A Note from Ben:
Hi all, Wecome back to Hike Australia, I guess I’m kind of like that light on the distance, never around full time but always there when you look hard enough.
For the next little while, I have another Author to thank for some of the posts you’ll be seeing. Adrian found Hike Australia a few months ago, and we have had a few chats about getting a few of his stories on here, yesterday he was kind enough to give me a write up of a trip earlier this year to Wilsons Prom, which we will be sharing on my usual Day by Day breakdown basis. From when I first started Hike Australia it has always been my goal to expand the contributors as wide as I could from all walks (pun intended) of life and experience so that we could get the most possible content on here. So those of you reading that have these fantastic experiences and photos, keep me in mind next time you’re thinking about that great hike, and maybe jot it down and contact me.
I’ve asked Adrian to do a short introduction first, where we can get to know his background:
My name is Adrian Brewer and I am in my late 50′s, well about as late as I can be before I hit 60. I am married to Judy and have been for 40 years. Together we have 3 kids and a whole heap of grandkids. My thirst for adventure can be traced back to early primary school when I lived in the bush, in a time when we made our own games and excitement. i spent 9 years as a driver in the Australian Army, which turned my interest in the bush into a real thirst. As a family, we made many trips to the Grampians and other places enjoying the natural wonders that only Nature can produce.
When the kids grew and moved out, this allowed Jude and i to explore the world a little more although she isn’t as hardcore as i am, she does like her comforts. We plan to purchase a caravan in the very near future and run away for a time.
Aside from hiking, my other interests involve scuba diving; maritime archaeology; 4WD in my 1961 Land Rover (spare wheel on the bonnet, Leylands brothers stuff) and i grow my own veges and make jewellery from seaglass i find on the beach and the oceans depths.
So with that Introduction, Here is the first day of Adrians recent trip down to “the Prom”:
I had been planning a bit of a bushwalking trek for some time but with work and other restraints, it kind of took a bit of a back step. I spent much time talking to other bushwalkers, joined forums, researched equipment and updated my Army bushcraft skills and eventually felt pretty confident. I started “training” over a year ago but that kind of lapsed towards the latter part of the year. Still with some holidays looming, I was determined to do something, so Wilson’s Promontory took the forefront. It was a relatively safe trek – in terms of something easy to start with and plenty of help nearby if anything untoward should happen.
I have been to the southern-most part of Tasmania, well so far as the car will take you but never the bottom bit of the mainland, known as South Point. This was the objective. I studied the map, chatted with people, planned an itinerary, prepared dried foods and rationed meals. I was all set to go.
Monday the 3rd of January, saw me set off by car to Tidal River, but as per normal, I was running a bit late and with a few things along the way, it snowballed to where I arrived quite late. The plan was to catch the shuttle bus to Telegraph Junction car park (if you saw the hill, you would know why I was going to start there), walk down to Roaring Meg campsite (12 kms) where I would stay overnight, then on Tuesday walk to South Point (3.7kms), drink a tiny bottle of red to all those I know and head back to the Roaring Meg campsite. Wednesday I planned to walk to Oberon Bay then out to Tidal River (12 or so kms). Well, we all know about the plans of mice and men………
I arrived at Tidal River around 1330 (1.30pm for you non 24 hour clock people), paid my respects at the Army Commandos Memorial and registered at the Visitors Centre (they like to know when you go in and come out in case they have to go looking for you). After that, I missed the shuttle bus by seconds so I had to wait 1/2 hour for the next one. I got on that one after placing Red the Backpack and Bruce the Stick unceremoniously into the trailer and off we went. (My gear has names, it’s a personal thing)
It was bedlam at Telegraph Junction car park, people literally trying to get on the bus before we even got off, just like Flinders Street Station. I finally managed to get off the bus, grabbed Red and put him over to the side when all of a sudden I saw the bus disappear around the bend – and Bruce the walking stick was still in the trailer! – . Horrors! So it was another 30 minute wait for the bus to come back and hope that Bruce was still there. There was much joy and celebration half an hour later when Bruce was reunited with Red and I. ( I have a strong bond with my gear so you know.. and Bruce the Stick is an important companion.)
We all headed off down Telegraph Track and I was a bit surprised. I was expecting something a little less maintained, for want of a better word. The track was like the Warburton Trail, wide, covered in toppings, well looked after and relatively smooth. I guess I may not have needed the machete after all. The first 5 kilometres were mostly downhill so it was relatively easy going. After that, the track levelled out.
It was about that point when I stopped at Mc Alister Creek for a few minutes, sat on the bridge and watched the small fish dart about in the shallow but free flowing stream. Then it was off again along the track. A couple of kilometres further along I took a longer break at Growlers Creek. This was somewhat deeper, flowing, but I didn’t see any fish or critters.
Some 3kms further on I passed Halfway Hut, which is apparently halfway to the coast but Roaring Meg was still some 4 1/2 kms further on. This is where all plans went out the window.
Some time ago I had a bit of a foot injury which seemed to have fixed itself a month or so ago and had given me no trouble – until today. About 500m past Halfway Hut it suddenly returned with a vengeance, basically putting my hiking efforts on hold. Roaring Meg was quite possibly now out the window. I went back to Halfway Hut, contacted the Rangers and told them I was staying there the night and would evaluate my situation the following morning.
It literally is a hut. Stone with a timber door and what looks like something that used to resemble a fireplace. Interesting as fires are banned in the park. Aside from the hut, there are several clearings set aside as campsites. As no-one else seemed to be staying I had the pick of the crop for myself, but as I wasn’t sure what was living under the floorboards, I opted to pitch the tent nearby.
Dinner was some frozen pork steaks followed by custard and sultanas. It was at this stage that I realised I had inadvertently picked up the wrong gas bottle from Anaconda and it would not fit my gas stove. A full bottle completely useless to me. I did however as a last minute thing grab a small partially used bottle from home which I planned to use for my gas lamp. So all was not lost. If worse came to worse, I had a Hexamine stove and tablets as a backup. Rule one – check your gear, double check it, then check it again.
Tent up, sleeping bag open, dinner over and dishes done, little was left to do other than lay back, have a small cup of red seeing as South Point may not be on the agenda and rest up.
Not one person within miles of me, no noise save a few birds and not one light. One truly can feel on ones own out here, although I did sleep with the torch and machete close by in case some critters of the night needed re-educating in the ways of sharing food and lodging.