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Arapiles iPhone App Released

It’s been a long time in the planning but it’s finally here. Arapiles Selected Climbs is now available as an app through Apple’s iPhone App Store. Open Spaces have been working with the guys at iCrag for almost a year to help create what we believe is the world’s best climbing guide app. Arapiles Selected Climbs combines text and images with innovative live navigating tools and is a big step forward in usability and design. For Open Spaces this app also marks an exciting new chapter in our publishing future.

App features include:                                                                                
Over 1100 selected routes
Over 150 cliff images
Text descriptions and first ascent details
Advanced search facilities
Zoom functions
Climb grade index
Climb name index

The app sells for $29.99. Those purchasing the app will be entitled to a 25% discount (from Open Spaces) on the print version of Arapiles Selected Climbs.

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later. File size is 228MB.

Visit iCrag or the App Store.

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Melbourne’s Western Gorges

Great news. Our forthcoming new title, Melbourne’s Western Gorges was handed off to the printers this morning. As long as there are no unexpected delays we expect to see it in our warehouse on the 09 December, just in time for Christmas. This will be the first in a new A5 series of walking guides that will target regional walking areas around Victoria. Melbourne’s Western Gorges covers 20 walks in the Brisbane Ranges National Park and Werribee Gorge and Lerderderg State Parks. Produced in full colour with 96 pages it will retail for $19.95. Like our last book, Daywalks Around Victoria, this guide also features free GPS downloads as well as updates at osp.com.au. We’ll let you know when we actually have a copy in our hands.

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New Marysville Trails Brochure


Parks Victoria (in conjunction with the Department of Sustainability and Environment) have just released the new Marysville Trails brochure. Open Spaces was commissioned to write the text. Following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 pretty much all of the walking trail infrastructure in and around Marysville was wiped out. Parks Victoria and DSE have done an enormous amount of work since the fires and all of the walking trails are now open. The brochure describes 7 walks in the immediate Marysville area (Marysville Forest Trails), 4 walks along Lady Talbot Drive (Lady Talbot Trails) and 2 walks in Cambarville (Cambarville Trails). The brochure has clear maps and is colourfully illustrated. The free Marysville Trails brochure is available from Parks Victoria (ph 13 1963), and from the Visitor Information Centres in Healesville and Marysville.

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Trail Watch

Check out our Trail Watch report card, which covers many of Victoria’s most popular parks and reserves. These ratings indicate the overall quality of a parks walking trails based on construction and maintenance, and how clearly they are signposted. Admittedly these ratings are fairly general, but it will give walkers a chance to gauge just how much effort a particular park or reserve is putting into its walking trails.

 

 

 

 

 

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Maps, Meridians and the Whole Damm Mess

As spring quickly approaches I thought this would be a good time to go over a few navigational basics and explain how they relate to our new walking guides.

In 2000 Australia changed over to GDA94 (Geocentric Datum of Australia), which was defined in 1994 and based on WGS84 (the World Geocentric System developed in 1984 for use with the satellite Global Positioning System). Essentially GDA94 and WGS84 datums are the same for recreational purposes such as bushwalking. Most current-edition Australian maps now use the GDA94 datum (earlier maps were based on the Australian Geodetic Datum systems AGD66 and AGD84). Bushwalkers using the maps in this guide (or downloading our GPS data) should set the datum on their hand-held GPS to GDA94 or (if this is not an available option) to WGS84.

• There are two sets of lines drawn across each map. Those that run north-south are called eastings and those that run east-west are called northings.

• Intersecting eastings and northings form grid squares with each square representing 100 hectares or one square kilometre. The maps in our guides are not created to a set scale so it is important to look carefully at the scale icon and/or the grid to ascertain the distances involved

• Grid north points to the top of the map (when viewed the correct way up).

• In the map/text example, each segment of a described walk is indicated by a location marker showing the distance travelled (in this case 10 and 12.3km) and the name of the location (such as Erskine Falls Carpark). The text reflects this information with the addition of the full grid coordinates as taken directly from the GPS.

• In the map/text example, the two digit grid numbers in the margins of the map correspond to each grid line. These numbers are abbreviated and are underlined (for easy reference) in the GPS grid coordinates.

• In the map/text example, the GPS grid coordinates show the number 54. This is the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) zone number (the earth is divided into 60 north-south zones). The letter H indicates the UTM zone designation letter. Together the UTM zone numbers and designation letters provide what is called a Grid Zone Designation. In a nutshell, Victoria (for example) is divided into two zones: 54H (covering the west side of the state and 55H (covering the east side of the state).

 

How to download GPS tracks

• Many of our described walking trails has been mapped using a hand-held Garmin GPSmap 60CSx device. Each GPS track is available as a free download at osp.com.au in both .gpx and .kmz files.

• If you don’t own a Garmin GPS device, don’t fret. All of our original Garmin .gdb files have been converted to .gpx files (GPS eXchange Format). This popular open format is commonly used to exchange waypoint, route and track data between various brands of GPS devices and mapping software.

• All of our .gpx files have been simplified to under 500 track points for faster downloading.

• Waypoint data is provided on all our .gpx files and will be kept up to date where possible.

• A .kmz file will open in Google Earth just by simply double clicking on it (as long as you have Google Earth installed on your machine). Google Earth also has native support for .gpx files containing GPS data. In Google Earth go to File > Open and navigate to your folder containing the downloaded .gpx file. If you cannot see the .gpx file in your folder try selecting the right file type (All File Types). Open the file.

• Remember that you will need to be running a software program to handle your .gpx files. These programs usually come with your hand-held GPS device. The program we use with came with our Garmin and is called MapSource. Garmin also have free software called BaseCamp. There are many others on the market.

Just a final word of caution. The maps within our walking guides provide a basic overview of each trail, but are not designed to be used in conjunction with a compass, and cannot replace the accuracy of detailed contour maps such as the Vicmap 1:25,000 series. In other words, use a large contour map, carry a compass and/or a GPS and make sure you have a firm understanding of basic navigation. Hand-held receivers have become very affordable in recent years and are increasingly popular among bushwalkers. A GPS user can accurately pin-point a location at any given time. It’s important to note however, that a GPS is only as good as it’s batteries (or fumbling fingers) and that basic map-reading and compass skills are still required.

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Winter in Wyperfeld

If you have ever wanted to visit Victoria’s semi-arid desert regions, then winter and early spring is the best time to do so. These pics were shot in early July at Wonga Campground in Wyperfeld National Park, about 440km northwest of Melbourne. Wonga Campground is an ideal place to base yourself as it provides a convenient gateway to the unique mallee terrain as well as the nearby sand dunes and floodplains. Definitely bring a pair of walking boots as the only way to really experience Wyperfeld is to walk through it. You’ll also need a good sleeping bag and a down jacket as it will get very cold at night. The benefits, of course, are star-filled skies and wonderfully clear, crisp days. Easily one of the most extraordinary, underrated and beautiful parks in Victoria. For those unfamiliar with Wyperfeld National Park, we cover some of the walking trails in our new Daywalks around Victoria guide.

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Daywalks Around Victoria Updates & Corrections

Walk 2 (Lorne Forest Walk)
p16. Kalimna Falls Walking Track and Link Track are currently closed. You can complete the walk by following Garvey Track (from Sheoak Picnic Area) to Sheoak Track. The alternative walk (Sheoak Picnic Area to Swallow Caves) is also closed. Check out http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for further details.

Walk 4 (Around Aireys Inlet)
p24. Currently there is no access to Painkalac Reservoir, including along the walking trail from Distillery Creek and Moggs Creek picnic grounds. We have been told it will reopen within a few months. Gentle Annie and Moggs Creek Tracks are closed. Check out http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for further details.

Walk 6 (Major Mitchell Plateau)
p32. The road up to Mt William is currently closed due to flood damage. This walk is therefore closed at the moment. Check out http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for further details.

Walk 7 (Mt Rosea and Sundial Peak)
p38. The road up to Sundial Carpark is currently closed due to flood damage. This walk is therefore closed at the moment. Check out http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for further details.

Walk 9 (The Fortress Caves)
p50. The Victoria Range and surrounding vehicle access tracks are currently closed due to flood damage. Buandik Campground is also closed. This walk is therefore closed at the moment. Check out http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for further details.

Walk 13 (Langhi Ghiran)
p68. Lagoon Track and Link Track are closed due to flood damage. This walk is therefore closed at the moment. Check out http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for further details.

Walk 17 (Clearwater Creek)
p90. Clearwater Creek is correctly known as Watties Creek according to the Parks Victoria website. This makes much more sense. The confusion appears to have come from the 3rd edition of Meridian’s Lerderderg & Werribee Gorges map which calls it Clearwater Gully. There is already a Clear Water Creek just north of O’Briens Crossing.

Walk 19 (Pyrites Creek)
p98 There has been some trail maintenance done in Wobbly Gully during Autumn 2011, which has made the trail much easier to follow.

Walk 20 (Mt Kooyoora)
Kirwans Track and Mount View Road are currently closed to vehicles due to flood damage. These tracks may still be open to walkers. If so you should be able to start and finish the walk at Melvilles Caves Campground. Call Parks Victoria or check out http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for further details.
p103. The campground mentioned is Kiata Campground, this is a mistake as Kiata Campground is in the Little Desert! Obviously it should be Melville Caves Campground (which has no shelter or water).

Walk 25 (Cathedral and the Jawbones)
p124. The map icon places the Cathedral Range incorrectly.

Walk 27 (Pine Mountain)
p136. Pine Mountain is a return walk, not a circuit.

Walk 29 (Mt McDonald)
p146. The fire trail between Low Saddle Road and North Ridge Saddle appears to have become overgrown (post fire regrowth) and is no longer easy to follow.

Walk 31 (Mt Feathertop)
p161. The map indicates Federation Bungalow Site. This should be Feathertop Bungalow Site.

Walk 35. (Cape Liptrap Coast Walk)
p178. According to Parks Victoria Five Mile Track is ‘closed until further notice’ (http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/great-otway-national-park). It’s always been very wet during the winter months but it’s obviously got a lot worse. The access path from the lighthouse road to the beach was a little bushy (and steep at the end) but was never a real problem. Looks like things have changed. The grading of the walk is now probably difficult. I suspect that as less people visit this remarkable stretch of coast the walking trail along the top of the limestone cliffs will also get more difficult to follow.

Walk 36 (Oberon Bay)
p184. The southern park of the park (beyond the airbase, 14km within the park) is closed due to recent flood damage. This walk is therefore not accessible at the moment. Check out http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for further details.

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Ben Lomond Guide update (3) As of 17/5/2013

ben lomond guide cover s_0001

Memory Of A Journey, the climbing guide to Ben Lomond, was published in November 2008. For those of you who already own the guide and have climbed at Ben Lomond, you will know that it is the premier crack climbing venue in Australia. The guidebook was comprehensive up until 2008, giving route descriptions and topo photographs to over 350 routes. The book is unique in that it also has 100 pages of memoirs by Robert McMahon, the main pioneer of new routes on the mountain. This is the most recent update.  It details 54 new routes done in the last 5 years and is indexed to the guidebook. Copies of the book are are available online from Open Spaces Publishing www.osp.com.au

Ben Lomond Guide Update 2013

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Grampians Flood update

Following the recent heavy rains and ensuing floods, many of the parks in Victoria have closures in place. Either full closures like the You Yangs or partial closures such as the Grampians.

In regards to the Grampians, a huge amount of the park took a beating – with landslides and road collapse hitting the top of the list. Some areas, notably in the Northern Grampians have now reopened. These are predominantly concentrated around the Stapylton area. Below is a basic list of open  areas at the time of writing. This will be changing regularly as more areas are assessed and those with the least damage can be repaired and re-opened.  For regular updates always visit the Parks Victoria website.

Brambuk the National Park and Cultural Centre, and the townships of Wartook, Dunkeld and Halls Gap are all open for business.
Visitors are advised to take caution at this time due to variable track conditions. Drivers should take additional caution at this time.
All other areas in the Grampians National Park are still closed due to widespread flood damage throughout the park.

Open Roads

Main roads into Halls Gap and Wartook.
Grampians Road to Lake Bellfield Picnic Area.
Mt Zero Road (Halls Gap to Mt Zero).
Plantation Road.
Flat Rock Road.
Roses Gap Road.

Open Campgrounds

Plantation and Stapylton Campgrounds. Please note access to Stapylton Campground is via Plantation Road from Northern Grampians Road.
Troopers Creek Campground.

Open Walking Tracks

Boronia Peak, Chatauqua Peak (east side only), Clematis Falls and the Fyans Creek Loop.Hollow Mountain, Flat Rock to Mt Stapylton, Mt Stapylton Loop, Mt Zero, Heatherlie Quarry, Beehive Falls and Briggs Bluff.Mt Sturgeon and the Piccaninny
Art Shelters

Gulgurn Manja
Ngamadjidj

Visitor Sites

Heatherlie Quarry
Mt Zero Picnic area
Summerday Valley climbing area