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Navigation Techniques: “Aiming Off”

Here’s another really useful tip for your navigation ‘tool box’.

Imagine: you’re navigating cross-country, using map and compass, to the track where you parked your car. But upon reaching the track, the car’s not in sight. Which way should you turn – left or right? This dilemma is easily avoided by deliberately setting a bearing that will under-shoot or over-shoot your car’s position. If you aim off to the right, you’ll turn left when you reach the track; if you aim off to the left, you’ll turn right at the track. Done! This technique works equally well if you’re aiming for a point on any linear feature such as a river or coastline.

Take a look at the Bushwalking Manual for diagrams and other handy navigation techniques.

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Brilliant Base Camp #2: Wyperfeld National Park

Wyperfeld NP is one of Victoria’s vast Mallee parks and is well-suited for autumn, winter and spring base camps. It offers walks, camping (basic facilities), a Visitor Information Centre, spring wildflowers, varied landscapes and plant communities, wildlife and birds – including Malleefowl. Clubs wishing to explore more of Victoria’s Mallee and Murray-Sunset NP sometimes organize “progressive camps” incorporating Wyperfeld, Pink Lakes and Hattah-Kulkyne NP. This article offers useful information for planning and enjoying a Wyperfeld base camp.

Showcase your club’s favourite base camp location!
Base camps are a fantastic way to attract and engage new members. They also encourage walkers to enjoy a wider range of tracks. We’d love to harness your knowledge, and strengthen our club network, by sharing your favourite Victorian base camp location with other readers.

Tell us all about it: when to visit, walks and maps, facilities & accommodation, complementary activities…whatever makes it special! Email your article (in Word format, with accompanying photos in JPG or PNG format) to admin@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au  with ‘Brilliant Base Camp’ in the subject line. We look forward to receiving YOUR base camp inspiration!

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Great Ocean Road Coastal Trail

A new coastal trail will enable walkers to experience a 90-kilometre walk which traverses breathtaking and culturally significant Gadubanud Country between Fairhaven and Grey River. The trail – the Great Ocean Road Coastal Trail – will provide a 7-day, 6-night hike, as well as day walks and shorter walks. When complete, it will link the Surf Coast Walk and Great Ocean Walk, resulting in uninterrupted track stretching from Torquay to the Twelve Apostles.

The Great Ocean Road Coastal Trail Master Plan was released recently, and the Engage Victoria site has been updated with next steps, the project video and the Master Plan. The plan was shaped by over 12 months of community and stakeholder consultation. Over 3,000 responses were received, focussing on design principles and trail alignment; environmental excellence; suspension bridges; lookouts; accessibility; camping and car parks.

The trail’s guiding principles ensure that the trail respects and promotes the rich cultural heritage and natural values of the area; existing tracks will be utilised where possible. In places, the preferred trail alignment has moved further inland, incorporating more of the Great Otway National Park. This short video explains how the Master Plan was developed. Significant funding has been invested by the Victorian Government; construction is expected to begin next year.

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FedWalks 2022 – Don’t miss out!

There are still places available for the Federation Walks event in north-east Victoria on the first weekend in October. So grab a friend or three, check out the walks program and book – the broad range of activities offers something for everyone!

Accommodation options vary from free camping to boutique choices: do it your way. All the walks and cycle tours allow you to explore the rich diversity of the area: lookouts & landscapes; wildflowers & woodlands; snow gums & snowgrass plains; creeks & caves; waterfalls & wildlife…

This map provides a great overview of the walk locations. At only $30 per person for two days’ activities, FedWalks is great value for money. To see what’s available click on the ‘Book Now’ button on the Fedwalks website. Don’t miss out!

Image: Cecily Fletcher. Warby Walkers, Mount Buffalo

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Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Project Update

In the last few weeks Parks Victoria has publicly released two important documents that completes the initial planning work for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Project (FHAC).

The Business Case is an independent in-depth analysis of the project that investigates its viability, implementation, operating costs and benefits.  Government departments and agencies typically only publicly release a summary version of business cases, however for the FHAC, while some information in the document has been redacted for privacy and commercial reasons, as much information as possible has been retained to show the decision-making criteria and process undertaken. Information that has been redacted includes commercial information that may influence procurement and operational processes; personal information such as names, and internal working documents.

For more information, please refer to this document.

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Brilliant Base Camp #1: Grampians (Gariwerd) NP

We’re happy to share the first in our Brilliant Base Camps series. The Grampians is one of Victoria’s favourite national parks, famous for wonderful walks, amazing views, Aboriginal cultural heritage and stunning wildflowers. The region offers a wide range of accommodation and other recreational activities such as photography, canoeing and kayaking. Given its popularity, you’re more likely to have the tracks to yourself if you choose to walk mid-week. Here are our notes and suggestions for planning Grampians base camps.

Now…over to you!

What’s your favourite Victorian base camp location? To share it with other readers, email a prepared article (in Word format, with accompanying photos in JPG or PNG format) to admin@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au  with ‘Brilliant Base Camp’ in the subject line. Authors and clubs will be acknowledged. You might like to include these details: why the location is special; best seasons to visit; suggested walks (including family-friendly walks); facilities; camping and accommodation choices; options for other outdoor recreation; a list of maps and resources.

Large or small, well-known or practically unknown, we look forward to receiving YOUR base camp ideas.

Image: Warrnambool Bushwalkers. Best view spot in Tower Hill

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BTAC Project in the Warby-Ovens National Park

In late July, Bushwalking Tracks & Conservation (BTAC) volunteers carried out maintenance on four of the FedWalks 2022 tracks. The team enjoyed seeing the national park and giving the tracks some TLC (and some enjoyed their recce of one of the local wineries!)

Eighteen members contributed 379 volunteer hours over the two-day project. Many of the FedWalks participants who walk in the Warby-Ovens national park will benefit from this fantastic effort! Here’s a more detailed report from the project leader, along with additional photos.

Image: Jim Harker. BTAC volunteers at Kwat Kwat Lookout, Warby-Ovens National Park.

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Can I Be a More Sustainable Bushwalker?

Most bushwalkers recognize that Victoria’s natural areas are a valuable and fragile resource. ‘Tread Softly’ has become embedded in the bushwalker’s code: we understand the importance of low-impact walking and the need to conserve and protect our favourite places.

We can become even more environmentally sustainable walkers by adopting new habits and continually making low-impact choices – when choosing a walk and outdoor clothing; when choosing, purchasing and packaging food; when choosing where to pitch a tent; by practising the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Geof Martin, a member of Melbourne Bushwalkers, has put together this wonderfully comprehensive article with thoughtful hints on how to become an even more sustainable walker.

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FedWalks 2022: Bookings Open 6th August!

Discover the rich environment of north-east Victoria during the Federation Walks event, to be held from 30 September – 3 October. Activities kick off with an easy ramble along the Ovens River on the Friday afternoon, followed by a BBQ, Welcome to Country and briefing at the event base, the Wangaratta Showgrounds – an ideal place to catch up with fellow walkers throughout the weekend.

The fabulous activities program includes numerous walks on Mt Buffalo Plateau and in the Warby Ranges, which are well-known for an abundance of wildflowers in spring. Other walks include the historic Beechworth area and Mt Samaria, and there are plans for cycle rides each day on the wonderful cycle paths and touring routes in the region.

Walkers are asked to arrange their own accommodation: there are several options available, including budget camping. Accommodation links are included on the FedWalks website. You may choose to extend your stay, to enjoy the food, wine and additional walks in the region. The Warby Ranges are part of the Warby-Ovens National Park which, in 2021, became the first site in Victoria to be admitted to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Green List.

FedWalks bookings open on 6 August, so don’t wait: check out the Fedwalks website now!

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Give Geocaching a Go!

Bushwalking and geocaching are a match made in heaven. Geocaching is a high-tech version of hide and seek – an outdoor treasure hunt using GPS coordinates on a handheld GPS or mobile phone. As well as being a highly addictive activity for adults, it’s a great way of getting children out on the track.

There are caches hidden all over the world, with roughly 80,000 in Australia (including over 100 in Lerderderg State Park alone!) Geocache locations are diverse: inside a log, hollow tree or disused wombat burrow; beneath a rock on a mountain summit; in the local park; behind a street sign or down a remote river embankment. Caches come in a variety of sizes and difficulty levels, from tiny magnetic caches as small as a finger nail (so challenging to find) to camouflaged boxes which contain ‘treasures’ for children to swap.

After navigating to specified GPS coordinates, participants attempt to find the hidden cache. As typical GPS receiver accuracy varies between 3 and 10 metres, this is where the fun really begins!

If you’d like to know more about how geocaching works and what you need to get started, there’s a brief video and plenty of information on this website.