Difference between revisions of "Bush Walking"
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There are Clubs and activity companies who organise structured expeditions through the summer months.
There are Clubs and activity companies who organise structured expeditions through the summer months.
Latest revision as of 12:43, 15 September 2015
There are Clubs and activity companies who organise structured expeditions through the summer months.
- 1 NSW
- 2 Victoria
- 2.1 Falls Creek area
- 2.2 Mt Buffalo
- 2.3 Mt Buller area
- 2.4 Mt Baw Baw area
- 2.5 Yarra Ranges
Where there are tracks you should stay on them (regardless of how wet and muddy they are). Each time you leave the track you do more damage. The tracks are already wrecked beyond any repair that will take less than decades, if not centuries to disappear. Damage in the high country can take many decades to disappear, if it can be fixed at all. Bushwalking Maps and notes
Top of the Thredbo Chairs
- The Merrits nature track, from the top down to Thredbo Village. This is a pleasant walk through the varieties of alpine flora, from snowgrass to snowgums. Mostly downhill, and unfit quads will feel it. Merrits nature track
- The walk to the summit of Kosciuszko. This is about 6.5 km one way along a brick pathway or raised metal grid track. NPWS ask you to stay on this path. The number of walkers walking to the Summit has caused severe degradation to some sensitive flora, as well as erosion. You can see the damage below the metal grid in some places. The Kosciuszko View lookout about 3 km along the track gives a good view of Kosciuszko. It is worth going as far as Rawsons Pass to see Australia's highest toilet bunker. Kosciuszko summit walk
- The Dead Horse Gap walk, from the top of Karels T bar down to Dead Horse Gap. This walk has expansive views and does not get as crowded as the walk to the Summit. You can return to Thredbo along the River Walk. This is an excellent round trip.Dead Horse Gap and Thredbo River
In the Thredbo River Valley
- River walk, beside the Thredbo River between the Village and Dead Horse Gap. Thredbo to Dead Horse Gap
- From Dead Horse Gap south on the Bobs Ridge Track towards Cascade Hut and beyond or following the Thredbo River Valley to The Chimneys.
- Short, flat walks around Bullocks Flat (the Skitube Terminal), Thredbo Diggings and Ngarigo
- Walks around the Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort (although these may be for guests only - pretend you are considering buying some land)
From Charlotte Pass
- Up to the summit of Kosciuszko (about 9 km one way)Charlotte's Pass to Mount Kosciuszko
- The walk to Blue Lake. Blue Lake is a very scenic alpine tarn, with high cliffs falling straight into the lake. It is one of the few glacial lakes in the region. You can also do a short diversion on a footpad that heads west from the north west side of the Snowy ford to a ruined chimney and other relics of the grazing era a little further up the valley.Charlotte's Pass to Blue Lake
- The Main Range Walk, also called the Lakes Walk, doing a loop from Charlotte Pass out onto the main range to Rawson Pass via Blue Lake and Lake Albina and back down to Charlotte Pass on a well defined track or on the old Summit road. A short diversion from Rawsons Pass takes you to the top of Mt Kosciuszko. This is an excellent but strenuous 20+ km day walk, or it can be broken into a couple of relaxing days with an overnight camp (but do not camp in the lake catchments - it is prohibited). There are spectacular views along the way. The hill between Charlotte Pass and the Snowy River (called Heart Attack Hill for good reason)is very steep. Most people do this walk in an anti-clockwise direction to avoid the hill at the end of the day. Main Range Track
- Watsons Crags. This one requires a bit of navigation and experience. Watsons Crags is a narrow ridge jutting out from the Main range near Mt Twynam into the Geehi Gorge. There are spectacular views into the gorge and beyond, as well as back to the Western Faces and the Sentinel. This is a long walk, and the route is not clearly marked. It should only be attempted by experienced walkers confident with their navigation skills.
Walks from off the Summit Rd between the Park entrance and Perisher including:
- Sawpit Nature Trail, a short walk around Sawpit Creek.
- Pallaibo track, from Sawpit Creek down to the Thredbo River picnic area near the old park entrance station. This is a one way walk, and you need to do a car swap or be prepared to walk or hitch back up to Sawpit.
- Waterfall walk out of Sawpit Creek on the opposite side of the road. This is a walk up to a waterfall and then back to the road on a loop. It has some beautiful spalled granite formations, if you like rocks. There are usually kangaroos on this walk.
- Rennix Track, out of Rennix Gap. There are usually kangaroos on this walk.
- Rainbow Lake walk out to the water supply for the old Kosciousko Hotel.Rainbow Lake Walk
- Porcupine Rocks walk from Perisher out to Porcupine Rocks. The Rocks have a spectacular view of the Thredbo Valley. You can continue along the XC pole line to Charlotte Pass.
If you are staying in Perisher and the weather is atrocious it is worth driving down the road to some of the lower walks. Often the weather changes from atrocious to perfect as early as Sponars. This means that most of these walks are fine.
Access to Mt Kosciuszko, the top of Australia, is possible with a 6km walk from the top of Thredbo, or a 9 km walk from Charlotte Pass (both one way).
The maintenance road from Munyang Power Station, and the Aqeduct track and Disappointment Spur track go up to Schlink Pass and give access to the Kerries and Brassies and the area around Jagungal, as well as Dicky Cooper Bogong and the north end of the Rolling Grounds. These are more remote areas and may still be closed after recent devastating bushfires. The walk to and from Whites River Hut and Schlink Pass will take most of a day. Access any further requires an overnighter. From Schlink Pass you can get access to the Jagungal area (if it is open) via the Valentine and Grey Mare Fire Trails. You can also get accress to Jagungal from the north from the Selwyn area, across Happy Jacks Plain.
There is a suspension bridge across the Snowy River at Illawong hut, a couple of km upstream from Guthega. This bridge gives access to Mt Twynam and Blue Lake from a different direction. A walk across the dam wall at Guthega gives access to Mt Tate, Consett Stephens Pass and the southern end of the Rolling Grounds. There are no formed tracks for these walks, although there are footpads in some places. Guthega to Blue Lake via Little Twynam Guthega to Snowy River Suspension Bridge
There are also walks from Selwyn, 3 Mile Dam and off the Cabramurra Rd, as well as walks around Kiandra and Yarrangobilly Caves. The Gold Seekers Track between Selwyn and 3 Mile Dam has some interesting gold rush relics.
WARNING - IMPORTANT
- If you undertake any walks you must be prepared for rapid changes of weather. It snows every year in summer and the weather is extremely unpredictable. Navigation can be difficult in foggy conditions.
- You should wear sun protection. There is no shade in the high country.
- You should carry your own water or treat your drinking water. Giardia has been detected in the alpine streams. Water near huts and popular camping areas can be contaminated, as can watercourses downstream from resorts.
I have never been to Geehi Flats, on the west side of the range on the Alpine Way and not seen kangaroos. You will often see them on the Waterfall and Rennix Gap walks. Wombats are everywhere but they will avoid most noisy walkers. If you want to see them sit quietly in the evening. The NPWS does critter spotting walks in school holidays. Emus are everywhere. Lately they have been hanging around the road near the Skitube turnoff. I have often seen them near Selwyn. You often see *ahem* sign of brumbies at Dead Horse Gap although the actual horses are seen less frequently.
From about the end of November there are spectacular displays of wildflowers throughout the high country. There are carpets of flowers many hectares in extent.
Walks from Thredbo
Rather than modify other peoples contributions, I will put these hikes in a different sub-category. © D.S. 2008.
Ø Ramshead Range and Kosciusko.
7.00. A1. Hannel’s Spur. Shown in Brown on map. Grade: Very Hard. 20 km. If there’s sufficient interest, we will also run a walk from Geehi up Hannel’s Spur to near Mt Townsend and then to Thredbo. Involves a 1770 metre ascent, the longest single climb in Australia.
8.30. A2 Climb Kosci via 2 strange hills & a lake. Orange on map. Grade: Medium - Hard. 20 km Thredbo River track – Dead Horse Gap – The Ramshead – North Ramshead – Cootapatamba Hut – Lake May (aka Cootapatamba) – Mt Kosciusko – optional side trip to Seaman’s Hut – choice of chairlift or Merritt’s Nature Track.
9.00. A3. Kosciusko, a lake and a strange hill. Shown in Red on map. Grade: Medium. 20 km. Kosciusko Express Chairlift – Kosciusko Lookout – Mt Kosciusko – Lake May (Cootapatamba) – North Ramshead – track to Dead Horse Gap – Thredbo River track.
9.30. A4. The highest mountain, highest hut & highest lake. Pink on map. Grade: Easy. 16 km. Kosciusko Express Chairlift – Ethridge Gap – optional descent to Lake May (Cootapatamba) during a break – Mt Kosciusko – side trip to Seaman’s Hut – choice of Merritt’s Nature Track or chairlift.
Ø The Main Range.
8.30. B1. The three highest mountains in a day. Blue on the map. Grade: Hard. 22 km. 1 hour drive to Charlotte Pass. Hedley Tarn – Blue Lake – off track to Mt Twynam – Carruthers Peak – Northcote Pass – Lake Albina – side trip to Mt Townsend – Mt Kosciusko – Kosciusko Express Chairlift (if before 5.00 close) or Merritt’s Nature Track.
9.00. B2. The Lakes Walk. Shown in Purple on the map. Grade: Medium Plus. 18 km. Kosciusko Express Chairlift – Mt Kosciusko – optional side trip to Mt Townsend – Lake Albina – Carruthers Peak – Blue Lake – Hedley Tarn – Charlotte Pass. If ahead of schedule, there may be an optional side trip to The Sentinel.
9.30. B3. Porcupine Rocks & Blue Lake: 2 scenic walks. Teal on map. Grade: Easy-Medium. 5 + 9 km. Drive to 60 km to Perisher. Morning walk to The Porcupine and Mt Duncan. Drive 8 km to Charlotte Pass for optional lunch at The Kosciusko Chalet. 2½ hr walk to Blue Lake. Drive to Thredbo.
Ø Thredbo Valley.
8.30. C1. Three rarely visited summits & a steep scrub bash. Green on map. Grade: Hard. 20 km. Drive 4 km to Dead Horse Gap. Cascade Fire Track – Upper Thredbo River – The Big Boggy – The Chimneys – Mt Terrible – Teddy’s Hut – Paddy Rush’s Bogong – Steep 2 km scrub bash to Friday Flat. Optional longer but easier return via Dead Horse Gap.
9.00. C2. Main Range views from a remote alpine valley. Olive on map. Grade: Medium. 16 km. Drive 4 km to Dead Horse Gap. Cascade Fire Track – Upper Thredbo River – The Big Boggy – The Chimneys – return to Dead Horse Gap.
9.30. C3. Upper Thredbo River & Bullocks Flat. Yellow on the map. Grade: Easy. 10 + 4 km. Morning. Walk up Thredbo River to Dead Horse Gap & return. 15 km drive to ski tube station. Optional lunch at Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort. Circuit to Bullock’s Hut and Thredbo Diggings.
The Victorian Alps offer great bushwalking opportunities. Below are some ideas to get you interested. There are many good books including
- Bushwalking and Touring in the Bogong High Plains Alpine National Park, John Siseman and John Brownlie, Envirobook 1986
- 70 Walks in Victoria’s Bright and Falls Creek Districts, Tyrone Thomas, Hill of Content ,1996
- 120 Walks in Victoria, Tyrone Thomas, Hill of Content, 5th ed 1989
Often there are reports of interesting trips in the Victorian Alps in Wild magazine
Click for reviews of bushwalking guide books
Falls Creek area
Some of the best alpine walking is at Mount Bogong and the Bogong High Plains. The temperature on the high plains is usually about 10 degrees cooler than in the valley, so summer walking can be quite pleasant.
The High Plains offers many day walks, as well as extended walks. Huts, built for cattlemen, hydro workers or bushwalkers, offer focal points for many of the walks.
The High Plains are very exposed. Unless you know you that you will only be on sheltered, well made and marked tracks, you must take a good topographical map and compass (which you know how to use). A GPS is handy, but by no means essential. The weather on the High Plains can change very quickly. Snow, sleet,impenetrable fog and high winds can occur in any month of the year. Always carry warm and weatherproof clothes.
Wallaces and Cope Huts loop (6.7 km)
This is a great introduction to the area. If you only have time for one walk, this is the one to do. Start at the junction of the High Plains road and the track to Cope hut, about 10km from Falls Creek. Follow the road back towards Falls Creek, then diverge right and follow the pad next to the snow pole line. This takes you to Wallaces Hut. Built over 100 years ago and classified by the National Trust, this impressive old hut is set in a really lovely snow gum clearing. From Wallaces, follow the track down to the aqueduct. Wilkinson Lodge was just near here, but it burnt down in 2004. Turn right and follow the aqueduct track to Rover Lodge, a large modern “hut” run by the Scouts. These hardy souls ski out here for a week at a time. They even have their own rope tow. Continue along the aqueduct track, but veer right up the walking trach to Cope Hut. This meets up with a vehicle track again where you turn right and continue up to the hut. Cope Hut, was built in 1929 specifically for bushwalkers and ski tourers. From Cope Hut, continue up the track to where you left your car.
Mt Cope rises about 200metres from the surrounding high plains, to a peak at 1837m. It is an easy, well marked, walk from a small car park in the high plains road. You will be rewarded with 360 degree views of the high plains and surrounding peaks.
Take a map and compass. Start at Heathy Spur, climbing up to join the Nelse Track. Turn left and follow the track for about a kilometre. You could divert to visit Johnstons hut. The track leaves the Nelse Track at pole 782. Johnstons is a private hut not open to the public, but the setting is rather nice. At snow pole 788 there is a small track on the left heading down to Edmonsons Hut. Or climb Mt Nelse first. Mt Nelse is the peak immediately above Edmonsons hut. Mt Nelse North is a little higher, and Mt Nelse West is higher again, being the 3rd highest point in Victoria. Edmonsons Hut is an old cattleman’s hut. Return via the Nelse Track and a road slog back to Heathy Spur.
Setting off points
After crossing the dam wall, look for a boat ramp and picnic tables on the right. On the left will be the start of the Heathy Spur track. This track climbs gently to join the Nelse Track in an area known as The Park. It gives access to Mt Nelse and all the other areas accessed by the Nelse Track. It is a more scenic route, but poorly marked. In poor visibility the Nelse Track is a safer choice. Always carry a good map and compass.
The setting off point for a number of walks is the Nelse Track, also known as Big River Fire Trail. The Bogong High Plains road crosses the Rocky Valley Dam and winds along the shoreline till Watchbed Creek. A vehicle track then heads off to the left . This is the Nelse Track. You can park near the intersection, or drive a couple of kilometres up the track to a locked gate. There are often a lot of cars parked along the track, and you may not get that much closer.
The Nelse track provides access to Mt Nelse, many huts (including Kellys, Fitzgeralds, Johnstons, Edmonsons) Hollands Knob, Marum Point, Spion Kopje and Mt Bogong. Always carry a good map and compass.
After passing the start of the Nelse track, continue up the hill for a kilometre or so and look for a small car park on your left. This is Langfords Gap. Langford East Aqueduct runs for about 7 km kilometres to the left . It gives access to the Marum Point and Fitzgeralds and Kellys huts. Langford West Aqueduct , to the right, runs for about 8km till it meets the High Plains road again at Langford West camp. The Wallace and Cope huts loop uses part of this track. You can road slog between Nelse Track and Langfords, but is a rather bleak section: car shuffle if you can.
Drive up the McKay road but keep left after Ruined Castle and descend to this little reservoir. The Fainter Fire Trail heads off towards Tawonga Huts, Mt Niggerhead, Mt Fainter, Mt Jim and Mt Hotham. Always carry a good map and compass.
Other day walks
- Ropers Lookout: short family walk, start on the far side of the dam wall. Recent track works have made this very civilised with stone steps on all the steeper sections.
- Marum Point: start at Nelse Track or Langfords Gap. Take a good map and compass. A nice point to point walk is Heathy Spur – The Park – Marum Point – Langfords Gap.
- Kellys and Fitzgeralds huts: start at Langfords Gap, return via Nelse Track, or vice versa. Take a good map and compass.
- Tawonga Huts: start at Pretty Valley and follow the Fainter fire trail to this group of tiny huts beneath the Niggerheads. Take a good map and compass.
The Australian Alps Walking Track
The long distance Australian Alps Walking Track starts near Walhalla and winds through the Alps to finish in the ACT. Part of that track links Mt Hotham with Mt Bogong, via the Bogong High Plains.
Mt Bogong – the big feller
Mt Bogong (1986m) is the highest mountain in Victoria. It is a massive, hulking mountain that looms over the valleys beneath. The actual summit is only a little higher than the plateau. The West Peak is often mistaken for the summit because it is a more dramatic high point.
There are many routes up Mt Bogong. The best known are the Staircase Spur and the Eskdale Spur. The tracks for both of these start at Mountain Creek camping ground near Tawonga. It is possible to go up one and return the other in a day. But you need to be fit. It is a long, steep climb.
Mt Bogong is very exposed and the weather can change at short notice. Always treat this mountain with respect and carry warm and weatherproof gear in all seasons. Always take map and compass. A GPS will be of limited use on the wooded spurs, but can be very handy on the plateau if the weather closes in.
There are refuge huts near the tree line on each of the 2 main routes.
The other major hut on Mt Bogong is Cleve Cole Hut. It is a long, exposed walk from the top of Staircase or Eskdale, so it is better to retreat to Bivouac (Staircase) or Michell (Eskdale) than push on in bad weather.
Cleve Cole is a very substantial hut, built as a memorial to a skier who died on the mountain in 1936.
Another popular (overnight) route up Mt Bogong is T-Spur. This is very steep route links Mt Bogong to the Bogong High Plains. Access is from the Bogong High Plains Road. The Nelse track leaves that road as the road veers away from the Rockey Valley reservoir. Follow the Nelse track past Mt Nelse to Warby Corner, and then turn right and follow the track to the site of Ropers Hut. One of the highlights of this route was a visit to Ropers Hut near the edge of the high plains. Unfortunately this idyllic hut was destroyed in the 2003 bushfires. It is being rebuilt by volunteers. Duane Spur descends steeply to Big River. There are a few camping spots near the crossing. T-Spur climbs steeply up Mt Bogong, then there is a pleasant walk to Cleve Cole Hut.
There are some easy short family walks that also start at Mountain Creek camping ground.
Mt Buller area
Mt Stirling and Craig's Hut
This easy access bush walk is located around the back of Buller and is a popular place for cross-country skiers in winter. Craigs Hut was the film set for the movie Man from Snowy river and is located on Clear Hills, which offer great views of the Australian Alps.
The walk is easy in nature, as it is along either an access track or a well defined path. However, some sections are steep (such as the accent of Mt Stirling from Telephone Box Junction) and it is essential that you carry a map (and know how to use it) as well as warm clothing and shell wear - even in summer.
The walk starts from Telephone Box Junction (TBJ - At which I was unable to find a telephone box while there...), which is the launching place for cross country skiers on Mt Stirling. It is located about 10km along Stirling road, which turns off at the Mt Buller control gate.
The walk can either be a two or three day hike. The two day hike involves leaving TBJ and walking to Craigs Hut in the one day - not far in distance but does involve a long uphill section as you climb stirling. The other involves camping at Bluff Spur Memorial Hut (dedicated to two people killed in a freak storm on Stirling - have you packed your warm clothes yet???) and spending the next day exploring craigs hut and surrounds, before hiking out the following day. At Craigs Hut be prepared to be very annoyed when the Elderly Society of Victoria arrives in a fleet of busses from the road on the other side. At least they don't stay long as they will catch hypothermia.
Mt Baw Baw area
You can go from Baw Baw to Walhalla as a guided 2 day walk. See http://www.greatwalhallaalpinetrail.com/ for more details. I'm hoping to do it in reverse before winter. Will post details on completion