Monthly Archives: November 2015

Witses Hut

Witses Hut

7/11 – 8/11/2015 First Overnight Camp

Learning to pack ‘skinny’ is a priority and I’m pleased to have my packed bag weigh in at 9kgs – this unfortunately led me to add some ‘extras’ and I think my bag may have ended up at about 13kgs.
Learning the art of tightening the straps proves to be extremely beneficial – tight around the stomach, and I mean tight, takes the weigh off your shoulders and tightening the side straps brings the bag in to hug your back – again reducing the impact of the weight.
Witses Hut is one of the many Kosciusko Huts and is looked after by the Wagga Wilderness Walkers who try to visit the hut at least twice a year. The walk is 11.6kms in from Kiandra and starts with crossing the Eucubene River. The trick to this is to loosen off your pack, in case you fall over and your bag squashes you, and follow the person who looks like they know what they are doing.

Hiking shoes off, crocks on.

Hiking shoes off, crocks on.


Our hike is following a good solid track so a nice clear path to watch out for snakes and includes some challenging hills with pleasant downhill slopes. I am pleased to have a break at lunchtime but travelling quite well at this point.

The old crossing before the nice bridge.

The old crossing before the nice bridge.


Off we go again and I have to admit to being a bit foot sore and some leg muscles aches when we finally reach our destination. I set up my tent, much to the surprise of others, and we sit for a cuppa and a chat.
We have all contributed to the nighttime meal and a creek just a short walk away provides us with water for drinking, washing and cooking.

The night is considerable cool and as we head off to bed I find myself with extra issues. Despite the cold my feet are hot and so they have to stick out but the rest of me needs extra so I have my thermals, vest and any other items of clothing draped around – plus I find one of those hand warming bags, they really are fantastic.
After all that I have slept really well and amazingly I am no longer sore so ready for another day of walking.
A very challenging day as we take off cross country, using maps and compasses to navigate the way through to the Gooandra Hut for lunch. We go through streams, bogs and tussock grass – quite tricky but well worth it to see Brumbies race across the plains.

The walk out of here is back on a well-marked track and I am very happy to reach the end. I am sore and stiff after a two hour trip home in the car but extremely happy to have my first overnighter under my belt – woke up pretty good the next day so that was an added bonus.
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Tantanoola Caves

31/10/2015

Whilst in Mount Gambia we venture 20km out of town to Tantanoola Caves with the promise of being easy accessible and spectacular – a big ask. I’ve never minded squeezing in and out of small places, climbing up and down ladders into pitch black and of course this always adds to the view of seeing a beautifully decorated cave. This one I am hoping to share with Shane and on our arrival we are greeted by a very friendly ranger who assures us this is the cave for him. It has been over 50 years since he ventured into a cave and has suffered some horrible experiences that have led him not to venture in one again – until now.

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It is explained how the cave was found by a boy hunting for rabbits an enthusiastic ferret disappearing down a hole in the side of the limestone cliffs. Early visitors had to squeeze through this tiny hole to gain access and shimmy along some very slippery wet limestone rocks to reach the cavern but now the opening is at ground level and even wheelchair friendly.

The door is opened and we are gob smacked at the limestone formations, columns, veils, stalactites, stalagmites, straws and mixtures of all. The nice thing is that after the talk you can just sit in the cave and enjoy the surrounds for as long as you like. Lovely and peaceful with just the dripping sound of the water making it’s way through the stalactites.

Mount Gambier

29/10 – 1/11/2015

Shane and I love Mount Gambier and a big ‘well done’ to the council for taking care of this enchanting place. Great walks, lots of free activities and very friendly local people.
We get our first glimpse of the famous blue lake as we drive up and around the craters edge on our way to the caravan park. An amazing sapphire blue crater lake – breathtaking.
Our first activity is to walk around it while the sun is shining and enjoy the lake from every angle. This walk is roughly 4km and not too difficult with lots of lookouts and explanations on the way.
The next day we plan our much bigger walk and head off from our campsite to the Leg of Mutton Lake. It is a steep decline taking us down to about 10m above sea level. Due to the water table dropping it is probably been about 40 years since water was registered down the bottom but now it is truly a lush green wonderland that is sheltered from any harsh winds that tear through above.

Leg of Mutton Lake

Leg of Mutton Lake

We cut through The Saddle, which means climbing steeply up to the edge of the next crater rim of the Valley Lake. We can see this lake is the ‘fun’ lake with boat ramps, swimming areas (the water is very cold) and a huge play park.

Valley Lake - view from Centenary Tower

Valley Lake – view from Centenary Tower

Our walk continues around the edge to Brownes Lake – also empty. Here we face our biggest challenge – 350 steps up the side of the crater to Centenary Tower, 190m above sea level. Well worth the walk and the view.

350 steps to the Centenary Tower

350 steps to the Centenary Tower

From here it’s all down hill to home.
Nighttime and daytime fun at the Umpherston Sinkhole with friendly possums in a magical garden with stunning ivy curtains hanging down over the walls.


Our last day here is in brilliant sunshine and really shows off the amazing blue of the lake. Around the edge is an almost iridescent aqua blue, caused by the white limestone underneath and adds an unusually ‘highlighted’ effect to the lake.