A monthly bulletin of natters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 p.m. at the Wireless Institute Building, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Mrs. Marcia Shappert - tel 30. 2028.
|Editor||Neville Page. 14 Brucedale Ave, Epping. Telephone 86.3739.|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke. 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford. Telephone 871.1207.|
|Duplicator Operators||Peter Scandrett, Owen Marks, George Gray.|
|The May General Meeting||Jim Brown||4|
|Mountain Memories||Owen Marks||5|
|Epic E.N.E.||Don Matthews||9|
|The Sou'west of the Sou'west - Part 2||Frank Rigby||12|
|Solo Through Abel Tasman National Park||Peter Harris||16|
|Bushwalker Bob||Len Newland||21|
|Walks Notes||Len Newland||21|
June started off much the same as any other month, and as far as this august journal is concerned there were few worries. A goodly supply of articles were to hand and Kath Brown had made a start on the typing, leaving the usual last minute items to tidy up without too much bother. A small dark cloud was foreshadowed when Kath mentioned that next month (July) she will be going on holidays or something (Kath is always going on holidays) and Spiro would be away skiing, and there was the question of Lesley expecting a baby on 22nd. July which could put me out of action about that time too. But that was in the future “We don't have much paper left” said Owen after running off the May magazine. “We'll have to order some.” After a brief altercation about who should be ordering the paper I said I'd do it and that was that. The June mag was still a little way off and everything was under control. At least, that was until last week; Thursday 10th. to be exact. I was at work that afternoon when I got a telephone call from a distraught lady announcing that my wife was about to give birth on the main steps of the G.P.O. in Martin Place and I'd better come quickly. Well what could I do in the circumstances but obey the kind lady and quickly I came, breaking all the traffic rules as I zipped in and out of the traffic, and ignoring the large policemen doing his 4.30 peak hour booking raid I parked the car in Pitt Street. Scanning the crowd for my wife in distress I eventually found her peeking out of a telephone booth. I was imagining the headlines - BABY BORN IN G.P.O. PHONE BOX. Fortunately I had arrived in time and my fantasy was not a reality. Into the car and off to hospital we raced. Baby was born at 8.40 next morning. That, I'm afraid was the end to any rational or logical planning of this magazine. Thanks to Kath, who had typed most of the material leaving me to do this editorial, arrange the pages and do the index plus assorted odds and ends, we had most of our mag. But I hadn't ordered any paper, and nobody could contact me because at most times I was somewhere between the hospital and home. George Gray told Kath that if he didn't hear from me he would order some paper, and the worst that could happen would be we'd have a double quantity. What he didn't reckon on was the time it would take for Gestetner to deliver the stuff. So, dear loyal readers, your magazine this month is printed on leftovers - and if your particular copy is multi-coloured, it's because it is printed on paper normally used for walks programmes. Don't ask me what we're going to do about the next walks programme. Hopefully by then we'll be back to normal. Mother and son, by the way, are both doing well.
On 29th May, 1976 the marriage took place of Robin to Peter 8caildrett. We wish the happy young couple happy travelling together through life.
Peter pitches his own line of woo:
“Will you love me when my carburetta's empty
Or when my radiator starts to leak?
Will you love me when my differential differs?
Will you rant me when my whole frame starts to creak?
Will you want me when my battery needs recharging?
Will you want me when my engine starts to skip?
Will you love me when my inner tubes need patching?
Will you ditch me when my clutch begins to slip?
Sweetheart mine I love you madly and it's this I ask of you:
Even when my tail light flickers
Will you still be true?
by Jim Brown.
May's business meeting was a pretty tranquil affair, with about 35 folk in attendance, and apologies coming from two officebearers, Sheila Binns and Jim Vatiliotis. We had no new members to greet, and plunged right into the April minutes which were endorsed as correct, after Len Newland had put the record straight on the proposed purchase by the National Parks & Wild Life Service of key blocks at Yadboro giving access to the south-eastern Budawangs.
At this stage too we filled the two vacancies resulting from Stephen Harvey's move to Melbourne, with John Fox inheriting equipment hire and John Redfern becoming the second Federation delegate holding a Committee seat.
Correspondence, in addition to the usual circulars and bulletins, showed us that the Electricity Commission had paid compensation of $150 for the power line across Coolana. The Dept. of Public Works advised an environmental impact study was to be made of plans for improving water supply to Gosford and Woy Woy, and there were two items which led to subsequent debate; one being Frank Rigby's appeal for moral and financial support for the McDonnell Ranges Committee in its bid to secure reserves in the centre and the other a copy of a letter sent to another club regarding the passage of its members across the property Baramul in Widden Brook. Evidently the writer of the second letter imagined that “Sydney Bush Walkers” was a generic name covering all clubs in Sydney.
We decided to donate $50 to the McDonnell Ranges appeal and it was remarked that the present era when the beef market was depressed might be a favourable time to persuade landholders to contribute property to such a reserve. On the question of the Widden Valley property (Baramul is about 10 miles up from the Goulburn River and just south of “Widden”) it was proposed to refer the correspondence to Federation and to reply to the writer in terms that should ensure his understanding of our Club's principles.
The Treasurer's statement showed an increase in ready funds from $1,073 to $1,146, despite a considerable slug of $72 rental for our P.O. Box. It was agreed we should check that this cost was correct, as it seemed rather high.
As copies of the Federation newsletter have been forwarded with the May magazine, the report on these affairs is not repeated, and we were now around to walks activities, with Len Newland showing us first his completely blank sheets for the NEXT (Spring) Walks Programme.
Walks Report commenced at Easter when Victor Lewin's Budawangs trip was cancelled, but David Rostron had 16 people in the Snowy Mountains, doing the planned trip in fine but cold and windy weather which put ice on the tents at least one night. There were 30 in the Barrington Tops on Helen Gray's jaunt, including 5 children, and two pleasant day walks were done. Beean Beean Falls remained a mystery, unless it was a cascade of about 6 ft., and it was reported that the place is being “cut to pieces by land rovers and trail bikes”.
The following (Anzac Holiday) weekend, there was another cancellation by Victor Lewin, but into the Blue Breaks sallied David Rostron with 15 fleet-footed walkers. Beautiful weather and good views were a feature of the trip, all camps being on high ground, and the total ascents during the three days probably exceeded 11,000 ft (barely 3,400 metres, of course).
The weekend of April 30/May 2nd saw another cancellation by Victor Lewin, while 10 people went from Newnes to Newnes via Mount Dawson and Glen Davis in Bob Younger's party, and there were 37 (26 lasses) down Falls Creek and up Couranga Track on the Sunday walk led by your reporter. On May 7/8/9 Tom Wenman's Kanangra-Kowmung trip was known to have gone with 7 or 8 people, but details were not to hand: the Mt. Solitary trip did not proceed, and Peter Miller's day walk brought out 22, who experienced rather scratchy going on the ridge east from Cowan. A good quality compass was found in the scrub and a koala sighted in its native habitat. It was suggested the koala was astray having lost its compass. Finally it was recorded that the proposed fortnight's trip to Lamington had been withdrawn, making a quartet of cancellations.
In the ebb-tide of the meeting, Peter Miller enquired if there would be interest in walkers having a meal together before Club nights. As the immediate response seemed a little uncertain, Helen suggested a trial run might be held, and at that point, 9.15 p.m., the meeting closed.
by Owen Marks.
Recently in one of my articles for this illustrious magazine, I said in a rather forthright way, that in my long life I had achieved many near successes. Subsequently due to many requests, verbal, postal and phonal, I have decided to speak of my adventures in days long ago. My philosophy is, was and ever shall be “Better to have lost than have never tried”. Being a bushwalker with a little “b”, I shall tell of my mountain climbs.
This is the famous Icelandic volcano, still active, set in a remote part of the island. I was working at the time (in 1956) on a farm outside Reykjavik, so only had the weekend. Accompanied by three Danish farmhands like myself, we walked the 7 miles to town, and caught a bus to where the road ends and then walked for hours across those barren wastes. At a lonely farmhouse roofed in turf sods and the only form of transport was donkey, we barged in for a bite to eat. Kindly people and they treated us like lost relations. They had a piano and those days I could play my 3 pieces properly. After playing my Mendelssohn and Chaminade we set out and there, shortly over the sand dunes, was Hekla.
Clouds were looming up and as we all climbed higher the fog became thicker and thicker. The scoria commenced and it was one up, two back. Visibility was down to a few feet and I decided enough was enough. What's the point in going further up to see a crater that would be invisible and no view? The following morning when they came down to me in my tent they were full of misery and woe. Serves them right! They weren't idiots, even for all that. Two of them were learning Gothic, which is rather odd. Dear reader, ask anyone you meet in the next 25 years if anyone has heard of anyone ever learning Gothic. Sanscrit is much more useful, and how many people have you met who have spoken that? No more. Be that as it may, that night we returned to Mossfellssveit and all the locals laughed at the stupid Australian. Such is Icelandic Logic, but Icelanders are rather potty as a race anyway. An example:- During Iceland Flag Day every room in the house had little flags in them on tiny 7” stands. Even the toilet! One more example:- Crossing a bridge by bus once near the top of a pass, every passenger spat out over the side of the bridge and then they each put a small stone on top of a cairn that was there. It stops Loki doing them harm. If you don't know who Loki is, look it up. Hekla by the way is only 4,500 ft.
I had been hitching around New Zealand in the summer of '53/54 and decided to notch up my first mountain. I slept in the lovely Government Hostel at the bottom, 7/6d. a night it was. Can't forget it because the bed was too comfortable and I had to sleep on the floor. Set out early with basic equipment and rushed up. Big joke. The heat and the steepness knocked me out and I arrived at night where the real climbers arrive for morning tea. It was a brilliant sunset and the mountain goes sheer up. Alas, the next morn the weather turned foul so I beat a hasty retreat down to the hostel. Alas, I had left my camera at the lodge halfway up the volcano. So I turned around and did that same trip all over again. Never do I want to go there again. Incidentally I was in New Zealand 21 years later and saw its shape silhouetted against the setting sun from Tongariro National Park.
This was a relatively easy mountain not to climb. A main road passes over the left-hand shoulder if you look from Mexico City. Got a hitch by a millionaire Cuban sugar planter (this was before Castro) and when we came to the saddle he said, “Let's climb up to the chalet”. It was just up there. Unfortunately mountain huts either look closer than they really are, or else further than they really aren't. To be quite truthful I can't recall after 19 years how far we climbed. I know we came up to the ice because I had paper in my shoes where the holes were. Naturally my feet became wet and the paper rotted away and my climb was over. And as the sun sank into the west, there was another unsuccessful notch on my ladder to fame.
Another volcano. This one overlooks San Jose in Costa Rica. This one was a successful climb. Yes, I made this to the top 11,325 ft. but on my pedal bicycle. Walked and rode, but mainly walked. Took nearly all day. Fog arrived just after I decided to come down. What a ride! Wore out my brakes by the time I arrived in Cartago, and down to my house in Tres Rios.
Taveuni is a little island in the Fijian Group, and incidentally well worth a visit to see its jungles and waterfalls. It is also the home of the Tangamauthia. The locals and V.I.P. in the Government assure me that only on this island can it be found. (Later on in life I read a short paragraph in a London Museum publication that it is also to be found on Fiji's highest mountain, Mt. Victoria.)
What is this Tangamauthia? Why, haven't you heard of it? I was there with a fellow club member, Frank Taeker, in 1965 and going to Taveuni by island steamer, all the crew were talking about this rare flower. (Imagine Australian seamen discussing wild flowers with full authority.) Anyway, we decided to climb the range behind Somo-Somo and in a hanging lake or rather nearby we would see it. Ah….. There was a catch. It was blue, smelt terrible and grows on the tops of the forest trees… It was also pink, odourless and can be found on the jungle floor. In fact it is every colour, varies in size from a sunflower to a snowdrop, and grows in every conceivable terrain. No one has ever seen it, but we were assured that we would certainly find it.
The local chief who we had to ask permission to climb his mountain, warned us that the ghosts of the mountain in the shape of wild pigs would certainly attack us. After we declined to go with him to church service, we started to climb. A glorious summer day in the tropics, if you know what I mean. Up this fantastic ridge with views overlooking the Somo-Somo Straits to the wild barren hills of the Natewa Bay area of Vanua Levu, and soon we were in the jungle. In the dark green atmosphere we would notice any tiny patch of colour. Evening was coming and we made camp by a swamp next to the lake, out of the way of the ghostly pigs. It rained all the night and I had to put up my umbrella in the tent; all this to see a flower that I had never heard of, no one has ever seen. How potty can you get!
Dawn came with all her glory and we decided to go back very slowly and peer into all nooks and crannies, under logs (truffle like), inside logs, behind hanging ferns and vines. No. No Tangamauthias anywhere. One was given to the Queen of Great Britain when she passed this way once, so it must exist. Not to be. We arrived down in the town, and contemplated. What fools these mortals be. So there you are; another great failure.
Not quite, though, because 50 yards from the town is a famous notice. A white background and a thin black line going through the centre. Yes, the International Date Line. There must be a moral somewhere in this story. Can you spot it?
If you see a puffing billy with a red face on your next walk, you'll know that he's the one who made a big error in writing up the '76 Reunion for us. It was not Frank Roberts who dethroned Spiro as the male damper champ. It was Hans Stichter!
by Don Matthews.
I have been trying to write an Epic Ode in preparation for the Grand Opening of the Coolana Structure, and the going has been tough. I guess it has to do with poetic images. One of my favourite photos is of a massive she-oak overhanging the pellucid waters of the Kangaroo River. The young-un is crouched in its shade at the water's edge, collecting pebbles. “Isn't that beautiful”, I said to her, holding up a finished print. “That's you at Coolana, collecting rocks”.
“I wasn't collecting rocks”, she retorted, “I was washing my sandshoes”. Ah yes, poetic images.
High on the hill, and looking where the lake
Which from the rapids at yon bend will make
Contiguous water to a distant shore,
He gazed, and murmured to himself “What more,
What extra boon could make this pleasant spot
More pleasant still. What could improve our lot?”
Hmm. It's hazardous to write about that particular stretch of water. It changes. My favourite tree is no longer there, and the bend which was formed by the great shingle bar has just about disappeared.
Never mind, press on:
And suddenly there flashed into his brain
A vision of a shelter 'gainst the rain,
A Georgian structure set into the hill
And fashioned with much grace and strength and skill,
Which, when the elements should so persuade,
Would furnish us with shelter and with shade.
That's better; very poetic:
And by an artifice both wise and bold,
There could be brought by pipeline, fresh and cold,
A stream of sparkling water, from a rill,
To save us carrying water bags uphill.
And then, another feather in our cap,
Could we not regulate the flow by tap?
A wonderful idea, that. If only I knew whether the Chief Architect was going to install a solar heater, then I could make it “By pipeline, hot or cold”.
And now for the great flourish!
These were his thoughts, and now we see today
Those thoughts transformed by Butler and by Gray
And numerous helpers whom we fain would list
From A to-Z, plus any that we've missed.
Here now it stands, and wide will spread its fame
This shelter with its iron and wooden frame.
That seems to cover everyone, even if it's a bit impersonal. Anyway, those who were on the job at the reunion are immortalised on Tri-X and Kodachrome.
Now for th6 last verse. What we need is a thundering crescendo, to stir the audience. Come to think of it, what could be more stirring than the innocent question posed to the builders during reunion weekend. “What colour”, said a lady observer earnestly, “are you going to paint it?” The answer to that, I thought to myself, could provide a topic of conversation for months to came. It might even reach the stage of thundering. It may not be a suitable theme for the finale, but the thought is fascinating to contemplate, and the words just about write themselves.
The problem unresolved is that of paint
To some bright red is nice, to some it ain't,
And this will lead to meetings in committee.
And on that desperate note we end this ditty.
Hail Coolana, silver, red or blue,
We'll use your shelter, heedless of the hue.
Now back to business. There's one phrase there that I could use… Hail Coolana!
Hail Coolana, camp spot by the water,
Long may your sylvan setting, as it oughter,
Grant to our many members, strength and solace;
This project, started in the time of Wallace,
We now declare complete, or pretty near,
So raise your mugs and give a rousing cheer!
No, it's not good enough. It starts heroically and ends in anti-climax, and I am bereft of inspiration.
We'll sing the National Anthem instead.
* Editor's Note: The title of this article “Epic E.N.E.” is as assigned by the author. Your dim-witted editor, unable to decipher the significance or 'entendre' of the letters “E.N.E.” resorted to his reference library, where the only possibilities he uncovered were “East-north-east”, “a suffix used in the naming of certain hydrocarbons”, and “Ever nearer to eternity”. None of these seems appropriate so the reader is left to decipher for himself. Perhaps it should have been called “N.E.1.4.A. Nepic”.
Box 553 P.O., Christchurch, New Zealand.
We have a prompt mail order service to Australian customers - free postage on all orders. Below is a list of some of the gear we stock - prices quoted in New Zealand dollars (NZ $1 = A $0.83). We prefer payment by bank draft in New Zealand currency.
|Typhoon Oilskin parkas - standard model||21.00|
|Typhoon Oilskin parkas - deluxe model||24.00|
|Cagoules, neoprene-coated nylon||18.40|
|Zip parkas, neoprene-coated nylon||23.00|
|Long woollen socks||4.50|
|Short woollen socks||2.75|
|Jumpers, 100% natural black greasy wool||20.00|
|Jumpers, pure wool, fair-isle patterns||19.00|
|Balaclavas, pure wool||2.40|
|Hats, pure wool, fair-isle patterns||2.45|
|Light woollen shirts, check patterns||9.50|
|Ranger, heavy wool shirts, check patterns||14.50|
|Mountaineer,heavy wool shirts, checks and tartans||17.00|
|Trousers, woollen tweed||14.50|
|Day sacks, from||15.00|
|K-2 double wall tents||94.00|
|K-2 special medium rucksacks||72.00|
|K-2 special large rucksacks||74.00|
|K-2 standard medium rucksacks||69.00|
|K-2 standard large rucksacks||70.00|
|K-2 Intermediate rucksacks||55.00|
|K-2 Junior rucksacks||42.00|
|K-2 Bivouac rucksacks||16.75|
|K-2 Aarn I climbing and ski-touring pack||58.50|
|K-2 Aarn II pack||51.00|
|Wintest nylon tents from||37.00|
|Fairydown Everest sleeping bags from||91.00|
|Everest Mummy sleeping bags from||86.00|
|Twenty Below sleeping bags from||72.00|
|Explorer sleeping bags from||58.23|
|Mountain Mule Rucksacks:|
|Featherlite standard - large||58.00|
|Heavy Duty standard||61.00|
|Heavy Duty super||67.50|
And much more - write for a price list (Address above).
by Frank Rigby.
(In the previous episode, the party of Rigby and Rigby were lazing at Window Pane Bay eating lotuses - or is it lotus-eating? Anyway, they were planning to return to the crest of the South West Cape Range, the route to the Cape itself. If only the weather would hold.)
But the weather did not hold; nor could Tasmanian weather, after four days of drought, be expected to hold. At 6 a.m. on Day 6, December 29, 1975, dark-looking clouds were rolling in from the north-west and during breakfast they released the first light shower. Then the agonising decision: do we or don't we move from this attractive and protected campsite? My kingdom for a healthy white ant then! We rationalised - the clouds are high, the Range is in the clear, it was only a shower, and anyway, this stuff is coming out of the north-west; can't be anything nasty from that quarter, we argue. The die was cast and so began the most remarkable days of my bushwalking life, so remarkable that I shall devote this whole episode to just one day.
At 8.15 a.m. we set off down the beach, passed through the forest behind it and then began the ascent of the Range, eyes for ever cocked in the direction of the weather. We were quite willing to beat a retreat to sea-level. But nothing changed. The high-level clouds marched across the sky, there was an occasional drizzle but little wind - it was going to be O.K. But Huey was more cunning than we bargained for; having enticed us up to the exposed heights he then threw the first real squall at us, tearing into us with wind and rain. On went the woollen shirts and the Kiwi jackets as we took shelter behind a rock. After twenty minutes or so we were on the verge of returning to the bay when the squall, as if privy to our thoughts, departed as suddenly as it had arrived. It turned out so nice again that it now seemed cowardly to retreat. At 11 a.m. we pushed on along the Range, ascending all the while and getting ourselves into a more and more exposed situation. At noon, Huey decided that he had us where he wanted us - the clouds lowered and blackened, the wind came in ferocious gusts and the rain pelted down. We found another rock to shelter behind and began to feel sorry for ourselves, recalling all the dreadful stories about exposure and hypothermia in the Tasmanian mountains. After half-an-hour of this, we peeked out - the scene looked grim indeed; this was no passing squall, it had really set in. We knew that we must turn back now, hoping that it was not too late; for on the whole crest of the Range there was not one protected spot on which to pitch a tent. And just to cheer us up, we knew that the steep sides were covered with impenetrable scrub - in other words there was no quick and easy way to the valley.
At 12.30 p.m. we stepped out into the full force of this now dangerous weather. At that moment, strangely as if to thwart our intentions, a thick mist enveloped the mountains, reducing visibility to a few yards. It was as if I had been blinded in mid-stride and in fact it was the last we were to see of the landscape for over six hours. Now the navigation of the South West Cape Range is difficult indeed in such conditions for the top of the Range is undulating, with shoulders and hollows all over the place; there is no well-defined crest. Of course, if one had been perfectly rational the compass would have been consulted immediately. But I find, unfortunately, that to be perfectly rational in tearing wind, rain and cold requires a tremendous effort of will - there is an overwhelming temptation to keep moving and a self-deluding notion that one senses the correct direction to go. Such a mental condition is dangerous and it was not until we stumbled over the same group of rocks for the second time that we finally recognised that danger. Even with the compass in my hand I doubt that I steered a very steady course. For over two hours (more than twice the duration of the outward walk) we groped along the Range on a rough northerly course, sometimes slipping off onto one side, sometimes the other, seeking campsites here and there but of course there were none. It was during one of these explorations that we nearly lost each other; a ten-yard separation, we found, was fatal because at that distance eyes and ears were useless in the mist and wind. It is amusing to reflect that lunch, so eagerly awaited on other days, never even crossed our minds.
The passage of time that day made no impact on me but it must have been about 3 p.m. when Joan called, “Look, what's that?” Looming eerily in the white-out we could make out a straight and slender vertical object. On coming closer we perceived it was an iron stake! So we had at last discovered the route to Window Pane Bay, the route we had traversed two days before. Or had we? Nothing was familiar. We must find more stakes, not an easy exercise in those conditions, but by scouting around with a great deal of shouting we managed to locate the next stake in both directions. (I should add there was no recognisable track.) We walked that line of three stakes three times but failed to recognise a single feature. Incredibly, it seems now, we convinced ourselves that this was not, after all, the route to Window Pane Bay but some other staked route beyond our knowledge. There seamed only one thing to do now - to forget the Bay and find a campsite somewhere up top, because frankly we were bewildered. Fortunately, the rain had eased.
Having made this decision, we dropped down the eastern (the more protected) slopes, exploring patches of trees and gullies for possible sites. But the whole landscape was tilted at 60° or worse and the little that was level was covered with scrub and fallen logs. The frustrating thing was that we had to stumble on something out of the fog - there was no “casing the joint” on a broader scale. Finally, we settled for the bare crest of a spur sloping away down to the east. When I say I mean bare of timber, not bare of the large button grass clumps which were everywhere. But at least it was reasonably level and partly protected. Getting the tent up called for some perseverance what with the wind, the slope and the button grass. We anchored the metal pegs with short lengths of stick cut from a nearby sapling and thankfully crept inside, moulding our bodies around the clumps.
Apparently this time the gods were with us because no sooner had we got comfortable than the storm returned with renewed fury. For three hours our tiny shelter in the middle of that vast wilderness was buffeted unmercifully by the wind and lashed by driving rain. Fearing the worst, we expected the tent would be lifted bodily from over us at any moment. Memories of a dreadful Tasmanian night spent in similar conditions at the high camp on Mt. Eliza in 1968 only made us more anxious. Then there was the terrible reputation of south-west Tassie to reckon with. I remember saying some prayers at this stage. We began to plan exactly what we would try to do if the worst came to the worst. Finally I got out my novel in an attempt to forget the outside world, but it was no use - I read only two pages in an hour. But the tent held and not a drop of rain had entered and I gave thanks for the sturdy japara sou'wester and the aluminium poles, the very items I had previously cursed because of their weight.
Around 7 p.m. we became vaguely aware of a change outside the tent. At first it was difficult to believe, a sort of “pleasure is the cessation of pain” type of feeling. But yes, the rain had stopped and the wind had eased. We quickly parted the flaps and two heads eagerly thrust through. We could actually see something! “Look, there's the Melaleuca Range across the valley, and that's the spur we came down three days ago. Yippee! We know where we are!” Out of the tent and up the spur we hurried, slipping and sliding everywhere in the mud. The weather still looked somewhat ominous but it was a wonderful new world, a world with which we could now come to terms. There were the stakes we had found in the mist and we followed them to the crest of the Range. Then the awful truth hit us like a thunderbolt: of course it was the route to Window Pane Bay, no doubt of it now, it was again familiar, how silly we must have been. How easy it all is when you can see around you, how utterly mystifying when you cannot!
We were now faced with another decision - whether to uproot camp and descend to the Bay while we could or whether to stay put. The wind now came from the south-west, not a reassuring sign at all, we felt. On the other hand, it was clearer in the south-west than it had been all day. Besides, only two hours of daylight remained, barely time to pack up and avoid the difficulties of the forest in the dark. Inertia, of course, won and we stayed. But it was not just that, either. Somehow, just knowing our position was immensely reassuring and after all, the tent had survived one onslaught - it might survive another. We would collect some water, hop into our cosy tent and make the gas stove justify its bringing; and in the morning, weather permitting, we would be off to a flying start along that crazy range. It all worked out.
There is just one more curious incident on that remarkable day to relate. After dinner we heard, quite distinctly, the howling of dingos coming from somewhere down the spur below us. There was no mistaking it. Joan and I looked at each other in amazement. The conversation went something like this Joan: “That's just what we need, isn't it? If it's not the weather, it's the wildlife.” Frank: “Listen, there they are again. Do you feel a bit scared?” Joan: “Aw, come on. We know there's nothing in this country to hurt us. Anyway, I've just remembered, there aren't any dingos in Tasmania.” Frank, becoming suspicious after another less authentic “howling”: “Hey, mate, are you sure that's not the rumblings of your tummy?” Joan: “Well, I'll be… There it is again. Hang me if it isn't my tummy. But it did sound like dingos, didn't it?” And on that whimsical note ended a long and disastrous day, though fortunately not a day of disaster.
To be continued.
Lightweight bushwalking and camp gear.
This 'shaped' rucksack is excellent for children. Useful day pack. Weight 14 ozs.
A single pocket, shaped rucksack. Suitable for overnight camping. Weight 1 1/2 lbs.
Have sewn-in curved bottom for extra comfort in carrying. Will hold 30 lbs. 2 pocket model 1 1/4 lbs. 3 pocket model 1 1/2 lbs.
Is an extra large bag with four external pockets and will carry about 40 lbs of camp gear. Weight 2 1/2 lbs.
Can carry 70 lbs or more. Tough lightweight terylene/cotton, proofed fabric with special P.V.C. reinforced base. 20“ x 17” x 9“ proofed nylon extension throat with double draw cord for positive closure. Flap has full sized zip pocket of waterproof nylon. Outside pocket. Bag is easily detached from the frame to form a 3' sleeping bag cover for cold, wet conditions. Weight 6 lbs.
Same features as de luxe model except for P.V.C. bottom reinforcing. Weight 5 1/4 lbs.
Young people and ladies will find this pack a good one. It will carry sufficient camping equipment and food for 3 or 4 days or more. Has 3 pockets, capacity about 30 lbs. Weight 4 lbs.
Hooded bag. Extra well filled. Very compact, Approx 3 1/4 lbs.
Super warm. Box quilted. Added leg room. Approx 4 1/2 lbs.
P.V.C. or nylon.
One, two or three man. From 2 1/2 to 3 1/4 lbs.
Two, three or four man. From 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs.
Compasses dry, oil filled or wrist types. Maps. Large range. Bushwalking books. Freeze dried and dehydrated foods. Stoves and lamps. Aluminium cook ware. Ground sheets. Everything for the bushwalker.
Paddy Pallin 69 Liverpool St., Sydney. 26-2686, 61-7215.
by Peter Harris.
I never quite know how to approach writing this type of article - whether the reader wants the slow build-up approach, or desires to get straight into the “hard stuff”.
Well, perhaps the reason why this article is written will surfice in this instance.
I am back here at Te Anau, Fiordland National Park (N.Z.), waiting in a dingy little motor camp cabin for a friend to show up in order to do a trip along the Dark Cloud Range separating Dusky Sound and Preservation Inlet. The naked light bulbs hang above, reminding me of the typical T.V. police question room, the walls are bespattered with all sorts of stains and marks, and it's bloody cold. Outside it's raining, and has been raining for the last few days.
My mood of despondency and gloom can only be alleviated by writing of pleasant times. Some of those pleasant times are not fit to print - others, like my recent trip into the Abel Tasman National Park, near Nelson, New Zealand, are printable. And so, thinking pleasant thoughts, let me begin.
Abel Tasman is the smallest of New Zealand's National Parks, and is basically a maritime park. It is located on the western side of Nelson Bay, 33 km east of Takaka. The coastline is quite rugged, and quite beautiful as it is broken in many places by deeply indented bays and drying flats. The interior is predominantly rain forest and semi-rain forest, with occasional clearings, some of which (like Moa Park) are natural, others are the eternal result of hot fires and the upsurge of secondary undergrowth, predominantly ferns and the introduced gorse. The highest point in the park is Mt. Evan at approximately 3500 ft. (you do the metric conversion!), and traces of gold may be found in its jumbled quartzite summit.
The track system throughout the park is very well graded, well defined and well developed. The huts are usually no more than a few hours apart and are the most luxurious Park Board accommodation that I have seen in New Zealand.
There are three main approaches to the park - Marahua along the coast from the south, Totavanui (Park headquarters) along the coast from the north, or via the inland Canaan Road which passes by some of the rarest limestone and speleologic country in New Zealand.
From Nelson, buses (Newman Coach Service, Hardy St. Nelson) go twice daily to Takaka (at time of writing 8.30 a.m., 3.30 p.m.) and take approximately 3 1/2 hours to reach their destination. The return bus leaves Takaka at 8.00 a.m., and passes the Canaan Road at approx. 9.50 a.m. I caught the 3.30 p m. bus from Nelson which dropped me off at the Canaan Road at 5.30 p.m. From the Canaan Road it is approx. 4 miles up the road to the Mt. Evans Track, and 8 miles to the road end at Pages Saddle which is the start of alternative track to Moa Park.
From Takaka there is no scheduled bus service to Totaranue. Taxis may be hired to cover the 33 km, hitching is relatively reliable, or in summer there may be a freighter service into the area.
Marahua may be reached via the same bus from Nelson, which passes the coastal town of Riwaka. It is then l2 1/2 miles via Kaiteriteri to the start of the track from Marahua. Water taxis may be hired from Kaiteriteri, hitching is fairly reliable. (Unsure about taxis from Riwaka.)
Information on the park can be gained from the Park Board's Handbook “Abel Tasman National Park” which is available in Australia. A map accompanies the handbook and is basically all that is required for the easier track walking. Fanatics who wish to pursue pastimes off the beaten track are referred to the two topographic sheets Takaka and Adele, both 1:63,360.
Many years ago, a close friend once mentioned briefly in a conversation that she had walked solo through Abel Tasman National Park. I was immediately aghast. Here was a lone, frail girl flirting with the dangers of New Zealand's mountains!! The possibilities astounded me, and I admired her great courage and fortitude.
I now find that I was deceived, and that the title of this article is deceiving. For to solo through the park is an easy and very pleasant experience. The tracks are very well marked, graded, and signposted, and the terrain is by no means rugged. Loneliness is no problem as the park usually contains a fair number of trampers. The risk of personal injury is minimised by the park's patronage.
At the Canaan Road, after the bus departed, I shouldered my characteristically enormous 70 lb pack for 6 days of walking (this trip could be done in two long days!) and ambled up the road, passed the massive limestone outcrops. At 6.30 p.m. I had covered 3 1/2 miles to camp on a small flat on the eastern side of the road, just within the park boundaries. With nightfall this eyrie presented beautiful views across Nelson Bay to the distant lights of Nelson and the nearer lights of Motueka. The saddle had no accessible water, so in the morning I left early and trundled up the road for another half mile to the signposted Mt. Evans Track.
Immediately upon entering the rain forest, the change of temperature became apparent, but it was exceeded by the sheer complex beauty that characterises New Zealand's forests. For here great sheaths of lichen and mosses fell like curtains from the beech trees, and the jumbled mass of fallen timber was overgrown in twisting vines of many splendid colours. The dampness was enhanced by the filtered morning sunlight, creating a smoky dream-like effect. I heard the babbling sound of a rushing creek, and after 15 minutes of walking stopped for breakfast and an opportunity to study this enchanting forest.
An inquisitive fantail dined with me. I continued along the track, detouring after 1/2 hr. to the summit of Trig K (1/2 hr. return), which presented an admirable view over most of the country, but little view of the Abel Tasman Coast.
Eventually, after a 600 ft. climb (which really seemed to be nothing) reached the crest of Nightcap Ridge and followed this along to the summit of Mt. Evans. The total climb from the road is 1,000 feet, and I can distinctly remember being astounded that I had in fact reached the top. Dumping my pack I pottered around amongst the quartz, locating a bit of gold, and then after a brief scramble over boulders gained a vantage point for a view back across Nelson Bay, but still nothing of the coast as some trees higher than the summit blocked the vision.
Along the track the lower shelf of Mt. Evans ridge brought me back into a paradise of lichen and mosses, and soon I was down in Moa Park, with its rushing stream, scenic clearing and dilapidated hut (4-bunk). The stream contains protected freshwater crayfish. Following up the clearing I located the track to Castle Rocks Hut, and descended about 1,000 ft. along the track to reach the hut by 3.30 p.m., after a very leisurely day. Castle Rocks Hut is 4-bunk, and has a very homely atmosphere about it. The clearing gives some pleasant views of the nearby granite masses from which some superb sunrise photographs may be taken.
The following morning I left by 9.00 a.m. in order to reach Torrent Bay Hut, a descent of about 2,500 feet. My impressions of the forest deteriorated due to a sort of slog to Holyoake Clearing, with no views till the clearing is reached. The clearing is high-level and is the result of a past fire. There is a 4-bunk hut which is not marked on any maps that I have seen. I arrived at the hut at 10.30 a.m. for morning tea. Shortly after I encountered acres of gorse, which is a most inconvenient prickly bush introduced into New Zealand initially as a hedge, but gone wild. Goats and pigs also are common in this area. The track forks, one going south to Marahua, my track going north to Torrent Bay. At last I saw my long-sought-after view of the northern coast from a bare hill just off the track, and after a dehydrating descent arrived at sea level to lunch at the Torrent River.
The midday light had a magical effect on the water. To my mind it ranks as one of the most beautiful locations I have seen, with reflections, deep swimming holes, and a beautiful beach for sunbaking. Sandflies were present but not unbearable. From the river a side track for 15 mins. took me up to Cleopatra's Pool, which can be recognised by its rather unique waterfall. Multi-coloured berries adorned the nearby bushes. I arrived at the luxurious Torrent Bay Hut at 2.00 p.m. The hut is 12-bunk and features mattresses, table and chairs, outside garden, barbeques, lawns, exterior furniture, and a family of inquisitive wekas. In this setting I was content to bludge away what remained of the daylight, in picturesque surroundings.
With the tide out, the following morning I elected to leave at noon, and therefore enabled me to cross the drying flats and over the isthmus to Browns Bay and its beautiful beach. There is another Park Board hut here (Anchorage Hut), but it is not indicated on any maps. It features the same standard of luxury as that at Torrent Bay. The rocks at the western end of the beach are quite picturesque.
I left Torrent Bay Hut in perfect weather at 12.30 p.m and continued along the track which starts just above the “loo” towards Bark Bay.
The track circumnavigates the drying flats, sometimes quite precipitously, and very picturesque views may be had of the bay. One arrives at the little coastal holiday resort at the northern end of the bay, then locates the track at the northern end of the beach. From here a glorious view extends south across the mouth of the Torrent over to Crowns Beach and the Anchorage Hut.
The track seems content to follow near to the coastline but slightly inland, and about 200 ft. above sea level. I detoured along several marked tracks to lookouts and high vantage points, but nothing in the park matched the incredibly beautiful view of the Falls River from near the suspension bridge. The view out to the mouth of the river and to Sandfly Bay was perfectly framed by a stand of very scenic rimu trees.
The suspension bridge across the Falls River is quite long, and although very safe, it stands sufficiently high above the fast flowing river to produce that “queasy” stomach feeling. I had a late lunch on the other side, again entertained by the antics of two inquisitive fantails. Bark Bay is but a short stroll from here, and the Park Board Hut is a chalet. It has about 16 bunks, with kitchen and loungeroom. Or, if you prefer to eat out there are barbecues in the garden with hand-made furniture to eat from.
A very big camping ground exists on the promontory directly opposite the hut, from which access to the sandy beach is very easy. As I still had not “worked off” my lunchtime repast, I elected to continue on to Tonga Quarry, a time of 1 1/2 hours, and camp right on the beach amongst the ruins of the historical granite quarry.
Do not try beach fishing with a piece of green capsicum - it doesn't work!!
Across the Tonga Roadstead, Tonga Island rose up above the deep blue sea, and to the north an impressive view of Onetahuti Beach greeted me.
The early morning sunrise was quite a spectacle of vivid red and orange colouring across the sea.
I “polished off” the Drambuie, and ambled around the bluff between the quarry and Onetahuti to descend to the beach. The track lies behind the foredune, but it was much more beautiful to wander up the beach itself, which is quite long, but very relaxing. A flock of seagulls covered the estuary of the northern creek.
From the northern end of the beach the track expands into a road leading to Awaroa Inlet, and after about 10 minutes I left my pack beside the road and followed a marked track through gorse to Shag Harbour. I had envisaged camping at Shag Harbour, but this is not possible due to terrain. The tide was out, and an opportunity to walk out to see some very interesting sea caves arose. All around are the compulsive engravings of names of visitors and marine craft. It is well worthwhile to detour to see this beautiful harbour.
Awaroa Inlet is another popular holiday resort, and possesses quite an attractive beach with very extensive drying flats. It is only possible to continue north at low tide, as the flats must be crossed. At high tide they can be submerged under 9 feet of sea water. As was the case on my arrival - the tide was in, which meant spending a night on the south bank.
The 16-bunk Awaroa Hut is located on the south bank of the inlet, and well into the indented drying flat area of the Awaroa River. Similar to other huts, it is quite luxurious, being very well designed with exterior porch and nearby beach sands for sunbathing. I arrived here at 1.00 p.m. after another lazy, “bludge” day, and idled away the afternoon in sleep.
With the tide still “in” the following morning, I wandered back along the beach and around to the Awaroa Bluffs, but could not get around the bluffs to Canoe Bay. Therefore I elected to cross the nearby low saddle but progress was again terminated by thick stands of gorse.
By midday the tide had receded sufficiently to enable me to make a safe crossing of the drying flats, and after locating the track on the northern side, I followed this up Pounds Creek and out to the coast at Goat Bay. It was then only a short amble to Totavanui, which is a very long beach and the location of Park Headquarters.
The area of Totavanui was formerly a very early farm, and the mansion is still in very good order, but set back about one quarter of a mile from the beach. Around Totavanui secondary undergrowth has sprung up following the clearing for farmland, but a huge camping area caters for many hundreds of visitors, particularly during the high summer season. There are neither showers or stores at Totavanui.
Finally I achieved a day of great suffering, when during heavy rain and with no tourist cars on the Takaka road, I was relegated to walking the whole way back to Takaka. In pouring rain it is a miserable road of 33 km and an ascent of 1,000 ft. over Pigeon Saddle. Much to my relief there was a vacancy in a nearby motel for recuperation and drying out. Thank God for tourism!
Include the Abel Tasman National Park on your next visit to New Zealand. I don't think that you will be disappointed.
Members are reminded that annual subscriptions were due and payable as at March this year. Subscriptions may be paid to Jim Vatiliotis (Treasurer) or John Holly in the club rooms or may be posted to Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney, 2001. Receipts for payments by cheque will not be posted out unless requested. Subscription rates are as follows-
Ordinary member $8.50, Married Couple $10.50, Students $5.00, Non-active member $1.50 plus $4.00 for magazine if required.
[Cartoon of bushwalker with a nail through his finger and another bushwalker attending to him with a medical guide.]
By Len Newland. Telephone 43.2419 (B).
In order to satisfy curiosity, I can advise that the S.B.W./Dungalla day will be Saturday 11th. September.
|2,3,4||Mt. Victoria - Victoria Falls - Grose River - Bluegum Forest - Grand Canyon - Blackheath. Feature spots are the Victoria Falls, Bluegum Forest and Grand Canyon. Last I heard, Hans Beck was rushing to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for the necessary permit.|
|9,10,11||Adama Lookout - Bungonia Gorge - Shoalhaven River - Blockup - Mt. Beck - Adams Lookout. His third attempt, Stephen Knightley will lead all comers through this delightful country, full of ancient steep, deep valleys.|
|18||Waterfall - Neram Ridge - Polana Brook and cave - Cliff Track - Otford. Includes scrub-bashing between easy walks with good scenic views from Polana Brook. Ray Carter leads.|
|23,24,25||Carlon's Farm - Carlon's Head - Clear Hill - Wombat Parade - Splendour Rock - Blue Dog - Cox's River - Tin Pot Track - Carlon's Farm. Colossal view to Kanangra Walls from one of the finest vantage points in the Blue Mountains: Splendour Rock. Some scrub bashing to Carlon's Head. Leader is Ron Knightley.|
|30,31,1||Carlon's Farm - Breakfast Creek - Mt. Jenolan - Guouogang - Konangaroo Clearing - Galong Creek - Carlon's Farm. Another walk in the Blue Mountains this time led by Snow Brown.|
|9,10,11||Patoney's Crown - Tyan Pic. Friday night camp in places unknown. First day: ice breaking, rock scrambling to the top of Patoney's Crown (mesa). Second day: climb with gardening gloves and jeans to the top of Tyan Pic - it's a bit scratchy up there. Ask Ray Hookway to escort you to these two magnificent 360° views in the Capertee area.|
|17,18||Rocklily Ridge - Lawson Ridge. Peter Miller says it's down the track, across the creek and up the other side. Good luck.|
|4||Cowan - Bulwa Ridge - Berowra Creek. Spend a quiet Independence Day with Margaret Reid in pleasant bush surroundings close to Sydney.|
|11||Mt. Hay Road - Lockley's Pylon - Bluegum Forest - and return. Excellent views of the Grose Valley and waterfalls plus beautiful Bluegum. Vic Lewin leads this not difficult up and down walk.|
|18||Cowan - Jerusalem Bay - Porto Bay Creek - Railway Dam - Brooklyn. A good walk with a bit of railway history. Led by Roy Braithwaite.|
|25||Glenbrook - Campfire Creek - Ironbarks - Euroka - Mt. Portal - Glenbrook. Euroka Clearing is easily the best picnic spot I have seen. The Blue Mountains bush is beautiful too. See John Holly for details.|
|25||Stanwell Park - Coastal Track - Otford. Tony Denham leads the only seaside walk of the month.|
|Aug. 1||Woodford - Upper Glenbrook Creek - Sassafrass Gully - Numantia Creek - Linden. If you can't come on this one, see me anyway - I need walks for the Spring programme.|
|Aug. 1||Waterfall - Waratah Hill - Tukawa Rill - Engadine. The walk is easy, the bush pleasant, the occasional view enchanting, but unless you are a camel, bring your own water for lunch. Meryl Watman is good company too.|
|3,4||Guthega Pondage - Mt. Twynam - Blue Lake - Watson's Crags - Little Twyham - Guthega Pondage. Dust off those skis. Pat McBride is skiing, with a camp at Blue Lake. This trip is not for those who have never seen snow.|
All members and non-members of the Sydney BushWalkers Gourmandizers and Epicurian Club are advised that:
Dinner before the next General Meeting on Wednesday 14th. July will be at Lombardo's Restaurant, 435 Elizabeth Street Sydney, near Central Station. Food is Italian style.
Time: 6.00 p.m.
For those who are not acquainted with this activity, it is simply a matter of eating out before monthly general meetings with fellow bushwalkers. If you have any enquiries, contact Peter Miller, whose telephone number is 95.2689.
Winter is here. Some snow has fallen on the Snowy Mountains and 'langlaufers', or cross-country skiers, are beginning to head south on tours. “Others” resolve to discover the reason for the fanatical behaviour of the ski touring bods.
Rather than write a long dissertation on the practical side of ski touring, prospective cross country skiers could ring me for information at 47.2186 (Monday to Thursday most nights).
One match and two hatches have been brought to our notice this month, thus reinforcing and increasing the bushwalking community somewhat.
As reported on page 3 of this issue, Robin Preston and Peter Scandrettt put their respective signatures on the marriage contract on Saturday 29th. May, enjoying beautiful sunny weather for the reception at the home of Robin's parents at West Pennant Hills. Incidentally, it is Robin and Peter's wedding which brought us the flannel flower design depicted on page 1, since it was designed specifically for their wedding invitation and place cards. The designer was one of Robin's bridesmaids Leonie, who is a freelance commercial artist. I think you will agree, it is a beautiful piece of work, and we thank Leonie for her kind permission to use it in our magazine.
The first “Hatch” to be reported was from Dorothy and Alan Pike, who are now the proud parents of a little girl, Alanda. And yon editor's wife Lesley, gave birth to a boy, to whom the handle “Geoffrey Michael” has been attached. Congratulations all round.
Peter Harris has advised us of what he refers to as a “big blunder” regarding maps in his article “Fiordland For Us Aussies” published some issues ago in the Sydney Bushwalker.
“The entire area of Fiordland National Park has been covered by 26 topographic maps, at the scale 1:63360, since the first editions were published in 1974. These maps may be obtained at the Lands Department, Invercargill; or at Park Headquarters, Te Anau.
The following are the maps required for track coverage:
Milford Track - N2MS S122, N2MS S113, N2MS S131, N2MS S121.
Routeburn Track - N2MS S122.
Morain Creek - N2MS S122.
George Sound Track - N2MS S130.
Dusky Sound - Lake Hauroko - N2MS S157, N2MS S158.
Dusky Sound - Lake Manapouri - N2MS S157, N2MS S148.
Hollyford Valley - N2MS S122, N2MS S113.”