best time to walk nth to sth or sth to nth

A forum for discussing the Australian Alps Walking Track. This is a 655 km long track from Walhalla (Vic) to Tharwa (ACT)

best time to walk nth to sth or sth to nth

Postby onward » Sat 05 Dec, 2015 2:09 pm

I am currently planning my retirement present (to self) of walking the AAWT in late 2016 or early 2017. I am not in a hurry and am aiming for around 6-7 weeks.
I do not like walking in temperatures above 25C and availability of water is of concern.
Current thinking is either starting from the South in early November with the idea that the northern end will be ok by mid December or starting the northern end early/mid March working on the idea that I should run into too much bad weather by the time I reach the southern end. My work would prefer it was March 2017, I am sympathetic but not that fussed at their wants!
Seeking other thoughts or at least some confirmation of my logic!
Thanks
Martin
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Re: best time to walk nth to sth or sth to nth

Postby Bushwalker99 » Sat 05 Dec, 2015 2:45 pm

Hi Martin,
A group of us walked S to N last year in 44 days including 6 rest days. We decided to walk in this direction to maximise water availability in Victoria especially the dry Barries.The streams had good water flows from the snow melt which would not be the case in March/ April. Also when we hit warmer weather we would be in NSW and on generally much easier terrain. Finally we were from Sydney so there was a nice feeling to be heading towards home.
I guess another factor is that the Chapman/ Siseman guide book is primarily written for S to N walkers.
Hope this helps,
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Re: best time to walk nth to sth or sth to nth

Postby Mark F » Sat 05 Dec, 2015 3:38 pm

This is always a quandary. One issue to consider is the timing of placing food drops with some roads not open to the public until after the early part of November - cup weekend. Doing such a long version you will most probably want to put in more drops that the most common five. Sometimes the roads remain closed for a couple of weeks longer due to work being required. One solution is to put in these drops before winter - the roads are usually closed early June. When I did the AAWT (Tharwa to Hotham) there had been an extremely wet spring and several drop points I wanted to use were inaccessible until late December. When I started I only had the NSW drops in place and I had my partner meet me at THredbo and we took a couple days to put in the Victorian drops.

Now I am retiring I am also planning on a full length attempt in spring 2016 and like you plan on a slowish trip doing many of the side trips and alternate routes. I plan to leave 15-20 October finishing mid December going N-S. The easy going through NSW will let me get up to a better level of fitness for the harder southern end while water and temperatures should cause limited issues at this time.
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Re: best time to walk nth to sth or sth to nth

Postby walkon » Sun 06 Dec, 2015 9:49 am

I walked N-S this year starting in late March. I had no problems with water not being where it should be though this would all depend on the season for both an early or late start. The 'Dry Barries' now have water tanks right through them so that is not an issue. Before the tanks were installed you just had to look at a map and lose elevation to get water, I don't know what the carry on is about it.
I did enjoy the cooler weather it certainly is nicer to walk in though I probably would start a couple of weeks earlier in March than I did. Chapmans book isn't an issue which way you read it and should be only a guide anyway. I get the whole walking home thing if you live in ACT or Vic, I had family who live locally meeting me at the finish which was very nice.
When you spend that much time out in one outing you will get weather, what you may not walk in normally is just another day out.
My biggest probably strongest advice is 'carpe diem' go when you want to or when you can but just do it! Set the date and commit to it and the walk will happen, something will always come up or the dates will be wrong for others so be firm.
Cheers Walkon

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Re: best time to walk nth to sth or sth to nth

Postby madmacca » Mon 07 Dec, 2015 11:11 am

Because the Baw Baws are lower than Howitt, which is lower than BHP, which is lower than the Main Range, you can start a Nobo walk in mid-Oct. (Except for the road closure/food drop problem detailed by MarkF). It's not so much bad weather you will avoid (over 6-7 weeks, you'll get some regardless) as avoiding deep snow drifts.

The water tanks makes the Barries pretty easy. Personally, I found Chester's Yard-Mt Sunday the drier section (at least without descending off the track).
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Re: best time to walk nth to sth or sth to nth

Postby scoha » Mon 21 Dec, 2015 12:05 pm

Just completed SoBo solo walk starting Tharwa 15 November and completing in Walhalla 35 days later. Brilliant walk and an excellent gift to oneself. Amazing experience that makes you better, stronger, calmer etc. For me the timing was perfect and I avoided a flooded Murrumbidgee ford north of Kiandra (the week after big rains on the Main Range). No water issues generally and other than this last weekend mild temps. The "dry" Barries were the wettest part of the walk funnily enough (only day it rained) but the tanks make planning overnight stops pretty straight forward - dont forget as I did that the Barry Mtn tank is u/s! I agree the Chesters Yard to Mt Clear is a bigger issue re water (there is none) if you dont want to drop off the ridge to find it. 25k day to get to Low Saddle - where there are a few good soaks which provide water. I only came across 7 snakes - I guess its the ones I didn't see that are the issue!
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