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Archive for the ‘Multiday walks’ Category

Deb and I have had a brilliant time doing the Great Ocean Walk over autumn and winter, in between Melbourne lockdowns – which is quite an achievement in itself as we now carry the dubious title of ‘Longest Locked Down City in the World’ and still going strong. We’ve been pining for some open vistas and dirt tracks, but at least have had the actual writing and editing of the book to keep us entertained. We’re both pretty excited with the final product and hope that you are also. It’s the first ever independent guidebook to this iconic 100km walk along Victoria’s wild southern coastline.

The guidebook will hit the shelves in January 2022, and is available to pre-order now via the Woodslane Press website if you use this link and enter JULIEM15 at check out, you will receive a 15% discount on this and any of my guidebooks.

It’s lightweight enough to carry in your pack, but with enough pictures and information to help inspire and plan your adventure to come. It provides a number of options for different ways of tackling the Walk – as a series of day walks, or a through-walk, camping or staying in accommodation, and with options for a variety of distances, from 4 to 9 days. We have also included information about local history, including the many shipwrecks, environment, geology, wildlife, flowers and fungi to be found along the way. the maps are clear and easy to follow, and there are also histograms, showing the altitude gain and loss each day. There is lots of information about planning the walk, what to pack, how to get there, and contact details for accommodation, transportation and guided options. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed walking it! Let us know what you think 🙂

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OK, I have to admit to NOT being a fair weather bushwalker: my main disincentive there is getting up close and personal with Australia’s delightful and numerous collection of venomous snakes, but I also don’t like walking in the heat – as those who walked in the high 30’s with me on the day before the Kangaroo Island bushfires in December 2019 can attest (!!). But with the right kit, and plenty of layers, autumn and winter walking is my thang! Except for wind. High wind and tall trees are not a great mix in the bush as you can see on our recent winter walking along the Great Ocean Walk after a night of hail and high winds…

Apart from that fairly major consideration, cold mornings and wet conditions make for wonderful conditions for …. leeches (yes, yuk!) …. and also the most amazing funghi along the way, here’s a few from the last couple of stretches walking between Ryan’s Den and Wreck Beach, along the Otway Coast. I have no idea what most of them are, though am currently researching them, so I work on the assumption they are all poisonous (tragically, we’ve had a number of deaths in Victoria in the last decade from people misidentifying and eating mushrooms) and just admire them from a distance. They are always unexpected and quite magical, and a real treat of winter walking.

After all the fantastic funghi, Deb and I have now completed our walking research (the fun part!) for the Great Ocean Walk Guidebook now, though we’re following up on a fascinating lost shipwreck memorial with historian, Alan Maclean, as we pull together the book itself ready to send to our editors. From there it’s a good few months to go through editing, design, cartography before it gets to printing, so we’re aiming for a November release for this one. We’ve loved doing the Great Ocean Walk – it’s wild, woolly, wonderful …. and wet! Hope you’ll enjoy it too when it gets to the shelves.

Made it! Quite the end to an exceptional wander.

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Through the misty stringy bark forests of Day 2 of the Great Ocean Walk in March 2021

Finally! Deb and I are back out on the track and the Great Ocean Walk Guidebook is underway. It’s been a long time between multi-day walks and it makes us both very-very-very happy to be out there, rain, sun, basking snakes (!) and wind notwithstanding. It was great to bump into other walkers doing the whole route in one go, and others stringing together days here and there – it’s such a versatile track in this respect, and just stunning whichever way it is done.

Both the Great Ocean Walk Guidebook and the Grampians Peaks Trail Guidebook will be different to our usual collection of day walks in our previous books, covering: the range of walking options/alternatives (including different daily distance options), accommodation, transport options, camping etc.

We are also planning to include more information than usual on history, geology, local facts and figures, flora and fauna. We are keen to make them as useful and interesting as possible, though with a mind to keeping the weight down as well – most important! Is there anything in particular you’d to see in your multi-day walk guides? We see it as supplementing the existing excellent detailed GOW map, but it will of course include sectional map and topographic profiles (just so you can anticipate that next big hill!!) for each day.

Is there anything else you’d like to see included as we finalise the write-up for the Great Ocean Walk Guidebook and embark on the Grampians Peaks Trail Guidebook? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or by answering our poll. Thanks so much!

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Day 2 of the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Walk

Day 2 of the KI Wilderness Walk – our second last day as it turned out….

Well, this year hasn’t exactly gone to plan, has it?  In April, I was to have set off on a long-held plan: a 1000km walk in Italy along the Via Francigena – meeting friends along the way for a few weeks at a time. My start date came, and my finish date went, and here I was, sat in Melbourne.  In December, along with another little posse of friends, we had to abandon our Kangaroo Island Wilderness Walk midway, evacuating safely as the KI bushfires broke out and devastated that beautiful island and its extraordinary wildlife.  And this week I was due to be walking with my trusty co-author Deb, in the Grampians, starting work on our Grampians Peaks Trail guidebook, but not so now, as we hunker down in Melbourne, trying to get on top of the COVID-19 second wave. So my planned big year walking sabbatical is not quite, yet instead I am blessed to have my health and time to wonder (instead of wander) and plan some more. I have a fridge magnet that says: ‘After all, daydreaming is a form of planning‘, so that will have to be my 2020 mantra! And yes, it would be a fair thing to suggest, perhaps a good idea not to book your walking trips with me if you actually want to get there!! 🙂

Conversely – and delightfully – however, the localisation of the lockdowns has caused a massive increase in Australian-based hiking and walking, as people’s wings are clipped and new-to-bushwalking people discover the delights of our incredibly diverse Aussie urban and bush walks. Which means that while I am somewhat homebound (And yes, making sourdough like the rest of Australia!), planning is afoot and I have just started working on the background research for both the Grampians Peaks Trail (now due mid 2021, as the work on the track is delayed a little) and a new Guide for the Great Ocean Walk (due Spring 2021), which will be published with Australian Geographic and Woodslane Press. Yay!

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View across Shelley beach from Three Creeks Section of Great Ocean Walk

It’s been a few years since I walked the Great Ocean Walk and it has been realigned somewhat since then, so I can’t wait to get back to it, as soon as we can.  In the meantime, I’ll be researching a slightly new format for these multi-day through-walks, with more details on local history, fauna and flora notes, along with the walk notes themselves.  Let me know what you’d particularly like to see in them: would love to hear from you!

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