Caro Ryan is the ‘unexpected outdoors chick’ – from a non-outdoorsy family, it took her until she was 21 to discover the world beyond the city. Now, she runs bushwalking tips website ‘Lotsafreshair’ and is dedicated to outdoor adventure, sharing knowledge, stories and ideas to inspire others to get outside and start exploring. Today, she’s taking her wealth of experience in the Australian bush and sharing her favourite summer walks with the Macpac Blog – just in time for Australia Day! Pack up the car and get outdoors with friends and family and explore, experience and discover your own backyard – because there’s no place quite like Australia!
KOSCIUSKO NATIONAL PARK (NSW)
Whilst many people think of the top of Australia as their winter playground, summer time brings with it the most amazing transformation as the snow melts and the wildflowers emerge. There’s a full variety of walks for all abilities and hiking experience, from easy day walks close to Thredbo like Porcupine Rocks, to multi-day adventures following The Main Range from Kiandra to Mt Kosciuszko. As with any alpine region, where it’s not unusual to experience four seasons in one day (or hour!), you need to be prepared for everything from icy sub-zero rainy blasts to 30 degree sunshine. Grab yourself the excellent SV Maps Kosciuszko Alpine Area map and if you pop in a fly veil when packing, you’ll be grateful!
WADJEMUP TRAIL, ROTTNEST ISLAND (WA)
If you’re anything like me, you want to experience nature without a massive crowd of people. So it was such a delight when I found myself walking away from the crowds near the ‘Rotto’ Ferry wharf and following the well marked trail of the Wadjemup Track. This track is made up of five different walks of which four are now open. If you’re wanting to see more of what Rottnest Island has to offer, along with its diverse landscape and history, then this is the perfect way. Take plenty of water (and your cossie!) and check temps and conditions before you head across, to the island. You’re in for a treat of perfect white sandy beaches, historical war bunkers, a lighthouse and (of course) some of the cutest inhabitants of Rotto – their Quokkas!
For the Jack Sparrow in all of us, this half day walk down (and back) along the Ravine des Casoars leads you to the most remotest of sandy coves. Here, the unpatrolled waves wash up on the shore and amongst a myriad of caves and alcoves. It’s easy to imagine buried treasure and hidden secrets within these shady (and cool) spots. If you’re after your own private beach for a day, with spots to delight the kids, this might be a good choice. Although it’s rated as challenging by WalksSA, if you have some hiking experience and good fitness, you shouldn’t have any issues.
My top pick for cooling off in the Blue Mountains in Summer, is to drop down below the cliff-line at Wentworth Falls, along the National Pass. As most of the trail faces south, it is in shade for most of the walk, with constant amazing views across the Jamison Valley to Mount Solitary. Better still, as you start the ascent back up through the Valley of the Waters, you can cool off in the waterhole at the base of Empress Falls! Not only that, but with the Conservation Hut Cafe at the top of the stairs, there’s always a milkshake to reward your efforts.
Another winter playground that comes alive in a completely different way in summer, is the Bogong High Plains area of Falls Creek and Mt Hotham. It’s home to Mt Feathertop (1922m), the second highest mountain in Victoria, and unlike many of our ‘peaks’, this one actually looks like one!
The approach from Diamantina Hut at Hotham Heights leads you gently along and up the Razorback Spur with stunning views on all sides. You can tackle this as either a very solid day walk for the fitter ones, or pack for an overnight stay camping near Federation Hut. It’s one of those bushwalks that has a real sense of achievement and feeling of being on top of the world. Oh, and just like walks in NSW Kosci country, pack a fly veil for a day without the great ‘Aussie salute’ (For those of you unfamiliar with this term – count yourselves lucky! It involves constantly waving your hands about your head in an effort to keep pesky flies at bay).
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you little Devils! Tassie is home to some of the best walks in the world, and we’re looking forward to sharing the best with you in a dedicated article soon.
Keep an eye on our blog for the launch of the best walks Tassie has to offer!