Wilsons Prom - Northern Circuit

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Wilsons Prom - Northern Circuit

Postby scoha » Fri 03 Jul, 2015 7:50 pm

Wow, what a beautiful walk. Its the sort of walk you finish and then soon afterwards you keep thinking about how special it was and by the weekend after you are thinking - hey I could go there tomorrow and do it all again!

After the obligatory Hiker Self Assessment form was completed for PV we were ready to go. This is a pretty remote and in places untracked walk and as such PV do a good job in reminding us of the risks and of the experience that is needed before heading out in this walk.

Parked up at the Five Mile Creek road-end and headed off. Day 1 for us was to take us to Johnny Souey Cove some 22km away and some 17km of that is on the closed road so a bit of a trudge - but lovely views of the Toora Hills and Corner inlet nonetheless.

When we finally got to the coast at Five Mile Beach it was stunning classic Wilson Prom beach views - lots of gorgeous sandy unspoilt beach, rugged heath and coastal dunes and mountain views to the rear.
Lunch at the end of the beach at Five Mile camp.
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Five Mile Beach behind us as we walk to Johnny Souey Cove

Left Five Mile to get stuck into the non beach and non road walking. Trail was pretty well marked albeit overgrown and was steep so the views back to Five Mile got great - quickly! Up and over a broad headland which showed us the northern beached and mountains way out in front of us - and also our end of day objective being Johnny Souey Cove. Trail, though very faint in parts, picked its way through banksia and coastal heath past Rabbit Island just off the coast. Johnny Souey Cove arrived just as we were getting foot-sore and a beautiful tiny campsite looking out over Bass Strait. Water was from the stream - lagoon that runs into the cove. Dehydrated Lamb Rogan Josh and rice before a 12 hour sleep - gotta love bushwalking!

Day 1 stats (thank you Garmin Oregon) - 22.44km, 6hrs, total ascent 777m.

Day 2 took us into deep scrub at the end of Johnny Souey - could not find the track so it was up and over through there scrub - hard work but fun. This is very definitely a gaiter walk - do not leave home without them otherwise you shins will scream at you Eventually got to Three Mile Beach and enjoyed three miles of smooth hard sand and seabirds - no scrub, to the northern end. At the end we followed the well marked trail past the light beacon and up and inland - there is a handy knotted rope to help you up the steep off-beach slope. Here we traversed back across the Prom via lovely banksia forrest / heathland areas. It was South African "fynebos" Prom style. Vague track and overgrown but not hard to follow. Second hot tip - dont do this walk in snaky summer season - you don't often get to see where you put your feet!!

Eventually made the western Corner Inlet beach at Chinamans Long Beach for lunch. Then it was north to the end of the beach and back into the scrub to get to Tin Mine Cove about 1.5 hours away. Not so beautiful camp set into the tea-tree but nonetheless isolated and all ours! Thai Green Curry and custard (separate!) for dinner.

Day 2 stats - 15.86km, 5hrs 10, total ascent 308m.

Day 3 was to be the showpiece day - the day we subjected ourselves to Chinamans Swamp. Sea Eagles soared as we walked back around the headland to Chinamans Long Beach - for a long flat and smooth walk. Black swans dipped for food off shore as we made our way south. Near the end of the beach we veered inland and into the clutches of the swamp. Made some wrong turns in the thick tree-fallen scrub - back track - check- reorientate and move forward. We eventually came across some track marking poles and scraps of tape which indicated a trail - more a vague footpad - which was to be our elusive company for the rest of the day. One minute you were confident you were following a footpad - next you were bashing your way through head high scrub. Passed Chinaman's Knob and a compass bearing and Garmin headed us roughly in the right direction but it was a while before we again came across the footpad. As it turned out we had a knack of stumbling across the footpad - trail just before really thick vegetation at the various swamp creek crossings. Chinamans Creek itself was a short 50m ankle deep clear water ford - quite refreshing! From here the footpad became a little more distinct as we worked out way through the mysterious swamp land, sometime through head high scrub, emerging at other times onto raised islands of ancient banksia forrest. Truly magical place. Third hot tip - dont do this walk when its very wet - ankle deep water at Chinamans Creek is known to be 1.5m deep and 150m long! Ideal time was when we did it I think - cold dry winter.

After a few more departures from the vague footpad we stumbled into Lower Barry Creek Campsite for lunch - swamp crossing complete and a feeling of emerging from a lost world - without getting too lost. More vague footpad strengthened to a decent trail as we rose out of the swamp to eventually re-joint the closed Five Mile Beach road - how fat and smooth this road was compared to where we had been! Trudged back along this road for 5km back to the car - not being able to resist looking already somewhat longingly back to the swamp lands we had been immersed in.

Day 3 stats - 17.81km, 7hrs 51mins, ascent 397m.

All in all one of the most memorable enchanting walks have done for a long time and would do it again.

Not be attempted without self sufficient navigation and route finding skills - and in my mind not in wet or hot conditions. You won't see anyone at all but you will emerge wiser and stronger after the swamp works its mysterious magic.
Attachments
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Fynebos Wilsons prom style
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Rope assisted off Three Mile Beach
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Chinamans Long Beach
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Chinamans Creek crossing
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Ancient banksia forest - Chinamans Swamp
IMG_1688.jpg (115.47 KiB) Viewed 3957 times
scoha
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Re: Wilsons Prom - Northern Circuit

Postby keithy » Fri 03 Jul, 2015 8:02 pm

Thanks for the trip report. Nice pics!

How did the Oregon fare for navigation? Any issues?
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Re: Wilsons Prom - Northern Circuit

Postby scoha » Fri 03 Jul, 2015 8:10 pm

Keithy - thanks for that. To be honest, the Oregon was a godsend. There were a number of occasions where we were off track and I just refried to the Orgeon and it got us back on the "route" quick smart. Its a bit of a battery hog - but I was just using Alklalines - haven't tried NiMH yet. Any tips for enhanced battery life? Be great to track each day of the AAWT but I dont want to carry a set of batteries for each day!!

Anyway great walk
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Re: Wilsons Prom - Northern Circuit

Postby keithy » Fri 03 Jul, 2015 8:50 pm

I've mentioned this in another thread, but:

Lithium batteries give the longest runtime for the lightest weight, but are expensive. You'll get more runtime out of lithiums which are lighter than alkalines, but also cost more.

Other things to try:
  • Under Setup/Display/Battery Save - turn this on.
  • Lower or turn off the backlighting completely.
  • Turn off WAAS/EGNOS (we don't have this in Australia, but if you go to US/Europe by all means turn it back on).
  • Turning off Glosnass (run as GPS only). I haven't noticed much difference once you get an initial satellite acquisition signal.
  • Turn off the Compass (set it to Off instead of Auto).
  • Turn off track log recording (although this isn't as much fun).
  • Change the pressure trending recording under Setup/Altimeter/Pressure trending from Save Always to Save when Power On
  • Check if your ANT+ settings are disabled if you are not connecting to an ANT+ sensor. Setup/Ant Sensor
  • Map speed makes it quicker to navigate the map but also uses more power. Setup/Map/Map Speed change from Fast to Normal.
  • Don't leave the screen on Satellite page as it draws more power to display the satellites on screen.

For the longest battery life, turn off and turn on only when needed, but I don't do this as I like recording the route that I walked.
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Re: Wilsons Prom - Northern Circuit

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 2:03 pm

Thanks for the trip report. I did this in April. I am going back to do it again during Easter 2016.
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