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Tag Archives | Minimal Impact Bushwalking

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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Great West Walk extended from Penrith to Katoomba

In great news for bushwalkers – the Great West Walk has been extended from Penrith to Katoomba!

The Walking Volunteers have loaded the walking route onto their Sydney Walking Tracks map and Great West Walk. If you have downloaded either of these maps onto your PS, smartphone or tablet they will be automatically updated to include an additional 150 kilometres of walking routes including the 87 kilometres of the main route.

The additional routes encompass a wide variety of walking conditions from easy station-to-station village walks to the more demanding Woodford-Hazelbrook section. The loops and links include diversions to historical sites like the 1892 Cutting, the Tunnel Creek Track and the iconic St Helena Track/Oaks Fire Trail Hike which is only suitable for experienced bushwalkers.

Cutting on the Top Road

… a funicular railway down to the 1913 rail route along Glenbrook Gorge

The St Helena Ridge Track runs through a narrow defiles …

Pool of Siloam is still …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you would expect, the views in the Upper Blue Mountains are stunning but some of the lesser-known routes in the Lower Mountains and Mid-Mountains are just as astonishing. The main route runs past old inns, gatekeepers’ cottages, mountain cottages, intriguing ruins and a haunting cave site; along old railway cuttings and Cox’s original road; visits spectacular natural sites like Kings Cave, Leuralla Amphitheatre Sublime Point and Echo Point; passes man-made memorials at Macquarie’s Springwood Camp, Caleys Repulse, Honour Avenue, Coronation Park, and the haunting beauty of the Gully Walk.

Frederica Falls on Empire Pass

Western end of Mt Solitary from Prince Henry Cliff Walk below Sublime Point Reserve

… you look at it

 

The Walking Volunteers want to thank the Gundungurra ILUA Committee, Blue Mountains National Park and Blue Mountains City Council for allowing them to put this extension on their maps and providing vital information on temporary track closures between Gordon Falls and Echo Point, which are all marked on the maps with alternate routes. As these tracks are re-opened the Walking Volunteers will change their maps and these will be automatically updated.

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.

 

Walking in Declared Wilderness Areas – Is There a Party Limit?

Walking in Declared Wilderness Areas – Is There a Party Limit?

Yes, there is. Its 8.

Many members will be aware that in NSW there are places declared as Wilderness Areas under the Wilderness Act 1987. Wilderness areas are large, natural and mostly intact areas of land that form part of our national park system. When an area is declared wilderness, it is protected under the Act and must be managed to protect its wilderness values with a minimum of human interference. Many wilderness areas are remote and inaccessible to vehicles and access is usually only by foot.

You can find out where Wilderness Areas are either by accessing up to date mapping, the Plan of Management for the national park concerned or by contacting your local national park office. Plans of Management can be found here.

What about party limits in national park areas that are not declared wilderness? Well, that can vary. For parks like the Blue Mountains and Kosciuszko, walking groups bigger than 20 require prior approval from NPWS. In the Budawangs it is even lower. There is a limit of 12 for overnight groups and the recommended limit for day walks is 12. For other parks the Plan of Management doesn’t specify a limit.

In any case when planning a walk always consider party size in relation to the Bushwalkers Code.

Again, if in doubt consult the relevant Plan of Management or contact your local national park office.

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.

 

Mt Keira Ring Track, Illawarra Ramblers Club

Mt Keira Ring Track plus Robertson’s Lookout, Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area 26 June 2021, Walk Report by Russell Verdon, Illawarra Ramblers Club

We walked Mt Keira ring track anticlockwise plus the extension to Robertson’s Lookout. There were hundreds of steps to negotiate. Total Distance: 8 Km, Duration: 4 Hr, Grade: 3 Moderate.

A record of the walked track

Record of the Walked Track

Eight Ramblers registered for the walk located at Wollongong’s prominent landmark Mt Keira.

We commenced walking at the civilised winter hour of 9am from Byarong Park. This park is on Mt Keira Road and adjacent to the Girl Guide Camp. The path leads up a short 300m stroll to meet with the ring track.

The cooler dryer conditions at this time of the year made for easy walking and minimal prospects for encountering leeches, often a feature in this area when the ground is damp.

Once at the ring track we took the right fork to commence our anticlockwise circuit of the mountain. A lot of track improvements such as boardwalk installation and repair of steps has been completed allowing reopening of the ring track after past rock slides.

Walking another 400m brought us back to Mt Keira Rd where we crossed 20 minutes into our walk, to continue the ring track on its southern side.

After another 400m the track touches the road again and we prepared to climb up the 100 odd steps to take us up to the next level section of the track through board walked rainforest then up another 296 steps where some nice views through the tree canopy to the north west were awaiting us, nearly an hour and a quarter into our walk.

We continued roughly 700m along the ring track reaching the junction where the path to Robertson’s lookout commenced. Those still feeling energetic walked to the lookout and we enjoyed the views down the escarpment followed by some well earned morning tea.

Then we followed the ring track downhill glimpsing the archery range located across from Byarong Park.

Not a lot in flower close to the track at the moment, but the odd glimpse of colour, and always good to marvel at the figs as we made our way back to the start at Byarong Park about three and a half hours later.

Thanks Anne for leading another great local walk!

Our Club of the Month: Illawarra Ramblers Club

The Illawarra Ramblers Club is based at Wollongong and provides walking, kayaking, and cycling activities including trips away. We have a stable membership of around 250 friendly folk. Our activities are graded to suit members’ abilities and are spread throughout the whole week. Located in the Illawarra we are close to and frequently access National Parks, coastal regions, the Illawarra escarpment, rivers, lakes and and the Southern Highlands. Try a couple activities for free before joining – hope to see you soon!

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

 

The shoe spray challenge

 

You know those boot-cleaning stations at the start of iconic walks?

They help to stop the spread of diseases, particularly Phytophthora Cinnamomi, that can fell mighty big trees.

One of the walkers on my most recent walk almost felled me with this brilliant idea:

He brought along his own spray bottle to spray everyone’s boots at the start of the walk! A portable boot-cleaning station.

We all raised each foot behind us, like a horse being shod, and got a spray all over our soles.

And oh boy did my soul feel good to be walking so softly through that beautiful un-tracked rainforest!

This little trick is easy and cheap to do.

All you need is a spray bottle with either methylated spirits (70-100%), bleach (dilute to 25%) or F10 disinfectant solution.

Read more

The challenge

Will you be the sole cleaner for the walks you lead or join?

You’ll be helping to preserve the beautiful places you visit, and probably also making some more souls feel good 🙂

 

Happy, clean walking shoes at the iconic Protester Falls in northern NSW | Fellow walkers with clean boots | Beautiful Protester Falls country. Photos: Kirsten Mayer