[Summer -Autumn 2023 Walks]

May 2023

Threlfall Track Walk 

Sunday 28 May

Thirteen hardy walkers braved a significant frost to gather early and head off on the circuit around the Threlfall Track, in our local Oxley Wild Rivers NP. It was exciting to see four new faces walking with us and what a fabulous gem of a short (5.5km round trip) and fully tracked walk to start off with. Despite the chilly start, we had beautiful blue weather, a perfect New England winter's day (even if it is not quite Winter yet!).  We walked the track in a clockwise direction, tackling the climb early and then descending down the steps to a remarkable and clear view of the Gara Gorge.  Pausing to enjoy views of the Hydro Pool, we then left the main track and walked out on the short ridge to 'Breakfast Rock' where we enjoyed cups of tea from the thermos before a sneaky breeze had us moving on to find more protection on the track.  Another pause and short sidetrack to look down upon a swimming hole frequented by many of us in the warmer months, and then back to the car park to chat and wend our way back into Armidale.   Some of us took the opportunity and some good timing to join in with the Reconciliation Bridge Walk, then home to pile more wood on the fire. Walk Report: Kate  Carter

Spectacular views!

Our intrepid leader -  Kate

Enjoying a break

The route taken

Armidale Walking Track

May 6th 

Eight of us, five members and three visitors, set off from the Pine Forest car park (nearest the Waldorf school) on a beautiful sunny New England Saturday morning. Traversing eastwards, we arrived at some ecologically sensitive areas on the Tilbuster Ponds Creek. Continuing across Rockvale Road, we walked along Charleston Willows to what seems to be a rarely used polo field and facilities. For about 1.5 km, the track followed the tranquil Tilbuster Ponds merging onto Biddulph Road. Continuing along Hoys Road, we joined The Armidale Walking Track, stretching about two kliometres.

This track takes us past several lifestyle blocks. There are many sections with no through roads, thus ensuring a rural private lifestyle for which Armidale is noted. Originally, trees were planted here and along Blue Wren Road to provide bird corridors. On finishing, Trelawney Rd took us directly back to the car park. All up the walk was around 12 kilometres on a well made easy to follow track

Some group members had walked on parts of this track but no one had completed the perimeter walk. 

This track is one of Armidale's best-kept secrets and it's so close to town! Maps and directions are available at The Armidale Visitors Centre.

Walk report from Elton Squires                                                                           

April 2023


Cathedral Rock National Park

29 TH – 30 TH APRIL

MAP 9337-2S EBOR 1:25000

Visiting Cathedral Rock NP is always enjoyable and needs no particular purpose. However, on this occasion the aim was to provide an opportunity for those new to bushwalking - or anyone else up for a relatively easy two-day walk - to camp out.

As it turned out three walkers took the opportunity to walk from Native Dog Creek, just off the Guyra – Ebor Rd at the Northern end of the park, through to Barokee Campground. Two other walkers, short for time, walked part of the way on Saturday before returning to Native Dog Creek.

Now, this isn’t a long walk, and it is all on a well-formed track. The “brown lines” on the map aren’t too ugly. The return walk is under twenty kilometers and it can be done as a day walk, but two days allows for leisurely side trips to the tops of Woolpack Rocks and Cathedral Rock, both well worth the effort for the views and the scramble, and a pleasant enough campground overnight.  [Be aware that the final part of the climb onto Cathedral Rock requires some scrambling, partly using a fixed chain.]

The walk was without incident. The weather was overcast for the most part, but the light showers forecast held off until later Saturday night and were all cleared by Sunday morning, The usual wildlife was sighted, highlights being the three wedge-tailed eagles circling above us on Woolpack Rocks and the lyrebird singing in the valley below Cathedral Rock. Numerous bush birds, and wallabies. Good to see the bush coming back after the bushfires of 2019. Sad that much of the “Banksia ballroom forest” that grew in the area around Cathedral Rock has been killed by the fires.

In short, a pleasant, relatively easy weekend walk. The photos tell the story!

Report by Ken Barnett

A cosy fire to keep us warm!

Gara Gorge to Long Point

Easter Weekend

Maps: Enmore and Hillgrove 

On the 7th of April six walkers set out from Armidale to travel to and through local properties (many thanks) to reach the 'Glen', a northern side access point into the gorge system of the Gara River. 

Down, down and more down to reach the river under threatening skies. Got a bit lost on the way there however reached the rocky bottom to rest, set up a fly, and sit out the rain, thunder and hail that ensued. We camped that night nearby to enjoy a fire, tall tales of bushwalking exploits, and fabulous moonlight. 

Next day was a beautiful day spent rockhopping, avoiding brushtailed wallabies, admiring the rock formations and delightful flora of the gorge walls. Lots of cups of tea, the occasional swim, as we meandered downstream to the 'Reedy Hole' of the Salisbury/Macleay system. 

We found a big campsite opposite a large expanse of water with a very substantial Eagle's nest in a tree. We didn't see the owner however the party had been examined by Wedge-tails for signs of a possible meal beforehand!!

A very windy night with fantastic array of the Milky Way was enjoyed. Another lovely fire, great meals and restorative chocolate. 

The third morning delivered more great weather, lots of river crossings (a wet foot walk) and some delightful thickets of vegetation to negotiate. Many rock bands necessitated ups/downs/slides/scrabbles so it was slow going at times. We passed the Heart of the New England to camp near the Bakers Creek confluence.

Our last night on the riverside was wonderful with a fire, cards, fluids, food and a comfortable log for a lounge. Everyone remarked on the enjoyment of a great walk and contemplated the 'slog' to be endured the following morning (up the Long Point ridge to the shelter shed and vehicles). 

We set out early and traversed the river slopes, trying to minimise the number of crossings (which can be very time-consuming) to reach the bottom of the ridge out. We rested, boiled the billy and then commenced a 600m climb to the top. With pauses for water, food and a chance to catch our breath, we made it out a few hours later. 

The cars were waiting for us at the picnic area, so we savoured the sunshine and enjoyed lunch before departing for Armidale, having experienced another rewarding walk with the ABC. Many thanks to the participants and our support people who did the car drop and pickup for us

Walk Report - Peter Laffan

Club President

I was lucky to join the Easter walk through Gara Gorge to Long Point! Wow, what an experience! After a soggy start on Good Friday, the weather only got better despite the forecast predicting more rain. 

Approximately 25 km off-track slogging and lots of river crossings later (deeper than anticipated because of the said rain on Friday), we arrived safely at Long Point. Along the way, we clambered over basalt flows, jumped from boulder to boulder along the river's edge and tested our quads and glutes on the steep climb in and out of the gorge.

At least two wedgetails followed us for part of the way, and there were sightings of lyrebirds and rock wallabies. Unfortunately, there were also lots of damage from feral pigs, and horses. Pete even saw a rather large Brahman bull!

Our club president, Peter Laffan, was a terrific walk leader and made sure we stayed in good spirits for the whole four days. THANK YOU!

Spectacular country!

Walk report from Robyn

Barren Mountain Walk 2/4/23

After a turn-off not far from Ebor, NSW, we arrived at the start of our day’s walk. The start point was in a green, high-altitude landscape with cattle grazing on pastures of rich basalt soils. Leaving pasture areas behind, walkers entered exceptionally tall eucalypt forests, then passed easily through dimly lit Antarctic Beech rainforest. As we gained altitude, we pushed up through thick low growing tea trees interspersed with mallee eucalypts. 

At a high point on Barren Mountain bare rock prevailed. Breaks in the clouds, revealed stunning views over the ranges' scarp line and hills below. 

This most enjoyable walk, guided by Mark and Kate, both dedicated to protecting our natural environment. It was a joint adventure between Armidale Bushwalking Club and the National Parks Association. 

Report from Julie Kennedy.

March 2023

Cathedral Rocks National Park Walk 11/3/23

Rain held off for our walk to a seldom visited viewing point 3.5 km NNW of Round Mountain, Cathedral Rock National Park. It was a ripper of a walk of about 12km return with happy walkers and congenial conversation. The bush was fragrant and green and the temperature just right. In case you’re thinking of going that way, it went like this:

From the Barokee Campsite, we walked along Round Mt Road (not the enticing Cathedral Rock walking track), through a multi-padlocked gate and along a well-formed bush road. After about 2.6km we turned left onto a second vehicle track, forsaking the steep road up to Round Mt aircraft navigation tower. We walked on, then abandoned our easy track near the crest of a hill (on about the 1800m contour) to push our way NNE to our destination at 30.41063S 152.22667E. This last off-track 800m or so was through waist-high native vegetation, which had grown thickly and sometimes prickly since heavy rains of the previous two years. Our destination was a tumble of granite tors standing at about 1500m. From here, there were expansive views stretching as far as Chandlers Peak near Guyra. We had arrived in time for lunch after which we retraced our steps to Barokee.