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Arapiles Selected Climbs Corrections (2008 Edition)

These corrections have been listed by page number. They have been provided mainly by Simon Mentz and Glenn Tempest as well as various other users of the guide. If you have any corrections that you believe are relevant please send them to us at Please note that these corrections have been taken care of in the new 2017 edition of the Arapiles Selected Climbs guide.

p47.  Sunny Gully (grade 3) is more like grade 2 and shouldn’t have a star.
p57.  Sausage of the Century is more like grade 19 instead of 21 and has quite reasonable protection to start.
p66.  That Man Again (grade 21). The line is drawn incorrectly on the topo.

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Walk 11 (Bells Beach and Ironbark Forest)

Timber steps leading down to Bells Beach.

The day had started with us dragging our two tired bodies, one old, one young, into the car for the trip to Bells Beach from Melbourne. We had both been looking forward to the hike, but ironically, we were both drained from hearing a Tibetan Buddhist teacher talk late into the previous night. The drive was full of jokes about attachment and illusion.

Being an inexperienced walker, and having been given elaborate instructions about tide times, offshore winds, and our proposed route only being passable in optimal conditions (low tide, calm seas), I had anxiously calculated times for each leg of our journey. Surprisingly, we arrived at our departure point, Bells Beach car park within minutes of the optimal time for getting our beach crossing safely.

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Stapylton Circuit Walk

If push came to shove and I was forced to decide which was the most exciting short daywalk in Victoria, I’d have to award that crown to the Hollow Mountain / Mount Stapylton Circuit in the Grampians National Park. Not only does the walk cross one of the most spectacular exposed rock ridges in the park but it is also one of the most challenging (both mentally and physically). The walk links Hollow Mountain Carpark to Hollow Mountain, descends back down to the wind-scoured caves of the Hollow Mountain Block before climbing back up and across the rock ridges leading to the summit of Mount Stapylton. The walk continues on down the official trail through the wooded Stapylton Amphitheatre and back to Mount Zero Picnic Area. A short road bash brings you back to the Hollow Mountain Carpark. All up the circuit is 6.6km, which doesn’t sound very far but most walkers should allow at least 5 hours to complete it.

The Hollow Mountain / Mount Stapylton Circuit certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted as there is quite a bit of exposed scrambling, some tricky route-finding and some fairly scary jumps over dizzying voids. Luckily, for most experienced walkers these obstacles are well within their capabilities. Such is its popularity that on any fine Saturday or Sunday there may be multiple parties making their way slowly across the tops.

Which brings me to my point. A few years ago I was commissioned to write about this walk for inclusion in a scrumptious coffee-table tome on the best walks in Australia. Although the book never saw the light of day it was interesting that Parks Victoria looked seriously at the legal implications should I and the publishers publish details of the walk to an Australia-wide audience. Parks Victoria saw this walk as a legal minefield and obviously felt that they could not be seen in any way to be officially promoting it. Obviously there are genuine issues about inexperienced hikers attempting walks such as this and Parks Victoria have every right to be concerned. However, Parks Victoria need to understand that walking trails are not just for casual family strolls. Many of the world’s great walks follow outstanding natural features and some of these are very challenging indeed. In Europe or North America land managers have a far greater understanding of the needs of more experienced walkers. The amazing four-day Via Delle Bocchette in the Brenta Dolomites (Italy) would be an alien concept here in Australia.

As it is, Karen and I completed the Hollow Mountain / Mount Stapylton Circuit last Saturday and loved every minute of it. Most definitely one of the great Victorian walks. I will be writing it up for our forthcoming Daywalks Around Victoria book which will be available in the shops and through our web site early this spring. The GPS will be available as a free download.

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Wild Magazine: An Epic Walk Through the Chewings Range

Wild Magazine
Wild magazine March-April 2010

Those following this blog may have read my short piece on the three week, 250km walk we did across the Chewings Range in the Northern Territory last winter (chewings-range-traverse). The current edition of Wild magazine, March-April 2010,  (  includes a six-page feature I wrote on this same trip. The cover image is a shot I took above 45 Degree Gorge. Michael Hampton and I were checking out this cave (which directly overlooks the gorge) with the view to using it as a bivy cave in the future. Great spot. The images in this feature help convey something of the rugged nature of what is arguably one of the most serious and remote long-distance walks in Australia. The Chewings Range stretches 180km west from Alice Springs and is composed of many of the highest and most spectacular mountains within the semi-arid West MacDonnell National Park. The first seven days of the range follows the famous Larapinta Trail but leaves it at Hugh Gorge. The next two weeks are devoid of walking trails and sections of the Chewings Range are not covered by any detailed maps. Instead, we relied on our GPS and the experience we have built up from previous remote walks in the area. Despite a fairly dry year we had no real problems finding drinking water (although a number of waterholes and springs had been badly fouled by cattle).