• Flinders ranges


    Trip notes July 2014.
    FRIDAY.  With Fi and Paul in one car and Lorraine, Janine, Sarah and Jack in the other, we meet up at Bridgewater only to find the camping area closed for renovations. So we drove on to the Wedderburn caravan park and set up tent for the night. There was a great Camp Kitchen to have dinner in.
    SATURDAY.  Wake to find quirky objects and characters around the camp. The equally quirky camp hostess took great pleasure in showing us her creations.  The weather deteriorated as we drove, so we sort refuge in the civic shelter in Ouyen to have lunch in the freezing wind.   At 3pm. We pulled into the Mildura information centre to look around and get info on accommodation.  The Borong Caravan Park across the river looked best. While we were booking in a Lady fainted, so we had to do our First Aid bit to help her recover. Fortunately the passing storm cleared and we were able to sit around the camp fire watching the pelicans cruising on the river as the sunset.
    SUNDAY. After driving through more rain, the sun came out for us to enjoy the beautiful riverside facilities at Renmark for morning tea.  Then on to the Monash Adventure Play Ground for the Kids (?) to play and have lunch. With more storms due we again abandoned the Free camping for the facilities at the Burra caravan Park.  With tent up we then went sightseeing, exploring the historic town.
    MONDAY.  More sightseeing, then a charming drive up the back road directly to Hawker through fascinating open Salt Bush country then lovely green rolling hills of the lower Flinders Ranges. Lunch in the park (play ground handy of-course.). Off up the highway to see the ruins of Wonoka Township. Not much was left. Then onto camp on the Moralana river bank (dry) for a $10 note in the tin, for the local Homestead. What a romantic true bush-camp setting!
    TUESDAY. Woke to sky quilted with orange-red clouds silhouetting the rugged outline of the flinders ranges and fragrance of the campfire! Off along the back-track across to Wilpina Pound.  We stopped at Black Gap to park Paul’s car. So Fi, Loraine and Paul put on their packs to set off on a thee day hike, up and over into the pound, and out the other side. While Janine and the children drove on around the other side to base camp at Wilpena Pound.
    THURSDAY. We all met up to camp the night in Wilpena Caravan Park.
    FRIDAY. Lazy breakfast then off south. Stop in to view the amazing ruins of the Karinda Homestead. Morning Tea back at Hawker to savour the ledengery Quondong Pie. Lunch at Quorn, get fuel and food. Then onto Wilminton’s Stoney Creek Bush Camping Park.  He sold us a barrow (ute) load of redgum firewood which lasted us for days.
    SATURDAY. Pitchi Ritchie Train ride day!  We all drove over to Port Augusta. Paul stood on the station and waved them off on their steam train. Then attended to getting food supplies. The shopping list went well until the tricky item of Emery Boards?. A male lost in the female isle! With some local help he found the item and checked out.  Then dashed across to Quorn to meet the others. We all headed for the Emporium Cafe (discovered on the way up), for a country cooked lunch. Great!  Fi  Stayed with Paul to wave off the train on its return journey.  The kids really enjoyed a better “carriage host” on the way back.  Paul and Fi walked around town, but their mind was really on the cake cabinet back at the Emporium!  Afternoon Tea was served with a huge chunk of cake with cream and ice-cream. Heavily laden they tried to walk it off around the local Botanical gardens. Then drove home to Wilmington to wait for the train riders to return.
    SUNDAY.  Sarah’s 10th. Birthday. Balloons, and presents. Then off south to Mt.Remarkable, for the Birthday cake and M/Tea. Again Fi, Lorraine and Paul put on their packs, but this time we all walked down into the awe inspiring Alligator Gorge. Photos everywhere!. But there was water in the creek which in places covered the stepping rocks and we all got wet boots.   At the other end, Janine and the kids walked back to get the car and drive around the other side to base camp at Mambray Creek camping area. While Lorraine, Fi and Paul hiked down through the National Park. (see Lorraine’s walk notes)
    MONDAY. We all met-up back at Mambray Creek camping area.  then retrieved Pauls car. Another night around the hot red gum wood campfire.
    TUESDAY. A lay day for Fi and Paul to clean, dry and sort out the equipment, while Lorraine, Janine and the kids explored Port Germein (Jack got blown off the pier) and Port Pirie. A storm warning had been issued, so upon their return we struck camp and headed south to Adelaide. Driving around Adelaide was horrendous in the wind and rain. A quick stop for dinner, then out the Adelaide hills (great view of Adelaide’s lights) to find the Belair caravan park and pile into the cabin and listen to the storm raging about us.
    WEDNESDAY.  Wake to more rain, so abandon the walk thru the national park, and head down to Hahndorf and explore town before M/Tea at the German Cake Shop. Time to head home, so back onto the free-way and down to Tailem Bend for lunch at the railway museum. Still wet and cold at Nhill.  So using Paul’s Seniors discount, Grandpa, two grandkids and his three wives bunked down for the night.
    THURSDAY. Pack-up for the last time! Stop at the Big Koala for M/tea. Then drop into Ballan to find a rotunda to shelter under for lunch . The weather cleared as we came back into Melbourne and we dropped people off to their various homes. What a great trip!
    Paul B

  • Balnarring- Coolart


    Walk report
    Wednesday 17th June 2014
    Leader: Chris Spencer

    On a good morning for walking, eight of us headed off from the Balnarring
    Hall carpark, for the Coolart Wetlands and homestead.
    After walking just over a kilometre down Sandy Point Rd, we turned right
    into Luxton Drive. Russell and I commented on the huge cypress trees, that
    must have been planted over a hundred years ago.
    Once entering the wetlands reserve, we went to look at the bird hide, on the
    banks of  Coolart Lagoon. There was a note on the whiteboard inside, remarking on the lack of birds in the area at the moment; sure enough when we were there, not many were to be seen. The reason wasn’t fully known apparently. Both the bird hide and our morning snack stop ( the theatrette and meeting building ) had excellent information and pictures of the various birdlife, that could be seen on a good day.
    After the morning break. some of us had a look through the homestead; it is a magnificent building, with large formal rooms and an impressive staircase.
    Following this, we headed on a very pretty walk, meandering through the wetlands and then along the beach, and the banks of the Merricks Creek, a tranquil spot.
    Finally we arrived at Balnarring  beach, and walked along Balnarring Beach Road, back to our cars. Enjoyable coffee and eats followed at the Red Hill Bakery.
    Thanks Chris for an enjoyable walk. Keith M

  • Navigation training


    Navigation Training
    Lysterfield Lake
    Saturday June 14  
    Leader: Richard Kraus
    The objective for the walk was to navigate our way around the park using a map of Lysterfield and a compass.  We were shown how to orientate the map using visual observation as well as a compass.
    At 9:30 am, we met in the top car park situated on the Eastern side of Lysterfield Lake.  From here using our map to guide us we walked in a southerly direction along a track to the southern end of the lake where we crossed the foot bridge from East to West continuing to walk along the track until we reached an intersection where we turned right and headed north to a point where we began using our map and compass to set our bearings and walk from point to point using visual targets, to ensure we were keeping on the chosen route.  Continual observation of the map and the surrounding area taught us to identify markings on the map such as man made objects, ruins, water course, roads, density of the forest and interpreting contour lines.
    We continued to navigate our way around the park in a circular direction travelling from North to North West changing direction to East back to North East then again East.  We walked cross country in high grass, up hill, down into valleys, frequently having to climb over or around fallen trees, across knolls and open clearings.
    Historical sight, ruin, man made object, dam, road or intersection awaited at the end of each destination.
    The first man made object was a bench seat.  A little further along was an old ore cart used in the Quarry around the mid 1920s.  Along the side of the track Marty discovered a Fungtopus.  An incredible fungus that looks like an octopus! The Octopus Stinkhorn is native to Australia.  It emerges from an egg called superumpent – this means it erupts in an explosion of enlargement. At maturity the Stinkhorn gives a fetid odor, reminiscent of rotting flesh.  This is to attract flies that land hoping to have found a place to lay their egg. The species are spread by the gleba attaching to the body of flies.  The eggs are edible and taste similar to a very rancid radish. Aborigines used this bush tucker as a very last resort. Do not try at home.

    We stopped for morning tea at a dam. Continuing on we arrived on top of a grassy knoll where we found a tram wheel base used to transport materials from the Quarry in the early 1900s.
    Near the intersection of Donelan Track and Powells Track was chosen for our lunch break.  The apple tree, the clumps of lilies and the snowdrops were evidence that the area had belonged to a homestead at one time.  The homestead was built by the Donelan Family in 1878. The homestead was situated further up the hill at 218m on one of the highest hills in the park. They managed 100 hectares of razing/dairy/cattle property.  The homestead was demolished in 1960 when the State Government closed down all farms in the region.
    From the intersection a bearing of 1100 E we located the remains, a pump, well and milking shed that formed part of Boys Farm that was set up in the 1930s and operated until the 1950s.  It was designed to train boys as young as 14 and 15 in farming.
    From here was our last bearing of 840 E.  Our destination was the lookout where we settled ourselves under an embracing tree surrounded by an abundance of kangaroos.  The shy little joeys peeping from behind tree trunks and bushes cautiously watching these two legged creates invading their space. Big Daddy was not far away either!!
    Throughout the day we saw many kangaroos; we were serenaded by the Grey Currawong and heard Kookaburras laugh.
     Homeward bound, travelling south we arrive back at the car park at approximately 3:30pm where we gathered at the café for that hot cupper or ice cream for some.
    The day was a whole new experience for me and I believe it was enjoyed by all.  It was filled with many interesting things to see and learn.  Lots of laughter and good company! 
    Thank you, Richard for a great day and for imparting your knowledge with us.

  • OT Dam



    Walk to OT Dam, Dromana
    Wednesday June 4th
    Leader: Margaret Madge  

    Seven highly experienced bushwalkers met at the Hillview Community Reserve on quite a pleasant day. As we started the walk, up that steep climb of 1.3km to the OT Dam, there were mutterings of ‘this must be doing us good’ and unusually not much talking. Once at the top, we remembered just why it was worth making the effort. The surface of the dam was very smooth and the surrounding dense bush was reflected quite beautifully. As usual, there was someone else there who was keen to find out about the origin of the dam and our knowledgeable leader Margaret was able to tell the story of this Peninsula icon. We then made our way around the dam to the boardwalk and again, took some time to admire the environment – a perfect photo opportunity (see attached photo). Continuing on our way, through the bush tracks, more undulations and unmade roads, we occasionally glimpsed our stunning bay. As we emerged from the bush, a leech was spotted on my scarf, most unusual, but my fellow walkers dispensed with him promptly. No morning tea this time but a lovely coffee at the shop opposite the reserve, which is now under new management. Thank you Margaret for a very pleasant morning.  
    Ann Balette

  • Wilsons Prom Hike



    27th February- 2nd March

    Hike leader: Paul B

    Day 1:

    At 6:00am sharp Michael picked the last of the team up on a dark cool morning. We stopped at the Tooradin Bakery for breakfast, then onto Fish Creek for a break. We had a rare treat as we drove up Darby Saddle, a Handsome Hog Deer stag trotted onto the road and peered at us for some time before returning to the bush.

    9am. We rolled into Tidal River and registered for the walk, then up to Telegraph Saddle to park the car. There were lots of min-buses there and as expected we struck lots of school groups. Gaiters and packs on and we excitedly walked of down the road to the lower prom. Some of the school groups got it wrong and took the wrong track!

    An array of wildflowers brightened the trail; the brightest was the azure blue of the wild Lobelia. But the tone of the trip was set by Michael who contributed to a botanical discussion Paul and John were having over the name of an aromatic shrub,

    “ Was it a Cassina or a Dogwood?” to which Michael said

    “Of course it’s a Dogwood, I recognise it by its BARK”

    We were amazed at the extent of the erosion at Growlers Creek. Normally a dark rainforest gully. Now a 50 meter swarf had cut thru the gully and taken out the bridge. We sat on the new bridge and had morning tea.   The road now hand been upgraded to take fire-trucks, so we were pleased to get off it, to the turn of down to Waterloo Bay, for it was a sand track wandering over the sand hills.


    At Boulder Saddle we stopped to climb the boulders to get a view of both bays, Oberon and Waterloo. Walking down to the beach, we crossed several boggy wet lands which were now crossed on board walks or the new fibreglass grids. The beach was a stunning sight! A wide expanse of pure white sand reflecting turquoise water. We dropped on the beach and took it all in while we had lunch (and a snooze for some).  John instructed us on how to identify female Pacific Gulls! They have red tipped beaks, “LIPSTICK”

    Finally we dragged ourselves up to make the short journey over the point into Little-Waterloo Bay. Talk about paradise! The campsite is tucked in behind the sand –dune  of a magic little beach, with coloured boulders at each end.  We quickly set up our tents then down to the beach for a swim and sun-bake on the rocks. More beachcombing after afternoon tea, and after dinner.

    About 7: 30pm. We notice two kayaks approaching and realized they were going to land in the bay.  They had paddled from Tidal River at 2pm. 26klm. One of them  was shivering, so we quickly got him a hot drink and help them get their heavy kayaks high up the beach. They were paddling to Tasmania. They camped on the beach, we returned to our tents for the night to go to sleep to the rhythm of the waves.


  • Sydney walk: Day 2 Tuesday 18th March



    Off we go again.  Marg has stayed back at the hostel to rest for the day and Judy P has kept her company.

    Past the Opera House, along the edge of the harbour, Madama Butterfly is being performed at the open air harbourside theatre. Mrs. Macquarie’s chair faces across the water and we read how the road named after her was completed on the 13th day of June 1816. Many swanky suburbs were admired including Elizabeth Bay, magnificent Strelitzias (bird of paradise) very nice Koi Carp pool in small manicured parkland. One hundred and twelve steps someone counted and we passed by where Andrew and Rosemary’s daughter lives. More steps up and down, eventually stopping at Rushcutters Bay Tennis Court Kiosk for coffee break (Angela spilt hers on her immaculate matching aqua shorts and top).  We pretended not to notice the exercise equipment strategically placed beside the walking tracks.

    The boats here float on money, not water (local information).  More steps to Double Bay, lovely boats, sandy beaches with people in swimming and shady green lawns dotted with trees.  Relaxing picnic lunch near Rose Bay ferry wharf and then there were ten, some (hereinafter referred to as the breakaway group) having optioned for a ferry ride, to rejoin main party later on.  How many people does it take to fill a water bottle? Answer: It depends how many ways the water is squirting out of the drinking fountain. Neilson Park, nice netted beach with all facilities being enjoyed by families followed by yet another spectacular spot called Vaucluse Bay.

    Cheryl asked directions from Scottie Cam (of The Block fame) who was having a kick of the footy, and we continued up yet another hill, having just missed the bridge which was in our track notes.  Eventually to Watsons Bay for icecream, nice to sit in the shade, rest the feet, and watch the world go by waiting for the ferry.  On the return trip we spied some of the bays and beaches we had walked past earlier then we swung past the supermarket and bottle shop before a welcome shower. Wine and nibbles were enjoyed on the roof before dinner in the hostel.

    Thankyou Cheryl for another great day…..Yvonne.

  • Walk report: South Bunyip State Forest


    Saturday 15 March 2014

    Leader – Greg Richards

    A group of 5 met at the end of a pleasant dirt road in Tynong North, past Pakenham and east of Gembrook. It was a mild autumn day with a strengthening wind and the threat of showers later.

    We left the end of Weatherhead Rd and found the trail was not clearly defined. Greg led us cross country up through a pleasant open bush. No we weren’t lost… just exploring the options. We wound our way up to eventually connect with a series of timber milling/ 4 wheel drive tracks which took us through the bush.

    Lupton track and then Camp Rd connected us briefly to the Tynong North Rd before branching off on an obviously well used horse trail known as Cannibal Creek Track, followed by Dawson’s Fire trail. A lovely ferny valley then took us down to Mortimer’s Picnic Ground for lunch, just in time for a light sprinkle of rain. Not enough to dampen our spirits.

    A gentle climb up Yarraburra Track and then Sand Ridge Track till we found a nice granite outcrop called the Pinnacles, which of course we had to climb. A final descent to the vehicle which had been left via a car shuffle. Total distance 18km so it was a moderately demanding but very enjoyable walk through country quite new to most of us. Thanks to Greg

    John Roth

  • Arthur’s Seat/ Seawinds

    Walkers relax by the beach after a jaunt up Arthur's Seat.  Pic:  Marty S

    Walkers relax by the beach after a jaunt up Arthur’s Seat. Pic: Marty S


    Walk report

    Leader: Margaret M

    November 30th

    Arthur’s Seat

    11 Walkers and 1 AWOL
    Glorious day, started with lunch at Mc Crae Light House.
    Than steady walk uphill through blue tunnel and very green bush.
    Great views on way up with heat starting to kick in.
    Witnessed weddings at Seawinds.
    Icecream and Coffee at top of Aurthurs Seat lookout, MMM!!
    Chair lift and towers have been dismantled.
    Yay!! down hill and more fabulous views.
    Stroll along beach to beach box where Peter was waiting with food and drinks laid out, a welcome sight and good to sit down.
    Still too cold for swim, but paddle feet was refreshing.
    Great finish to a perfect days walk.
    Thanks to Margaret for organising and leading.


  • Rubicon Base camp


    Walk report:

    Rubicon Valley Historic area

    Date: 16/11/13

    Leader: Fiona

    Julie and I drove to Thornton on Friday afternoon where we met Yvonne, Eileen, Pam and Kaye who were staying in a very spacious cabin. Julie and I set up our tents in prime position on the banks of the Goulburn River. For $10/person/night this was five star camping with a perfect view of the river rushing along. We were originally going to camp at Kendalls but as we found out the next day that area was packed so we were glad we had chosen the caravan park.

    We met the remainder of the group (Fiona, Paul M., Paul B., Virginia, Angela, Pauline, Warrick and Wane) at the Rubicon power station at 8.45am the next morning and drove to the start of the walk. We headed up the hill to the aqueduct where it meets the pipeline to feed into the Rubicon power station 440 metres below. Access to the infrastructure is not open to the public but we were lucky enough to meet a man who is restoring the machinery who kindly showed us the winch system and tram cars that were used to maintain the aqueduct and power station. There is a 1.3km haulage with an average grade of 1 in 3 that still exists today. It must have been an exhilarating ride back down to the bottom!

    We then followed the aqueduct through the mountain ash forest. Many wildflowers were seen, smelt, named by Paul and then promptly forgotten by the rest of us by the next bend! However, courtesy of Paul, some of the flowers that were seen were Dusty Daisy bush( small white), musk Daisy bush (large white puffy)Black-susan (purple bells) and Beech Myrtle trees(new coppery tips). Virginia started getting hayfever and sneezing with great regularity until a magical “blue pill”, thereafter known as the smurf tablet, was produced from Julie’s pharmacopeia.

    We followed the aqueduct to the old trestle bridge and stopped at the old SEC saw mill and Royston school house for morning tea. Then it was on to the Rubicon Falls Dam where, if you climbed up the metal staircase and onto the dam wall, you could see the falls themselves. The water is being diverted down the aqueduct so there isn’t any water coming over the dam wall at the present time.

    After lunch we retraced our steps towards the Royston power station and climbed up the track running parallel to the pipeline, part of which is still of wooden construction. Soon after this we met the Royston River road and walked along surrounded by the scents of the Hop Bitter Pea which has orange pea flowers and was in great profusion all along the sides of the road.

    We arrived back at the cars, three of our number left to go home and the rest of us drove back to the caravan park. Dinner that night was at the Thornton pub which was about a 100 metre walk! Talk about convenient!

    Thanks Fiona for organizing the weekend, it was great fun and a beautiful walk.

    Cheryl C