International students may know this sport as ‘hiking’. However, beware! If you ever hear someone in Australia telling you they’re going mountaineering then they must have gotten us confused with New Zealand.
Even our highest mountains which are blessed with snow on occasion are dense with Eucalyptus Trees and ferns (what we call ‘Bush’). There’s not a peak that’s impossible to reach unless you own crampons or climbing gear. That begs the question – what else could you possibly be doing but walking in the bush?
So – if there’s no such technical thrill what’s the appeal of Bushwalking? Firstly – Australia is blessed with a wide variety of landscapes for us to ‘walk’ through. Plush rainforests in areas such as Wilsons Prom and lower Mount Buffalo region, marshlands in the southwest of Victoria, the desert regions of north Victoria and a lot of beautiful coastlines, some just a short drive away. I cannot describe just how stunning these landscapes are!
We also have a wide variety of stunning wildlife. From the thrill of seeing snakes (don’t worry – they don’t usually bite) to the joy of suddenly have a kangaroo bounce up and away metres away from you – its one adventure after another when you’re exploring our Bush.
Bushwalking is one of the more popular activities the club offers, and there are a huge variety of trips run, from beginner day walks to multi-day hikes suitable only for those who love the feeling of blisters on their heels.
We’ll be heading to Grampians National Park blessed with lovely views and much wildlife for our Carnage Trip. (22-24 March) We’ll also head to the ‘Australian Alpine Region’ to hike across the Razorback on Mount Feathertop – which looks like it sounds. (26-28 April) Later in the year we may run a trip to the gem of Victoria; Wilsons Prom. Throughout the semester day trips will be run whenever members feel like getting out of the city and stretching their legs.
On multi day hikes good food becomes more challenging, but this is half the fun. Below are some suggestions of food to take, bearing in mind most walks are ‘walk in walk out’ i.e. take your rubbish with you, so keep it light!
- Meat – Tuna pouches, salami, dehydrated beef or chicken.
- Cheese (you can by non refrigerated cheese of the supermarket shelf (blue packet) but normal cheese is usually okay).
- For Lunches – Burrito wraps, mountain bread, pita wraps (pitas
only last a couple of days)
- Pasta and noodles
- Packet soups
- Powdered Hot Chocolate or Coffee/tea.
- Dehydrated vegies (you can buy some from supermarket)
- Fresh vegies e.g. tomatoes keep them in pots or containers so you don’t squash them
- Desserts: powdered mousses, custards, boil in container puddings, biscuits
- Plus whatever else you can think of! There is no better feeling than to be eating an awesome 3 course feast while everyone around you is in to their 4th freeze dried continental noodle meal for the hike.
Important tips o When buying/hiring a pack fill it up so you know how it feels when it’s full of gear
o Gas canister of fuel (e.g. butane/propane mix) don’t work well at temperatures much below freezing, so bring a liquid burning stove for treks in the snow
o Always bring extra plastic bags. Aside from your garbage they’re great for storing wt gear in your packs and can be used as a jacket in emergencies
o Water purification tablets don’t kill cysts and oocysts of Giardia and Crypotosporidium, so take a water filter or extra fuel for boiling if you plan on drinking water from areas near farm run-off.
And finally there’s nothing more disappointing than seeing rubbish out in the bush. So remember take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints!
Bushwalking Reps: Robert Springer & Lara Bowlt