Closest hikes to Adelaide to train for the AAWT?

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

Closest hikes to Adelaide to train for the AAWT?

Postby winrar » Sat 24 Sep, 2016 10:52 pm

Hi all!

I'm planning to do the full length during the summer holidays in 2017. I'm 21, have little hiking experience and am starting uni after I get back from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in March (where I hope to do a lot of hiking) which leaves me 3 sets of 2-3 week uni holidays and maybe a month or so before I actually start the AAWT, so 4 possible occasions for some long walks.

I've been looking into the Grampians, Flinders Ranges and the Great Ocean Walk. I'm wondering what some of you would suggest for me to make the most of 3-4 possible hikes before the AAWT?? The Great Ocean Walk looks relatively easy, maybe a good first one, or maybe a slightly extended version of the first part of the Grampians Peaks trail? I was thinking of trying do Grampians from North to South as my last practice trip. Anyone done this before?

I've been searching for long hikes online but the longest official one nearby is the Great Ocean Walk. It seems that you have to make your own trip by picking different tracks and joining them together. Is this what a lot of people do? Can anyone share any possible 5 to 15 night hikes, no more than 8 hours drive from Adelaide? Any long routes to do in the Flinders Ranges during winter?

Also, is there anything I should specifically know as a young person attempting the AAWT?

Odd question maybe, but how much do you think you spent on preparation, equipment, petrol, etc. for the AAWT?

This is my first post, sorry if if anything's out of line.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Closest hikes to Adelaide to train for the AAWT?

Postby neilmny » Sun 25 Sep, 2016 9:04 am

Welcome to the forum winrar and there is nothing out of line about your question.
What about the Great South West Walk about 250km. http://www.greatsouthwestwalk.com/intro/
You could do sections of it to get you going.
That area will be vastly different to the AAWT though.
Search the SA/WA and Victorian sections of the forum for possible walks as well.
Lots of reading, research, acquiring and testing of gear etc. and learning navigation is required for a major undertaking like the AAWT.
Good luck with your journey.
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Closest hikes to Adelaide to train for the AAWT?

Postby RonK » Sun 25 Sep, 2016 9:21 am

Surely the 1200km Heysen Trail is the most convenient to Adelaide?

And the ideal preparation for the AAWT?
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Re: Closest hikes to Adelaide to train for the AAWT?

Postby madmacca » Thu 16 Feb, 2017 8:53 am

Totally agree with the suggestion of the Heysen Trail as a long trail closer to home. It is accessible by bus at a number of points, so you could do a number of weekend trips as point-to-points.

I'd suggest a couple of weekenders before working up to longer 5-7 day trips. Perhaps the 1st couple of trips are car-camping day hikes, so you can bug out if things go disasterously wrong.

You're really looking to learn in 3 key areas:
* navigation
* gear selection
* menu planning (keeping lightweight and non-perishable meals appetising for 6 weeks while your nutritional requirements go through the roof can be a challenge)

The Flinders Ranges in winter is a good opportunity to test your sleep system (sleeping mat, bag, clothes) in lower temperatures.

If you are building up your kit completely from scratch, then you are probably looking at $1200-2000, but it should give you many years service. In terms of reducing that cost, take a look at the market square here for some 2nd hand items, keep a look out for sales at outdoor shops (and at Aldi?), do your research before you buy (so you only have to buy once) and ask questions on these forums about specific proposed purchases. Placing caches involves about 1000-1200 km of driving, plus getting across from Adelaide. Food for 5-6 weeks is an expense, but ya gotta eat anyway, so it is really an issue of buying groceries up front. Some miscellaneous expenses at Thredbo and Hotham (a night's accomodation at the YHA for a hot shower and soft bed, some fresh food and a cold beer, etc).

Chapman's guidebook is probably the best starting point for AAWT planning and preparation, so that should be one of your very first purchases.

Fitness is another thing that will make your trip easier and more enjoyable, but with 10 months to play with, there is plenty of time to work up to it. Trail running in particular is excellent preparation - fitness, keeping balance in rough terrain and navigation, without being a huge time suck (as a uni student, you've still gotta pay attention to your studies in the meantime).
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