AAWT a few suggestions

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

AAWT a few suggestions

Postby rocketrm2 » Sat 19 Sep, 2015 11:48 am

The following are just a few ideas to improve the AAWT. I recently hiked the Larapinta Track and was impressed with the track and its management.
It is well known and brings economic benefit to the region, tour operators, retailers, accommodation operators etc. attracts hikers from Europe , UK , Canada. It is well maintained, excellent trail marking and signage, good to excellent camping sites, the route includes a 2-3 resorts and food drop assistance is well managed. Access and transport to the trail is very easy
Chatting to hikers on the Larapinta very few knew of the AAWT.

I am not out to make a criticism of AAWT each main trail is unique. But I feel that the AAWT good be better utilized (nb not exploited).
It is not well known, trail signage is inconsistent, as is trail maintenance.
I don't believe that it brings very much in the way of economic benefit to the community (s),unlike the Larapinta, the Tasmanian Overland trail etc eg accommodation, transport operators etc. Tho I do acknowledge that hiking etc with community benefits is long established in part of the AAWT, eg Mac springs, Bogong High Plains, Snowy Mountains etc. Plus it is not easy to access using public transport.
My suggestions would be the government to consult widely and prepare a management plan. I must make the point that is essential that wilderness areas are protected.

How about extending the trail from Walhalla to say Taralgon (a public transport hub) via Toongabbie using the rail trail. Until the Walhalla rail was completed, supplies to Walhalla went from Toongabbie via Bruntons Bridge to Walhalla.

Rerouting to trail through Omeo ? or perhaps Benambra? (it has Pub, general store and Post office. (the latter handy for food drops)

Interested in your opinions,

No way do I want to see the AAWT spoiled. I simply feel that I should be improved to become world class Wilderness trail.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby GBW » Sat 19 Sep, 2015 12:23 pm

I'd like to see it remain as is with minimal maintenance and infrastructure...that's what makes it interesting...I'm happy to see a yellow triangle and a watertank every now and then and that's as far as it goes.

We had some great laughs as we bushbashed our way up Victor Spur and along Black River...it all added to the experience and I certainly wasn't thinking that they should improve this section of track...just the opposite. People have different expectations...some like the views, some like the terrain, some like the vegetation...personally I'm not that fussy.

My biggest recommendation for improvement is to limit the the amount of road/track walking in some areas. Even though the "T" in AAWT stands for track, I would still consider it a route more than a track and if there's no footpad then so be it. Just my opinion and I'm sure some will disagree.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby Mutley » Mon 21 Sep, 2015 9:06 pm

Completed a N to S traverse in 2014.
Bush bashing up to the Bogong High Plains, soaking wet and cursing under my breath, I could have killed for some track
maintenance. But it's funny, these are the most memorable times. The off track navigation, finding telegraph poles down to the Murrumbidgee River, or clambering over about a hundred fallen logs heading towards the Baw Baw plateau - all great experiences.

I think it's a fine line between wider and more clearly marked tracks, and fire trail boredom.

One section I did find challenging, was towards the Anton Anderson Saddle, near Kosi. It's really difficult to pick the right ridge line and a triangle or two would have been handy. But it really sharpened up my navigation skills.

Interesting concept though. The Appalacian trail is hugely popular and with a few more trail markers, some more water tanks and open huts, the AAWT could be opened up to a lot more people.

How about some low cost summer accommodation at Hotham and maybe lockable sheds for food drops also ?
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby north-north-west » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 6:30 pm

GBW wrote:I'd like to see it remain as is with minimal maintenance and infrastructure...that's what makes it interesting...I'm happy to see a yellow triangle and a watertank every now and then and that's as far as it goes.

We had some great laughs as we bushbashed our way up Victor Spur and along Black River...it all added to the experience and I certainly wasn't thinking that they should improve this section of track...just the opposite. People have different expectations...some like the views, some like the terrain, some like the vegetation...personally I'm not that fussy.

My biggest recommendation for improvement is to limit the the amount of road/track walking in some areas. Even though the "T" in AAWT stands for track, I would still consider it a route more than a track and if there's no footpad then so be it. Just my opinion and I'm sure some will disagree.

+1

It's already gone through reroutings for various reasons, plus had many sections simplified and turned into road bashes. I'd like to see that reversed and get the whole walk back onto a mix of walking tracks and cross country routes.

For the record, the Victorian section is, for the most part, better marked because the track started as a Victorian initiative and they did things properly. When the northerners were dragged kicking and screaming into it, first they tried to bugger up the signage by refusing to have ANY markings, and then refusing them in designated Wilderness areas. Plus they had a go at blackballing the traditional yellow markers for blue triangles on ankle-high posts only at track junctions. Because, while a metre high and wide sign giving FireTrail names at every junction is fully in keeping with Wilderness values, a little yellow triangle or diamond is not . . .
Fortunately, eventually commonsense ruled and the yellow triangles were made the norm, although the traditional yellow diamond with the walking legs still predominates in Victoria.

A 'world-class' walk doesn't have to be easy. It just needs to be routed appropriately and interestingly. The AT has some sections that are notorious for being difficult both to follow and to walk due to poor maps, bad marking and awkward terrain.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby north-north-west » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 6:39 pm

As for maintenance - it's some 650km, with problematical access for track crews in many areas. Currently maintenance is done on a rolling schedule, with extra work being done in some parts due to heavier use or extreme weather events or fires. The funds simply aren't there to keep the whole track cut and cleared to a consistent standard all year round.

Going through Omeo or Benambra? Why? It's a bushwalk. If you want to visit a town on the way, make a sidetrip. It's not that far down from Mt Bogong to 'civilisation' for instance. Take an extra couple of days and go into Mt Beauty from Diamantina Hut if you must.

It's already been dumbed down enough, in my opinion.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 7:00 pm

GBW and NNW, agree. It's a walking track that takes in wilderness, so no track is acceptable. If it gets too easy all sorts of bumblies will attempt it, and require assistance. Being able to navigate is essential.

In good weather the Main Range region is or should not be hard. Twynum, that-a-way. Dicky Cooper (okay, not on the AAWT) north or up depending on which way you come from. Gungartan, up or south. Jagungal, up. In bad weather, especially in winter, it can be a struggle, but nothing short of a pole line will assist, and that is untenable. I've had no trouble in these places, often with a 1:100, a compass, a watch and no GPS (not invented). Besides, the navigation is part of the fun. No need to go to India to find yourself - try the Rolling Ground in fog. The 1:25s have brilliant detail. If you look really carefully you can still see traces of the road in most of the Tate-Twynum route.

There once was an AWT option from Ropers Hut on the Bogong HP. One way wnet over West Peak and the other went to Maddisons Hut Site at the top of T Spur, turning right and missing the summit of Bogong, which the West Peak route took in. Might it be possible to have variations that take in towns? I can't see the numbers adding much to the local economy, some 40-50 parties a year on the through journey. I'm not certain that such tracks would stand up to a cost-benefit analysis.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby rocketrm2 » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 8:34 pm

north-north-west wrote:As for maintenance - it's some 650km, with problematical access for track crews in many areas. Currently maintenance is done on a rolling schedule, with extra work being done in some parts due to heavier use or extreme weather events or fires. The funds simply aren't there to keep the whole track cut and cleared to a consistent standard all year round.

Going through Omeo or Benambra? Why? It's a bushwalk. If you want to visit a town on the way, make a sidetrip. It's not that far down from Mt Bogong to 'civilisation' for instance. Take an extra couple of days and go into Mt Beauty from Diamantina Hut if you must.

It's already been dumbed down enough, in my opinion.

Maybe the funds should be available!
Larapinta is a bush walk and fantastic, yet the trail takes you Stanley Chasm, showers, food drops to collect kiosk, as does Ormiston, did not hear a single complaint, maybe those who don't like it simply avid such places and hike on.
My point is perhaps the AAWT might benefit from a management plan that result in Economic, social and environmental benefits.
Has the AAWT suffered by having Thedbro and Hotham close by?
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby oyster_07 » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 9:02 pm

If someone is doing the AAWT and wants to pass through Thredbo, Falls Creek, Omeo, Benambra, or wherever else, they can. They just have to do it themselves. To be able to do something does not necessitate it being part of a product, one just needs to look at a map and give the situation some of their own critical thought.

I know pre-packaged products make things easy, but they make things templated and devoid of uniqueness.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby north-north-west » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 9:12 pm

rocketrm2 wrote:Larapinta is a bush walk and fantastic, yet the trail takes you Stanley Chasm, showers, food drops to collect kiosk, as does Ormiston, did not hear a single complaint, maybe those who don't like it simply avid such places and hike on.

Ormiston is the worst campsite on the whole track. Standley itself is gorgeous, but the facilities unnecessary - I just walked through both and camped elsewhere. Food drops were elsewhere. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

oyster_07 wrote:If someone is doing the AAWT and wants to pass through Thredbo, Falls Creek, Omeo, Benambra, or wherever else, they can. They just have to do it themselves. To be able to do something does not necessitate it being part of a product, one just needs to look at a map and give the situation some of their own critical thought.

I know pre-packaged products make things easy, but they make things templated and devoid of uniqueness.

Exactly.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 08 Oct, 2015 8:52 pm

The sections of the AAWT that I have walked should not be made easier or more " commercial" . I doubt you could turn coin out of the wilderness unless you handed it over to miners or loggers :shock: . Mongers with money will go where they can spend it , in Lego Land. I want to get away from Lego land !!!
Leave it as it is and let people who want some creature comforts take a few days off in near by towns en route if they need to. Making it into some soft boy thingy package to flog to people with no idea will ruin it and lead to more people being pulled off the side of "Mt Fukka Wukka " by a chopper with no idea how they got there and be lucky to be alive at that.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby Eljimberino » Fri 09 Oct, 2015 5:23 pm

The more I hear about the Larapinta, the less it sounds appealing.
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Re: AAWT a few suggestions

Postby Xplora » Sat 10 Oct, 2015 5:05 am

The track is what it is. There are signs on it to warn you about the need for experience in navigation etc. but the more that people write about it the more it will 'inspire' others to do it and some will not have the skills. As more people get into trouble the authorities will ask for more markings on the trail which will then encourage more people and the trial will become more defined. Maybe one day they will put raised platforms in for tents and charge you or there will be a booking system to do the walk. Just kidding but look at what they have done on the Bogong High Plains. And for those wanting to do this walk, it is your walk so do it however you like. Visit towns, take a break, do it in sections or all at once but make it enjoyable for yourself the way you like to walk. BTW there is a fantastic guest house just a few km's downhill from where the track crosses the Omeo Hwy. Great rates, hot shower, comfy bed and you could even get a lift back up the hill to start again. It would also be a great place for a food drop. For some people this would be fantastic so maybe a few suggestions in this direction for other sections of the track would be helpful. Track maintenance on some sections will always be necessary. I have seen blackberries beginning to take hold south of Mt Wills and when last at Mac Springs a fallen tree forced a horse group around it in the wet which made a new track.
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