Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

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Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Thu 06 Apr, 2023 7:30 pm

I was just wondering whether it is still easy to walk the Mt Tarn track in the Budawangs since the fires or has it become completely overgrown?

Thanks

David
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby sandym » Fri 07 Apr, 2023 7:29 am

Do you mean from Bibbenluke? We went just after the fires and the section that travels along the west side of Angel Creek was completely gone but the track through the pass and across the plateau was good. So, not easy but not all that bad.

Coming from the north and west (Styles Creek way or over from Fosters) was very overgrown last time we were in the area (about a year ago).
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Fri 07 Apr, 2023 7:48 am

sandym wrote:Do you mean from Bibbenluke? We went just after the fires and the section that travels along the west side of Angel Creek was completely gone but the track through the pass and across the plateau was good. So, not easy but not all that bad.

Coming from the north and west (Styles Creek way or over from Fosters) was very overgrown last time we were in the area (about a year ago).


Thanks for your response. Yes, from Bibbenluke. So if you wanted to walk from Wog Wog to the Nerriga entrance, it is not too difficult until you get to the Styles Creek area from where it will be hard going until you reach the Endrick fire trail?
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby sandym » Fri 07 Apr, 2023 4:26 pm

Your summary sounds pretty sensible. We could not find the track going off Mount Tarn to Mount Haughton. YMMV. Check out RWildman's report here: https://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.ph ... gs#p441581 which describes the section through Styles Creek and Kilpatrick Creek on the way to Quilty's Clearing. That section sounds a little worse since we did it a year or so ago.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Wed 12 Apr, 2023 9:16 pm

sandym wrote:Your summary sounds pretty sensible. We could not find the track going off Mount Tarn to Mount Haughton. YMMV. Check out RWildman's report here: https://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.ph ... gs#p441581 which describes the section through Styles Creek and Kilpatrick Creek on the way to Quilty's Clearing. That section sounds a little worse since we did it a year or so ago.


Thanks for the link. I just happened to read it not long before you posted it. I am happy the track out to Folly Point is back to normal. Might include that as well.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Sun 30 Apr, 2023 9:36 pm

I walked along the Red Ground track last weekend and then onto the Endrick River Firetrail. When we reached the junction with the Mt Tarn track we had planned to walk up to the Bora grounds and Hidden Valley, but the regrowth was just too thick. We walked for a while but it was just getting worse, so decided to give it a miss. We weren't helped by heavy fog which meant we couldn't see 10 metres in front of us, let alone the cliffs we were trying to walk too. I sort of wonder what the future will be for the Mt Tarn track. Maybe with all this money the National Parks will be receiving in the next Federal budget, they can put resources to clearing these tracks. I won't hold my breathe.

The good news, as RWildman reported, is the track out to Folly Point is pretty good now. For the most part, it is quite easy to follow. The second half is slow going, but we rarely lost the path and when we did, we were able to quickly find it. A friend of mine told me it was horrendous a year or so back. Not so now. Not many campsites though.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby tom_brennan » Mon 01 May, 2023 10:51 am

emydura wrote:Maybe with all this money the National Parks will be receiving in the next Federal budget, they can put resources to clearing these tracks..


Given that Morton NP is a state park, there won't be anything in the Federal budget!

For longstanding tracks in more remote areas, it's probably up to bushwalkers to maintain them - obviously not legal, but in some areas, it will be that or lose them.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby sandym » Mon 01 May, 2023 11:20 am

tom_brennan wrote:For longstanding tracks in more remote areas, it's probably up to bushwalkers to maintain them - obviously not legal, but in some areas, it will be that or lose them.


Virtually nothing is legal in Australia anymore. Knee jerk reaction is always, "let's make that illegal."
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby bernieq » Mon 01 May, 2023 1:47 pm

emydura wrote:put resources to clearing these tracks.
tom_brennan wrote:it's probably up to bushwalkers to maintain them

I'm solidly in the second camp (pun intended). I reckon remote (ish) tracks should wax & wain on usage.

If you read some of the old bushwalking mags, there are often references to tracks & routes that aren't used any more. In this immediate area, I remember reading a trip report (from the 1950s?) that went from the Vines, up onto Quilty, past the Bora, then to the southern end & down to Styles. Another one is Sluice Box Falls - this was a very popular target for groups back in the day and there was a track from Watson's Pass through to Styles Plain. Darri Pass was an easy route between Monolith Valley (via Shrouded Gods) and Holland's Creek. All of these routes would be very challenging now, I think.

These days we have both the technology (gps) to record a route & the means (internet) to communicate it to anyone interested. If the route works, it survives.
(apology for the thread hijack)

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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Mon 01 May, 2023 2:00 pm

bernieq wrote: I reckon remote (ish) tracks should wax & wain on usage.

Agree with this. I think that more or less reflects the policy in declared wilderness areas anyway? Certainly nothing wrong with walkers re-establishing old routes through use though?
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Mon 01 May, 2023 8:09 pm

tom_brennan wrote:
emydura wrote:Maybe with all this money the National Parks will be receiving in the next Federal budget, they can put resources to clearing these tracks..


Given that Morton NP is a state park, there won't be anything in the Federal budget!

.


I thought the states were responsible for all the national parks. But you are right, the $263 million is restricted to Booderee National Park, Kakadu and Uluru national Parks, the Australian national Botanic Gardens and 60 marine parks.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Mon 01 May, 2023 8:25 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:
bernieq wrote: I reckon remote (ish) tracks should wax & wain on usage.

Agree with this. I think that more or less reflects the policy in declared wilderness areas anyway? Certainly nothing wrong with walkers re-establishing old routes through use though?


The reality is a lot of those Budawang tracks just don't see enough walkers to maintain a track just through usage. Over 4 days on the ANZAC day weekend in mostly perfect weather, I saw no walkers on the Folly Point track and just two walkers who climbed up to the Bora grounds. That area seems to be primarily used by bike riders on the fire trails. Only hard core masochists are going to walk along that Mt Tarn track unless that track is cleared. But that would be a really tough task for a few volunteers to undertake. The vegetation is too thick. You really need chainsaws and other mechanical equipment which you can't carry from the car. This is a much tougher track to clear than the Folly Point track.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby Geoff 1958 » Wed 20 Mar, 2024 11:22 am

I guess I must be one of those ‘hard core masochists’.
I rode my mtb from Sassafras Gate to the Mt Tarn trailhead, and bashed through to Hidden Valley (5.5 kms in 3 hours) to camp in a cave just outside the valley.
Spent another three hours that afternoon circumnavigating Hidden Valley anti-clockwise, camped the night, and did the reverse trip out the next morning.
Unless you like navigation, bush bashing, making trail, getting yourself out of a fix, etc I would not recommend it.
I went in in 2021, for a day, and got it all done. Not now! Even though some clearing has been done on the first (Northern) km, and on the flatter section where you skirt the catchment and swing left to reach Hidden Valley, it is still very, very easy to get lost, especially in overcast conditions.
Yes, the trail needs users, and probably volunteer clearers, but make sure you are the right person for this before you venture out there.
You must have a navigational app, and plenty of battery life.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby Prospero » Tue 09 Apr, 2024 12:45 pm

Thanks all for this discussion. Always avidly interested in any Budawangs track condition reports. Being my extremely happy place, I did a Sassafras – Hidden valley and surrounds trip every year since about 1999.
In that time I saw the place change dramatically even without fires or floods. Any old timers remember the northern end inside HV? Used to be perfect for camping; open grassy area, good water source and an easy track to the south end to climb Sturgiss. Then camping was banned within HV (early 2000s?) which presumably decimated walker numbers into the valley. Also we had many good (wet) years and no fires. By about 2015 the camping area and the track to the North end of HV had completely disappeared under neck high scrub. Didn’t stop me – I took to camping up on Sturgiss but it made it a chore to get water. The 2019 megafire did stop me though. I can’t face the trauma of returning yet (Kangangra post 2019 was heartbreaking enough).
Mixed feelings: I kind of like the idea of HV becoming a forgotten secret place inaccessible to instagrammers. But agree with Geoff 1958 and WFBW. We need a few pioneer bushwalkers again.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby ribuck » Thu 11 Apr, 2024 6:05 pm

Prospero wrote:Any old timers remember the northern end inside HV? Used to be perfect for camping; open grassy area, good water source and an easy track to the south end to climb Sturgiss.


If you go back further, to 1982, Hidden Valley was almost completely open. Stunning camping, stunning rock formations visible all around, stunning setting.

Prospero wrote:Then camping was banned within HV (early 2000s?) which presumably decimated walker numbers into the valley.


I'm pretty sure the first camping ban was introduced in the 1990s, in response to "over usage" and visible toilet waste. We expected to continue to enjoy the same experience, just without the camping. But actions often have unintended consequences, and the camping ban ended up destroying what we valued so much.

I wonder what Hidden Valley was like before bushwalkers discovered it. I suspect the changing fire regimes affected the valley more than the camping did.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby hutts » Fri 31 May, 2024 12:26 pm

I've been lurking on this forum for a very long time now. I've spent quite a lot of time in the Budawangs over the last 15 odd years and decided it was time to register and share my experience of the Mt Tarn Walking track.

I did a 5 day circuit walk over Australia Day 2023 via the Mt Tarn walking track to Styles Plains area and back via the Styles walking track, round mountain firetrail etc and it was *&%$#! awful. Instead of taking about 3 hours from the Endrick River Firetrail to Styles Creek, it took about 10 hours and I had to set up camp somewhere near the Hidden Valley turn of (which I did not see).

Last weekend I was on a 3 day walk from Sassafras to Hidden Valley, Styles Creek and return. The great news is that THE MT TARN WALKING TRACK HAS BEEN CLEARED from Kilpatrick Creek to the cliffs of Mt Haughton, thanks to some volunteers from Shoalhaven Bushwalkers and contractors from a couple of tree care companies. My friend had arranged the walk 4 weeks in advance so it was extremely fortunate that the track was cleared only one week before the walk was scheduled to happen. This saved us much time and suffering!

The track is now really easy to follow (it's like a corridor through scrub) but there are a couple of places where the track does an unexpected hard turn through to walk through or cross boggy areas. The hidden valley track has been cleared part of the way from the junction with the Mt Tarn walking track and it becomes pretty sketchy in the lower area to the east but this doesn't really matter as the vegetation thins out quickly on the eastern slope heading up to the valley entrance and navigation is pretty easy at this point.

There seems to be a bit of confusion about the location of Dark Brother Cave and the way up to the Mt Sturgiss summit via the chain so I'll try to clear this up....

- Dark Brother Cave is at the bottom of the Eastern cliff line, slightly north of the Southern end of Hidden Valley. No climbing is required to reach it. The end of the valley is pretty obvious - where the valley floor is narrow and the terrain climbs up southward to a gap between the two cliff walls and the Western cliff wall ends at this point. Ignore the topographical map marking which shows the cave as being further south beyond the end of the valley - the position of the cave on the map is grossly inaccurate, as it is with other landmarks (e.g. Tingha Clearing). For landmarks, always refer to the CMW sketch map.

- The way up to Mt Sturgiss summit via the chain is roughly 100 metres north of Dark Brother Cave. To find it, you need to follow the base of the cliff line northwards from the Dark Brother Cave and look for cairns.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Tue 04 Jun, 2024 3:39 pm

hutts wrote:I've been lurking on this forum for a very long time now. I've spent quite a lot of time in the Budawangs over the last 15 odd years and decided it was time to register and share my experience of the Mt Tarn Walking track.

I did a 5 day circuit walk over Australia Day 2023 via the Mt Tarn walking track to Styles Plains area and back via the Styles walking track, round mountain firetrail etc and it was *&%$#! awful. Instead of taking about 3 hours from the Endrick River Firetrail to Styles Creek, it took about 10 hours and I had to set up camp somewhere near the Hidden Valley turn of (which I did not see).

Last weekend I was on a 3 day walk from Sassafras to Hidden Valley, Styles Creek and return. The great news is that THE MT TARN WALKING TRACK HAS BEEN CLEARED from Kilpatrick Creek to the cliffs of Mt Haughton, thanks to some volunteers from Shoalhaven Bushwalkers and contractors from a couple of tree care companies. My friend had arranged the walk 4 weeks in advance so it was extremely fortunate that the track was cleared only one week before the walk was scheduled to happen. This saved us much time and suffering!

The track is now really easy to follow (it's like a corridor through scrub) but there are a couple of places where the track does an unexpected hard turn through to walk through or cross boggy areas. The hidden valley track has been cleared part of the way from the junction with the Mt Tarn walking track and it becomes pretty sketchy in the lower area to the east but this doesn't really matter as the vegetation thins out quickly on the eastern slope heading up to the valley entrance and navigation is pretty easy at this point.
.


Thanks for the update. That is exciting news. I tried to walk through there about a year ago and it was truly awful. I gave up. So do you know if you will be able to walk from Wog Wog through to Sassafras now? Also do you know if any track has been cleared up to the Bora Grounds? We did try to walk up there but the vegetation was pretty thick and couldn't find any track leading that way. It was raining at the time and very unpleasant, so we didn't make a huge effort.

David
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby sandym » Wed 05 Jun, 2024 2:41 pm

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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Wed 05 Jun, 2024 3:28 pm



Thanks. Maybe next year.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby hutts » Fri 07 Jun, 2024 9:04 am

emydura wrote:I gave up. So do you know if you will be able to walk from Wog Wog through to Sassafras now? Also do you know if any track has been cleared up to the Bora Grounds? We did try to walk up there but the vegetation was pretty thick and couldn't find any track leading that way. It was raining at the time and very unpleasant, so we didn't make a huge effort.David


Wog Wog to Sassafras should be doable now but it'll be slower than usual between Mt Tarn and Mt Haughton. I walked the track from the southern point of Mt Tarn to the southern point of Mt Haughton and return in January 2024 and that took more than half of the day. There are some spots where the track disappears and you'll need to hunt for it and/or navigate to continue. If you know the way well then you shouldn't have much trouble. I didn't follow the track northwards beyond the southern point of Mt Haughton. It looked quite overgrown but there were signs that people had walked that way in recent times. Navigation will be easy along that section because all you need to do is follow the cliff line.

I haven't walked the track between Styles Creek and Mt Haughton but I trust it has been cleared well up to the cliff line as reported on Facebook.

The last time I walked the track to the Quilty's Mt Bora Grounds track was roughly a year ago. The start of the track wasn't obvious. We knew where it was because there's a cairn marking the junction point, but we had to push our way into the bush for a little while before the track became obvious. After that it was overgrown but easy to follow. The cairn is still there and it's now easy to find the cairn but the start of the track is still obscured by thick scrub. I don't know what it's like now. Either way it isn't far and the vegetation isn't too thick in that area and you should be able to bash your way westwards to the base of the mountain if you're really keen.
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Re: Mt Tarn walking track (Budawangs)

Postby emydura » Sun 09 Jun, 2024 11:27 am

hutts wrote:
emydura wrote:I gave up. So do you know if you will be able to walk from Wog Wog through to Sassafras now? Also do you know if any track has been cleared up to the Bora Grounds? We did try to walk up there but the vegetation was pretty thick and couldn't find any track leading that way. It was raining at the time and very unpleasant, so we didn't make a huge effort.David


Wog Wog to Sassafras should be doable now but it'll be slower than usual between Mt Tarn and Mt Haughton. I walked the track from the southern point of Mt Tarn to the southern point of Mt Haughton and return in January 2024 and that took more than half of the day. There are some spots where the track disappears and you'll need to hunt for it and/or navigate to continue. If you know the way well then you shouldn't have much trouble. I didn't follow the track northwards beyond the southern point of Mt Haughton. It looked quite overgrown but there were signs that people had walked that way in recent times. Navigation will be easy along that section because all you need to do is follow the cliff line.

I haven't walked the track between Styles Creek and Mt Haughton but I trust it has been cleared well up to the cliff line as reported on Facebook.

The last time I walked the track to the Quilty's Mt Bora Grounds track was roughly a year ago. The start of the track wasn't obvious. We knew where it was because there's a cairn marking the junction point, but we had to push our way into the bush for a little while before the track became obvious. After that it was overgrown but easy to follow. The cairn is still there and it's now easy to find the cairn but the start of the track is still obscured by thick scrub. I don't know what it's like now. Either way it isn't far and the vegetation isn't too thick in that area and you should be able to bash your way westwards to the base of the mountain if you're really keen.


Thanks for that information. Very helpful. I dare say the section they have recently cleared was the more difficult part of the walk. As you say, the navigation of the southern section is pretty obvious even if you lose the track. I walked that section more than 20 years ago, so it is a bit hazy.

I will have a crack at the Bora grounds when it warms up a bit.
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