Cascade Hut – Kosciusko National Park


We leave Teddy’s Hut and make our way trying to follow the brumby tracks, staying high to avoid the more boggy sections. All seems to be going reasonably well, still quite slow and careful until we cross over the bog to keep the river below on our right hand side taking the ridge. It is much easier although we do have a couple of minor falls, scraped knees and some bruises.

Not much of a track to follow but where would the fun be in that

We are now up quite high and can see down into the valley below and get to see just how complex and beautiful this Big Boggy/Thredbo river system is.

We also spot some more horses who appear to be nervous of us. Then two people, also hiking, come into view on the opposite side to us and the horses cross over to our side. As two of us wait for our fellow hikers to catch up the same horses appear only a few metres away from us still watching the walkers below before suddenly noticing us. For a brief moment we stare at each other – both of us a little startled and me completely in awe before they quickly head for the higher hills. A very close encounter.

Finally we are almost back to the start but this is just where the fun begins – the climb up to Bob’s Ridge. First lunch and we say our goodbyes to a couple of our group who are heading back to Tumut for the night. In front of us the fire trail leads upwards, forever upwards, a 208m climb that seems to be never ending but with some of the most spectacular views – so gruesome and glorious at the same time.

We now head down 328m, albeit more gently, to the Cascades River where we see even more horses. The Cascades River is beautifully surrounded by lush, green grass and ferns with almost iridescent reeds lining the river bed waving gently with the flow of the crystal clear water.

Cascade River

It is not too long before we reach the hut and meet Mary, an amazing woman walking the whole of the Australian Alps Walk on her own.

The Cascades Hut, built in 1935 for use during grazing season, was one of the few that did not get destroyed in the terrible bush fires and has the best loo view I have seen thus far!

Best loo view!

Cascades Hut

Great fire place

As we eat our well earned dinner, sip our beverages, enjoy our view over the valley while even more horses graze in the last light of the day it is hard to think of a better place to be. The night is calm and full of stars and sleep is a blessed thing for all.

Our walk out is much easier, despite the climb, in the coolness of the morning and even the rapid descent after we reach the top is a pleasure as the views of the valley are truly breathtaking. Weary but stoked to have finished another adventure in the bush.

Teddy’s Hut – Kosciusko National Park


After enjoying a night at one my favourite places, Swampy Plains Campground, Geehi, we park the cars at Dead Horse Gap to begin our 8km walk into Teddy’s Hut. (First built in 1948 for grazing and brumby running.) The walk follows the Thredbo River up through the Big Boggy and whilst half of our walk is on a fairly reasonable trail the rest is navigating through bogs, swampy, soft moss, picking up horse bridal trails, climbing steadily upwards and heading in a generally northern direction over some challenging terrain.

Big Boggy River

The progression of our procession is slow as we carefully pick our way through the thick alpine shrubs and grasses trying to avoid the boggiest places as well as keeping an eye on any slippery, slithery creatures that may be present – are present!

A little Eastern Brown snake – still good to stay clear of

I find it to be mentally challenging, trying to find a suitable pathway through the meandering creek, bogs and larger rock outcrops along the river, stopping to make sure we are heading in the right direction, slowly getting closer to Smiths Ridge – at times this seems to be an almost mythical destination that discreetly hides Teddy’s Hut from our sight and I can’t seem to be cheered on even when we are all but on top of it. Our expert navigator assures me we are only a few hundred meters away and as always she is right, over the saddle we pop and down to the left, through a charming copse of snow gums stands the hut. Absolute joy!

An absolute relief to see Teddy’s Hut.

No time to rest as clouds become more menancing we must get our tents up. The weather is closing in with rain threatening and the wind strength increasing considerably. Thankfully our tasks are completed so all we can do then is watch our tents flap and be washed with rain from the shelter of this most basic of huts. I am feeling physically ill at this point, I am thinking it could be a lack of sugar, and I am revived with a nice cup of strong sweet tea. The walk into Teddy’s Hut ain’t no picnic! (Picnic…’Teddy’ Bear….)

I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful it was when I checked the tent and not a drop of water has entered its flimsy feeling walls – much stronger than it looks. Wahoo, thank you Big Agnes!

The afternoon brings sunlight, a rainbow but no let up from the wind which relentlessly batters our campsite for most of the night – very little sleep for me but still fully amazed at my tent standing up to all that was thrown at it with me safely and warm tucked up inside.

The morning sky is clear, with beautiful rising fog as we set off for Cascades Hut and surprise a small mob of horses along the way who seem to be as curious of us as we are of them.

The Goldfields Track 12

Day 12
7 walkers
Sandhurst Resevior to Bendigo Railway Station

Definitely a cheerful buzz around the camp this morning as we pack our gear and get ready for a nice stroll into Bendigo – our final destination the railway station.
There is still plenty to see as we continue following a brick and stone section of the channel. Wild flowers are everywhere with some unusual activity brought to light when we spy a wasp capturing a bee amidst the beautiful Heath bush.

We take a break at Diamond Hill and can only imagine what it looked like long ago with the top of the hill made up of exposed bright white quartz glittering in the sun like a giant diamond. All the quartz has now been crushed to extract the gold within leaving only a large open crater devoid of character.

Diamond Hill – now a crater

We continue through parklands and bush with one last section of the Gold Dust wattle before entering suburbia to pass heritage listed homes and buildings. It is not too long before we reach the railway station and it’s a moment mixed with satisfaction, happiness and a touch of melancholy as we all begin heading off our separate ways.

The Goldfields Track has been fantastic with something new to discover every day, some challenging sections, incredible views, fascinating relics of the past and the wild flowers were beautiful, diverse, some absolutely stunning.

The Goldfields Track 11

Day 11
7 1/2 walkers
Sutton Grange Road to Sandhurst Reservoir

Our last long day on the track and apart from a couple of hills the track follows the Coliban Main Channel heading slowly downhill – very luxurious.

The Coliban Water System includes over 20 reservoirs and more than 500km of open channels is an amazing engineering feat of those involved. Building started in the late 1860’s with water first flowing in 1877 to Bendigo and provided a necessary constant water supply.
Today we follow the main channel and discover some interesting sculpturing, native plants, a red bellied black snake makes and appearance as well as a Shingleback lizard. It really is a great day of walking going through rich farmlands lovely and green from recent rains then back through native bushland with some stunning flowers to add to my collection of photos.

The channel takes the ‘low road’ through the hills whilst we take the ‘high road’ traveling over them checking out the various tunnel entrances – some a little fancy and others roughly cut through hard granite or basalt rock. Many of the men who unsuccessfully mined for gold found themselves working on blasting out these tunnels. Sadly some died either as a direct result of the blasting or from the horrific injuries caused by the risky business of explosives back in the day.

Brennans Tunnel

Today is our hottest day on the track so far but happily we have good shade for the most of the afternoon, a channel to follow so no-one gets lost, plenty to look at with some unusual flowers and a pair of very cute galahs.

Back at camp we can smell the start of what will become a delicious roast dinner. Tonight we have two very interesting guests, who have walked the track every year for 7 years raising money for Lifeline and most importantly raising awareness for suicide prevention – an incredible effort. (Ballarat 2 Bendigo in tutu’s)
I am given some green p’s, did a really just pass my first walk leaders role? Its all a bit of fun and because I love walking I can’t wait to get on to my next planned hike – hopefully I’ll be able to improve on somethings. It’s a great night and I feel very fortunate to have had such seasoned hikers around me who helped so much along the way.

The Goldfirelds Track 10

Day 10
10 walkers
Calder Highway to Harcourt – Sutton Grange Road
Mount Alexander

I wake up this morning and I feel great with a new level of fitness ready to conquer the mountain.
It’s another beautiful day and it is good to warm up along a nice flat stretch of road before we start the climb. Clambering over a stile and through an easement with paddocks either side signifies the start of the steady zigzagging track heading forever upwards.

At times the trail is quite challenging having to be very careful that we have a good foothold before moving on. We are told to keep a ‘weather eye’ out for the GT posts but there are some very low branch hazards as well. We are a great walking group and wait to warn or help others get through the tough bits.

We reach the top of the spur for a short break, water and to drink in the views, a wonderful feeling but there is still some climbing to do.


Some magnificent granite tors tower above us some with very unusual shapes that at times resemble animals with some imagination required.

Finally we reach the ridge line and although we don’t go to the absolute top we are greeted with views over towards Bendigo – our final destination.

What goes up must come down and we begin descending the mountain slowly to enjoy the views before they slip away. I’m walking next to Shane with two following us and we come to a fork in the road that is a little dubious. The well worn track to the right looks like the way to go but the arrow is slanted left toward a very lightly trod path. We walk a little way down the well worn path but see further on another GT marker on the path less travelled so circle back to go that way with the two behind confirming that it’s right. We walk around 100 metres and get a good view of the path before us and it is then I realise something has gone wrong. There are 10 of us on the track today and 6 of them should be right here in front of me. There is not even a sign they have been through. We walk a further 50metres to see if we can just see them in the valley below and there they are totally oblivious to the fact they are off track. Thank goodness for mobile phones. I am very happy to see them all and as we decend further our paths almost meet. It is also where the track meets the Coliban Channel so logically both groups can follow it, albeit on different sides, to where the cars are parked. Thankfully this little exercise was close to the end and no real drama occurred.


The Goldfields Track 9

Day 9
10 walkers
Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery to Old Calder Highway

It’s a sober start to the morning at the Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery as it is here many children and babies of the gold rush families are buried. Poor water supplies, lack of hygiene and disease brought on the early deaths and they were buried here without fear of the site being disturbed as the land was deemed worthless – a pennyweight being the smallest amount of gold you could get paid for.
It is a beautiful day and with the sun low in the sky it shines thorough the trees lighting up the mistletoe hanging down. The colours are intensified with greens, reds and golds almost glowing like colourful chandeliers becoming a beautiful tree assassin.
An interesting sideline story to the subject was told around the camp fire in the afternoon with a man who successfully applied for a gun license for the purpose of studying mistletoe and apparently there are 17 varieties found so far.
The Garfield Wheel is another interesting artefact from the gold rush era used to crush quartz making such a deafening noise it could be heard up to 5kms away.
We make an effort to find the men ants of Welsh Town as it is described as just a short walk from the main trail but in the end are just happy to find the slate quarry used for the buildings.
There are some tough declines through some extensive pine forest, so at least it smells good as we carefully pick our best footholds, and then all too soon we are facing a tough incline. All this brings great rewards with views over to Mt Alexander which we shall our challenging walk tomorrow.

The Goldfields Track 8

Day 8
Vaughan Springs to Castlemaine
8 walkers

Our timing today is not good – I mean really bad. On the other hand officially this is the best native flower day to date, just simply spectacular.
It all started around the fire yesterday afternoon when a certain rumour spread around the camp, we do not know who or how this started but it was suggested as it is only a 3 kilometres from Vaughan Springs back to our camp site, which is on the track, we could get up early, which is extra early with daylight savings, walk from the springs back to camp whilst breakfast would be cooked for us – less than an hour and then continue on. Great plan! On the way, it is ironic, that we see so many of the nicknamed Egg and Bacon shrub since that is on our breakfast menu for this morning.


After walking for an hour I am thinking it must be a very slow track today and takes us another half before we reach camp, starving hungry woofing into bacon and eggs we analyse what went wrong. It is then we discover that we have actually walked 6 kilometres and despite making the chefs upset because we should have been back 30 minutes earlier, I am very pleased – only 13 clicks to go!
Meandering through the bush we are quite relaxed and spend some time at the ruins of the old battery, which crushed thousands of tonnes of quartz in its day.

We meet up with many others using the track today, cyclists and other walkers which is great to see.
We then get to the section of native flora and we are just amazed by the variety and amount of flowers. Donkey Orchids are very prolific along with waxed lipped orchids, lady finger orchids and many others.

An echidna makes an appearance in the old race we are walking beside very intent on digging into the earth, either lookingimage for food or hiding from us.

Not long after that little added extra we find a sign that causes some concern – 10km to Castlemaine but our estimations say 3km left to go. Our pick up drivers are in place so I ring just in case and we all press on at a more urgent pace. Thank goodness the sign is wrong but even with that our eta was out by an hour!