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Tag Archives | Minimal Impact Bushwalking

Coffs Hikers

Coffs Hikers climb Tuckers Nob, Orara West State Forest/Bindarra National Park, March 2022, Yvonne, Coffs Hikers

Tuckers Nob is a local landmark, with a great view to the Dorrigo escarpment, and the Bellinger Valley to the sea. In March, walkers from Coffs Hikers set off from the north side of the mountain following Frontage Creek up steeply through Orara West State Forest on logging tracks.

Close to the top is a track labelled on the map as “That Steep Bit”, and it is certainly steep! The forest vegetation changes as we approach the summit (874 metres) and the view opens up. There is a geocache hiding here.

After a rest on a rough hewn bench to enjoy our lunch, we start cautiously down that steep bit again, stopping on the way to admire Fig Tree Falls in full flow after rain. Then it’s back to the cars to clean off the mud and remove any free passengers (aka leeches).

Our June Club: Coffs Hikers

Coffs Hikers is a new Bushwalking NSW club in Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast, with a fast-growing membership. The Club is spoilt for choice with many national parks, state forests, coastal walks, creeks and the great escarpment offering many opportunities for wild explorations! The Club currently offers day walks, overnight walks and camping, but hope to offer cycling and kayaking in future.

In the Club’s first six months, 84 club members have enjoyed 321 outdoor experiences together on 39 activities. These have included soggy off-track in the jungle, steep climbs to lookouts, camping at Gibraltar Ranges, map and compass training and gentler coastal rambles.

For more information visit the Club website or Facebook page. In addition Coffs Trails publishes routes of many walks in the Coffs area.

 

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.

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!