Safety and Preparation
Wear loose fitting clothing and medium grade walking boots with good tread on soles that are hard enough when walking over sharp stones.
Wear a wide brimmed hat – the Australian sun can be hot!
Acquire a small to medium backpack large enough to hold:-
- at least 1 liter of drinking water- 2 liters or more for longer walks or on hot days. Don’t drink water from streams.
- lunch and any other snacks.
- rain coat and jumper.
- sunscreen lotion, insect repellent, toilet paper, sanitizing hand gel.
- track notes, map, mobile phone.
- Optional but preferable depending on walk selected:- compass; published 1:25,000 topographic maps; LED torch; clear glasses.
Beware of dehydration during long walks on hot humid days. Consider not walking or a short walk when forecast temperature exceeds 30 degrees Celsius.
Using Track Notes and Maps
Each walk has track notes, walk profile and map(s) showing the walk route and key distances along it.
The track notes record cumulative walking times and distances to key features like track junctions, creek crossings and scenic locations along the walk. Some of the easiest walks have the longest track notes because these walks are commonly close to habitation where there are more tracks and confusing track junctions.
The total walking times given are for walking by a reasonably fit adult with two or three drink stops of less than 5 minutes. Longer stops e.g. for lunch are recorded.
Average walking speeds for reasonably fit adult:-
- On road or management/fire trail (navigable by vehicles) 6km/hr.
- On gently undulating bush track:- 4km/hr.
- Climbing on track:- 2 km/hr.
- Steep climb or off track in thick bush:- 1 km/hr.
Your total walk time may be up to twice as long, depending on your pace, rest, photo, water, snack and view stops.
Left or right notations are always in the direction of the walk e.g. ‘go right’ or ‘creek on left’.
The condition of walking tracks changes over time, so note the date of the track notes. Note the track markers described in the track notes.
Walking tracks (or bush tracks, walking pads) and even service roads can change over a relatively short period because:-
- Lack of maintenance with tracks overgrown or covered with creek debris;
- Track markers are removed or worn off:
. bunting tape weathers, becomes brittle, is removed by birds; not reliable for more than a few months
. painted arrows on trees are removed when tree sheds bark
. paint on rocks is moderately durable except where wet repeatedly or worn away by walkers
. hard plastic or metal shields or arrows nailed to trees are excellent
. park signage on timber or metal is excellent, as are arrowed posts.
. stone cairns left by other walkers are excellent
- When a track is next to a watercourse, flooding can drastically alter it with washouts and newly deposited debris and fallen trees.
- A track can be obscured totally for tens of meters by a single large fallen tree or by a landslide.
- Bush fires will change the whole landscape.
The Day Before You Walk
Select your walk.
Read the Track Notes and study the Map (s) for your chosen walk. Carefully note the date of the Track Notes to assess likely track condition and track markers.For example, if the Track Notes are more than one year old, do not expect to find plastic bunting tape where indicated in the Notes.
Look up the Sydney Trains Timetable on www.sydneytrains.info for the best trains to and from the walk and any track works on the day.
Check the weather forecast on www.bom.gov.au and depending on your chosen walk, the tide and wave conditions for walks along rock platforms and/or beaches and for any likely flooded creeks that you have to cross.
Make sure there is enough daylight to complete your selected walk.
Depending on what you find, you may have to select another walk for that day or another day for the walk.
Print the Track Notes and Map(s) for your selected walk. Note that most of these walks are outside the mobile data range.
Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.