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Food packing tips for bushwalks

Brad Lester cartoon 2 websized


It is all about meal planning bushwalkers and avoiding the temptation to prepare for a famine - thank you to cartoonist, Brad Lester for this fantastic cartoon of what not to do!

So where to start... Here are some of the main considerations from a comprehensive article by Peter Byrd, a writer for Professional Camping. Read more here.

Do remember that bushwalking with a backpack and camping is not the same thing. There is no esky nor boot space and you have to carry your pack all day. Pack for lightness and optimal nutrition not "I may feel like eating a watermelon at some stage!" Here are some handy tips:

  1. What is the duration and intensity of your bushwalk - how many meals do you need to prepare and pack?
  3. What activities will you be participating in, just walking, walking and climbing, walking and kayaking, etc.?
  5. Most bushwalkers need about 3500 calories a day for long walks depending on fitness levels and metabolism, so make sure you have food that not only tastes good but will keep your energy levels up and provide adequate nutrition.
  7. What will the weather be like on your bushwalk? In cold climates, you will burn more energy keeping warm. A handy tip if you will be walking/skiing in snow, is to you keep foods in the pockets close to your body to make sure it doesn't freeze or in the centre of your pack, not in outside pockets. In warmer months, staying hydrated is as important as staying nourished.
  9.  The best foods to take on a multi-day bushwalk are lightweight, have a low glycemic index (GI), are easy to prepare, foods you like eating, are preferably dehydrated foods and lend themselves to adding spices to provide a variety in taste.
  11. Canned foods seem like a good idea but they are heavy and you have to take your rubbish with you, so you will have to carry empty cans in your pack.
  13. You have to carry sufficient drinking water for the conditions that are expected as well as purifying tables or a filtration system that is lightweight.
  15.  Coffee, tea, hot chocolate or other powdered drink options to add to cold or hot water will create variety for your taste buds.  
  17. Decide which cooking equipment you need, what you will use as fuel and how many meals you will be preparing using fuel. Keep potential fire bans in mind. Also prepare for cleaning up.  
  19. Remember that you need to take your rubbish and uneaten food with you, so plan ahead. Take enough robust rubbish bags. An old-fashioned string bag, that can be tied to your pack, is handy to carry bags of rubbish outside of your pack or to seperate it from other items in your pack. If you are looking for re-usable or compostable food storage bags and wraps, have a look here and here as well as here
  21. Proper food storage, especially overnight when camping, is essential as you don't want wildlife to pick up on the food smell and eat your food, so use storage bags that close off food smells.  
  23. Individually pack every meal.  
  25. Label every package before you mix up powdered milk with powdered potatoes! If you need cooking instructions, write these on the packet as well as the calorie count, if that will be significant on your trip, and the date you packed the food.
  27. Camp cooking for a bushwalker is not about gourmet meals - it is surprising what you relish deep in the High Country but would look down on at home! Have a look at our Pintrest Board filled with recipe ideas here
  29.  Pack properly with snacks and water within easy reach, lunch close and dinner and next day meals further to the bottom of your pack
  31.  Find out if resupply boxes are available on your route and use those to re-stock your food and water supplies or ask someone to mail food and other supplies to be collected at post offices en route if that is an option. Here's a book that may be handy: The Dietitian's Resupply Box - A Guide to Thru-Hiking on a Plant-based diet. You can also read more about re-supply here. This is an example of a food resupply service in Australia. 

For more details and tips, have a look at a comprehensive guide in the Outdoor Leader Online here.  


Book Review by Liz Robinson

Plants of the Victorian High Country: A Field Guide for Walkers, 2nd Edition

by John Murphy and Bill Dowling

Published by CSIRO Publishing, October 2018

168 pages, paperback, colour photographs, AU $39.99

ISBN: 9781486309016


Book Review


If, like me, you love the outdoors but sometimes need a good excuse to stop and breathe during a bushwalk, then this book’s for you! It will encourage walkers with little botanical knowledge to take time on the track to identify the plants they see in Victoria's High Country.

This second edition describes 133 plants found in the montane, sub-alpine and alpine zones (altitudes above 900 metres). For ease of identification, plants are categorised in five groups: herbs, daisy herbs, low woody shrubs, tall shrubs and trees (other than eucalypts), and eucalypts. In practice, I found that determining which group a plant belonged to could be confusing – tall herbs and small, woody shrubs can be quite similar. Fortunately, the detailed plant descriptions are accompanied by 155 clear colour photographs of flowers, leaves, stems, fruits and seed pods.

 As photos make identification much easier, it was disappointing that no photographs were included of the eight described eucalypts. Although their bark may be the most reliable distinguishing feature, a photo or sketch of the leaves, flowers and fruits would assist a layperson.

The guide includes a glossary of botanical terms and very helpful sketches of six flower types; the index lists plants by both species and common name. This edition also includes brief but fascinating information on the Aboriginal use of the plants – for food, hunger or thirst suppressant, as fibre for weaving or for medicinal use – although the authors are careful to remind readers that many plants that look edible are actually poisonous.

Whilst most bushwalkers would be aware that the High Country is located in north-east Victoria, and features national parks and Victoria’s highest mountains, I think that the inclusion of a map showing the location and breadth of the High Country would make the guide more appealing to travellers or occasional walkers. I would also have liked an indication of which plants were rare, vulnerable or endangered.

Minor criticisms aside, Plants of the Victorian High Country is recommended for walkers and nature lovers alike. It fits easily in a backpack, and with flowering seasons extending from August to May, there’s always something new to discover whilst exploring your next mountain. You can purchase the book here

Liz Robinson

Koonung Bushwalking Club

Federation Walks 2018 - Mornington Peninsula


Federation Walks Event - 20 October 2018 - Mornington Peninsula

 Fed Walks 2018 Walk Locations

Federation Walks Event DateSaturday, 20 October 2018

Bookings OpenSaturday, 18 August 2018

Bookings CloseFirday, 5 October 2018 at noon.

Please note that this is an ALL WEATHER EVENT, apart from extreme weather conditions which are unlikely in October. 

Please click here to have a look at the different walks on offer and the walk maps and track notes. A huge thank you to Liz Robinson (editor and track notes) and Andrew Robinson (map production) from the Koonung Bushwalking Club who gave us hours and hours of their time to prepare the walk notes and maps. Please click here for the walks program showing departure times.

Refreshments: Tea, coffee, fruit juice and water will be available at Elgee Park all day.

Afternoon tea:  Please join us at 16:00  at Elgee Park Winery for afternoon tea hosted by Bushwalking Victoria. Coffee, tea and fruit juice will be served with a selection of cake, slices, and fresh seasonal fruit with live background music provided by Kayla Schafte and her guitar.

Wine Tastings: You will be able to sample the magnificent Elgee Park Wines on Saturday.

Dinner: If you are staying over on Saturday night and would like to pre-order dinner, you can do so. Click here for the menu and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Lillien or Ian with your order by 5 October. They will confirm via reply e-mail. Meals will be cooked fresh from the Captain Calamari Food Trailer at Elgee Park and available between 17:00 and 19:00. Soft drinks and mineral water will be for sale too. 


The booking buttons are below. 


Event information:

This year's Federation Walks event is hosted by Bushwalking Victoria with the help of many of our members volunteering their time and expertise! Peter Conroy (Bushwalking Victoria Fed Walks Organiser) and Judy Hunter (Bushwalking Victoria Board Member) are at the helm bringing everything together.

The event is open to all Bushwalking Victoria members and affiliated bushwalking clubs. Members are welcome to invite friends or family to give bushwalking a go! The two family walks in Coolart are open to the public. If you would like to become a member, you can join us as an Individual Member for $20 per year, just click here. If you prefer to join a club, have a look at our affiliated clubs by clicking here and join one near you! 

The Federation Walks 2018 event will be held on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula with the beautiful Elgee Park Winery as the gathering place. 

There will be 16 walks with different gradings on offer including a family-friendly walk in Coolart - so gather your kids and grandchildren! 

Please click here for the walks program showing departure times.

A maximum number of 10-18 participants can participate in a walk depending on the walk grading. For the family-friendly walks, each family can have up to 6 participants with a maximum of 19 families per walk. The family walk will be offered twice on the day, one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon. This will appear as Family Walk- Coolart 1A and 1B when booking.

Here is a general walk grading guide, that may be helpful to you:   pdfWalk Gradings.pdf

The most challenging walk on the day is the Two Bays Walking Track. There will be two groups doing this walk, to allow for more participants. This will show as Two Bays Walking Track 16A and 16B when booking.  

A qualified walk-leader and a co-leader (whip) will lead each walk. Most of the leaders are also qualified First-Aiders. Thank you to all our amazing members who volunteered to lead walks!

Walks will have staggered starting times depending on the grade and distance.

The event will conclude at 16:00 with an afternoon tea at Elgee Park Winery.
Click here for a handy list of what you may like to bring. 
Come and enjoy this beautiful spot in Victoria in the spirit of friendship and our shared delight in the outdoors!

Location information:


Elgee Park


The picturesque Mornington Peninsula offers a variety of interesting and beautiful places to walk. It has deep ferny valleys, wild ocean shorelines, gentle bay beaches, rocky escarpments, rolling green hills and forests with kangaroos roaming. The area has a rich and varied history and is, of course, ripe with boutique wineries, cider houses, and award-winning restaurants.  So much to be enjoyed, so close to Melbourne, so make a weekend out of it!

Elgee Park Winery will be the place where we all gather to meet and greet, enjoy refreshments, register for our selected walk and taste some delicious wines. They have lovely sculpture walks too and one is listed as a Fed Walk option for you, it is walk number 4 on the walks list.

Elgee Park is located in Merricks North with access off Nepean Highway Dromana, Mel 161 G3. Here  is a map of how to get there. 

If you would like to stay over on Friday and/or Saturday evening, here are some accommodation options:


How to book:

Bookings are administered through TryBooking - a huge thank you to Anna Thompson form VMTC (Victorian Mountain Tramping Club) for her hours of work to design and integrate the booking pages. 

Participating in a walk costs $20 per person and $20 per family (up to 6 members for the Coolart family walk) to cover overheads such as printing the walks booklet and afternoon tea.TryBooking charges a 30 cents booking fee per transaction.

  1. Have a look at the walks program and pick your top 3 walks as numbers for each walk are limited, so you may not be able to get a place on the walk of your first choice when you book, so have some alternatives ready. Depending on the grading, each walk can accommodate between 12-18 participants. When all the places for a walk have been booked, you will not be able to purchase a ticket for that walk and it will show as sold out. You can buy a maximum of 4 tickets per booking, if you would like to buy more tickets, just start another transaction once you have purchased the first 4 tickets. This is to make sure that everyone has a fair go at getting a place on a walk of their choice. For the family walks at Coolart, each family can book up to 6 participants for a total cost of $20 in one transaction. If a family has more than 6 participants, you will need to purchase another set of tickets as one parent/guardian is needed for each group of up to six.

  2. Click on the applicable booking button below to book your walk.

  3. Follow the process in TryBooking. You will be issued with a ticket to print at home or store on your mobile device. On the booking page, there is a box to tick if you are willing to carpool and take other participants on your walk in your car. Please tick this box if you are happy to do so, then we can work out logistics. 

  4. Once bookings close on 5 October at noon, we will be in contact with you with final arrangements. Please make sure you enter the correct e-mail address and mobile phone number when you book otherwise we will not be able to contact you.

  5. Bring your tickets with you and register for your walk at Elgee Park on either Friday, 19 October (between 17:00 - 19:00) or Saturday, 20 October (between 07:00 - 10:00). Participants in the family-friendly walks do not have to register at Elgee Park, you can go straight to Coolart, 20 minutes before your walk is due to depart,  the walk leader and co-leader will register participants there. 

Each participant/family will receive a Federation Walks 2018 booklet when they register at the event with all the information for the different walks. Thank you again to Andrew and Liz Robinson for taking the booklet design and production on board as well! 



If something unforeseen happens, you can cancel your booking until 10 October 2018 for a full refund. The 30 cents TryBooking fee can't be refunded. No refunds will be processed after this date in order to allow enough time before the event for other participants to take your place on the walk you booked. 




  FED WALKS                                                      FAMILY WALK BOOKING



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