Wednesday, April 28, 2010

South Coast Track Tasmania

Story by Adventure Seekers Guest Richard Tullock.
Camping? Why would I spend money to live in poverty? And when it comes to walking Tasmania’s South Coast Track, it’s poverty plus a week of hard labour. There must be some good reason why I chose to put myself through this. I wake at dawn on a mat on the cold ground, scratch my insect bites and pull on the same clammy clothes I’ve been sweating in for days. I force my legs to straighten and stumble through wet bushes to a clearing. Here I squat over a stinking pit, then rinse without soap in a murky stream. Yep, it’s poverty all right.
Breakfast time. The cheery sign on the packet reads, ‘You’ll love Coles Quick Oats.’‘Love’ is not a term I use lightly, and I never apply it to gluggy cereal. But it would take me days to hike to the nearest croissant and extra shot cappuccino, so quick oats with powdered milk it is.
Body suitably carbohydrated, I hoist a dead weight onto my back. We’re carrying our own tents, sleeping bags and enough food for nine days. Two of my heavier packets are labelled ‘Dinner Day 7’ and ‘Dinner Day 8’. They’ll be with me for some time yet.
My fellow travellers are also saddling up. Brian the Brisbane fire fighter is intoning, ‘I must become the pack. I am the pack…’ Susie the adventure racer is leading stretching exercises, designed to ease the kinks out of Stan’s dodgy hip.
‘As they used to tell us in the army,’ grins trekking guide Ambor, ‘pain is weakness leaving the body.’ He’s younger and fitter than me, but he must have 30 kilos on his shoulders. Ah, poverty plus hard labour.
We step out of the trees onto the beach, and immediately we’re millionaires. We remember now why we’re doing this. The South West National Park, the largest wilderness area in Tasmania, is as savage, beautiful and untouched as anywhere on the planet, and we’ve nearly got it all to ourselves.In 600,000 hectares there are no roads, just the crashing surf on our right, the rainforest rising on our left, and behind it the rugged peaks of the Western Arthur Range. We’ll make the only footprints on the sand this morning. If Bill Gates wants to see this, he’ll have to walk in too.
The 83km South Coast Track is one of the world’s great wilderness walks, though due to recent track work and drought it’s no longer the muddy bog that old-timers speak of in hushed tones. Nevertheless, it’s harder going than the famous Overland Track, much less busy and with spectacular wild beaches as well as mountain views.
The terrain varies from button grass plains, stands of melaleuca, rocky alps and dripping rainforest with endemic huon pines, massive swamp gums and 300 species of fern and moss. Much of the trek is not too difficult, and we need to walk just four to six hour days between our lovely campsites, but there are two gruelling eight to ten hour slogs over the Ironbound Range and the South Coast Range. The views from the top are brilliant in fine weather, so we’re told. Coming down the steep slopes is an ordeal in the rain as we scramble through roots and clamber over fallen timber and slippery rocks.
Some members of our party can talk with intimidating authority of iron man events, mountain bike marathons and kayaking expeditions. Young Kai and Anna are doing their first multi-day walk and we admire their guts and determination. I fall somewhere in the middle in experience and sadly lead the pack in age. The South Coast Track is tough enough to keep the athletes interested, but even the novices and the old bloke comfortably stay the course.
It helps to have Stan as our senior guide. His company Adventure Seekers has done all the logistics; booking the light planes which flew us from Hobart to Melaleuca airstrip at the start of the track, providing the tents and buying the food – skilfully balancing minimum weight with maximum taste and nutrition for seven people over nine days.
Stan and Ambor carry first aid kits, an emergency beacon, a GPS device and a satellite phone, but luckily all we need are a few bandaids for blisters.
The guides also do the cooking. Maybe he’ll never earn a Michelin chef’s hat, but Stan deserves at least a Michelin beanie. Out of dehydrated meat, peas and carrots he conjures up Madras curry or Navarin of lamb over the spirit stove each night. Dried orange slices dipped in melted chocolate are a great dessert if you’re hungry enough.
Our track food is the envy of the few independent walkers we meet along the way. The German backpackers from Dresden were hoping to catch fresh fish to eke out their supplies. So far they’ve eaten a lot of rice.
We ford the Louisa River and rock hop over Tyler’s Creek. At New River Lagoon we have the fun task of shuttling across the water on two rowboats. It’s a puzzle how to get everyone over and still leave one boat and one set of oars on each bank for the next group. The solo walker in front of us admits he rowed back and forth five times before he got it right.
We hear birds everywhere, though we seldom see them, apart from a glimpse of rare orange-bellied parrots at Melaleuca and the ubiquitous currawongs and gulls. At dusk pademelons and a spotted quoll creep around the campsite hoping for snacks.There can’t be too many places left on earth where you can go a whole week without checking your email or hearing news of Britney Spears, so it’s a bit of a shock when on Day 8 graded track sections and the appearance of day walkers in clean clothes suggest we’re nearly back in civilisation.
We emerge at Cockle Creek, at the end of the most southerly road in Australia. To those camped there in their mobile homes it probably feels like they’re getting away from it all. To the hardened nature types we’ve become this week, the place is a buzzing metropolis. Kai and Anna chat to a family from Ireland and are rewarded with a bar of chocolate that we divide seven ways and eagerly devour.
When we’re in mobile phone range I ring home. ‘I survived the wild!’ I report. ‘Good,’ says my wife, ‘because the dishwasher broke, the accountant urgently needs our bank statements for the tax returns, the car’s making that funny noise again and the toilet won’t flush.’ Welcome back to living in luxury

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Maria Island Walks Tasmania

There are 2 ways to get to Maria Island, by ferry or you can choose what do, and fly. There is no better way to experience Tasmania than from the air. Our Maria Island guided walk which runs from November 2010 through to April 2011 begins with a spectacular charter flight up the east coast of Tasmania before landing at Darlington on Maria Island. As soon as you land you will be blown away by the breathtaking landscape. This tour is a fantastic four day walking tour not to be missed. Check out our website for details and a itinerary.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Team Building Brisbane

Adventure Seekers run outdoor activities such as abseiling and rock climbing that small businesses and corporations can use as tools for team development. Our sessions run for 3 hours and build trust, better communication and self confidence.

South Coast Track Tasmania

2010 / 2011 South Coast Track Guided Walk departure dates will be up on the website soon and its probally a good time to work on your fitness and check your gear especially your boots. Need a new pair? Buy them know and wear them in to avoid any possible discomfort later on. Our 1st South Coast Track walk departs 13th November then once a month until February 2011. Like to secure a spot? Give us a call.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rockclimbing Abseiling Kangaroo Point

Looking for a bit of adventure? Come and try our 3 hour rockclimbing or abseiling activities at Kangaroo Point. These activities run seperately and are great for novices or beginners and kick off most mornings at 0830am.

You may also like to give our sunset abseil a go. As the sun sets you will abseil into the night with Brisbane's city lights as your backdrop. This activity starts at 4.30pm and finishes at 6.30pm and includes a refreshing drinks and nibbles.

Maria Island Walk

Adventure Seekers Itinerary:

Day 1 We leave Hobart Airport and fly south over Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula while observing the intriguing geological features of the towering seacliffs. The coastline has numerous underwater cliffs and caves, the habitat for abundant marine life. We round Cape Pillar and Tasman Island where we get a chance to see Austrailian Fur Seal colonies on the rocks below. Our flight then tracks up the coast to Maria Island and we get spectacular veiws of the lay of the island and where our 4 day walk will travel. Flying further north we pass over Schouten Island then come to the beautiful Freycinet Peninsula and the much noted Wineglass Bay (voted one of the worlds top 10 beaches) and Hazards Beach. We turn around at Coles Bay and head back south touching down at Darlington on Maria Island. From Darlington we visit the amazingly patterned painted cliffs on our journey to Encampment Cove. We can take in a evening swim in the sheltered cove and visit the historic convict cells at Point Lesueur.

Day 2 We stroll along the beautiful beach of Shoal Bay on our way to Robeys Farm, once an early period sheep station. Now, the sheep have been removed and some building ruins and old machinery remain. After lunch we walk to Haunted Bay and the expansive veiws to the Tasman Sea. We then retrace our footsteps along the shores of Shoal Bay passing through forest and coastal vegetation to historic Frenchs Farm, home of the French family in the mid 1900. We camp in the picturesque clearing of the now dissused partially restored farmhouse that gives us ocean and beach veiws.

Day 3 Today we travel inland throught the heart of Maria Island. 5km along the track we have the opportunity to climb Mount Maria before visiting the Oast House and our final destination, Darlington.

Day 4 We spend most of the day exploring Darlington, the buildings, the relics and the fantastic Fossil Bay and cliffs. For the energetic we can also climb Bishop and Clerk. From Darlington we catch the 1 hour voyage on the Maria Island Ferry across the Mercury Passage to Triabunna and our waiting bus. Our journey back to Hobart will take us about 1 1/2 hours.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Maria Island Guided Walk

Introducing a new Tasmanian Walking Tour. Combine a spectacular scenic flight around the Tasman Peninsula, Freycinet Peninsula and Wineglass Bay landing on Maria Island with a 4 day guided walking tour through a breathtaking landscape.Maria Island lies 10km off the east coast of Tasmania, Australia and we access it by an amazing private charter flight. Maria is a peaceful and relaxing place. There are no vehicles, just beautiful scenery, deserted beaches and abundant wildlife. To add to the beauty of the island, she has an intriguing history. After the first explorers, came whalers and sealers and later the island was a convict station.Your guides will immerse you in the islands history and lead you on a amazing 4 day exploration of Maria. Your accommodation are twin share tents, but what other way would you have it on this island paradise. Camping does not mean dehydrated foods. We end each day with a meal of fresh local produce and fine Tasmanian Wines.