How to hike 100km? It starts with taking the first step.

Nothing has made me want to travel more than being housebound for most of this year due to the 19/20 Bushfires, COVID and a spinal injury. 

With border restrictions in place, I wanted an activity that gave the same sensation of travelling with the least amount of friction – Hiking.

ACT is the Bush Capital and the local government has tried to make sure that Canberra has as many reserves, sanctuaries, and national parks to stay deserving of the title. So why not take advantage of what you have in your backyard.

Mt Aggie, Namadgi.
(Shell (left), Caitlin (right)

There is not one complete list of combing trails from all the ACT Nature reserves, sanctuaries and national parks. Those spaces only contain information about their specific areas.

Instead, australianhiker.com.au compiled a lot of these trails including the authors, Tim, and Gill Savage hiking experiences into a field report format on their website. I figured that this would be a great reference to start from. 

Due to spinal injury from my volunteering efforts for the 19/20 bushfires, I am physically restricted to 5km distance per day for a few months and will expand the distances over the next year. The Australian hiker website has a lot of trails under 5km. I was able to copy the ACT trails a list from their website and organise the data by distance in an excel spreadsheet.What I found was that they had over 40 trails under 5km. 

Mt Painter
(Cailtin)

However, considering that parts of Namadgi are still closed due to fire damage, how many trails are open to the public? There are 37 trails under 5 km now open. That is when I realised that this would be an interesting challenge to complete.

Starting from the 1st of August, I planned to complete 2 to 3 trails (5km most) per weekend. Hiking all 37 trails across the next 14 weeks until 31st of October. Note: that most, if not, all these trails are well-marked and many within the suburbs of Canberra. By the end of August, we will have completed about 13 trails which are roughly 40km. 

Mt Aggie
(Eddy)

When planning trails on the weekend there a few things to consider:

  1. Check the weather forecast in the areas you might be interested in to ensure the conditions are safe. 
  2. It is always good to have a plan B option for when there are road closures or timing restrictions. 
  3. Notify multiple people not hiking with us of our intended hiking place and rough return time. 
  4. For areas where there is dodgy reception, I will take my Garmin Inreach which is a subscription-based satellite texting GPS.

What do you hope to gain in the end? 

Fitness and improved health. A chance to visit different places within the ACT border and explore different micro climates. Once I’ve completed this challenge I will add the details on my website so I can offer more notes and maps of the trails that weren’t included or have changed since being posted on ‘Australian hiker’ website. 

Can others do this? 

Anyone can take on this challenge or even use the spreadsheet that I will include in this article as a reference when exploring Canberra.

You can follow for my under 5km challenge on Instagram.

Kangaroo Valley

We arrived at Kangaroo Valley the day before our multi-day canoe trip. We wanted to take the opportunity to explore the town and write about what we had enjoyed whilst there.

Fitzroy Falls Visitors Centre is a lovely place to see the valley of the Morton National Park. Fitzroy falls contain several paths around the cliff edge to view the various waterfalls. The paths for both East and West take a bit over an hour to walk but highly recommend doing it to enjoy the stunning views. 

We even got to see a few Superb Lyrebirds walk passed us whilst singing away. Lyrebirds are such an Australian icon that they have appeared on the Australian ten-cent coin since 1966 to present. 

Friendly Inn Hotel is air-conditioned heaven, a key feature in the Australian summer. The Inn has a wide choice of beer, both local and international. I favoured the 4 Pines Kölsch Drought, whilst Eddy enjoyed the RedNut by Benspoke. 

The Inn is popular for both tourists and locals with their families. You have several areas to sit whether inside the air-conditioned Inn or out the back among various sized tables with a mix of bench seats and old plastic chairs. 

We sat outside where it was quiet to enjoy a classic pub meal like Chicken Parma with chips with a cool afternoon breeze.

Authentic Pies & Pastries conveniently located across the road from the Friendly Inn Hotel. It’s a pie shop that offers steak and pepper on the menu! I recommend them over the “World’s best pies” further down the road with a better choice of pastries and customer service. 

Our accommodation was at Bandeela Recreation Campground. This campground is well-known for its ‘Bare-nosed’ wombats. During the warmer months, wombats and their young will leave their burrows to forage. 

There are signs around many of the facilities, along with a brochure handed to you (linked below) at the entrance advising not to feed the wombats, to drive at low speeds and limit evening driving while the wombats are out in force. 

Bandeela Campsite safety instructions for yourself and the native wildlife.

You can see these little wombat families happily live among people in their tents.  

Near where we pitched our tent, our #vanlife neighbours found an adult wombat was using their van to scratch its back. Causing the van to shake! This is a common occurrence across the campsite. This wombat even brought the rest of his family including two young ones to enjoy the grass around the van.

Kangaroo Valley 3 Day Canoe Pre-trip

My partner, Eddy and I have been talking about going on canoe trip in Kangaroo Valley for a few months. This would trip would be our first adventure couples trip and we have been inspired to go on a trip by the We Are Explorers post on Multi-day Canoeing and watching Canadian vlogger and filmmaker, Chris Prouse’s Algonquin National Park canoeing videos with her partner.

I spoke to the team at Kangaroo Valley Safaris regarding the canoe trip and they were kind enough to provide us with a couple of multi-day itineraries, what is included in the trip package and recommended times of year to go on these trips.

I have summarised that in the list below:

Pre-trip Notes

Self guided canoe tour from Bendeela to Fossickers Flat and returning to Tallowa Dam

Multi-day
TRIP 1: BENDEELA TO TALLOWA DAM (2days)
An easy 24 klm paddle over the two days. ( 3 hours per Day)
TRIP 2: SHOALHAVEN GORGE (2 days)
TRIP 3: THE BIG SAFARI (3, 4 or 5 days) Combination of Trip 1 and 2. (We opted for Trip 3 )

Day trips
TRIP 4: HAMPDEN BRIDGE TO BENDEELA (2 hours to all day)
TRIP 5: WILDLIFE OF BENDEELA & BEYOND (2 hours to all day).

All multi day trips include

Cost is $65 per person per day all inclusive including transport (3 days $195 per person, $390 total)

  • All canoe/kayak equipment
  • Life Jacket
  • Waterproof containers for your camping gear
  • Maps, plenty of info and advice
  • Basic skills briefing
  • Return bus transport
  • Safe overnight parking

Essential Gear

Hire

  • Canoe (Wenonah Prospector 16)
  • Barrels for essentials
  • Map (preferably with marked camp spots)
  • PLB

Overnight camping gear and food

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sleeping Mats

Food for 3 days

  • Breakfast x 2 (per person)
  • Lunch x 3 (per person)
  • Dinner x 2( per person)

Toiletries

  • TP
  • Toothbrush / Paste
  • Water purifier (tablets)
  • Water bottles (at least 3 litres per person)

Clothes

  • Paddling clothes
  • Swimmers
  • Camp clothes

Hunt1000 2019 Equipment – On-going

Adventure Rig

In August 2018, I invested in a long distance gravel touring bike. Aftera lot of research and current stock availability at the time I went from ordering a Wayward Cape York touring bike to instead getting a more hardy gravel bike on the lead up to my first Gears and Beers event.

In recent posts (the Gears and Beers event, followed by the Canberra to Goulburn return trip) I used my new gravel bike,  Bombtrack Beyond 1. This beast is built for bikepacking with a flared drop down bar to allow easier handling for technical terrain, the many mounting points on the front fork, top tube, and down tube. The tyres are even tubeless ready something I am very keen to change to, after the Canberra to Goulburn ride where we experienced a few puncture situations from wood staples and nails. We were able to patch up with the holes but it would have saved time if we already had the tubeless in place.

There are a few things that I would want to change about this bike.

Bike Frame Storage

Rear Rack

Currently, I run the Tauber Rear rack for daily commuting with my Ortlieb Classic Pro panniers for clothes, shopping and gym gear. This allows for storage while commuting and is an alternative solution for bikepacking saddle bag for the moment.

I have a preference for a more solid saddle bag rack system; so far I am interested in the Mr. Fusion XL from American Cottage Company Porcelain Rocket and Blackburn Design Outpost seat pack.

Frame bag

I do want to get a frame bag, I like the idea of a roll top frame bag from Porcelain rockets as its less hardware to worry about breaking. I’ve seen frame bags with multiple zips which people overpack and break the zips. This bag will be used for main food storage.

Bottle Mounts

The Bombtrack Beyond has many mounting options which means I will be looking towards two fork bottle mounts and a bottle at the bottom of the frame.

Top Tube bags

I’m looking at top tube bars near the handlebar and the top tube bag closer to the seat post. The plan for these pieces:

  • Top tube handlebar mount – To be used for electronics; gopro, battery bank, camera.
  • Top tube seat post mount – To store tools, and equipment for bike repairs, spare tyres, etc…

Handlebar bags

These will be used for carrying my snacks in bulk in two handlebar bags.

Additional bar mounting system

I’m also looking at additional bar mounting system for my handle bars for mounting my GPS Garmin Inreach Explorer Plus, bike bell, bike torch and phone mount.

Equipment (subject to change)

  • Shelter – Oztrail starlight dome 2p [strapped via voile straps to the front bars]
  • Sleeping pad – double
  • Sleeping bag – Enlightened Equipment Sleeping quilt -11 degree
  • cook system – BRS 1000 stove, GSI aluminum 500ml cup, mini gas canister
  • Water bottles – 3 x 1 litre camelbak bottle

Clothes

  • Windproof arm and leg warmers
  • Cycling jersey
  • MTB padded shorts
  • Macpac Puffy jacket
  • Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket and pants
  • Cycling hat

Cycling gear

  • Helmet
  • MTB shoes
  • Windproof gloves

 

Author: Jay
Editor: Alex

 

 

Un-racing the Hunt1000 Itinerary 2019

The Alternative 11 Day Plan

Day 1: Canberra to Cooinbill Hut (119km)
Day 2: Cooinbill Hut to Derschko’s Hut (82km)
Day 3: Derschko’s Hut to Dogman Hut (93km)
Day 4: Dogman Hut to Omeo (99km)
Day 5: Omeo to JB Plain Hut (46km)
Day 6: JB Plain Hut to Dargo (98km)
Day 7: Dargo to Horseyard Flat Camping Area via Billy Goat Bluff (52km)
Day 8: Horseyard Flat to Licola (80km)
Day 9: Licola to Woods Point (58km)
Day 10: Woods Point to Warburton (103km)
Day 11: Warburton to Melbourne (95km)

Day 12: Train from Melbourne CDB to Canberra

Map Reference: https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/1394336800/

ReSupply Points

  1. Cabramurra General Store (1.5 Days)
  2. Omeo General Store (2 Days)
  3. Licola General Store (4 days)
  4. Warburton General Store (2 days)
  5. Melbourne (Final Destination) (1 Day)

Food and Water

  1. Food – food resupply points are far between, up to 225km (140miles), so plan accordingly. Refer to the notes on the map for resupply options
  2. Water – treat all water before drinking. Reliable water can be up to 100km (62miles) apart, refer to notes on the map for water sources.
  3. Pub Meals – treat yourself to a pub meal when you get to Omeo, Dargo and/or Warburton.
  4. General Stores – the general stores along the route only stock basic supplies but enough to get you by. Note general stores generally close early, 5-6pm.

 

 

Un-racing the Hunt1000 2019

Hunt1000, Canberra to Melbourne 20th – 30th of November

What is Hunt1000?

Trip type: Bikepacking
Difficulty: Arduous
Start date: Wednesday, 20th November – Saturday, 30th November  2019
Season: Summer
Months: November
Sights: Arid mountains, gorges, dry creek beds, waterholes
Hazards: Dehydration, Snakes, Hyperthermia, Hypothermia
Activity Leader: Dan Hunt – Founder of the Hunt1000
Group: Jay, Eddy, Jaeryl as well as like minded (or disturbed) individuals willing to take on the hazards of the Hunt1000 trail.

A 1,000 km journey through the rooftop of Australia along backcountry trails, across exposed high plains, through snow gum woodlands and among tall native forests. The trail links two of major cities with limited resupply points and some of Australia’s best high country campsites.

The Hunt1000 was founded by Dan Hunt in 2016. It is a long-distance (1000km) endurance bikepacking event from Canberra to Melbourne through the Snowy Mountains. It will be tough with the occasional ‘hike – a bike’ trails but it’s easily forgiven by the amazing views the Australia Alpines has to offer. The main race itself will take 7 days, however those that want to enjoy the wonder of the Australian Alpines, like myself, prefer to take the journey a bit slower.

This trip will take an estimated 11 days plus another 1 day to recoup before catching a train back home (12 days in total).

Reference:

https://hunt1000.huntbikes.com/planning/

https://omafiets.com.au/blogs/news/un-racing-the-hunt-1000

http://www.bikepacking.com/routes/hunt-1000/

Great Cycle Challenge 2018  – 200km Cycle 

Canberra -> Goulburn -> Canberra, OCT 13-14, 2018

During October, Ben,  Jaeryl, Jay and I participated in the Great Cycle Challenge to raise funds and awareness in the fight against Kids’ Cancer.

This involved a two-day cycling trip pushing 200km through country roads and along highways, riding from Canberra to Goulburn and back again. This was my first time riding such a long distance in a short period of time and it was not an easy journey.

Day 1:

On the way to Goulburn, we had a headwind pushing us back to Canberra, which made pedaling just that little bit harder and took its toll on the body throughout the day.

Jay and I got flat tyres, mine along the Hume Highway and her’s just before turning into Goulburn.

It was a real challenge but worthwhile. We saw some pretty beautiful sights and took some great photos riding along the back roads near Breadlebane. Even so, I was pretty happy to see the Big Merino coming up along the turn off of the highway.

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Day 2:

On the way back we had the rain chasing us and the road was full of many ups and down, literally.

After the previous day of long treks riding along highways, we decided to take more of the backroads and gravel tracks past Collector. These roads proved to be some of the most mentally challenging but also exciting rides of the day.

Just after Collector, we hit the hill from hell. The three of us pushed our bikes up a hill as cars struggled to climb past us. The hill drained us and we were only at the beginning of our ride home.  Exhausted, we pushed on. Every time we would stop to catch our breath at the top of another hill the rain would come to tell us we’d better continue.

One good thing about hills though is that eventually you’ll get to ride down them and that was the highlight of the trip for me. Although the rain had caught up to us by then, I thoroughly enjoyed racing downhill with the rain hitting my face as I could hear the squealing of Ben’s brakes slowly disappearing behind me.

Just before Gundaroo the rain dispersed and we hit tarmac. After that, slightly damp, we rode all the way down Sutton Road from Gundaroo being driven by the prospects of pies at the Bakery in Sutton. When we got there, boy were those good pies.

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Article by Eddy L
Photos by Eddy, Gears and Beers Photographers, OAUS

Editing by Alex

 

Gears and Beers 2018

WAGGA WAGGA, NSW – SEPT 29 – OCT 1, 2018

This year Ben, Jaeryl, Binglin, Jay, and I took part in Gears and Beers, Wagga Wagga’s annual cycling and craft beer festival. The event itself consists of 5 road races and 2 gravel races all of varying distances. We took part in the “Filthy 50” which is the shorter of the gravel races at 50km.

Day 1:

After a quick meet up early lunch at the Old Canberra Inn and picking up some quality snags from Lyneham butcher, we prepared for the trip up to Wagga Wagga. The cars were packed to the bim, the bikes where strapped to the back and were on our way. The drive was pretty uneventful, Jay, Binglin, and Ben in one car Jaeryl and I in another.

After a few stuff-arounds with forgetting things and needing to buy ice for the esky, Jaeryl and I met the others at our campsite. We all set up our tents before unloading the bikes and hitting up the Thirsty Crow Brewery for a beer and to check out the bicycle showcases on display. Once we got back to camp we set up the BBQ for a smorgasbord of award-winning sausages and an early night to prep for the next morning of cycling fun.

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Day 2:

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The day of the event I whipped up some bacon and egg rolls on the BBQ and the five of us head down to the starting line for the launch of the Filthy 50.

The weather was amazing that day, not a single cloud in the sky. There was a nice cool breeze pumping that fresh air into the lungs and the scenery along the dirt roads was stunning.

It was a bit lonely though. Jaeryl and I lost the others at the starting line and then I lost Jaeryl up the first hill. So the following two hours it was me, myself and I pedaling along, enjoying the ride, talking to other riders and pushing my limits. Which was good, but next time I want to try and stick with the group a bit more.

After the ride, we all gathered together and went to enjoy the festivities. I didn’t get many photos of this, as I was too busy drinking beer and enjoying the festival food. That’s a sign of a good festival right?

Some beers of note were a lamington stout and vanilla milk stout from the local brewery, Thirsty Crow. Their summer ale was also pretty great and well welcomed after the bike ride.

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Day 3:

Day 3 was a nice,  chill public holiday day. We took a beautiful, albeit slightly sketchy, early morning bike ride along the Murrumbidgee and a quick jaunt around town before having breakfast, packing up, and heading home to crash on the couch.

 

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We had a fantastic adventure riding around Wagga Wagga and taking in the sights. So much so, that we have already booked tickets for next years challenge, pushing ourselves to complete the Dirty 130, 130km in one day of sealed and unsealed roads.

Anyone wanting to hit us up and come join in the adventures is welcome.

Article by Eddy L
Photos by Eddy, Gears and Beers Photographers, OAUS

Editing Alex

 

Larapinta 2018

Larapinta, Alice Springs 7th – 26th of August [Completed]

What is Larapinta?

Trip type: Bushwalking
Difficulty: Medium
Start date: Tuesday, 7 August 2018 – 6:00am Sunday, 26 August 2018 – 8:00pm
Season: Winter
Months: June to August
Sights: Arid mountains, gorges, dry creek beds, waterholes
Hazards: Dehydration, Snakes, Hyperthermia, Hypothermia
Activity Leader: Jay Sims
Group: 10 female maximum

The Larapinta trail hike takes 18 days, plus another 2 days for arrival – the day before, and departure the day after (in total 20 days).
The group is a female empowerment group to help women appreciate the great outdoors with other like minded sisters.

Trip Proposal
She Devil Trekkers Larapinta hike 2018
ANUMC – Larapinta hike 2018