3 weeks on the AAWT

A forum for discussing the Australian Alps Walking Track. This is a 655 km long track from Walhalla (Vic) to Tharwa (ACT)

3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby TomGalvin » Fri 13 Dec, 2013 3:04 am

My girlfriend and I are going next summer starting in mid December. We are planning to walk about 300 to 400 kilometers of it. We have ordered the book, but would love to hear your opinions on any of the below.

What sections are don't miss, or good starting points?

Would you recommend caching or town trips?

What's your favorite side trail destinations that we should consider adding to our itinerary?

Do you have any specific gear recommendations for this terrain/season?

What is the best pub in Melbourne for a red ale?

We are currently thinking that we will go north to south, so that we can end up closer to Melbourne. We have a friend there that we plan to visit for a couple days. He may even join us for part of the trek.

Any advice is welcome.
User avatar
TomGalvin
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat 24 Aug, 2013 8:23 am
Location: Pagosa Springs, Colorado, USA
Region: Other Country
Gender: Male

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 13 Dec, 2013 7:13 am

Well the "best bit" is open to interpretation but I like the open section between Bogong and Mt Hotham, others who have done the walk can advise on the caching
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
Moondog55
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 9029
Joined: Thu 03 Dec, 2009 4:15 pm
Location: Norlane Geelong Victoria Australia
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby MartyGwynne » Fri 13 Dec, 2013 10:06 am

I a bushwalking club is doing the whole lot right now so you could check out their blog via http://www.sbwc.org.au/index.php/follow ... gress.html
and you can go from there. I am sure someone who is doing it would be happy to provide details to you so you can work out you options.
The gear you will need will have to cover everything from snow storms to hot days of 30 degrees C. Get smart on the latest snakebite treatments and how best to avoid them in the first place!

Red Ale? I assume you mean red wine? You could go to any of them and get a drink, there are lots of cafe's/bars around the city, inner city, St Kilda, South Melbourne, Lygon St. to name a few. You may want to get a book called "the Age' good food guide or cafe guide (which is produced by a melbourne newspaper) so you can work out what suits you best.
There are many books available for the walk one of the better ones would be by John Chapman.
Cheers. Marty.
User avatar
MartyGwynne
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 355
Joined: Sun 30 Jan, 2011 4:31 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby north-north-west » Fri 13 Dec, 2013 7:23 pm

There are some good bits in the ACT, but also some boring trudges. Tharwa to Borroomba via Bushfold is worth doing, as is the Orroral Valley and the stretch through the Cotter Valley to the border. The Jagungal Wilderness and the Main Range are 'must do'. Ditto the Pilot and Cowombat Flat.

In Victoria, the best is the stretch between Wills South and Low Saddle (Wills, Long Spur, Bogong, QuartzRidge/Grey Hills or T/Duane Spurs, Bogong High Plains, Cobungra Gap, Hotham, St Bernard, Twins - short boring bit through the Barrys - Selwyn, Viking/Razor, Speculation, Crosscut, Howitt, Magdala, Clear, Square Top, High Cone, Nobs, MacDonald). Misery/Buckwong to Buenba & Johnnies Top is a nice little section, too.

Best side-trips in Vic are the Razorback out to Feathertop, track or ridgetop out to the Fainters, and the Cobberas (off-track). Best way to do Bogong is to loop around from Maddisons over the summit, Hooker Plateau, out to West Peak, down Quartz Ridge, and along the Grey Hills to Spion Kopje, picking up the track again at Warby Corner.
On the High Plains, there are a number of summits very close to the track - the Nelses, Cope, Bundara, Jim, Loch; plus the old pad over Blowhard and all the minor lumps above the road on the way to St Bernard. All worth doing. I also love the Timms Point Lookout, but not many people bother going up there.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
User avatar
north-north-west
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 11774
Joined: Thu 14 May, 2009 7:36 pm
Location: The Asylum
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: Social Misfits Anonymous
Region: Tasmania

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby CoolBreeze » Sat 14 Dec, 2013 8:09 am

Having walked it twice I’d agree with north-north-west above, and if I were planning a thru-walk to a pick-up point on that criteria, then:

- Walhalla to Mt Wills/Omeo Hwy 302.8km, else
- Walhalla to Dead Horse Gap 447.1km

My favorite highlights:
- Mt Sunday over Mt MacDonald and The Nobs to Mt Clear
- King Billies over Mt Magdala and The Crosscut Saw to Mt Speculation
- Catherine Saddle over The Viking to Barry Saddle
- A clear sky at Mt Will dusk/dawn is breathtaking!

There’s pros & cons to which time of year. I first walked it in autumn, less daylight hours meant covering shorter distance each day, frequently wet throughout Vic and rather cold in the higher altitudes of NSW. Water wasn't a problem, even through the ‘dry Barrys’. Less bugs and snakes.

Second time was in summer, more fine days and longer daylight hours meant covering greater distances. While less wet thru Vic it meant carrying more water through the ‘dry Barrys’ and elsewhere due to hotter temperatures (rather obvious I guess…). More bugs and snakes and had delays due to bush fires. On balance, my preference is summer – am doing it again this summer too.

I’d recommend the Chapman’s AAWT book, great detail and advice on planning your itinerary, food drops, side trails, etc.

Start at their web site: http://www.john.chapman.name/vic-alpt.html
CoolBreeze
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat 27 Oct, 2012 7:39 am
Region: Australian Capital Territory
Gender: Male

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby madmacca » Sat 14 Dec, 2013 11:34 am

I agree with NNW's listing of the most spectacular parts of the AAWT. Kiandra through to Rumpff Saddle/Mt Skene on the Jamieson/Licola Rd would cover nearly all of these in about 400 km.

In rural areas of NSW, you can catch a lift on the school bus, so Kiandra is potentially accessible by public transport. The school year ends in mid-December, but with careful planning you might be able to catch a bus up there on the Cabramurra-Tumbarumba route. http://www.countrytransport.131500.com.au/index.asp?InfoMode=TownServices&Town=Cabramurra&ServiceType=School You would want to check this out next year before relying on it.

In terms of resupply, Thredbo and Mt Hotham are located just 2-4 km off the trail, and are nicely placed at roughly 1/3 and 2/3 of the way along the trail. (220 km from the start and finish, and 220 km from each other). Falls Creek is also an option at 7km off the trail, but given it is pretty close to Mt Hotham anyway, it doesn't add much in terms of resupply strategy. The advantage of town resupply is that you can get some fresh food, which helps with a balanced diet. A dinner out, a cold beer, a soft bed and the opportunity to dry out your gear can also do wonders for morale. It also saves you from having to do a 1500-2000 km road trip placing caches. You can also mail yourself any speciality items you think may not be available at the grocery stores there.

The downside of town resupply is that at 220 km apart, you are probably having to carry 10-12 days worth of food, which can be pretty heavy. Placing caches just off 2WD accessible roads enables you to cut this to 5-6 days of food.

In terms of gear, you need to be prepared for a summer blizzard at any time of year at those altitudes, say about -2C/28F. Wearing all your layers is probably a better way of dealing with this rather than winter gear. More likely is wind driven rain on exposed ridges at 5C/40F, which can be more far more dangerous in terms of hypothermia. Heat is probably the bigger problem - be prepared to carry 4 L of water on warmer days. There are several areas of the AAWT that are fuel stove only, so you will need to be prepared for that. Several sections of the trail are severely overgrown - you won't need a machete, but gaiters should definitely be part of your kit (gaiters also provide some degree of snake protection).

Totally agree that Chapman's book is excellent in terms of planning, and especially water availability (he's pretty good with differentiating between "sometimes", "usually" and "reliable").
madmacca
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 518
Joined: Fri 14 Oct, 2011 11:18 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby TomGalvin » Sun 15 Dec, 2013 4:50 am

Wow! Thanks for the detailed feedback. Since we are using vacation from two calendar years to take a month off, we are locked into these dates. The summer weather seem very similar to here in the Rockies. Our standard gear and layers should be good with the exception of gaiters. Our venomous critters are not even in the same league as yours. Anything we should look for in a gaiter? What's a reputable snakebite kit? Any habits we should develop besides look where we step, and shake our boots out in the morning?

We always cook with an alcohol can stove for the weight savings, so the restriction is no hardship. We are used to planning our routes for water from our hiking in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. We will be poring over those sections of the book relating to water availability. While we are not ultralighters, our gear with 8 days of food and 3 liters of water usually comes to a little under 20Kg. 10-12 days of food and extra water is doable, though we will be giving the other options serious consideration. One advantage is that most of the hike will be hundreds to well over a thousand of meters lower than where we live, which would make additional weight a little more bearable.

We have already started researching many of the places mentioned above, though Timms Point Lookout was not to be found by Google. I will ask my friend to pickup a copy of the "Age" and will be checking out tripadvisor as well for places to dine. As for Red Ale I meant brew rather than vino. They are usually Irish style, and sometimes a cream ale. A couple of our local reds are: http://riffraffbrewing.com/beer/stepchi ... n-red-ale/ and http://pagosabrewing.com/portfolio/deta ... rider-red/

Thanks again for your help. It is making planning easier and more fun.
User avatar
TomGalvin
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat 24 Aug, 2013 8:23 am
Location: Pagosa Springs, Colorado, USA
Region: Other Country
Gender: Male

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby north-north-west » Sun 15 Dec, 2013 6:51 am

Hope you have a good trip and give us a detailed report when it's over.
Re Timms Point: any good map of the Bogong High Plains will show a firetrail running down Timms Spur from the AAWT turnoff near Ropers Hut, to cross the Big River at Bogong Creek Saddle. Timms Point is the highpoint of that spur. It's on the northern end of the ridge, above the firetrail. There's an old trig and one of the BHP's best campsites in calm conditions (although there's no water).

This gives you an idea of the view to the north:
b003864.jpg
Evening at Timms
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
User avatar
north-north-west
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 11774
Joined: Thu 14 May, 2009 7:36 pm
Location: The Asylum
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: Social Misfits Anonymous
Region: Tasmania

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby north-north-west » Sun 15 Dec, 2013 7:01 am

Snakebite kit is not necessary. Carry a good constriction bandage and wear long gaiters and you'll be fine. While there are plenty of snakes out there it's actually rare to see any, and bites are rarer still. The dangers are way overrated.
I keep my boots in the tent vestibule overnight, and give them a bang and a shake in the morning. Never yet had any unwelcome visitors. And at least we don't have bears.
The most popular gaiter in Aus is probably the SeaToSummit - I wear their Quagmires myself - although just about any long gaiters will be suitable in summer. It's not like you'll be doing a lot of wading or encountering mud. Summertime they're more about keeping boots and socks clean (you can pick up a half ton of grass seed in season) and just-in-case snake protection than anything else.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
User avatar
north-north-west
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 11774
Joined: Thu 14 May, 2009 7:36 pm
Location: The Asylum
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: Social Misfits Anonymous
Region: Tasmania

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby Drew » Mon 16 Dec, 2013 2:45 pm

Regarding beer - there dozens of craft brewers in and around Melbourne these days. I can't think of a red ale off the top of my head but there are lots of pubs and bars serving just about anything you could ask for.
A quick google led me to this website: http://craftypint.com
A lengthier google will undoubtedly help you find whatever you want!
Actually, I just found that my local has a red ale on tap, although it's one from Portland, Oregon: http://www.gnh.net.au/beer.htm
Drew
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 624
Joined: Fri 13 Jan, 2012 11:16 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 16 Dec, 2013 3:39 pm

Red ales are a winter drink, when you get here the more dominant tap styles in craft beers will more than likely be the spiced and citrused summer lagers. Not a fan of any of out multinational brewers products but some of the local small brewers make a reasonable beer or ale.
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
Moondog55
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 9029
Joined: Thu 03 Dec, 2009 4:15 pm
Location: Norlane Geelong Victoria Australia
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby wildlight » Mon 16 Dec, 2013 8:35 pm

north-north-west wrote:This gives you an idea of the view to the north:

Hey north-north-west.

That's a really lovely play of light there in that image. Did you patiently wait for the shadow to slip down off the tent fabric, or did your timing just work out that way?

I dig the way the colours and the light work here.

Cheers

WildLight
wildlight
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Tue 24 Mar, 2009 2:03 pm

Re: 3 weeks on the AAWT

Postby north-north-west » Wed 18 Dec, 2013 7:11 pm

I was just snapping away as per usual, but did position myself there very carefully for that one. The light is wonderful up there in those sort of conditions.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
User avatar
north-north-west
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 11774
Joined: Thu 14 May, 2009 7:36 pm
Location: The Asylum
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: Social Misfits Anonymous
Region: Tasmania


Return to AAWT

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests