Category Archives: Destinations

Apologies

My apologies.

I recently made the decision to import the content of my Blogger (BushwalkingSkills) posts (130+ from as far back as 2009) to WordPress (Oz Outdoor Adventures), so I don’t have to maintain multiple domains.

These carefully researched posts cover basic to advanced bushwalking skills, navigation, technology, fitness, leadership, safety and some beautiful destinations.

Surprisingly, there have been hundreds of thousands of pageviews, and the site is still viewed by many students and bush walkers/hikers/trekkers every day. For this reason I decided that much of the content must still relevant, and couldn’t bring myself to delete years of research entirely.

Unfortunately,  I have not yet had time to convert the external links to my Blogger posts to internal WordPress links and delete the non-linked graphics. I ask for your tolerance in the hope you gain something worthwhile.

Perhaps an eBook would be a worthwhile replacement in the future? What do you think?

Bob

The Great Ocean Walk, Victoria

I am looking forward to travelling the Great Ocean Road again and in particular exploring the vicinity of Port Fairy and Apollo Bay in Victoria, which I last did a few years ago.

Who could visit the Otway Ranges without being tempted to do at least one day walk along the 104 km Great Ocean Walk from near the Twelve Apostles to Apollo Bay?

Well, I did two day walks, each of about 15 km mainly along the coast, firstly from Ryan’s Den to Johanna Beach and, secondly from Cape Otway to Castle Cove; two of the most spectacular parts of the Great Ocean Walk.

Have a look at my slideshow of the GOW.

View my Gallery of Photos

The two magnificent day walks I did were both planned using the excellent map:

Great Ocean Walk Map 1:25,000, Datum GDA94 (3rd edition, Parks Victoria, $14.95) available online

and the outstanding guide:

Walking the Otways: Track notes compiled by the Geelong Bushwalking Club Editor Carolina Rose 

The 4th Edition may be purchased online from John Chapman or from the club.

Additional information is available from the Great Ocean Walk site and particularly its Resources section.

The GOW campsites I saw were excellent, with shelter sheds, rainwater tanks, platforms for packs and well screened numbered tent sites, which have to be booked in advance.

Ryan’s Den to Johanna Beach (10:30 am – 4:00 pm)
P1010930I did this walk in the opposite direction to that advised by Parks Victoria, which in hindsight was a disadvantage, as the signage assumed you were walking the other way and, if I were camping overnight in the GOW campsites, would not have been permitted.

I chose this section because of easy access by car on bitumen roads at both ends, making a car shuttle easy, and its frequency in commercial tours. This leg is about 14 -16 km and takes 4:00 – 5:30 hours depending on which guide you follow and is labelled medium to hard, as it is quite undulating following the coastal cliffs and then inland with a gradual ascent from the sea for several kilometres.

I walked in at about 10.30 am from the Great Ocean Road (GR 980089) following Ryan’s Den Track, to the GOW track (GR983078) and then turned west to the Ryan’s Den GOW campsite where I had a mid morning snack, admired the beautiful coastal views and the well set up campsite before returning to the track intersection at about 12 noon. This loop took about an hour through rainforest, sometimes on muddy tracks but only a few cm deep and is well worth the extra time spent for the great views.

P1010920I arrived at Johanna Beach at about 4 pm, averaging about 3 km per hour for the day. My favourite spot was Milanesia Beach where the solitary whitewashed hut against the green hills was one of my best photo shots.

Cape Otway to Castle Cove (8:30 am – 2:00 pm)

P1020072I chose this section because of easy access by car on bitumen roads at both ends, making a car shuttle easy, and its frequency in commercial tours.

This is between 12.5 and 16.6 km depending on who you believe and takes from 4:30 to 6:15 hours once again depending on the individual. I took  5:30 hours including breaks and time for photography, but I did keep up a cracking pace between stops.  This is largely a coastal cliff walk with spectacular views along the coast in both directions, and especially of the Cape Otway lighthouse.

The Cape Otway cemetery (GR179968) is well worth a visit as it shows how harsh the environment  was in the 1800’s, with the graves of shipwrecked sailors and the young children of the lighthouse keepers.

If you wished to cut it short then this would be possible at Aire River which is a little over half way and appears to be a popular fishing spot with easy access by road. Cape Otway to Aire River is 9.6 km, 3:15 hrs

Update: Realignment of Route | Moonlight Head to the Gables

Parks Victoria has realigned the Great Ocean Walk in the Otway Ranges between Moonlight Head and the Gables so that you no longer have to walk on the road, but can stop within the Park.

When I walked the Great Ocean Walk in the Otway Ranges, Victoria, I found it to be one of the least appealing, and so gave it a miss, so I am pleased to hear of this significant improvement.

According to Frank and Katrina from Bimbi Park, the track is graded for easy walking and weaves through woodlands providing shade on warmer days.

If you’ve done the walk using our notes and have any comments please email me.

If you haven’t done the walk, get off the couch organise some friends and go for it…You’ll love it. Please call or email me if you need any assistance in organising your walk.”

For more information visit their Bimbi Park website and download the GOW track notes and amendments or visit their Great Ocean Walk website.

Parks Victoria have GOW track conditions, alerts and fire messages on their website along with links to accommodation, wildlife, planning your hike and walk itineraries.

Review | The Shell Guide to the Routeburn (NZ) Track by Philip Temple | Pt 3 Route Guide

Planning to complete the Routeburn track in New Zealand? Want some hints from someone who has walked the track many times? Interested in the flora and birds? This article is a part review of the 40 page Routeburn Track Guide by Philip Temple, published by Whitcoulls in 1976, which has become a NZ tramping classic and still contains valuable information.

© Bushwalker

Route Guide

The track is 39 kms long and average travelling time according to Philip Temple is only 13 hours ” … so that a very fit, skilled tramper with a light pack might accomplish it in one summer’s day.

As is common, he recommends completing the walk in 3 days

Day 1 Routeburn Lodge (Shelter) to Routeburn Falls Hut(8km, 2.5hrs, + 250m)

Day 2 Routeburn Falls Hut to Harris Saddle (4.8 km, 1.5 hrs, +300m) and then to Lake Mackenzie (10.5km, 3 hrs, -300m)

Day 3 Lake Mackenzie to Lake Howden (9km, 3hrs, +?m) to Milford Road. (3.2km, 1 hr plus 1hr if climb Key Summit, – 150m)

Routeburn Falls Hut. Photo taken by Steffen Sledz

Day 1 Track Notes

Bridal Veil Ck footbridge 1 hr

Birds: parakeets, robin, fantails

Flora: Montane beech forest dominates between 500 – 1150 m with three species of beech: red (lower, warmer slopes), mountain , silver. Forest floor thickly carpeted by coprosma, fuchsia, ribbonwood, pepperwood and on the Hollyford slopes, kamahi, broadleaf and totara.

Upper flats: arrive after couple of hours, to cross the river by bridge. The Flats (702m) were the upper limits of horse traffic.

Looking north up the northern branch of the Routeburn you can see Mt Somnus (about 5.5 km away, true 32.5°, GR E0280942 N5048358, 2282m) and further away to the right is Turret Head (16 km across Dart, 62.4° True, GR E0292265, N5051650, 2350m)

Routeburn Flats to Routeburn Falls Hut (976m) 3.2 km, walking time 1.25hrs. The lower hut is DOC and the upper private.

Flora: giant mountain buttercup blooms in early summer in the beds of the higher creeks

Lake Harris, Routeburn track, from the path from Harris Saddle to Conical Hill. © Zoharby

Day 2 Track Notes

1. Routeburn Falls to Harris Saddle, the boundary between Mt Aspiring and Fiordland national parks.

Flora: giant buttercup, flowering spaniard, daisy, gentian, ourisia, hebe, snowgrass.

The track above Lake Harris may be impassable if snow covered and should not be attempted in bad weather.

Views from Harris Saddle: Hollyford valley to west, and behind that the Darran Mountains with Mt Christina (2692m)12 km away to the SSW ( 232° T). Mt Tutoko ( 2964m) to the north.

If you have time there are excellent views to be had by climbing Conical Hill (1515m) to the north of the saddle.

Harris saddle only has emergency shelter

2. Harris Saddle to Lake Mackenzie

About 2km from the Saddle there is a track intersection with Deadman’s Track and after another 2km a large square rock which can be used as an emergency bivouac. Don’t waste time on this section if the weather forecast is looking to be poor.

Looking north, “…..you will be able to see right down the Hollyford to Lake McKerrow and the sea at Martins Bay ….” 8.5 km to the south (200° T), at the head of the Hollyford Key Summit (GR E0272856 N 5033572) stands out.

Great reflections of Mt Emily (1815m) to the NE can be obtained in the lake early morning or evening.

Mackenzie Hut at Mackenzie Lake, Routeburn Track, New Zealand. © Steffen Sledz

Day 3 Track Notes

1. Lake Mackenzie to Lake Howden via Earland Falls

Views: Hollyford and Darrans

Flora: veronica scrub, beech forest, red of rata blossom in summer.

Birds: sweet notes of the bellbird, rattle and bell call of the kaka, whooshing beat of the bush pigeons, waxeyes at forest edge, brown creepers deeper in the bush, black backed gull on rocky bluffs.

After 2 hours reach Earland Falls. After another hour you reach Lake Howden.(671m)

2. Lake Howden to Key Summit (919m) to The Divide shelter on Milford Road

View from Key Summit, Routeburn Track NZ © Metapede

Great views from Key Summit which is a botanists mecca, where “… stunted beech trees take the place of subalpine scrub and merge into perhaps the finest bog and swamp region .. with plant life ranging from sundews, bladderworts and orchids to bog forstera, bog daisy and bog pine.”

Related reading

iPhone app: What Bird NZ

 

Previous Routeburn Track Planning posts

Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Bushwalking in Remote South Australia | Warraweena Conservation Park, Northern Flinders Ranges

 Looking for some off-track walking in a remote area in the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia? Already walked the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges? Well here is your chance to walk in a similar environment, but with a few more amenities, a window into the past and a little less remoteness.

Just back from a week’s bushwalking in the Warraweena Conservation Park, about 30 km south of Leigh Creek, and about 550 km north of Adelaide, in the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia.  (Thanks John for your leadership and planning)

Warraweena Conservation Park 

Adelaide – Warraweena (Google)

View Larger Map

History

Warraweena is a 130 year old sheep station, which was originally part of the Oratunga Run (later renamed Moolooloo) until the late 1800s.  It was acquired in 1996 by Wetlands and Wildlife, a private conservation company, destocked and converted to a private Conservation Park. More info…..

Source: SAAL – NRM – Northern Flinders Ranges – FS-052007

Nearby is the old Sliding Rock copper mine, dating back to the 1870’s, where hundreds of miners, their families and local shopkeepers lived in its heyday.

Sliding Rock was discovered in 1870 by John Holding and Joseph Hele because of its pure copper. In 1872 the township of Cadnia was surveyed a few hundred metres east of the mine. The town catered for up to 400 miners and their families and had a sense of permanence. Horse races and cricket matches were held. A court house dispensed justice, the Rock Hotel catered for workers while 4 general stores supplied goods and food. In 1877 the mine was inundated by massive flows of water. Although a steam powered pump was used to stop the water entering the shafts this failed and later that year the mine was abandoned. The town quickly followed. More than a century later the water became valuable as a temporary supply to Leigh Creek. For fossickers and history buffs there is much to see. Enjoy the walk around the ruins of the early township and mining site. There are also 2 cemeteries marking the passage of time. Permissions to camp should be sought from the Warraweena homestead, a short drive from Sliding Rock.  (Source: Leigh Creek Visitor Information Outlet  downloaded 01/10/12)

Sliding Rock Copper mine ruins © Bush Walker 2012

More pictures of Sliding Rock mine and town

More recently, water pumped from the disused mine was used as a temporary water supply for Leigh Creek, until the Aroona Dam was built.

Bushwalking Potential

C. Warren Bonython in his book Walking the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1971) pp103 – 118, describes how he walked on the Narinna Station, during early July1968, NE  parallel to the eastern boundary of Warraweena  from Patawerta Gap, through Narina Pound, past Narina Hut, Mt Tilley and Old Warraweena, Claypan Dam, Mt Hack and finally through Main Gap, continuing north towards Angepena. He met the owner of Warraweena, Keith Nicholls  near Mt Hack and had a lengthy chat.

Extract from Walking the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1971) p104

 

Extract from Cadnia 50K Topographic Map NB Only the central part of the Warraweena lease is shown

The Park is 341 sq km in area, accessed by a small number of 4WD station tracks and numerous dry creek beds, making walking relatively easy.   The country is beautiful and typical of the arid Flinders Ranges, with open ridge lines and broad pebbly creek beds, lined with ancient  River Red Gums and native pines on the flats and slopes.

Warraweena Conservation Park © Bush Walker 2012

Mountains: The Park includes many of the highest peaks in the Flinders Ranges including Mt Hack, which is over 1000m. The photos below show Mt Stuart (881m), Mt Gill (914m), and Mt Hemming (799m), which are prominent (higher than Mt Lofty) mountains in the region and well worth the relatively easy climbs for the views.
Vegetation is  relatively open (see Google map above), especially on ridge lines, but there are places where native pines are thick and spreading. Creek lines are easily walked. Beautiful wildflowers abound in season.  The central-western area toward Mt Stuart, is open grassland with a sparse overstorey of drooping sheoak and gum and pine in the creeks.( Source: SEG 1999)

© Bush Walker 2012

 

Walk duration: day walks to 9 day extended walks are possible within the confines of the Park, and with a little planning, a variety of circular loops originating and finishing at Warraweena HS or the strategically placed shepherd’s huts are possible.
Water Availability: water is  available each night, either at one of the 27 permanent springs (Source: SEG 1999), the ephemeral creeks (Black Range Spring, Sandy Camp and Warriooota) or at the shepherd’s huts with their rainwater tanks.

Mt Hemming (midground) Cockatoo Well (yellow pin NE) Mt Stuart (further back)
Cockatoo Well – Mt Gill
Warraweena (yellow pin to NW) – Cockatoo Well – Mt Gill (foreground)

Accommodation

The Homestead and Shearer’s Quarters provide a base camp for those planning day walks, with 4WD access from these to more remote sites. Shepherd’s huts, such as those at Cockatoo Well, Dunbar Well and others, provide basic amenities (long drop pit toilet, bed frames, water tank, fire ring and table) and are spaced about a day’s walk (15 km) apart throughout the park.  They are accessible by 4WD, but not 2WD. More info and bookings…

cockatoo well hut © Bush Walker 2012
Cockatoo Well Hut  Warraweena © Bush Walker 2012

Wildlife

Red and western-grey kangaroos, euros, dunnarts, bats, emus, native birds (Inland Thornbills, Southern Whitefaces, Australian Ringnecks, Yellow Throated Miners, Red-capped Robins, White Browed Babblers) and reptiles (sleepy lizard, snakes, tree dtella, geckos, skinks) and frogs abound. (Source: SEG 1999)

Thirteen Colonies of yellow-footed rock wallabies have been sighted and one very rare plant, Menzell’s Wattle. There is an enticing panorama of open hillsides, pine forests, ranges, creeks thick with red gums, waterfalls and water holes and towering the eastern section of the property is Mount Hack, 1086 metres and the second highest peak in the Flinders. Bird surveys have counted 77 species here and the property is a great place to observe bird life. Around 168 species of plants were found. Anyone can camp here, bushwalk or bird watch for a nominal fee. There are shearer’s quarters with amenities that are very comfortable.  (Source: Leigh Creek Visitor Information Outlet  downloaded 01/10/12)

You will see the occasional small woolly flock of sheep, invaders from a nearby sheep station. Unfortunately, there are still some large herds of goats remaining, despite the efforts of sports shooters. Foxes and rabbits are common.

Dragon Lizard © Bush Walker 2012

Weather

Best months for walking are May to August when the average monthly maxima are in the low 20’s (19-24ºC). Overnight temperatures are just above freezing (2-7ºC). These are also the driest months, as most rain falls December – April.

Check the Copley weather  and Leigh Creek Airport forecast (Weatherzone)

Links

  1. Contact the Park Manager, Stony Steiner, by email  or phone (08) 8675 2770
  2. Warraweena in the North Flinders: In the Flinders Ranges area of the Outback region of South Australia (Postcards)
  3. Warraweena Wetlands and Wildlife (Wetlands and Wildlife is a conservation company that was founded by Mr Tom Brinkworth to hold land of significant conservation value for the benefits of future generations. )
  4. Warraweena: The Sentimental Bloke (Spectacular pictures by Peter MacDonald, capturing the essence of the Flinders Ranges and outback South Australia. )
  5. Warraweena (Flickr photo search)
  6. Goats on Warraweena (Sporting Shooter Magazine,  22 Sep 2011)
  7. Expedition Warraweena pdf (Scientific Expedition Group)
  8. Warraweena – Cockatoo Dunbar Loop (LCOOL Flinders Ranges Trip Day 7 – 3 Oct )
  9. Warraweena – Mt Gill Day Drive (LCOOL Flinders Ranges Trip Day 6 – 2 Oct)
  10. South Australian Arid Lands – Natural Resources Management Group – Northern Flinders Ranges – FS-052007 Fact Sheet (pdf 1.2Mb)
  11. Copley weather and Leigh Creek Airport forecast (Weatherzone)
  12. Public Access to Pastoral Lands (pdf) Four Wheel Drive SA
  13. Public Access Routes  Four Wheel Drive SA
  14. Public Access Routes Fact Sheet (lists 24 routes, including Warraweena)  DEWNR (pdf)
  15. Pastoral Access Request Form DEWNR (pdf)
  16. Arid Lands Information System DEWNR ( zoomable map of pastoral leases)
  17. Bushwalking in Warraweena, Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia Ian Bate, Shannon Carne, Shane Hutchins ( Wetlands and Wildlife, South Australia 2003)
  18. Corbett, David A Field guide to the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1980)
  19. Barker, Sue et al Explore the Flinders Ranges ( Royal geographical Society of Australasia
  20. Davies, M et al Natural History of the Flinders Ranges  (Royal Society of South Australia, 1996)

Similar posts

  1. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges,  South Australia | Pt 1 Trip Planning Resources
  2. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges,  South Australia | Pt 2  A Key to Learning About the Gammons 
  3. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges, South Australia | Pt 3 Useful Planning Notes from Bonython’s Walking the Flinders Ranges
  4. Other BushwalkingSkills posts related to the Gammon Ranges(7)

Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Bushwalking in Remote South Australia | Warraweena Conservation Park, Northern Flinders Ranges

 Looking for some off-track walking in a remote area in the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia? Already walked the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges? Well here is your chance to walk in a similar environment, but with a few more amenities, a window into the past and a little less remoteness.

Just back from a week’s bushwalking in the Warraweena Conservation Park, about 30 km south of Leigh Creek, and about 550 km north of Adelaide, in the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia.  (Thanks John for your leadership and planning)

Warraweena Conservation Park 

Adelaide – Warraweena (Google)


History

Warraweena is a 130 year old sheep station, which was originally part of the Oratunga Run (later renamed Moolooloo) until the late 1800s.  It was acquired in 1996 by Wetlands and Wildlife, a private conservation company, destocked and converted to a private Conservation Park. More info…..

Source: SAAL – NRM – Northern Flinders Ranges – FS-052007

Nearby is the old Sliding Rock copper mine, dating back to the 1870’s, where hundreds of miners, their families and local shopkeepers lived in its heyday.

Sliding Rock was discovered in 1870 by John Holding and Joseph Hele because of its pure copper. In 1872 the township of Cadnia was surveyed a few hundred metres east of the mine. The town catered for up to 400 miners and their families and had a sense of permanence. Horse races and cricket matches were held. A court house dispensed justice, the Rock Hotel catered for workers while 4 general stores supplied goods and food. In 1877 the mine was inundated by massive flows of water. Although a steam powered pump was used to stop the water entering the shafts this failed and later that year the mine was abandoned. The town quickly followed. More than a century later the water became valuable as a temporary supply to Leigh Creek. For fossickers and history buffs there is much to see. Enjoy the walk around the ruins of the early township and mining site. There are also 2 cemeteries marking the passage of time. Permissions to camp should be sought from the Warraweena homestead, a short drive from Sliding Rock.  (Source: Leigh Creek Visitor Information Outlet  downloaded 01/10/12)

Sliding Rock Copper mine ruins © Bush Walker 2012

More pictures of Sliding Rock mine and town

More recently, water pumped from the disused mine was used as a temporary water supply for Leigh Creek, until the Aroona Dam was built.

Bushwalking Potential

C. Warren Bonython in his book Walking the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1971) pp103 – 118, describes how he walked on the Narinna Station, during early July1968, NE  parallel to the eastern boundary of Warraweena  from Patawerta Gap, through Narina Pound, past Narina Hut, Mt Tilley and Old Warraweena, Claypan Dam, Mt Hack and finally through Main Gap, continuing north towards Angepena. He met the owner of Warraweena, Keith Nicholls  near Mt Hack and had a lengthy chat.

Extract from Walking the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1971) p104

 

Extract from Cadnia 50K Topographic Map NB Only the central part of the Warraweena lease is shown

The Park is 341 sq km in area, accessed by a small number of 4WD station tracks and numerous dry creek beds, making walking relatively easy.   The country is beautiful and typical of the arid Flinders Ranges, with open ridge lines and broad pebbly creek beds, lined with ancient  River Red Gums and native pines on the flats and slopes.

Warraweena Conservation Park © Bush Walker 2012

Mountains: The Park includes many of the highest peaks in the Flinders Ranges including Mt Hack, which is over 1000m. The photos below show Mt Stuart (881m), Mt Gill (914m), and Mt Hemming (799m), which are prominent (higher than Mt Lofty) mountains in the region and well worth the relatively easy climbs for the views.

Vegetation is  relatively open (see Google map above), especially on ridge lines, but there are places where native pines are thick and spreading. Creek lines are easily walked. Beautiful wildflowers abound in season.  The central-western area toward Mt Stuart, is open grassland with a sparse overstorey of drooping sheoak and gum and pine in the creeks.( Source: SEG 1999)

© Bush Walker 2012

 

Walk duration: day walks to 9 day extended walks are possible within the confines of the Park, and with a little planning, a variety of circular loops originating and finishing at Warraweena HS or the strategically placed shepherd’s huts are possible.

Water Availability: water is  available each night, either at one of the 27 permanent springs (Source: SEG 1999), the ephemeral creeks (Black Range Spring, Sandy Camp and Warriooota) or at the shepherd’s huts with their rainwater tanks.

Mt Hemming (midground) Cockatoo Well (yellow pin NE) Mt Stuart (further back)
Cockatoo Well – Mt Gill
Warraweena (yellow pin to NW) – Cockatoo Well – Mt Gill (foreground)

Accommodation

The Homestead and Shearer’s Quarters provide a base camp for those planning day walks, with 4WD access from these to more remote sites. Shepherd’s huts, such as those at Cockatoo Well, Dunbar Well and others, provide basic amenities (long drop pit toilet, bed frames, water tank, fire ring and table) and are spaced about a day’s walk (15 km) apart throughout the park.  They are accessible by 4WD, but not 2WD. More info and bookings…

cockatoo well hut © Bush Walker 2012
Cockatoo Well Hut  Warraweena © Bush Walker 2012

Wildlife

Red and western-grey kangaroos, euros, dunnarts, bats, emus, native birds (Inland Thornbills, Southern Whitefaces, Australian Ringnecks, Yellow Throated Miners, Red-capped Robins, White Browed Babblers) and reptiles (sleepy lizard, snakes, tree dtella, geckos, skinks) and frogs abound. (Source: SEG 1999)

Thirteen Colonies of yellow-footed rock wallabies have been sighted and one very rare plant, Menzell’s Wattle. There is an enticing panorama of open hillsides, pine forests, ranges, creeks thick with red gums, waterfalls and water holes and towering the eastern section of the property is Mount Hack, 1086 metres and the second highest peak in the Flinders. Bird surveys have counted 77 species here and the property is a great place to observe bird life. Around 168 species of plants were found. Anyone can camp here, bushwalk or bird watch for a nominal fee. There are shearer’s quarters with amenities that are very comfortable.  (Source: Leigh Creek Visitor Information Outlet  downloaded 01/10/12)

You will see the occasional small woolly flock of sheep, invaders from a nearby sheep station. Unfortunately, there are still some large herds of goats remaining, despite the efforts of sports shooters. Foxes and rabbits are common.

Dragon Lizard © Bush Walker 2012

Weather

Best months for walking are May to August when the average monthly maxima are in the low 20’s (19-24ºC). Overnight temperatures are just above freezing (2-7ºC). These are also the driest months, as most rain falls December – April.

Check the Copley weather  and Leigh Creek Airport forecast (Weatherzone)

Links

  1. Contact the Park Manager, Stony Steiner, by email  or phone (08) 8675 2770
  2. Warraweena in the North Flinders: In the Flinders Ranges area of the Outback region of South Australia (Postcards)
  3. Warraweena Wetlands and Wildlife (Wetlands and Wildlife is a conservation company that was founded by Mr Tom Brinkworth to hold land of significant conservation value for the benefits of future generations. )
  4. Warraweena: The Sentimental Bloke (Spectacular pictures by Peter MacDonald, capturing the essence of the Flinders Ranges and outback South Australia. )
  5. Warraweena (Flickr photo search)
  6. Goats on Warraweena (Sporting Shooter Magazine,  22 Sep 2011)
  7. Expedition Warraweena pdf (Scientific Expedition Group)
  8. Warraweena – Cockatoo Dunbar Loop (LCOOL Flinders Ranges Trip Day 7 – 3 Oct )
  9. Warraweena – Mt Gill Day Drive (LCOOL Flinders Ranges Trip Day 6 – 2 Oct)
  10. South Australian Arid Lands – Natural Resources Management Group – Northern Flinders Ranges – FS-052007 Fact Sheet (pdf 1.2Mb)
  11. Copley weather and Leigh Creek Airport forecast (Weatherzone)
  12. Public Access to Pastoral Lands (pdf) Four Wheel Drive SA
  13. Public Access Routes  Four Wheel Drive SA
  14. Public Access Routes Fact Sheet (lists 24 routes, including Warraweena)  DEWNR (pdf)
  15. Pastoral Access Request Form DEWNR (pdf)
  16. Arid Lands Information System DEWNR ( zoomable map of pastoral leases)
  17. Bushwalking in Warraweena, Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia Ian Bate, Shannon Carne, Shane Hutchins ( Wetlands and Wildlife, South Australia 2003)
  18. Corbett, David A Field guide to the Flinders Ranges (Rigby 1980)
  19. Barker, Sue et al Explore the Flinders Ranges ( Royal geographical Society of Australasia
  20. Davies, M et al Natural History of the Flinders Ranges  (Royal Society of South Australia, 1996)

Similar posts

  1. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges,  South Australia | Pt 1 Trip Planning Resources
  2. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges,  South Australia | Pt 2  A Key to Learning About the Gammons 
  3. Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges, South Australia | Pt 3 Useful Planning Notes from Bonython’s Walking the Flinders Ranges
  4. Other BushwalkingSkills posts related to the Gammon Ranges(7)

Creative Commons License
This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Challenging Mountain Day Walks in the UK | Three of the Best

Visiting the United Kingdom (UK) and in particular Wales, England, or Scotland for a holiday? Like to spend a day(s) in the mountains, surrounded by beautiful alpine scenery? Like a challenge? Have some experience walking in alpine terrains, scrambling over rocks and the ability to navigate? ….then look no further!

I’ve just come back from climbing three of the most popular mountains in the United Kingdom (UK) in one of the wettest months (April) on record. These are not huge mountains (950 – 1350m) and on a good day, can be tackled as day walks of 5-8 hours from the nearest car park, following footpads and tracks, but the difficulties should not be underestimated, and it is for good reasons that all of these walks are recommended for experienced walkers.

The level of difficulty is highly weather dependent; on a sunny, clear day, the challenge is mainly fitness, but on a cold, windy, and foggy day with a thick layer of snow over the track, ice on the rocks and rain, sleet or snow falling, the challenges can be life threatening. I had the misfortune to experience all of these on each of my walks: Mt Snowdon 1085m (Snowdonia, Wales), Mt Helvellyn, 949m, (Lake District, England) and Ben Nevis,1343m, (Fort William, Scotland).

As with all walking in mountainous terrain, you need to go prepared for all weathers; sun glasses for bright sunny times, beanie and gloves for cold days, waterproof jacket and over pants for wet times, map,  compass and GPS for foggy weather, poles for snow covered slopes and down jacket and bivy bag in case you have to spend the night out. Forget just one of these and you could be in real trouble.

Normally April /May in the UK would be spring days with just a cap of snow above 700m, but there is no such thing as a normal day in the mountains. I found that strong winds, snow, hail and rain tested my preparedness and fortunately did not show me lacking. Only the week before I arrived, a lone walker had slid off Mt Snowdon, one of the most popular walks in Wales. I could understand how this could happen, as while the terrain is not difficult on a fine day, in adverse weather, the challenges are enormous.

Pyg Track, Causeway, Llyn Llydaw

The key to survival in adverse weather is to make a risk assessment early in the walk and decide whether to turn back or take a lower route before you have committed yourself. On Mt Snowdon, 1085m, I decided to turn back, probably too late, after having completed most of Crib Goch, the most difficult part. This was a difficult decision, as I knew the easy part was not much further on and if only the fog would clear I would be able to see my route. The fog never cleared and my route became deeper and deeper in snow as I progressed. I contemplated dropping off the ridge to find the lower track, but remembered that this was not advised and  a trial descent for a fifty metres only reinforced this. Too slippery, too steep and plunging into the unknown.

Apparently many of those dying on the mountain are actually quite experienced technically but make poor decisions about when to turn back. I was glad I did not become one of those statistics.

Striding Ridge, Lake District, England

Mt Helvellyn, 949m, along with Striding Ridge, in the lake district of England was my second walk a few days later and I could not believe that it was not long before I was again walking in snow, hail and fog. Fortunately the terrain was less demanding and I did not feel the need to turn back. Every so often, a break in the clouds would show the route and the twenty or so walkers I could see ahead and behind, and I was reassured. I was glad I had my walking poles with me, as the snow covered rocks were quite slippery and a fall was quite possible. I knew that the way back along Swirral Edge, was not too difficult when I had lunch with a mountain biker at the top. I can only suppose he carried his bike for much of the way as he was quite exhausted.

Ben Nevis, 1343m, ( The Ben to locals) is the highest mountain in the UK and as such, subject to some of the worst weather. Locals joke that you can expect all four seasons in any one day, and even a blizzard thrown in for good luck. So bad is the weather usually, that the last few hundred metres has cairns every 50 m, so those walking in fog don’t fall off the side. Of course this only works if you can see the next cairn, or follow the track which I couldn’t, due to deep snow and fog. Fortunately the map has a compass bearings to follow in white-out, and while helpful, success depends on being able to estimate distances in fog, a tricky skill at the best of times. I was quite nervous as I approached the top!

I came back to Australia with a deep respect for these “lowly” mountains which have tested many a walker in the past and found too many of them lacking.

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Tramping the Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Tramping (bushwalking, trekking, hiking for non-NZanders) the Routeburn Track recently showed me how variable the weather in the South Island can be….sunny one moment, foggy and raining the next, with snow falling a few hundred metres above the tree line. What fantastic scenery!

I’ve just come back (mid-November) from tramping the Routeburn Track over three days starting from the Routeburn Shelter and finishing at The Divide, with overnight stops at Routeburn Falls Hut and Lake Mackenzie Hut.

While not a difficult walk,  full wet weather gear and winter clothing is essential for safety reasons, even in summer. Waterproof boots make the days much more comfortable.

This was a most enjoyable walk despite the fact that it rained for most of the time, as the alpine scenery was awe-inspiring with the mists swirling into the valleys, the snow capped mountains towering hundred of metres above and thousands of waterfalls, which are often non-existent in drier months. Sometimes the sun would break through the clouds revealing the majestic scenery and the glacial valleys with their braided rivers. It’s no wonder that the South Island is the location for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies.

I did not regret having booked a bed in the huts through DOC, as enjoying the camaraderie of fellow walkers, often from distant parts of the world, along with the evening talks by the hut wardens were highlights. In wet weather, there is nothing like a warm fire to dry out your clothes, and a comfortable mattress at night, without the sound of roaring winds and pelting rain. Of course, there are disadvantages, such as a lack of privacy and the disruption to sleep by snorers and those getting up in the night to go outside.

The DOC huts (pdf brochure download) offer a touch of convenience and comfort not available to those who pitch a tent.

November is at the beginning of the walking season and as such the risk of avalanche is often present to the extent that the track is either closed or helicopter transfers necessary to avoid the danger. This proved to be true in our case, with a heli-shuttle operating past the overhanging snow cliffs from Lake Harris to the Harris Saddle shelter, ……at our cost of course!

I never cease to be amazed by those who attempt such walks without even a waterproof jacket and sand shoes, which offer no protection against the freezing cold rivulets crossing the track. No wonder people have died from hypothermia on this track before!

Some more closely related posts: Routeburn Track (8)
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Planning a Climb of Mt Aspiring, New Zealand | Useful Links

Mt Aspiring, NW ridge, ramp, SW ridge, seen from Mt Barff (to SW)

Mt Aspiring (3033m) in the south island is New Zealand’s  second highest mountain and is set amongst some spectacular alpine scenery. While a serious mountaineering challenge, comparable to many more famous climbs in Europe, guides are available for those with little experience.

Weather can be unpredictable and extreme, as in all alpine areas, and the terrain life threatening. Fortunately, it is easily accessible by road or helicopter from nearby Wanaka which can make selecting a safe weather window easier.

 

The links below collate some of the information I have collected from commercial, government web sites and personal blogs in preparation for a climb later this year.

Equipment

Mountain Recreation Equipment List http://www.mountainrec.co.nz

Aspiring Guides Equipment List (download pdf)

Boots and Footwear (Alpine Guides)

Equipment and Clothing | Aoraki/Mount Cook Expedition (download pdf) (Alpine Guides)

Pre-trip Information (Alpine Guides)

Guide to Equipment and Clothing | Gear for Mountaineering in New Zealand (Alpine Guides)

Equipment and Clothing Check-lists (Alpine Guides)

NZ Ascents Equipment  (download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)

NZ Summer Equipment Notes (download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)

Mountaineering Instruction Course Equipment (download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)

Equipment Hire

New Zealand Alpine Club

Bivouac Outdoor (Christchurch +10 other locations)

Outside Sports  Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau specialise in hiking, biking, camping, fishing, skiing, snowboarding )

Bev’s Tramping Gear Hire (based in Te Anau)

Mainly Camping (Wanaka) rental and retail: climbing, mountaineering

Wanaka Sports beacons for hire

Guided Climbs

Mt Aspiring Guided Climb (Mountain Recreation)

Mt Aspiring/Tititea (Mt Aspiring Guides. com)

Guided Ascent of Mt Aspiring/Tititea  (Alpinism and Ski Ltd )

Guided Tour Mt Aspiring / Tititea  (Adventure Consultants)

Sunrockice Mount Aspiring 5 Day Program (SunRockIce New Zealand Mountain and Ski Guides )

Commercial Resources

From Alpinism and Ski Ltd

News from the Mountain and Ski Guiding Experts (Alpinism and Ski Ltd)

Posts related to Mt Aspiring Ascent (Alpinism and Ski Ltd)

Guided Tour Mt Aspiring / Tititea  (Download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)

Sunrockice Mount Aspiring 5 Day Program (download trip information pdf) Sunrockice New Zealand Mountain and Ski Guides

Conditions: Mt Aspiring National Park (Aspiring Guides)

**** Backcountry Tips-October 2008 (download pdf)

The proof is in the pudding – SW Ridge Mt Aspiring  Jean Clairmonte (Aspiring Guides)

Safety and rivers in the New Zealand backcountry (Aspiring Guides)

Department of Conservation Resources (DOC)

Mt Aspiring National Park Visitor Centre Contact Details

Mt Aspiring National Park: introduction, features , places to stay, plan and prepare (DOC)

Mount Aspiring National Park Alerts

Prepare and Plan Links to alerts, safety, weather, minimising your impact, online booking, maps, licences and permits

Planning a trip in the backcountry? (pdf , 415K)

Safety: equip yourself well

plus much more

Mountain Safety Council Resources (MSC)

 

Safety Tips

MSC online resources  for download include pamplets such as

  • Using Avalanche Transceivers
  • Bushcraft – Going Bush
  • River Safety
  • Outdoor First Aid -Preventing Hypothermia

MSC Resources: Equipment: pack liners and survival bags for online purchase (NZ only)

MSC Resources: Free Downloads: Mountain Radio Contacts, Bushcraft – Intentions form pads

MSC Radio Communications Pamphlet (pdf download)

plus much more

Blogs

SummitPost.org

Eric and Lucie’s Bus Trip Mt Aspiring, Southwest Ridge, New Zealand December  2008 

**** Ascent of Mount Aspiring (3033 m), New Zealand

**** Tramping and Climbing in New Zealand: Mt Aspiring and the North West Routeby by Jaz Morris  

Courses

Mountaineering Instruction Course  (Adventure Consultants)

Mountaineering Instruction Course Notes (download pdf) (Adventure Consultants)

Sunrockice New Zealand Mountain and Ski Guides (download pdf)   for  Alpine Instruction Course

Fitness

Fitness for Mountaineering (Alpine Guides)

Training Fitness Mountaineering (Google Search)

Photos

Aspiring Images

Mt Aspiring Powerpoint  (Bob Bell)

Mt Aspiring

Mt Aspiring Virtual Tour ( Adventure Consultants)

See also the blogs above.

Videos

Mt Aspiring (miroar)

Mountain Climbing Mt Aspiring New Zealand Alps  (nightguy75)

Summit of Mt. Aspiring (avipoodle)

View from French Ridge Hut (hellosailor1982)

Aspiring – Flyin to Bevan Col (Part1) (craigwigglesworth)

Aspiring – Summit Day (Part 2) (craigwigglesworth)

Aspiring – Bonar French Ridge Out(Part 3) (craigwigglesworth) 

Mount Aspiring NZ Flight (palevo7)

Maps

Wanaka Regional Map (download, pdf)

Wanaka Town Map (download pdf)

Changing Garmin GPS units from NZMG to NZTM factsheet (PDF, 360K)

Topo50 CA11 Aspiring Flats (LINZ) free download or from map shops.

 

Small section of CA11

Weather Reports

Mountain Conditions (MetService)

Backcountry Avalanche Advisory

Mountain Safety Council Backcountry Advisory

Severe Weather Warnings (MetService)

Severe Weather Outlook (MetService)

Severe Weather Watch (MetService)

Transport

Alpine Coachlines (Wanaka): shuttles to Mt Aspiring

Aircraft Access

Aspiring Helicopters 

Atomic Shuttles (online bookings)

South Link Travel

Newspaper/magazine  Articles

Just the Tonic by Maina Perrot (Wild Adventure) Outdoor Australia March 2009 (pdf download)

Climbing Mt Aspiring (pdf dowload) Marc Connors Outdoor Australia March 2009

Warning about NZ weather

Climber dies on Aspiring

Body retrieval first task with team

Mt Aspiring (3032m) by Geoff Wayatt

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Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges, South Australia | Pt 3 Useful Planning Notes from Bonython’s Walking the Flinders Ranges

This article provides bushwalk planning notes obtained from one of the books listed in my posting Pt 2  Bushwalking in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges, South Australia.  I have filtered the vast amount of the information available based on its relevance to a 3-4 day bushwalk with either a base at Grindell’s Hut or via Italowie Gorge.

Source: 

A.  C. Warren Bonython. Walking the Flinders Ranges. Adelaide: Royal Geographical Society of South Australia, 2000. [ISBN 0 85179 286 3] pp 123-159

NB All grid references have been taken from the 250K Copley map using map datum GDA94 and grid zone 54J and should be verified on the relevant 5OK map before use for navigational purposes.

Chpt 8 The Gammon Ranges

 …massive flat-lying sandstone beds have created a high plateau (Gammon, 1000m), formed as a result of weathering over 400 million years, followed by uplift and then the incision of the deep gorges.

 

 

…..central SW-NE  ridge line, including Blue Range, with steep cliffs on eastern side… three pounds Mainwater (N) , Arcoona (NW) Illinawortina (E)… high summits at the four corners Benbonyathe Hill (0325279 6634688, NE), Mount McKinlay 1053m (0317615 6622286, SE), Mount Rowe 900m (0328637 6607175, SW) and Gammon Hill 1012m (0309622 6633148, NW) and Arcoona Bluff  (0305575 6632438, NW)

 

 

…Gammon Plateau covered by thick scrub, dissected by deep trench-like gorges.

 Ridge walking is varied through triodia covered slopes, thickets of broombrush,  wirebranch acacia, mallee with open  grassy glades or rocky pavements, with little vegetation.

 

 

Creek beds filled with large gum and pine, …..rounded creek stones with animal pads higher up to be followed where available.

 

 

…survey stations, signified by stone cairns  which still exist, were built in 1857 by Painter’s survey parties…

Gammons from South – Click to see larger version

Many of the features where named by Warren Bonython (Adelaide Bushwalkers Patron), [Loch Ness Well (0324847 66291110), Steadman’s Ridge, Mt John Roberts (0322311 66300630), Streak Gorge, Mt Changeweather (0315807 662562). in 1946-47 as he attempted and eventually succeeded in the first N-S crossing

As they walked SW along the Blue Range, Cleft Peak (0319128 6627385) dropped behind and below and Octopus Hill (0316741 6624932) appeared with Mt McKinlay 1053m (0317615 6622286) towering in the background.

(East-West crossing, 1948) ….first ascent/descent of Cleft peak from the South then following the gorge of the upper Italowie Creek all morning, they turned into boulder choked Streak Creek and made laborious progress until in late afternoon when they climbed up the west slope to the Plateau and camped overnight at a lone pine tree. Next morning walked west towards Elephant Hill 980m (0310680 6627170) though thick scrub, down triodia covered slopes to the south end of Arcoona Pound.

In good rainfall years yellow cassias and sidas , with starry flowered calythrix and eristemon at higher levels flower. Fern Gorge contains Doodia caudata in good years.

Chapter 9 Mount Serle to Arkaroola

… water shortages are to be expected on the Plateau and the nearest water is 300m below. 

 

 

Bonython’s party left from Mt Serle station, crossed the saddle (690m, 0299639 6615794) to the S of Constitution Hill. They found water in the creeks below Mt Rowe and then climbed up to Mt Rowe where they found excellent views of Mt Serle (0298796 6623195) 6km to the NW.

 

 

Mt McKinlay has a vehicle track made by American astronomers using a 4WD Haflinger.

Haflinger 4WD (1967)

The lower slopes, below and south of The Plateau, were covered in dense vegetation; yellow cassias and sidas, waxy red of native hopbush (Dodonea), pines and bullock grass.

Gorges are often filled with large boulders and dwarf eucalypts (mallee). Gammon Plateau is an open stony plain with scattered clumps of mallee. 

 

 

Time to climb from camp at GR 010744 6619986 to 0310049 6626325 via creek bed and gorges (6.4 km as crow flies, 600m climb) takes a full day carrying 14L of water for two.

Water to be found in gorges SSW of Elephant Hill as high as 850m. Moving NE of Elephant Hill, along The Plateau, mallee glades are found, with a sparse carpet of Goodenia and grasses, while in other parts through thickets of broombrush and Acacia rigens.

Cleft peak from near Prow Point return: full day trip with day packs, possible rock pool at intersection of Cleft Ck and Wildflower Ck.

 

 

Bonython’s Dictum: best place for photographing a mountain is at roughly half its height and across the valley from it.

Mt John Roberts

Prow Point to Crocker’s Saddle (3hrs) : very thick scrub  (Casuarina). Reached Benbonyathe Hill late afternoon, which has remains of American astronomers campsite.

Painting: Max Ragless  Sunrise on the Gammons

Other Articles in this series about the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges

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