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Bushwalking in summer normally involves hot, sweaty days so the more comfortable you can be the better and this means choosing the right fabric for your hiking tops. So if you want clothing that’s breathable, quick drying and cool for summer walks, consider these factors:

  1. Fabric construction and weight: Tighter knits or weaves create less breathable fabrics, while more open knits or looser weaves will be more breathable than tight ones. Thinner materials and finer yarns also affect breathability. For a quick test, hold a fabric up and see how much light passes through it – more light suggests more breathability.
  2. Moisture management: Lightweight breathable fabrics help reduce sweat, but moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials go further by taking advantage of the body’s natural cooling mechanism to evaporate moisture away from the skin.
  3. Fit: If your primary activity will be relaxing, then look for a loose fit; if you’re getting moisture-wicking clothing because you plan to be more active, then you need the garment to be in contact with your skin to do its job – not necessarily skintight, but not super billowy either.
  4. Mesh panels and air vents: Some clothing, especially product designed to provide sun protection, includes strategically placed mesh panels and zippered air vents.
  5. Antimicrobial and moisture-wicking fabrics can also work double duty by repelling outdoor odours.

 

Breathable Fabrics – Below are characteristics of common summer fabrics.

Cotton: Available in a huge variety of fabrics

  • Pros: Soft, durable, breathable, versatile and easy to care for.
  • Cons: Absorbs moisture (doesn’t wick away moisture or dry), which is why it’s a poor choice if you plan to break a sweat.

Nylon and Polyester: Most activewear features one of these two synthetic materials.

  • Pros: Wicks moisture and dries quickly; resists pilling and abrasion.
  • Cons: Not as soft as cotton; retains odour; breathability varies based on yarn size and knit or weave.

Rayon: You find a wide variety of plant-based-but-highly-processed fabrics under names that include rayon, viscose and lycocell; fabric properties vary widely and these fabrics are often blended with other fabrics to achieve different characteristics.

  • Pros: Has a silky feel, moderate breathability, drapes nicely, dries quickly.
  • Cons: Doesn’t wick away moisture as well as polyesters or nylons; wrinkles easily; many rayons require drycleaning.

Linen: Derived from the stalks of flax plants, it’s a popular fabric for casual summer wear.

  • Pros: Very durable and easy to care for; typically has excellent breathability because linen fibres are large and clothing styles feature more open weaves.
  • Cons: Like cotton, it absorbs moisture (doesn’t wick away moisture or dry), which is why it’s a poor choice if you plan to break a sweat; also wrinkles very easily.

Silk: Often used in underwear; also used in upscale casual wear.

  • Pros: Wonderfully soft, lightweight and breathable.
  • Cons: Fragile; not moisture wicking; retains odours; typically requires hand washing.

Merino Wool: Often used in long underwear or winter wear, it can also be a good summer fabric, brands like Icebreaker are making excellent merino products.

  • Pros: Breathes well; wicks moisture and is available in lightweight, summer-worthy styles. Doesn’t retain odours like synthetic fabrics do.
  • Cons: Less durable than cottons, nylons and polyesters.
The beauty of the Cape to Cape.

 

One of Life’s An Adventure’s new pack-free guided walks for 2019 is their 8-day Cape to Cape and Bibbulmun walk. No other walking tour company offers is great combo. On their own the Cape to Cape and the Bibbulmun Track showcase some of the Australia’s finest wilderness areas and coastal scenery but combined you not only get a taster for these two iconic walks you also get to try out some of what WA’s southwest is famous for – local wine and local cuisine!

The first 4 days are spent walking the best of the Cape to Cape walk in the Margaret River region, with its timeless landscapes of high limestone cliffs and pretty heathlands. From there you head to the Karri Valley near Pemberton to start the Bibbulmun walk. Experience the tranquility and beauty of the Karri and Tingle Forest as well as some of Australia’s most magnificent coastline.

Bibbulmun-walk
Gorgeous scenery on the Bibbulmun walk

 

We asked Life’s An Adventure’s Mark Norek about the interesting walking combo.

What was the idea behind combining the best of bits of two iconic WA walks?
Mark: Why come back and do the two walks separately… if you’re time-poor like me I like to do both at the same time. Also walking the whole of the Cape to Cape takes 8 days but I found 4 days was enough so I thought what about trying another area with the extra days you have.

This 8-day tour is one of your longer trips. Does that make the walk more challenging?
Mark: There is an easy day then a hard day. There is also the opportunity for a second guide to provide easy options if you want an easy or hard day.

We hear there’ll be some wine tasting along the way. Tell us about that.
Mark: There is wine tasting at Amelia Park, Leewuin Estate and others. We have several opportunities to spend a few hours each day to try wines after each day’s walk.

Life’s an adventure is all about the WOW factor. What’s one WOW factor on this trip?
Getting picked up by a helicopter on the beach on day four near Contos and lifted above the waves to Leewuin Estate is a highlight of a lifetime. We also have a cooking class run by a renowned local chef and winemaker from local winery Rickety Gate wines. We learn how to perfectly cook the local crayfish, marron – a real delicacy of these parts.

Cape-to-Cape-walk
Scenic helicopter ride on the Cape to Cape.

 

By the way, both walks can also be done individually so click here for the Cape to Cape walk and here for the Bibbulmun walk.

 

When bushwalking there’s always the possibility of injury. Be it a simple cut, a sprain or worse, a broken bone or snake bite. Now on a Life’s An Adventure pack-free guided walk your professional guide is fully trained for all sorts of scenarios and they’ll have wilderness first aid training and a compete first aid kit so you need not worry. However if you’re going bush without a guide – be it to train for a Life’s An Adventure walk or just to enjoy the outdoors – there are a some first aid tips you should be aware of.

Carry a fire aid kit. You can buy these from most outdoor shops, through St John or you can make one up yourself BUT all kits should contain the following:

  • Antibacterial ointment (e.g Savlon)
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Assorted adhesive bandages (fabric preferred)
  • Butterfly bandages / adhesive wound-closure strips
  • Gauze pads
  • Nonstick sterile pads
  • Medical adhesive tape
  • Blister treatment
  • Ibuprofen / other pain-relief medication
  • Insect sting / anti-itch treatment
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • First-aid manual or information cards
  • Saline wash
  • Hand sanitiser
  • And finally, your own personal medication you are on any or require any for certain situations

All of the above should be able to fit in a waterproof container and be placed within easy reach inside your pack.

A typical first aid kit for bushwalkers

 

How to treat a minor cut or scrape

Follow these steps to keep cuts clean and prevent infections and scars.

  • Wash your hands. A small bottle of hand sanitiser will do the trick.
  • Stop the bleeding. Put pressure on the cut with a gauze pad or clean cloth. Keep the pressure on for a few minutes.
  • Clean the wound. Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, rinse the cut under cool running water or use a saline wound wash. Clean the area around the wound with an antiseptic wipe.
  • Remove any dirt or debris. Use a pair of tweezers cleaned with alcohol to gently pick out any dirt, gravel, glass, or other material in the cut.
  • Depending on the severity of the cut/scrape you may want to cover if with a band-aid or a guaze pad plus a bandage. (see below)

Do I need to bandage a cut or scrape?

You don’t need to bandage every cut and scrape. Some heal more quickly when left uncovered to stay dry. But if the cut is on a part of the body that might get dirty or rub against clothes, put on a bandage to protect it. Change the bandage every day or whenever it gets wet or dirty. And if the wound is not showing signs of healing it will pay to see the doctor when you return to civilisation.

And finally, do a first aid course! Even the most basic course will teach you things you didn’t know. You could also do a wilderness first aid course which will put your through specific wilderness scenarios like dealing with snake bites, but that’s only if you’re planning on a multi-day, unguided bushwalk.

Want to know more about common bushwalking injuries? Click here.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet”: Roger Miller, American singer-songwriter

 

When you think about walking in the rain, images of cold, wet and unhappy hikers may come to mind but really it doesn’t have to be that way. Walking in the rain can be a joyous, invigorating experience – just ask any *pluviophile. Also remembering that our beautiful native trees, colourful wildflowers and incredible landscapes were all made possible by the relentless pitter-patter of billions and billions of raindrops. If you adopt the proper attitude, you can learn to love hiking in the rain. Preperation helps too, so follow these steps to remain happy when you’re out on a bushwalk and the heavens open.

Clothing tips

  • No cotton. This is key for next-to-skin layers because cotton holds water, including your sweat, and chills you. Go with wicking materials like wool, nylon or polyester clothing instead.
  • Go with synthetic insulation in your jacket. Standard down loses much of its insulating ability if you get it wet. Water-resistant down and hybrids that combine synthetic insulation and water-resistant down are your next best bet. This is all part of layering your clothes.
  • Evaluate your rainwear. A proper waterproof outershell jacket is the way to go – and don’t be a tight-arse when buying one! Going with bright colours can help brighten your mood on a relentlessly grey day. In an emergency, bright colours also help search teams locate you.
  • Pack a rain cap. Even if your rain jacket has a brimmed hood, it does a poor job of keeping rain off your face or glasses. A rain hat should have a nice, broad brim. If you choose a ballcap-style hat, then you can wear it under the hood of your rain jacket.
  • Evaluate your footwear. Waterproof boots and shoes keep feet drier initially, making them a good option for colder conditions. Renew the waterproofing at the beginning of each season, or if you notice large dark spots forming when you splosh across wet terrain. Mesh footwear works well in milder conditions, as mesh drains and dries more quickly if you land in a puddle or creek. With either option you need deep lug soles to deal with mud and superior traction to deal with slippery rocks and logs. Click here for more info about footwear.
  • Pack gaiters. They’ll shield your socks and the tops of your footwear.
  • Pack dry clothes. Extra clothing is already one of the Ten Essentials. Be sure dry socks are one of the extras you bring.
  • Consider a pair of walking poles. Click here for more info on how to use walking poles.
Walking poles will come in handy.

 

Added protection options for your pack:

  • Pack a raincover. Some daypacks and rucksacks come with one, or you can buy a cover sized to fit your pack.
  • Lightweight dry sacks. You can use these inside your pack for your most vulnerable gear.
  • Waterproof cases. Look for one that’s specially designed to fit your phone or other favourite gadget.
  • Ziplock plastic bags. These are inexpensive, though not unfailingly waterproof nor particularly durable.
  • Garbage bags. For extra water protection you could use a garbage bag as an inner lining to your pack. Plus – of course – they’re ideal to store your garbage in.

Wet weather track hazards

A significant storm system can create dangers and health concerns. If you’re on the lookout, you can take steps to avoid unwanted complications.

  • Slippery surfaces. Tread carefully on muddy slopes, slimy rocks and rain-slickened logs. Walking poles will help!
  • Hypothermia. Watch for the “umbles”: mumbling, grumbling, stumbling and tumbling. Those are telltale signs that you need to stop, dry out and get some calories in you. And, in general, you need to eat and drink more often than you would in sunny weather. If rain discourages rest stops, drink and snack while you’re hiking.
  • Swollen creeks. These can be problematic so you need to use your commonsense when crossing them. However if you decide to cross the creek remember to test the depth and power of the water with a stick and unbuckle your hipbelt before you cross, so you can easily get free of your pack if you slip and fall into a fast-moving current. Also pairing up with your walking buddy and locking arms will give you both a lot more purchase on the creek bed.
  • Of course if you’re doing a pack free guided walk with Life’s An Adventure your professional guide will tell you all this if the situation arises.
All care must be taken when crossing swollen creeks!

 

*Pluviophile:(n) a lover of rain, someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Last week we wrote about the safest way to enter and exit a helicopter whenever you’re on a Life’s An Adventure guided walk that includes a scenic chopper flight. This week we thought we’d list all the Life’s An Adventure’s guided walks that includes scenic flights – be it by helicopter or plane.

helicopter
The scenic beauty of a helicopter flight.

 

First off the rank is the five-day Larapinta Trail walk in Central Australia. On day three after a glorious 12km hike you hop on a helicopter at historic Glen Helen Homestead. You’ll take in the breathtaking vistas of the West MacDonnell Range, Glen Helen Gorge, Finke River, Ormiston Gorge, Mt Sonder and Gosse Bluff.

Our next scenic flight is on the five-day Kimberly/Bungle Bungles and Beyond trip in northern WA. This is something special as day two is a heli-hike into Piccaninny Gorge and no other walking company offers this. First you get to see Piccaninny Gorge in all its glory from 1000 feet before the helicopter lands on top of the gorge and you have a 10km return hike deep inside this ancient rock formation.

Now this is one for the books! On the last day of the four-day Cape to Cape walk in WA, after a leisurely 6km beach walk a helicopter is waiting to whisk you away to the famous Leeuwin Estate for a long lunch and a spot of wine tasting. The helicopter ride will make you really appreciate the glorious coastline of the Margaret River region.

western-australia-walks
A scenic flight in WA.

 

One of Life’s An Adventure’s most popular guided walks is the three-day Three Capes Walk in Tasmania – and one reason for this is the helicopter flight on the last day. This is the pièce de résistance of what is already a spectacular walk. The helicopter takes you over Port Arthur, Tasman Island and Cape Pillar where you’ll be able to follow the trail of the official Three Capes Track.

Two other wonderful Tassie walks are the three-day Cradle Mountain Walk and the four-day Cradle Mountain and Walls of Jerusalem walk. Both include a scenic helicopter flight where you get to see Cradle Mountain in all its majesty.

Heading to Victoria, the three-day Grampians walk explores the area’s weathered peaks and escarpments, towering rock formations, cascading waterfalls and fern filled gorges. On day three a helicopter collects you from your lunch spot at Deirde’s Olive Grove and you get to appreciate the Grampians from the air before being dropped off at Sale.

Staying in the Garden State, the three-day Great Ocean Walk should be on your bucket list. Whilst the famous Great Ocean Road doesn’t always follow the coastline, this walk allows you to go where the road doesn’t. On day three there’s no other way to truly appreciate the beauty of the Twelve Apostles then by helicopter and that’s what you’ll be doing!

Heading to SE Qld, the three-day Scenic Rim Walk explores escarpments, ridges and forests across the ancient volcanic plateaus of the Great Dividing Range. And on day three after a stunning walk up Mt Mitchel a helicopter flies you to Kooroomba Vineyards.

And finally, the three-day Gold Coast Hinterland Traverse Walk takes you through the spectacular Lamington National Park, a World Heritage Area comprising of Australia’s largest remnant of ancient subtropical Gondwana Rainforests. On day three after a stunning walk along Green Mountain, a helicopter picks you up at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and takes you to O’Reilly’s Vineyards, Canungra Valley for a sumptuous lunch and some wine tasting.

So there you have it, 10 great guided walks and 10 memorable scenic flights. Now the hardest thing is to choose is which one you want to do!

heli-hiking-kimberley
Heli-hiking in the Kimberley

 

If you didn’t already know, Life’s An Adventure is all about the WOW factor and one of the best WOW’s you’ll get is a scenic helicopter ride. Pack free walks that feature a helicopter flight include: The Three Capes walk, five-day Kimberley, Bungle Bungles and beyond, three-day Great Ocean Walk and the eight-day Cape to Cape and Bibbulmun walk.

western-australia-walks
A scenic flight in WA.

 

A helicopter ride will give you a totally new perspective of where you’ve been and what you’ve seen on the ground – and it’ll definitely be one of the highlights of your walk but before you hop on the chopper and head to the skies there are a few safety things to consider:

  • The pilot will give a briefing about rules and policies prior to your helicopter ride. Pay attention. The pilot will tell you when to enter and exit the aircraft and whether you can move around in flight or need to stay in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.
  • Only approach the helicopter after the pilot has signalled that it’s safe. Always approach the helicopter from the front so the pilot can see you. The safest places from which to approach a helicopter are the front left and front right sides. If you approach from the rear of the aircraft, the pilot won’t be able to see you.
Approaching a helicopter safely.

 

  • If the helicopter’s rotors are already turning or about to turn, approach the aircraft with caution. If you are approaching the helicopter on level ground, walk toward the aircraft in a low crouch to allow for extra space between your body and the rotors.
  • Be sure that all personal belongings, such as hats, are secure. Don’t hold anything above eye level because it can be blown away. If an item starts to blow away, let it go. Chasing after it could result in injury.
  • Don’t smoke or run within 20m of the helicopter.
  • Be careful when exiting the helicopter. Follow the pilot’s instructions and exit only when told that it is safe to do so.

That’s it really! Happy hiking and happy flying!

With summer almost upon us it’s time to dust off those walking shoes, get the cobwebs out of your day pack and head outdoors! So here are 10 top summer walking destinations guided by Life’s An Adventure.

Heading to Cape Hauy.
Heading to Cape Hauy.

 

First off the rank is the ever-popular Three Capes walk which explores the beauty of the Tasman Peninsula. You’ll see dramatic coastline including the world’s highest sea stacks whilst meandering through pretty eucalypt forests. You’ll walk to Cape Raoul and Cape Hauy and see Cape Pillar from the air on a helicopter or sea on a cruise.

We then head to the other side of the island to explore the remote and mysterious Tarkine wilderness. This three-day walk explores magnificent rainforest, wild coast and dramatic mountains. There are few places left that can be truly described as wild and untouched, but the remote Tarkine is one of them.

Maria Island.
Maria Island’s coastal beauty.

 

And one more Tassie destination – Maria Island. Life’s An Adventure owner Mark Norek says “Maria Island holds a special place in my heart, I proposed to my wife Vicki on the top of the island’s Bishop & Clerk summit. This island is pure heaven and has everything you would want in a walking holiday including spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and so much natural beauty, it’s one of Tasmania’s little gems that is unknown to many Australians.”

Heading to Victoria, our first choice is the three-day Great Ocean Walk. You’ve heard of the Great Ocean Road, well there’s also a walking track showcasing this dramatic piece of southern coastline. You’ll experience a diversity of natural landscapes from tall forests and coastal heathlands and experience the Shipwreck Coast including the sandstone sea stacks of the Twelve Apostles. And the pièce de résistance is a helicopter fight over the famed Apostles!

Wilsons Prom.
Granite boulders, Wilsons Prom.

 

Two other Vic destinations worth considering are the three-day Wilsons Prom walk, with its granite mountains, lush rainforests, pristine beaches and stunning coastline, and the three-day Grampians walk. Covering 168,000 hectares the Grampians National Park is renowned for its ancient mountainous scenery and you’ll get to walk parts of the new Grampians Peaks Trail.

In NSW you could consider the famed Six Foot Track. This three-day guided walk goes from the Jenolan Caves to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Winding through state forests and national parks, the Six Foot Track follows the 44km route of the original 1884 bridle track and there’s plenty to see and experience.

Lord-Howe-Island-walk
Lord Howe Island.

 

If you want something a little more tropical then you could consider the UNESCO Heritage listed Lord Howe Island. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth and there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from included gorgeous guided walks.

Crossing the other side of the continent we have two fabulous WA destinations. The famed Cape to Cape walk – with endless coastal scenery and a wonderful choice of vineyards. And southeast of the Margaret River region is the Bibbulmun Track where Life’s An Adventure has a five-day guided walk like no other. Discover the varied landscapes of the Bibbulmun and the local wine regions. Walk through the stunning and tranquil South West Forests with their towering karri and tingle trees, including pretty Beedelup Falls near Pemberton.

So there you go. Ten unique pack-free walking destinations set for your summer holidays. Now the biggest challenge is choosing which one to do!

Don’t let knee pain restrict your activities

 

Any form of exercise puts pressure on your knees and bushwalking is no exception. It’s highly likely on a Life’s An Adventure guided walk you’ll be hiking up and down hills, rockhopping, beach walking and even a bit of scrambling so you’re going to want your knees to be in tip-top shape.

Now, knee pain can affect anyone at any time so it pays to know what the cause could be and what to do about it. Knee pain may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Medical conditions – including arthritis, gout and infections – also can cause knee pain.

The good news is many types of minor knee pain respond well to self-care measures. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatories and knee braces also can help relieve knee pain. In some cases, however, your knee may require surgical repair.

Symptoms of knee pain: The location and severity of knee pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Weakness or instability
  • Popping or crunching noises
  • Inability to fully straighten the knee

When to see a doctor. Make the call if you:

  • Can’t bear weight on your knee
  • Have marked knee swelling
  • Are unable to fully extend or flex your knee
  • See an obvious deformity in your leg or knee
  • Have a fever, in addition to redness, pain and swelling in your knee
  • Feel as if your knee is unstable or your knee “gives out”

Risk factors: A number of factors can increase your risk of having knee problems, including:

  • Excess weight. Being overweight increases stress on your knee joints, even during ordinary activities such as walking or going up and down stairs.
  • Lack of muscle flexibility/strength. A lack of strength and flexibility are among the leading causes of knee injuries. Tight or weak muscles offer less support for your knee because they don’t absorb enough of the stress exerted on the joint.
  • Certain sports. Some sports put greater stress on your knees than do others. Such as long distance running and skiing.
  • Previous injury. Having a previous knee injury makes it more likely that you’ll injure your knee again.
Alway stretch before any exercise.

 

Prevention: Although it’s not always possible to prevent knee pain, here are some suggestions that may help forestall injuries and knee joint deterioration:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. It’s one of the best things you can do for your knees. Every extra kilo puts additional strain on your joints, increasing the risk of injuries and osteoarthritis.
  • Be in shape to play your sport. To prepare your muscles for the demands of sports participation, take time for conditioning. Work with a coach or trainer to ensure that your technique and movement are the best they can be.
  • Practice perfectly. Make sure the technique and movement patterns you use in your sports or activity are the best they can be. Lessons from a professional can be very helpful.
  • Get strong, stay flexible. Because weak muscles are a leading cause of knee injuries, you’ll benefit from building up your quadriceps and hamstrings, which support your knees. Balance and stability training helps the muscles around your knees work together more effectively. And because tight muscles also can contribute to injury, stretching is important.
  • Be smart about exercise. If you have osteoarthritis, chronic knee pain or recurring injuries, you may need to change the way you exercise. Consider switching to swimming, water aerobics or other low-impact activities – at least for a few days a week.
  • Have the correct footwear for the right activity and replace your shoes before they wear right down.
  • A pair of walking poles can also relieve pressure and weight off your knees.
Happy knees = happy walker!
Bay-of-Fires-Pack-Free-walk-Tasmania
Bay of Fires, Tasmania

 

So you’re heading over to Tassie to experience one of Life’s An adventure’s great pack-free walking tours. Well before you go there are a few things you should know about the Apple Isle. Like how did it get that nickname?

So here are 15 awesome facts about Tasmania you can share with your new walking buddies…

1. There are two theories on why it’s called the Apple Isle. The first one is its former status as an important apple exporter, however some say it’s because the island’s shaped like an apple.

2. Tasmania isn’t as small as you think in fact it’s about the same size as the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka.

3. Speaking on size, Tassie’s coastline measures about 4500km – that’s longer than the combined coastlines of NSW and Victoria.

4. Tasmania is situated closer to the equator than Rome or Chicago. (A good Trivia Pursuit question!)

5. Almost half of the state is World Heritage Area, national park, or marine and forest reserves.

Cradle Mountain.

 

6. Tasmania is the world’s 26th largest island.

7. Tasmania has 69 golf courses – more per capita than any other state in Australia. It also has the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere.

8. Tasmanians travel the shortest distances of any Australian workers between their homes and their jobs.

9. After Adelaide, Hobart is Australia’s second driest capital city.

Wellington Park offers great views over Hobart.

 

10. Tasmania used to be attached to Victoria via a land bridge until 10,000 years ago when the polar caps melted, making the oceans rise

11. All that’s left of this land bridge is the Furneaux Group of islands of which Flinders Island is the largest.

Flinders-Island-walk
Flinders Island

 

12. Tassie has water so pure it produces the only bottled rainwater approved by health departments around the world.

13. Supposing Holland is the home of tulips however it actually imports tulips from Tasmania.

14. Tasmania has over 2000km of walking tracks.

And lastly…

15. When it comes to rude, baffling and hilarious place names, Tasmania has it all. There’s Eggs and Bacon Bay, Trousers Point, Penguin, Milkshake Hills, Stinkhole, Granny’s Gut, Awesome Wells, Satan’s Lair and errm, Lovely Bottom..

Enjoy your Tassie adventure!

On the Three Capes walk

 

If you’ve ever wondered how the tracks on Life’s An Adventures’ Three Capes Walk are so well maintained you’ve got a whole army of volunteers to thank. Like those from the Hobart Walking Club (established in 1929) who for decades have been spending their weekends and free week days clearing tracks from vegetation, fallen trees and other debris. Yes, the good rangers at National Parks do a lot of work but if it wasn’t for the blood, sweat and tears of many a volunteer a lot less would be done.

If fact it was the Hobart Walking Club that first created bushwalking tracks in the Tasman Peninsula long before there was an official Three Capes Track walk. Prior to any tracks, the area was seldom walked due to patches of dense wiry scrub or extensive thick forest, and the scarcity of running water.

Life’s An Adventure spoke to Andrew Davey, President of Bushwalking Tasmania.

LAA: How long has the Hobart Walking Club been involved in track clearance and maintenance in the Tasman Peninsula?

The HWC has been involved from the beginning with regards to a coastal walking track on the Peninsula. It conceived it, and got official permission for such in 1972 from the several Authorities involved (eg Forestry, Parks and Council). This after some track marking and cutting since at least 1967, when some stunning scenery was discovered; little of the tracks were suited to the general public. Frank Morley was a great mover of the project initially.

A few years back records indicated the Club had put in over 8,000 man-days of work in the Peninsula area since work officially started. More than that would have been put in elsewhere, mainly greater SE Tas. Nowadays Parks looks after the main Three Capes Track. We look after the ancillary tracks we / local walkers use.

What’s their relationship with Parks Tas?

The relationship with Parks has mostly been good, but went through a down period when some in Parks were too ‘wilderness’ oriented. This changed with a change of Government and some petitions I did (as chair of the State’s bushwalking body) to the then Government and the Head of Parks. It did take me three years to get the permission, and a while to get us back into general trackwork due to the many refusals by PWS (Parks) at that time – the result (the permission) is an agreement called: “Work As You Walk”, restricted to hand tools.

A few years later I was able to get a separate agreement with respect to chainsaw use; this required follow-up for particular Clubs and tracks. Initially this power tool work was always under direct Parks supervision. Now this not necessary on some cases now as it was realised we are not ‘gung ho’ with chainsaws. Use of power tools involves paying for and getting licences or chainsaw use and first aid. Signs and safety items are also required. Travel is another cost.

The Hobart Walking Club now has a general permission to work on tracks with hands tools, plus permission to be able to use power tools on 11 tracks (around Southern Tasmania) without having to seek permission when we wish to work. We can liaise to get permission to work on extra tracks as individual ‘projects’, usually for a limited interval. Lately we have received wants for more work from Rangers in Parks than we can practicably cope with or fund.

LAA: How has the popularity of the Thee Capes Track affected the maintenance work required in the area?

Due to the decreased camping (several campsite closures), most walks that are not the ‘commercial’ Three Capes Track have increased use by only a little, some have decreased use. It is mainly the Cape Pillar Track that gets some more use. The rougher tracks may have had some minor increase, but not to the extent extra work is required. As for man-hours a year lately, it can only be a guess in terms of man-days. There is a lot not counted under Work As You Walk. A wild estimate would be 500 or more man-days; a day being about 6-8.5 hours depending on travel, the weather and the goal. The HWC was involved in track marking and clearing long before it did so on the Tasman Peninsula, from its beginning and several huts have been built by the Club.

So the next time you’re bushwalking in the Tasman Peninsula spare a thought for the good men and women of the Hobart Bushwalkers who have made your wonderful wilderness experience possible!

Contact Us
  • Address: HEAD OFFICE: 4/23 Narabang Way,
    Belrose NSW 2085. (Regional office: 6955 Arthur Hwy, Port Arthur Tasmania. All enquiries to be directed to Head Office).
  • Phone: (02) 9975 4553
    After Hours: 0457 002 482
  • Email: walks@lifesanadventure.com.au
  • Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Saturday - Sunday: Closed
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