Back to Planet Oz to find my new book waiting on my doorstep. Yay! A year in the making and it feels like an elephant pregnancy, but finally Best Walks of Geelong, the Bellarine and the Brisbane Ranges is here. I think it looks great – but I would do! It should be in bookstores, newsagents and Tourist Info Centres in the region before the end of the month – let me know what you think! You can also buy it direct through Woodslane’s online bookstore or other online booksellers. It retails for $29.99 and includes 40 great walks. Alternatively, if you are in a cafe or other outlet and would like to stock it, let me know and I will put you in touch with the publishers. Now, finally, onto Melbourne for Dogs….
Archive for the ‘Bushwalking’ Category
Posted in Bushwalking, Coastal Walks, Places to Visit, Travel, Walking with Children, Walks, Walks with dogs, tagged Bellarine Peninsular, Brisbane Ranges, Geelong, guide books, Travel, Victoria, walking, walks on 01/16/2013 | 4 Comments »
OK, so it’s about time I let you into a little secret. As much as I love walking in Australia, in all its shapes and forms, there is a special place in my walking heart for the west coast and highlands of Scotland. I lived in London for almost 10 years, and being from country-Oz, pined for a bit of remoteness from time to time. That took me on the amazing Caledonian sleeper train to Fort William, and beyond, to the very special Knoydart Peninsula, north of Mallaig and opposite the Isle of Skye. It is only accessible via a very long walk in, or by boat, and the first time, almost 20 years ago, we walked in with all our kit and spent an amazing few weeks here climbing some VERY big mountains, including the magnificent Laddher Bhein (pronounced ‘lar-ven’). Since then, I’ve made it back every few years, and even managed to get hitched on a hilltop here at one stage!
This week, I am back for some winter walking, and loving it just as much as ever. Yesterday, while walking up to Loch Dubhain, the gales were howling, the sleet rattling on my jacket and the noise of the water crashing down the burns off the hillside was deafening. Even the deer were looking a bit startled to see a wild walker. But there was a glimpse of sun and I was rewarded with this beautiful rainbow. Fantastic.
Posted in Bellarine Peninsula, Brisbane Ranges, Bushwalking, Coastal Walks, Geelong, Places to Visit, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking with Children, Walks, Walks with dogs, tagged Australia, guidebooks, Travel, walking, walks on 10/27/2012 | 2 Comments »
Well, here’s a bit of excitement (for me at least!). My next guidebook, Best Walks of Geelong, the Bellarine and the Brisbane Ranges (Woodslane Press) was finally sent off to the printers on the 19th October and should be in stores by mid-December, ready for you to plan some lovely Christmas walks. It will retail for $29.95 and has 40 terrific walks to suit all sorts of abilities and interests. A big thank you to my terrific editors at Woodslane Press, and to my patient friends who joined me on many of the walks (Karen, Deb, Di and Fred – legends all!). Here’s a sneak preview of the cover, so you know what to look out for. Hope you enjoy the walks as much as I did!
Posted in Bushwalking, dog parks, Dogs, Melbourne, Walking with Children, Walks, Walks with dogs, tagged accessible walks, Bushwalks, Fairfield Park, Melbourne, Studley Park Boathouse, walking, walks, wheelchair, Yarra River on 08/27/2012 | 2 Comments »
So, my perspective on what makes a good walk has changed dramatically in the last week, since my son managed to break his leg convincingly enough while skiing to end up in a wheelchair. Gone are the 10km narrow bush trails. Now what I look for is a good short level path which can still take us into the bush to enjoy the gorgeous spring wattle. The slightest tree root or deep sand or gravel can stymie us and a too narrow path yesterday, on a bit of a slope, almost saw us tipping him into a lake! No wonder he optimistically calls it off-roading! A good sense of humour never goes astray at such moments, and we eventually giggled our way out of it.
Anyway, the call of the sunshine and mild weather today was too much, so, dog in tow, we headed off to the Studley Park Boathouse and pushed around the pretty 1km Frank Macfarlane Burnett Bushland Circuit, which runs beside the Yarra River through 100 acres of native bush and grasslands. It’s hard to believe you are right in the heart of the city. The incentive of an iced chocolate and light lunch in the sun at the Boathouse was an added bonus for our efforts, but the bush itself is just glorious at the moment. Needless to say, this walk is both wheelchair and pram accessible and OK for dogs on lead – though I haven’t yet managed to train Indie to help me pull the wheelchair up the slopes!
Posted in Bushwalking, Dogs, Great Ocean Road, Otway Ranges, Places to Visit, Travel, Walks, Walks with dogs, Wildlife, tagged bushwalking, Great Ocean Road, Lake Elizabeth, Lakes, playpus, rainforest, Travel, tree ferns, walking, walking with dogs on 07/10/2012 | 7 Comments »
The circuit walk around Lake Elizabeth, just outside of Forrest, is like descending into some forgotten prehistoric forest. Formed in 1952 after a massive landslide dammed the East Barwon River, this newly-formed natural lake was undiscovered until an expeditionary team was sent in to find out why the river had stopped flowing. It is estimated that the lake originally held more than 1000 million litres of water, and those living downstream were understandably a little nervous! The dirt road down to the start of the walk takes you through towering eucalypt forests and then descends into wet tree-fern lined gullies. From the car park, you climb steadily beside the river and then down into the valley that hides this peaceful lake, which is home to shy platypus. The circuit walk takes you along the shoreline, past a small ‘beach’, underneath towering tree ferns and extravagant mosses, across duckboards through the reeds at the northern end and back again, with wonderful views across the pristine lake along the way. Dogs are allowed, as long as they remain on lead, though if you want a chance of spotting a platypus, I’d suggest leaving them at home, and timing your walk for dawn or just before dusk – you can also take guided canoe trips on the lake to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Regardless of the time of day though, and whether you decide to walk or paddle, it’s a very special place.
Posted in Bushwalking, Coastal Walks, Dogs, Great Ocean Road, Places to Visit, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking with Children, Walks, Walks with dogs, Wildlife, tagged Bushwalks, Great Ocean Road, humpback whales, National Parks, Otway Ranges, Separation Creek, walking, walking with dogs, whales, Wye River on 07/09/2012 | 1 Comment »
Well, now that the Geelong, Bellarine and Brisbane Ranges book is tucked up with the editors (it’s due out before Christmas!), it’s time to get going on my next two projects: Melbourne for Dogs (well, for their owners actually), and Best Walks of the Great Ocean Road and the Otways. While it was pretty (err, VERY) cold this weekend, the forecast was for clear skies, so Indie (my furry companion) and I headed down to the Otways, for a weekend of dog-friendly turbo-walking. Understandably, there are quite a lot of restrictions on walking with dogs in the Great Otway National Park, but there are some great areas you can take your dog – it’s just important to check with Parks Victoria before you head off. We started off at Wye River, south of Lorne and took Paddy’s Path above the Great Ocean Road to Separation Creek, then clambered back along the rocks. Not only was the sea calm, but there were two humpback whales making their way down the coastline, no more than 30 metres off shore – what a bonus!
Posted in Bushwalking, History, Places to Visit, Travel, Uncategorized, Walks, Wildlife, tagged Brisbane Ranges, Burchell Trail, bushwalking, Century Mine, gold mining, gold rush, Steiglitz, walking, Yankee Gully on 06/30/2012 | Leave a Comment »
It just goes to show: just because the weather forecast is for hail, squally winds, thunder storms and all day showers, that’s no reason not to get out for a walk. Deb and I decided to brave the elements today for the final 12km day of the 3 day Burchell Trail in the Brisbane Ranges, expecting flash floods and worse, only to be rewarded with sunshine, mild weather and no more than a 30 second shower all day. Mind you, the minute we hopped into the car at the end of the day, the heavens opened up and the hail came raining down. But even after that we were rewarded with this spectacular rainbow. How lucky can you get!
Day 3 of the Burchell Trail starts from the peaceful walk-in Old Mill campground, and wanders for almost a full circuit through the southern part of the Brisbane Ranges, near the historic goldmining ghost-town of Steiglitz. There is lots of evidence of the area’s former gold rush days. The banks of Yankee Gully, on the second half of the walk, are dotted with old mine shafts and earlier in the day you can detour to take in the very deep pit of the famous Century Mine. There are a number of glorious picnic spots and camp grounds by the creek crossings, and most of the trail is single track, away from management tracks – it was incredibly peaceful.
It’s relatively simple to turn this into a one day circular walk, which we did today, by leaving the car at Fridays Camping Ground and walking an extra 1.5km along the road at the start, making for a 13.5km total walk. The Burchell Trail markers are, as always, somewhat random and not at every track junction, so you do need the 1:30,000 Brisbane Ranges National Park (Meridien) map to keep you on the right trail. Don’t let this put you off a fantastic walk though. I can’t wait to come back in spring when all the native orchids are in bloom. I am writing the Burchell Trail up in more detail for the Best Walks of Geelong, the Bellarine and the Brisbane Ranges book, so hope that more people will be able to enjoy this wonderful walk.
Well, back to the Brisbane Ranges again – they are hard to resist – so quiet and incredible flora. Yesterday I headed back with Sue and Deb to walk Day 1 of the Burchell Trail. With all the recent rain in the area, unusually, every little creek and gully is running full of water: such a rare site in an area most usually thought of as dry and harsh country. It is going to be a spectacular spring out here with all this growth, there are interesting funghi everywhere at the moment, and the prolific wildflowers are already starting to bud. This beautiful pink heath (epacris impressa), Victoria’s floral emblem, is already in its full glory.
The track today started from Old Boar Gully campground in the north of the National Park and took us along some gorgeous ridge-lines, through old slate quarries for vast views across the western basalt plain back to Melbourne, then down into those wet gullies before a steep uphill stretch and then descent down to Little River Gorge and campsite. Another surprise on the day was passing a group from the Koonung Bushwalkers Club in Templestowe, who were powering up the hill in fine form as we went down! A gorgeous walk.
Posted in Bushwalking, Places to Visit, Travel, Walking with Children, Walks, Wildlife, tagged Australia, Ayers Rock, backpacking, bushwalking, Kata Tjuta, National Parks, nature, outback, outdoors, The Olgas, Travel, Uluru, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, walking on 06/07/2012 | 2 Comments »
Perhaps the most spectacular walking in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is at Kata Tjuta – just 90 km from Uluru through spectacular red dune country. Sitting on the landscape like a group of huddled sisters, it’s no wonder Kata Tjuta translates as ‘Many Heads’. The rock here is very different to the coarse sandstone of Uluru – it’s a munched up conglomerate which once formed part of the sea bed – yes, the land in the centre of Australia was once covered in ocean. The mind boggles! Large boulders are spewed out from the rock at irregular intervals, looking much like glacial moraine spattered over the land. Here there is the opportunity to wander between the towering walls of the impressive Walpa Gorge, to again find permanent waterholes carved into the base of the rock. But perhaps my favourite walk of this whole weekend was the Full Circuit walk which climbs for 8km up and through the aptly named Valley of the Winds, then descends treacherously down through a gap in the rocks to walk out around the dry back country, with huge domes of red on either side of you. In the late afternoon it was nothing short of magical. The walk is closed off at the first lookout point (Karu Lookout) when temperatures are forecast to reach 36C, so winter is the perfect time to pull on your books and head for the Red Centre.
Posted in Bushwalking, Places to Visit, Walking with Children, Walks, Wildlife, tagged Brisbane Ranges, Burchell Trail, bushwalking, long distance walks, Travel, walking, walks on 06/03/2012 | Leave a Comment »
Friday was just glorious in Melbourne – once the ice had melted off the windscreen! The rest of the day was crystal blue skies and not a breath of wind: perfect winter walking weather. My erstwhile walking buddy, Deb, volunteered to brave a car shuttle with me so we could do Day 2 of the 3 day Burchell Trail, which runs north to south for 39km through the little-visited Brisbane Ranges, south-west of Melbourne. This is a fantastic walk for those wanting to get away from it all – we didn’t see another soul for the entire walk. On this section, which runs for 15km from Little River Gorge camping ground to the Old Mill walk-in camping ground, the orange flash trail markers are a little erratic, especially where they have been washed away along Little River in recent flash flooding, so it does require a level of confidence and sound map reading to keep on track. However, the paths themselves are quite clear – a mix of management vehicle tracks and fantastic ridge climbs with big views. The unexpected bonus of the day was Little River Gorge – every bit as spectacular as nearby Anakie Gorge. Really looking forward to going back and walking the other two sections, which I will be writing up for the new Geelong, the Bellarine and Brisbane Ranges book.