension, we thank Mother Nature herself, in a kind’a guarded tone.
When describing to others the thrill of the walk they listened with a sense of boon.
Then befalls the age old question, – now that you’ve done it, would you do it again.
Well….with a lingering breath and a laboured sigh, I proclaim with this reply!

Hell Yes…..that was only the RECCY!!

Sydney Bush Walkers

A Week of Walks, Kosciuszko National Park, Christmas/New Year 2021/22, Sydney Bush Walkers, Report by John Kennett, Photos by John Pozniak

Between Christmas and New Year 2021/22 myself and thirty other members of Sydney Bush Walkers (SBW) travelled, walked and gathered on the trails and in the ski-lodges of beautiful Kosciuszko National Park.

Every day we embarked on a different walk and were rewarded with the sight of brilliant blue skies, beautiful weather and voluminous wildflowers. Among the fantastic locations we visited were the Iconic Trails, Mt Twynham, Ramshead, Dead Horse Gap, Guthega, Mt Anton and Mt Tate.

To cap off a successful week our visit concluded with 2022 New Year’s Eve celebrations which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Our March Club: Sydney Bush Walkers

Our club of the month, Sydney Bush Walkers is one of Australia’s largest and oldest Bushwalking Clubs. SBW was founded in 1927 and has a membership of around 850.

The club offers challenging day and multi-day walks including extended 12 day (or more) trips.  Canyoning is a very popular club activity in the warmer months.

SBW volunteer trip leaders are experienced walkers who aim to maximise members enjoyment of the outdoors while also ensuring the safety of all walkers. While SBW leaders foster group co-operation participants are also expected to be self-sufficient to ensure that all members cope with walk conditions and challenges that arise.

While the Sydney Bushies provide a range of bush experiences, they also offer a great social network of like minded, outdoorsy types. A SBW membership provides a unique opportunity for bush lovers to develop skills, increase confidence and meet new like-minded friends!

The club holds monthly information nights for people who are considering joining (book here). For more information visit the SBW website or Facebook Page.



Watagan Wanderers Bushwalking Club

3 day hike, Barrington Tops NP, February 2022, Watagan Wanderers Bushwalking Club, Report & Images David Whyte

This hike was meant to be down Paterson’s Gorge but the predicted rain made that walk too dangerous. A nice alternative in the same area, and one we have done before, was to walk to Selby Alley hut and do a day walk from there around Edwards Swap.

The walk starts up with a steady climb up the Corker trail. The tall trees of the ancient beech forest add a lovely atmosphere to this walk and in summer offer a lot of shade. We have done this walk in winter where you are enclosed by mist. The lunch time break offers a magnificent view of Carey Peak in the distance which was our destination the next day

As we reached the top of the Corker track and it started to level out, we kept our eye out for a special dead tree marking the slightly hidden track to Selby Alley hut. It felt magical as we followed this secret path through dense forest, and then spotted the hut sitting just across from a beautiful stream that was softly meandering through sub tropical rainforest past the hut to nearby Basden Falls. We arrived at the hut mid afternoon giving us plenty of time to set up our tents and collect firewood. Despite being summer it was quite cool.

Leaving our tents up we set off the next day for a 20km walk around Edwards Swamp stopping at Careys Peak on the way. The clear morning offered stunning views over the valley below and the ridge that the Corker Trail follows. We spotted a few feral horses during the day and were saddened by how much broom there was growing; The Aeroplane hill track was quite dense in some areas. We cooked our dinner out in the open next to the fire and during the night the rain started to set in. We returned to our cars the next day via the corker trail in mist and listened to the sounds of lyre birds as we descended.

Our February Club: Watagan Wanderers Bushwalking Club

The Watagan Wanderers was established in the early 90s to meet the needs of people in The Central Coast, Lake Macquarie and Newcastle areas. It has an active program of providing day and multiday hikes over most of Australia and overseas. Though, since Covid the walks have become much more local. The club also has keen cycling, kayaking and abseiling groups. Our program can be found on our website.

Blue Mountains Kanangra-Boyd National Parks – Planning Workshop Outcomes


Summary of workshop outcomes June 2021,

Blue Mountains National Park & Kanangra-Boyd National Park Draft Plan of Management


The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is developing a new plan of management for Blue Mountains National Park and Kanangra-Boyd National Park to set long term directions for the management of these national parks.

NPWS facilitated 4 workshops between 4 and 6 June 2021 to elicit stakeholder views and feedback on a range of matters, including:
• management of adventure recreation activities, including abseiling, canyoning, rock
climbing and slacklining
• management of recreation in wilderness areas
• management of key visitor sites.

Feedback on each of these discussion themes and other issues is summarised below. In this document, NPWS has endeavoured to reflect the feedback provided by workshop participants as accurately as possible. The points listed below do not necessarily reflect the views of all workshop participants.
Adventure recreation
• NPWS should use existing user groups to reach out and educate new users – e.g.
climbing gyms, outdoor clubs, university clubs, education groups.
• Visitors to the parks value the experience of being in the park and are concerned about
their own safety.
• Environmental sustainability and visitor safety are often compromised when large
groups are involved in adventure recreational activities.
• The focus of management should be on proper risk management and auditing, rather
than exclusively on limiting group size.
• The Australian Adventure Activity Standards (AASs) represent significant work and
thought by industry professionals. As such, NPWS group size limits should align with
these as much possible. Activity-specific Good Practice Guides (GPG) provide
recommendations about group sizes.
• One organisation represented at the workshop highlighted that compulsory adoption of
AAS standards and the GPG was not supported.
• Clubs are generally well managed and concerned about risk. They rely on selfregulation because they are not sufficiently resourced to adopt additional responsibilities
for the management of their members.
• A participant described the group size limits set by NPWS as generous.
• One business highlighted that they may use smaller groups than allowed.
• Improved communication methods are required to disseminate information about the
rules for each activity (e.g. a broader range of social media platforms, different
languages etc.).
• Maintaining a group size limit of 8 participants (and one guide) was appropriate.
• For multi-pitch abseiling, a reduced group size limit of 4 participants (and one guide)
was more appropriate.
• Larger group sizes were generally not appropriate but could be feasible at specific sites.
• The ‘canyoning community’ is working on a best practice document that addresses
environmental risk, cultural risk, and safety risks. This document can be provided to
• Maintaining group size limits was necessary to maintain individual and group safety and
to minimise any environmental impacts.
• Social media is motivating participants with insufficient skills to undertake the activity.
There may be opportunities to utilise social media to promote safety messages.
• Some people are attempting canyoning with limited experience and without the support
of a club.
• Group size limits should be conservative and appropriate for the canyon. A group size
of 10-12 was considered too high.
• Use of a booking system was supported at popular sites.
• Group size limits should apply to both commercial and non-commercial groups. Guides
help to reduce impacts and therefore should be allowed as an addition to the group size
• There should be a cap on total group numbers (commercial and non-commercial) per
canyon, per day, to manage current and future use.
• NPWS should consider adopting management strategies like those used by the US
National Parks Service.
• Education providers could benefit if they were licensed as commercial tour operators.
This would enable them to access improved operating arrangements including use of
the DigiRez booking system.
Rock climbing
• Top-rope climbing should have the same group size limit as applies to abseiling.
• A group size limit should be 4 or 5 participants per roped party.
• Bolting in the parks is an ongoing issue of concern. It was suggested that an updated
bolting policy and/or further discussion with NPWS is required. It was recommended that
the QLD Government’s approach to management should be considered.
• There have been some changes in group behaviours in recent years (for example,
visitors playing music when out in the parks).
• Group size limits should apply to both commercial and non-commercial groups. As
guides help to reduce impacts, they should be allowed as an addition to the group size
• The current approach to managing bolting/anchor points is not working. Further
engagement is needed to increase self-regulation, minimise impacts and maximise
• It was acknowledged that risk management was a complex issue and beyond the scope
of the plan of management to resolve.
• Australian Climbing Association has a climbing database (The Crag) that could be
utilised to improve communication with climbers about specific sites.
• Rock climbers should not be a source of revenue.
• Any plans to apply zoning for different types of climbing will require further consultation
with climbers.
• Education is needed for rock climbers on how to manage their waste.
• Slacklining was defined as the temporary use of trees in disturbed areas such as visitor
precincts (camping areas or day use areas where there isn’t high visitor traffic)
• Highlining was defined as the temporary use of cliff features and existing anchors/bolts
(rock climbing) for traversing on a safety line across airspace.
• There is interest in both recreational-based slacklining and event-based slacklining.
• The Australian Slacklining Association has established a code of conduct, fixed anchors
guidelines and guidelines regarding airspace safety. There is also an Adventure Activity
Standard in place.
• Slacklining is an emerging, legitimate adventure activity both in Australia and
internationally and it is therefore appropriate that NPWS makes provision for the activity
in the plan of management.
• Issues include impact on ecologically sensitive sites, the potential for noise pollution
(from webbing), air space /aviation safety, impact on scenic values and damage to
• Limits should apply on the duration of slacklines (e.g. 1 day).
• Variations of the activity include water-lining, yoga-lining, and trick-lining. Parks are not
a major focus for these activities.
• The strategies used by NPWS to manage other adventure recreational activities should
be sufficient to provide for the safe and sustainable authorisation of slacklining.
Recreation in wilderness
• A group size limit of 8 should be retained.
• Guides actively manage group behaviour. For this reason, the allowance of 2 guides for
commercial tour operators should be extended to educational groups.
• There is a need for active management in response to degradation around Burra Korain,
Dex Creek and Mobbs Swamp camping areas.
• Divergent views were expressed about the introduction of toilets and other infrastructure
to manage impacts. Most participants were supportive of the establishment of minimalist
and carefully designed infrastructure (including toilets), provided this was part of a more
holistic strategy which sought to avoid infrastructure development wherever possible.
Several participants highlighted the need for sound evidence before infrastructure
development in Wilderness areas is considered.
• The requirement to book all camping areas limits the freedom of individual choice and
requires all camping to become a pre-planned activity (rather than a spontaneous one).
• Designation of campsites and access via a booking system may be necessary.
However, the designation of campsites should not restrict options for walkers that still
wanted to enjoy dispersed bush camping.
• Information and education should be retained as the primary strategies for preserving
wilderness values.
• Information for walkers about wilderness boundaries should be improved as many
visitors don’t know when they were entering a wilderness area.
• The risk of exceeding the carrying capacity of wilderness areas was a major theme of
discussion. It was highlighted that social media and the promotion of wilderness
experiences (especially during peak visitation periods) presented a risk to wilderness
• Marketing should avoid promotion of wilderness experiences during periods of peak
• The parks are significant for the preservation of wilderness values, and the unique
experiences that these wilderness areas provide.
• The plan of management should include strategies to retain opportunities for people to
enjoy true wilderness experiences in the long-term and that these strategies should
seek to prevent the application of more interventionist strategies (e.g. toilets) in the long
• More active wilderness preservation strategies (e.g. toilets) would be more appropriate
in areas that were of lower wilderness quality such as the Grose Valley.
• There is a concern that people may become lost following incorrect trails that have
developed through use. Remedial work, consistent with the retention of wilderness
values (including vegetation management and track works) was supported.
Visitor facilities
• The current event application process is overly onerous for small smaller organisations
conducting small scale events.
• The factors involved in providing a sound rationale for visitor facility investment (and
disinvestment) should include visitor demographics and demand.
• There are opportunities to work cooperatively with Blue Mountains City Council and
private sector partners, across tenure and on private property to address visitor facility
• Facilities (including campsites) need to cater for a broad range of abilities and
experiences. There should be areas designated for caravans, walkers, and car-based
• Visitors are also looking for shorter walks and picnics in natural settings.
• Strategies to address carrying capacity and spread visitation onto other areas (and to
undertake other activities) need to be developed.
• Degradation of some camping areas was noted. Some should remain undeveloped and
unregulated while it may be appropriate at others to manage impacts and level of use
through improved facilities and bookings.
• The scale-up and scale-down of campsites were raised as an option to facilitate
recovery of impacted sites.
• Consider a classification system for campsites to ensure that visitors have clear
expectations about levels of service.
• Some climbers would appreciate having access to climber-only camping sites.
• Some campgrounds are currently used by caravaners and camper-trailer campers (e.g.
Dunphy’s, Green Gully & Boyd River).
• The facilities required for caravan and camper-trailer camping (electricity supply, areas
for generators, waste dump points etc.) were discussed. Concerns were raised about
the impact of these facilities on the park experience.
• Participants opposed caravans and camper-trailers being used in the park as there are
sufficient alternatives for these styles of camping outside the park.
• The use of camping areas by commercial operators needs to be appropriately managed
to ensure access by other visitors is not compromised.
• Permanent camping should not be allowed.
• Visitor safety, access and environmental protection should be considered during
detailed design for visitor sites.
• Some improvements are required to facilities that are causing adverse impacts on
environmental values (sedimentation from trails, roads and carparks, toilets etc.).
• Improvements are required to soft infrastructure (online information, maps etc.).
• The role of site design in managing visitor expectations and in offering a range of high
quality experiences was a focus of discussion.
Access to visitor sites
• Private tourism developments within the parks including luxury lodges and glamping
within existing campsites was opposed.
• There are not enough places to provide accessible adventure activities for people living
with disability. Modified gates to provide access could be utilised. An accessible ‘great
walk’ could be considered.
• Arrangements for access to the park through private property (and access to private
inholdings) requires clarification in the plan. Private landholders often do not allow
access across their land to the parks because they are concerned about public liability.
• Providing access could create camping opportunities at sites including Kedumba Valley
(larger groups), Pack Saddles (small groups) and Canyon Colliery.
• Opportunities for camping at Green Gully should be considered during development of
the precinct plan for that site.
• There is demand for campsites that cater for larger groups. This may take pressure off
smaller sites.
• Access at Dunphy’s requires resolution.
• Yerranderie and Wolongambe have opportunities for camping but access issues would
require resolution. Ingar also has great opportunities for camping however restrictions
with access would require resolution.
• Cross-tenure arrangements need to be considered at Ingar to allow access to NPWS
• Perry’s Lookdown does not offer a quality camping experience. This requires resolution.
• There was a recommendation that the Blue Labyrinth should be managed as a remote
natural area. The last plan of management recommended sealing the road to Nepean
Lookout. This is not appropriate for tradition and history reasons.
Online booking
• The pros and cons of bookings systems were discussed. There are challenges
associated with booking groups however a booking system can help to change
behaviour, cap numbers, and generate improved experiences.
• Bookings need to be easy, flexible for groups, allow for spontaneity, and consider safety
and park management needs. The system needs regular review to ensure functionality
and effectiveness.
• Maintaining records of trip intentions is another way of monitoring visitor numbers.
• Sydney people are getting used to online booking for campsites. This system could be
expanded to encompass booking for day trip experiences.
• There is support for bookings and revenue collection where revenue can be reinvested
into the park.
• There have been instances where people have booked campsites and have then not
utilised their booking. This is a problem with the online booking system because it has
potential to restrict access for campers and could encourage larger groups and illegal
party’s that could impact on other campers.
• Booking platform (Digirez) needs to recognise a diversity of sites to match the type of
experiences and people that are booking. Currently it is too restrictive.
• To plan their camping trip, people need to access information about campsite sizes and
numbers group sizes before they access the Digirez platform.
Potential improvements to visitor sites
• Schools use the parks for multi day walks (with self-sufficient camping) and school
camps. School camps require larger campgrounds, toilets, and vehicle access. Sites like
Mount Wilson and Newnes are important. There may also be opportunities at Euroka
and Green Gully.
• Green Gully Cabins are currently under-utilised, and consideration should be given to
better manage the site and its future use.
• It was suggested that camp hosts could be better utilised.
• Hanging Rock needs implementation of a site management plan.
• NPWS maintenance and upgrades of existing tracks (including Grand Canyon) were
commended. Providing good quality tracks in popular areas attracts novice bush
walkers and leaves more difficult walks for those with more experience.
• Govetts Leap upgrades were discussed. It was acknowledged that, while improvements
seemed logical, residents may have strong views about things that affect them directly.
• The following areas within and outside the parks could be considered for improved
access and facilities: Narrow Neck, Wolgan, Victoria Falls Road, Evans Lookout,
Kedumba, Greens Gully, Mt Banks, Wolongambe, Bells Line Road, Acacia Flat
campground, Wentworth Falls, Conservation hut, Copeland Pass and Yerranderie.
• Upgrade is required for the Copeland Pass Track.
• The K2K walk experience should be supported.
• Upgrades are required at trail heads to provide toilet facilities and improved information.
• Facilities at popular climbing areas should be upgraded to include toilet facilities.
• A walking loop from Turras Ladders east to Kedumba River, K2K to Solitary was
suggested. Catchment restrictions were acknowledged.
Other issues
• Online communication about park access requires improvement. Alerts are not updated
often enough.
• Visitors need better information from utilities when they close tracks to undertake work.
It is hard to determine if whole or part of a track is closed and whether you can walk
around the closure.
• Strategies are required to communicate the boundaries between the parks and council
• Bushwalking NSW are seeking more engagement with NPWS on matters of mutual
• Recreational organisations provide opportunities for improved communication about
park management (e.g. Bushwalking NSW newsletter).
• Communication to visitors could be improved through the application of consistent
signage across tenures.
Visitor management
• Increased visitation (and the resultant pressures on the park and the visitor experience)
is an issue that needs to be addressed at a strategic infrastructure planning level, and
through marketing and information.
• The lack of park entry fees was questioned, with some support for fees in areas with
facilities. The application of fees within wilderness areas was not supported.
• Increased visitation is restricting carparks for some residents. It was suggested that
NPWS should cooperate more with local government to improve carparking adjacent to
the parks.
• Strategies for the management of visitors and tourists should be consistent.
Plan of management
• The plan should integrate with other relevant planning documents including special
areas plans for catchments, world heritage plans, indigenous land use agreements,
heritage plans, tourism plans, plans for adjacent parks and precinct plans.
• Some people would like to see what actions have been completed in the current plan of
• NPWS needs to allow adequate time for groups/stakeholder to consider information
when consulting.
• Climate change impacts on park values, use and management (including park closures,
fire, water, pest management and changing visitor use patterns) need to be addressed
in the plan.
• Plan needs to provide scope to respond to unforeseen or emerging issues (e.g.
birdwatchers following honeyeater migration, changed flight paths with the new airport
and dam development proposals).
• Pest plant and animal management should be a focus for the plan of management.
• The plan of management should seek to improve the interpretation of Aboriginal cultural
heritage and non-Aboriginal cultural heritage within the parks.
• The plan of management should provide scope for the application of Aboriginal names
in the parks.
Fire management
• Increased burning in wilderness areas should not be to be used to achieve prescribed
burns targets.
• Fire management should be ecologically based– with specific assets targeted for fire
World heritage
• A consistent approach to management and improved communication about the World
Heritage Area is required.
• The World Heritage Working Group should engage more broadly with the community.
• Drones are now common within the escarpment including at lookouts.
• Concerns were raised about the safety of drones and disturbance to visitors.
• Support was expressed to exclude drones from the parks