Around Sydney there are a number of short urban walks. One such walk is the rail trail over the Como Bridge from Como to Oatley.
The walk is a train lover’s dream. The walk runs parallel to the train line for about 1.5km, and the views of the Georges River make for a very idyllic setting.
Below are some photos of the walk that I took this morning, I even scored a wave from the driver of a coal train.
This afternoon I decided to walk across ANZAC Bridge. Almost every weekend I stretch my legs over the Sydney Harbour Bridge but today I decided it was time for a change.
Walking from Town Hall to ANZAC Bridge I got myself a little bit lost through the back streets of Pyrmont but eventually managed to find the pedestrian access to the bridge.
The bridge is a marvel. When Sydney builds something they typically do it in a way that simply takes your breathe away. I simply love the fact that all the major Sydney landmarks are easily accessible by foot it is something that other cities (hint hint Auckland) still need to learn.
Overall the walk from Town Hall across the Bridge and return took just over an hour and is about 6km. It is a decent but busy walk but is a lot less tourist crazy than the Harbour Bridge.
Below are some photos I took along the way.
I still haven’t had time to post any regular blog posts in weeks as I am so snowed up with uni work at the moment.
However, today I had time to spend hiking in the Blue Mountains at Wentworth Falls and the Valley of the Rivers. If you like waterfalls this is waterfall paradise. To add even more drama to the day we had a sudden rain storm come up the valley bringing massive winds and then we lost one of our party for about 15 minutes (they had walked ahead and failed to stop at a track junction).
On Sunday I went with the University Outdoor’s Club on a hike to Pindar Cave in the Brisbane Water National Park just south of Gosford.
There are some good notes about the track here.
Overall the walk was not too challenging, it is 14km and we completed the hike in 5 hours 40 minutes which included three stops for morning tea, an extra long lunch, and me being smacked in the eye by a swinging tree branch. With the exception of a 100 vertical metre climb at the start of the track the route is relatively flat and easy going. The only caveat to this is in places the track is very narrow and almost overgrown which just adds to the fun.
Two weekends ago I was hiking with two friends in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. The route we had planned to do was Katoomba to Mt Solitary to Wentworth Falls a little over 20km and two days. Unfortunately a member of our party was bitten by a Red Back Spider late on Saturday afternoon and went into anaphylactic shock and had to be helicopter lifted out of the bush on Sunday morning.
In the past I have at times been criticised for carrying too much first aid and related emergency gear into the bush making my pack often a few kilograms heaver than others. This was the first time I have ever been in serious strife and I am so thankful for having that extra gear with me.
Going into the bush on Saturday had been the same routine as almost every other hike I have done. We started a little later than I had hoped and this cut into the amount of time we had to stop for food and photos. By late Saturday afternoon we had about 1.5 hours of track to cover in a little over an hour before we lost the light unfortunately as we made our final push towards the top of Mt Solitary we began to rapidly lose light and it was looking touch and go if we would make the camp site before sunset. At around this time one of my mates rapidly had all the colour drop from their face and became very fatigued. Unaware of any spider bite and thinking that they had exhaustion setting in we decided to turn back from the summit and go back to a camp site back up the track.
Once we arrived at the camp site we set up camp and cooked dinner as my friend had their condition worsen – they went freezing cold and at this stage we were thinking they had someone contracted a mild dose of hypothermia – nothing more than some hot food and a little bit of sleep could cure. Things worsened around 5am when I was awoken by my ill friend who was shaking and had begun vomiting – hardly a nice situation to be woken to in the dark of a tent in the middle of nowhere. Once daylight hit they also realised that they could hardly see (everything was spinning), couldn’t walk and was going downhill very fast.
It was a very tough decision deciding to call 000 and request a helicopter but I am so thankful in hindsight that I did (at the time we were still thinking that it was hypothermia). I walked a few meters up the side of the hill to get signal and called. Having to explain where you are exactly in the bush is a very hard task. First the operator kept asking me where the nearest suburb and road was so they could send an ambulance. Finally I managed to get the message across that we were in the bush over 6km as the crow flies from the nearest road and there was no way my mate could be walked or carried out.
From there it was a case of explaining exactly where in a mountain range of over 1 million square kilometers we were. I was thankful that I had a map of the track we were on and was able to explain that we were at the eastern end of the ridge between ruined castle and the knife edge (around 1km square area). At this point another group of hikers passed by with a gps and was able to give the exact location (within 200m). From there the helicopter took under an hour to find us and saw us on their second pass thanks to a genius idea from the passing hikers to use our emergency blanket as a very large flag to wave at the passing helicopter. From there my friend was airlifted to hospital and the remaining party had to carry out their gear in addition to our own. We were in such a hurry that we managed to cover 4 hours of track in a little over 1.5 hours.
The good news two weeks on is my friend has recovered well, it has taken some time for them to come completely right but in hindsight I am so glad that they are alive. In addition to this I am so glad that I had an emergency blanket with me to signal the helicopter with, maps to narrow down exactly where we were, the gps of the passing group of hikers, warm clothes to wrap around my friend to lift their core body temperature. For me I feel vindicated in carrying the extra kilo or so of weight and it also is a timely reminder of even experienced people can rapidly find themselves in trouble when things out of your control take over the situation. It is a situation I hope to never find myself in again, but has not halted my love of the bush for one second.
We were located on this ridge line here, zoom out to see how far from civilization we were:
View Larger Map
It is not often I will call a weekend away Paradise, normally awesome, cool, wicked, fun, great, brilliant would suffice but in this case Paradise is the only word that can truly describe just how much fun and enjoyment I had.
I flew to the Gold Coast on Saturday night with a friend, got picked up from the airport and driven the 50km south to Byron. The best thing about Saturday night was the rain, it is still very odd to be living in a country where rain is a rare commodity and when you see it falling you smile.
Sunday was spent hiking in the Nightcap National Park. Initially we were meant to just walk a 7.5km and 4.5 hours on the Minyon Loop Track to the base of the Minyon Falls and back up. Problem was despite stopping for around 30 minutes for lunch we managed to complete the track in two hours.
Rather than waiting 2.5 hours for our transport back to Byron we decided to head up to Rummery Park Camp Ground via Boggy Creek Track. This took an hour and once we had stopped again for food and wildlife spotting we decided to head up a fire break to try and spot Cape Byron and its lighthouse.
Once we got back to Byron Bay we had a beer and danced at the Byron Beach Hotel where Lisa Hunt’s Forever Soul band was performing covers of many songs from the 60s – 80s. The great thing about the Beach Hotel was it didn’t matter who you were, how old you were or how you were dressed everyone was having a fun time; it was a very relaxed and friendly family environment.
At 5am on Monday I got up to catch the Sunrise over the Tasman Sea. Getting up to see the sunrise is one of the best experiences you can ever have and it is a tradition of mine to do so when I am in the bush or a beautiful country environment. The sunrise over Cape Byron certainly did not disappoint and was well worth getting up so early for.
Monday morning was spent sea kayaking in Byron Bay. Getting out through the surf at Byron Bay was a fun experience as there was around a 2m swell onshore and further out some of the waves on the reef were breaking a lot larger. I was fortunate that I only got tossed out of the kayak once on the way out. Once we got about 2.5km offshore we were able to spot fish jumping, green turtles and a pod of bottle nosed dolphins. It was one of the most fun and spectacular things I have ever done in my life, I may love the mountains but being in a kayak, offshore around 20m from a pod of dolphins is awesome.
Once we got back from our tour we headed into the surf to do some boogie boarding. The rest of the day was then spent getting a very late lunch and looking through the town. Overall this trip was Paradise. If you plan to go to the Gold Coast do not go to Surfers Paradise, instead head to a real piece of Paradise – Byron Bay.