The Castle ascent, Morton National Park NSW

Surely one of the best walks in NSW, summiting The Castle (847m) in Morton National Park provides spectacular views of the surrounding cliffs and plateaus in the Budawang Range. It’s only for fit walkers, and those willing to do a fair bit of scrambling, and also those with a reasonable head for heights.

These pics are from our second time up The Castle (847m), one of NSW’s most challenging and spectacular day walks, situated in Morton National Park on the South Coast of NSW near Ulladulla. The views are probably the best I’ve seen in NSW, and with just enough exposure near the top to get the adrenaline flowing, it makes a memorable walk for any fit bushwalker. Continue reading “The Castle ascent, Morton National Park NSW”

Mt Anne ascent, Southwest National Park, Tasmania

Probably the most spectacular Australian walk I’ve done to date, there are knock your hiking socks off views all the way along the track to the summit of Mt Anne (1423m) in Tasmania’s remote Southwest National Park. Huge lakes, rugged cliffs, mountain peaks, alpine plants, and more boulders than you can shake your walking poles at.

Climbing Mt Anne is a long day walk, and a long drive to get there from pretty much anywhere, but totally worth the effort. The scenery is just fantastic: there are vistas taking in much of Tasmania’s Southwest Wilderness, excellent views of the enormous Lake Pedder, and you get up close and personal with dramatic cliffs, countless boulders, and delicate spongy alpine plants. And with 1420m change in elevation it’s a good work out too. The final climb to the summit is up through shear cliffs and not for those afraid of heights, but even if you don’t do this bit it’s well worth walking to their base.  (I stopped just short of the summit myself.) Continue reading “Mt Anne ascent, Southwest National Park, Tasmania”

Hartz Peak & Mount Snowy Track, Hartz Mountains NP Tasmania

The route to Hartz Peak (1254m) and Mount Snowy (1160m) makes for excellent alpine walking, with a variety of alpine plants, rugged peaks, and extensive views.

The weather put on a bit of a show for us when we climbed to Hartz Peak and Mount Snowy, situated high up in Hartz Mountains National Park about 90 minutes from Hobart. Starting off in sleet, we ascended through a thin layer of snow into thick atmospheric mist, which then cleared to reveal excellent views of the surrounding area. This is a classic Tasmanian alpine day walk.  Continue reading “Hartz Peak & Mount Snowy Track, Hartz Mountains NP Tasmania”

Mt Stapylton Track, Grampians NP Victoria

Mt Stapylton in the Grampians has an otherworldly feel to it, with huge cliffs and weathered rocks sticking out from the otherwise featureless Wimmera Plains. It makes for a very Australian scene.

Our first time in the Grampians, and Mount Stapylton was a good introduction to this rugged national park in Central West Victoria. The scenery had a more remote feeling than the reality, and in this section of the park it looked quite arid, with plenty of weathered rock and impressive cliffs. The surrounding Wimmera Plains are flat as a pancake farmland that stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s a fairly short track but well worth it. You can also do the Mt Zero walk on the same day.  Continue reading “Mt Stapylton Track, Grampians NP Victoria”

Burning Palms Circuit, Royal National Park, Sydney

One of my favourite Sydney walks that I’ve done multiple times, the Burning Palms Circuit from Otford takes in excellent coastal scenery in the Royal National Park, and passes through a unique and atmospheric palm jungle. Definitely one of my recommended walks in the area.

I’ve done the Burning Palms Circuit multiple times, and it remains one of my favourite walks around Sydney. It starts at Otford on the edge of the Royal National Park, and you soon pass by steep coastal cliffs, descend into a palm jungle, pass through grassy plains, then arrive at the very picturesque Burning Palms Beach, backed by the beginnings of the Illawarra Escarpment. There were very choppy seas on the day I took these pictures (…and I’ve now put a few extra pics at the end from a different day just a month later). Continue reading “Burning Palms Circuit, Royal National Park, Sydney”

The Big Walk, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria

Mt Buffalo National Park in Victoria is a really excellent place, and the biggest walk in the park is called, appropriately, The Big Walk. You ascend about 1000m to spectacular views of the Gorge (a gorge), and of the distant Victorian Alps.

When we climbed Victoria’s second highest mountain, Mt Feathertop, I saw a big hunk of a mountain in the distance and thought “we should really go there this holiday”. Well, we did, and it was grouse (as the Victorians say). The mountain is called Mt Buffalo, after its shape, and the pictures below are of the longest walk in the park, the so called Big Walk, but we also did three short walks higher up on the plateau after we finished – The Horn (which looks like a horn), The Hump, (which looks like a hump), and the Chalwell Galleries. All offered excellent views (especially the first two). This walk starts at the bottom of the mountain and rises about 1000m to 1350m of elevation. At the end of the walk are spectacular views of the Gorge (which is a gorge), particularly the very sheer and massive North Wall (which is the wall on the north side of the Gorge). Clearly very little mental effort was expended when naming the parts of this national park. Continue reading “The Big Walk, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria”

Mt Solitary & Ruined Castle Track, Blue Mountains NP NSW

This is one of Sydney’s best walks, taking in views of much of the Jamison Valley and surrounding cliffs, from vantage points on the rock formation known as the Ruined Castle, and from the summit of the isolated Mt Solitary.

When Sophia and I first started regular bushwalking we did the first half of this walk as far as the Ruined Castle. This is already a classic Sydney walk, but continuing on to the summit plateau of the stately looking Mt Solitary provides more great views, and the added satisfaction of a big day’s walking in fairly isolated country. Overnight walkers can continue further to traverse the mountain.
Continue reading “Mt Solitary & Ruined Castle Track, Blue Mountains NP NSW”

Daecheongbong Peak traverse, Seoraksan, South Korea

Really spectacular hiking in Seoraksan National Park, on the north-east coast of South Korea. There were peak autumn colours, countless rock spires and sheer cliffs towering overhead, as well as waterfalls, super cute squirrels, and a significant Buddhist temple near the end of the walk.

Seoraksan National Park is reputed to be the most beautiful part of South Korea, and with good reason. I was lucky to time my first trip to the park with peak Autumn colours, so I got the full experience. Despite having walked for hours already, the scenery in the latter third of the walk was so fantastic that I bounded down the mountain like a manic mountain goat, feeling no tiredness due to the scenery-fuelled adrenaline in my system. Keep wading through my many photos to see this section, and also a few photos at the end of the Buddhist temple Sinheungsa. Continue reading “Daecheongbong Peak traverse, Seoraksan, South Korea”

Gwaneumsa Track, Hallasan, Jeju Island South Korea

The dormant volcano Hallasan is South Korea’s tallest mountain at 1950m of elevation, and dominates the subtropical Jeju Island (Jeju-do). The Gwaneumsa Trail most is the most scenic of two routes to the top.

When Sophia and I first visited Jeju Island many years ago, we walked up Hallasan along the less scenic route to the summit, but only as far as the tree line, as they had closed the rest of the track for repairs. We also had to wind in and out of hundreds of school students, so it was just an okay experience. Consequently, I had only moderate expectations when we set out in early Autumn 2017 on the reputedly more scenic and less travelled Gwaneumsa Track, but the walk very much exceeded expectations. Continue reading “Gwaneumsa Track, Hallasan, Jeju Island South Korea”

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

A classic Blue Mountains circuit walk at Katoomba. There are extensive views, spectacular cliffs, numerous impressive waterfalls, and a variety of vegetation and bird life. Perhaps best done on a weekday to avoid the crowds at popular and accessible spots.

This walk takes in some of the best bits of the Blue Mountains near Katoomba, and is highly recommended. You’ll enjoy views of cliffs, waterfalls and lush forest along much of the route, and definitely visit Bridal Veil Falls and Leura Cascades on your way down to or up from the Federal Pass.  Continue reading “Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”