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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.

 

 

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

Mount Jellore, Nattai National Park, Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

A recent walk that Southern Highlands Bushwalkers managed to slot between various lockdowns was a hike up Mt Jellore in Nattai National Park. It had been couple of years since the Club had been on the Mount Jellore Walk as it has only recently re-opened after the bushfires.

There is a short walk to a rocky outcrop where you get the first view of the mountain, then a steep drop to a creek, followed by a steep walk up to the fire trail that leads to the base of Mt Jellore. From there it is a zig zag track up to the summit. There is now a lot of waist high regrowth. The trig at the top had survived the fires and from the peak you can see Sydney on a clear day. We took the alternative route back to the start which also involved a drop down to a creek followed by a climb back out.

Nattai NP offers beautiful wilderness and rugged walking experiences. The park is conveniently located close to several towns and features spectacular scenery and landscapes including sandstone cliffs, rainforests and woodlands. Walks in Nattai NP include Couridjah Corridor, Mount Jellore, Starlight’s or Nattai River.

Our January Club: Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers is an outdoor activities club which develops friendships through exploring natural wilderness and National Parks. The Club endeavours to plan activities to suit the needs of both individuals and families. Club activities range from short day walks to overnight backpacking hikes and car camp out weekends. However, other special activities may also be included in the Club’s programme.

The Club was formed in 1990 as the Highland Adventurers then underwent a name change to become the Southern Highlands Bushwalkers (Inc) in 1994. Since inception, membership has grown to about 60 and the members hail from as far afield as Palm Beach in the north to Goulburn in the south.

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers holds activities in the Mittagong, Bowral, Berrima area of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. This area has a great diversity of flora and fauna and access to many national parks and forested areas. Most of the local area is undulating to steep, easy walks are very few and a reasonable standard of fitness is required.

The worn Sydney sandstone of the area offers some many interesting and beautiful windblown features with views from ridges into valleys, creeks and gullies. These offer glimpses of lush cool rain forest, eroded sculptured landscapes and stunning views down the valleys formed by the rivers such as the Nattai.

The club offers mostly day walks from moderately easy to strenuous with a range of overnight backpacks or car camps and the occasional trips to more distant destinations. Off track walking may be through thick and difficult vegetation which requires experience and good navigation skills. The Club also does coastal walks, mainly in the Illawarra as well as some on Sydney Harbour.

 

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Bankstown Bushwalking Club

FAULCONBRIDGE – VICTORY TRACK – NUMANTIA FALLS – MAGDALA CREEK – SPRINGWOOD, Saturday 23 October 2021, Report by Lynda Paju, Bankstown Bushwalking Club

A group of nine keen fully vaccinated walkers from Bankstown Bushwalkers gladly emerged from lockdown to enjoy the bush together again. Not being sure of fitness levels after such a long time confined to local areas, they returned to a favourite part of the amazing Blue Mountains. Spirits were high as walkers reconnected with old Club friends and organised a car shuttle at the start of the walk.

Before long they were enjoying each other’s company and a gentle descent along Sassafras creek. Despite fairly recent rains in Sydney there wasn’t a large volume of water in the waterfalls and the tracks were dry. They passed Clarinda Falls before taking a side trip to Numantia Falls for morning tea.

Numantia Falls

 

A leisurely lunch break at a lovely swimming hole near the Glenbrook Creek junction provided a chance for interesting conversation. A couple of party members even braved the icy creek waters for an extremely invigorating and refreshing swim! Of course, after heading down the creeks they had to head walk back up again. The walk up Magdala Creek was a fairly gentle ascent and the party paused at Martins Falls and Magdala Falls for short breaks on the way.

After a successful walk the party happily stopped for the traditional coffee and cake on the way home.

The general consensus was that the Club must go back on this walk again after more rain! After such a long period where people couldn’t get out and walk together the Club is now planning a lot of day walks, abseiling trips and other great activities. It is certainly going to be a busy summer for the Bankswalking Bushwalking Club!

Our December Club: Bankstown Bushwalking Club

Our club of the month Bankstown Bushwalking Club currently has just under 150 members. Bankstown Bushwalking Club prides itself on being friendly and inclusive. The Club offers walks at all grades from easy, social beginner walks through to multi-day, challenging and exploratory walks. The Club also offers abseiling training, canyoning, caving and multi-pitch abseiling trips.

Established in 1980, the Bankstown Bushwalking Club attracts members from all over Sydney. The Club’s program is published each quarter and short notice walks are advertised to members by email.

Bankstown Bushwalking Club has a Facebook Group and interested walkers are encouraged to join so they can get a feel for the Club. The Club also encourages interested people to do a couple of walks as a visitor to decide if they want to join or not. Please note that abseiling activities are restricted to fully paid Club members only.

 

Blue Mountains Conservation Society

Various Bushwalks, Blue Mountains and surrounds, Words by Doug Nicholls, Blue Mountains Conservation Society.
A typical lunch break, sitting under an overhang enjoying the view. This particular walk was on the Undercliff Track Wentworth Falls which is often done as a circuit with the Charles Darwin Walk and the Conservation Hut.
The Grand Canyon Circuit is a very popular family walk. If you only have time for one walk, this one is a good choice for a classic Blue Mountains experience.
Dargan Arch

Dargan Arch in the upper Blue Mountains is an amazing natural sandstone arch in a gorge and an easy walk from carparking. To get to the bottom and under the Arch requires a little more effort but is well worth it.

Our November Club: Blue Mountains Conservation Society

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society (BMCS) has 330 bushwalking members who enjoy walking in amazing locations in the Blue Mountains and surroundings.

Blue Mountains Conservation Society has weekly bushwalks to suit a range of abilities held on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.  The Club’s walk details can be found on the BMCS website where the activity subsection will invite new walkers. BMCS also has a monthly Plant Study Group.

October 2021 was special as the Blue Mountains Conservation Society celebrated its 60th Birthday.

Comerang Mountain – Batemans Bay Bushwalkers

Comerang Mountain, Dampier State Forest, Sunday 21 February 2021, Walk Report by Rob Lees, Batemans Bay Bushwalkers

Seven hikers from Batemans Bay Bushwalkers set off on an exploratory walk to visit interesting geology seen on aerial photography in the creeks downslope from Comerang Mountain.

By definition an exploratory walk has not been reccied.  However, we do examine topographic maps beforehand to evaluate terrain and access roads and to estimate a walk time and route. This is very important so club members can decide if this walk is compatible with their abilities and expectations.

Notwithstanding our best efforts, the reality once on the walk can often be very different!

The first thing we discovered was that B-Travers road (a well-used mountain bike road before the 2020 bushfires) had not been cleared of fallen trees. As we had hoped to drive our vehicles along this road, our walk was increased by 2km just to get to the starting point.

I had also proposed to use a number of other logging roads to get best access to the creeks. However we also found out once on site that these roads had not been used in decades. This made navigation difficult due to the forest regrowth and fire damage.

However once we finally made it to the creeks it was worth the effort as everyone was pleased with the spectacular geology, waterfalls and ponds.  We noticed that the ancient volcanic rocks were highly fractured and very resistant to erosion which created the spectacular scenery. To our delight, in one pool we saw an eel and many small fish.

As walk leader I quickly realised we were not going to be able to visit all the outcrops that I had hoped to see and so we headed back upslope to Comerang Mountain. We knew the climb was going to be tough given the high humidity and temperatures that exceeded all projections. After the ascent, and with only 3kms remaining down a flat trail, we seven weary hikers were happy but also very glad that we would soon see our cars!

I will plan another exploratory walk in the winter that will go straight to the larger outcrops via a different route. I am hopeful that the scenery will be even more spectacular than what we experienced on the Comerang Mountain walk today.

Our Club of the Month: Batemans Bay Bushwalkers

Our club of the month Batemans Bay Bushwalkers are a crew of around 200 members, who have the shared goal of finding, exploring and enjoying the natural secrets of the national parks and forests of the NSW South Coast. First formed in 1985, Batemans Bay Bushwalkers are not-for-profit and run by volunteers.

Batemans Bay Bushwalkers publishes 4 Walks Programs per year, with 2 walks a week of varying grades. Visitors are covered by insurance for 3 walks each financial year to allow them to come and try Club walks. Walks are led by volunteer Walk Leaders, who carry a GPS, topographic map, and when appropriate, a safety beacon.  Walk are graded according to difficulty so members can choose walks to suit their level of ability.

Batemans Bay Bushwalkers club members also get together for a variety of social activities and camps.

 

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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Alternative activities

Have park closures or extreme weather conditions cancelled your plans?

Here are oodles of awesome alternate activity ideas.

No need to do them alone! Meet the group you were planning to head outdoors with at a cafe or library instead. Have fun and feel good about these ‘indoor adventures’ together!

  1. Find and schedule the walks and activities you want to lead in the new year
  2. Not a leader yet? Call a current club leader and ask if you can buddy up to learn to lead – they are friendly folk!
  3. Read the Bushwalking Manual – a great read for everyone doing all kinds of outdoor adventure 🙂
  4. Get started on a first aid course – you can do the pre-reading online for free! https://pfa.stjohn.org.au/
  5. Meet up with a club buddy to plan a club activity together in the new year
  6. Read our Risk Management Guidelines – it is truly worthwhile
  7. Learn all about our insurance – consider becoming an insurance officer – ask us how
  8. Start planning and coordinating a risk management training session for your club. You don’t have to know it all – ask club members with each special expertise to talk on their bit.
  9. Run a navigation theory session for your club and friends
  10. Learn how you can help our suffering wildlife: WIRES & NWC
  11. Write to members of parliament to ask for a climate action leadership:
    1. Federal Ministers.
    2. NSW Members.
    3. ACT Members.
    4. Tell them you’d rather be bushwalking or hiking, healthy and active, than sitting indoors because of extreme weather events!
  12. Brainstorm how to engage more youth in your club
  13. Organise your photos and send in some great ones to us so we can share them through our newsletter and website – email to admin@bushwalkingnsw.org.au.
  14. Contribute your photos and descriptions of the great walks of NSW & the ACT to manual@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au
  15. Check out all the resources available for you on the Bushwalking NSW website
  16. Ask your club management committee if they need any help
  17. Sign up for a Bushwalking NSW working group
  18. Help Bushwalking NSW develop a Hot/Extreme Weather Policy that can help all our clubs – contact us now!
  19. Schedule club social events for the new year
  20. Look for great speakers for next year’s club meetings
  21. Call friends affected by extreme weather and learn how they are doing
  22. Prepare you home for fire as a group – going to each member’s home to clip and clear.
  23. Learn how to plan and prepare for fire
  24. Help out others affected by natural disasters
  25. If you haven’t done it yet – put your Bush fire survival plan at the top of your list!

And once you’re done. Pat yourself on the back and thank your team 🙂

Tips for growing your club

The topic at the recent Bushwalking NSW AGM was ‘How to grow your club’, providing an insight into how one club substantially grew from 50 members to over 300 over a period of a few years. Some of their ideas are paraphrased below. For more information and suggestions on club management see http://www.bushwalkingnsw.org.au/club-management/

You can listen to the audio which inspired this post. (Works on Chrome and Firefox. Apologies for the rough recording – with patience you will hear the gems buried within!).

Soft management

Allow the committee to handle the running of the club, rather than having boring and contentious general meetings where members wrestle over every last detail of its operation. Reserve member’s meetings for socializing, educating, talks and slide nights etc. Give the committee the authority under the club’s constitution to handle the day to day affairs of the club, including making decisions, finances, policies and procedures.

Focus on activities- not committee meetings. The committee should meet the absolute minimum times per year that is needed to organise the club program and fulfill its legal requirements. Under new Incorporated Associations law it is permissible to hold electronic meetings e.g. Skype, conference calls and committee voting by email.

Design the committee structure around roles. Don’t have inactive ‘ordinary’ committee members. Each committee member should have a defined purpose and role. You may need to change the constitution to do this.

Ensure that committee members change regularly by limiting the number of times a member can stand for a particular role. This prevents stagnation and burnout and brings fresh ideas onto the committee agenda.

Make it easy to participate

Clarify processes and procedures and document them so that others know what they should do and how to do it. e.g. how to join, how to become a leader, how to arrange an activity.

Remove obstacles from member and visitor participation e.g. paperwork.

Put your documentation and programs on your website so that everyone can access the information.

If members show an interest in a particular activity or idea or have a suggestion to make, ask them to lead the activity or implement the idea.

Don’t wait for people to volunteer; ask them to do something and give them assistance to carry it out. e.g. buddy potential leaders.

Feature program changes and late-notice activities on the website and encourage members to check it regularly.

Promote the club

Give members club business cards to hand out to interested parties, rather than bulky, old-fashioned leaflets.

Ensure the club website has a current design and feel and is easy to navigate.

Make visitors feel welcome and ask them to return.

Don’t get hung-up about age

Understand your Target Audience. Some clubs are youth oriented, such as university bushwalking clubs, some have all age groups in their membership, while others are composed of 50+. Don’t worry that your club has no members under 50 years old. People’s lives have a natural cycle. After they have had children and the demands of raising a family are most over, then they will start to look for new activities as they enter their fifties. Target these people for membership. The most important point is that you cater to their needs and continue to attract new members in that age group.

It is natural to have a turnover of membership or around 15-20% annually, so don’t worry when people resign. It is more important that you replace departing members.

Members don’t have to be locals. Having intercity, interstate or international members can open possibilities for club holiday activities utilising local knowledge.

The program

A diverse program, with a broad range of activity types and grades, will attract a diverse range of members, increase membership and increase activity participation.

Consider posting your program on the website so that both members and potential visitors can see the latest activities on offer.

Most clubs now email the program rather than printing and posting. Consider offering a monthly emailed program instead of the traditional quarterly. This means the Program Secretary’s duties are spread evenly across the year rather than clustered in a couple of months. It also means leaders don’t have to commit to an activity 4-5 months in advance, Late notice activities can be easily added to the website or sent out as an email alert.

Be social

Joining a bushwalking club is not just about outdoor activities. It is also about socialising. It’s okay for a bushwalking club to run purely social events with no walking involved. Create opportunities in the program for members to socialise, such as; planning for coffee at the end of a bushwalk, restaurant nights, attending fun events. The result will be increased group cohesion, increased membership, a spirit of volunteerism and higher participation in bushwalks.

Club committee tools and tips

Running a successful club takes a few tools and skills that can be just as handy as a map and compass for keeping your club on track!

Great bushwalkers use their tools and resources exceptionally efficiently, so on this page we shares some tools and tips from Bushwalking NSW and our clubs. This is by no means all the great tips and tools employed by all our clubs, so if you’d like to add to this list, please share your tips here.