Home' Caravanning Australia : Autumn 2013 Contents 72 • Caravanning Australia • Autumn 2013
a pocket of rare Antarctic beech trees -- an ancient remnant of
Gondwana, the supercontinent of which Australia's landmass
was once a prominent part. (The majority of the world's remaining
Antarctic beeches are located within Lamington.) Leave early to
enjoy a concerto of birds greeting another day in the forest. The
Circuit gently climbs to the top of a small knoll, from where you
can enjoy an excellent vista of your surrounds. If you're feeling
lively, continue along the 21-kilometre (one-way) Border Track; if
not, the circuit loops and returns you to the Binna Burra car park.
It will take two to three hours from start to finish.
For the record, Lamington is not directly named after the
beloved Australian (or is that Kiwi?) dessert: the origin of its name
is -- don't giggle -- Lord Lamington, a colonial-era governor of
Queensland. This was the man whose personal chef is said to
have invented the iconic cake, which his boss scathingly referred
to as 'woolly biscuits'.
Mount Howitt and surrounds:
The High Country, Victoria
The Australian Alps Walking Track is 650 kilometres in total: a
10-week tour de force that goes all the way from Victoria to
the Australian Capital Territory. Let's agree here and now that
only the bold, the experienced, and those with plenty of time
on their hands would even consider that marathon journey. The
good news for the rest of us is that you don't have to quit your
day job to enjoy the pleasures of the Alps. One excellent region
to explore over a day, a weekend, or a week is the rugged,
picturesque area east of Mount Buller, in Victoria's High Country.
There are many possible High Country itineraries you can
tailor according to how much time, experience, and energy you
have. In two or three days, it's possible to squeeze in some
spectacular and diverse scenery and types of walking. You'll
need detailed maps of the area and a clear idea of where you're
heading. Like most goals worth attaining, reaching this high-
altitude playground can involve a bit of a slog.
There are several ways to get up Mount Howitt -- one of the
highest peaks in the area -- and some are easier than others. But
once you've reached the broad, gusty summit, you can survey
the entire region. Macalister (or 'Mac') Springs, a few kilometres
from Howitt, has an impressive A-shaped hut, pleasant
campgrounds, a reliable mountain stream, and what's surely the
most beautifully situated long drop on the planet. The nearby
Crosscut Saw, a long, dramatic ridge that's extremely narrow
in places, gives the feeling of balancing on a natural tightrope;
walking it is an indelible experience. Readers of a certain age
will be interested to know that the landscape described in John
Marsden's Tomorrow When the War Began series was based on
this mountainous area.
From Howitt, it's a walk of around 10 kilometres to Bluff Hut,
one of the many cattlemen's huts dotted throughout the area,
which provide a cosy respite from the elements. The Bluff Hut
is spacious and well appointed, with a broad fireplace, long
benches to sleep on, a sturdy table, and great views.
Thorough preparation is crucial in this area, because it is
subject to extremes -- of heat in the summer (when bushfires are
an occasional threat) and cold in the winter (when snowfall is
regular). Check weather reports before setting out, plan wisely,
and always let someone know where you will be at a given time.
Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory
Beginning at the old Alice Springs Telegraph Office and heading
west through the heart of the West McDonnell Ranges, the
Larapinta Trail gives walkers the chance to experience the wholly
unique beauty of Central Australia.
The trail was only completed in 2002, after 12 years of
planning and hard work. At the moment, it's still somewhat under
the radar of all but the most dedicated hiking types; given its red
centre allure, though, it seems destined to become an iconic
Australian walk -- so get there while the going is good.
Rainforest, Lamington National Park. Image © Tourism Queensland
Victoria's high country
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