All posts tagged: hiking

Bushwalking off-track in Kakadu? Pack a spare set of legs (Part 1)

I’m pretty fit, fabulous & fierce for Almost-53, though I say it myself. And last year I trekked in Nepal for a couple of weeks, so I certainly enjoy a challenge… But my most recent adventure was HARDER, even a little scary to be honest, and I didn’t even have to leave Australia. I did fly to Darwin though, up in the Northern Territory, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, with an experienced bushwalking companion. Where was I going? I was going ‘offtrack’. From the red dirt to the fire-blackened eucalypt trees via fertile billabongs and wetlands, Kakadu National Park covers nearly 20,000 square kilometres, and is World Heritage listed. It’s full of incredible wildlife and plant diversity, plus crocodiles. Like, truly wild, roaming-around-the waterways-doing-their-own-thing crocodiles. These signs are everywhere; it’s an Australian cliché that all our native animals and reptiles are trying to kill us… but sometimes, it’s kinda true! I emigrated to Australia when I was 20; the concept of crocodiles is somewhat foreign to me. But at literally every single creek …

When telling a lie is the best option, to clamber ancient rocks in Wales

“Come and stay in the holiday cottage with us; take a break from your Mum,” says my Aunty over the phone. I don’t need to be invited twice. Any excuse to hop on a train cross country- my favourite way to travel. My Aunt and her partner live in North Wales, but a family gathering is happening in South Wales, and it’s the perfect time to catch up with my cousin, her husband, and their 3 kids, as they celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. They’re staying near where Mum and her 3 siblings grew up, around Gowerton. I’ve never been there before: I’ll get to see the house they grew up in, the school they went to, and most importantly, the bays and beaches over which they gazed as they matured, following their dreams. But I’ll have to ignore the stab of guilt at not taking Mum with me. I know full well that she actually needs the stability of her routines in a familiar place, rather than the stress of travel and an unknown …

The final pictures painted by Tasmania herself

Good morning Day 3. Let’s hike 19kms, but only carry our heavy packs for the last 2 hours, as we head out along Cape Pillar, then back. It’s a deal. Let’s look at the grand, and the tiny. Deal. Along the way, we pass ‘story seats’; beautifully-designed places to stop and share a Nature + Art experience, with accompanying notes in the award-winning guide book (I designated myself the Narrator, and am forcing myself to not tell you a hundred fascinating facts about some of these views). We went through a variety of landscapes, saw three black snakes (all venomous yes: either Tigers or Copperheads), and relished the lightness of our daypacks. Then we saw a wombat! It was SO big, and we got so close; it just squatted there yawning and looking sideways at us; it reminded me of ’17’, when he’s come home very late from a party, and just wants to be left alone, but could also maybe handle a snuggle and watching a film in bed, eating a late brekky before …

Let these pictures paint a thousand words

Tasmania, I love you. And so do my three friends. You are wild, fresh, magnificent, and pretty much pristine. Your vistas are incredible, but oh boy do your boardwalks and ascents make big demands on calf muscles and over 50 bodies. Your lunch views suck, but we dealt with it. Our 15kg packs felt heavier and heavier as the day progressed, yet your beauty compelled us on. Plus there was nowhere else to go but forward anyway, so I tried to focus on the big picture, and small details too, like moss, or wombat poo (they only do it every 16 days, and it’s kinda cubed). Then we saw you, rising out of the bush like an oasis: Hut Two. We’d made the 11kms of Day Two of the Three Capes Track! Another day, another architecturally designed complex, including a viewing platform with telescope (but still no fridges or hot showers). There was a cold shower, but I’d rather stay grubby (or use a quick body wipe). The sunset skies were stunning. And good news: …

How to sleep (or not sleep) with a man in a cabin in the Tasmanian wilderness

So we took nearly 2 hours to walk 4.5kms on the first day of the Three Capes Track because we kept stopping to pee and/or take photos. Finally we arrived though, and here’s G49 (the birthday girl) perfecting her “Please-stop-taking-more-photos-for-your-blog” pose. The ‘huts’ were fantastic: built less than 2 years ago, all timber and colorbond (very typical Australian architecture), with stunning views, and well-equipped stainless steel kitchens (no fridges, plus you must bring all your own meals, and take out all your rubbish). Yoga mats and a foam roller were also provided, plus a pile of boardgames and packs of cards. But the best thing of course, was walking around without your pack!  We were welcomed and briefed by the ranger, who gave us a history of the site, the latest weather update, and an orientation re the next day’s walking (11kms). It all felt super organised and well-designed. Except for the sleeping arrangements. You see, up to 48 people can book to walk the track at one time, and the rangers assign the same numbered …

Starting the Three Capes Track adventure in Tasmania

I’m back from the wilds of Tasmania! And clearly WE MADE IT. But oh my goodness was it a long, hard slog. We met in Hobart, and spent a night comparing pack sizes, being a bit giggly with both excitement and nerves. Three women over 50, and one about to turn- hence this walk, which she organized brilliantly. We Ubered to Port Arthur, from where we had to catch a 2pm ferry to the track drop off point; and so began the first of several ‘incidents’. You see, there’s me in that first selfie, quite happily thinking I’m going on a max. 15 minute boat ride on flat calm water, all happy happy with my dear friends. Till we find out it’s actually about an hour long, we go right out to the edge of the cape to spot wildlife, and it’s so rough and wet that they automatically provide all passengers with full length head-to-toe red capes. Anyway, we survived; we did see a sea eagle’s nest (over 30 years old), and spot some albatrosses; …

Freaky Friday: Why did I just mow the lawn with a backpack on?

I think my neighbours are used to me doing slightly weird things (like walking on stilts around the garden, or dancing like a mad woman with earphones in so no one else can hear the music). Yesterday was probably my peak though: I mowed all my lawns while wearing a 50-litre, approx 5kg loaded backpack. Why? Because I’m going on a 4-day hike in Tasmania, and I need to get fitter and stronger ASAP. Admittedly, the bag was only half-loaded, but I still think I deserve a 10/10 for effort, yes? Hit that Like button! We fly to Hobart on Saturday, then begin the walk on Sunday afternoon– here’s the link to the Three Capes Track if you’re curious. My beloved friend ‘G49’ turns 50 when we finish, and is a huge fan of bush hiking, so 3 valiant friends are going along with her. We have to carry everything except a tent (hurray), and sleep in fancy-ish huts at night (no hot showers or fridges, but nice mattresses and views apparently). I can do …

The return of ‘normal programming’: Me Monday catch up

Hi. What have I got for ‘Me Monday’ you wonder? I’m back from the burrow of that Permaculture Paradise, and ready to reconnect with all the Readers who were just yawning at so many photos of trees and veggie gardens. Well, H is here from Melbs, so that’s been fun- Summer has given us a last hit of humid steaminess, and we actually had to lock ourselves in the living room with the aircon for a couple of days, including dragging two single mattresses onto the floor to get some proper sleep. You could tell who didn’t have aircon around town because they looked sleep-deprived and grumpy; after 3 nights in a row of + 30C, I was praying for the cool change! When I lived in Adelaide a few years ago, we once had 10 days in a row of + 40C (104F) and my tiny garden studio had no aircon; I was ready to kill someone just for a good night’s sleep. In fact, one afternoon I snuck into my landlady’s house (I had my …