Karen and I were down at the Prom last weekend and did part of the Southern Circuit Walk while researching a daywalk for our forthcoming Daywalks Around Victoria. It’s worth noting that during busy periods (such as the Christmas holidays, Easter and school breaks) you can leave your car at Tidal River as Parks Victoria run a shuttle bus runs between Tidal River and Telegraph Saddle (the start of the walk). There have also been some changes to the walk since the area was largely burned during the 2005 bushfres. Much of the old-growth dense tea tree has now vanished and in places the trail is much more exposed to the sun. One of the most affected sections is the trail linking Telegraph Junction to Oberon Bay Camp. This once a beautiful walking trail was shaded by dense old growth tea tree as it meandered through undulating sand dunes hugging Deer Flat and the swamp. Unfortunately the trail is now a wide sandy vehicle track. During the 2005 fires Parks Victoria decided to construct a wide fire break along much of its length. A great shame, especially as Parks are apparently going to maintain this fire break in the future and so greatly diminish the trails appeal to walkers. Walking trails should not have to follow fire breaks. By the way, the old toilets at Oberon Bay are no longer functioning as they are full. Parks have portable toilets in place and are currently constructing a new drop toilet facility.
We took advantage of the very last day of daylight saving and got up early and drove over to the Victoria Range in the Grampians National Park. Even though it was Easter I was surprised that at least a dozen cars were parked at Deep Creek, the start of the trail. The walk is one of the more remote in the Grampians even though it isn’t particularly long. The Victoria Range is very different to the much busier Central Grampians. There is a lot of sand about, the vegetation is shrubbier and there is a drier, almost semi-arid feel to the place. Like many Grampians trails the walk isn’t particularly well signposted nor is it well maintained. There is an old sign, however, warning that ‘strenuous walking is involved’.
An early low tide coincided with a fine Sunday so Stuart and Ally joined Karen and I to walk along the coast between Cape Liptrap and Five Mile Track. This is the first day of a two-day walk I wrote up in our Weekend Walks Around Melbourne some years ago and since then there have been a few changes. Because of its increasing popularity I’ve also decided to write it up and provide a free GPS download in our forthcoming Daywalks Around Victoria.
The walk around from Cape Liptrap is simply amazing. We scrambled along wave-cut platforms, over rocky points and wandered along broad pebbly beaches. It’s a genuinely wild place and is a photographers paradise. High cliffs tumbled into the the sea, which roared in conjunction with a strengthening southerly wind. We had a gourmet lunch in shelter of a small cove, the Sauvignon Blanc having been successfully chilled in a vacuum flask. The weather Gods obviously felt we were enjoying ourselves too much and by the time we reached Morgan Beach we could see the southern horizon darkening with heavy cloud. Finally the sun disappeared and the first squall hit us as we were crossing the limestone escarpment opposite Arch Rock. We were quickly engulfed in heavy winds and driving rain. After about 20 minutes the clouds parted and the final beach walk along to Five Mile Track saw us soaking up the warmth of the sun.
The current issue (March/April 2010) of Australian Geographic Outdoor has an article on Australian Pioneers. One of those pioneers featured was our very own Glenn Tempest. Australian photojournalist James McCormack (http://actiongoat.com) interviewed him here at our Melbourne office late last spring. In the interview Glenn recounts his first ascent of Kachoong at Mt Arapiles with his then climbing partner Kevin Lindorff. Glenn had just turned 19 at the time and led it without much of the modern equipment most climbers today rely upon. Today Kachoong is regarded as one of Australia’s most famous and iconic rockclimbs. You can grab a copy of the mag at the newsagent or order it from www.magshop.com.au/Australian-Geographic.