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Great Tasmanian Traverse | Grampians Peaks Trail Great Blue Mountains Trail | Northern Tuscany Spanish Grand Canyon Walk | Ladakh Sky Trail




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Editor Brent McKean P: 02 9213 8274 Advertising Bobby Butler P: 02 9213 8265 M: 0405 594 303



What happened to my boots after an 8hr return hike up Lord Howe Island’s Mount Gower. (You should see the rest of me!)

Subscriptions Freecall: 1800 807 760 Email: Subscription Rates 1 year $73.50 1 year PLUS $79.00 (print + digital) 1 year (overseas) NZ A$79.00 ASIA A$92.00 ROW A$105.00 Contact Publisher Mike Ford Managing Director Tracy Yaffa Advertising Production Luke Buckley Production Director Matthew Gunn Art Director Ana Maria Heraud Studio Manager Lauren Esdaile Designer Lauren Esdaile Customer Service Manager Martin Phillpott Marketing Manager Sabarinah Elijah Marketing Executive Emilie McGree Yaffa Custom Content Director Matt Porter P: 02 9213 8209 Contributors Caro Ryan, Di Westaway, Ewan Wymer, Laura Boness, Marcus O’Dean, Nicki Thomas, Rodney Braithwaite, Sarah Stackmand Great Walks is published by Yaffa Media Pty Ltd ABN 54 002 699 354 17-21 Bellevue St Surry Hills NSW 2010 P: 02 9281 2333 Fax: 02 9281 2750 All mail to GPO Box 606 Sydney NSW 2001

Limitation of Liability All sports involve some inherent risks. Recreational walking and associated activities can involve a significant risk of physical harm, personal injury or death to participants. Any such injury or loss may result not only from your actions but from the action, omission or negligence of others. The information and maps made available in Great Walks magazine are provided without warranties of any kind as to accuracy. Readers should always make their own enquiries about local hazards and weather conditions before undertaking any of the suggested activities. Readers should also make a careful assessment of their own particular circumstances including physical fitness and ensure that they are properly equipped before setting out. Under no circumstances shall Great Walks and its contributing writers, or Yaffa Media, be liable for any loss, injury, claim, liability or damage of any kind whatsoever resulting from readers’ use of or reliance on the maps or other information contained in the magazine.

SEASON’S GREETINGS! WELCOME to the our issue for 2017 and what a year! Great Walks turned 10 and we covered many wonderful walks, including being the first mag to showcase the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. We sponsored a successful film festival, gave away some fantastic trips – including walks to Nepal and NZ (see pg 56 for our latest comp!). Our Facebook page reached 17k Likes and our email database achieved a similar number. We formed a partnership with National Parks NSW and our subscription numbers continued to grow. All-in-all it’s been a brilliant year – and a positive sign that Australians want to explore our wonderful walking trails. Continuing to inspire, the Dec-Jan issue focuses on new walks for the new year and we have two stories (pgs 14 & 42) predicting what walks will be popular in 2018. Our Xmas gift guide features some fantastic products and we look at how to deal with niggling problems with your feet (pg67) and knees (pg69). For a bit of fun, we asked our Facebook friends what were some of the funniest comments that’d heard on the trail and we received some pearlers. Here are some favourites: “Whilst tramping NZ’s Te Araroa, on three separate occasions I had fellow through-hikers say, ‘I don’t like hiking and I never hike at home.’ Yet there they were, in

a foreign country, hiking 3000km.” – Jacinta Helen “Was with my paddle crew, summiting Te Rua Manga in the Cook Islands, 2015. At a particularly strenuous section Amanda sighs, ‘This is NOT my natural habitat!’. It had me chuckling for ages... still does to this day.” – Deb Gittins “I took a group of youths out on their first camping trip and one teen at break fast declared to me whilst I was stoking the campfire, ‘Porridge? How are you going to cook that ‘cause you didn’t bring the microwave ... did you?’” – Tricia Curtis “Taking a bunch of youths on a crosscountry ski touring expedition, one was struggling a little with the rigours of his first day on skis and exclaimed, ‘It’s a lot easier in the video game.’” – Mark Schammer “My three-year-old on the weekend when we were having a heatwave: ‘Mum, what is wrong with this place? Everything is hot. The slide is hot, the ladder is hot, the monkey bars is hot. Everything is just hot!’” – Brooke Fossey “My very first great walk was The Overland Track last year. So tired with the 18kg pack on my back on the third day. I pulled out my smartphone and squealed, ‘I need to dial a porter!’” – Faith Chan Happy walking Brent McKean

THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS Rodney Braithwaite Rodney, spent his childhood hiking in Tassie before heading overseas to travel and work.

Laura Boness

Sarah Stackman

Ewan Wymer

Laura lives in the Blue Mountains and is a regular contributor to Great Walks. Her favourite hiking destinations is Lord Howe Island.

Sarah came on as an intern for Great Walks and is now a regular contributor. Her passions cover pretty much all things outdoors

Ewan completed a degree in communications from the University of Sydney and is now based in Melbourne.



KARIJINI NP, WA THE massive mountains and escarpments that rise out of the valleys of Karijini NP are a sight to behold. This WA park, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, feature wildflowers that vary with the seasons. In the cooler months the land is covered with yellow-flowering cassias and wattles, northern bluebells and purple mulla-mullas. After rain many plants bloom profusely. Karijini is home to a variety of birds, red kangaroos and euros, rock-wallabies, echidnas and several bat species. Geckos, goannas, dragons, legless lizards and pythons. As for walks, take your pick! Half days walk? How's the Honey Hakea Track (4.6km/3hr return) or Dales Gorge (2km/3hr return)? Day walks? Try the Mount Bruce Summit (9km/6hr return) and there's plenty more to choose from. Best time of the year: winter. More info:



CONTENTS December_January 2018 TRAVEL

14 PREDICTION 2018: AUSSIE WALKS The latest & greatest trails 24 AUSTRALIAN ALPS WALKING TRACK The beauty of the High Country 34 GREAT SANDY NP, QLD Loving the Sunshine State 42 PREDICTION 2018: OVERSEAS WALKS Walks you would have never thought of 76 LARK FORCE TRACK, PNG Remembering fallen Diggers 90 WILSONS PROM, VIC The state’s most beloved park


58 XMAS GIFT GUIDE Pressies for outdoor-loving loved ones 64 WHY WE WALK An anthropological view 66 LOOKING AFTER YOUR FEET Happy feet = happy hiker 68 ARE YOU KILLING YOUR KNEES? Probably. But there is hope! 70 BIOSECURITY IN THE BUSH Dealing with dieback & more


4 Where Next 8 Walk & Talk 9 Your Way 12 Footnotes 51 Behind The Scenes 52 Picture Perfect 72 Back to Basics 73 Trial & Error 74 Track Tested 82 By the book 84 Life Through The Lens 95 Guided Getaways 96 Web Wrap 98 Words of Wisdom





WALK & TALK Great Walks readers share their views and news Coming up roses Last week I completed the Cape Tt Cape walk in the stunning southwest of WA. Seven days of beautiful coastal scenery. On long walks, in order to save weight, I, like most walkers, reduce the weight by reducing clothing. Over time even the ‘clean’ evening clothes begin to smell a little rank. Last week my wife Christine kept smelling quite nice all the way, every evening the smell of fresh clothes filled the tent. No, she did not have a magic deodorant. Her simple lightweight solution was a small fresh smelling ‘clothes-dryer tissue’ it was kept in her clothes bag all week. You can buy a box of them at the local supermarket. A brilliant lightweight and nice smelling solution to pretty ‘off’ smells on a long walk! Scott Vawser


Marcus O’Dean’s article on ‘when you gotta go in the bush’ made some sensible suggestions about how to dispose of your poo and paper safely (Doing Your Duty, GRW, Aug-Sept 2017). Interestingly, at Winjana Gorge NP in the West Kimberley, the local birds were trying their best to keep campsite visitors honest. When I visited in 2015, a male great bowerbird had constructed a bower and collected a range of The next of a great bowerbird. white objects with which to attract BERNIE MASTERS a mate. This included small pieces of used toilet paper, not easily seen in the above photo but they were definitely there. I assume that this species of bird does not have a sense of smell or, if it does, it doesn’t find the smell of human poo to be objectionable, but human visitors to the bower were left in no doubt as to the source of both the white paper objects and the smell!

Bernie Masters, Capel WA Hi Bernie, yes it seems animals still have a lot to teach us about hygiene. – Ed

Blast from the past I just received the Great Walks Annual and read it cover to cover. Well done Great Walks team! I especially loved Hilary James’ story on walking Spain’s Camino pilgrimage with her husband and three young daughters in 1973 (All in The Family, GRW Annual). The photos were wonderful and the three girls looked so happy and free. Let’s hope the next generation of kids gets to experience this sort of freedom.


Tanya Jones, Coogee, NSW

Fluffy Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets – perfect for your pack.

Thanks for the advice Scott. Woolies sells a 40 pack of Fluffy Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets for about $7. Bargain! – Ed

Thanks Tanya, we’re pleased you like the mag. We were very lucky to get Hilary’s story. Basically we had an intern called Sarah Stackman (you’ll see some of her stories in this issue) and she is Hilary’s granddaughter. Sarah’s mother is the youngest of the girls in the Camino story. Anyway Sarah told us about Hilary’s trip, a couple of phone calls later and we had this excellent story! – Ed

Each month the winning letter receives an OR Swift Cap worth $29.95. This UPF 50+, lightweight cap (71gm) is water-resistant and breathable. It’s quick drying and features a TransAction headband and mesh-lined crown. For more info and where to find the OR Swift Cap visit

Claim game A comment on your ‘world first’ helicopter flight into the Bungles (Final Frontiers, GRW Oct-Nov 2017), you are too late. I flew into the Bungles by helicopter on a tour with Arthur Weston in 1983. Arthur did a few similar tours there for a few years.

CONTACT US Email editor@ or post letters to: Great Walks, GPO Box 606, Sydney NSW 2001

Neville Thorn, Via email

Thanks for the heads up Neville. I was told we were the first to heli-hike into the Kimberley. Maybe we were the first to heli-hike in quite some years. I’ll take that! – Ed






NEW YEAR, NEW WALKS! Great Tasmanian Traverse | Grampians Peaks Trail Great Blue Mountains Trail | Northern Tuscany Spanish Grand Canyon Walk | Ladakh Sky Trail



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Above: Hilary’s daughters on the Camino in 1973. HILARY JAMES

On the cover: Fiordland National Park, NZ.


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THE EARLY BIRDS Rita Page reckons the best way to enjoy a walking holiday is to start early and finish early. MANY would beg to differ that a walking holiday could possibly include any periods of relaxation! Having walked through many beautiful areas of a few different countries, my husband John and I have spent time lounging by a pool with an incredible vista, sat outside by a bar in a small village, enjoying a cool beer, and even partaking of a local wine in a hillside vineyard. All following 5-6 hours of walking up and down trails. Our realisation to achieve an enjoyable walking holiday all lay in the organisation of a comfortable number of kilometres walked per day. We had experienced 28km-34km days which totally left us feeling exhausted at the end of a very long walk. When these distances were repeatedly covered over a few days, the only thought on my part was “when is this ever going to end!” All I could manage at the end of the day was a shower and a snooze on the bed. Forget what adventures still waited to be explored in the town or village we were in. Or what local beer was on offer! Of course we always book through a walking company who arrange our accommodation and luggage transfers making our self-guided trip a comfortable one by only needing to carry our day packs. Choosing to walk between 16km-22km a day is an enjoyable day.

We generally set off around 8am to experience most of the new day, stopping for a tea break after 2hr of trails, drinking a hot cuppa from our thermos and a treat from a local bakery. Talking to other walkers from different countries as they passby, and to locals who always have an interesting story to tell. Lunch is also a relaxing break. Time to tear apart a baggette and top it with freshly sliced tomato with a sprinkle of pepper. And of course another cuppa. Arriving in a village around 3.30pm is ideal. Time for a shower, visit the local sites, and partake of a local ale or two. We enjoy eating regional specialities, marvelling of the different tastes and food combinations. Of course the benefit is that we are not cooking! Planning our walks with our desired daily distance in mind has been easy our walking tour company. Using guide books with additional maps is a must. At times we have also had the added tips from other walkers and locals, but to know where you are on your own map is ideal. John still uses his trusty compass, but I’m sure a move to GPS may be eminent. Walking is a pilgrimage for us to discover new places, experience different cultures and food, and mostly maintain our fitness and minds as we head into our 60’s.



At the all new Rays, their adventure experts will ensure you are ready for any outdoor adventure. With all the leading brands under the same roof offering a total solution for equipment clothing and footwear, including MSR, Sea to Summit, Patagonia and Merrell. Be camp, paddle, hike and ready to explore with Rays. Also sign up to Rays Rewards – which is FREE – and you’ll get access to deals and benefits of the club. To enter, send us your best hiking yarn: 450-500 words + three high-quality images. Email:




ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE Paul Thomas learns to look on the bright side on a wet and windy Tassie walk. WHEN hiking in the alpine wilderness of Tasmania one expects that mother nature could throw anything at you on any given hour. Hence, our party of four were not surprised to wake to pea soup fog and misty rain on the day that we planned to ascend Mt Acropolis. It is always good in these scenarios to be walking with a group of optimists. Donning our wet clothing from the day before is probably the biggest challenge on a cold morning but this is soon forgotten as the strenuous walk quickly warms you. It seems that being enveloped in fog also encourages you to focus on the immediate beauty of the bush within your limited view. Even so – in the back of your thoughts are the hope that the weather will clear and the views that you have read about plus the three states that you have traversed to get here will all be worth it. This day could only get better but as we walked at a relaxed pace we passed other hikers who started early for the summit. Their comments weren’t encouraging re: the views. The fog was thick with no wind. Never daunted, we carry on. Stopping for nourishment and starting to lay bets on the chance of clear weather. Spirits are still high. Clambering over the wet rocks with heads

bowed down we didn’t notice the changes at first. Subtle hues of blue and a warming in the air indicated that we might get a glimpse of something. Suddenly the atmosphere opened up – nature at its best unveiling an unrivalled array of dolerite forms before us. “Fantashtish”, as my German friends exclaimed. And yes – once again I am proud to call Australia home and share these treasures with like-minded friends. The day continued to be laden with spectacles, unlimited views and with a little bit of effort we were suddenly atop the remote spires looking down on the beauty that we had trekked that morning. With a pocket full of photos to relive the memory and a hearty meal of camp food (all hikers seem to have exaggerated imaginations when it comes to their meals!) I would have to add this as a world class hike. Perseverance is the key to finding these treasures – plus a little luck.



At the all new Rays, their adventure experts will ensure you are ready for any outdoor adventure. With all the leading brands under the same roof offering a total solution for equipment clothing and footwear, including MSR, Sea to Summit, Patagonia and Merrell. Be camp, paddle, hike and ready to explore with Rays. Also sign up to Rays Rewards – which is FREE – and you’ll get access to deals and benefits of the club. To enter, send us your best hiking yarn: 450500 words + three high-quality images. Email:

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Summer is in full swing, and here at Rays we are all about getting ‘out there’. It is even better when there is great new gear to enjoy it with!

Merrell Moab 2 Men’s Hiking Boot 3 & Women’s GTX Hiking Shoe These shoes are made from durable leather with a supportive footbed and Vibram traction, making them an all in one comfortable hiking package. Available from Rays. Women’s $259.99 Men’s $279.99

Wildhorn Microlite Towel Set 4 Taking up very little space, not only are these towels super absorbent, they Marmot Catalyst 5 3 Person Hiking Tent A lightweight tent with all the features you need for a casual hiking adventure. The full mesh inner tent provides increased air circulation for any trip in the great outdoors. Available from Rays. $449

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The walking is glorious on Flinders Island. PIC: BRENT MCKEAN

There’s plenty of good stuff going on in your wonderful world of bushwalking. FLINDERS ISLAND HAS unveiled a full rebrand with a new logo, a new website and a new campaign video. Located northeast of mainland Tasmania in Bass Strait, the island is home to crystalline waters, clean sands, rugged wetlands, regionally gathered-and-grown food, wine and coffee, and a warm community of locals. The new website is designed to be easier to navigate and spans the spectrum of island life: what’s on, events, where to eat, and how to book you accommodation, from a selfcontained cottage or a tent pitched under pink evening skies.

BRIGHT & SURROUNDS have released a new walks and trails guide that covers the selfguided walks around the beautiful townships of Bright, Myrtleford, Mount Beauty, Harrietville, Dinner Plain and the surrounding towns and mountains. The area is home to lush valleys surrounded by mountain peaks and is just three and a half hours from Melbourne, so it makes a great location to base yourself for your next walking adventure. Walks range from the 3km Charlie Miley Walk in Harrietville to the 9km Precipice Plain Walk at Dinner Plain, and from the 2km Tree Fern Walk in Alpine National Park to the 22km Razorback Walk to Mount Feathertop. Below: An eastern taipan is one of our venomous snakes.

and far-reaching. There are many important do’s and don’ts for treating snakebites, including DO NOT wash the area of the bite or try to suck out the venom; DO NOT incise or cut the bite, or apply a high tourniquet; and DO bandage firmly, splint and immobilise to stop the spread of venom.

A NEW, LARGER ferry has been launched to service visitors to Tassie’s Maria Island. Osprey V can take up to 152 passengers – over 60 percent more than the previous vessel. The ferry includes modern facilities such as food, drink and a licensed bar – visitors on-island will be able to take advantage of the facilities when the ferry is berthed at the island over the lunch break. There will also be an upgraded jetty to accommodate the ferry and improved baggage handling upon arrival on the island. Approximately 23,000 visitors travelled to Maria Island in 2016-17.

day-trippers until Easter; Lady Musgrave and North West islands will be open until January before closing to camping until Easter. “The closures reduce disturbance and minimise human impacts on this important breeding ground for endangered marine turtles and thousands of nesting seabirds such as wedgetailed shearwaters, black noddies and bridled terns,” said Dave Orgill, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (Southern Great Barrier Reef) Principal Ranger.

Above: A mature sea turtle

THE ROYAL FLYING Doctor Service South Eastern Section has updated its snakebite advice and procedures following the publication of a new study: The Australian Snakebite Project. Most snake attacks occur near houses, not in the bush. Half of all bites occurred while people were out walking. It’s important to act as quickly as possible after a snakebite – while only 20-25 out of 835 cases they studied resulted in death, the effects of a snakebite can be debilitating

KOALAS HAVE BEEN spotted in NSW’s Dharug NP – the first confirmed koala sightings in the area for decades. “It’s always great news when we discover koalas in new areas,” NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said. “We use remote cameras in Dharug National Park for monitoring and this is the first time we’ve seen a koala on camera.” Park visitors are urged to report koala sightings to the local NPWS office (4320 4200). Any injured koalas should be reported to WIRES or WildlifeArc.

NESTING SEASON HAS begun for thousands of sea turtles and seabirds, and the annual summer closure is underway at two islands in Capricornia Cays NP. Mast Head and Erskine Islands will be out-of-bounds to campers and

GREAT WALKS HAS just returned from hiking the Great Ocean Walk with Life’s An Adventure. To do the whole walk from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles takes about eight days but Life’s An Adventure has created a walking experience showcasing the best bits in just three days. And the grand finale is a helicopter ride around the the Apostles. As always the guides, food and accommodation were all excellent. See our full story in the next issue.

CORRECTION: IN THE last issue we said WA’s Bibbulmun Track was 963km however the correct figure is 1006km. We apologise for the error.

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BRAVE NEW WORLD Great Walks showcases 11 Australian walks to check out in 2018 and beyond.




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Camping on the Overland Track, part of the Great Tassie Traverse.



7 Day Larapinta Trail walk

The Great Tasmanian Traverse The Great Tasmanian Traverse offers travellers the opportunity of covering the entire length of the island over five weeks, combining Tasmanian and World Expeditions’ five most highly rated and popular trips and travelling by foot, raft, light plane and yacht. Guests will start at Penguin for the Coast to Cradle trip, move on to the iconic Overland Track and Frenchmans Cap Trek. They’ll then swap boots for wetsuits for Franklin River Rafting, and finally board a light aircraft to take on the challenging South Coast Track, finishing at Cockle Creek. In between each trip, they will have two or three nights in comfortable accommodation to relax, reflect on the journey so far, and recharge for the next section ahead. The inaugural Great Tasmanian Traverse is departing from Launceston on 18 February and finishes in Hobart on 27 March, 2018. Website:

Auswalk is introducing a new seven-day guided walk on the Larapinta Trail for 2018, which will start in Alice Springs and include the Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge, Standley Chasm and trekking Mount Sonder to see the sunrise. Guests on the trip will also gain a deeper understanding for the ancient Indigenous culture and the Traditional Owners of the land. The walks will range from four to nine hours per day, across very rocky terrain and ridgelines with steep ascents and descents; however, there will be two guides and an easier walk can be offered each day. The guests will then enjoy a two-course meal and a glass of wine each evening, before sleeping in comfortable accommodation ready for the next day’s walking. The first trip will be departing in May 2018. Website:

Exploring Ormiston Pound on the Larapinta Trail with Auswalk.

The Great Blue Mountains Trail



The Blue Mountains in NSW is famous for its walking trails and a new trail that will connect the towns and villages, is now under construction. The Great Blue Mountains Trail will be a scenic, safe walking and cycling route that runs across the Blue Mountains ridgeline (from east to west), connecting the towns and villages. The Upper Mountains component of the trail will run from Wentworth Falls to Mount York and the first stage of the Trail (between Katoomba and Blackheath) has already been completed. Seventy-five percent of the Upper Mountains component of the Trail, a 30km stretch between Leura and Mount Victoria, is scheduled to be completed by 2018; this will include the sections from Blackheath to Mt Victoria and from Leura Cascades to Kiah Lookout, Katoomba. Stay tuned for more updates. Above: The Great Blue Mountains Trail has many shared paths.

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Three Capes Lodge Walk Starting in 2018, the Tasmanian Walking Company will be offering a fully-guided walking experience on the Three Capes Track. Their four-day Three Capes Lodge Walk takes guests along the Tasman Peninsula from Denman’s Cove (following a boat trip from Port Arthur) to Fortescue Bay. Walking on Day Three of the trip is optional – guests can either enjoy a 15km walk with lunch at Chasm Lookout, or enjoy a relaxing treatment back at their accommodation. During the trip, they’ll stay in two private architecturally-designed lodges, which have hot showers, relaxation and lounge areas and twin share accommodation, and enjoy three course dinners each night with fresh Tasmanian produce. Group sizes will range from four to 14, with two knowledgeable guides accompanying each trip. The four-day trips will be commencing from September 2018.

The Tasmanian Walking Company is adding extra luxury with its private huts on the Three Capes Track.


Cruise and Hike Tasmania’s scenic coast Cross Cut Saw Trek The Diamantina Touring Company recently launched a new 4-day luxury guided walking tour that takes guests on the Cross Cut Saw, an alpine ridge walk on the Great Divide in Alpine NP, Victoria. They will see a range of scenery and historic cattlemen’s huts as they follow the saw tooth ridge up into the High Country, before spending their final night camping on the shores of Lake Cobbler and descending down to the wineries of the King Valley on the final day. Accompanied by the guides, guests walk only with a day

Coral Expeditions is offering a new seven-night ‘hike and cruise’ itinerary along Tasmania’s rugged coastline. Guests can experience the island’s coastline both by ship and on foot as they walk some of the island’s coastal treks with experienced local bush walkers Angus and Alison Moore – highlights of the trip include the Fluted Cape walk on Bruny Island; Mt Beattie, located near Port Davey; and Cape Hauy, a slightly more challenging walk that takes in a section of the Three Capes Walk. The voyage (which will be taken on the Coral Discoverer) has a flexible itinerary, enabling the captain to respond to the weather conditions – guests will be advised the day prior as to where their next journey lies. This one-off special departure will leave from Hobart on January 15, 2018. Website:

e in the evening mp with luxury swags on stretchers in spacious tents. The fully guided, vehicle supported trek departs a eturns to Mansfield, wi p i departures on 6-9 February 2

Bruny Island is one of the place you visit on Coral Expeditions Cruise and Hike Tassie trip.

Walk the world on a small group tour For 40 years, Peregrine have been running small group walking and hiking tours to suit all levels of fitness and ability. Walk some of the world’s greatest trails – in Europe, South America, Africa, Nepal and more – with a group of, on average, just ten other travellers and an expert local leader. From challenging yourself up the slopes of Kilimanjaro to taking a reverent stroll along the Camino de Santiago, our walking and trekking tours allow you to immerse yourself in the heart of a destination, from the ground up. Part of a walking group? Our Private Groups team can curate the perfect walking itinerary.

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Grampians Peaks Trail The Grampians Peaks Trail is a 144km, multi-day walk that’s currently being constructed to showcase Victoria’s Grampians NP and its peaks and panoramic views. The first section of the trail – a 36km, 3-day/2-night circuit walk that departs from Halls Gap – is already complete, taking hikers via locations like Venus Baths, the Pinnacle Lookout and Mount Rosea. Hikers can walk this by themselves or go with a guided tour. Once completed, the full walk will take hikers from Mt Zero in the north down towards Dunkeld in the south, connecting some of the park’s most spectacular peaks on the way over 13 days/12 nights. The 144km trail requires the development of approximately 80km of new trail and the upgrade of 65km of existing trails, and is scheduled to open in late 2019. Stay tuned for more details on the next stages of the Trail. Website: Left: Once completed the Grampians Peaks Trail is sure to become an iconic walk. Parks Vic

The Wukalina Walk The new Wukalina Walk is a 4-day/3-night Aboriginal owned and operated guided walk in Tasmania, based around Larapuna/Eddystone Point and Wukalina/Mt William areas and incorporating the famous Bay of Fires. The walk is a cultural experience that will deepen guests’ understanding of Palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) culture and community history, providing an opportunity to walk with Palawa guides, hear creation stories first-hand and participate in cultural practices. Guests on the walk will spend two nights in bespoke Palawa inspired (domed) huts and one night in the Lighthouse Keepers Cottage at Larapuna/Eddystone Point. The walk will depart from Launceston every Sunday at 8.45am, commencing Sunday 7 January 2018 through to Sunday 15 April 2018, and then taking place from November to April every year. There will also be additional Friday departures in January and February 2018, and on Easter Friday (30 March 2018) Website:

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The beauty of Wineglass Bay is revealed on Park Treks East Coast highlights walk.

Tasmania’s East Coast highlights Park Trek is offering a new walking tour – eight days exploring the east coast of Tasmania – in 2018. Carrying just a day pack, guests on this trip will take daily walks with experienced local guides through some of the island’s landscapes, such as the Bay of Fires and Mount William NP, Freycinet and Wineglass Bay. They will also visit Maria Island, the Three Capes region, take a trip to Historic Port Arthur and a scenic cruise around the Tasman Peninsula. The guests will walk in a small group of 10 or less with their Park Trek guides and enjoy local produce and comfortable accommodation on the way; transport on the trip includes collecting guests from Launceston and returning them to Hobart. The eight-day tour runs from Saturday 17 to Saturday 24 February 2018. Website:



Victoria’s ploring e Buller ries of th lpine 660m) and ectacular unt Mag Speculation

ountry huts are d nitely worth kers can see a lo them on rail, a 96km loop k linking a oric huts over a w k. Located walk begins on M unt Buller erses some of the sta e’s most ntain summits. The include , Mount Buggery, M unt Mount Howitt. Hu you will ther Hut, or The Man From Snowy River). You should have access to most huts but if not there are campsites nearby. This is a challenging terrain where you have to be selfsufficient but the rewards are worth it. And you’ll get some stunning photos!

The iconic Craigs Hut



Three Capes and Tasman Peninsula Tasmanian Devil Experience Park Trek is also launching a Three Capes and Tasman Peninsula Tasmanian Devil Experience, with an itinerary of four days of sightseeing and walking that also supports the conservation of the iconic Tassie devil. In addition to several walks on the peninsula – including Cape Hauy, Fortescue Bay and Cape Raoul – and enjoying the coastal scenery, guests will also join a Devil Tracker experience and learn more about the local monitoring project. The walking is graded moderate to hard, with a reasonable degree of fitness required, and guests (in small groups of 10 or less) will just carry a light pack each day on the guided walks each day with their experienced guides. Other trips inclusions: marine wildlife and spectacular sea cliffs on a 3-hour wilderness boat cruise, visiting the Port Arthur precinct, three night’s accommodation at Stewarts Bay Lodge, Port Arthur, all transport and guiding, and more. Website: The iconic Tassie devel.


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PURE POETRY In the footsteps of Banjo Patterson, Great Walks discovers iconic wilderness on the Australian Alps Walking Track. WORDS AND PHOTOS_ EWAN WYMER

Left: Crossing the Eucembene River.

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Below: Waterfall past Clarke Gorge. Right: View from Booroomba Rocks. Far right: Discussing the turtle and the snake at lunch on the final day.

WHILE the beach and the ocean are indelibly linked to Australia’s psyche, the Australian Alps Walking Track showcases a less wellknown part of our history and culture that was immortalised by Banjo Patterson. Over summer my dad gathered all the ‘cracks to the fray’ and we hit the mountains to search for that colt from old Regret. The trail was born in 1970 when the Victorian government and Bushwalking Victoria created a trail called the Alpine Walking Track over the Victorian Alps to the NSW border. In 1986, the state and federal governments signed a memorandum recognising the Australian Alps as an entity above state boundaries and floated the idea of the trail going all the way to Canberra. The Victorian track was rerouted and existing tracks in NSW and the ACT joined to create the 659.6km trail we now know as the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT). While it would be great to do the whole thing in one go, we chose a 110km section from Kiandra to Tharwa. Kiandra is a

historic gold rush town and its claim to fame is that Australian skiing was born there courtesy of some Scandinavian prospectors on barrel staves. In the 1860s, Kiandra was a bustling township of 10,000 people, but poor returns and the harsh winter soon put an end to most mining endeavours. If you choose to duck off the main road here, there’s a path which guides you through the ruins, giving the history of buildings such as the Kiandra Hotel and the courthouse, which was restored by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 2010.

Any Witz way but loose Our destination for day one is Witzes Hut, named after the builder of the site’s original homestead. Going on a walk of any distance in the Kosciusko area you would hope to visit at least one of the roughly 120 huts that remain in the area. They were built over the last 150 years by stockmen, prospectors, recreational fishers, skiers and during the Snowy Mountain Hydro Electric Scheme to meet the accommodation needs of the many people who have visited this area. Most of the huts have long and interesting histories and are maintained by the NPWS and bands of volunteers. Huts that have collapsed or been destroyed are often restored using whatever parts of the original can be salvaged. After being on the trail for no more than an hour, the group crests a small rise and startles

a lone white brumby, who doesn’t take too kindly to our presence and decides to monitor us from a safer distance. Over the next few days we often find ourselves following the hoof prints (and droppings) of both wild and domesticated horses, as the AAWT runs quite near and sometimes in conjunction with the Bicentennial Trail. In the evening we spot four wild brumbies charging across a plain and it’s easy to see poetry in the moment. After setting up camp and cooking dinner, we see another few horses 150m away in the snow gums. As we go to sleep, we can hear them whinnying. We are definitely in Man from Snowy River country. A-. The track is mostly fire trail over the Tantangara Plain with snow gum forests on one side and grassy plains on the other. It’s easy to see how this area would have been very attractive to graziers. Around lunchtime we come across the fledgling Murrumbidgee River, which has hundreds of kilometres to run from this point. The headwaters of the Murrumbidgee are one of those that have been diverted for the Snowy River Hydro scheme and it’s estimated it has lost around 50 per cent of its annual flow, affecting fish stocks and vegetation downstream. When we cross it though, it’s flowing strong enough to cause us momentary consternation, and it’s cold enough that everyone in the group is forced to take a deep breath as the water reaches a certain level.


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Mt Rinjani, Lombok Photo: Luke Simshauser

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Into the blue On the third night we stop at Blue Waterholes campground, an area rich in limestone and very different to what we’ve previously passed through. Less than 10 minutes walk from the campsite is the brilliant Clarke Gorge, a huge ravine named after WB Clarke, a geologist who first studied the area. If you head slightly upstream you find the huge Blue Waterhole Cave, which has been carved out of a cliff and is a great area for a swim. There’s more than enough here to occupy you for at least a day or two if you’ve got the time. Further downstream from Clarke Gorge there are some nice caves and a large waterfall. If you’re brave enough to climb over the bluff you can continue down the gorge to Murderer’s Cave, where the body of a 19th century murder victim was found and the crime never solved. Cold case anyone? Coolamine Homestead is also within an afternoon’s walk of Blue Waterholes and is the last example of an intact high country homestead in the Australian mountains. As we cross Cooleman Plain the next day, we finally see our longed-for big group of horses. A group of about 30 is up and having their breakfast, but before we can get close

enough for a good photo the lead brumby has them rounded up and moved over the next hill. One curious stallion stays and watches us get slowly closer for a long time, before the boss horse comes back and has a word in his ear to get a wriggle on. At lunch we stop at Oldfields Hut, which has an amazing aspect. It’s larger than most huts with three rooms and a wonderful verandah looking straight onto the Brindabella Ranges. There is also an unexpected bonus: two camp chairs that some gracious souls have brought in and left so that they and everyone else might more comfortably appreciate the view. The place is so wonderfully reminiscent of early settlers’ attempts to civilise wild Australia, characterised by the group of rose bushes off to the side of the veranda, growing wild but still retaining a dignity that shows they must have once been meticulously looked after.

Ants in your pants As we leave NSW and enter the ACT and the Bimberi Wilderness, we drop almost 400m over a couple of kilometres and for the first time the gums begin to strike high into the sky and we can spot some ferns eking out an

existence on the lee side of the mountain. It has also become apparent that Dad has an uncanny ability to sit in spots which require a whole host of ants to mobilise against him. This has led me to dub him ‘Ant Captain’, which he takes with good grace. At the relaxing Pond Creek he once again proves his abilities by making a big joke out of checking a log for ants (he finds none) only to find that once he sits, the trap is sprung and they have found him. He can’t be that tired if he can move that quick. From here on is very different terrain. Where previously there had been alpine trees and open plains we now find large granite boulders and lowland forest filled with blackwood, silver wattle, native cherry and banksia. On a descent, Tony manages to cross two snakes in about 500 meters and so becomes Snake Captain. For the first time Dad is grateful to be only Ant Captain. Next up is a long, easy walk down to the Orroral River, where if you were so inclined you could head off towards the remains of the Orroral River tracking station and homestead. While there’s not much of the tracking station left apart from concrete blocks, there’s interpretive signs which tell you about its role in the flight of the first Columbia shuttle.



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WALK NOTES | KIANDRA TO THARWA, NSW/ACT Time/distance: 6 days/118.6km | Grade: moderate 5km

Tharwa Pond Honeysuckle Creek Creek Cooleman Plain

Day 1: Kiandra to Witzes Hut (12.4km/4.5hr) Day 2: Witzes Hut to Ghost Gully campground (19km/6.5hr) Day 3: Ghost Gully campground to Blue Waterholes (18.8km/6.5hr)

Blue Waterholes

Day 4: Blue Waterholes to Pond Creek Flats (25.9km/10hr)

Witzes Hut


Above: Large granite boulders in Namadgi NP. Right: The lovely Clarke Gorge.


Day 5: Pond Creek Flats to Honeysuckle Creek campground (20.7km/7.5hr) Day 6: Honeysuckle Creek to Tharwa (21.8km/8.5hr)

Trekking towards Phortse, Gokyo Valley, Nepal Photo: Simon Alsop

SYDNEY 491 Kent St 02 9264 5888 CHATSWOOD 72 Archer St 02 9419 6955 WWW.MOUNTAINEQUIPMENT.COM




5 out of 5

Weekend Away Review – January 2015

seven peaks walk The Seven Peaks Walk is Lord Howe Island’s premier 5 day guided adventure that takes you from pristine beaches and exposed coral reefs to the delicate mist forests on Mt Gower. After a memorable day, you’ll return to Pinetrees for a hot shower, cold beer, exceptional 4 course dinner, great wine and deluxe king bed. The walk is for experienced hikers who enjoy a challenge by day, and some luxury by night. Book our Seven Peaks Walk in 2018 and discover Australia’s best adventure experience. Please call (02) 9262 6585 and quote ‘Great Walks’.

lord howe island • another world • close to home

Contact Pinetrees Travel on (02) 9262 6585 or visit


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A great camping spot before the final leg of the journey is Honeysuckle Creek campground, a lovely shady spot with clean tank water and nice amenities. This also used to be a tracking station, but again only plaques and concrete blocks remain. About 5km from here is Booroomba Rocks, not officially on the AAWT but worth the detour. There’s some fun scrambling to be had at the peak in order to get the best views and the area is understandably popular with abseilers and climbers. The final hurdle of potentially a very long journey is Mt Tennent. Snake Captain spots another snake, this time lying in wait for a nearby turtle. At lunch we debate whether the turtle would have been able to make a getaway after we granted him a temporary reprieve, but we think not. I prove myself my father’s son by sitting in an ants nest not once but twice in succession. Dad is proud. The views from Mt Tennent are astounding, with Black Mountain Tower visible in one direction and all the way to the Snowy Mountains in the other (although credit must go to the friendly CFA attendant who allowed us to takes some snaps from his superior perch, as the view from the ground is sometimes blocked by trees). After covering not even a sixth of the AAWT, I was blown away by the variety of landscapes we passed through and the variety of flora and fauna that goes with it. Our section of the trail was clear and well maintained with so many potential diversions I could happily walk the same section again. Without doubt, the AAWT is a treasure to savour.

NEED TO KNOW Getting there and away Kiandra is 7km from the Mt Selwyn snowfields on the Snowy Mountains Highway, a half hour drive from Adaminaby or an hour from Tumut. Snowliner Coaches runs a bus service leaving twice daily from Cooma to Adaminaby on school days during the NSW school year. Canberra's suburban buses operate to Tuggeranong, 10km North of Tharwa village. The trail ends at the Namadgi NP Visitor Centre, 2.4km south of Tharwa.

Best time to go A winter attempt of the AAWT brings complications such as blizzards, snow, flooded rivers and fewer daylight hours, and so should only be attempted by the most experienced of skiers and walkers. A far friendlier time to attempt it is from late spring to early autumn (November to April).

More info For more info check out Above: Snowgum hallway near Tantangara Plain.




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COAST WITH THE MOST Nicki Thomas, her husband and their two adult daughters put in the hard yards on Qld’s Cooloola Great Walk. WORDS AND PHOTOS_ NICKI THOMAS

Left: Hannah, Sophie, Nicki wrapped up warmly and loving the walk.

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Above: Poona Lake. Picnic lunch spot day1. Right: The author enjoying blue sky, sun and banksia trees, day 2. Opposite page, from left: The stunning flower Boronia Rivularis. From left, Sophie, Dave, Hannah crossing Noosa river flood plain.

SAND, sand, endless sand. The Cooloola Great Walk lies within the Great Sandy National Park, an entire region of sand stretching some 200km along the South-East Queensland coast. Over the last 500,000 years the sand has been shaped and shifted by wind, tide, storm and rainfall, creating the largest sand island in Australia, Fraser Island (K’gari to the Aboriginal people), and the mainland Cooloola sandmass, one of the largest accumulations of windblown sand on the entire Queensland coast, rising 240m high above this breathtaking coastline. The Great Sandy National Park showcases enormous sand blows, pristine sandy beaches, undulating sand dunes, rainwater-fed lakes and an interesting array of sand nourished forest types; spectacular flora and fauna also add to the hiking experience. Be prepared for an adventure, with soft sand underfoot hindering progress and getting in everything along the way! The 90-100km trail links the small township of Rainbow Beach with Noosa


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and can be walked over five days in either direction, with the beginning and end of the walk marked with “Cooloola Great Walk” log and metal structures. Four campsites situated between 15 and 20km apart are provided – they were created in 2009 and provide a rainwater tank, drop toilet hut, tent pads set within vegetation for privacy, and a cleared communal area with tables and logs (there are no showers at these campsites). Each campsite has its own unique setting and needs to be booked and paid for through the Queensland Parks and Wildlife website.

All in the family We hiked as a family of four: my husband and I and our two grown-up daughters. The first day (15.2km) lay ahead of us, plus an added 2km walking from our Rainbow Beach accommodation to the start of the trail. The beginning of the walk crosses the impressive Carlo Sand Blow and thereafter

meanders and undulates through stunning eucalypt forest high in the dunes above Rainbow Beach, before heading through rainforest full of piccabeen palms and tangled vines. We settled into the trail steadily, enjoying fine sea glimpses, scribbly gum eucalypts, ancient cycads and pretty birdlife. We emerged from the forest at a perfect lunch spot: Poona Lake, a perched lake fed only by rainwater and surrounded by sand, reeds and eucalypts. The weather was lovely: clear blue sky and warm. The afternoon trail meandered along a creek bank through dark, damp rainforest with ferns, palms and the wonderful “whip crack” song of the eastern whipbird coming from the tall canopy. That was music to our ears – as was our younger daughter proclaiming her brand-new boots were very comfortable! Arriving at Kauri walker’s camp, which is set deep in the forest. We organised out tents, camping stoves and food, sterilised rainwater from the campsite

tank and prepared dinner and hot tea. Sleep was a bit elusive on the first tent night for a while, as small forest creatures scurried past our camp – a reminder that keeping all food sealed and stored away is necessary each night along the trail. Day two was a 20.5km hike, so we rose to the dawn chorus and were ready to exit Kauri walker’s camp early. We were all relaxing into the rhythm of the trail, admiring the frequent forest changes, enjoying the quietude, and our only meet-and-greet this morning was a red-bellied black snake basking in a rare patch of sunlight on the dark rainforest floor. We climbed onwards to high, dry, breezy ridges of banksia in the late morning and afternoon with colourful wildflowers in abundance, blue sky and pure white sand paths. The everchanging forest scenery and undulating paths, treefall, birdsong and perfect weather sustained us through the long mileage, and we eventually arrived at a track marker signifying our last 3.4km to camp.



We walked past ethereal and reedfringed Cooloomera Lake (habitat of Litoria cooloolensis, the frogs who are able to live in the acid waters of this perched lake) and uphill to Litoria walker’s camp. We arrived late afternoon to this lovely campsite high on a ridge, and by 5pm in the Queensland winter the sun set in a progression of gold, sienna, deep red. The night sky was equally beautiful with the stars an umbrella of diamonds, and the Milky Way bright and clear; sleep was deep in this delightful setting.

Plenty of highlights Day three dawned bright, clear and cool. As we sipped hot tea, the sun rose above the eastern ridge illuminating tall bone-white eucalypt branches where four sulphur crested cockatoos screeched, taking in the morning sun. We had an easier pace today of 15km; we packed and headed uphill from Litoria walker’s camp to a high ridge of grass trees, banksias and views over distant undulating dune vegetation. We descended into shadier eucalypt forest where birds darted amongst the foliage, and ascending once more we passed the ruin of an old loggers’ hut – corrugated tin and wooden beams folding in to the forest floor. A long, shady descent brought us to a track marker signalling the final 2km of today’s walk. We left the forest and entered the flat, wide open Noosa River flood plain. Beautiful, endless kilometres of green rushes and reeds, stunted banksia plants, ruby red sundew on the ground, and wide blue sky led us in to Dutgee walker’s camp, located beside the peaceful and mirrorsurfaced Noosa River. Camp preparation over, we watched as the sun set fire-red, and the night became a cold and frosty two degrees. Sleep was not only chilly, but decidedly gritty with a collection of sand in socks and sleeping bags. Day four dawned white and still, with wisps of mist suspended above the river, and a cold bite to the air. Cobwebs hung heavy with dew and the pink boronia flowers were scattered with ice crystals. Today was 20.5km ahead, and as we left Dutgee walker’s camp we brushed past the numerous icy pink-flowered Boronia bushes lining our onward trail. The path followed misty Noosa river for a few kilometres before heading upwards on soft sand, following dingo prints, and climbing towards one of the trails highlights: Cooloola Sand Blow. The Blow and the stupendous views surrounding it are nature at its best. A compass bearing was needed to cross it and it felt adventurous and awe-inspiring to cross this natural feature of the walk.

Having crossed the sun-exposed sand blow, we re-entered shadier forest and followed undulating dune paths. We later encountered cool, dark, damp rainforest with palm trees, kauri trees, vines and, in a patch of sunlit tree-fall, a little whirl of multi coloured butterflies. The biodiversity here is remarkable, much of it unique to this area. Onward to drier forest conditions, with glimpses of distant forests and mountains of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Around the halfway point of the trail is an open coastal dune environment and from here we had sensational 360° views of our entire walk north and south, with pounding ocean surf to the east, and vast lakes to the west. Older daughter suggested a whale sighting would complete the scene and right on cue a humpback whale, which was migrating northwards, sent its huge blow rising high above the ocean!

Sand, endless sand We had five more kilometres to walk today and despite all the highlights Mum was

flagging with the soft sand and higher dunes, with little shade. With rapidly deteriorating water (and energy) supplies, we were grateful to arrive at Brahminy walker’s camp, an elevated campsite with open views to Lake Cooiribah and distant hinterland peaks, in the late afternoon. This was the first camp where we could hear the crashing of the ocean waves overnight. The stars shone brightly again after a stunning golden sunset. On Day five we woke to a perfectly pale pink dawn, cold and clear. Our final walking day headed downhill through low banksia vegetation, with 17.5km ahead. This was an easier hiking day, as we were descending to sea level and within about an hour were down to a creek track that skirts Teewah Village. The trail then follows a dune path for an undulating and peaceful 7km with small birds, beetles, butterflies, a monitor lizard and some swampy, tangled vegetation. From the dunes, the trail leads on to the beach (a vehicle-free area) with a cool ocean wind blowing and the roar of the surf pounding the shore. We re-entered dunes to

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Left: Starting to hike the Cooloola Sandpatch. Below: Reaching the coastal path day 4, we can see whales migrating northwards.

WALK NOTES | COOLOOLA GREAT WALK, Length: 5 days | Distance: 90km | Grade: moderate. Rainbow Beach Carlo Sandblow 1

Kauri camp

Need to know: For more info on the Cooloola Great Walk visit


Litori camp

Teew cam ah Bea ping c zoneh

access Arthur Harrold nature reserve, an area of wide open grassland, reeds, wildflowers, ferns, butterflies and low trees. From here in to a shadier, taller eucalypt forest, across creek plank-bridges and finally the log trail structure signifying the end of the walk. We dropped the packs, hugged (phew, we ponged) and felt both elation and exhaustion, that wonderful mix after significant physical effort in wilderness. There was a final 2.5km tarmac road to Noosa River ferry, which is a brief crossing back to the civilisation of Noosa. That same evening, we had our mobile phones and laptops on, cameras uploading photos; we had drinkable, flushable, abundant water and soapy shampoos; we had a Thai dinner, freshly roasted espresso, chocolate. But we all missed the simplicity of silence, stunning wilderness, sunsets and stars. The Cooloola Great Walk – what a beautiful hike. Sand, sand, endless sand.


Dutgee camp

Day 1/15km: Rainbow Beach to Kauri walker’s camp. Day 2/20km: Kauri walker’s camp to Litoria walker’s camp.

Cooloola Sandpatch 4

Lake Cootharaba

Teewah Beach

Day 3/15km: Litoria walker’s camp to Dutgee walker’s camp.

Brahminy camp Teewah (private property)

Lake Cooroibah

Day 4/20km: Dutgee walker’s camp to Brahminy walker’s camp.



Day 5/17km: Brahminy walker’s camp to Noosa River ferry.




8TH APRIL 2018










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Walking in Nepal’s Gokyo Valley is like being on the roof of the world.


REACH FOR THE SKY Great Walks showcases 10 overseas walking destinations we predict will be big in 2018. WORDS_ANDREA_PURNOMO



Aribaugil Hiking Trail, Pyeongchang, South Korea Gokyo Renjo La Pass, Nepal

This trip’s all about taking walkers off the beaten track in the Everest region. This twoweek trek let’s walkers explore Nepalese and Tibetan culture, and traditions and lifestyles of the local Sherpa people. And if you love spectacular views, natural diversity and the odd hair-raising suspension bridge this is for you! Starting and finishing in Lukla, guests explore the villages of Chaurikharka, Phakding, Namche Bazaar and the unique Gokyo village, while passing through Dole and Machhermo before reaching the Gokyo Ri peak with an extraordinary view of Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8516m), and Cho Oyu (8201m). You’ll see the largest glacier in the Himalayas, Ngozomba, before taking on the challenging Renjo La Pass (5345m) leading to even more marvellous scenery of the Himalayas. Website:

With the Winter Olympics fast approaching for host nation South Korea, the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has opened a 130km walk showcasing the landscape and culture along a trail that connects the three hosting cities of Gangneung, Pyeongchang and Jeongseon. Starting from Jeongseon Country and finishing at Gyeongpo Beach on South Korea’s east coast, the trail is split into nine sections and winds its way through the mountain pass of Daegwallyeong, before taking walkers through a coastal section to showcase the country’s diverse landscape. A highlight of the walk is the opportunity to view Gangneung’s traditional Ojukheon manor house that Korean artist, writer and poet Sin Saimdang and her son Korean Confucian scholar Yulgok Yi Yi both lived in. It’s quite magnificent. The walk combines the Korean landscape and traditions, and showcases architectural features from Korea’s history. “It’s Korea Jim but not as we know it!” Website:

You’ll be surprised by South Korea’s natural beauty, like this waterfall in Gangwon Province.

Pyrenees Ordesa Canyons Walk, Spain Referred to as the Spanish Great Canyon, this 56km self-guided walk takes hikers to the untouched and wild trails of the spectacular alpine region of Ordesa and Monte Perdido. The trip begins with a transfer from Jaca (near the French border) to Torla, the base for majority of the walks, and finishing in Cuello Arenas Pass, the gateway to the Monte Perdido Massif, before being transferred back to Jaca. The trail takes walkers high up towards the French border, as well as down into the Ordesa Valley showcasing soaring glacial valleys and deep canyons with beech, oak and maple trees. A highlight of the walk is the classic Great Canyon walk, where hikers are rewarded with panoramic views over the Great Canyon as it rises in the north against a distant backdrop of towering peaks. The tour allows walkers to choose from a few hiking options, catering to various interests and physical abilities. Perdido National Park, Spain.


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Verona and the Dolomites Starting in Verona, this walking tour in the Dolomites takes you through some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Its well-marked trails, charming villages and mountain huts provide some of the finest walking in Europe. Autumn is the perfect time to explore this fascinating area. The Dolomites are a unique range of mountains: towering limestone pinnacles and spires, some over 3000m, rise dramatically above deep green valleys of pine forests and rolling meadows scattered with centuries-old villages, Gothic churches and isolated timber farmhouses. It is a beguiling blend of German and Italian cultures. The seven beautiful walks follow well-marked and maintained paths with no dramatic climbs or descents. Accommodation is in lovely 4-star hotels: a classic hotel in Verona (Maria Callas stayed here) in the pedestrian precinct, around the corner from Piazza delle Erbe; in spacious Tyrolean-style, family-run hotels in the valleys; and in a new, luxurious 4-star hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, surrounded by forest and fields, a short walk from town. And we haven’t even mentioned the food! Website:

The magnificence of the Italian Dolomites.

Talbots Ladder, Fiordland NP, NZ Talbots Ladder is an overnight trek that you shouldn’t take lightly. Home to New Zealand’s most dramatic alpine landscapes, this circuit trail starts at Homer Hut in Fiordland NP and ends at the summit of Mt McPherson (1987m), before making your way back to Homer Hut again. Graded difficult with a total ascent of 1010m, the trail takes walkers through a boulder field and short climb, before a vertical 300m climb to Talbot’s Ladder, opening up to a vast snow ridge leading to the summit of Mt McPherson. The view from the summit showcases an immense view of panoramic ridges and peaks in all directions, making this one of the highlights of the walk. In summer, Talbots Ladder is a steep, exposed rock scramble that can take eight hours to complete, while winter requires several pitches over slippery rock, ice and snow with yawning drops on both sides (it can take up to 14 hours to complete in the winter). Website:

Keep your eye out for curious keas on the Talbots Ladder walk in Fiordland NP.


Prayer flags adorn a high pass on the Ladakh Sky Trail.

Ladakh Sky Trail, India


Ready to take serious walkers in August/September 2018, this trail is a strenuous 21-day trek exploring the Trans Himalayan areas of Ladakh, Zanskar and Changthang/Rupshu regions of northern India. Staying at Leh for acclimatisation before starting the trek in Lamayuru and finishing at Changthang on the blue banks of Tso Moriri (4500m), this challenging trail traverses through rarely trekked paths, crossing six mountain passes over 5000m. Following paths used for centuries of the sacred monastery at Lamayuru, the old salt route from Zanskar to Tsho Kar, and into the heart of the Zanskar valley and desolate Chanthang plains, walkers get to experience nomadic inhabitants and their traditional lifestyles. This is a true highlight of the trek, as is being completely immersed in the Himalayan landscape wonderland amongst its wildlife sanctuary. Website:


Following clearly marked paths that have been used for centuries, the Hidden Italy self-guided walks give the independent walker the chance to discover a side of Italy that other people only read about, from the Alps to Sicily, and everywhere between. No shuttles or buses, these itineraries are continuous walks, taking you from A to B, through some of the most spectacular countryside in Europe. All you have to do is get up in the morning, pull on your boots and enjoy the walk – we’ll look after the rest…no one knows Italy like we do.

For full details or to order a copy of our brochure, go to

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Simien Mountains Trek, Ethiopia, 11 days This 11-day tour involves a five-day trek in Simien Mountains NP showcasing Ethiopia’s mammals, peaks, landscapes and culture. Starting from Sanka Ber and ending at the world famous Lalibela before flying to Addis Ababa, the trail takes walkers through Geech, visiting the Jinbar Falls, and towards the best views of the Simien Mountains in Chenek. Walkers may spot walia ibex and the Ethiopian wolf, before climbing the second highest peak, Mt Buhait. The tour also involves a mule ride to the monolithic hilltop church of Asheten Mariam (13th Century AD) in Lalibela, as well as a visit to the National Archaeological Museum in Addis Ababa, and the largest open-air market in East Africa, Merkato. It also features a visit to the first group of churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site of the 12th century hand carved rock churches of King Lalibela (1181-1221). Website:


Dana to Petra, Jordan Trail, Jordan

Part of the new 650km Jordan Trail, this Dana to Petra hike (80km) takes walkers through the Dana Biosphere Reserve before entering Petra via its north-west corner and reaching the colossal 50m vertical rock-face Monastery (El Deir) monument. Walkers are guided through a main tourist trail through a three-metre-wide gorge known as the Siq, before reaching the famous Treasury (Al Khazneh) monument. The trail boasts a cinematic sun-baked natural landscape filled with canyons, caves, seemingly bottomless gorges, and rock walls of muted yellow and brown; a landscape that seems to be in complete solitude with no surrounding villages, roads or rivers on its trail. As well as the monuments of Petra, another highlight of the trip is the scattered evidence of past civilisations: walkers pass a Christian monastery that has collapsed onto crumbled rock built 2000 years ago, green-lipped caves where the Romans used to mine copper around 350BC, and an Islamic military lookout from 636AD.



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Lost City Trek, Sierra Nevada, Colombia In the mountains of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, bordering the Caribbean Sea and on the upper reaches of the Buritaca River are the ruins of an indigenous town called Teyuna (Lost City or Ciudad Perdida in Spanish). The challenging four-day Lost City Trek takes walkers to the very heart of this ancient world. Ciudad Perdida consists of a series of 169 terraces carved into the mountainside, a net of tiled roads and several small circular plazas. The entrance can only be accessed by a climb up 1,200 stone steps through dense jungle. A guided tour of the Lost City filled with relics and ancestral stories follows, before walkers head back to their last campsite to unwind amongst waterfalls and natural pools. Colombia has had a violent few decades but this has all changed and the country is now seen as a safe country to explore. Website:

Above: The ruins at Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida. Left: The Church of St George in Lalibela can be visited on the Simien Mountains Trek. Below: The Jordan Trail takes you into the heart of the Petra ruins.

Walking Holidays in UK and Ireland with

Large selection of Walking Holidays in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Channel Islands

South West Coast Path Thames Path Cotswold Way Offas Dyke Path Shakespeares Way Two Moors Way Hadrians Wall Path Dales Way 2018 added for s e t u o Canal Towpaths r w Ne Great Glen Way West Highland Way Jersey and Guernsey Dingle and Kerry Way Causeway Coast Way and many many more... New for 2018 Motorhome rental. Rent one of our luxury motorhomes to explore those special places in the UK. We can even suggest some great routes. T: (Aus) (02) 8006 0182 T: (UK) +44 1837 880075 e:



The Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota, USA

The beauty of Lake Superior can be experienced on the Superior Hiking Trail.

Northern Tuscany and Ravenna Rich in rolling landscape views, wine, food, history and (did we mention?) wine, this new walking holiday starts in the culinary capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna, and finishes in Ravenna, once the capital of the Western Roman Empire. The trip takes walkers through the lesser known Mugello territory on a six-day hike amongst green valleys of chestnut woods and beech forests that snakes around the Sieve river through landscapes inspired by Renaissance artists and poets. Through medieval streets of charming villages and towns the trip includes visits to abbeys, castles, churches and museums with gourmet meals (wine included) at local restaurants. Travelling towards the Adriatic coast to finish in Ravenna, a highlight of the trip showcases private tours of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites of early Christian mosaics and monuments in the city. The trip also includes luggage transport and a support vehicle along the way. Website:

The Superior Hiking Trail (500km), dubbed such as the trail runs along the northern side of Lake Superior, starts from Jay Cooke State Park and ends at Otter Lake just before the US/Canadian border. Following the ridgeline, the trail takes hikers to views over the lake and regularly drops into creek valleys showcasing impressive views of several waterfalls. The walk is broken up into two major sections: the Duluth section at the start of the walk passing through Spirit Mountain Recreation Area; and the North Shore section – at 400km, the majority of the walk – starting at Martin Road Trailhead in the northern boundary of Duluth. This section showcases several scenic highlights of the walk, passing through seven state parks and featuring a multitude of waterfalls in Gooseberry Falls State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to name a few. Walkers may also get the chance to spot wild moose, wolves, deer and beavers throughout the walk. Website:


Dark blue Mosaic of the Galla Placidia Mausoleum in Ravenna, Italy.


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Founder of Hilleberg tents, Bo Hilleberg still loves to get outdoors whenever he can.


Hilleberg CEO Petra Hilleberg loves working with her folks and inspiring the next generation. INTERVIEW_BRENT MCKEAN PETRA Hilleberg is an integral part in her family’s company. Her father Bo founded the tent making company in 1971 and has continued to reimagine tents. Petra takes five with Great Walks. GRW: Hilleberg is a family business. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working so closely with family? The advantage is that I work closely with my family! What my parents have built is amazing and to be able to continue that legacy is special. We put our name on every product and that has a lot of pride to it. Every detail on the tent is there for a reason, everything we do we stand behind and we take that very seriously. When I first started with the company I set up the US office in 2000. When anyone would complain about anything I would get really upset. I’d be like, ‘My mum made that!’. We have a great working relationship and that’s been good. Of course there are disagreements every now and then but we work really well together and my father and I think very similarly.

GRW: The company’s Responsibility Code (promoting sustainability and a proper work ethic) is excellent but how easy is it to adhere to? It’s easier for us because we are fairly small and we handle our own production so we know every step of the manufacturing process. Ever since my dad started the company it’s never been a goal to grow massively fast or be huge. We’ve always had quality as a first priority. So with that, it’s to make sure that working conditions and materials in general are good and also that we make a product that lasts for a really long time. It’s something we’ve always done.

GRW: What is it about the outdoors that inspires you? What doesn’t inspire you about the outdoors. I pretty much grew up in a tent. I’ve always been outdoors and in nature. Inspiration can be anything from being really, really far away or simply as having a wonderful day like we’re having here (Petra is based near Seattle, Washington, USA). It’s an absolutely perfect fall day. The colours and weather are just gorgeous. I think just having access to nature and green spaces is really inspiring.

GRW: What’s your earliest memory of being outdoors? The first time my brother (Rolf, who is a director of Hilleberg) and I slept in a tent by ourselves I was three-and-a-half maybe four and he was about five. My parents set up a tent for us in the forest about a kilometre from our house. My brother and I had our little dinner and we slept. We woke up in the morning and ate our breakfast and then we went home. It was the middle of summer in Sweden and it turned out we had got home at 3.30 in the morning because it was so light out. I still remember that. GRW: With young people so technology focussed is it hard to get the message to them about exploring the outdoors?


That’s a challenge we all have in the industry. We have to make the outdoors accessible. There’s a lot of talk about these hard expeditions where people have gone the fastest or the steepest or have suffered the most. But we have to try to make people understand there doesn’t have to be suffering when you head outdoors. In fact it should be the opposite. Sure if you want to climb mountains then great but you can go out and just enjoy the nature. Need to know:




Great Walks readers send us their best bushwalking snaps. THIS MONTH’S WINNING PHOTO

Roys Peak, Wanaka, NZ Dominic Pelosi, Erskineville NSW Camera: Panasonic GX5 Dominic: “We are still arguing if the view was worth the slog up the hill. I say yes but my partner says no. I don’t think we will ever resolve this one.”

“We’ll the fact you’ve just taken home a great pair of Helinox hiking poles should give weight to your argument Dominic! – Ed



Caleyi Trail, Ingleside, NSW Ben Lynch, Cromer, NSW Camera: iPhone 6S Ben: “Beautiful early morning light on the Caleyi Trail through the bushland west of Narrabeen lagoon. A short but beautiful walk following Deep Creek, eventually coming out near the Baha’i Temple in Ingleside.”

Coast Track, Royal NP, NSW Evan McCarthy, Carramar, NSW Camera: Google Pixel Evan: “Sore and tired would be an understatement on our first ever overnight hike on the Coast Track. Hard to get demotivated with these amazing views though. What a awesome first time experience!”

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Hat Head NP, NSW Allan Garrick, Balmain NSW Camera: Canon Digital IXUS 8015 Allan: “This photo was taken in thick bush at Korogoro Point near Hat Head, NSW. I was bushbashing when I was suddenly confronted by this very large kangaroo about 5 metres away. I was concerned the kangaroo might attack – there were no other walkers in the area to help if needed but I had to take this photo!”

Cope Hut, Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing, Vic Louise Noble, Withcott, QLD Camera: Panasonic Lumix Louise: “Our only night without frost on our 5-day Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing walk. The kids (13 & 14 and used to Qld mornings) venturing out of the tents to see if the world is still frozen.”



Helinox TL Series walking poles are fixed length, ultra-lightweight, ultra-compact, strong and reliable. (The TLA130 model adds a limited amount of length adjustment.) Through the use of DAC TH72M alloy and clever design, the TL Series – available in a choice of several model sizes to suit different body heights - is a big step forward in walking pole technology. These poles are suited for general day walking carrying a light pack. Weight: 152-184gm per pole. Online price: $156; TLA130 - $188 per pair. Website: Email your pics to: editor@ (Subject: Picture Perfect) Try to supply an image file no smaller than 1MB. Also include a 50-word caption, your address and the type of camera you used.

Mt Ossa, Overland Track, Tas Samantha Lanyon, St Marys SA Camera: Iphone 6s Samantha: “News from the ranger said no-one had summited Mt Ossa this season. Too much snow. Too risky. Everyone thinks they’ll be the first. This group is waiting for the morning mist to clear. Took them two attempts, and made it up that afternoon.”






Be free to not compromise.

Who says you have to choose between light weight and livable comfort? The FreeLite Tent delivers the best of both worlds—whether you’re on the annual fishing trip or a fast-and-light mission.

L E A R N M O R E AT M S R G E A R . C O M

Distributed by:

02 9966 9800





You and a friend could win a 5-day Northern Territory guided walking holiday of your choice! Life’s an Adventure walks are a pack-free experience, including boutique accommodation, local produce, wine and spectacular scenic flights!

Your 5-day guided NT Walk includes: • Choice of walking holiday to Kakadu or Larapinta • Pack-free experience with no overnight packs to carry • Two nights historical Glen Helen Homestead (Larapinta walk) and 4 nights Boutique Accomodation (Kakadu Walk) • Superb meals featuring local produce and wine • Return flights from any capital city to NT

For your chance to WIN, simply email your name, address, contact number & tell us in 25 words or less why you want to visit NT! Email:

Terms and conditions: This competition is for Australian residents only and expires 25/01/18. Trip dates will be subject to availability on specific departures as determined by Life’s An Adventure only and must be taken within 12 months of the closing date. Flight carrier will be at the discretion of Life’s An Adventure. Prize cannot be redeemed for cash.

YAFFA 08309

For more information on Life’s An Adventure, visit


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Hiking can be a great bonding time for couples.

58 Xmas gift guide Great gift ideas for Dec 25

64 Why we walk An anthropological view

66 Looking after your feet Happy feet = happy hiker

68 Are you killing your knees? Possibly. But there is a cure.

70 Biosecurity in the bush Dieback & other nasties

72 Back to Basics Dealing with foot complaints

74 Track Tested treats New products on the trail When providing info and opinion on walking gear it’s only fair to provide you with the full picture. To properly test a backpack, for instance, requires long-term use in a wide variety of conditions. There aren’t enough months in the year to do this for every product, especially when you’re talking about a dozen pairs of boots. The key below lets you know where you stand.


STOCK SHOT This is where we showcase what’s new in the market and tell you what the manufacturer claims the product does. Over time we’ll try to properly test it.


GEAR GUIDE An experienced walker has reviewed a wide range of products and conducted limited testing. This is a guide, rather than a subjective test.


TRACK TESTED We have worn it, walked with it and slept with it, allowing us to provide an independent and balanced assessment of its strengths and weaknesses.


Macpac Active Hybrid Jacket


Looking for the perfect product for your outdoor-loving loved one? Look no further!

A stylish jacket with serious lightweight outdoor grunt, this is a high-performance fleece alternative that provides warmth, movement and breathability on active adventures. The Active Hybrid Jacket features a DWR-treated Pertex Equilibrium face fabric for water-resistance and the front is filled with PrimaLoft Gold for warmth with minimal bulk. Pontetorto Grid Fleece on the back and sleeves provides freedom of movement and breathability for ultimate comfort both on and off the track. RRP: $229.99 Website:

Alpha Pots

Sea to Summit have launched a great new range of cookware. It’s lightweight, really durable, has rock solid Pivot-lock handles and loads of other cool features like unique patterned drainage holes in the lid to make drainage easier and a textured base to stop it slipping off the stove. They also make a collapsible pot you can cook with, which is pretty wild but somehow those boffins have cracked it. They also nestle very satisfyingly into each other for easy storage. RRP: from $59.95 Website:

Homecamp – Stories and Inspiration for the Modern Adventurer

If you’re looking for an inspiring book to give a loved one, then consider Homecamp – Stories and Inspiration for the Modern Adventurer. This beautiful coffee table book is about adventurous everyday people – photographers, architects, writers, builders and seekers, and they all have a wonderful story to tell. Alongside lovely stories and stunning photos, Homecamp offers how-to guides for enjoying life in the outdoors from finding the perfect campsite to making the best campfire brew. RRP: $59 Website:

Ok, these Alpha pots won’t make Santa’s sack as they’re not in stores until March but we just had to show you them! – Ed

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium

A super comfy pillow without the weight and bulk, this is perfect for travel and camping where you can risk a couple more grams for a great night’s sleep. The pillowcase construction allows the outer shell to retain maximum softness while still being supported by a high strength TPU bladder. The curved internal baffles create contours that cradle your head and the scalloped bottom edge centres pillow over your shoulders whether you are sleeping on your back, side or upright in a chair. Plus, it features Sea to Summit’s unique multi-functional valve. RRP: from $49.95 Website:


Masters Sherpa CALU Trekking Pole

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Exped Mega Pillow

If you’ve had just about enough of those flappy tabs on your trekking poles getting caught every time you shove them in your pack, then all is well because we have the answer: carbon fibre-aluminium CALU trekking poles with an unobtrusive internal locking mechanism. CALU shafts have a core of high quality 7075 F56 aluminium alloy covered by a layer of woven carbon. This means a lighter, stronger pole than a standard alloy-only pole, so you can propose that trekking pole sword fight with that extra sparkle of confidence. RRP: $149.95 Contact: Expedition Equipment,, 02 9417 5755

A restless night in the wilderness from a lousy pillow can leave you tired, grumpy and sore the next day. Grab yourself an extravagant velvety soft pillow that provides great next-to-skin comfort so you can enjoy your time outside. The pillow’s height can be adjusted to suit side, back and belly sleepers, while the anatomical shape holds your head in place. The cover and air-core can be separated for washing and maintenance, and a combo valve is utilised featuring a one-way flap with deflation pin. RRP: $79.95 Contact: Expedition Equipment,, 02 9417 5755

Hilleberg Akto one-person tent The Akto (min weight: 1.3kg) has been a staple of the lightweight-obsessed for over 20 years. Although only slightly heavier than a bivvy bag, the Akto offers an all-season shelter for the solo traveller – lodging that includes a vestibule and a packed size small enough to fit into a side pocket on many packs. Although not originally designed for extreme use, it’s become a beloved friend of polar adventurers and will hold up in all conditions for hikers, climbers, bicycle tourers and sea kayakers alike. Online price: $US530 Website:

Outrak Packaway Rain Jacket

The Packaway Rain Jacket features an adjustable hem opening, elastic at the sleeve cuffs and a hood for the perfect fit. Multiple zippered security pockets have also been included for stashing your personal belongings on the go, while an internal stuff sack makes for easy storage – ideal when travelling, hiking or just spending time in the great outdoors. It’s also got an impressive 6000mm waterproof rating and is fully seam sealed. A good budget alternative to Goretex, it’ll keep you dry through most things Mother Nature can throw at you and it packs away nice and small. RRP: $69.99 Website:

MSR PocketRocket 2

The next-generation MSR stove takes everything good about the original and makes it better. It’s now even lighter (73gm), smaller and accommodates a wider range of pot sizes, while maintaining the same ease of use and fast-boiling performance. Ideal for fast-and-light, first-time stove buyers or long-distance hikers seeking a backup stove, it fits inside the Titan mug at 20 percent smaller than the previous model. Great for bleary-eyed mornings, you should have a rolling boil for your caffeine starved eyeballs in a few minutes. RRP: $107.95 Website:

Macpac Duolight Lightweight 2-person tent XMAS GIFT GUIDE

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir All Season SV

A brand-new addition to Macpac’s range, the Duolight is their lightest hiking tent (2.17kg), with all components and fabrics optimised to save weight without compromising on durability and performance. It comfortably sleeps two people and has a 10,000 Hydrostatic Head floor coating, which removes the need for a ground sheet. Ideal for warmer conditions with extensive use of lightweight mesh throughout to promote airflow and a MultiPitch system that allows the tent to be pitched as either fly or inner only. The Duolight has two main poles that cross over with a central ridgepole, which creates a surprisingly roomy space for the weight. RRP: $649.99 Website:

Lonely Planet’s Atlas of Adventure

Got an impatient wanderer in your life? Say it with love and get them this. Redesigned in 2017 with SpeedValve, the cult favourite, four season, go-anywhere air mattress now inflates up to three times faster and deflates instantly. Multiple layers of ThermaCapture technology make it one of Therm-a-Rest’s warmest and most versatile NeoAir mattresses. Stuff sack and field repair kit included. Regular size specs: weight 650gm, 6.3cm thick, 51cm x 183cm, R-value 4.9. RRP: $384.95 Website:

Another beautiful and inspiring coffee tablebook, iconic travel publisher Lonely Planet’s latest offering Atlas of Adventure searches the globe for the best outdoor activities. From hiking in Ireland to mountaineering in Mexico, and from surfing in South Africa to diving in Tanzania. Also Australia gets a 18 pages that breaks down adventure activities from state to state. This is the type of read that’ll get you running to book your next holiday. And like every Lonely Planet book the photos are wonderful. RRP: $44.99 Website:

ACR C-Strobe light

This strobe light runs on two AA batteries and can act as a strobe, torch and SOS flashing. Light and easy to use, it’s popular with marine, outdoor industries and SAR enthusiasts; it’s also a great addition to anyone’s first aid kit. Tent buddy kept you awake all night snoring? Use this to get creative with the 4am disco wake-up call. RRP: Xmas Special $59.95 Website:

Axis Rechargeable Headlamp

Featuring a battery power meter and clever user interface, the Axis packs a powerful 250 lumens and features fully dimmable Maxbright LED and Ultrabright Red LEDs. Oblong flood reflectors help maximise the beam’s output and restrain any stray light that would detract from the beam’s power and focus, operating well across a range of temperatures. RRP: $119.95 Website:


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Packtowl Personal Range

A packable towel is a great addition to your pack. Spelean’s versatile Personal towel offers the perfect balance of softness, weight and absorbency, and has a heap of new colours for the new season in any size you could possibly want. It’s light and compact enough to take with you everywhere, with hang loop and zippered storage pouch included. It dries nearly 70 percent faster than comparable cotton towels, and is made from 85 percent polyester and 15 percent nylon. RRP: from $19.95 Website:

Mountain Designs Heysen & Six Foot convertible pants

An old favourite of the adventure set, these convertible trousers are lightweight yet durable with double-stitched seams for strength, with a quick-dry fabric to keep you comfortable and dry. In addition, they feature a high UPF50+ rating to protect you from UV rays plus an anti-mosquito finish to repel that irritating buzz. Made from 100 percent nylon, and weighing 280gm (women’s size 10) and 334gm (men’s size M). If you’re going to wear zipoffs – as almost all adventurers eventually bow to – then you may as well find a good-looking pair. RRP: $149.95 Website:

Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat

Ditch the soggy cap and upgrade to something that has your back (and neck). It has a 50+ UPF rating and is a favourite of outdoor leaders in both Australia and America. The headband moves moisture away from your brow, while the brim offers an oasis of shade. The elastic drawcord keeps the hat glued to your melon when you’re floating down a windy river and the adjustable chin strap serves as a fail safe, just in case you start to feel the Helios peel back from your head under pressure from heavy winds. RRP: $44.95 Contact: Intertrek Pty Ltd,, 02 9417 5755

Mountain Designs Intrepid boot

The Intrepid is a versatile, high-quality and fashionable mid-cut boot designed for all levels of hiking. The Vibram outer sole offers good traction on demanding surfaces as well as the required support you need at ground level. Up top, the full grain leather upper delivers durability and a lightweight feel. Inside the boot is a breathable and waterproof lining to contend with the wetter elements, as well as an Ortholite footbed that achieves a five percent compression over time. Weight: 1.4kg in men’s (EUR 42) and 890gm in women’s (EUR 39). RRP: $349.95 Website:

Outrak Jolt UL two person tent

A few grams here and there might not seem like a big deal, but keeping pack weight down is critical for enjoying multiday hiking trips. The Jolt UL 2 Person Hiking Tent is big on liveability, but at just 1.8kg it doesn’t take on extra weight to get there. It features a rear vent, front vestibule, two internal pockets for storage and No-See-Mesh to keep the bugs out. More affordable than a lot of other ultralight tents, it’s a good entry point into the world of lighter hiking. RRP: $379 Website:


Hilleberg Niak

The Niak three-season is Hilleberg’s lightest two-person tent (min weight: 1.5kg). The company recommends this as the perfect tent for an adult and child, or for one person and their beloved four-legged friend. Its simple two-pole design is quick to pitch and very stable, while the single vestibule can be completely rolled away to maximise air-flow through the full mesh inner tent door. In addition, catenary curves along the bottom edges of the outer tent create space that both allows for constant air flow and ensures the outer tent is stretched properly for optimal performance. Online price: $U795 Website:

rescueME PLB 1

Waka Waka Power+ solar charge

If your love of technology is only equalled by your love of the mountains, then the WakaWaka Power+ is a rugged, superefficient solar powered charger, flashlight and your new best friend. Designed to work for everyone, with a battery capacity of 3000 mAh, it charges your smartphone, camera and other gear multiple times via its USB ports. In addition, it can provide up to 200 hours of LED light on a full charge. The flexible positioning also means you’ll be able to set it up anywhere at any time. RRP: $139.95 Contact: Intertrek Pty Ltd,, 02 9417 5755

The rescueME PLB1 is the world’s smallest PLB. It weighs only 116gm, has a 66Ch GPS, a seven-year battery life and is 30 percent smaller than anything else on the market. It can be operated with one hand in an emergency, with a springloaded flap to cover the activation button so it’s not used by accident. Easily clipped to a jacket or thrown in the top of a pack, it’s a life-saver weighing less than a can of tuna. RRP: $399 Website:

SPOT Gen 3

Macapc P3 Monopod Trekking Pole Perfect for capturing landscape shots, the P3 Monopod features a removable handle cap which reveals a handy camera mount. It also daylights as a carbon steel trekking pole with Lever Lock system for simple and quick adjustments and an extended EVA grip with wrist strap. Brag about how seriously you take your photography without ever saying a word, just by strapping this baby to the front of your pack. (Fancy camera not required!) RRP: $59.99 Website:

The SPOT Gen 3 is the latest model from SPOT trackers and allows you to send OK, HELP, CUSTOM and SOS messages, plus live tracking of your adventures for yourself or loved ones back home. What’s new and exciting is that it now charges through both batteries and USB so it’s much more versatile and can be charged through a solar charger out on the trail. It still works on the satellite phone system so you don’t need phone coverage, and this new model lasts even longer as it will only ping your location when you’re moving, saving power. RRP: $239 Website:


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Wanderer 15 in 1 Stainless Steel Multi-Tool Pack

Know someone who revels in the many uses of a tuna can lid? Make sure the explorer in your life is ready for the unexpected with this multi-tool pack that includes a 15 function multi-tool and fixed blade knife. The multitool features long-nose pliers, wire cutters, various types of screwdriver, a saw and a knife, plus much more. Its compact size won’t occupy too much space in your pockets or backpack and the fine edge blade is ideal for hacking up small pieces of firewood or meal prep around the campsite. RRP: $39.99 Website:

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

If you’re a Petzl fan then you’d better sit down because they’ve just released a brand-new beefy 350 lumen model with a rechargeable battery that also takes standard batteries without needing an adapter. The power of the Actik Core (80gm), combined with its mixed beam, makes this headlamp ideal for many outdoor activities. Red lighting preserves night vision and prevents blinding other members of your group. Ideal for bush rescue scenarios, the reflective headband helps you to be seen, and it is equipped with an emergency whistle for rescue situations. RRP: $99.95 Website:

Osprey Trillium Duffel

A versatile, everyday duffel bag designed for simplicity and style, this bag is made from soft durable materials in stylish muted colours. A three-position carry strap also allows the 65L duffel to be carried as a shoulder bag; shortening one side turns it into a cross body bag, while shortening both sides of the strap allows it to be carried at the side with the top grab handle. If you’re looking for something that subtly hints to your train-buddies that your weekends are cooler than theirs but ‘Hey I don’t make a big deal about it’, then this may be just the ticket. RRP: $99.95 Website:

Lowa Renegade GTX

If you’re a real stickler for a company with history and experience behind them, you might be excited to hear Lowa boots are available again on Australian shores. Handmade in Europe for nearly 100 years, they are awardwinning, ever popular and extremely versatile boots with a cult following. The Renegade (1.1kg per pair) is ideal for weekend adventurers. Hit the trails, scramble over rocks, jump on your mountain bike, or take off to a faraway destination. Great comfort, right out of the box, designed not to need a break-in period. RRP: $429 Website:

Nemo Fillo Elite Pillow

Sick of sleeping on your clothing sack? Fancy upgrading to something that’s not only synthetically insulated with Primaloft for warmth, but also packs down to the size of a lime so even an emergency nap in the warm sun in total comfort becomes a possibility? The internal bladder is 3” so you get impressive height and cushion and it comes with its own integrated stuff sack. Shove it in your front pocket and get ready for some nap-magnificence. RRP: $69.95 Website:

WHY WE WALK Readers, it seems like our love for walking may well be written in our DNA! WORDS_SARAH STACKMAN

HAVE you ever wondered why you find it so incredibly, wonderfully, soul-warmingly satisfying to walk for hours or days in one direction? Strapping 15+ kg to your back to shred your feet almost as much as your muscles, to groan and grunt your way over nature’s playgrounds oftentimes only to end up back where you started? The answer may lie in your very DNA, in the ancestors who passed their stories, loves and fears down into your blood and code as a human being. From Indigenous Australians, to American First Nations, to Islamic pilgrims walking to Mecca in the Middle East, to Christian pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostela or Jerusalem with just their simple robes and a small bag, the want to walk, the need to wander, has always been strong. Early Christian and Islamic pilgrims both religious and nonreligious used the pilgrimage as a way to strengthen their bond with God and escape the grim reality of life in the Middle Ages, as early as the 7th century. For some it

was the pinnacle of their faith, for others it was a convenient excuse to leave their jobs, families and cold northern countries to see the world, walk disease from their bones and take a holiday in a time when such a thing for the working class was completely unheard of.

Have we really changed much? Religion and community may be a smaller part of our lives now but the yearning for a nice, long walk is still there. The holy place itself is likely to be different for all of us and just as likely to include faith of a different kind; faith of the mountains or a favourite, secret spot, perhaps just the thrill of the unknown itself. Just like our brothers and sisters hundreds and even thousands of years ago, we find some boots, strap our belongings to our back and follow the signs to wherever our heartlands may be. For the traditional owners of Australia whose nations we often hike through, walking was a



Far left: Loving the Tassie wilderness. Tourism Tas. Left: Long distance walks like the Pacific Crest Trail have increased in popularity.

part of everyday life. You walked between food sources, to attend ceremonies and visit relatives. “The walking journey is inherent...the ‘urge to get up and go’ could be described as a particular behaviour we call ‘walkabout’” says Yanhadarrambal (custodian and junior elder of the Wiradyuri, Ngiyampaa and Yorta Nations). “You have very likely travelled some of these routes already – a lot of NSW Highways are carved out along old Indigenous trading routes”. To the uninitiated, walking long distances in our modern age seems pretty strange. Have you ever tried to explain why you like bushwalking to someone who just hasn’t got a clue? Questions resounding around the theme of ‘why bother’, ‘there’s bugs out there’ and ‘but that sounds like hard work, you know there’s cars now, right?’ often land thick and fast. How do you explain you love the feeling of your muscles waking up and talking to each other, the smell of air without smog, the touch of rain on your eyebrows; maybe the taste of the wattle pollen on your lips…

Mind and body

Going bush

Without getting too airy, I love walking because it connects me to my limbs again, my body to my brain. The silence and the sound of my own footsteps give room for the stress of daily life to work itself out – like my ancestors are sorting things out for me just outside of my vision. The smells and the sights weave me into the bush on all sides and I feel a very small part of something bigger – something ancient and silent which was here when my very first family member opened their eyes and will be here long after I am nothing but dust. If you’re reading this magazine I’d hazard a bet you know what I’m on about. It’s not just me and you in this time who feel this way. We aren’t special or unique, but connected to a great, rich tradition stretching back millennia. Whoever you are and wherever you come from, scratch the surface of your family history and you will find someone who has gone for a good, long, hard walk for one reason or another. Perhaps it was an Uncle from long ago who walked their initiation to manhood, or someone like Annie Smith Peck who was the first person to ascend Mt Huascaran in Peru or even French Monk Aymeric Picaud who wrote the Book of St James – a guidebook to the Compostela route written in 1140 (with a daily average of 35km it was not for the faint hearted!) In his master’s thesis Two Australian Pilgrimages, John Hannaford of ACU notes “Pilgrimages are surfacing once again as significant, visible social phenomena, as they have surfaced in the past in periods of deconstruction, and rapid social change”. Here he speaks of how packing up to walk for a long distance is rather enjoying another vogue. As our lives get more unstable, as we move away from our tribes and the world seems harder and harder to understand, the want to ‘walk it all out’ gets stronger – as it has in times gone by.

America’s Pacific Crest Trail has seen a big jump in numbers almost every year for the last 10 years and it’s a similar story in Australia. Statistics from 2015 show more than half of all trips to NSW include a nature-based activity. (Their parks had 5.5 million visitors in that year alone, which is pretty incredible for a state where less than 8 million people live). It’s tricky to get accurate numbers for how many people do a long walk down-under as you rarely need a permit and walking companies don’t often share data. Data from Roy Morgan Research however shows regular participation in hiking in Australia rose over the last five years, from 15.6% to 27.3%. More companies have started up to meet these needs and more gear companies have followed them. There’s a lot to be gained from more people getting outside and ‘going bush’. From the health benefits, to the kindness and joy shared with other hikers to the enhanced connection and support of our natural places. To take some words from John Muir; “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, overcivilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”. Whatever form your pilgrimage takes, whether it’s heading to your local trailhead every weekend, booking in two weeks at your favourite national park, flicking through the pages of Great Walks, maybe even walking to strengthen your faith or just saying ‘stuff it’, throwing your pack in the car and hitting up the nearest walk you can find; slip that map in your handy velcro side pocket and know you’re part of a motley crew across your town, your city, your country and the world who are dreaming of or doing the very same thing, and have done for the entire history of human existence.


HAPPY FEET There’s more to foot care than getting a pedicure. Great Walks looks at some common foot ailments and how to tackle them. WORDS BY_BRENT MCKEAN

ATHLETE’S foot (tinea pedis) is the world’s most common skin infection, with the fungus affecting 70% of the world’s population. However, like a lot of other common foot ailments once it’s identified you can control it. Of course prevention is better than a cure so looking after your feet should stop the ailments happening in the first place. “For walkers, most common foot ailments are a boot issue and this comes down to a lack of preparation before a walk,” says podiatrist Andrew Bull of Sydney Sportsmed Clinic. When talking about preparation it could be something as simple as cutting your toenails. “People don’t always cut them correctly,” says Andrew. “If they’re too long they can butt against the end of the shoe and the nail then jams back into the root tissue. You could then end up with a blood blister underneath the toenail. These sometimes need to be drilled and drained.” So, the point is to regularly cut your toenails – but not too short. Make sure when you cut them the corners are always outside of the skin else they’ll jam inside when you start walking and cause ingrown toenails.

Wear and tear Most of us some time or another will suffer from corns or calluses on our feet. They are wear points or shear points caused by too much movement inside your boot. Any place where your skin tends to rub you get a shearing force and you’re skin naturally toughens up. “Calluses are their to protect you so they’re not a bad thing,” says Andrew. “But eventually if they get too thick they start to cause a burning feeling and that can get very uncomfortable.” Treatment involves relieving the pressure on the skin, usually by modifying the shoe.

Pads to relieve the bony pressure are helpful, but they must be positioned carefully. On occasion, surgery is necessary to remove a bony prominence that causes the corn or callus. “Calluses can also be a sign of something deeper,” says Andrew. “If a certain joint is bearing too much weight and gets a bad callus on it, it’s not just your skin that’s bearing the weight, the joint itself can become inflamed and that may require a visit to a podiatrist when you may need a custom-made insole.”

Train don’t strain Another common foot ailment is plantar fasciitis (pron: fashee-eye-tiss), which is when the arch of the foot becomes very sore. The plantar fascia is a long ligament at the sole of the foot and when it’s pulled excessively small fibrous tears can develop. This can happen if you have: boots that are unsupportive, extremely tight calf muscles, feet that naturally collapse too much, or you overload too much. Short term treatments include elevating the heel inside the boot which helps take strain away from the affected area. But to avoid plantar fasciitis, Andrew says never increase your training by more then ten percent per week as your body takes time to adjust. If you go beyond breaking strain you’ll get an injury. Another plantar fascia injury is heel spurs which are fragments of bone that develop when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel bone. This tugging effect causes calcium to build up in that area of the heel bone and a bony spur then develops, making the heel soft to walk on. “The plantar fascia extending right along the arch can get very sore and it may require taping, an arch fill or a more supportive boot,” says Andrew. “This is common ailment for people whose calf muscles are too tight.”

Make sure your hiking boots fit you correctly.


Your walking shoes must provide sufficient cushion and support.

2. Warm up before a long walk and cool down afterwards. 3. Increase your walking distance and speed in increments no more than 10% a week. 4. Make sure you wash your feet thoroughly after a long walk. 5.

Keep your toenails clipped.

6. Give your foot a soothing soak every so often to relax the muscles. 7.

If you feel anything sore or a strain in your foot stop and get it looked at.

8. You may need to strap your feet if they require more support. 9.

If you suffer from a foot ailment you may need a prescribed orthotic.

10. The best precaution is to know your limits and to follow a sensible program when you exercise.

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BETTER POSTURE How you hold your body is very important to walking comfortably and easily. Following these steps will give you good posture, allow you to breathe easier and avoid back pain. • Stand up tall and straight • Don't arch your back • Don't lean forward or lean back. Leaning puts strain on the back muscles • Keep your eyes forward, not looking down but rather about 5m ahead • Keep your chin up. This reduces strain on neck and back • Shrug once and let your shoulders fall and relax • Suck in your stomach • Tuck in your bum and rotate your hip forward slightly. This will keep you from arching your back

COMMON FOOT AILMENTS Athlete’s foot What is it? Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a fungus infection on the skin of feet. The fungus prefers moist, warm skin; this is why tinea favours the folds between the toes and is often worse in hot weather. What to do about it? To avoid it wear sandals in a public shower, always wash and dry your feet properly, and change your socks frequently. If you do get tinea a quick visit to a pharmacy for some medication should clear it up.

mild pain after exercise, some swelling or stiffness. What to do about it? First and foremost rest. Take the weight of your feet, put some ice on the affected area and see an expert. Recovering from it will require easy stretching to loosen and strengthen the area.


Achilles tendonitis

What is it? One or more toes permanently bent at the first joint often due to a muscle imbalance. This may cause corns and you could find it hard to wear shoes.

What is it? The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body but it’s also the most frequently ruptured. Like plantar fasciitis it’s another common overuse injury where the tendon becomes inflamed. Symptoms include

What to do about it? You may need shoes with a lot of toe room. If you’re female you’ll want to avoid high heels which will exacerbate the ailment. You can get special pads for your shoes but it’s best to discuss this with an expert.

It pays to know when you have a foot ailment and what to do about it.

ARE YOU KILLING YOUR KNEES? Your knees can carry you a long way if you treat them properly, but there are several common pitfalls and risks out there. WORDS_LAURA BONESS

OF all the ailments a bushwalker has to deal with one of the most annoying is problems with your knees. Going up hill, down hill or even of soft flat ground, if your knees play up you’re not going to enjoy your day. Many people just put up with it or try temporary measures to remove discomfort such as straps and anti-inflammatories but with a little knowledge there are long-term solutions that can turn your limp into a hop.

So what are some of the common knee ailments?

Meniscal injuries: these are caused by the force rotating of the knee when it’s bearing weight, resulting in a tear to the meniscus. When this happens, you may feel some pain, particularly when the leg is straightened, and there may be swelling if there is any inflammation or damage to the blood vessels. The damage and pain will depend on the severity of the tear. Unfortunately, the tear will likely become worse over time and can potentially lead to premature osteoarthritis, so it’s best to have it treated as soon as possible. Cruciate ligament injuries: There are two types of injuries: anterior cruciate ligaments



(ACL) can be stretched or torn by a sudden twisting motion, while injuries to the posterior cruciate ligament are usually the result of a direct impact. They can cause intense pain; the individual usually can’t walk and will need to be carried from the scene. Collateral ligament injuries: these can be caused by a blow to the outer side of the knee, which can stretch and tear the ligament on the inner side of the knee. They can also occur concurrently with an ACL injury. In these cases, pain and swelling are common and you may feel your knee pop or buckle sideways. A medical examination will be needed to determine the type and severity of the injury. Tendon injuries: repeated stress through overusing a tendon during exercise without proper preconditioning, to the point where the tendon will stretch or tear, can cause these injuries. They can range from tendonitis, where you may feel pain while running or walking, to a complete rupture, which will not only be painful but will make it difficult to extend, bend or lift the leg. You’ll need to see a doctor for a full diagnosis and a treatment/ recovery plan. Another issue that bushwalkers face is osteoarthritis, which is the degeneration of the entire joint structure. And the injuries mentioned above are big drivers for this.

“Once you get over 30, the chances of having a degenerative meniscal tear or one of those types of injuries becomes a lot more prevalent,” says Associate Professor Adam Bryant, a clinical biomechanist in Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne. “Once you get one of these injuries, your chances of osteo-arthritis go through the roof.” While many of these injuries wouldn’t be caused by repetitive loading and would instead be the result of a traumatic event such as falling, it’s still a good idea to precondition yourself and avoid repetitive strain.


Are you overusing some muscles and joints? Regular exercise is needed to maintain knee muscle strength, so you need to stay active. At the same time, you should start with easier exercises, shorter walks and a lighter pack; build up to the longer walks and the heavier pack gradually to make sure you’re not overusing your muscles and joints. As you walk on the trail, your muscles are doing all the work and absorbing all of the shock. Professor Bryant says that if they’re weak and haven’t been preconditioned properly, the passive (joint) structures will be

taking on more of the load and over time cause problems such as bone bruises or alterations to the cartilage morphology. And while the damage that you’re doing might not be obvious straight away, there could be micro damage. Pain is a very good indicator that you’ve been overdoing it and overusing some of the muscles and joints, so listen to your body as you walk and train. You should consider whether you’re taking a long time to recover from activity or there is some swelling around the joints (particularly for older individuals), as this could also be a sign that something’s wrong. The best thing to do is get the source of pain checked out and think about modifying your activity, such as changing your training routine, or using certain types of equipment to help you, such as a knee brace or a pedometer to monitor the steps you take to make sure you’re not overdoing it to start with.

KNEE-FRIENDLY EXERCISES To condition your knees for the trail, you should do a range of aerobic or endurance exercises (which will also help control your weight), such as walking, jogging, yoga or water workouts. These all need to be gradual and built up over time, with proper warm ups. There are also strengthening exercises – squat exercises, extension and flexion exercises – that can help you condition your leg muscles. By the way, did you know there’s a gender bias for different muscle strengths? Women’s quads are considerably stronger than their hamstrings, for example, so they should focus on hamstring strength, as this will help them avoid ACL injuries in particular.



Isolated knee extensions and flexions



Hip knee flexions

Single-leg hip extenders


BIOSECURITY FOR BUSHWALKERS Great Walks looks at biosecurity concerns in the bush and how you can help.


THERE are many wonderful bushwalking trails to explore around Australia, encouraging us to head out and take a look, and bring some great photos back with us. However, we can also unintentionally carry some tiny hitchhikers into the area that we’re visiting, or even pick them up on our boots and other gear as we walk through and then accidentally transport them somewhere else. These tiny hitchhikers can include microorganisms like Phytophthora cinnamomi,

fungal spores such as myrtle rust, and a large variety of weed seeds – all of which have the potential to completely change a landscape and its ecology by killing off or outcompeting the native species. Prevention is better than a cure and there are many ways for bushwalkers to help prevent the spread of these pests and diseases, from cleaning our equipment to reporting any sightings, and lots of information to help us do so. First, let’s take a closer look at some of these hitchhikers…

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Phytophthora Phytophthora dieback is a deadly plant disease that’s caused by a micro-organism (Phytophthora cinnamomi) that attacks the roots of a susceptible plant. This causes the roots to rot, preventing the plants from taking the water and nutrients they need from the soil and causing ‘dieback’ symptoms (it looks like the plant is dying of drought, so it’s tough to detect the disease), which can eventually lead to the plant’s death. Thousands of native Australian plants, including banksias, boronias, grevilleas, eucalyptus and xanthorrhoea, are susceptible to this disease – it thrives in moist, warm conditions and is capable of destroying entire vegetation communities.

There are plenty of ways that bushwalkers can help prevent the further spread of pests… and even help get rid of some of the ones that are already there:


Make sure your walking gear – your boots, hat, other clothing, gaiters pack, tent and pegs, trowel, walking poles, anything that would have come into contact with soil, water and plants – are clean, both before and after a walk, so you don’t carry anything in or out with you. This doesn’t just apply at the start and end of a trip – if you’re moving from one walk to another, clean your gear in between walks.


To clean your gear, wash with tap water and dry it – aim to let it dry completely, and disinfect it if it won’t dry before you set out on your next walk.


Check everything for weed seeds as well (particularly any gear with Velcro), even if it seems unlikely that it can harbour these little hitch-hikers, and carry them out in a re-sealable bag so you don’t spread them further.

Myrtle rust Myrtle rust (Puccinia psidii, also known as eucalypt rust or guava rust) is a serious fungal disease that can affect and even kill many of the plants in the family Myrtaceae, which includes eucalypts, bottlebrushes, tea trees, lillypillies and paperbarks. This disease was first detected in New South Wales in 2010 and can now also be found in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and on the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory – it isn’t known to be in South Australia or Western Australia yet and it’s critical to keep it from spreading any further, so take extra care when travelling between states. Myrtle rust can be recognised from the bright orange to yellow clumps of powdery spores or pustules (however, the appearance can vary slightly, depending on its host plant). It spreads via spores naturally via wind, water, insects and other animals; however, it can also travel even further if the spores are carried on contaminated clothing, other equipment or infected plant material.

Weeds Another risk while walking is having weed seeds latch on to your socks or stick to the mud on your boots so they can use your equipment as a way of hitchhiking from one area to another. Weeds often have a lot of methods that can help them colonise an area quickly, including producing plenty of seeds (and therefore potential offspring) with barbs, hooks or sticky surfaces that can latch on to animal fur (or our clothing and packs). They can outcompete native plants, destroy native habitats and choke creeks and other waterways, so they need to be kept under control… or out of areas altogether.


If you’re cleaning your gear at home after your walk, avoid washing any weed seeds down the drain.

5 6

Make sure you stay on the track as you walk and only camp in the designated areas.

Park your car in the designated parking areas if you’re driving to the start/finish of the walk.

7 From top: Phytophthora; myrtle rust; weeds. Main: A boot cleaning station at Torndirrup NPWA. PHOTO_MEREDITH SPENCER AND SOUTHCOASTNRM.COM.AU

If the walk has a designated direction (e.g. starting at the easternmost point and finishing at the west), make sure you follow this.


Did you refill your water supplies from a creek or river on the way? Make sure you empty out any leftover water well away from any water bodies.


WHO YOU GONNA CALL? If you want to report an unusual plant pest sighting, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline: 1800 084 881; For concerns about animal diseases, call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline: 1800 675 888; Check out the biosecurity resources for your home state and for your walking destination e.g. for New South Wales, for Tasmania. Tasmania’s NRM South has some useful resources about walking clean, including a video on biosecurity: Bushwalking NSW has lots of info:

When sorting out food for your walk, make sure that you’re not taking any fruit or vegetables into restricted areas… or possibly bringing them back into restricted areas once you finish your walk.


If you see anything unusual while you’re out walking (such as a large colony of weeds or a potential Myrtle rust sighting), take some photos (don’t take samples) and a precise location with your GPS (or mark it on your map), and report it as soon as you get back – see below for the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline details.


There are also websites where you can help track feral animals and plants that you’ve seen out on a bushwalk, or in your local area in general.


If you’d like to do something to help out in your local area, you can take part in a weed removal or bush revegetation day to help get rid of the weeds that have arrived there once you get back.


SOMETHING’S AFOOT! Caro realises denial is not going to take away the aches and pains in her feet. It pays to look after your feet if you want them to take you to far away places.

WORDS_CARO RYAN Producer by trade, Caro started to inspire people to get outdoors and remove barriers to bushwalking.

WITH 8km of firetrail between me and my car, I knew it was going to feel like the longest eight of the last fifty. For the last three days I’d zigzagged east and west, back and forth across the Royal National Park, marvelling at how it was possible to spend three nights in nature, under fly, so close to the centre of Sydney. I found myself wondering not only how many of Sydney’s four million people knew about this possibility for adventure, hidden in their natural neighbourhood; but importantly, why it felt as though every little pebble and rock beneath my right foot, felt like four million shards of glass – one for every person in this great city. If only I could put my feet in for a retread like my tyres. Pushing the discomfort out of my mind and focussing on the knowledge that the pain will stop when the firetrail does, this princess sucked it up and headed for home.


The broken glass quickly became a distant memory until the next time I put my hiking shoes on. I had somehow managed to convince myself that it was simply the excessive road-bash (firetrail walking) that had led to my previous experience. But there’s something in our mindset – us outdoorsy/walking/loving types – that seems to be able to filter out our body trying to tell us things. OK, it’s actually denial. So after four months of convincing myself that there’s nothing wrong with the swelling in my ‘Star Trek foot’ and its rather fetching digital Vulcan salute, it took a good friend of mine to finally force me to make an appointment with a GP and get it sorted. Why had I waited so long before seeing my GP about it? I’ve come to realise, that my rather fabulous ostrich impersonation was connected to fear. Having watched active bushwalking friends struggle during their recovery from injury, I couldn’t bear to think that someone would tell me I couldn’t go walking. When walking in nature is so connected to both our physical and mental wellbeing (and for some of us, our jobs), this fear

of an unknown diagnosis can tie us up in knots and push our head further into the sand. But even though fear can bind us into inactivity, it can also be a powerful motivator. So with 2018 before us, a whole new year of walking dreams and bucket-lists ahead, I encourage us all to do a physical stocktake on our bodies. Whether we call ourselves bushwalkers, hikers, trekkers or trampers, we expect a lot from our ankles, hips, knees and other joints. We want them to carry us into a long life of adventure, exploration and connection to what is important to us, so we need to look after them. I encourage you, don’t be like me in denial, hoping that a physical symptom will go away. Check in with your GP, physio, osteo (or your musculoskeletal specialist of choice!) and set your body up for it’s best walking year yet.


From top: Requirements for making the recipe, minus the hot coals. The recipe mix was a bit much, so I baked a small and large loaf. This is the smaller one sliced after baking. How the recipe, previously untried, turned out. Incidentally, it tasted delectable.

BREAD IN THE BUSH Mid-way through a multi-day walk, there’s nothing to match a warm fresh loaf of proper bread. WORDS_MARCUS O‘DEAN Editor of Great Walks’ sister publication Australian Sporting Shooter and author of Bushwalking Basics, Marcus has spent much of his life in the outdoors.

DAMPER is OK when you have no yeast to make bread, BUT when you compare real leavened bread with damper, there’s no comparison and there is no reason bar preparation time not to enjoy fresh bread in the bush. Buy a small lump of fresh yeast from the deli and on a rest day in a basecamp you can make a leavened delight. The perfect receptacle for your dough is an aluminium Trangia or similar saucepan-type pot. It will turn out out a nice round cobb-like loaf. It will also be good to evenly transfer heat from coals, not direct flame – stainless steel pots get hot spots and char bread; not ideal. Don’t bake in direct flames, rather build a fire early and generate a bed of coals. Put your pot in a few coals, but pile some around the side and put a good scoop on top of the pot lid or a folded sheet of foil. Lubricate the pot interior with a good dollop of olive oil when about to bake.

Ingredients 20gm fresh yeast, ¼ teaspoon sugar, 350ml warm water, 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar, 2-tsp salt, 350g white flour, 350g wholemeal flour, some olive oil.

Method Mash yeast and sugar with 2 tbsp water and leave 15 minutes in a warm place. Mix honey, salt and warm water together. Put mixed together flour in aluminium pot, make well in the centre and pour in yeast mix and honey-water mix and mash it all together getting a big ball of dough and flour a flat surface (doubled foil is good on a flat rock eg) and knead the dough ball for 10 minutes. Clean the pot and smear it with oil and put the kneaded dough back in the pot, cover with a wet tea towel and leave in a warm spot for one hour, by which time the dough will have doubled in size (this is called “proving”). Turn dough out on floured foil again, punch the dough twice and knead a further few minutes. Return to the oiled pot and prove for a further half hour and then bake for 30-40 minutes. Retrieve baked loaf and allow to cool a little before slicing. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, honey or Golden Syrup and you will feel you dined like the King of Siam.



Great Walks takes a couple of excellent products out in the field. WORDS BY_BRENT MCKEAN

Exped Explore 60l rucksack

I’ve always been a fan of Exped’s gear. The company has an excellent range of rugged, well-fitting and practical products made by people who live and breathe the outdoors. The story goes when the couple that started Exped Andy and Heidi Brun were newlyweds in the 1970s they spent nine months up in the Arctic Circle living in a self-constructed shed, completely off-the-grid and self-reliant. I’m sure all that experience gave them tonnes of ideas and inspiration for products in the Exped range – and a great example of this is the Exped Explore 60 rucksack that I took to Canada. I wasn’t living off-grid like Andy and Heidi, but I did do a four-day solo-hike in the rugged Yukon wilderness (see Northern Exposure, GRW Annual) and needed to carry a lot of kit – heavy bear-proof food container, tent, food, gas cooker, pots, clothes, sleeping bag and mat. My pack ended up weighing over 20kg. This weatherproof backcountry pack features large front/side access and a lid that can either be removed or you can adjust the straps to offer more space between it and the pack. An easy-to-use sliding panel behind the pack allows you to adjust the height between the shoulder straps and the hip belt so the pack fits you perfectly – then you set it and forget it. I love all the loops that run down the side of the pack: great for hooking or looping things on, like hiking poles. And there’s a large long pocket at the front where I was able to squeeze in two large water bottles as there wasn’t much water on the hike. The padded hip belt was snug and once I had the pack on and made all the strap adjustments the pack felt like it had become an extension of my body. That sounds dramatic, but I just mean I wasn’t swinging about or being pulled backward by the sheer weight of the pack. It also meant I could walk with confidence on the steep, loose shale that made up a lot of the walking track at Tombstone Territorial Park. The pack is made from 630D Oxford Nylon that is PU coated (1500mm water column), so it’s built for pretty tough, wet conditions. After four long, strenuous days on the trail I really enjoyed using the Exped Explore 60. It’ll certainly be going on more trips with me. RRP: $319.95. Arriving March 2018. Contact: Expedition Equipment,, 02 9417 5755

Left: With the right adjustments the pack fitted perfectly. Above left: The rear sliding panel allows you to get the pack’s height right for you. Above right: The straps were well made and easy to adjust.

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Right: Say Hi to the Sony Alpha 7R camera. Below: The Alpha’s dials are easy to get your head around. Bottom: The viewing screen can also be adjusted when you need to shoot holding the camera up high or down low.

Sony Alpha 7R camera

If, like me, you’re as passionate about your photography as you are about your hiking then you’ll understand the importance of taking the right camera. The nice people at Sony sent me their newish Alpha 7R DSLR with matching Zeiss 16-35mm lens so I could test in out on my Canada trip. All up, the weight was around 1kg, which is a bit to have hanging off your neck but I really wanted the best shots. The first thing I liked was how easy it was to get your head around the camera’s features. I’m not the type of person to spend hours reading an instruction manual; I prefer to just have a play around with the camera. The menu screen was easy to navigate and I quickly chose my image quality and size, focus point and a few other specifications and then I didn’t need to go back into it again. External features include the usual switch between Auto, Aperture or Shutter priority, full Manual, and Video (1080). I tend to use the Manual and Aperture modes for landscape images. Photos taken on Auto were very good – the quick focus and auto settings produced high quality images, so if you prefer using t go wrong. However, you’ll get better contrast and adapt to chang nditions better if you play around with the aperture settings. It’s a great w nch the colour and utilise depth of field. Another feature I like is the Bluetoot ing, allowing you to send images straight from the camera to your Smartph or computer – from there you can send you pics to Facebook, Instagram etc One criticism he camera features an anti-dust mechanism, which vibrates rticles on the image sensor, but there were still specks in my photos and yo ould see the sensor was slightly dirty. In defence of the Alpha it was a test ca ra and had probably been used by many others and you can easily get it p sionally cleaned. Also, I had my photos cleaned in postproduction ll... At $290 camera body alone it’s not a cheap choice, but if you’re pass your photography it’s a worthy investment. .au


The glorious Sren Falls, New Britain, PNG.

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A WALK TO REMEMBER PNG’s Lark Force Track follows the steps of Aussie Diggers who played a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Japanese army. WORDS_BRENT MCKEAN PHOTOS_TED O’DONNELL

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I don’t know if it was the heart-bursting climbs, the leech on my lip or the thorny vines scratching the hell out of me that made me realise why I was in PNG. In 1942 diggers based in the harbour town of Rabaul on the island of New Britain escaped into the jungle to evade Japanese capture. How they survived is the stuff of legend and I wanted to experience it. In the spirit of the Kokoda Track, a new walking experience has been created following the trail of members of the 2/22nd Battalion called Lark Force, who were based in Rabaul in WWII. I was told the walk had not been completed since the diggers fled into the unforgivable terrain 75 years years ago. Thus began what former Lord Chief Justice, Lt Gen Sir E F Herring described as “the bleakest, most depressing days in Australia’s history”.1

“Every man for himself” On Friday January 23, 1942 after intense bombing Japanese forces entered Rabaul.

Aussie soldiers put up a fight but were outnumbered. Then a single order from High Command was passed among the diggers, “Every man for himself”. The soldiers quickly formed groups, organised supplies and disappeared into the jungle. There were two main lines of retreat. One led westward toward the north coast and the other led southeast towards the south coast. Which line each soldier chose would define their fate. I kept on thinking about this as our group arrived in the village of Vunga, at the start of the track. To get there it was a 1hr drive from Rabaul along dirt tracks and the 4WDs had their work cut out. The bush was lush due to the rains and as we took off early on our walk it was hard to imagine the horror that took place all those years ago. Our guides made full use of their machetes hacking their way through the overgrown jungle while GPS coordinates were taken for future walks. The further we walked the thicker the jungle became. As the day got

hotter and the trail became more challenging the more I thought about the Aussie troops who were ill equipped, suffering from malaria and dysentery, and not knowing if there would be Japanese soldiers waiting for them at the next turn. On top of this the Japanese were air dropping morale sapping leaflets: “To the Officers and Soldiers of this Island SURRENDER AT ONCE! And we will guarantee your life, treating you as war prisoners. Those who RESIST US WILL BE KILLED ONE AND ALL. Consider seriously, you can find neither food nor way of escape in this island and you will only die of hunger unless you surrender.” 2 The directorate made some sense. As days turned into weeks the condition of the Aussie troops deteriorated. Their food source was limited – bully beef, coconuts, taro roots (a starchy vegetable like a potato) and whatever they could scrounge in the villages. The rain soaked them and there was little to keep them warm high up on the tablelands.


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Left: Rabaul’s active volcanoes. Below: Tea time in the jingle.

WALK NOTES | LARK FORCE TREK, NEW BRITAIN, PNG Time: 10 days | Grade: Challenging



Day 1: Fly from Cairns to Rabaul.


“That night we built lean-to’s to sleep in and tried lighting fires as our clothes were wringing wet... About 3am we decided that the only way to get warm and save getting pneumonia was to start walking, so our party of seven got going,” wrote Private Percy Pearson of D Coy, 2/22nd Battalion.3 One of the saving graces was the local villagers who helped out of the diggers, supplying them with food, water and sometimes a place to sleep. We were greeted with the same smiling faces as we passed villages along our way. Our first night was at a small village called Baram. We set up out tents and then went down to the river to wash before a well deserved meal. There was plenty of time to reflect on our first day’s trekking which included crossing the Kerevat River several times and getting used to our loaded packs. One of the young lads in Baram befriended me and even though neither of us spoke the others language a warm smile and laugh went a long way.


Bita Paka war cemetery



Day 5: Continue walking southeast to Mt Uragi (975m) then to Adler Bay village on the south coast.



Day 6: Cross the headland after Eber Bay, walk along the coastal track to Kuluraka.





Tol plantation

Day 3: Walk to Rigel village then southeast towards Adler Bay. Day 4: Cross Merai River, continue southeast to the Arrakus Creek.



Day 2: Visit Bita Paka War Cemetery and vehicle transfer to Arabam then walk to Maranagi village.


Merai Adler Bay Eber Bay


Karong 10km

Day 7: Walk coastal track past Jammer Bay, continue to Marunga village. Day 8: Visit Tol Plantation and the Tol Memorial. Day 9: Return to Rabaul by boat and car. Day 10: Fly to Cairns.





The hard yards The next morning we woke up to the sound of the jungle coming alive. Birds and insects joined in a chorus of chirps, whips, clicks and whistles that continued on the whole of our walk. The first half of the day we walked in and out of rivers, passed through massive forests and gained altitude without too much effort – except for my fall down a gully with my backpack acting as a centrifuge. I finally came to a stop, dusted myself off and got back on the track. The jungle was blooming with wild orchids and we passed many types of hardwood trees including rose and teak. Birdwatchers would be in their element as colourful hornbills (kokomo) could be seen and heard throughout the walk. Other species we spotted were wild pigeon (tomato nose), cassuarie, cockatoo and parrots. By lunch the sun was high and we found a gorgeous river to swim in. I was told to make the most of it as it was all uphill from here. First we had to cross the river by scrambling along a massive tree that had been chopped down. I was reminded of some Indiana Jones film as I took careful steps, not thinking about the rocks some metres below. There were plenty of stories of defiance and heroism that came out of the jungles of New Britain in 1942 but there were just as many of suffering and death. Private Pearson recalled the heartbreak of having to leave behind a sick

mate. “We were caught in heavy rain in the afternoon and I think it brought Ivor’s malaria on again... we came to a village called Tu, from which he could go no further. He lay down and we could do nothing for him... we left him some food and pushed on.” 4 I kept on thinking about this as I struggled up the track. The trail continued to get steeper and steeper and often it was a matter of grabbing the base of trees and yanking yourself up. With a full pack this proved a challenge and even though we’d all just had a relaxing lunch all that was forgotten as we guzzled down our water and soaked our shirts through with sweat. Then the heavens opened. And the leeches appeared. I plopped myself down to catch my breath. My wide brimmed hat overflowed with water as I watched the track turn to mud. After 3hr of extreme uphill walking I was exhausted. Maybe it was the diggers’ stories I had read about but something inside told me to stand the hell up and get moving – and metre by metre I made my way up to the top of the ridgeline with the others. Our camp was a sight for sore eyes. Nestled amongst a massive green wall of vines and trees was the glorious Sren Falls to cool off in. It was like a modern day Garden of Eden. Afterwards we scoffed down dinner, swapped a few yarns and turned in. We all felt triumphant having tackled the toughest part of the walk.

In the thick of it The morning of day three involved a quick brekkie, breaking camp and heading to the next stop, the majestic Suneng Waterfalls. We could hear the thunder of the falls way before we reached them. The day was already hot so we sat in the river that cascaded over the cliff and admired our 660m high view. As I said, from Rabaul the Aussies had two main lines of retreat. One ended at the north coast and one ended at the south. Our route was taking us south to near the coastal plantation of Tol – the scene of one the most horrific events in Australian war history. The rest of the day involved walking up and down steep trails and crossing rivers. The tracks were as hilly as the ones yesterday but not as long, offering some respite. Still, it must have been so disheartening for the diggers, as without a map these never-ending trails would

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have sapped any energy they had and for some surrender was the only option. “The river was very swift to cross. When we got to St Pauls (mission), Les Pattle decided to give himself up... Sandy Kirkland tried to talk him out of it, but gave in... Les said his feet would not take him over the hills. There were now only three in our group,” recalled Pte Andy Bishop, A Coy 2/22 Battalion.5 We camped at the foot of the river and the sound of the water floated in and out of my dreams. The next day was a brisk 2hr walk to the our last stop, Mandrabet, where trucks took our tired and smelly bodies to the plantation of Karlai for the next stage of the Escape From Rabaul experience. After a couple of days at Karlai where we saw a brilliant cultural show and were fed like kings we took a boat to Tol Plantation, half an hour across the bay.

In February 1942 tired diggers began popping out of the jungle near Tol in increasing numbers as they realised they couldn’t evade capture. The diggers numbered around 160 but instead of being taken by boat the Japanese took them in groups of about 10 back into the bush and killed them with their bayonets. They were then hastily buried in mass graves. In 1944 after PNG was liberated the bodies of 160 soldiers were transferred to the war cemetery in Rabaul where they were given a military funeral. It’s walks like this where you experience just ever so slightly what the soldiers must have gone through, and you have the time to contemplate their great sacrifice that really define the words, “we shall remember them”. 1,2





Above: Setting up camp. Opposite: Lush, untouched rainforest.

NEED TO KNOW For info on the Lard Force Trek visit Like the Kokoda Track this walk is very challenging and requires high fitness to complete, but the rewards are worth it.



GRAND ENTRANCE Great Walks looks at the opening paragraphs of 11 excellent adventure/ travel books.

“DARK spruce forest frowned on either side of the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean toward each other, black and ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of a laughter more terrible than any sadness – a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the Sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozenhearted Northland Wild.” – White Fang, Jack London (1906) According to many literary experts, Jack London’s most famous book features one of the greatest opening paragraphs of any novel. So, we wondered what other great adventure/travel books feature wonderfully crafted opening paragraphs that make you want to keep on reading. Here is our pick.

Endurance – Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing “The order to abandon ship was given at 5pm. For most of the men, however, no order was needed because by then everybody knew that the ship was done and that it was time to give up trying to save her. There was no show of fear or apprehension. They had found unceasingly for three days and they had lost. They accepted their fate almost apathetically. They were simply too tired to care.”

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer “Straddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared absently down at the vastness of Tibet. I understood on some dim, detached level that the sweep of earth beneath my feet was a spectacular sight. I’d

been fantasising about this moment, and the release of emotion that would accompany it, for many months. But now that I was finally here, actually standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn’t summon the energy to care.”

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed “The trees were tall but I was taller, standing above them on a steep mountain slope in northern California. Moments before, I’d removed my hiking boots and the left one had fallen into those trees, first catapulting into the air when my enormous backpack toppled onto it, then skittering across the gravelly trail and flying over the edge. It

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bounced off a rocky outcropping several feet beneath me before disappearing into the forest canopy below, impossible to retrieve. I let out a stunned gasp, though I’d been in the wilderness for thirty-eight days and by then I’d come to know that anything could happen and that everything would. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t shocked when it did. My boot was gone. Actually gone.”

Tracks, Robyn Davidson “I arrived in the Alice at five a.m. with a dog, six dollars and a suitcase full of inappropriate clothes. ‘Bring a cardigan for the evenings’ the brochure said. A freezing wind whipped grit down the platform as I stood shivering, holding warm dog flesh, and wondering what foolishness had brought me to this eerie, empty train station in the centre of nowhere. I turned against the wind, and saw the line of mountains at the edge of town. There are some moments in life that are like pivots around which your existence turns – small intuitive flashes, when you know you have done something correct for a change, when you think you are on the right track. I watched a pale dawn streak the cliffs with Day-glo and realised this was one of them. It was a moment of pure, uncomplicated confidence – and lasted about ten seconds.”

Touching the void, Joe Simpson “I was lying in my sleeping bag, staring at the light filtering through the red and green fabric of the dome tent. Simon was snoring loudly, occasionally twitching in his dream world. We could have been anywhere. There is a peculiar anonymity about being in tents. Once the zip is closed and the outside world barred from sight, all sense of location disappears. Scotland, the French Alps, the Kalorama, it was always the same. The sounds of rustling, of fabric flapping in the wind, or of rainfall, the feel of hard lumps under the ground sheet, the smell of rancid rocks and sweat – these are universals, as comforting as the warmth of the down sleeping bag.”

Miracle in the Andes, Nando Parrado “In the first hours there was nothing, no fear or sadness, no sense of the passage of time, not even the glimmer of a thought or a memory, just a black

and perfect silence. Then light appeared, a thin grey smear of daylight, and I rose to it out of the darkness like a diver swimming slowly to the surface. Consciousness seeped through my brain like a slow bleed and I woke, with great difficulty, into a twilight world halfway between dreaming and awareness. I heard voices and sensed motion all around me, but my thoughts were murky and my vision was blurred. I could see only dark silhouettes and pools of light and shadow. As I stared at these vague shapes in confusion, I saw that some of the shadows were moving, and finally I realised that one of them was hovering over me. ‘Nando, podeé oîrme? Can you hear me? Are you OK?”

Travels with Charley – in Search of America, John Steinbeck “When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ship’s whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, I don’t improve; in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself.”

Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert “I wish Giovanni would kiss me. Oh, but there are so many reasons why this would be a terrible idea. To begin with, Giovanni is ten years younger than I am, and – like most Italian guys in their twenties – he lives with his mother. These facts alone make him an unlikely romantic partner for me, given that I am a professional American woman in my midthirties, who has come through a failed marriage

and a devastating, interminable divorce, followed immediately by a passionate love affair that ended in sickening heartbreak. This loss upon loss has left me feeling sad and brittle and about seven thousand years old. Purely as a matter of principle I wouldn’t inflict my sorry, busted-up old self on the lovely, unsullied Giovanni. Not to mention that I have finally arrived at that age where a woman starts to question whether the wisest way to get over the loss of one beautiful-eyed young man is indeed to promptly invite another one into her bed, This is why I have been alone for many months now. This is why, in fact, I have decided to spend the entire year in celibacy.”

In A Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson “Flying into Australia, I realised with a sigh that I had forgotten again who their Prime Minister is. I am forever doing this with the Australian PM – committing the name to memory, forgetting it (generally more or less instantly), then feeling terribly guilty. My thinking is that there ought to be one person outside Australia who knows. But then Australia is such a difficult country to keep track of. On my first visit, some years ago, I passed the time on a long flight from London reading a history of Australian politics in the twentieth century, wherein I encountered the startling fact that in 1967 the Prime Minister, Harold Holt, was strolling along a beach in Victoria when he plunged into the surf and vanished. No trace of the poor man was ever seen again. This seemed doubly astounding to me – first that Australia could just lose a Prime Minister (I mean, come on) and second that news of this never reached me.”

Wild by Nature, Sarah Marquis “A sublime sensation started growing in me the moment that leaving showed itself to be the only option. I knew deep in my heart that this departure was the only way to be loyal to the fire that burned within me. I could feel it weakening, the flame was shrinking....It was time to go out and collect the wood that would allow me to rediscover my life’s flame. That’s how I left. On foot – a fact that presented itself to me as obvious – and alone. Don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t one day just jump in an airplane, thinking, ‘Cool, I’m going to cross the globe walking from north to south!”

LIFE THROUGH THE LENS Photographer Rodney Braithwaite shares some of his favourite images. PHOTOS_RODNEY BRAITHWAITE

Above “On a snow shoe trip across Mt Field National Park, I was rewarded a view of the Aurora Australis in the night sky.” Tasmania Sept 2017 Right “An early morning mid-winter frost creates a beautiful world of white in Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania.” August 2017

THERE'S nothing we like more than showcasing stunning images from local photographers and these wonderful pictures from Launceston-based Rodney Braithwaite fit the brief. Rodney, who has been a photographer for 24 years, spent much of his childhood bushwalking in Tassie. He began travelling overseas at 17 and since then has visited 24 countries including four years living in small Japanese villages. We hope you enjoy his photos.


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Left “After hiking into Kitchen Hut on a glorious blue sky winter day. The sunset over Cradle Mountain walking out was sublime.” Tasmania August 2017

Above “Taken while walking out of the Fortress after a night hike into this more remote corner of Grampians NP.” Victoria July 2017



Right: “Walking along trails, following the Forgotten World Highway on the North Island of NZ allows exploration of some magnificent landscapes.” May 2017

Right “On my first night upon the famed Tongariro Alpine Crossing, I captured this image of the New Zealand night sky.” May 2017 Below “Pitching tents on the edge of the Rodway Valley on a snow shoe trip, saw temperatures reaching -18°C with wind chill factor.” Tasmania July 2017


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DAY AT THE PROMS Great Walks explores Victoriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most beloved national park, Wilsons Promontory. WORDS AND PHOTOS_ BRENT MCKEAN

Right: Looking out into Bass Strait from Sparkes Lookout.

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Below: Coastal vegetation thrives on Norman Bay. Left: Wilsons Prom offers gorgoues coastal walking. CREDIT: DESTINATION GIPPSLAND.

CRUNCHING my way up the stringybark forest and sliding between large granite boulders, I finally reached the top of Vereker Lookout in the northern part of Wilsons Promontory. Climbing on top of the highest rock I could find, I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. There aren’t many moments in your life when you’re completely alone in the wilderness, where all you can hear is the breeze and all you can see for miles and miles is beach, bush and bluffs. Wilsons Promontory is Victoria’s most beloved national park and standing on that summit I could see why. It’s home to a wide range of wildlife like kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and emus. There are also plenty of species of birds to spot including colourful and curious rosellas. As for bushwalking, well the news gets better. Dozens of short, half-day and multi-day trails allow you to explore the variety of terrain the Prom has to offer, from long pristine coastline and exposed headlands to steep granite outlooks and secluded rainforest.

Land ahoy The first European to see the promontory was George Bass in January 1798. He initially

referred to it as “Furneaux’s Land” in his diary, believing it to be what Captain Furneaux – an English navigator and Royal Navy officer – had previously seen. But on returning to Port Jackson and consulting Matthew Flinders he was convinced that the location was so different it could not be that land. Bass and Flinders recommended the name Wilsons Promontory to the Governor of NSW John Hunter, honouring Flinders’s friend from London, Thomas Wilson. Little is known of Wilson except that he was a merchant engaged in trade with Australia. The promontory has been a national park, to one degree or another, since 1898. Wilsons Promontory National Park, also known locally as “the Prom”, contains the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria. The site was closed to the public during World War II, as it was used as a commando training ground. Fortunately that’s all in the past and now the place is open for all to explore.

Headlands and high dunes If you’re looking for a walk out to a headland with great coastal views, try the Darby Saddle/ Tongue Point/Darby River walk (9.4km/3.5hr/

moderate). To do this you’ll need two cars: one at the start at Darby Saddle and one at Darby River. If you have one car then simply walk from Darby Saddle to Tongue Point (5.6km return/2.5hr). Tongue Point is a coastal headland littered with tumbled stacks and boulders of weathered granite. The track from Darby Saddle provides wonderful coastal and forest scenery as it climbs uphill through stringybark and casuarina forest. At 2.1km, a 300m sidetrack leads up to Sparkes Lookout, offering commanding views of the pyramidshaped Rodondo Island in the south and Shallow Inlet in the north. After the turnoff, the main track climbs steeply to Lookout Rocks, a vantage point with great views of Norman Island. From here the track descends steeply through low heathland where it joins the track from Darby River and continues to Tongue Point. Part of the trail is on raised plastic duckboards. I’d never seen this type before but it offered reassuring grip and looked like


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it had more longevity then the wooden ones that need constant maintenance on walks like Tassie’s Overland Track. From Tongue Point the trail heads north to Darby River, offering lush views up Darby and Cotters beaches. If you fancy getting your heart rate up at the end of the walk, take the 1km sandy track from the carpark to Darby Beach. Looking north you’ll see a very steep, very high sand dune. To reach the base of the dune cross the shallow inlet – and then the only way is up. It took some effort to push through the soft sand but once at the top it was all worth it. Looking east you can see the Vereker Range snaking its way along the north of the park. Speaking of snakes, I got spooked by three on various trails at the Prom but it’s nothing to be alarmed about. (Don’t hassle them and they won’t hassle you.) Now, after all that effort of reaching the top of the sand dune the only thing left to do was to slide barefoot down it laughing uncontrollably like a silly schoolboy!

Ruin and regeneration Major floods six years ago caused a lot of damage to the Prom but over time road access and walking tracks have all been repaired. The only good thing to come out of the floods was that due to many of the popular trails in the park’s low-lying south being closed for some time, people were encouraged to explore the lesser-known northern section. This has lead Great Walks to the top of Vereker Lookout. The view looks west to Darby Saddle, Corner Inlet, Shellback Island and Cotters Beach. Starting at Five Mile carpark, the track to Vereker Lookout (6km/2hr/easy-moderate) winds through open banksia woodland with a heathland understorey. For the first 45 minutes the track follows this quiet area before heading up into stringybark forest and the mass of granite boulders that defines this part of the Prom. Don’t be surprised if you see emus and wallabies curiously staring at you. They’re all part of the show.

OTHER WALKS South Norman Bay and Little Oberon Bay Start this 3hr return hike from the Information Centre at Tidal River. Climb over sand dunes sprouting tea trees to the southern end of Norman Beach, a great spot for swimming. From here it’s an easy climb around the side of Norman Point to Little Oberon Bay for views out to the Anser and Glennie Group of Islands in Bass Strait. Look out for the craggy form of Cleft Island, also known as Skull Rock.

Squeaky Beach via Tidal Overlook This 1.5hr walk offers the best views of the Prom’s west coast as it climbs the headland between Norman and Leonard Bays before descending to Squeaky Beach. The walk can be started from the Tidal River footbridge or the Lilly Pilly Gully carpark.




Below: The leafy trail from Darby Saddle.

Maybe it was because I was on my own, but there was something mystical about the walk. Many of the prehistoric granite boulders that loomed over me wouldn’t look out of place at Stonehenge. No doubt the original inhabitants of the Prom, the Bratauolung people, would have found this place just as blissful. For Aborigines, Wilsons Promontory is part of a spiritually significant land called Yiruk or Wamoom. Shell middens behind many beaches date back thousands of years, demonstrating a deep connection between indigenous people and the Prom’s land and sea. Remember, before the last Ice Age 65,000 years ago, this part of Victoria used be connected to Tasmania by way of a land bridge, which is how the original inhabitants of the Apple Isle got there. What’s left of the land bridge is now the 52 islands that make up the Furneaux Group.

Perfect panorama



Park entrance


Vereker Lookout

Five Mile carpark

Cotters Beach

Mt Vereker Darby Beach Tongue Point

1. Darby Saddle/ Tongue Point/Darby River walk (9.4km/3.5hr/ moderate)

Darby River 1

Darby Saddle Mt Bishop


Lilly Pilly Gully Norman Island


2. Vereker Outlook (6km/2hr/easymoderate) 3. Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit/ Mount Bishop (7.5km/3hr/ easy)

One of the most popular walks at the Prom is the Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit and the sidetrip up to the exposed granite mass of Mount Bishop. The walk (7.5km for the circuit + sidetrip/3hr/ easy) provides a good example of the Prom’s interior as the track travels into one of the southernmost locations of warm temperate rainforest. Gnarled coast banksia, wattle trees, hakea and heathland plants all vie for space in this special walk. It’s an easy walk so give yourself plenty of time to check out your surrounds and if you’re lucky you’ll post a koala hanging in one of the gum trees that offer shade. It was here that I got spooked by a couple of lazy snakes who were catching some rays on the trails. I’d say if you’re walking in a group you’re less likely to see them as they’ll feel the vibrations of all of your feet on the track and make themselves scarce. Either way it’s not something to be too concerned about. The 360° view from the top of Mount Bishop is commanding. You really get a feel for the variety of geography that makes up the Prom. Standing here you’ll regret it if you don’t bring a camera. This is picture postcard stuff. After the leaving the summit, if you continue to follow the circuit walk you’ll come to a spot where you can see the full effects of a massive landslide. It’s incredibly dramatic and makes you appreciate what the rangers, contractors and volunteers are up against getting these trails open again. They all deserve plenty of praise. Three days exploring Wilsons Prom allowed us to get a good taste of what it has to offer bushwalkers. But it wouldn’t have hurt to have stayed another three more! For info on Wilson’s Prom visit: and


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Walking in Ticino on the ‘Venice and the Lakes tour’.

THAT’S AMORE! Carmelina Ricciardello loves showing off her Sicilian heritage as a guide with Hidden Italy walking tours. WORDS_ CARMELINA RICCIARDELLO I was born in Sicily and moved to Perth with my family when I was seven. I came from a culture where walking was for the poor and I never knew that you could go walking for pleasure. No-one in my family or friends went walking. They are still a bit bemused by my career choice – my younger cousin keeps telling me it’s about time to stop! I started walking for pleasure when I lived in England almost thirty years ago. I loved it and haven’t stopped. I went to Annapurna in Nepal after that on the way home to Perth. I’ve been to Kilimanjaro and Mt Blanc. Last year I went hiking in Ethiopia. Of course, I have explored a lot of Italy. When I was in England, I was setting up a restaurant in Oxford and living above the offices of ATG-Oxford, who were one of the first tour companies to start up walking holidays in England (prior to that ‘leisure’ holidays were the go). Someone hurt themselves and, knowing my background,

they asked me if I could take a couple of days off work and fly to Sicily to manage the tour. I couldn’t believe you could get paid for walking. I have lead tours for Hidden Italy for six years. I started taking tours in Sicily where I’ve been living for the last 15 years, but now I also take guided tours to Sardinia in the spring and in autumn I take tours to Verona, the Dolomites, Venice and the Italian Lakes. I also have my own company Sicilian Experience, which specialises in personalised tours in Sicily ( The highlight of any guided tour is meeting the local people. My philosophy is that tourism is a form of exchange between the locals and the visitors (not ‘clients’!). People on my tours come to visit, to understand and to be part of the place. I see myself as the connection between the two. I love Sicily for its beauty, history and people, but I think my favourite place next to Sicily is Intragna, a little village in which we stay for four nights on the ‘Venice and the Italian Lakes tour’. It’s in Ticino, the Italian speaking

canton of Switzerland, in the mountains above Lake Maggiore and is a very diverse beautiful area, with great walking and very little tourism. I’ve even thought of moving there! The advantage of booking a guided tour compared to organising a walk yourself is local guides know the people in the area, they can work as the go-between, introducing locals and visitors and this can be hard to do on your own. And what’s on my hiking bucket list? In 2008, I volunteered to help lead a group in Turkey and Syria doing the ‘Abraham walk’ that retraces the journey made by Abraham (Ibrahim) through the heart of the Middle East


some four thousand years ago. It was organised by a non-profit, non-political, and nonsectarian organisation honouring all cultures and faiths, which is supported by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (abrahampath. org). I would love to be able to do this walk again, one day. Bushwalking equipment I’d never leave home without? A good pair of boots is essential. Need to know:



FUNNY BUSINESS Great Walks looks at the lighter side of camping quotes and signs.

nal Some natiolong parks haveists waiting l g for campin s. reservationave When you har to to wait a yte to a sleep nex hing tree, sometg. is wron




Well, not quite...


Can’t argue with that.


Damn it. And I was planning on jumping!

You won’t find truer words.


1,2,3.. ohhhhh.

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Makes sense.

Can totally relate to that.


Happens to me all the time


No, not at all!


Tough but fair.



THE GREATER GOOD Di reckons having adventures with a purpose will bring more fulfilment in your life.

WORDS_DI WESTAWAY Di is the CEO and founder of Wild Women On Top and the Coastrek charity event, and author of How to Prepare for World Class Treks

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. – Henry David Thoreau IT’S really simple: you need a bucket list. But not all bucket lists are equal. To bring happiness and fulfilment to your life, your bucket list needs to be more a than a badge which says ‘look how cool I am!’. For example, getting a tattoo or meeting Oprah may be fun, but they won’t necessarily bring you deep happiness and fulfilment. But taking on an extreme wilderness challenge with friends for good, such as hiking to Everest Base Camp or Machu Picchu for charity, will. Bucket lists are an attempt to make life meaningful, to create memories and experiences which enhance the quality of your life. As Cheryl Bart, my good friend and serial extreme adventurer, often says: “Friends ask me if I have a death wish. I say, ‘No, I have a life wish.’” But you don’t have to climb Mt Everest or hike to the South Pole to live life to the full.

By adventure I simply mean experiences that include nature, adventurous physical activity and culture. These activities are particularly appealing right now because many of us are bored out of our wits living a lifestyle that’s no longer suited to our biology. For millions of years our biology motivated us to escape from danger, which made life adventurous, and our body rewarded us with happy hormones when we did it. But today the biggest danger is our unhealthy lifestyle, and many of us aren’t scared of it. Fortunately, adventure is booming. Around the world, there’s a growing movement which rejects the boring, sedentary, hamster-wheel, screenaddicted, nine-to-five model of living in favour of adventurous living. In fact, a recent report by Sandler Research shows a 46% growth in adventurous living between 2016 and 2020. These new adventurers are across all demographics and they are rejecting boredom in favour of wild experiences while many people are still plugged into their latest addiction or smartphone devices, getting their fix from ‘Likes’ and their news from Facebook. But for a bucket list to bring fulfilment and create a meaningful life, it needs to connect us to something larger than ourselves, typically to other people and their welfare. Positive psychology research suggests this is the secret to a fulfilling life. Goals can

motivate us to accomplish things, but the most motivating goals are those that are hard and specific. A fulfilling bucket list must contain difficult things that you work hard to achieve, with others, for a bigger purpose than yourself. We must combine exhilarating experiences with the greater good. Tens of thousands of my clients have experienced this exhilaration by trekking to restore sight. Others have taken on bigger challenges like Everest Base Camp and Machu Picchu for charity. And extraordinary social enterprises have been created around the world to this end. Try one of these bucket list charity hikes and let me know how it makes you feel.

Fulfilling Aussie mini-adventures for bucket listers on a budget

HIKE: Sydney, Melbourne or Sunshine Coastrek, Team Trekking Challenge raising funds for The Fred Hollows Foundation. TREK: Oxfam Trailwalker, trekking 100km to raise funds for Oxfam

Fulfilling hard-core international bucket lists to take you higher

HIKE: Mt Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu, Great Wall of China or Everest Base Camp or with Charity Challenges TREK: Kokoda, Cradle Mountain, Bhutan, Ladakh or the Camino Trail with Inspired Adventures

PACK FREE KAKADU & LARAPINTA WALKS w i t h L i f e’s A n A d v e n t u r e


SAVE $600 per couple

Kakadu, Larapinta and the Kimberley have an array of exceptional walking experiences from rugged mountain ranges, spectacular beehive domes to deep gorges and cool waterholes. Our speciality is providing pack free experiences allowing you walk with just your water, camera and lunch. Stay in the best accommodation in each area close to the trail and indulge in wonderful produce that make the region unique, perfectly matched with Australian wines. Enjoy our extra “Wow” Factors. These additional activities will enrich and provide a walking experience that you couldn’t create on your own such as a spectacular Bungles heli hiking trip into remote regions (as featured in Great Walks magazine). These activities will make your journey truly inspirational.




Your 5 day walking holiday includes: • Pack Free Walk • Walk in all 4 regions of Kakadu including Jim Jim and Twin Falls. • Stay in the best accommodation in each area including the remote Hawk Dreaming Lodge. • Superb dinners featuring local produce • All dinners served with Australian wine • Genuinely all-inclusive

Your 5 day walking holiday includes: • Pack Free Walk • Welcome to Country about our exceptional guest guide • 2 nights at Glen Helen Homestead • Superb dinners featuring local produce • All dinners served with Australian wine • Professional guides • Return transfers to Alice Springs • Genuinely all-inclusive

Your 5 day walking holiday includes: • Pack Free Walk • Spectacular Heli-hiking flight into the remote Piccanniny Gorge fea-tured in this issue of Great Walks. • 2 nights at Bungles Lodge • 2 nights at El Questro Station • Superb dinners featuring local produce • All dinners served with Australian wine • Genuinely all-inclusive


Life’s An Adventure winner of 21 Tourism Awards of Excellence including Best Australian Adventure Tourism Company

Conditions apply. Prices per person. Discounts are available for next season’s bookings paid in full at time of booking. Subject to availability. Season runs from May to August 2018. Cancellations not permitted on Earlybird Deals, we advise taking out Travel Insurance.

WATERTIGHT SEAL Non-wicking stiffening strip on the roll-top closure for waterproof security


Light, strong and durable. From our featherlight Ultra-Sil® Nano Dry Sacks to our super burly 600 denier Hydraulic™ Dry Bags, our dry storage solutions keep your gear dry and dust-free on sea and land based adventures.

STRONG AND RELIABLE Reinforced stitching at all stress points for greater seam strength and our unique field repair buckle for peace of mind

LIGHT AND DURABLE Technical treatments and PVC-free fabrics purpose built for most outdoor activities