had been falling on and off for more than two days, the road was now starting to look like a World War I trench. As we turned on the head torches, which mainly only showed the rain in front of us, we started slipping off to the side and kept trying to find the driest part with very little success. The last insult was the final hill up to the car; slipping and sliding we arrived at 8.30 pm caked in thick mud. But with the car facing downhill away from the way we wanted to go, our next fear was that, after all this work, we would get bogged with no reception.
Luck was on our side at this point and we were able to turn around. Except for the thick fog across the top of Sassafras Hill, we crept our way safely back to the welcoming bright lights of Nowra.
We had spent inordinate amounts of time and energy to cover what was actually a short distance in the end (like 12.5 hours on the last day alone covering 21 kilometres) and while I know the Budawangs can never be underestimated, this was probably my hardest and riskiest walk in this area ever. It was, in the end, a challenge for all of us. We often questioned whether we could go on or simply turn around but as the conditions got worse and worse, we just had to find the resilience in ourselves to keep moving and just get there whatever it took.
It was the Budawangs at their worst but despite all this, we had seen fabulous country, castle-like cliffs disappearing into the fog above, superb camping spots and serene glades along the creeks. And we learned just that bit more about each other.
NSW Great Koala National Park to go aheadThe Great Koala National Park proposed more than a decade ago is now . The proposed GKNP would connect 175,000 hectares of state forests with existing national parks, creating a nature reserve of more than 300,000 hectares.