Shaolhaven river – Bendy River To Not Bendy MKII (B.R.T.N.B)

This was our first time back in Oz for almost 11 months, and Dan had organised an outing with some of our friends. It was me and Sara, Dan and Amy, Moosh and Nat, Steve and Allycia, Allison, Alex and Elena, so quite a group!

This was going to be Bendy River To Not Bendy MKII (B.R.T.N.B)!

So, to make this happen, Dan had booked a houseboat on the Shaolhaven river!

Houseboat at night

Just getting started

We got there just too late to take the boat out, so spent the first night at the mooring, drinking and fishing. Next day, Mark came down and showed us the ropes, before we headed up stream. The drive down took us by the Berry donut van, and some backcountry driving behind Nowra. It was a bit suspect…

Capt Allison and Navigator Amy
Captain Allison and the trusty gossip navigator Amy

Fishing gone wrong
Fishing gone wrong

More goss
More goss

The ride up took us to some nice spots, with lots of waterskiiers zooming past. The houseboat didnt go all that fast, as it is not really designed for speed. It had some big Mercury engines, that revved well!

When we got to the whitepointers, it was time for a bit of a ropeswing!

Elegant jump
Elegant jump

Painfull jump
Painfull jump

High jump
High jump

We spent quite a few hours here, also trying out the kayak surfing and the donut drowning.

Dad and his boys
Dad and his boys

Kayak stalkers
Kayak stalkers

There where a number of designated parkingspots for us up the river, and we sailed on to the top one, where we had a great BBQ! The girls cooked up an excellent meal, while Moosh delivered the meat.


It was just such a pleasant ride up the river with a swim there, and a splash here. Then a little bit of Kayak or talking the tinnie out. You had all your friends around you, and we just sat around talking shit all day. Steve and Allycia had been the last to arrive, and got the loungeroom fold out. This meant they where last to bed, and unfortunately fell pray to some deviant story sharing between Dan and myself. I think it gave them nightmares!

Next day, we repeated the routine, and travelled downstream for more swimming and kayaking. Weather had been great on Saturday, but was a bit more shady on Sunday. In any case, it was a great weekend!

After sneaking back into port, cleaning and packing up, we said our goodbyes, and took of down the coast again towards Bombala. It was a bit sad, as it felt like we had just dumped back into our slots, then had to move on and forwards with the return to Norway in mind.

The whole houseboat thing cost $1700AUD between the 11 of us.

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Newnes Bushwalk

Bushwalk out of Newnes, spetacular country!

We met up at Uni 1900 friday night, after locating our trailer that wasn’t made ready for us, we could take of at 20. We entertained ourselves on the drive to Newnes by looking at the temperature gauge, seeing how low it could go. That night it went to 7. Some sleeping bags had ratings around the 4 mark…

Saturday morning we started walking at 8, the road up the valley had been extended since the 70s, which was the most recent release of our map, so we could keep a good pace for the 1st third of the way up the valley. The walk up to the top, was through the scrub, the only way is the one we made for ourself. We all have the cuts to prove it.

It was fairly dense and not many places to sit down for a good rest. Camelbaks seemed to be a good investment, considering you didnt have to take of your pack all the time to get some water.

After a long walk to the top, 5 hours or so, we had lunch. Some where hungrier than others.

The view from where we sat, was spetacular!

After lunch we made our way over to Point Nicholson, it was a bit of a scramble getting there.

After looking for the campsite for a while, we looked at the map one more time, and figured we hadn’t looked where it probably was. So we looked there, and we found it. Excellent spot, sheltered and nice!

That night we entertained ourselves with games and Shamrock Cream in front of the campfire. Not bad! It got down to 4 degrees during the night, and other peoples bodyheat attracted the cold ones. The ones with good sleeping bags where fine by themselves though.

We where up and walking by 8 the next morning, traversing the ridge above Little Capertree creek. There where lots of ups and downs getting from one point to the other, with rock scrambling and pack hauling.

But the group was mighty happy nevertheless.

From left: Jo, Justine, Lynn, Peter, Alex, Mark and Dave.

We found our canyon too, and it was truly a hidden gem! We had to packhaul and crawl through tight spaces twice, really getting to know our rocks and how hard they could be on our heads.

The end of the canyon saw us coming into a second sort of canyon, very nice!

We where back by the car by 16, but didn’t make it back to the Gong before 21, taking the scenic route through Sydney.

All in all a very good trip, well hidden with some spectacular scenery.

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Overland track

I walked the Tasminaian Overland Track Jan/Feb 2004. Great walk!

Its tuesday, Im bored, I want to do something. The Overland Track comes to mind. I have an exam 12 days, the walk takes 5, travel takes 2, preperation takes 2. I know it will be right!

I spend the rest of tuesday and wednesday preparing for the walk. I dont know much about it, Im unable to obtain a map so I cant plan much for it. But nevertheless I buy the planetickets, waterproof my boots and pack the backpack.

The flight down to Launceston is eventless, likewise is the night after the last food and gear is purchased. I learn that Tasmania has experienced imense rain the last few days, but Im still determined. Im walking!

I catch the bus friday morning after a crap night in a hostel, its drizzeling and there are a few others there. Todays target is Waterfall Valley Hut (S 41 42.881 E 145 56.811), and to climb Cradle Mountain (S 41 41.096 E 145 57.086).

I arrive at Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre, and the walkers are given the spiel on how to behave, what gear to have and so on. Poncho is apperantly a big no-no, but thats what I have, and thats what I will use. I never worked out why it was a big no-no, because I stayed dry. Nevertheless, the shuttlebus takes us out to Ronny Creek (S 41 38.273 E 145 56.875), and for the first time I see what I have set out on. Mountains!!! After a real heart starter up the hills to Marions Lookout, I can see the beauty of it!

Cradle Mountain from Marions Lookout

I finally make my way to the top of Cradle Mountain. Noone else around. The serenity is awsome! And from here, I can see tomorrows target, Barn Bluff.

Barns Bluff from Cradle Mountain

I scramble down, and walk on to Waterfall Valley Hut. The hut is spacsious, and I get a spot in the bunks. After a wash in the stream, its dinner and yarn time. Then bed at sunset.

I get up early in the morning, first to take of up towards Barn Bluff. After an hour, at the foot of the mountain, Im overtaken by Bob & Terry, two retired professional holliday makers. They speed past me, and I keep on scrambling my way to the top. Im hoping that it will clear up by the time I reach the top, but it doesnt.

Top of Barns Bluff in clouds

Down again, I have my lunch. When lunch is over, a girl that I passed on my way down is back as well, and we walk together to the next hut, Windemehr (S 41 46.269 E 145 57.510). On the way there, we check out the waterfalls in Waterfall Valley, and by Lake Will.

Lake Will waterfall

The walk to the Waterfalls are a wet and boggy 2h return walk, but the falls where fine nevertheless. Thunder is on the horizon so we skip lunch and hope for a dry walk to Windemehr instead. And only 5 minutes before the hut, does it start to rain. Very good timing! Windemehr is another nice hut, quite new and spacsious. After a nice freeze dried dinner, there is time for some solitare, talk and then finally sleep at sunset.

The cobwebs in the morning sun

We are the first to take of that morning, but are soon overtaken by Bob & Terry. We are on our way to New Pelion Hut (S 41 49.828 E 146 2.812), another muddy walk. The worst sections are boardwalked, a lot of it is boardwalked actually, which is good I sepouse. The trend indicates that more of the track will be boardwalk in the near future due to unsustainable impact. We lunch at Frog Flats (S 41 50.352 E 146 0.277) before we start our ascent up to New Pelion. Its still fine when we get there, so we go for a swim in the waterhole by the old hut. The water is very refreshing. It escpesially feels good when the blood comes back into your veins afterwards.

The New Pelion hut is a big hut, with 6 bedrooms and 60 beds. Plenty of room for everybody, but still a contradiction to the talk about unsustainable numbers of bushwalkers.

The next morning we are the first of again. Im still walking with Eleanor, she does most of the talking, and doesnt seem to anoyed with my lack thereof. On the way up the gap by Mt Ossa, we are overtaken by some fit country NSW girls. But sadly, they dont realise their own limitations. We catch up with them just by the top as one of them is hurling. She excuses herself by claiming she had too much water, when it is obvious she pushed her body to far. Bob & Terry joins the party as well, and overtake us on our way to the top of Mt Ossa. Halfway up it starts raining, and luckily, I brought my backpack this time with fleeces and waterproofts, thanks to Eleanor point out the obvious to me. “You got a small backpack, why dont you use that to the top?”. It keeps on raining as we scramble up, then down. My poncho keeps the backpack, and most of me dry, so its all good. Finally down, it has as good as stopped, but it is still in the air, so we postpone lunch before we go to the Kia Ora hut.

Kia Ora holds 23 people that night, and the natives visits just after sunset with cake. Very nice of them, but sort of a surreal experience.

I have decided that I will give Windy Ridge a pass, and rather make for Narcissus and the ferry on tuesday. Im getting a bit concerned about my exam by this stage.

Eleanor doing track clearing

Eleanor joins me, and toghether we walk for Narcissus. Nobody overtakes us this day. The old guys are getting tired. I catch my ferry, and Eleanor stays behind, determind to walk out the next day the whole way! No ferry for her.

While we wait for the ferry, a guy that seemed to love the sound of his own voice, joins us for a chat. He is disappointed by the lack of people bringing alcohol on the walk, and how they had brought bottles of all kinds, and he is also so bored because he is injured and waiting for his mates doing a side trip. Its funny, because the ranger at Waterfall Valley told us about some people that had left behind a heap of rubbish there, and how someone had to come back and get it. That was Mr. LoveMyVoices group.

I just catch the bus with a delyed ferry, and head for Hobart. After finally getting reception on my Optus phone, I reschedule my flight, and my accomodation. The hostel is horrible, but it will do for a night.

And Wednesday the 4th of Feb I head back to Wollongong, 2 days earlier than planned.

A nice walk, some very nice mountains. All in all very good! Highly recommended!

Outback trip 2003

Simon, Steve, Adam, Brandon and I, departed Wollongong thursday 18th of september. After some last minute reshuffeling due to the other car not beeing able to make it, we decided to change to itinary to go to Uluru first, then to Dalhousie Springs and asses wheter or not we should make the desert crossing then. I made the optimistic estimate that we would make it to Uluru in 2 days…

We travelled in a Toyota HJ47 troop carrier, with a 2H engine. 2 in the front, and 3 in the back. Capacity of 200l of diesel, 90l of water. Carried EPIRB, 1w handheld UHF, 8kg gas, recovery gear, firstaid kit, 2 spares and food for 11 days. Used a IceKool esky for food storage. Car on 33″ Kumho MT. Timber roof racks.

I dont know what kind of oil the mechanic put in, but I was burning about 1l a day of oil for the first 5 days. I kept topping up with Penrite HPR Diesel, and it stopped burning oil. Topped up 5l over the whole trip, all in the first 5 days.

We left town around 1900, and made it to Jugiong, on the freeway. We camped at the local pool, as recommended by “Camps Australia Wide 2”, but it wasnt good, way to much light, and too close to the exhaust brakes on the freeway. The guys started to get some idea of what they where up for, when I told them there was no tent, but that we sleep on the tarp.

Got up early, breakfast in Wagga Wagga, nice place called Sugars, then further west towards Mildura. We got cryovac meat in Balranald, then headed to Bottle Bend Forest Reserve 58km NW of Euston.

The 2 day travel seemed a tad too optimistic now. We had stong headwind, and only averaged 80km/h most of the day. My estimated 15l/100km didnt seem to hold up either.

We headed over the SA border, had to discard an onion we had forgotten about. Then lunch in Pt. Pirie, we walked for 1km out the pier and we had waist deep water. Then a crab bit me, so we headed northwards. In Port Augusta, I talked to the gas station guy, if it was ok to travel at night northwards, he just laughed and told me Id better have a bullbar. So we drove just past Woomera, to Lake Hart rest area, it sucked so we found a dune not far away by the railroad tracks we camped by.

We had a 0330 start, aiming for breakfast in Coober Pedy, we made it, but by beeing Sunday, none of the tourist things where open, so we hit the road again towards Uluru.

Now, I dont know what I was expecting from Uluru, but it wasnt what I saw. The rock was very nice and all, but the whole thing was very commercialised. Chookers of tourists.

I wanted to feel it all, but there wasnt much room for it.

We paid $16.50 a head to get into the national park, then another $12.50 per head for bush camping.

We spent the day walking around Uluru, then looking at the Olgas. Very warm day, in the arvo we headed of to Kernot camping ground on the road back to Stuarts highway. There where some very cheeky dingoes here, and despite my warnings, a torch and a sandal was stolen during the night.

We took of towards Dalhousie Springs, after a succefull search for the sandal and torch. On our way to Finke, we came across “Bare Tracks”, a nudist 4wd club. A bif different. In Finke, we just made the shop, that closed at 12. We picked up some more supplies, including a Kangaroo tail. Something we hadnt tried before. Arriving at Dalhousie Springs, we jumped straight into the water. It held 38 degrees!

At dusk, for 1 hour, the mosquitos rule Dalhousie Springs, lots and lots of them.

Today was my birthday, it was celebrated with a relaxing day at the springs, a copy of FHM, tinned fruit and kangaroo tail.

We had to improvise a bit on the tail cooking, as we had to use a concrete circle for out fire. We couldnt dig a trench. After talking to the ranger, we decided to head through the desert, he was very reassuring, telling us we should be right, and that there was a lot of people going through at the moment, with more to come for the school hollidays.

We refilled water at 3 o`clock creek, as the water at Dalhousie was undrinkable. I was concerned though, that I was only carrying 90l, I should have had more in case of emergencies.

Then we headed into the unknowen. We followed the route suggested by ExplorOz, the combined route. We headed into Purnie Bore, then down Rig Road, up Colson track, along the frenchline to Erabena track. We camped 3 km away from the intersection.

We spotted this snake on the Colson track, we think its a fierce snake. The most venomous in the world!

The Frenchline was making the guys in the back a bit sick, so I opted to not follow the AAK line from lone gum, but to stick to the Rig Road to Knolls track. There was a 2 km camping exclusion zone around the Approdinna Attora Knolls, so we set up camp at some shade we found outside the zone.

We had an early day this day, made camp around noon, and did some maintenance, walked up the Knolls and just relaxed. It was warm. We decided to hit the road early the next day, as the heat and the humps where getting to the guys in the back. The maintenance revealled that the rear bumper stoppers where rooted, and the humps had made the roof come loose on the left side. Since the roofracks flexed, every hump would have them hit the roof.

We stopped by Poeppel Corner, then east on the QAA line, where we spotted this camel.

We got a flat about 50km out of Birdsville, but by raising the pressure, the leak closed temporarily, we opted not to fix it there. We made a go for the middle road up big red, but it didnt work, so we drove the side track, then up the other side, so we did make it to the top!

We made camp at Birdsville caravan park, had a nice shower, then headed straight for the pub and croc raviolli. 7 schooners later (for me), we headed back to camp. With the beer glasses on, I couldnt find the truck, so I asked the people that where camping where I thought the truck would be, if they had seen it. They told me that there was a sick one around the next bush. Not happy!! I had put some beams under the springs, so it wouldnt rest on the rim with the air leaking out, but it wasnt sick! It could still bit the crap out of theire fancy new Pajero!

I took of to the Mobil station to get the tire fixed, Birdsville Auto would do it to, but for a 200% sunday surcharge, so I didnt go there. With the tire fixed, we headed of towards Innamincka by Walkers crossing. I plotted in the coordinates for the turnoff in the GPS, just in case. After a hours driving I realised I was 3 km past the turnoff. Backtracking, looking at the GPS, we spotted the turnoff signposted 20m away from the road, at the end of a bend. We hit the track, following the most used road where not signposted. About 5 hours later we came into Minkie waterhole where we went for a swim. Later we went into the Sunday roast at the pub, but it was $18 bucks, and out of our leauge. So we went back to camp and had some more tinned fruit with dinner.

We took of, headed towards Broken Hill. After refulling and getting some helpfull directions, we decided to skip Camerons Corner, and go straight to BH. We went by Santos and Epsilon Station, and got into Tibooburra 4 hours later. This was the dustiest section by far. The guys where wearing bandanas over the theire face in the back, but it still got in.

Upon entering Broken Hill, the car was going a bit warmer than usual. Pulling up to the Information centre, it was leaking coolant, but I didnt open the bonnet, assuming it was just overflowing. Arriving at Lake View Caravan Park, it leaked even more. We got a makeshift site next to the pool, but it did the trick with the showers that cam with it! And pulling up to the site, the rest of the coolant came out.

We started pulling the radiator out in the morning, and found that the radiator housing had cracked, rubbing a hole in the radiator, one of the rods where also broken. Then, with the radiator out, we poured as much water as possible into the tubes, ducttaped them together. By repeating this process 6 times, we travelled the 6km to the radiator repair guy. With that fixed, we headed to Silverton. Now, which car is cooler?

In the arvo, we headed down south to Bootle Bend Forest Reserve again. Beeing the last night, the guys shared some goon. It made for a interesting drive, considering we where lucky enough to be hitching a ride with a truck we could keep up with, and that we didnt stop for pee breakes before Wentworth.

It started raining sometime during the night, since I was sleeping in the car, I didnt feel it, neither the the guys due to the goon. However, when they woke up 0430 cold and wet, they decided that we should leave NOW.

It rained the whole day, water leaking in the roof, everything wet, but by 2100 everything was unpacked and I was in the shower.

All in all, great trip! A bit rushed, only sampling everything, not getting to spend too much time anywhere. We drove 6532km, used 1256l of diesel (126l through Simpson), averaging 19.2l/100km. Cost of fuel was $1242, with Mt Dare beeing the most expensive at 135c/1l

Maps used was “Camps Australia Wide 2”, to find good rest areas and free bushcamps, Hema Great Desert Tracks pack and UBD Concise motoring atlas of Australia. Lonely Planet Outback Australia is also recommended. And Jack Absoloms “Safe Outback Travel” is a must!

Great Ocean Road

We came down on the Cann River Highway, and camped in Shipwreck Bay on our way to Melbourne. We had some very delightful camphosts here, Jess and Sheree. Down in Melbourne, we picked up Chris, Irine and bernice, so now we where 7 in the car, which put great demands in our tidyness, as we where carrying far to much luggage.

The first night we drove to Warranambol, where we camped. It turned out that Chris had no sleepingbag, and the girls where freezing by themselves. Chris tried to get by the first night by borrowing all the jackets, but still he looked like a wreck the next morning, so he picked up a proper bag from Kmart.

Second night brought us to Johanna Beach, a lovely little place. 2 days after we left it, it was the be the arena for the Rip Curl surf comp.

Now we went into the Oway Ranges from Apollo bay, upto Stevenson Falls. Very Nice. Our camphost here was Nigel, which we suspected of having arranged a rave a few nights before.

Chris trying for a shower in the falls. Kind of cold.

Leaving the campsite, we got ourselves a group picture. F.l. Bernice, Irine, Alex, Peter, Jo, Chris and Jason.

Hume Dam was the last place we camped, before going back through Canberra to watch the ROC.

As you might have noticed, there are no pictures of the sights along the road, not because I dont have them, but because you can see them everywhere else. We ended up driving more than 2700km. I did most of the driving, and spent all day saturday and sunday recovering from the holliday. All in all, it was a good trip, recommended for everyone. Only thing we didnt do, and that I regret, is the Gibson Steps and Cape Otway. For next time. For anyone else concidering doing something similar, be firm when it comes to the luggage brought along, just because you have the space, doesnt meen you have the room.

Built like a brick shithouse!

Driving down to Bombala at 0130 at night, I hit a wombat. Knowing what to do, but not acting upon it, things didnt realy work out the way they could have. I stepped on the brakes, and tried to not hit the wombat.

The result?

I ended up in the oposite lane, facing the way I came from. Now, me and Sara could climb out unhurt, which was lucky I`d say. We flagged down the first semi, he took our details and radioed for help. Second semi to come past couldnt help us either, but said that the 3d probably could, and he was right. The 3d semi had some chain, that he could attach to my siderails to pull me up again. Now, I was blocking the right lane, he was blocking the left lane, so the road was blocked, and it was just after a hilltop, so he sent out a message on the CB that the road was blocked and anyone coming that way should back off. The 4th semi heard this, but didnt take any notice of it. Sara was on the top of the hill just in case to flag them down. This guy saw the torch, and still didnt slow down, coming around the bend, he saw what he was up against, stepped on the brakes, managed to get through in the ditch on the right hand side, ripping my roofracks of with his bullbar.

In the end, I was very lucky, no one got hurt, there wasnt much damage, and I could keep on driving. The siderails got bent in on the left side from taking the fall, the siderails on the right side got pulled out from the truck pulling me back up again. And the left side got pulled in after the fall.

The wombat? I dont know, couldnt find it….