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Title: With Swag and Billy Author: H J Tompkins * A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook * eBook No.: 1301331h.html Language: English Date first posted: January 2013 Date most recently updated: January 2013 Produced by: Colin Choat Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online.
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Introduction by William M. Hamlet, F.I.C.,
Far from the Madding Crowd
The Health Value of Walking
Method of Walking
Formation of the Party
An Early Start
Walking for Ladies
PART II. Directory.
1. Coogee to Long Bay, viā Maroubra Bay
2. Manly to Mosman Wharf
3. Watson's Bay to Bondi Beach, by Military Road
4. Watson's Bay to Bondi Junction, by Old South Head Road
5. Parramatta to Burwood, by Great Western Road
6. Centennial Park
7. Artarmon to Drummoyne tram, viā Fig Tree Bridge, Lane Cove, and Hunter's Hill
8. Edgecliff Road to Bellevue Hill and Rose Bay
9. Pymble to Ryde, viā Marsfield
10. Rhodes to Leichhardt, viā Concord Road
11. Ryde to Parramatta, by Kissing Point Road and Dundas
12. Pymble to Fig-tree, Lane Cove River, viā Hunter's Hill
1. Hornsby to Castle Hill, viā Galston, and Dural
2. A Round Trip touching Darling Point, Double Bay, Bellevue Hill, Bondi Beach, the Cliffs to the Lighthouse, thence by New South Head Road to Rose Bay
3. Pymble to Manly, viā St. Ives and Narrabeen
4. Waterfall to Audley (National Park)
5. Pymble to the Spit, viā St. Ives
6. Audley to Wottamolla (National Park)
7. Hurstville to Sutherland, viā Tom Ugley's Point, Cronulla Beach and Port Hacking
8. Penshurst to Audley, viā Forest Road, George's River Point, Menai, Woronora River, and Heathcote
9. Liverpool to Leichhardt
10. Sydney to Parramatta, viā Drummoyne, Gladesville, Ryde, Eastwood, Carlingford
11. Sydney to La Perouse, viā Centennial Park, Randwick, Maroubra Bay, Long Bay
12. Guildford to Baulkham Hills, viā Prospect Reservoir, Prospect, and Seven Hills
13. Pymble to Parramatta, viā Marsfield, Ryde, Dundas, Ermington
14. Kuring-gai Chase
15. Otford to Audley, viā Old Clifton Road (National Park)
Saturday Afternoon and Sunday Trip.
1. Waterfall to Audley, viā Helensburgh, Kelly's Waterfall, Bald Hill, Otford
1. Hawkesbury to Windsor, viā Wiseman's Ferry, Sackville Reach, Wilberforce
1. Moss Vale to Nowra, viā Fitzroy Falls, and Kangaroo Valley
1. Wentworth Falls to Picton (or Camden), viā Cox's River and Burragorang
2. Bell to Richmond, viā Mount Wilson, Mount Irvine, and Kurrajong Heights
3. Moss Vale to Kiama, viā Fitzroy Falls, Kangaroo Valley, Berry, and Geringong
4. Moss Vale to Kiama, viā Fitzroy Falls, Belmore Falls, Robertson, Macquarie Pass, Albion Park, and Jamberoo
5. Moss Vale to Berry, viā Fitzroy Falls, Belmore Falls, Barrengarry Mountain, Kangaroo Valley, and Cambewarra and Kangaroo Mountains
6. Bell to Richmond, viā Bell's Line, Mount Tomah and Kurrajong Heights
7. Bowral to Kiama, viā Kangaloon, Robertson, Upper Kangaroo Valley, Broger's Creek, Wattamolla, Woodhill, and Saddleback Mountain
1. East Maitland to Dungog, viā Morpeth, Hinton, and Clarence Town; returning viā Wallarobba, and Paterson to West Maitland
1. Mittagong to Mittagong, viā Wollondilly River, Wombeyan Caves, Taralga, Goulburn, Moss Vale, and Berrima
1. To Jenolan Caves, viā Katoomba, Nellie's Glen, Kanimbla Valley, and Black Mountain. Returning viā Hampton and Mount Victoria or Oberon and Tarana
1. Katoomba to Mittagong, viā Kanimbla Valley, Black Mountain, Jenolan Caves, Ginkin, Shooter's Hill, Wombeyan Caves and Wollondilly River
2. Mittagong to Kiama, viā Wombeyan Caves, Taralga, Goulburn, Moss Vale, Fitzroy Falls, Belmore Falls, Robertson, Macquarie Pass, Albion Park, and Jamberoo
PART III. NOTES FROM A WALKER'S DIARY.
2. Katoomba to Jenolan Caves
3. Wentworth Falls to Camden
4. Mittagong to Mittagong viā Wombeyan Caves, Taralga, Goulburn, Moss Vale, and Berrima
5. East Maitland to West Maitland viā Dungog and Paterson
6. Bowral to Kiama, viā Kangaloon, Robertson, Kangaroo River, Broger's Creek, Wottamolla, and the Mountain Range, including Saddleback.
(Ready for the Track)
One Christmas holiday, as I unhooked my knapsack at Barrenjoey lighthouse, my host asked me in surprise if I had come all the way on foot. Said he, "You don't mean to say you really walked here? Why, it is 20 miles from Manly!"
As I had liberally spent more than an hour bathing on one of the pretty beaches as I came along, and another hour over my lunch, and was by no means fatigued on my arrival, it was more than likely that one might have exceeded this distance, had it been necessary to do so; indeed, 25 or even 30 miles may be cheerfully accomplished in the day when occasion demands it, by anyone with good health and average strength of body.
Walking for the mere joy of walking was not much in vogue in Australia until recently, chiefly, I suppose, for the reason that in the towns there is the ever-ready and inviting facility for whirling about on wheels of one sort and another; while in the country our four-footed equine friend, like Barkis, is always willing, even if one must needs chase him a full mile across the paddock in order to secure the means of performing a half-mile journey. Such a proceeding is common enough in the country, where it is considered undignified to walk, since it savours too much of the Murrumbidgee whaler.
To have admitted having walked from daylight until dark is to give yourself away as a downright vagrant, sundowner, or, if not quite mad, to be suspected of having a bee in one's bonnet.
"But come, own up! Don't you find it dull and lonely?" asks the sybarite of fashion and city life.
Dull, my dear friend? No; who could be dull in the clear sunshine, at an altitude of 4,000 feet, with the wonga-wonga singing to the tune of the rippling water down in the river below?
"Well, but what object is there in tramping all these miles in the bush? What do you gain in the end? Had I some reward for my pains if I could pick up a shilling at the end of my journey, you might induce me to go, but to walk for the mere walking—no not for me! I prefer to sit in my easy chair at home and smoke my pipe." Well, if walking and the open-air life are nothing to you, there is much less reason in a good many of the vagaries of city life. Stay at home my pessimistic friend, if you like, but "give me the clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my feed, a winding road before me, and a three hours' march to dinner."
(The Mirror of the Grose)
To have done a day's walk amid pleasant scenery—to have spent ten or more hours in the open with one's limbs all aglow with life, and the sublime wonders of the universe thrown in gratis, is to my mind enough for quiet contentment and contemplative enjoyment.
Drive in a motor car? No. My answer is that I don't want to be hurled through the air like a projectile. I like to go off the beaten track when and where I choose—take nature's by-ways—climb over rocks—pierce through cool shady glens and gullies or pursue the coast-line, wading, if needs be, some shallow creek or inlet of the sea, or on occasion even cross a river.
Vhere not some pridges pe,
As Hans Breitmann has it.
I have crossed a river six times in a single day's march—the River Cox, for instance. "How did you get over these rivers?" exclaims a townsman; reminding me of Robert Dick when inquiring the distance and the way to Dalemore.
"Eh! Are ye gaun to Dalemore?"
"And where cam ye frae?"
"Did ye come frae Dunbeath the day?"
"An' where are ye gaun tae?"
"Are ye gaun to Thurso?"
"And did ye wide the river?"
"An' are ye gaun to wide it again?"
"Widing" the river is sometimes a chilly business, especially in cool autumn weather, but it has its charms and there is a spice of adventure about it. Still, these wanderings do not require the force of concentration and brain tension demanded in the handling of a skittish motor-car, nor the dread of a punctured tyre. No, perfect freedom can only be obtained by the use and proper subjection of Shanks' pony—the gipsy life of the untrammelled pedestrian.
If, my jaded and fagged friend of the city—if you would venture upon a new experience, you will want to know where you can go. Possibly you know only of the ordinary tourist resorts. Well, Mr. Tompkins here sets before you some two or more scores of interesting trips well within the reach of everybody.
Here are short and easily negotiable trips, occupying but a few hours, which the author has verified from actual experience. The practice is with him as well as myself, to construe the verb "to go" into "to go afoot."
Given good health, a holiday, some few modest coins of the realm, and a live companion, you will here find entrance into Arcady, or the Cambewarra, which, I take it is geographically the same; your midday meal is enjoyed in the open, and a clean bed and plain fare at dusk in some quiet unpretentious village inn; at break of day you start, and away you go with your swag and your staff,
While the winds up aloft whistle to a tune.
Sunny New South Wales affords numberless routes as diversified and refreshing as the most fastidious could desire. Do you want the mountain side, tablelands, wide stretching plains, forest, wild rough country, fertile valleys, or Alpine scenery with snow; or a fine stretch of coast-line bright with palms, and where the banksias or eucalypts creep down to the mesembryanthemums lying on the yellow sand, with a vast sandstone cliff looming in the middle distance. Footer! Trotter! Biker! Rider! Whoever you are, you may assuredly find all this in New South Wales. What more can you desire, my gentle reader? As Richard Jeffries says, "There is the sea below to bathe in, the air of the sky up hither to breathe, the sun to infuse the invisible magnetism of his beams. These are the three potent medicines that by degrees strengthen not only the body but the unquiet mind."
But once out of the city, whither shall we go? There is the ever attractive West with its mountains, rugged and blue. The sun disappears in the west, and there seems to be a longing in the heart of the traveller to follow the golden orb as he sinks beyond the mountain ridges in a flood of crimson glory. No wonder that from the ancients onwards to Columbus and the men of Devon, all sought the Atlantis and the Hesperia of the west. So Katoomba, Blackheath, Wentworth Falls, the Cox, and the Warragamba, the Kanangra country, and the romantic Jenolan Caves all trend away west. Nearer Sydney, and cheaply accessible, is the southern National Park and its northern counterpart and rival—the Kuring-gai Chase, with Newport, Bay View, Barrenjoey, Wamberal, Terrigal Head, Gosford, and the Tuggerah Lakes.
To the southward what a number of charming places! So many that it is not easy to choose. The Illawarra, Cambewarrra, Barrengarry, Kiama, the Bulli and Macquarie Passes, Jamberoo, Kangaroo Valley, Nowra, Berry, Coolangatta, Tomerong. The Wombeyan Caves, Bowral, Fitzroy Falls, Picton, and the Burragorang and other valleys that bring you again to the slopes of the Blue Mountains. Further afield you have Ulladulla, Bodalla, Narooma, Tilba Tilba, Bega, Cooma, Yarrangobilly, Kiandra, and the Australian Alps—the Snowy, and Kosciusko himself.
Away north is another region with attractions all its own. The Northern Rivers, Walcha, the Apsley Falls, Guy Fawkes, the Don Dorrigo, the Mann, the Orara, and the Tweed; aye, and a hundred other places claiming one's visit and attention. Truly there is no dearth of beautiful spots, and we can safely promise the adventurous walker in search of the picturesque, amply and abundant picture travel in the wondrous land before us—the fair Cambria of the South.
(The Hotel Kosciusko—5,000 Feet up Australia's Highest Mountain)
Thus far we see there are delightful places whereunto we may walk; need we then ask ourselves, Why walk? The objects of the pedestrian are health, change of air, freedom from the complex city life, and its banal conventionalities. Life en plein air—that life more talked about and read of by people than realised or put into practice. It is yours dear reader, to live for twelve hours daily in the invigorating open air if you will, eight hours of rest and refreshing sleep, and the remaining four for meals of Arcadian simplicity, go to make up the joyful twenty-four.
Are these things not enough in themselves? The varied charms of scenery we have already counted, but there is more besides, to wit—the study of rocks, minerals, fossils, mosses, lichens, fungi, and the unique forest flora of Australia, the birds, fishes, aborigines, trout-fishing, photography, and what not, each according to individual tastes.
Whosoever feels inclined to walk distances, such as we here contemplate, must be in some sort of a condition before he aspires to rank as a walker, "traveller," "sundowner,""Swaggie," or "weary Willie." An American tramp says it is only necessary to cut your corns and put on your old clothes, and not go fooling round with physic, dumb-bells, and lifting machines before starting.
There are very few persons, young or middle-aged, who cannot do 10 miles a day; practice, perseverance, and well-shod feet will soon extend this to 15 or 20, which is enough to satisfy any who walk for pleasure. My experience shows that the ordinary townsman leading, it may be, a sedentary life, will soon accomplish 20 miles a day, at the pace of 3½ miles an hour, without much difficulty.
The secret, if any, of getting into fine condition is simple obedience to the laws of temperance in diet, partaking of such work or exercise as anyone adopting any of the physical culture methods now so popular may avail themselves of.
To walk 1 mile involves the expenditure of energy amounting to 17 foot-tons. An ordinary diet of a full-grown man is capable of supplying from 300 to 400 foot-tons of external work, in addition to the physiological work done inside the body, which may here be left out of consideration; so, unless the man walks 20 miles, or does equivalent work, he is foolishly using more food than he requires; in other words, he eats because the meal-time comes round and the dinner is set before him.
Such a practice ends in disaster and disease; hence the advantage of walking, and all other forms of physical exercises, for those who are glued down to office-stools in cities.
Then, up and away when holiday-time comes round! And if the Hawkesbury sandstone is too rugged and barren, go further afield. For general guidance, the counties of Cumberland, Camden, Cook and Westmoreland contain numerous beauty spots all within easy distance of Sydney: one of the choicest is the district of the Warragamba River, readily approached from Penrith. It is from this river that the Warragamba Walking Club derives its name. The river is a continuation of the romantic Cox, and flows into the Nepean.
(Toronto, Lake Macquarie)
(Some Members of the Warragamba Walking Club on the Track)
Give to me the life I love;
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
If the object of the tourist be to get from Dan to Beersheba with all possible expedition, making no effort to gain any definite knowledge of the geological character of the country through which he passes, its products, and so on, then, indeed, rail, bicycle, motor, or aeroplane will serve his purpose. It is fairly safe to assume, however, that there are many tourists who require some more satisfactory return for their time and money. To glibly run off the names of districts and townships visited, of which you know only a little more than a cat knows of conic sections, may serve to excite the envy of less opulent friends. But in this, as in most things, superficiality is a sorry asset. And hereabouts lies the secret of the "winding roads and bridle tracks" fascination which, once it has burnt in, so transforms the pedestrian tourist that he can rarely again settle down to the monotony of consecutive days or weeks at one of the legion of tourist establishments, even though it may reasonably boast "all the comforts of a home," plus driving, fresh milk, and new-laid eggs—not to mention other seductive but more or less apocryphal allurements. When the spirit of the nomad is aroused: when the city stifles and the bush beckons him, and in fancy he—
Sees the water sapphires gleaming
. . .
Down beneath fern-feathered passes,
(On the Road to Kangaroo Valley)
Then it is that reaching for his swag and billy, he sheds his city garments and striding along now vigorously, now leisurely, lights his camp-fire where and when he will. Every mile brings something different; every day's programme is different from the last. Mountain and valley, bush and bird, exist only for his entertainment. Each tour is so sharply and permanently fixed in his memory, that no matter the lapse of time, so soon as he presses the button—lo! A fresh court in memory's picture gallery is exposed for his enjoyment. And, incidentally, this is a common experience of the old hand, in the strenuous intervals. As he draws solace from his pipe in the stifling environment of bricks and mortar, with the bush hunger heavy upon him, comes a recollection of joyous days when he was privileged to obliterate his Me, and become part of the Australian bush: to thread his way through scented woods, amid the music of the birds, possessed of a rapturous sense of irresponsibility: when there were no arbitrary divisions of time; and, filled with the spirit of revolt, he did not hesitate to pronounce civilization a desperate failure. "What days were those, Parmenides!" No morning paper: no post—no tram, train, or boat to catch. Sky overhead, mother earth under foot, pumping God's pure air through his lungs, and halting to camp at his own sweet will. Weary of limb at times, and blistered feet, perhaps. But the ecstasy of it! The circumstance cannot be too much emphasised that the walker gets right away from beaten tracks—far from the haunts of sputtering motors, trams, and trains. He may climb mountains and descend valleys, accessible to none else but horse-men, guided only by cattle tracks. For example—on such trips as the Burragorang Valley, Bell's Line, Mounts Wilson and Irvine, Megalong Valley, and Shooters' Hill, vehicular traffic is in part, quite out of the question, and on occasion you may walk for the best part of a day without meeting a member of the genus homo. Some attempt has been made to show the extent to which the observing and imaginative faculties are stimulated by walking tours, and their generally beneficial effect on the health.
THE HEALTH VALUE OF WALKING
This is manifest from the following excerpts, taken almost at random, from the writings of recognised authorities on physical culture. Thus J. Cuthbert Hadden:—
"Walking is the very best tonic that can be presented for exhausted brains, weakened muscles, and worn-out nerves; it strengthens the digestive organs, drives the blood away from the tired brain, and is one of the best remedies for nervousness."
And Mr. Bernarr MacFadden affirms:—
"It is well to note that walking keeps one young. It delays old age. It drives out old-age cells, makes every part of you throb with life and health and strength. One of the youngest old men that ever I saw in my life was a professional walker who claimed that he had a habit of walking from 15 to 20 miles a day, and although a man of nearly 60 years he had the complexion of a 16-year-old girl. For those who are striving for health, or who are in the grasp of a serious chronic disease, no exercise is quite so valuable as walking combined with deep breathing. Walking is more especially valuable for cases of this kind because he exercise is difficult to overdo. If you simply stop when you are tired, nothing but benefit can be derived from it. I do not mean by this that you should stop at the very first moment that you feel the slightest twinge of fatigue, for you can continue with benefit until you can actually enjoy a rest."
A. Walker, the author of a series of interesting articles in Sandow's Magazine, writes:—
"Now let us see what are the benefits which may be derived from a walking tour. First of all, walking is a grand exercise, one of the best there is; anyone who has the slightest knowledge of physical culture will tell you this, hardening and developing as it does the muscles of the legs, thighs, and loins; the lungs benefit too, not only by the inspiration of purer air, but by the extra work put upon them—one feels compelled to throw back the head, and draw in a larger draught of the fresh, strong air,—and the circulation is improved."
"Walking, fatiguing, you say," he continues. "Not a bit of it. There is no finer tonic than a good, long country walk, clearing the brain, brightening the eye, and bracing up the nerves as no drug ever did yet. True, there may be a slight sense of physical weariness, but even this is delightful when, at the end of a good day's tramp you reach some comfortable old-fashioned hostelry, and sitting down in the cool room, remove your dusty boots, and fall to on the cold roast beef, the butter, the cheese, bread, and ale with the vigorous appetite which a five hours' fast, and the fresh pure air of heaven, and the exercise, have all combined to give you. And then the deep, peaceful sleep at night, which sends you out the next morning like a giant refreshed. Ah! Words cannot express it: you must experience it yourself, my friend, to appreciate it properly, and when once you do, the memory of it will cling to you forever."
But let your own experience be your guide. Most Australians have at some period of their lives engaged in one of the many branches of athletics. And it is proof amounting to a mathematical demonstration of the great value of walking, that athletes everywhere, no matter for what event they be preparing, make it part of their training. And they do this because it builds vital power. The added vitality which it gives enables them to increase the vigour of the muscles; it provides the essential thing we call stamina. Medical men are agreed that by this exercise the blood is cleansed of impurities, the eyes become clearer, the complexion improved, and the flesh firmer.
METHOD OF WALKING
Everyone believes that he knows how to walk, and none more so than the man of limited experience. During many years' actual practice on the track I have known many styles; but four only call for mention, namely:—
(1) The abnormally long stride of the walker who never gets out of step—when alone.
(2) The short quick stride of the walker whose apparent aim is to get to his destination about midday, who grows desperately weary, and has developed a limp by the going down of the sun.
(3) The tediously slow, slovenly, no-method style; go a long way in a long time; quite unsuitable for parties of more than one.
(4) The even, rhythmic, 3-miles-an-hour style (increasing to 4 as occasion demands). Neither anxious to race nor to lag; is going nearly as fast and firm at sunset as at sunrise. Good for any distance.
As may be guessed, the last is the method recommended. Of the rest, No. 3 is the most unsatisfactory. My own experience is that for thorough enjoyment of the tour no pace is equal to the steady 3 miles an hour. It enables you to see all that is to be seen, and while it does not unnecessarily fatigue, cuts out a satisfactory day's journey. It is worthwhile to remember that if you walk in a slipshod, slovenly manner, if your movements are not regular, you will tire quickly, and the venture will result in disappointment. MacFadden says:—"When assuming the proper attitude the body is always inclined forward while walking. Walking should be a continual fall forward just as is running. Each step should save you from a fall, and the body should always be inclined far enough forward to insure a continuance of this position. The entire body should always be erect, shoulders back, chest prominent, head back, and eyes looking straight in front. Many are of opinion that because an erect attitude is advised in walking, it is necessary to swing the body far backward. This is a serious mistake."
(At Stanwell Park)
FORMATION OF THE PARTY
One of the most important details in arranging a walking tour is the formation of the party. The trouble is that in the initial trip you have to risk a lot, and your privilege of choice can only be exercised at a subsequent date. Recognising and shrinking from this difficulty, many walkers have advocated going alone. Notably Robert Louis Stevenson. "Now, to be properly enjoyed, a walking tour should be gone upon alone. If you go in a company, or even in pairs, it is no longer a walking tour in anything but name; it is something else, and more in the nature of a picnic. A walking tour should be gone upon along, because freedom is of the essence, because you should be able to stop and go on, and follow this way or that, as the freak takes you; and because you must have your own pace, and neither trot alongside a champion walker, nor mince in time with a girl."
William Hazlitt, too, a considerable walker, preferred a party of one in order to secure unanimity of opinion. He had "no objection to argue the point with anyone for 20 miles of measured road, but not for pleasure. If you remark the scent of a bean-field crossing the road, perhaps your fellow traveller has no sense of smell. If you point to a distant object, perhaps he is short-sighted and has to take out his glass to look at it...There is no sympathy, but an uneasy craving after it, and a dissatisfaction which pursues you on the way, and in the end probably produces ill-humour...I cannot see the wit of walking and talking at the same time. When I am in the country I wish to vegetate like the country. I am not for criticising hedgerows and black cattle...Give me the clear blue sky over my head and the green turf beneath my feet, a winding road before me, and a three hours' march to dinner."
In sharp contrast to this, Laurence Sterne—who, by the way, was not a walker, his "Sentimental Journey" notwithstanding—affirms:—"let me have a companion of my way, were it but to remark how the shadows lengthen as the sun declines."
(In The National Park)
And when you come to think of it quite a number of men of letters have been enthusiastic walkers. Only to name a few. George Borrow invariable went afoot. Carlyle in his youth looked upon walking as a natural means of getting from one place to another. For instance, you remember that on the occasion of his first visit to Edinburgh he footed it in company of Tom Smail, and repeated the feat several times alone. Samuel Taylor Coleridge—we have it on the word of Hazlitt—"could go on in the most delightful explanatory way over hill and dale, a summer's day, and convert a landscape into a didactic poem or a Pindaric ode." And more recently, and a greater walker than any yet named, was the late Sir Leslie Stephen.
But to get back. Man is a gregarious animal, and although on occasion it may be convenient to have none but yourself to consult as to the scent of the bean-field, pace, variation of route, and the several other things that may crop up, a party of two, three, or four, if it consist of practised walkers of cheerful and agreeable dispositions, who are accustomed to one another's little ways, will be found to work well. Two is the handiest number, and the party should rarely exceed four, as in some of the out-of-the-way places it is difficult to get accommodation for a greater number than four. Indeed a party of this strength will be uncommonly lucky if it has not sometimes to occupy one sleeping-room containing but two beds. For myself I prefer a party of two.
A fixed rule should be to travel light. The question is not so much what to take as what to leave. Means of carrying your requisites is the first consideration, and choice may be said to lie between the knapsack, rucksack, and swag. Of the first two, the knapsack is much to be preferred. It is adjustable, rides high, bringing the weight over the shoulders, and is so constructed that it allows of the free passage of air between it and the back. Unfortunately a serious difficulty confronts one at the outset. Knapsacks of the kind described are neither procurable in Sydney nor in Australia, as far as is known; and while they can be purchased in London from 8s. upwards, the most definite quotation to be got recently from a Sydney firm was "possibly as low as 30s., but perhaps 40s." The defect in the rucksack, which somewhat resembles a postman's bag, is that it rides low, and, as a consequence, the weight is thrown on the hips instead of on the shoulders; also, it keeps one unpleasantly hot where it touches the body. The drawback with the swag is that if one wishes to get out the most trifling thing it must be unrolled, and, as in the case of the rucksack, the free passage of air was not contemplated in the design. For the purpose of construction all that is needed is a piece of good American cloth one yard long by two wide, and four saddle straps,—two to go round the swag, and two to swing it. The swag should swing from the right shoulder and be balanced by the nosebag over the left shoulder (vide frontispiece). An unusually heavy swag is often swung by means of a piece of stout new calico instead of a strap. Individual taste must of course decide what to carry, so that you travel light.
(Through Sylvan Scenes Near Bulli)
Your travelling suit, exclusive of footwear, might consist of undershirt, sweater, knickers and stocking, or pants, according to inclination; coat, soft hat or cap, and belt and sheath-knife. Additionally, the indispensable articles are a couple of light undershirts, a couple of pairs of socks, pyjamas or other sleeping garment, shaving and toilet requisites (only essentials); a small tin box to contain small scissors, needle and thread, tube of lanoline, piece of cotton wool, a few ounces of boracic powder. If camping out be determined upon, a sleeping-bag will be required. A sleeping-bag is much warmer and handier than an ordinary blanket or rug, and is easily constructed, being merely a blanket or rug with American cloth, or canvas cover, folded lengthwise and sewn together at one end and at the side. Before getting in to the sleeping-bag a bed of grass or leaves should be prepared, and a hip hole dug out. One may imagine that the articles enumerated will make a formidable swag, but its weight is inconsiderable. So soon as one gets on the track his coat may be taken off and strapped to the outside of the swag. To prevent inconvenience from rain a macintosh cape or umbrella should be taken. The cape will pack away if not wanted, and is easy to carry, but there is much virtue in a homely gamp. It will protect head and shoulders from passing showers, and if the rain be continuous but not sufficiently heavy to hinder progress it is much cooler than the cape. The nosebag might contain a supply of biscuit. Biscuit is much preferable to bread, which soon becomes dry and unpalatable. To this might be added dates or figs, a piece of fritz, or Frankfurt sausage, cheese, and little calico bags containing a supply of tea, sugar, and a mixture of pepper and salt. If the weather be cold, two or three pea sausages, and some oatmeal might be added. In which case it will be necessary to carry a spoon, and an extra billy. It should be arranged so that one billy will fit into the other. It is remarkable the taste one gets for water on a walking tour, and, if the season be at all dry, a canvas waterbag or aluminium bottle should be carried. A drinking vessel will fit into the billy, or can be attached to the belt. The practice of the members of the Warragamba Walking Club is to provision for two days, and replenish stock at the stores or accommodation houses en route. And they invariably carry a supply of a preparation of chocolate called Plasmon, which, with a bit of biscuit, is an excellent thing to take when travelling before breakfast.
Grit and pace may be irreproachable, but if one becomes footsore all enjoyment is gone; and yet so many walkers have difficulty with their feet that to be suitably clad is to be of the elect. A not uncommon recommendation is to "get a good strong pair of Cossacks with thick soles and plenty of nails." In spite of which there is only one reliable guide. Every one must hold fast to that kind of foot-wear which actual experience has shown to best suit his particular case. The use of a very heavy boot means needless overweighting: the essential thing is that the sole be solid. For this reason I have for a considerable time used a specially built sandal, and it has proved a great success. At the moment I have two pairs, the older of which has been half-soled four times, and has aggregated about 1,000 miles. The newer pair is a different in style, being designed to exclude grit, and for use on muddy roads. The advantages of a suitable sandal are that it is light, roomy, and cool, and yet has the requisite solidity of sole. Particularly it is roomy. The toes have ample space to spread out, with the result that blisters are avoided. Its one defect is that it is not suitable for use in rainy weather, and, consequently, a pair of boots must always be carried.
But this need not be a worry. No walker of any experience goes on the track provided with only one pair of boots. Pack the sandals until the actual walking begins, and the pair of boots which are worn when leaving the city will serve for the return, and also for use should it rain. A pair of light slippers will add little to the weight of the swag, and will be much appreciated when resting. Whether sandals or boots are adopted, frequent change is one of the surest means of preserving the feet. Neither the same socks nor the same boots (or sandals) should be worn on consecutive days, and to change twice each day is so much the better. And no opportunity of bathing the feet—body too, for that matter,—should be neglected.
The question of distance is important. If camping out one may halt at discretion; but if depending upon accommodation it will occasionally happen that an unusually long day's journey must be accomplished. Except in the case of the Caves and Bell's Line, accommodation at night is available in respect of all trips embraced in this booklet, and no day's journey exceeds 25 miles. Occasionally it is as low as 15, but in the majority of cases about 20 miles. Several of the "Warragambas" have been compelled on occasion to exceed 30 miles in the day, but there is no poetry in it, and if ventured by a novice might end in disaster; 20 to 25 miles is quite far enough for enjoyment, and 16 to 18 miles is no mean performance. "Before setting out, have a definite itinerary," is the recommendation of all writers on walking trips, and experience confirms this. Unless provision has been made for camping out, and time is not limited, there must be fixed stages for each of the three or four days. The great joy of being unshackled in any way as to daily distance, pace, or route, is very captivating as a theory, but, like "dossing" in wet sandstone caves and abandoned huts with unsavoury companions of the road, it does not work out in practice.
AN EARLY START.
To start early is absolutely necessary. By this means the annoyance of a tedious wait for breakfast is avoided, and however confident the overnight promises may be, it is seldom ready at the appointed hour. Besides, the luxury of walking through the crisp, sweet morning air, with everything around waking into life, is missed. It is possible to cut out some 4 or 5 miles before breakfast. One resumes as fresh as at the start, and by midday such progress has been made that a few hours' rest may be indulged in.
WALKING FOR LADIES.
The interest taken in walking by ladies, and the number of parties one meets with and hears of on tour is remarkable. Placed, as they are, at a considerable disadvantage in the matter of dress, they, nevertheless, compass without inconvenience 15 to 20 miles a day; less than 12 miles a day being accounted by many to be but a small achievement. If it be girls in their teens, a mixed party in which "dad" is included is the correct and convenient thing; but, unfortunately, "dad" is not always available, in condition, or in the mood, and parties consisting exclusively of ladies are by no means uncommon. And what a merry company a mixed party is! I can recall several such: Bell to Richmond, viā Mount Wilson; Wentworth Falls to Picton, viā Burragorang; Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, thence viā Oberon to Tarana; Moss Vale to Berry, viā Kangaroo Valley; Moss Vale to Kiama, viā Fitzroy, Belmore and Carrington Falls, Robertson, and Jamberoo. The merest peep at one of these expeditions must suffice: It is a beautiful, clear, fresh forenoon in October. The party having negotiated the long steep hill in front of Jenolan Caves in the early hours, and breakfasted by the roadside, is making good progress towards Oberon. As it makes its way through the scented woodland the girls form the advance guard, tripping along expectant, chatting merrily, and feeling that it is a joy to be alive; the men smoke, and bring up the rear—and most of the luggage. To observe the zest with which the girls enter into the more or less commonplace incidents by the way—epoch-making events to them—is to be rejuvenated. They remark on the rude manner in which we prepare the chops for breakfast, and speculate as to whether the mailman—to be met presently—will bring the loaf ordered by wire from Jenolan for our lunch.
Later, a farmer's wife is met driving a few ewes and lambs; she is carrying a weakling. The maternal instinct is in evidence at once. Everybody would like to nurse the lamb, and many terms of endearment are lavished on it, while the good woman seems unable to grasp the fact that the girls are from Sydney and are walking for pleasure. At intervals a halt is called and the waterbag passed around. And, finally, camp is pitched, and the party lunches under a shady tree on the bank of the Duckmaloi. A camera being invariably included in the outfit, I am able to present a few pictures taken on different tours, and which show the girls as they actually appear when "footing it."
There are several trips which cut up into suitable distances for ladies and on which the necessary accommodation is obtainable. While, under special conditions, it is competent for lady walkers to undertake such delightful trips as Bell to Richmond, viā Mount Wilson and Kurrajong heights; Katoomba to Tarana, viā Jenolan Caves; Wentworth Falls to Camden or Picton, viā the Burragorang; it is regretted these routes cannot be recommended. The ladies' country, par excellence, lies between the southern tableland and the coast. Moss Vale to Nowra or to Berry; Moss Vale to Albion Park, Jamberoo, Kiama, or Wollongong; Bowral to Nowra or Berry, all fully described herein, and most of which cut up into easy distances of 12 to 14 miles a day with adequate accommodation. Observe what they embrace. Fitzroy, Belmore, Carrington and Minnamurra Falls, Manning Lookout and Kangaroo Valley, Barrengarry, Cambewarra and Berry Mountains, Robertson park and Macquarie Pass. If I were asked to select one more suitable than the rest for inexperienced walkers, without hesitation it would be Moss Vale to Berry, viā Kangaroo Valley. This trip cuts up into easy distances, there is first-rate accommodation to be had at a moderate cost, and it would be difficult to mention one more beautiful. As regards one-day trips, it might be said that almost all routes described in this class are practicable for ladies. The easier ones being Waterfall to Audley; Guildford to Baulkham Hills, viā Prospect Reservoir; Penshurst to Audley, viā George's and Woronora Rivers; Pymble to Parramatta; Ku-ring-gai Chase; Pymble to the Spit, viā St. Ives and French's Forest. Perhaps, even Hornsby to Baulkham Hills. However, the distance is given in each case, and what may be accomplished without fatigue is a matter for personal decision. Then there is the important question of dress; and here mere man recognises the limitations of his sex. The material should be as light as the weather will permit, and the skirt short. Shoes or boots according to inclination, but they must be well-fitting, with solid soles and broad heels. Carry as little additional clothing as possible; it is far better to send a change on ahead by rail or coach. For further information in this relation see notes on Equipment, earlier.
What has been said in the foregoing pages may be epitomised under these six headings, and the advice should be particularly remembered:—
(1) Travel light.
(2) Make an early start, breakfasting on the track.
(3) Never wear one pair of boots, sandals, or socks for more than one day; and half-day change is recommended as giving the best results.
(4) Bathe the feet at every opportunity.
(5) Do not start on a long trip without some preparation.
(6) If not in the habit of regular sea-bathing the feet should be soaked, as long as convenient, daily, in a solution of salt and water. Cover the feet with common-soap lather or boracic acid each morning just before starting.
NOTE.—As fares and time-tables are subject to frequent revision, reference should be made to the Government Tourist Bureau for information as to their correctness at time of inquiry.
The charges for accommodation vary from 6s. to 12s 6d. per day at Hotels, £1 1s. to £2 2s. per week at Boarding Houses, and from £1 to £1 10s. per week at Farm Houses.
The Government Tourist Bureau will, upon personal or written application, readily furnish detailed information as to routes, the cost of railway, motor or coach service and accommodation. Brochures and maps giving detailed particulars of most of the State's Tourist Districts may be had gratis from the Bureau.
Hints to tourists:
On one-day trips lunch, billy, and water-bag only are required.
Except in respect of Easter trips the train information given is taken from the winter service—first week in May to first week in October. But as railway arrangements are continually changing reference should be made to the time-table at the date of journey.
Trips distinguished thus * are by the less frequented routes.
For hints as to outfit, see Equipment, Part I.
The estimated cost of each trip is based upon actual experience, and, though hotel charges vary, the figures may be accepted as a near approximate.
[EBOOK EDITOR'S NOTE: In the details provided in a number of the trips, reference is made to the boat meeting the train at Milson's point, or at Circular Quay. To which boat is the author referring? Upon reflection, one realises that he is referring to the boat which plied between Circular Quay and Milson's point, ferrying passengers to and fro across Sydney Harbour so that they could catch a train on the other side. There was, of course, no bridge spanning the harbour at the time the book was written.]
A friend has urged that there is not a great deal to be said for half-day (Saturday afternoon) walking trips. His contention is substantially as follows:—The time at disposal is too short. If one goes home to dinner it is impossible to get under way till about 2 o'clock. In the walking season there is not much of the afternoon left at 5 p.m., and when the days lengthen the weather is too fatiguing. Much disagreeable rushing results, and, as a rule, one is unsuitably clad. On Saturday afternoon there is not time to penetrate far from the haunts of the crowd. The fear to encounter stylishly dressed friends on tram, and elsewhere, clad in sweater and sandals, leads to the encumbrance of much unnecessary and altogether unsuitable clothing. And then there is no billy, and no enjoyable midday rest and repast with the odour of the camp-fire pervading everything.
This is more or less true, but half-day trips are only designed as an introduction to serious walking, and it is not for a moment pretended that they can be made as attractive as one, two, or three day trips. Still, some are so circumstanced that Saturday afternoon alone is available, and there are others who, timid of their staying powers, would prefer in the first place to experiment in journeys of that duration; and such being the case, some twelve half-day routes, convenient to the city, are given.
No. 1.—Coogee to Long Bay, viā Maroubra Bay
Distance, about 5 miles
A delightful outing. Alight from Coogee tram at Dudley-Street , proceed up the hill to the right, and join Long Bay Road at the cemetery. Arrived opposite Maroubra you may continue by road or cross the beach and follow the cliffs round. The latter is much to be preferred, as you are in interesting geological country—see One-day trip, No. 11. An excellent swimming basin will be found at the southern side of Long Bay, and an endeavour should be made to catch the high tide. From the top of the gentle slope to south an excellent view of Coast Hospital and the new Penitentiary is obtainable. By this time you will be ready for tea. Refreshments are on sale at Long Bay, but those of the elect will have provided themselves with a billy and a little hamper. A frequent tram service obtains.
(The Spit Middle Harbour)
No. 2.—Manly to Mosman Wharf, viā The Spit.
Distance, about 7 miles
This is an easy trip as to distance, and quite within the powers of the non-robust. The time actually occupied in walking would, of course, be regulated by the inclination or speed of the walkers; but the distance might be compassed easily in from three to four hours. Manly steamers leave Circular Quay at frequent intervals, and an excellent service obtains between Mosman and Sydney. If desired, the walk may terminate at the Spit, and tram taken to Mosman wharf or Milson's Point.
No. 3.—Watson's Bay to Bondi Beach, by Military-road, or the Cliffs.
Distance, about 5 miles
This could be made a most enjoyable trip, to include a "dip' in the surf or at Bondi baths, before taking tram to Sydney. Better still, arrange with the ladies of the family, for whom the walk would be perhaps, too fatiguing, to meet you at Bondi beach, with provisions for an al fresco tea. As to the track: follow the tram-line from terminus to a short distance past the light-house. Here take the left-hand road; passing Watson's Bay Cemetery. Again take the left-hand road after passing the Chinese garden—or, if preferred, you may continue as far as the ostrich farm, and cut across the bush to Military-road. If you are accustomed to walking turn in to the cliff edge so soon as you pass the light-house and follow the cliffs round to Bondi—see One-day trip, No. 2. There is now an efficient steamer service from Circular Quay and tram services from King-street to Watson's Bay and to Bondi.
No. 4.—Watson's Bay to Bondi Junction, by Old South Head Road.
Distance, about 6 or 7 miles.
Proceed as in trip No. 3, except that instead of turning to the left near the ostrich farm, keep right ahead along Old South Head road by the Royal Sydney Golf Club's links. The route may be varied by turning to the right at the old club-house, and proceeding by O'Sullivan-road to the tram at Rose Bay.
No. 5.—Parramatta to Burwood (or vice versa) by Great Western Road.
Distance, about 8 miles
Take Parramatta return, inquire at Parramatta for Sydney-road. There is not much to see, but the walking is good and it is an ancient thoroughfare as we date things: its associations, if at times grim, are not without fascination. As you pass through a few cuttings you can easily recognise the work of the sullen and, there appears to be little doubt, often brutally ill-used convict gangs. Here rang out the urgent language of the pioneer bullock-driver, and the whip crack of Cobb & Co. Here, too, was the theatre of the exploits of that famous repository of intelligence, the Flying Pieman. And among other things, you will remember it was here that Charles Darwin set out, on the 16th January, 1836 on his celebrated trip across the Blue Mountains, the first stage of which "took us to Parramatta, a small country town next to Sydney in importance." An early number of the Sydney Gazette and N.S.W. Adviser—the first newspaper printed in Australia—contains a curious proclamation anent the maintenance of this thoroughfare:—"In consequence of the bad state of the road leading from Sydney to Parramatta, and the danger of horses being lamed in the deep ruts near Sydney, it is here directed that all public and private carts and wagons passing that road (not otherwise loaded) do take a load of brickbats from the brick-field and drop them into the places appointed by the overseer of the roads...By order of His Excellency."
No. 6.—Centennial Park.
Distance, 4 to 5 miles (or at discretion).
Enter the park at the intersection of Oxford-street and Park-road, Paddington, and proceed to the refreshment pavilion. From this point complete the circuit of the grand drive, and take the avenue through the centre of the park, passing the gymnasium and lakes, to Randwick gates. Randwick-Coogee tram to Sydney. Or the park might be entered from Cleveland-street or Randwick gates, the circuit of the grand drive made and the central avenue taken—turning to the right across country at the old polo grounds, and leaving the park at Ocean-street, Woollahra. Here the tram to Sydney could be taken, or the journey extended to Edgecliff by Ocean-street. This alternative route is merely a suggestion for the guidance of persons unfamiliar with the Centennial Park.
No. 7.—Artarmon to Drummoyne Tram, viā Fig-tree (Lane Cove River), Hunter's Hill, and Parramatta River.
Distance, about 6 miles.
A pretty and by no means fatiguing trip. The 1.10 and 1.40 Saturday afternoon boats from Circular Quay connect with 1.20 and 1.50 trains respectively. Either train gives ample time to walk the distance without any haste, and to catch a reasonably early tram to Gladesville Bridge. From Artarmon take Longueville-road, and subsequently Burns Bay road, to Lane Cove River. Finger-posts at the corner of Longueville and Gordon roads and at corner of Longueville and Burns Bay roads will direct you. After crossing the bridge at Fig-tree, continue by Joubert-street, Hunter's Hill, turning to the right at the "Fig-tree Hotel." From here the telephone wires will guide you to Gladesville Bridge. Fine views are obtainable en route of Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers, of forest land, and, among other things, of St. Ignatius' and St. Joseph's Colleges. Should you discover that you have misjudged your "staying" powers, the journey might terminate at Fig-tree, and the city reached per medium of Lane Cove steamer. Refreshments may be obtained at Fig-tree, but if you have your billy and some provisions, an excellent camping ground, with plenty of fuel, is available at Parramatta River, near Gladesville Bridge.
No. 8.—Edgecliff-road, Bellevue Hill, and Rose Bay.
Distance, 4 or 5 miles.
Leave Rose Bay tram at Ocean-street, and proceed by Edgecliff-road. In the first hundred yards—immediately behind Edgecliff post office—is a remarkably fine harbour view, with Double Bay in front, Darling Point on the left, and Point Piper on the right. Edgecliff-road is about 2 miles in length and terminates at Old South Head road. Keep right on, taking the left hand-road to Woollahra Park. Some excellent views are obtainable from this miniature park before continuing the walk by Victoria-road. This will lead round Bellevue Hill to Rose Bay. When opposite "Kambala" cross over to the new road skirting Scots' College. Here are magnificent ocean and harbour views. At a point behind Scots' College the road might be left and an interesting excursion made through the bush to the O'Sullivan Road; this in its turn leads to Rose Bay. Most of the country through which you have been walking is the famous Cooper estate, a name that will not be unfamiliar if by any chance you have friends who worship at the shrine of Henry George.
No. 9.—Pymble to Ryde, viā Marsfield and North Ryde.
Distance, about 7 miles.
If Saturday afternoon, catch the 1.20 boat at Circular Quay. This connects with the 1.32 train, which arrives at Pymble at 1.58. Turn back from Pymble railway station, for about half-a-mile, as though going to Sydney and take the road to the right just before reaching the gasworks. In less than an hour's walk this will bring you to the high-level bridge which spans Lane Cove River. There are branch roads, but follow the telegraph line. This leads through the orange-growing country, and in reality passes along the boundary line dividing Ryde and Marsfield. Ryde railway should be reached in time to catch the 5.39 p.m. for Sydney. The next train is at 6.31 p.m.
No. 10.—Rhodes to Leichhardt, viā Concord and Parramatta Roads.
Distance, about 7 miles
If Saturday afternoon be chosen for this trip, the 1.40 from Redfern is a suitable train, and arrives at Rhodes at 1.53, giving ample time for a leisurely return to Leichhardt. It is necessary to notify the guard of your wish to leave the train at Rhodes. The route is along Concord-road, which, at this point, is only a short distance from the railway line, and is excellent walking, with pretty patches of woodland and open golf country. In the fullness of time Parramatta-road is reached, already mentioned in No. 5. A frequent tram service is available from Leichhardt.
No. 11.—Ryde to Parramatta, by Kissing Point Road and Dundas.
Distance, about 7 miles.
If there be not a long interval of dry weather this is a very interesting walk, mostly through orange groves of limited extent, but somewhat similar to Castle Hill. The 1.30 p.m., Saturday, from Redfern reaches Ryde at 1.59, and the distance being less than 8 miles. One should catch the 5 or, at latest, 5.25 p.m. train at Parramatta. The route is by Kissing point road, through Ermington, Dundas, and Rydalmere. There is an alternative road nearer to Parramatta River, by Subiaco and Rydalmere Asylum, but viā Dundas is recommended.
No. 12.—Pymble to Fig-tree, Lane Cove River, viā Hunter's Hill.
Distance, about 8 miles.
If this trip be made on a Saturday the 1.20 p.m. boat connects with the 1.32 p.m. train at Milson's Point. This will put you down at Pymble at 2 minutes to 2 o'clock. The walk might occupy three hours or less. On arrival at Pymble turn back for a distance of about half a mile, towards Sydney. Then take the right-hand road—the indicator will direct. At a point 2 or 2½ miles from Pymble the road crosses Lane Cove River. Look out for the indicator at the top of the hill on the opposite side of the river, and take Gladesville-road, turning to the left. There is no chance of mistake from this point until Ryde and Gladesville roads intersect at right-angles, about a mile from Fig-tree Wharf. Here take the left-hand road, keeping St. Joseph's College on your right. If the season be not too dry it is an easy and pretty afternoon's tramp, making, as it does, an excellent round trip. If a whole day is occupied, it is a good trip for ladies. In this case a start should be made about 10 a.m., provision made to lunch en route, and a leisurely pace will bring the party to Fig-tree at about 4 to 4.30 p.m., concluding with a pleasant run down Lane Cove River to the city. As a matter of fact, the writer and his little girls, aged 14 and 16, of average physique, accomplished this trip only recently, and neither of them was in the least distressed. A start was made one Sunday by the 10.15 a.m. boat from Circular Quay, and the walk from Pymble commenced shortly after 11 o'clock. A rest of two hours was taken for lunch at a pretty fern-clad gully about half way, and the party was aboard the "Lady Hampden" at Fig-tree at 4.30 p.m.
*No. 1.—Hornsby to Castle Hill, viā Galston and Dural.
Distance, 15 miles.
Sydney-Hornsby—1st, 2s.; 2nd, 1s. 3d.
Milson's Point-Hornsby—1st, 1s. 3d.; 2nd, 10d.
Parramatta-Sydney—1st, 1s. 4d.; 2nd, 11d.TRAM.—Castle Hill to Parramatta, 4d.
On week days, the 7.30 a.m. boat connects with 7.45 a.m. train at Milson's Point, and there is a train at 7 a.m. from Redfern: on Sundays the 8.30 a.m. boat connects with 8.45 a.m. train at Milson's Point, and there is a train at 9 a.m. from Redfern.
On arrival at Hornsby, follow Peat's Ferry road to finger-post indicating Galston-road—about a mile from Hornsby post office. From this point the road passes through rugged picturesque country, making a zigzag descent into Hornsby Valley, at the bottom of which two streams of beautiful clear water are crossed by means of substantial bridges. Having climbed some 3 miles by an easy grade, the little village of Galston is reached; here a finger-post reads—"To Hornsby 6½ miles. To Parramatta, 15½." The character of the country has now changed, as by the touch of the magician's wand, from the picturesque but almost sterile waste to beautiful, cultivated, fertile slopes; the holdings in most cases being well improved and prosperous looking. Lead us not into temptation! Stimulated by early piety, and restrained by fear of the law, one may meander without offence through tempting orange groves laden with golden fruit of July and August, and, as the golfers say, so adjacent that you could almost gather the fruit without leaving the King's highway. Passing through Dural, Castle Hill, of historic association, is reached, and away to the right the sight easily penetrates to the foot of the Blue Mountains, embracing in its survey the settlements around Riverstone, Windsor, Richmond, Kurrajong, and Pennant Hills, which lies away to the left.
This is historic ground! A century ago in this State justice was grim and rugged, and if there was less pomp and circumstance about the trial of the criminal, the agony of execution was longer drawn out. Viewing Castle Hill to-day, with its prosperous looking houses and square miles of orchards, it is curious to recollect that at the period mentioned, it was not an infrequent occurrence for condemned prisoners to be brought in solemn procession from Parramatta to be executed here. A Castle Hill tram may be taken to Parramatta. The total distance, Hornsby to Parramatta, is 22 miles, and Hornsby to Castle Hill is 15 miles. This is recommended as one of the most delightful one-day trips near Sydney.
*No. 2.—A Round Trip: From intersection of Bayswater and Darling Point roads, viā Darling point, Double Bay, Bellevue Hill, Bondi Beach, The Cliffs to The Gap, thence by New South Head road to Rose Bay Wharf.
Distance, 13 or 14 miles.
By the robust this might be called a lazy day. But though near to Sydney, and over familiar country, it is one of the most interesting of the series, and if the day be bright some magnificent cliff, ocean, and harbour panoramas may be viewed. The route might be along Darling Point road past St. Mark's to Branch-street, thence by the steps and Double Bay to new South Head road; ascending Bellevue hill by the steep asphalt path, and arriving eventually at Scots' College. Follow the road round the college grounds and the path through the bush to O'Sullivan-road; keep the golf links on your left, and across the sand hills to Bondi beach. By this time you may be ready for a dip in the sparkling Pacific and with a costume you may go right in. A few hundred yards to the north are the famous natural basins at Ben Buckler's Point, where one may bathe in security, and enjoy a sunbath. Between this point and Bondi Fort is much that is of geological interest. Here are fissures left by previously existing volcanic dykes, and columnar structures developed in Hawkesbury sandstone by contact with intrusive basalt, decomposed basalt in the fissure known as Meriverie Pass, and some of the unaltered basalt in situ. So soon as the fort is passed strike through the scrub to the cliff, following which, if it be Sunday, you will presently come on to a party of five or six well-bronzed males, camped on a secluded and pretty spot on the cliff edge. It is what is left of the sometime compact brotherhood known as the "Amphibians"—a sect, apparently, of sun and sea worshippers—engaged at the weekly celebration of their mystic rites.
Camp might be made here for lunch. Any of the "Amphibians" will point out the Matting, probably the most dizzy and daring fisherman's path to be found on our coast; if path it may be called, seeing that the bottom of the cliffs, which at this point are about 300 feet in height, is reached partly by means of rope ladders suspended from iron spikes driven into the sandstone. Still following the cliffs and approaching Diamond Bay attention will be attracted by an obelisk, the inscription on which explains its purpose. At this spot some thirty years ago Jas. Pillars, B.A., aged 41 years, met his death by falling from the cliff. And in this connection the writer once had a curious experience. In company with some friends he had been driven by a passing shower to seek shelter of a sandstone cave near by; so also had another wayfarer. Not unnaturally the conversation turned on the monument, and the stranger at once excited interest by the statement that he had known Mr Pillars, and was present when he met his death. Mr. Pillars had been his tutor; they had gone out cliff-climbing, and, disregarding special warning, Pillars had trusted the weathered sandstone, and had met his death by its giving way. He was seen to strike the rocks at the bottom, turn over, and was then swept out by a sea. No; his body had never been recovered. On the obelisk you read:—
He went down a precious argosy at sea—
The world may never know the wealth it lost,
When he went darkling to his tearful tomb,
So might in his undeveloped force—
With all his crowding unaccomplished hopes;
Unuttered wealth and glory of his soul.
(Hornby Light, South Head)
Continuing north two fishermen's cliff descents—Buckley's and Oby West are passed—and crossing a pretty little picnic resort, called Rosy Gully, is the ascent of the hill at back of Watson's Bay cemetery. At the highest point on the cliff is another fishermen's descent, called Blackfellow, which takes rank next to the Matting for difficulty and danger. In fact, at one point it has a drop of about 60 feet down the perpendicular face of the cliff, which is greater than either drop at the Matting. An old visitor to the locality will be familiar with the Lighthouse and Gap, and immediately bear away to the left along New South Head road to Rose Bay, passing en route the convent of the Sacred Heart, a monument to the architectural skill of the late Mr, Horbury Hunt; Vaucluse estate, the sometime home of the Wentworths, and final resting-place of the great William Charles Wentworth, the moulder of our Constitution. At any point along the road the tram is available for return to Sydney.
*No. 3.—Pymble to Manly, viā St. Ives, Sugar-loaf Hill, and Narrabeen.
Distance, about 24 miles.
FARE.—To Pymble—1st, 11d.; 2nd, 8d. Manly to Sydney, 4d.
The 8.30 a.m. boat, Circular Quay, connects with 8.45 at Milson's Point (Sunday), and the 7.30 a.m. boat connects with the 7.45 at Milson's Point (week-day). Inquire at Pymble for the road to St. Ives. With the exception of the first few miles, which is through fertile orange-growing country, this route is the reverse of that followed on the Castle Hill trip. But for more than half of its distance it has the advantage of being out of the beaten track. At St. Ives the road leads into the native bush, and if the journey is made in the early spring the bush is resplendent with every variety of wild flower. Sugarloaf Hill is the only climb. Extensive views of hill and ocean are obtainable from the ridges. The road divides before reaching Foley's Rocks—the better route joining the Pittwater-road at Rocklily, and the other at Narrabeen near the bridge, and, if you have been thoughtful enough to bring a bathing costume a dip on the beach will add some vim to your step on the home stretch to Manly. In an ordinary season water is plentiful en route. From Pymble to Narrabeen the distance is 16 or 17 miles, and the total distance to manly is about 24 miles. If not in good walking condition, the coach service may be availed of at Narrabeen.
No. 4. Waterfall to Audley.
Distance, about 12 miles.
FARE.—Ordinary return to Waterfall—1st, 3s.6d.; 2nd, 2s.4d.
There is no Sunday train to Waterfall. The 8.30 South Coast train will serve on any week-day. Anyone at the station will direct you. Just past Waterfall railway station the road plunges away to the left into National Park, and about half an hour's walk leads to within a few yards of the depression into which, in the rainy season, the little creek leaps—whence the name Waterfall. From here the road gently descends through a splendid forest of turpentine to the freshwater river, crossing Bola Creek and many pretty brooks en route. For the last 4 or 5 miles follow the course of the Hacking River along the "Lady Carrington Drive," which has been described as a "vast and glorious avenue from end to end." This is a trip well within the walking powers of ladies, especially if the whole day be given to it. There is a fairly frequent train service from National Park platform from the first week in September. During the winter months trains—Wednesday, 6.40 p.m.; Saturday, 3.5, 6.3, and 7.30 p.m.
(Audley, National Park)
By leaving the National Park train at Sutherland, or, if possible, Loftus Junction, it is competent to undertake this trip any Sunday; but the distance is then 22 or 23 miles, and the scenery between Sutherland and Waterfall is rather monotonous and uninteresting.
No. 5.—Pymble to the Spit, viā St. Ives and French's Forest.
Distance, about 15 miles.
FARE.—Pymble—1st, 11d.; 2nd, 8d. You have choice of return by Milson's Point or Mosman Bay.
If a week-day, the 7.30 a.m. boat connects with the 7.45 train at Milson's Point; if a Sunday, the 8.30 a.m. boat connects with the 8.45 at Milson's Point. Bear away to St. Ives as in the Pymble-Manly trip, No.3. At a point about 4 miles beyond St. Ives, and 6 miles from Pymble, leave the Narrabeen-road by a road which intersects it at right-angles, on the right-hand side, at the corner of a paddock. Care should be taken here, as there is no finger-post, but examination will show that a surveyor's peg, quite close to the ground, at intersection bears the words "Spit-road." Except the first few miles, the track is through bushland, with here and there a homestead, and for the most part free from bicycle and motor. At the brick kilns take the right-hand road. Here again the question of condition crops up; if "going strong," the walk might be extended to Mosman Bay wharf.
*No. 6.—Audley to Wattamolla (National Park).
Distance, 20 miles.
FARE.—Return, National Park—1st, 1s. 6d.; 2nd, 1s.
An excellent trip, the occasional roughness of the bridle track being more than compensated for by the feeling of being right away from the dusty macadamised roads, more or less crowded with traffic. Wattamolla is situated on the South Coast, between Port Hacking and Garie Beach, in the National Park reserve. It is 10 miles from the train terminus at National Park. The 6.25 a.m. from Sydney, on Sunday, is the best train. This will set you down at National park about 7.31, and Wattamolla should come into view between 11 and 12 o'clock. Finger-posts have been placed at important points, and the track is easily found. Two or three hints will be of use. Having got so far as the boat-shed, National park, take the Military-road up the hill, on the opposite side of the river, and reject all left-hand tracks until you reach a point about 2½ miles distant. Here take the left-hand track; the one to the right leads to Garie Beach. At the small bridge a few miles further on, the left-hand track leads to Jibbon Beach, and the right to Wattamolla. Presently, on the top of the ridge, the old Clifton road—a track now for the most part overgrown—is crossed and the ocean comes into view. A gradual descent of a couple of miles, bearing to the left, brings you to Wattamolla, an ideal spot for a few days' camp. It has a nice little beach, safe salt-water basin inside for bathing, two pretty waterfalls, and abundance of freshwater and fuel. Moreover, access is just sufficiently difficult to limit the number of visitors. If camping, some mosquito net should be included in the outfit, as the local breed is large grey and businesslike. If out for the day only, one may bathe, lunch, rest for about three hours, and on return catch the 7.30 p.m. train at National park. The "billy" might be boiled and some refreshment taken at "Flat Rock" crossing about half-way on return journey, as it will be late when Sydney is reached.
(Waterfall at Wottamolla)
No. 7.—Hurstville to Sutherland, viā Tom Ugly's Point, Cronulla Beach, and Port Hacking.
Distance, about 20 miles.
FARE.—National Park, return—1st, 1s. 6d.; 2nd, 1s.
The 8.11 a.m. from Redfern is a very suitable train on any week-day or 8.10 a.m. Sunday. Ask for National Park return, for economy, and alight at Hurstville, and proceed to Tom Ugly's Point punt. This road is well marked, finger-posts being stationed at all important points. Go to Cronulla first, then to Port Hacking—Burraneer Bay wharf—and, finally, to Sutherland. The roads throughout are well made, and maintained in good condition; too good in fact for walking, as the track is a favourite one with cyclists, and with everyone who owns or can hire a trap. For a considerable distance the fine country known as the Holt-Sutherland estate is passed through. Apart, entirely, from the attraction it offers to fishermen, there are few places more picturesque than Port Hacking and its attendant bays—Burraneer, Gunnamatta, and Yowie. The 5.20 p.m. on Saturday, or the 5.23 p.m. on Sunday from Sutherland, reaches Redfern at a convenient hour.
*No. 8.—Penshurst to Audley, viā Forest Road, George's River Punt, Menai, Woronora River, and Heathcote.
Distance, about 18 miles.
FARE.—National Park, return—1st, 1s. 6d.; 2nd, 1s.
Ask for National Park return, and alight at Penshurst. If it be Saturday or Sunday, the 8.32 and 8.10 a.m. are suitable trains, and give ample time to catch the 6.3 p.m. (Saturday), or the 5.14 p.m. (Sunday), at National Park. Take Forest-road to the punt, George's River, on which the passage is free. Some 2 miles from the river is the table-land on which is situated a little settlement called Menai—sometime Bangor—and the track now becomes heavy and sandy. Inquiry should be made at Menai for the turn off to Heathcote. This occurs at a point 2 miles further on, and bears to the left down the range to Woronora River. Very great care must be taken, as it is but a bridle track, and the turn off marked "To Heathcote" might easily be missed. In a short time a roughly formed track is picked up, which leads to the river crossing, a wild but picturesque spot, convenient to lunch at and there is an inviting hole in the Woronora for a dip. From the river to Heathcote is a well-formed but quite unused road of somewhat steep grade. The local story is that the work was carried out by the unemployed at some remote period, and that the vote becoming exhausted it was never finished. After passing "Homelea," take the track to the left, and in a few minutes Illawarra-Sydney road will be reached. Take train either at Loftus Junction or National Park. If at the latter, take the right-hand track between the 20th and 19th mile posts, and very soon the platform will be in sight. This trip might be reduced to about 15 miles, if done any week-day, by taking train to Heathcote and walking back to Penshurst, or vice versa.
No. 9.—Liverpool to Leichhardt.
Distance, about 17 miles.
FARE.—1st, 2s. 1d.; 2nd, 1s. 4d.
If Saturday, take the 8 a.m., and if Sunday, the 9.42 a.m. at Sydney station. These trains reach Liverpool at 8.51 and 10.40 respectively. This is a popular track with cyclists, but it can only be recommended to pedestrians on the score of accessibility; the road is good, but the country is to a large extent uninteresting. Shortly after leaving Liverpool, Lansdown Bridge is crossed. This structure is worthy of more than passing notice. It spans Prospect Creek, is convict work, and is constructed of massive blocks of Hawkesbury sandstone. The builders, like Carlyle senior, built for eternity. Nearing the scattered village of Bankstown, where poultry-raising appears to be staple industry, you get away from the depressing hungry-looking ti-tree. Box and ironbark are met with, and the country generally improves. From here on there is very little that calls for remark. The way lies through piles of bricks and mortar, which, though no doubt the outward and visible sign of wealth and civilisation, are, to the walker, destitute of the freedom and charm of the "scented woods."
No. 10.—Sydney to Parramatta, viā Drummoyne, Gladesville, Ryde Eastwood, Carlingford, &c.
Distance, about 20 miles.
FARE.—Parramatta to Sydney—1st, 1s. 4d.; 2nd, 11d.
A start should be made at 8 a.m. and the walk proper commences at Rozelle post office, this point being reached by Balmain tram. It is an excellent trip, especially from Gladesville bridge, the one defect being that one is seldom far from a main thoroughfare. Orchards are again in evidence. The character of the country about Ryde, and especially about Eastwood and Carlingford is very similar to Castle Hill and is wonderfully fertile. To anyone accustomed to the coast from South Head to Botany, and the hungry hills and flats near the metropolis on the Western, Southern, and Illawarra railway lines, it is a land of enchantment. There is no difficulty about finding the track. Go first to Ryde, then to Eastwood and Carlingford, and on to Parramatta. Finger-posts are plentiful. If it be Saturday, you may catch the 5 p.m. at Parramatta; if Sunday, the 4.55 or 5.30 p.m., reaching Sydney at a convenient hour.
*No. 11.—Sydney to La Perouse, viā Centennial Park, Randwick—or Waverley Park and Coogee—Maroubra, and Long Bay.
Distance, 14 or 15 miles.
FARE.—La Perouse to Sydney, 5d.
To Long Bay Cemetery there is a choice of two routes; either is interesting, and the distance by either route is about the same. If choosing that viā Centennial Park and Randwick, a start should be made from the Paddington entrance to the Park; if viā Waverley Park, Bondi Junction is a suitable starting point. The routes join at Long Bay Cemetery. On arrival at Maroubra, it is better to cross the beach, in preference to continuing by road, and opportunity might be taken to have a surf dip. Just here one of the sights of the trip should be pointed out. At the head of a small bay, between Maroubra Beach and Long Bay, a dyke of undecomposed basalt enters the sea, and the sandstones have been altered into the most perfect examples of quartzite that are known about Sydney. In this connexion the Rev. J. Milne Curran says:—"The aboriginals were aware of the nature of this stone, and used it to make skinning-knives. This quartzite is, in places, stained by iron oxides to a rich chocolate brown, and on first sight resembles the iron-stained quartz of some auriferous reefs. Even miners have been misled by this similarity, and worked here for some time sinking and driving." In the season wild flowers in great variety may be gathered, and many spots will recall boyhood expeditions in quest of "fivies," and other popular native delicacies.
A beneficent State has constructed a swimming basin on the south side of Long Bay, and here another dip may be had, and the billy boiled. From the ridge to the south a splendid view is obtainable of the Coast Hospital and Leper Lazaret, and a bridle track to the left of the Penitentiary leads to the tram line, which may be followed to La Perouse. Apart from its historic interest, which is considerable, it is doubted if there be any spot on the coast where a few hours can be more pleasantly spent than at La Perouse, with its beautiful beaches and grassy slopes. Return to the city is possible viā Botany and viā Kensington; the latter route being the more pleasant.
*No. 12.—Guildford to Baulkham Hills, viā Prospect Reservoir, Prospect, and Seven Hills.
Distance, 15 or 16 miles.
FARE.—Guildford, return—1st, 2s. 4d.; 2nd, 1s. 6d. The return half may be used from Parramatta.
Baulkham Hills to Parramatta, tram fare, 3d.
On Sundays trams leave Baulkham Hills at 10 minutes to the hour, and on week-days at 14 minutes to the hour.
Before starting on this trip a permit should be got from the Secretary to the Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage, to follow the course of the canal from near Guildford to prospect dam. This makes the walk much more enjoyable; and permission to do this is rarely, if ever, refused to a responsible person. Of course the road may be followed, but to do this is less agreeable and less interesting. If a week-day, take the 8.23 a.m. at Sydney; if a Sunday, the 9.42 a.m. As to the Sydney water service, every body does not know, perhaps, that our daily consumption of water is about 30,000,000 gallons; that the service cost originally about £4,000,000; that Prospect dam was constructed in the middle eighties, and its height is 85 feet; that its superficial area is 1,266 acres, and its capacity 11,029,180,000 gallons; that its greatest depth is 77 feet, and its height above sea-level 100 feet. To the right on nearing the dam is a remarkable mass of rock, which is being quarried. The country rock is Hawkesbury sandstone and shales. Commenting on this Mr. C.S. Wilkinson, a late Government Geologist, says:—"Penetrating these formations are dykes and masses of igneous rock, varying from a dense basalt to a coarse-grained hornblendic greenstone. At Prospect these rocks form a continuous and irregularly shaped hill, which attains an elevation of 430 feet above sea-level. From its summit near Greystanes a very commanding view is obtained of the surrounding country, embracing the city of Sydney, Parramatta, Campbelltown, and the Blue Mountains." Pressing onward, past the Lawson Estate homestead, you reach the Great Western road; turn to the left towards Penrith from a short distance, taking the road to the right near the old milestone—"Sydney XX—Penrith XIII." This is an excellent place to lunch.
The quaint old church on the hill, which is passed presently, is worthy a few minutes' inspection. It is St. Bartholomew's Church of England, Prospect, is convict built, and, as the stone in the tower-wall testifies, was erected in 1842. In the pious but insanitary fashion of a century ago, and much later, the "narrow cells" of the "forefathers of the hamlet," and more or less pretentious vaults of the Lawsons, Westons, Cleeves, and other families, are clustered round the church. They are quite unlike, and yet St. Bartholomew's suggests St. James', Sydney. The old building has weathered well, but several large rents show that its foundations might have been more truly set. Pursuing the journey, cross the Blacktown-road and proceed right ahead by a bush track, to the Seven Hills road, which will take you through the locality of that name. Passing through a wonderfully fertile country abounding in orange plantations you reach Baulkham Hills in time for the 4.50 pm. Tram. This is worth recollecting. At a point 2 miles from Baulkham Hills is a finger-post with the legend "To Windsor-road, 2 miles." Do not take this road—it goes to Baulkham Hills, but adds 2 miles to your journey. Go straight ahead.
(View of Baulkham Hills)
No. 13.—Pymble to Parramatta, viā Marsfield, North Ryde, Ryde, Dundas, Ermington, &c.
Distance, 14 or 15 miles.
FARES.—Milson's Point to Pymble—1st, 11d.; 2nd,
Parramtta to Sydney—1st, 1s. 4d.; 2nd, 11d.
On week-days the 8.37 a.m. boat joins the 8.50 a.m. train at Milson's Point; on Sundays the 8.30 a.m. boat joins the 8.45 train. These are suitable trains. On arrival at Pymble, take Lane Cove road, towards Gordon, and turn to the right just before reaching the gasworks, half-a-mile from Pymble railway station. For the first 2½ to 3 miles the road is on the top of the ridge, which commands some fine views. After crossing Lane Cove River by the high-level bridge, keep straight ahead, following the telegraph line. Gladesville-road branches away to the left a short distance from the bridge. From this on there will be no difficulty about the road, which, for the most part, passes along the boundary dividing Marsfield from North Ryde. At Ryde railway station take Kissing Point road. This proceeds through Ermington and Rydalmere, and Dundas, to Parramatta. From North Ryde to destination the route is through orange orchards, and if the trip be taken in July, August, or September, it will be found very enjoyable. There are no hills to climb worth mentioning, as it is a gradual descent from 449 feet, at Pymble, to 50 feet above sea-level at Parramatta, and may, therefore, be estimated an easy day's walk. There are several convenient trains by which to return to Sydney. This journey should not be essayed after a long spell of dry weather, as the roads from Ryde to Parramatta become too dusty to render walking agreeable.
No. 14.—Kuring-gai Chase.
Distance, about 15 miles.
FARE.—Milson's Point-Hornsby, return—1st, 1s. 3d.; 2nd, 10d.
This is a nice easy one-day trip, and is one of the very few round trips at present practicable at Kuring-gai Chase, a region famous for its well-preserved specimens of aborigines' art, its rugged, picturesque scenery, house-boat expeditions, and fishing grounds. Take the 8.30 a.m. boat to Milson's Point: this connects with the8.45 Hornsby train. Arrived at Hornsby, follow Peat's Ferry road for a couple of miles, being careful to turn to the right at the point where Galston-road branches away to the left. Shortly after passing the 16-mile post cross the railway line at the gates. So far as the money at their disposal has allowed, the trustees have done good work. Tanks of drinking water and fireplaces have been provided en route, and are of special service at Cockle Creek bridge, about half way—a suitable spot for refreshments.
(A Peep on Cowan Creek)
For the first few miles at Hornsby end, and again after climbing the zigzag going towards Turramurra, the country is sterile and uninteresting—characteristic New South Wales coastal hills. The middle part of the journey, however, has extensive hill and water views, and is very pretty, especially at the crossing at the junction of Cockle Creek with Cowan. For the return journey the train may be taken at Turramurra or Pymble.
15.—National Park: Otford to Audley, viā Old Clifton
[Return to Waterfall to Audley trip.]
Distance 17 or 18 miles.
FARE.—Otford, week-end return—1st, 4s. 4d.; 2nd, 2s. 6d.
Wednesdays and Saturdays are the most suitable days for this trip.
The 8.30 a.m. daily train from Sydney reaches Otford at about 10 o'clock, and there is a choice of 6.40 p.m. Wednesday, and 6 and 7.32 p.m. Saturday trains for return from National Park.
At Otford pick up a bridle path near the mouth of the railway tunnel; this runs up and along the ridges to the old Clifton-road—now merely a disused track. If any difficulty be experienced at Otford in finding the route, inquiry should be made at the sawmill. As a number of tracks, leading to Garie Beach and other places, cross and branch from Old Clifton road, it is worth while to recollect that the course is right along the top of the ridge. Reject all tracks which descend the cliffs, unless wishing to visit Garie or Wattamolla. Both are lovely spots, especially Wattamolla; but if either be included it will add some 4 miles to the journey—making the total for the day 21 or 22 miles. So it is merely a question of inclination and staying power. If you determine not to visit either place, follow the Old Clifton road to Wattamolla finger-post, and then take the track bearing away to the left. This will bring you across Flat Rock Creek, and eventually to the military road leading down the hill to the dam and boat-house. It is a very attractive day's journey for several miles by bridle path, with the ocean on the right and beautiful fragrant woodland on the left. At a small cleared patch near an old trig. Cairn, a few miles from Otford, go over to the edge of the cliff—50 to 60 yards—and there opens a magnificent view of the chain of ocean beaches, and the bold coastal promontories. If it be desired to do this trip on Sunday, you must go to Otford on Saturday afternoon; there are two trains. Accommodation is, however, difficult to obtain at Otford. It might be mentioned that there is an alternative route—Otford to Audley—distance about the same. Pick this road up opposite Otford railway station, and it leads through the big timber country to the Lady Carrington Drive.
(A Rest While the Billy Boils)
Waterfall to Audley, viā Helensburgh, Kelly's Waterfall, Bald Hill and Otford.
Distance about 30 miles.
FARE.—Waterfall, return—1st, 3s. 6d.; 2nd, 2s.
Take the afternoon train at Sydney station, and you will reach Waterfall about 4 o'clock. A 6-mile walk will bring you to Helensburgh for tea. There are two hotels, so you need have no anxiety about accommodation. Make an early start on Sunday morning, going straight ahead, as if making for Stanwell Park. About a mile out of Helensburgh is a very fine sight known as Kelly's Waterfall. It is only some 300 yards from the road; a fence running at right angles to the road, just past a slaughter-yard, will take you right to the Falls; but inquire at Helensburgh. The view is well worth the trouble. Within a few yards of each other two creeks precipitate themselves over a ledge into a ravine several hundred feet deep. The first fall is about 100 feet. Having regained the road, continue to Bald Hill, from the top of which one of the finest panoramas of landscape and seascape opens out. The finger-post will indicate the way to Otford. For particulars of route from Otford to Audley see One-day Trip, No.15, page 43.
(Coast Scene, Near Stanwell Park)
Hawkesbury to Windsor, viā Wiseman's Ferry.
Distance to be walked, 26 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 11s. Thus: 2nd class return from Hawkesbury (available for return from Windsor), 4s.: steamer, 1s. 6d.; expenses en route, 5s. 6d. = 11s. 1st, 6s.; expenses en route, 5s. 6d.; steamer, 1s. 6d. = 13s.
This is a fine week-end trip, and may be recommended, at least on the score of variety. A steamer leaves Hawkesbury on Wednesdays and Saturdays on the arrival of the morning train from Sydney, and reaches Wiseman's Ferry about 1 o'clock. This means a three to four hours' trip up the beautiful and picturesque Hawkesbury, amid rural scenes of exquisite beauty. An adequate appreciation of the Hawkesbury is, perhaps, only arrived at after an opportunity of comparing and contrasting its charms with those of a stream of its class elsewhere. A few months ago, in company with a friend, I tramped over a good deal of the tourist part of Tasmania. Among other excursions from Hobart we made the lovely New Norfolk trip, and as we sat on the deck of the more or less fast river boat, very naturally the relative merits of the Hawkesbury and the Derwent were discussed. My deliberate opinion, given for what it is worth, is that for variety, picturesqueness, and subtle charm the extravagantly-praised Derwent is, with one exception, hopelessly inferior to the Hawkesbury. The exception is the very beautiful, but extremely limited, stretch of river—perhaps three quarters of a mile—at New Norfolk. But this beauty is of a kind quite different from the rugged environment of the Hawkesbury—approximating our Paterson, with its low fertile banks—and its character, therefore, hardly permits a fair comparison. At Wiseman's Ferry accommodation is obtainable at the hotel—an old-fashioned stone building which was once the home of Solomon Wiseman, from whom the place takes its name, and is now the Hawkesbury Hotel or boarding-house. There is ample time during the afternoon to cross the ferry and enjoy the lovely view of the Macdonald River Valley, and to visit the boxes on top of mountain, from which altitude—about 800 feet—a view of unusual grandeur spreads out.
An early start is recommended—breakfast and lunch on the track. Distance to Windsor about 26 miles. There is a choice of three roads: the river road passing Letts Vale, Lower Portland, Sackville Reach, and Wilberforce is recommended. However, if, for the sake of the view, you take the hill road, it is advisable to turn in to Sackville Reach just past the 16-mile post. Tea at Windsor at the river, and, if Sunday, the train leaves for Sydney at 7.37 p.m.: if a week-day except Saturday, it leaves at 4.26 p.m. On Saturday there is an additional at 8 p.m., which reaches Sydney at 9.38 p.m.
(Hawkesbury River from Great Northern Railway Line)
No. 1.—Moss Vale to Nowra, viā Fitzroy Falls and Kangaroo Valley.
Distance, about 36 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 17s. 8d. Thus: 1st class (Moss Vale-Nowra return), 15s 4d.; accommodation, 10s,=25s. 4d. 2nd class (Moss Vale-Nowra, return), 7s. 8d.; accommodation, 10s.=17s. 8d.
There being no train to Sydney from Nowra on Sunday night, Saturday is a convenient day to commence this journey. Take the 2.28 p.m. or the 6.10 p.m. to Moss Vale; the former preferred, which reaches Moss Vale in time to arrange accommodation for the night. Care should be taken to ask for a "Moss Vale-Nowra" tourist's ticket.
Start not later than 6 a.m., if it is desired to experience the joyous sensation of a brisk walk through the fresh morning air of the tableland; breakfast and lunch on the track. Fitzroy Falls, situated quite close to the road, are passed 11 ½ miles from Moss Vale, and Kangaroo Valley must be reached for tea. Distance for the day, 22 miles. The road to the top of Barrengarry Mountain is level, and from there mostly down hill. There are two accommodation houses three quarters of a mile on the Moss Vale side of Fitzroy Falls, where lunch could be had if desired; but it is reached rather early in the day, if it is desired to make Kangaroo Valley for tea; and, as will be seen, fits in much better when the trip occupies three days.
Early start as before, breakfast on the track, and Nowra, 13 miles, can be reached, comfortably, by midday. You may then return to Sydney by the 1.40 p.m. or 4.15 p.m. train; but the earlier one is much to be preferred. Cambewarra Mountain is a stiff climb, but from its summit to Nowra is easy going. Altogether it is a light trip, and splendid views are got from Barrengarry and Cambewarra Mountains. In the early spring the walk down Cambewarra, mid avenues of tree-fern and wild flower, is one of unique loveliness. Provision will require to be made for three meals on the track. For hints as to what to take, see Equipment, Part I, page 9.
(Road Through Fern and Brake on Cambewarra Mountain)
*No. 1.—Wentworth Falls to Picton (or Camden), viā Cox's River and Burragorang Valley.
Distance, about 60 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 20s. Thus: 1st class return, Wentworth Falls, 10s 2d.; accommodation en route, 14s. 11d.= 25s. 1d. 2nd class return, Wentworth Falls, 5s. 1d.; accommodation en route, 14s. 11d.= 20s.
The 4.55 p.m. on Friday reaches Wentworth Falls at 7.8 p.m. Wilson's Hotel is the most convenient.
Wentworth Falls to Cox's River, 23 miles. A day-break start is advised—breakfast and lunch on track. Leaving the hotel follow the Great Western road for about a mile as if going to Sydney. A finger-post here indicates the way across King's tableland and past the Queen Victoria Consumptive Homes. To a stranger the track is bad for water, and a supply should be got at Wentworth Falls. McMahon's, Cox's River, has to be reached for tea. A post-card should be addressed to Mr. Thomas McMahon, Cox's River, viā Burragorang, a few days in advance, mentioning the number he may expect. As the McMahon homestead is round a bend a short distance up stream, it is necessary to cross the Cox twice, or to follow the bend round to get to it; but before doing either, make inquiry at the farm-house on the right just before reaching the river.
McMahon's to Pippin's accommodation house, Burragorang, distance 15 miles. An easy day, and an early start is not necessary. The highway crosses and recrosses Cox's River several times in a few miles. This gets monotonous and can be avoided by taking the bridle track, on west side, used in times of flood. With ordinary care no difficulty will arise, and the main road is rejoined just below the junction of Cox and Wollondilly. A dip in the Wollondilly at Fitzpatrick's Crossing will be appreciated while the billy is being boiled for lunch. Pippin's accommodation house should be reached by 5 p.m. Shortly after crossing Wollondilly bridge, and about 2 miles from Pippin's is a weathered sandstone boulder containing a curious specimen of aboriginal art, known locally as the "red hands." Do not miss it. Mr. McMahon will direct more fully. If time be limited, accommodation can be obtained at Dunn's first night, instead of at McMahon's and the Oaks reached on the evening of the second day.
(Weeping Rock, Wentworth Falls)
Burragorang to Picton: distance, 22 or 23 miles. Make an early start, though the new road up the mountain is an easy grade. If the destination be Camden, keep right on to The Oaks; if Picton, turn to the right opposite the public school by the road side. If Monday be a holiday, there is usually a late train to Sydney. If otherwise, you must stay at Picton until next morning, in which case expenses will be increased to that extent. This is an ideal walk—out of the beaten tourist routes. For a considerable part it is bush-track, and quite unsuitable for vehicular traffic. Until the confluence of Cox, Wollondilly, and Warragamba is passed the only travellers likely to be encountered are horsemen. Rugged mountain scenery is varied by fertile agricultural lands limited in area, and the view from Wentworth Falls end overlooking Cox's River and Burragorang Valley is probably unsurpassed on the whole mountain range. The view from the Jumpback is very fine, and is familiar to many who make the trip from The Oaks, but it is not so stupendous as the view from the other end. (See "Notes from Diary," Part III.)
*No. 2.—Bell to Richmond, viā Mount Wilson, Mount Irvine, and Kurrajong Heights.
Distance, 45 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 17s. Thus: 2nd class return to Bell, 6s. 10d.; accommodation en route, 10s. 2d.=17s. 1st class, 13s 8d.; accommodation en route, 10s 2d.= 23s. 10d. The return from Bell is available for return from Richmond.
Saturday is the best day to commence this jaunt taking the 7.52 a.m. at Sydney, which reaches Bell at about 11.56 a.m. As there is neither hotel nor boarding-house at Mount Wilson, it is necessary to carry a sleeping bag for the first night, after which it could be sent back to Bell by mail coach, if so desired. Water is obtainable at the deserted school premises, and camp might be pitched in the vicinity. Mount Wilson is a very beautiful and fertile plateau of limited extent, and like its neighbours—Mounts Hay and Tomah—is of volcanic origin. The scientific opinion is that here during the earlier Tertiary, three or four points of volcanic eruption were in activity. "A great volcano poured out its sheets of lava, remnants of which remain on Mounts Hay, King George, Tomah, and Wilson." Mount Wilson is taken up almost entirely with more or less pretentious summer residences, which are given over to the charge of caretakers for two-thirds of the year.
Provision is necessary for three or four meals en route. As there is no accommodation of any kind at Bell, boil the billy immediately on arrival, and have lunch. Between Bell and Mount Wilson the road has been formed, and, in dry weather, is fairly good with sandy patches. In common with most mountain tracks, it keeps pretty near the arid top of the spur; to the right fine glimpses into the Govett's Leap valley are obtainable. But at the foot of Mount Wilson a fertile region is reached. As you ascend the pretty zigzag track rich loam, good timber, and tree-fern are already in evidence, and, consequent upon a State concession to the original landowners, the road from the 9-mile post becomes a beautiful avenue of limes and chestnuts. English trees and shrubs have been freely planted, and do well here. At "Yarrawa" is a fine hawthorn hedge, and a very healthy specimen of holly crimson with berries looked well at the time of my first visit. Apples do well, but the altitude is too great for most other fruits. As might be expected in this favoured spot, all homesteads have extensive gardens, and in one or two instances the improvements are of an expensive character. At "Yarrawa," is a Turkish bath, alleged to have cost the late Mr. Wynne £2,000 to construct; commodious stables are furnished with a number of loose-boxes, and water is laid on throughout the establishment.
Away early, breakfast and lunch on track. Mount Irvine, 7 or 8 miles distant, is several hundred feet lower than Mount Wilson, the character of the country is the same, but is occupied mostly by selectors. The track for the most part may be described as a beautiful avenue in which tree-ferns, healthy and luxuriant, outnumber everything else—even white woods and gums. Care must be taken, as the turn-off for Tomah-road is very indistinct—the merest bridle track. It leaves the cleared road on the right-hand side at a point about 7 miles from Mount Wilson, and about 100 yards past the sawmill. Should the mill be deserted and you overrun the turn-off, the folks at the farmhouse, half a mile further on, will put you right. But assuming that you pick it up: at the outset the track is not very distinct, and it is important to remember that its trend is to the left: there is a more beaten track bearing away to the right; this is merely a bullock trail, and must be rejected. The bridle-track takes you across the gorge, through which runs a clear cold stream, easily forded. At the top of the mountain, Tomah side of the gorge, you pick up a formed, but little used, road, which connects with Mount Tomah-Richmond road at the 20 mile post. It is 10 miles from this point to Mrs. Peck's accommodation house, Kurrajong Heights. Arrived at the foot of Kurrajong Mountain, turn to the right, taking the old road, and at the top of the mountain turn again to the right along the ridge. This will bring you to the back of Mrs. Peck's, and will save the descent and subsequent long, tiresome climb up to the front of the house. I have also stayed at Mrs. Richards' "Belmore House," which occupies a very convenient position on the main road opposite the Post Office. Total distance for the day, about 25 miles. Should there be ladies in the party, or from any other cause the distance be considered too great, accommodation is available at Mr. Graham's near the 22-mile post. In which case, on reaching Tomah-Richmond road turn to your right and go towards Mount Tomah for 2 miles, or accommodation may be obtained at Norwood, about 7 miles from Kurrajong Heights.
If at Peck's, the interval before breakfast can be enjoyably filled in with a pair of field glasses, if you carry them—there is an ancient telescope at the house—or sampling oranges if in season. Magnificent views may be obtained; at night the reflection of the lights of Sydney is plainly visible, and if the morning be clear, there is a glorious panorama. Castlereagh and Penrith to the right, Richmond and Hawkesbury Agricultural College at foot, and the dim suggestion of the mother city of Australia away on the skyline.
Twelve miles only remain to be accomplished, and you can easily cast the distance behind you, and lunch in Richmond, or at the hotel—the "Traveller's Rest"—just before crossing the river. Better still; you may boil billy on the river bank and lunch in the open as hitherto. The Grose Valley road is much the prettier. From it you obtain a peep into the stupendous gap in the mountain range through which the waters of the Grose rush to join the Hawkesbury. As far as the eye can reach orange-culture is the staple industry. If the trip be made in July or August you will pass through square miles of well-kept orchards yellow with the season's fruit. The magnificent Monier arch bridge lately thrown across the Hawkesbury is worthy more than passing notice. Train leaves Richmond at 4.15 p.m. If not limited to three days, a day can be spent very pleasantly on the Grose River. A boat is obtainable at Mr. Burcher's farm at the junction, and you can pull right up to the gap.
No. 3.—Moss Vale to Kiama, viā Fitzroy Falls, Kangaroo Valley, Berry and Gerringong.
Distance, about 52 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 22s. 8d. Thus: Moss Vale-Nowra tourists' return, 2nd class, 7s. 8d.; accommodation en route, 15s.=22s. 8d. 1st class, 15s. 4d.; accommodation en route, 15s.=30s. 4d.
The 5.15 p.m. from Sydney on Friday is a suitable train. Either boarding-house or hotel accommodation is easily obtainable near to the railway station at Moss Vale. Material sufficient for three or four meals is required. If a very early start be made, and it is preferred, breakfast may be had at one of the accommodation houses at Yarrunga, three-quarters of a mile from Fitzroy Falls, at 8.30 or 9 o'clock. But having the means at your disposal, you can light a fire at any suitable place, and draw upon your own stock. Even if you have visited Fitzroy previously, the day will be yet young when you arrive, and an hour or so can be spared to renew acquaintance with one of the finest waterfalls in the State. Should the weather be hot, a very refreshing dip may be indulged in about a quarter of a mile up-stream. Trout and other fish may be caught here, but there will not be time for fishing. Good water may be procured about luncheon time on the descent of Barrengarry Mountain; and, without making the pace, the pretty suspension bridge, some three-quarters of a mile from Kangaroo Valley, should be crossed by 4.30 p.m. By turning to the left, up-stream, two or three hundred yards, a dip and rest may be had. You have choice of two hotels in the village, and the charges are reasonable. Distance for the day, 22 miles.
(Suspension Bridge, Kangaroo Valley)
Away at daybreak—breakfast and lunch en route. The climb up the mountain is very stiff, but it is a shade easier than Cambewarra. All the way up the views are splendid, and some very pretty bits of road are met with. If the day be clear the view from the top of the mountain, of the Shoalhaven country, is magnificent. You should pass through Berry before noon, and reach Gerringong about 4 p.m., having lunched by the way. The distance dividing Berry and Gerringong is 9 miles, and if the trip is made in a good season, you will be surprised to recognise how much of the picturesque is missed by tourists whose acquaintance with this portion of the South Coast is limited to the view from the window of the railway carriage. At Gerringong are two hotels—one near the railway station, and the other in the township. Distance for the day, about 23 miles.
This is an easy day—only 7 miles "to go," You may have a good rest, and breakfast at the hotel. Only 7 miles! But not one is dull or uninteresting, the road winding round the sides of the hills with the ocean always in view. Visit the "Blow Hole," and other places of interest, lunch, and catch the 2.29 train, reaching Sydney about 6.5 p.m.
No. 4.—Moss Vale to Kiama, viā Fitzroy Falls, Belmore Falls, Robertson, Macquarie Pass, Albion Park, and Jamberoo.
Distance, about 56 miles.
Estimated cost as low as £1. Thus: 2nd class tourists' return (Moss Vale-Nowra), 7s. 8d.; accommodation en route, 12s 4d.= £1. 1st Class, 15s 4 Estimated cost as low as £1. Thus: 2nd class tourists' return (Moss Vale-Nowra), 7s. 8d.; accommodation en route, 12s 4d.= £1. 1st Class, 15s 4d.; accommodation en route, 12s. 4d.= £1.7s.8d.
This is claimed by a companion of the road to be the "picture" trip of the tableland and South Coast, embracing as it does Fitzroy and Belmore Falls, the best of their kind in the State; Macquarie Pass, which is a formidable rival of the famous Bulli Pass; and pretty arcadian Jamberoo. Provision for three or four meals should be made. If you do not wish to spend any time at Fitzroy leave Sydney for Moss Vale by the 8 o'clock on Saturday morning. On arrival at Moss Vale lunch on the track, and make Yarrunga for tea. A post card, sent a couple of days ahead, mentioning probable hour of arrival, and strength of the party, will be appreciated. If, however, you with to rest and thoroughly see Fitzroy, you should leave Sydney by the 5.15 p.m. Friday, stay the night at Moss Vale, and get to Yarrunga for breakfast or lunch Saturday, according to inclination. If not in good walking condition, this would be much the better plan.
(Cathedral Rocks, Kiama)
Start early if you prefer it, but as you have only 15 miles in front of you there is really no need to do so. Breakfast at Yarrunga, lunch at Belmore Falls; tea and sleep at Robertson. A very pretty walk for the most part. Good easy road, except the long rise near Robertson. Beautiful agricultural land occurs between Fitzroy and Belmore Falls: the latter falls are very fine, especially on the descent to the cataracts. The "Look-out" commands a glorious view over Kangaroo Valley, and Cambewarra. As you approach Robertson some idea is gained of the pest blackberry vines may become if permitted to run wild. Acres of rich land are overrun, and the local story is that they can neither be burnt, ploughed, nor dug out. Robertson is only a small place, but has two hotels. An effort should be made to arrive early enough to visit the unique and pretty Robertson Park, situated within ten minutes' walk of the centre of the village.
Away at daybreak, as there is a long walk—30 miles—in front of you. Breakfast and lunch on the track; or, if preferred, lunch can be had at one of the hotels at Albion Park, which township you reach about midday. It is 6 or 7 miles to Jamberoo, and 5 or 6 miles thence to Kiama, and it is possible to reach Kiama for tea; but if the walk is taken leisurely, a stay may be made at Jamberoo for tea, and Kiama reached afterwards. Should any member of the party become tender-footed, a contingency which sometimes happens, the walk might terminate at Albion Park. On the other hand, if not absolutely limited to three days, you could stay the night at Jamberoo, make Kiama for lunch or breakfast next day, and take the 2.20 p.m. to Sydney.
On Mondays there is a train at 5.30 a.m., timed to reach Sydney at 8.55 a.m. Other days, Sundays excepted, the 7.55 o'clock is the earliest; this is timed to reach Sydney at 11.20 a.m.
No. 5.—Moss Vale to Berry, viā Fitzroy and Belmore Falls, Kangaroo Valley and Cambewarra, and Kangaroo Mountain.
Distance, about 56 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 17s. Thus: 2nd class tourists' return, Moss Vale-Nowra, 7s. 8d.; accommodation en route, 9s. 4d.=17s. 1st class, 15s 4d.; accommodation en route, 9s. 4d.=24s.8d.
This is an excellent trip, taking in the two Falls, the great view of the Shoalhaven Valley from Kangaroo Mountain, and the Look-out at Belmore. It has the defect, however, of being a track which doubles on itself for several miles, from Belmore Falls en route to Kangaroo Valley. Supplies for four meals are required. The 8 o'clock Saturday morning to Moss Vale is a suitable train. Lunch on the track, and tea and sleep at Yarrunga—distance, a shade over 10 miles.
(Head of Fitzroy Falls)
Away at daybreak—27 miles to accomplish before tea. Breakfast at the creek which crosses the road about 3 miles from Belmore Falls. You will be the best judge of your walking condition, and consequently of the time you can afford to spend at the falls. But, if you do not care to engage in the additional labour of descending to the valley and climbing back, do not miss the Look-out, from which point a splendid view of Kangaroo Valley is obtained. A splash in one of the several fine holes in the creek before resuming your journey will refresh you, and add some spring to your step. Lunch when convenient, and reach Kangaroo Valley for tea. A short distance before rejoining the Moss Vale-Nowra road you pass the turn-off to the Lady Manning Look-out. You can afford to let this go, as it is very little different from the view at Belmore Falls Look-out, and will add at least 3 miles to the already solid day's journey. As mentioned elsewhere, there are two hotels at Kangaroo Valley—they stand opposite one another, and either will supply accommodation at a reasonable charge.
Start as soon as it is light—18 miles to cast behind before lunch. Take the road up Cambewarra Mountain, as if you were going to Nowra. This is important—do not turn off to Berry. When you reach the top of the mountain turn to the left, leaving Nowra-road. This will bring you out presently on the top of the ridge, from whence, if the day be clear, there is a good view of the Shoalhaven, Jervis Bay, and the coast-line—the magnitude and magnificence of which will speedily erase any recollection of inconvenience experienced in toiling up Cambewarra. Many consider this the view par excellence of the South Coast. Four or five miles will bring you out on to the Kangaroo Valley-Berry-road. You can reach Berry, comfortably, for lunch, and catch the 1.58 p.m. for Sydney; failing which you must wait for the 4.32 p.m.—the famous, or is it infamous, milk train. The former is timed to reach Sydney at 6.5 p.m., the latter arrives as soon after 11 p.m. as it may.
*No. 6.—Bell to Richmond, viā Bell's Line, Mount Tomah, and Kurrajong Heights.
Distance, about 42 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 15s. Thus: 2nd class return to Bell, 6s. 10d. (available for return from Richmond); accommodation en route, 8s. 2d.=15s. 1st class, 13s. 8d.; accommodation en route, 8s. 2d.=21s. 10d.)
Provision is required for four or five meals. There is need for a sleeping-bag and mosquito-net, as you must camp out the first night; practically no accommodation being available at Bell. Indeed, as you have the "plant" with you, if the weather be propitious, you might prefer to camp out the second night also; in which case the foot of Kurrajong Mountain is suggested as a suitable spot. Between Bell and Kurrajong Heights accommodation is available at Mr Graham's, near the 22-mile post, on the Tomah-road. This would cut the trip into shorter lengths, but would add a day to the time required.
The 7.52 a.m. on Saturday reaches Bell about midday, and having had an unusually early breakfast, you will be ready for lunch immediately on arrival. Water may be got at the station, and the billy boiled right away. Follow the Mount Wilson road for some distance, taking the right-hand track along the ridge at a point some 5 miles from Bell—there is an ancient finger-board, but the legend "To Richmond" is not very distinct. On this historic "Bell's Line," in days that are gone, stock crossed the Blue Mountains. If you have had any experience of travelling stock, if you have seen thirsty cattle string out as they approached water, or heard a frenzied mob stampede in the middle of the dark night—this narrow, arid, but occasionally picturesque track will not be destitute of interest. During the afternoon you should cut out 10 or 12 miles. It will be better not to walk too late, as you have the camp to fix up, and the enjoyment of the next day's walk depends a great deal on whether you secure a comfortable sleep. There is a hill with big sandstone boulders which, if there is time to reach it, should make an excellent dry camping place.
Approaching Mount Tomah a formed road is met with; the country becomes much more picturesque, and with a decent pair of Zeiss field-glasses you will get a view of great beauty and extent from the top of the mountain.
Like Mounts Wilson and Hay, Tomah is basaltic: this is readily recognised from the greatly improved character of the country; and the track from this point to the foot of Kurrajong Mountain is a gentle grade, and a cyclist could free-wheel the entire distance. If you decide not to camp out again, take the old road—turn to the right—up the mountain, and when the summit is reached turn again to the right, and follow the crest of the mountain round to the back of Mrs. Peck's accommodation house. This is important to recollect, and will save much time, temper, and a wearisome and unnecessary climb. Accommodation may be obtained also at Mrs. Richards', Belmore House, opposite the post office.
Only 12 miles to complete the tour and, therefore, no need to start until after breakfast. (For this day's programme refer to third day of the "Bell to Richmond, viā Mount Wilson," Trip No. 2.)
*No. 7.—Bowral to Kiama, viā Robertson, Upper Kangaroo Valley, Kangaroo Valley, Broger's Creek, Wattamolla, Woodhill, and Saddleback Mountain.
Distance, 55 to 56 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 23s. Thus: Return fare to Bowral, available for return from Kiama (week-end excursion), 1st, 13s. 6d.; 2nd, 6s. 9d.; accommodation en route, 16s 3d.=29s. 9d. and 23s. respectively.
The 6.10 p.m. on Saturday will serve, but the 2.28 p.m. is much to be preferred. There are several hotels at Bowral.
Bowral to Robertson 15 miles only. An early start is desirable, though by no means necessary. Breakfast and lunch on the track. The country is undulating and fertile, and there is not an uninteresting mile. The view from the heights, near West Kangaloon, is very fine. Matters may be taken very leisurely, and a rest of a couple of hours at midday may be indulged in.
Breakfast and lunch on the track. Start out from the post office corner as if going to Belmore Falls, and turn to the left at finger-post some 3 miles out of Robertson. There is an alternative route: proceed as though going to Macquarie Pass, and turn to the right at the finger-post marked "Fountaindale." This will bring you round to the other road in time, but this road is not recommended except as a variation if you have "done" the other track. Shortly after you begin the descent of the mountain you will be confronted by a dividing of ways, and no finger-post to guide you. Take the right-hand track, although the smaller. The other will bring you out all right, but the right-hand one is recommended. It is very narrow—a bridle track in fact—and the grade is such that you go down a long way in a short time.
(A Refreshing Interlude—Crossing Broger's Creek)
Presently you come in sight of a farm-house, and a track bearing away to the left towards the house; it is immaterial which track is taken, as they connect about a mile further on. You are now in sight of the Kangaroo river, the course of which is followed for several miles. This is a walk fit for the gods. Mountains range on both sides, you proceed by a pretty and unfrequented track, where the aggressive chuf-chuf will not violate the graces for at least 100 years; and with the music of the river in your ears Kangaroo Valley should be reached before nightfall. If you can arrange for accommodation at Wattamolla it is competent to cut out the journey to the township of Kangaroo Valley. If you do this, cross the river just after passing Mr. Tate's homestead, and turn to the right at the public school, which track will bring you to Broger's Creek. Follow this till within ¼ mile of the first homestead, then cross Broger's Creek to the Woodhill-Berry road. This is the highway to Wattamolla. As there is neither hotel nor boarding-house at Wattamolla, arrangement as to accommodation must be made beforehand. By the intervention of a friend, the writer and Mr. Hamlet were handsomely entertained at the comfortable home of Mr. W. Brandon, but such accommodation, though on this occasion heartily extended, might not always be available—hence the need for careful inquiry in advance.
Whether you stop at Kangaroo Valley or Wattamolla, an early start is desirable, and in the former case it is absolutely necessary, as there is a good stiff day's walk in front of you. If you start from Kangaroo Valley take the Berry-road, turning to the left after passing the cemetery, and subsequently, turn again to the left, taking the Woodhill-Berry road; finger-posts will direct you. Most of the way up the mountain you have Broger's Creek in view, and the scene is one of great beauty. Turn short round to the left at the Council Chambers, at Woodhill, and rejecting all further left-hand turnings, go straight up the mountain. For some distance up the mountain the road is plain and cleared; later on it becomes less plainly marked, and on the mountain top is merely a cattle trail. Nevertheless with care you should experience no difficulty. Bear in mind that though your course may sometimes, in skirting a gully, bear away to the left, the general trend is to the right. Particularly reject the left-hand track at the top of the mountain, as it will take you to Robertson. The mountain top is a sandy plateau, a bit marshy in parts after rain, but the views, especially as you pass along the range above the Fox-ground, are magnificent. Finally you reach a gate which gives access to a most beautiful pathway leading to the centre of Saddleback. This is, perhaps, the principal of the Kiama picnic grounds. If the day be clear a view is obtainable from this spot, which i probably the finest of all the South Coast views. For extent, the view from the pinnacle, Mount Wellington, Hobart, is the only one in the writer's experience which approaches it. Consider for a moment. The ridge you are standing on is quite narrow; looking south over a ravishing vista of shade and colour the eye easily reaches Jervis Bay; to the north you look clear away to Botany Heads, and, with the assistance of glasses, Sydney can be made out. You may then stroll leisurely down the remaining 4 or 5 miles into Kiama in time for tea, prior to entraining for Sydney.
In respect of the view from Saddleback, I cull the following from notes furnished by Dr. Cullen, Chief Justice, to the editor of the Handbook published by the Australasian Association, Sydney, 1898:—"Those who care for a bit of mountain climbing on horseback can get one of the finest views in New South Wales by taking the road to the left just before you reach Pike's Hill, on the way from Kiama to Jamberoo. This leads through some pretty country at Longbrush; thence to the Saddleback ridge, along which Hoddle's track leads westward to the highlands, connecting ultimately with the Robertson to Moss Vale road. A mile or two along Hoddle's track carries you over the highest point of the Saddleback, but the best view is gained farther on where the road descends to a narrow grassy ridge. Here the eye carries to Jervis Bay on the South, and to Port Hacking on the north, over a continuous series of hills and hollows, of green farms and tumbling streams, while by sea the various little seaport towns of the Illawarra are clearly visible. One can return viā the Brandon Hill road, the approach to which is gained through slip-rails known to residents in the neighbourhood, though not perhaps too easily found by a stranger." (See also "Notes from Diary—Bowral to Kiama.")
East Maitland to Dungog, viā Morpeth, Hinton, and Clarence Town; returning viā Wallarobba and Paterson to West Maitland.
Distance, about 72 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 25s. Thus: 2nd class return (Cheap Excursion when available) to West Maitland, 9s. 11d., 13s. 11d, ordinary; accommodation en route, 15s. 1d.=25s. 1st class, 14s. 11d., 21s. 2d. ordinary; accommodation en route, 15s. 1d.=30s.
A most suitable Easter trip; fairly easy going, with no big hills to climb—Wallarobba Mountain is not at all formidable—and through very pretty, fertile country. The distance cuts up nicely for four days as follows:—
1st day—Morpeth to Clarence Town 22 miles 2nd day—Clarence Town to Dungog 15 miles 3rd day—Dungog to Paterson 23 miles 4th day—Paterson to West Maitland 12 miles ————- Total 72 miles
You should reach East Maitland Thursday night, ready to take the track on the morrow (Good Friday).
Start at daybreak—breakfast and lunch on the track, tea and sleep at Clarence Town. The initial miles are through Morpeth, Hinton, and part of the Hunter Valley, crossing en route the Hunter and Paterson. About midday you pass Seaham, and for a short distance follow the course of the Williams. The river is here very wide, and little steamers ply merrily picking up milk-cans from the several wharves. Clarence Town is the head of navigation, and is reached towards evening. It is only a small township, but there will be no difficulty in securing accommodation at moderate charges.
Breakfast and lunch on the track. As it is an easy day—15 miles only—a few hours respite may be indulged in at midday. By this time you will be near to the Williams, which may be reached by crossing a paddock. There are good holes for a dip, and, altogether, it is a most suitable spot for a few hours' rest.
(Macleay River, Near Kempsey)
There is very little evidence of cultivation; the country being mostly in occupation by dairy farmers. If it be your first visit to these parts, the rather smartly-built township of Dungog is somewhat of a surprise. It breaks into view all at once, being hidden by the hills until you get quite near to it.
An early start as usual—breakfast and lunch on the track. For the first few miles shape your course as if returning to Clarence town, then bear away to the right. Passing through the hamlet of Wallarobba, climb the mountain of that name, but the ascent is only a small matter. The descent is by a rather pretty zigzag. Very shortly you pass a few houses, and, a couple of miles further on, if you bear away to the right from the main road, and follow the travelling stock route, it will shorten your journey, and you can make the Paterson river in nice time for lunch. This is called the Upper Paterson; it consists of rich river flats. A rest and dip may be enjoyed, and Paterson township reached in good time for tea.
(A Creek on the Brunswick, North Coast.)
An early start is scarcely necessary, as but 12 miles will complete your tour. Do not cross the bridge, but, keeping the river on the left, proceed by way of Tocal. From the heights, if the morning be clear, a glorious view is obtainable of the fertile lucerne flats of the Hunter Valley. Lunch at West Maitland, and catch the afternoon train for Sydney. If the season be not too dry, this will be found a very pretty trip, embracing agricultural, dairy, and forest country; added to which are the fine views of the Hunter, Paterson, and Williams Rivers. Provision should be made for five or six meals, but you can replenish the stock at Clarence Town or Dungog if necessary. (See also "Notes from Diary,"—East Maitland to West Maitland.
*Mittagong to Mittagong, viā Wollondilly River, Wombeyan Caves, Taralga, Goulburn, Moss Vale and Berrima.
Distance to walk, 80 or 95 miles (according to inclination).
Estimated cost as low as 45s. Thus: Railway fares, 11s. 1d. (Mittagong, 2nd class return, 6s. 6d.: Goulburn to Moss Vale, single, 2nd class, 4s. 7d.); accommodation and other charges at Caves for two nights and one day, 13s.; expenses en route, 11s. 6d.; coach Taralga to Goulburn, 7s. 6d. The last item is, of course, at discretion.
This trip provides much variety, both in mode of travelling and in scenery. In respect of the former there is the train, coach, and walking; and of the latter, open sheep country, rugged and precipitous mountain ranges, beautiful river, brilliant caveland, agricultural and forest lands.
In the first place a note should be addressed to "Mr Goodfellow, near Bullio station, Wombeyan-road, Mittagong," stating the strength of the party and making inquiry as to whether he can afford accommodation. If he cannot, there is no accommodation to be depended on between Mittagong and Wombeyan, and you must make preparation to camp out, by carrying a rug or sleeping-bag—latter preferred. Accommodation of a sort has been got at Bullio Station, but it has also been refused; and in order to avoid disappointment it is better to make the provision indicated. However, this point having been satisfactorily settled, the 5.15 p.m. on Friday will land you at Mittagong at a few minutes to 8 o'clock. Having got a definite notion of the road overnight, an early start should be made—breakfast and lunch on the track. A stimulating draught may be had as you pass the famous Chalybeate spring, about a mile out of Mittagong. The journey may be considerably shortened by following the Joadja railway line until it intersects with the Bowral-Wombeyan road. Mr Goodfellow's home is about 2 miles past the tunnel, or some 18 miles from Mittagong. If the reply from that gentleman has not been favourable, continue for a few miles, and pitch your camp between Bullio station and the Wollondilly.
(Carlotta Arch, Jenolan Caves.)
An early start as usual. You have in front of you a most attractive walk. A splendid road winds down the mountain side, giving here and there magnificent glimpses of the fine reaches of the Wollondilly—which has here cut out for itself a great channel—and then follows the inexorable 7½ miles climb, along the road hemmed in by great mountains, which frown on you from every side, their topmost peaks being mostly enveloped in mist. But what surprises the man from the plains most is to find precipitous and apparently barren mountains stocked. Nor is this all; they are to some considerable extent cup up into paddocks. Decent grass-land is scarce where this sort of country is pressed into service, and what a picnic it must be to muster. From the top of the mountain to the caretaker's house at Wombeyan the distance is about three (3) miles, and you should arrive in excellent trim for your tea.
will be very pleasantly spent in resting and in visiting the caves under the efficient and cheerful guidance of Mr. Chalker. You will not regret the visit to Wombeyan, even though you are familiar with Jenolan and Yarrangobilly. For "as one star differs from another in glory," so Wombeyan has its show pieces—its wonderful shawls, its glacier basin, and other unique formations, and while like, it is yet different from the others. If you desire some native thing to recall your visit, perhaps, Mr. Chalker may know where some specimens of calcite and breccia are obtainable.
Arrange for an early breakfast, or, better still, climb the mountain and boil the billy on top. The road follows the mountain chain for some miles, and there is very little to attract attention until you approach Taralga, where you get into the home of the potato. Having reached Taralga in time for lunch, you are in a position to choose whether you will continue to Goulburn on foot or take the coach, at a cost of 7s. 6d. The coach leaves at 3.30p.m., and is to be preferred. The 30 miles from Taralga to Goulburn is not tourist country: mostly of the kind denominated "hungry," it presents few, if any, attractions to the pedestrian. If you take the coach you reach Goulburn about 9 p.m., and, getting to rest early, you may catch the express in the morning and breakfast at Moss Vale.
The circuit is completed by walking from Moss Vale to Mittagong, viā the quaint and historic old township of Berrima, upon the walls of which the legend "Ichabod" is writ in letters sufficiently large. It is a delightful walk and will form an appropriate termination to the tour. The distance is only 15 miles; lunch en route, and, reaching Mittagong for tea, catch the 6.5 a.m. train to Sydney next day.
(The Throne, Kooringa Cave, Wombeyan Caves.)
Note. If only four days are at your disposal the trip might end at Goulburn on the evening of the fourth day, and the return to Sydney be made by the morning express. In this case the cost of the trip will work out a few shillings less than the estimate—perhaps 40s. Some might have scruples about coaching from Taralga to Goulburn. "Not their notion of a walking trip. Why, when Buggins goes on a walking tour, he plays it right up to the handle: camps anywhere—in caves if it is wet—cadges tucker, shakes fruit, and pretends to look for work." Which is largely a question of taste or temperament. If this be so, the walk from Taralga to Goulburn would cut out the five days, and the Berrima trip, though very much more interesting, would have to be dispensed with. All this, however, is detail.
Food will be required for seven or eight meals. (See also "Notes from Diary,"—Mittagong to Mittagong)
*To Jenolan Caves, viā Katoomba, Nellie's Glen, Kanimbla Valley, and Black Mountain returning—
(1) Via Hampton and Mount Victoria.
(2) Via Oberon and Tarana.
Distance in either case, about 70 miles.
Estimated cost as low as (1) 48s. 4d.; (2) 54s. 1d. Thus; (1) 2nd class return to Mount Victoria, 6s. 4d (1st, 12s. 8d.); accommodation and charges at the Caves for two days, say, 28s.; expenses en route, 14s.=48s. 4d. (2) Train fares, approximately, 10s. 2d. 2nd return, Eskbank, 7s. 10d. (1st, 15s. 8d.); 2nd single, Tarana to Eskbank, 2s. 4d. (1st, 3s. 11d.); accommodation and charges at the Caves for two days, say 28s.; expenses en route, 12s.=54s. 1d.
Provision is necessary for seven or eight meals. Take a sleeping-bag. On either route the starting point is Katoomba. The 7.52 a.m. from Sydney on Saturday or Wednesday will land you at Katoomba at 10.52 a.m. Get under way at once; lunch at Nellie's Glen; and camp that night at the Cox's River crossing, about 10 miles from Katoomba. You may find the track somewhat indistinct at one point in Megalong Valley, but if you recollect that Megalong Creek is always on the right, and that you do not cross it, you will presently come out on a formed road that will carry you to the end of the day's journey at Cox's River crossing. It is just possible that shelter may be obtained here at the hut to the left, down the river, should the weather turn out wet. A number of finger-posts have recently been placed along this route by the Tourist Bureau to assist pedestrians.
Make an early start, climb Megalong Mountain, and breakfast at Little River. A dip while the billy is being boiled will assist you to climb the Black Mountain. The track along the spur is easy walking, but not at all interesting. Lunch at any convenient spot, and reach the Caves House for tea. The last few miles is an easy down grade, and the views are grand.
(The Road near the Caves.)
The old road, which turns off at the 5-mile post and brings you in at the Devil's Coachhouse and at the back of the Carlotta Arch, is preferred by some: it is much shorter than the new road.
Third and Fourth Day.
During these two days your programme will be made for you. You will make two or three inspections each day. Ten shillings (10s.) per day is the charge for accommodation at Caves House. Inspection fees: 2s. each, daily inspection; 3s. night and Sunday: season ticket, covering five inspections, 7s. 6d.
Before purchasing your train ticket decide as to the return route. If by Mount Victoria, the cost is 1st class week-end 12s. 8d., 2nd 6s. 4d. The alternate route—for a six-day trip—via Oberon and Tarana is recommended without hesitation. In this case take Eskbank return—week-end 1st, 15s. 8d.; 2nd, 7s. 10d.—Eskbank being the limit of the week-end excursion fares. On arrival at Tarana you would only require a single for the excess distance—Tarana to Eskbank. The approximate cost of which would be 1st class, 3s. 11d.; 2nd class, 2s. During summer the cheap tickets are issued to Tarana.
Fifth and Sixth Days.
If returning by Oberon and Tarana, breakfast and lunch on the track, and stay the first night at Oberon, distance about 18 miles; and repeating the programme, reach Tarana on the evening of the second (or sixth) day. Distance again about 18 miles. Here you pick up the mail at 11.52 p.m., and reach Sydney at a few minutes to 6 o'clock in the morning.
(Crystal PalaceJenolan Caves.)
On the other hand, if you decide to return by Mount Victoria, you reach Hampton—halfway—the first day, and Mount Victoria on the evening of the second (or sixth) day, and taking the 2.34 a.m. reach Sydney at 5 minutes to 9. (See also "Notes from Diary," Katoomba to Jenolan Caves.)
No.1.—Katoomba to Mittagong (or Bowral), viā Kanimbla Valley, Black Mountain, Jenolan Caves, Ginkin, Shooters' Hill, Wombeyan Caves, and Wollondilly River.
Distance, about 156 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 55s 10d. Thus: 2nd week-end return to Bell, 6s. 10d (1st, 13s. 8d.); accommodation, &c., Jenolan, one day, 14s.; accommodation, &c., Wombeyan, one day, 10s.; expenses en route, 25s.= 55s. 10d.
First and Second Days
Provision for fifteen or sixteen meals should be made; do not stock to this extent at Sydney, as supplies are obtainable at Whalan's 2½ miles from the Caves, and elsewhere en route. You must also have your sleeping-bag and mosquito-net, as there is little or no accommodation available between Jenolan and Wombeyan. Mittagong, Bowral, and Bell are distant from Sydney 78, 81, and 82 miles respectively; hence if you take a week-end return to Bell—6s. 10d.—it is available for return from either Mittagong or Bowral. You may leave Sydney on Friday evening, so as to be in readiness to take the track from Katoomba early Saturday morning; but this does not materially assist you. Katoomba to Jenolan—32 to 34 miles—should at most only occupy a day-and-a-half. Therefore, if you take the 7.52 a.m. on Saturday, you get under way from Katoomba at 11 o'clock, and can easily cut out the 10 miles to Cox's River crossing by nightfall, and arrive at Jenolan for tea next evening.
(For further details as to this part of the journey see Six-day Trip "Jenolan Caves, returning viā Tarana or Mount Victoria.")
(Crossing the Dividing Range Near Jenolan Caves, in a Snowstorm.)
will be spent at Jenolan Caves. There will be two daylight inspections, and, if desired, a night inspection. Accommodation at the Caves should be secured before leaving Sydney—the charge is 10s. per day.
An early start should be made so that the long steep ascent of the mountain may be in the freshness of the morning. Later you leave the Oberon-road, turning to the left for Ginkin (9 miles), and passing Shooters' Hill (17 miles) during the afternoon, pitch your camp at any suitable place.
Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Days.
During the next three days you enjoy the stilly solitudes of the great Australian bush, and in rapturous enjoyment of the radical change in the manner of living, you thread your way through the fragrant forest, "dipping tired feet in some cool flowing brook." Here and there you happen on the home of the "hardy pioneer"—the man on the land. But he does not appear to be prosperous in these parts; mostly crude and unlovely in his habitation, yet, as far as can be judged, not dissatisfied that the number of his days shall be accomplished far from the rush and turmoil of the crowd. It is, perhaps, according to the eternal fitness of things that he resolutely refuses to pay homage to the spirit of the forest. You are shocked to hear your picturesque valleys and mountains characterised as "hungry," and to be assured with some emphasis that a square mile of such country would not fatten a bandicoot. It all depends on the point of view. However, passing several small settlements you should reach Wombeyan-Taralga road about noon on the seventh day (fourth from Jenolan), and turning to your left make Wombeyan Caves for tea.
You will spend in an inspection of the Caves, and the accommodation dispensed by Mr. Caretaker Chalker will sorely tempt you to withdraw, or at least to modify, the hard things you have said about civilised customs.
Ninth and Tenth Days.
These days will be occupied in the journey from Wombeyan to Bowral, or Mittagong, of which detailed description is unnecessary here (vide Mittagong to Mittagong, viā Wombeyan and Goulburn—Five-day Trip, trip details and notes.)
It will be sufficient to say that an early start should be made, and that the first day's journey should bring you just past Bullio homestead—perhaps as far as the tunnel. After the considerable experience you have had in camping out, it is hardly likely that you will make inquiry about accommodation en route. On the evening of the tenth day you will reach your destination, be it Bowral or Mittagong, in time to have a shower and straighten yourself out for tea. On the morrow the train will land you at Sydney at 9 o'clock.
No. 2.—Mittagong to Kiama, viā Wombeyan Caves, Taralga, Goulburn, Moss Vale, Fitzroy and Belmore Falls, Robertson, Macquarie Pass, Albion Park, and Jamberoo.
Distance, about 150 miles.
Estimated cost as low as 60s. Thus: Rail fares, 12. 3d. (Moss Vale-Nowra tourist return, 7s. 8d.; Goulburn to Moss Vale, single, 2nd, 4s. 7d.); accommodation, &c., two days at Wombeyan, 15s.; accommodation and other expenses en route, 30s. 10d. = 60s.
Sufficient for six or seven meals is required. This will carry you round to Moss Vale, where your stock can be replenished; the sleeping-bag will be needed for camping out on the way to Wombeyan and Goulburn. If preferred, these requisites, which may be dispensed with for the rest of the trip, can be packed and forwarded to Sydney from Moss Vale, and the swag lightened to that extent. As this lengthened and delightful tour covers almost the same country as that embraced by two other trips to which reference can readily be made—Mittagong to Mittagong, viā Wombeyan Caves; and Moss Vale to Kiama, viā Fitzroy and Belmore Falls—it will be sufficient here to indicate your itinerary.
(Sandstone Archway on the Road From Bowral to Wombeyan Caves.)
First and Second Days.
You should reach Mittagong on Friday evening, so as to get under way early on the morrow. You will camp out on Saturday night, and reach Wombeyan Sunday afternoon. Distance, 43 or 44 miles.
Third and Fourth Days
Will be occupied in resting and in inspecting the caves.
Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Days.
After your rest at Wombeyan, if an early start be made, you should pass Taralga about midday, and go into camp, say 20 or 25 miles from Goulburn; or, if the weather be bad, you could make a roadside hotel, situate some 8 or 10 miles on the Goulburn side of Taralga. Goulburn is reached next evening, and the Melbourne express in the morning will drop you at Moss Vale, whence you can leisurely reach Yarrunga, by midday. The afternoon can be pleasantly spent in viewing Fitzroy Falls and its surroundings.
Lunch at Belmore Falls, and reach Robertson for tea. Being an easy day's journey—15 miles only—two or three hours may be occupied at Belmore in viewing the several sights, and refreshing yourself by a dip in one of the fine holes in the creek.
Ninth and Tenth Days.
With these twain the appointed number of the days of the journey is accomplished. You will reach Albion Park on the evening of the ninth day, and making an early start, breakfast en route, reach Kiama in ample time for lunch, and for the 2.29 p.m. for Sydney—passing on the way through sweet arcadian Jamberoo.
(Challis House: Immigration and Tourist Bureau Headquarters.)
It is worth while, perhaps, to consider for a moment the wonderful variety of scene offered by this tour. Here you have tableland, rugged mountain ranges, and picturesque mountain passes, limestone caves in some respects not inferior to the famous Jenolan, rich agricultural land, waterfalls, and, finally, you penetrate to the coast—to Kendall's Illawarra:—
Kiama slumbers robed in mist,
All glittering in the dewy light,
That brooding o'er
The shingly shore,
Lies resting in the arms of night.
By Bridle Tracks and the King's Highway: being Notes from a Walker's diary.
The smoke of the camp-fire is in my blood.
The fragrance of the forest is in my nostrils.
(The Lure of the Labrador Wild.)
Having given the essential information as to routes, distances, outfit and charges—gathered during a walking experience of several years—it is proposed here to set down in an informal sort of way, a few notes culled from the pages of my diary, descriptive of the track and incidents met with on the longer journeys mentioned in the preceding part. At the outset it should be mentioned that a walker's diary is by no means a formidable or philosophic affair; that it does not pretend to be a minute record of passing events, political and domestic, with discerning comment thereon. Nor does it concern itself with the secret musings and conflicts. Nothing of the kind. Portability is its dominant note. Hence, like his travelling-kit, it is of last importance that its dimensions be restricted to the lowest point compatible with usefulness. An ordinary pocket-book generally serves the purpose well enough, and twenty minutes to half-an-hour after the evening meal will be found ample to jot down the day's experience.
("A Winding Road Before Me and a Three Hour March to Dinner.")
Mr. C.B. Fry pertinently remarks in this connextion:—"Side by side with the camera a first-rate means of potting the cream of one's holiday, so to speak, is a diary. Not one of those self-dissecting volumes...No; the kind of diary should be a mere happy frame-work upon which to renew fading memories; just an honest, simple record of each day's events, with a plentiful sprinkling of the jokes, the comical happenings, the scores of odds and ends that individualised the weeks; here and there a bit of the bare bones of description and observation. To write a good, sensible holiday diary one must look out, not in."
The limit and character of the notes having been thus fairly indicated, it is much easier to proceed.
KATOOMBA TO JENOLAN CAVES.
Experienced walkers do not elect to do this trip during Christmas holidays. As a "pipe-opener," Boxing-day is spent in exploring the depths of Govett's Leap, Blackheath.
Away to daylight. The first 3 or 4 miles is familiar country to mountain visitors. From Katoomba, Bathurst-road is followed to the famous Explorers' tree—now, alas, a stump only—thence by Nellie's Glen to Megalong Valley. At a clear running stream at the bottom of the Glen, billy is boiled, and we breakfast in the fresh morning air, with the songs of the birds and the music of falling waters in our ears, and the "fragrance of the forest in our nostrils." There is no accommodation en route, and the distance being too great to complete the journey in the day, at this season of the year the party is provisioned for two days, and on a liberal scale; also, there is much unnecessary clothing. The swags aggregate a decent load for a mule, and the originality of their get-up would have excited the ridicule of even a tyro swaggy. For the first few miles the track is all that can be desired but after reaching Megalong Creek it peters out entirely. From here to the formed pathway leading to Cox's River the route had been indicated by blazed trees, but more or less recent bush-fires had rubbed out the trail.
Megalong Creek is of great assistance in this difficulty. Guided by it and refreshed by its waters, we at length pick up the track. The sun being desperately hot, a rest of a few hours is availed of at midday, at Cox's River. Getting under way the distance to the river crossing is accomplished, and the afternoon is far spent when the weary ascent of Megalong Mountain is begun. Not that Megalong is to be compared with Black Mountain, Cambewarra, and others that could be named, but we tackle it with an ill-will. It has come in the nature of a surprise. We had heard a good deal about Black Mountain—we know all about him later on—and were expectant, but nobody had mentioned Megalong. After may tiresome windings, pulls at the water-bottles, and vain speculations as to "this being the last lap," the summit is reached at dusk.
Camp is suggested; but water must be had, and there is none. On through the gathering darkness for some distance, when of a sudden comes the joyous sound of running water; and then the outline of the old hut is made out, and we know that it is Little River at last. It is recorded somewhere that Mahomet gazed from the arid heights outside the city on the rivers of Damascus, and feared to go in lest he should be tempted to stay. We could not see 20 yards ahead, but never strain of music sounded more sweet and beautiful than the evening hymn of that diminutive stream as it rushed down the mountain side eager to join the Cox. One gets a taste for water on a trip such as this which is surprising. While billy is boiling we bathe by candle-light. An inspection made of the abandoned hut disturbs a kangaroo-rat, or something of the kind, from its nest in a corner of the old fireplace; and creepy, uncanny noises come from the old bedroom. Whereupon, it is decided to camp in the open, overhead the stars, and great mountains hem us round. Not that is mattered much, for nobody slept.
Refreshed only by the keen mountain air, a start is made as soon as it is light. The famous Black Mountain confronts us. Precaution is taken to fill the water-bottles and billy. The walking is good, but the grade is steep. On top of the mountain we encounter a hot westerly, and by the time we reach the Mt. Victoria Caves road our water bottles were empty. In our quest for a fresh supply we happen on a legitimate swaggy. The hospitality of the road is our introduction. "Got a pipe o'bacca, mate?" One remark leads to another, and it transpires that swaggy in his day had been a considerable acrobat. A sometime star of some magnitude in Ashton's, St. Leon's, Burton and Taylor's Chiarini's, and almost every circus of any note that did business in this State a quarter of a century ago. At sixty odd he stands wonderfully erect, has clean well-shaped limbs, and is confident that he can do a forty-step sandjig without a break, or a "back-flip." Exhibition of his marvellously-preserved powers would have been appreciated, but no one has the hardihood to suggest it. Yes; if we turned down the mountain side a couple of miles ahead, near a broken-down dray we would strike good water. We did this subsequently. He had come across from Taralga viā Shooter's Hill. No, nothing much doing. Never saw things worse. Harking back to the old game; everybody should have a horizontal bar on his premises. If he had a dozen children, everyone should start on the bar so soon as he could walk. "Adds twenty years to your life, sir!" He had noticed that we are more or less tender-footed. "Get a basin of cold water, put a bit of salt into it, and stand in it as long as you can; then rub some olive oil into your knees. You won't know yourselves in the morning." Which injunction I regret to say we neglect. You so soon forget pain and fatigue.
(The Willows, Jenolan Caves.)
No need to attempt detailed description of the chaste loveliness of the caves; that has been done many times. But one or two things call for passing remark. The accommodation at Caves House is good, and all things considered, the tariff—10s. per day—is not more than might be expected. The guides know their business, are painstaking, and are civil even when replying to oft-repeated and silly questions. Your daily programme is made for you, and there is not a slow moment. The midday interval is just sufficient for lunch, rest, and smoke. The season being in full swing, it is estimated that during our stay there was never fewer than fifty visitors. Yet examination of visitors' book showed that not more than six hailed from Sydney. 'Twas ever thus. When the Westralian Caves become the fashion, no doubt many Sydney folk, who have not seen Jenolan, will visit them. Objection has been taken by some to the installation of the electric light in the caves. Let us free ourselves of cant. Having had an opportunity of viewing Wombeyan without, and Jenolan with this improvement—or disfigurement—I am bound to say that there does not appear to be much in the objection. And in this connection it was noted that there are beautiful clusters of stalactite in various places, quite inaccessible to the rays of the magnesium lamp, and for the adequate display of which the electric service appeared to be peculiarly adapted. Hot westerlies still prevail, and on the last day of our stay we meet in committee of the whole, and decide to return by coach. We have rarely since taken the track earlier than Easter, or later than October, and this is the solitary instance in which a trip has had to be abandoned.
WENTWORTH FALLS TO CAMDEN.
Nowadays accommodation is to be got at Wilson's hotel, convenient to Wentworth Falls railway station and to Cox's River road. But at the date of the journey under notice, this caravansary did not exist, and our train—a crowded and belated excursion—did not reach Wentworth Falls until 1 a.m. Neither myself nor my companion felt like demanding accommodation at that hour of the morning, and, moreover, the only hotel was right out of the way. So it was decided to do a perish in the station waiting-room. Sleep was out of the question. It was blowing bitterly cold; we were destitute of rugs or other means of keeping up the temperature, and, in desperation, shouldered our swags ere it was quite daylight, and commenced to cast the miles behind us. How bitterly cold the wind blew across King's Tableland may be gathered from the fact that, going at a shade over 4 miles an hour, with sweater and coat on, it was still difficult to keep comfortably warm.
The Queen Victoria Home authorities had recently acquired a nice property here, and extensive alterations were in progress. Except for some difficulty in getting water for breakfast, the journey along the mountain ridge was uneventful; but the view over Cox's River Valley and the lower Burragorang gave ample compensation. Everybody has his favourite mountain view; may be it is Govett's Leap, Mount York, Jamieson Valley, or Kanimbla Valley. Having had many opportunities of viewing all of these under different conditions, I take the risk of affirming that Burragorang is not inferior to the best of them. It is a canvas such as a Brobdingnagian artist might have used. Away to the right through the haze overhanging Jamieson Valley the eye descries what appear to be outlines of Black Mountain; in front and to the left are precipitous and fantastically fashioned sandstone cliffs; while down through the valley at your feet the silver strip of the Cox winds and glitters through the cornfields.
The descent of the mountain is long, and so steep in places as to render it very difficult for vehicular traffic. Mr. McMahon's hospitable homestead is reached towards the evening, and as we have compassed some 23 miles, a dip in the Cox serves to put a fine edge on already respectable appetites. Excellent fruit is grown here, but sheep and pigs appear to be the staple product. Throughout the Burragorang it is the same. At every farm maize is the crop, and you find the pigs running through it at their own sweet will. "We drive the crop to market," said a farmer; and this is precisely what is done. Maize is for the most part grown for use as pig-feed, and the pigs having fattened are driven to market. The McMahon homestead is large and unpretentious, of the style of architecture it is customary to describe as rambling. "I suppose I'll have to," is Mr. McMahon's dry reply to the inquiry "Can you accommodate us for the night?" But the house is clean and homelike—looks as if people occupied it—and the hospitality is willingly extended.
The kitchen fireplace furnishes an excellent index to the character of the inmates, and I regret that I have not a "snap" to present to you. Of equal width with the rest of the building, one corner holds a large range; in another corner is a lounge, which provides the cosiest of reading quarters for the long winter evenings; and into the centre great logs many feet in girth and length are rolled. A cheerful log fire throws out its generous warmth, while we eat oranges and listen to the stories of a strapping son of the house. Up the river a native dog has been killing the sheep; yonder hangs his skin. For several nights our entertainer had rolled himself in a rug and wearily watched; but a native dog knows nearly as much as a man. At last he comes within range; it is just about daybreak, and with hands almost frozen the prize is secured. Had they any cricketers or footballers in the valley? Oh! Yes, "a fair few." They had accounted for Picton and other more pretentious places.
As our day's journey is to be a rather easy one—some 15 or 16 miles—start is delayed until after breakfast.
That the season is an exceedingly dry one is everywhere apparent, and the valley is filled with stock from less favoured parts. Even here the drought is pressing heavily, and it is necessary to cut up cornstalks for fodder. Thus usefully employed by the roadside, we encounter a gentleman of Spanish parentage, named F—p—k, than whom no man is better known in the Burragorang. Now he is accounted a "slim" visitor who gets through the valley without being interrogated as to his route by Mr. F—p—k. There are the customary interchange of courtesies, and more or less wise predictions as to the duration of the drought. We are assured that Mr. F—p—k could have filled his house with visitors had he so elected; documentary evidence is available at the house, and some well-known names are mentioned—mostly artists. But his word is sufficient for us; besides the house is set upon a hill. Still Bert is curious. "What is it that attracts visitors?" "Fetches em! Why it's the bally tucker we sticks into 'em."
Camp for lunch is made at what is known as Fitzpatrick's Crossing, on the Wollondilly. While this interesting function is in progress an idle and talkative resident happens along carrying a gun. No, not much shooting—thought he might get a rabbit or a duck. His eyes open to their fullest when it is learned that we are walking, and for fun. Nobody walks hereabouts. If we would care to vary the monotony by a little exploring he could put us on to an unfrequented, if somewhat rough track. "Start to-morrow morning along the Warragamba, and you can get to Penrith in time for dinner." The temptation is great—the fascination of penetrating to the Nepean by goat trail,—but it is considered wiser to adhere to our itinerary. Having since spent some days at Wallace and paid special attention to the Warragamba channel, I know that it is possible to get to and from Burragorang by this rugged route; but it was also made manifest that the estimate as to time for the journey was very wide of the mark. Some day, perhaps. To the track again, and King's (more recently Pippin's) is reached for tea. This is an accommodation house, and is situate on the bank of the Wollondilly, at the foot of the "jumpback." Two bedrooms are demanded, but it is found, eventually, that one room and one bed only available. Though limited, the accommodation is satisfactory, and, anon, two tired fellows sleep the sleep of the righteous.
Third and Fourth Days.
Camden could easily have been reached on the third day out, but as we are not due in Sydney until the evening of the following day it is decided to saunter along and lunch at the Oaks, and "take one's ease at one's inn" until the morrow. The country between Burragorang and The Oaks is uninteresting, and the road much cut up by heavy traffic from the Peaks. The old road out of Burragorang has just been superseded. The grade of the new road is much easier, but the famous view from the "jumpback" is missed. At the top of the mountain an arch of rude design, bearing the word "Welcome," and other remains bear evidence to the recent date of the opening celebrations. The late Mr. E. W. O'Sullivan, then Minister for Public works had been the idol of the feast.
En route to The Oaks a wine-shop is met with, and we have a curiosity to sample the vintage. The front name of the proprietor is Ephraim, and his hearing being defective some difficulty is experienced in gaining admittance. Nor is this the only trouble. It is Sunday—Easter Day, in fact—and the good and trusty Ephraim has scruples. It is represented that as bona fide travellers we are entitled to such refreshment as his house may afford, and, the objection being overcome, question is put as to the wine in stock; is it hock, Chablis or claret, port or muscat? But its name is not disclosed, and we have to be satisfied with the assurance that it will do us more good than any of the wines named. As might be guessed, it turned out to be an ordinary sweet red wine, probably a local product. Our stay at the Oaks was most enjoyable. Judged by the notes in the visitors' book, Hennessey's is a popular hotel. We find E.W.O'S writ large, and many names familiar to us, amongst others that of a Public Service writer of verse, who had been moved to inscribe the annexed jingle;—
'Tis a charming run when summer's done
If you want a ride in reason,
To pedal down thro' Camden town
To the Oakes in Easter season.
There's nothing sure like cycling tour,
To make one light and airy,
With a cup of tea, or two or three,
From a black-haired saucy fairy.
Now what I write is just as light
As a zephyr, kiss, or feather,
But the house is full, and I'm full,
And we're all full together.
Next morning we stroll into Camden in time for lunch, and a ramble around the historic town; then take train to Sydney.
(A Typical Blue Mountain Gorge.)
MITTAGONG TO MITTAGONG, VIA WOMBEYAN CAVES, TARALGA, GOULBURN, MOSS VALE, AND BERRIMA.
Wombeyan was the real objective. It had been the land of heart's desire for quite a long time, but from one cause and another had been postponed. Having arrived at Mittagong over night an early start is made on Saturday morning, following for some distance the old railway line of Joadja mine. Presently the road from Bowral to Wombeyan is met with. For the most part the country is undulating, with homesteads at easy intervals. Here and there we happen on recently taken up land; house new—to be completed some day; fences in course of erection; trees ringbarked and fresh-felled. The month being November, the day is hot for walking, and we are grateful for a re-fill of our water-bottles from the iron tank at the little Ebenezer by the roadside. Anon the character of the country changes, becoming rough and sterile, with the ranges away in the distance; we pick up the new road, and lunch at the tunnel. This tunnel, penetrates a narrow sandstone ridge, and is the means of maintaining an excellent grade. It had been ascertained before leaving Sydney that there was no public accommodation-house en route, but assurance from a responsible quarter had been given that hospitality might safely be relied on at ——, a small sheep station about halfway to Wombeyan, or at a prosperous selector's, 2 miles nearer to Mittagong.
The latter place had hove in view too early in the day to go into camp, and the owner of —— deciding that it was not worthwhile to strain his accommodation for our convenience, we pushed on to the Wollondilly, a distance of some 10 miles—33 from Mittagong—and camp in the open. Covering of any kind we have none, but are well supplied with food. Of course, no complaint is entered. The absolute right of this gentleman to refuse shelter to a couple of more or less vagabond-looking swaggies is not disputed. An in extenuation it might be said that —— is only a miniature station, the accommodation of which is very limited. At the several bends in the road as it descends the mountain fine reaches of the Wollondilly come into view, and, finally, just about dusk we scramble down the bank and go into camp right in the river bed.
The night is fine and warm, there is abundance of drift wood at hand, and the mosquitoes are quiet. Tea is discussed with relish, while the stars blink at us. We next build up the fire—listen to the crackling of the she-oak, and watch the spectral figures come and go—while we dispose our weary shapes as comfortably as may be on the dry drift sand. For the time the enthusiastic and not untuneful bush orchestra, which has been with us all day, is at rest; even the interrogative thump, thump, of the startled and thirsty wallaby is only heard at intervals as he approaches the water. No difficulty is experienced in maintaining a good fire, and a clear conscience and the weariness resulting from a 30 odd miles walk enable us to get snatches of sleep.
In the early morning comes a change in the weather. Fine rain commences to fall, and continues to do so during our ascent of the mountain—7½ measured miles. The grade is excellent, but you feel quite satisfied when the top is gained. Yet the views are magnificent. Hemmed in by great mountains you gradually—very gradually—climb up through the mist. Acceptable shelter is afforded by an old hut—Martin's Lookout—and here we breakfast. Resuming, the intervening distance is soon compassed, and we report ourselves at the caretaker's house, Wombeyan, about 10 a.m. The walk across from Mittagong—about 44 miles—had occupied a day and a little bit. Being some hours in advance of our time, and the place being empty of visitors, we find Mr. Chalker away from home; but the afternoon is whiled away pleasantly enough under the oaks.
is occupied in an inspection of the several caves. We start early and finish late. No detailed description will be inflicted. Wombeyan is much more fortunate in its situation than Jenolan. While at the latter the hills have had to be cut into to make room for the few structures necessary for the accommodation of visitors and employees, at Wombeyan a spacious flat, sufficient to provide the site for a moderate-sized town, stretches itself out between the hills. The caves—Wombeyan and Jenolan—are like and unlike. Jenolan is far more extensive, better known, easily reached, has electric light, and in other ways has had much money expended in making its treasures accessible to the tourist.
In comparison the arrangements at Wombeyan are of the crudest, notwithstanding which its native glories are such that in some respects it is superior to Jenolan. The shawls, for example, are wondrously tinted, and easily transcend their kindred at Jenolan. But Wombeyan must of necessity lag behind pending the establishment of a regular coach or motor service. And there is another matter. We were assured that it is competent at a reasonably small cost to construct a road joining Jenolan and Wombeyan. If this were done the route would be from Mount Victoria, viā Jenolan and Wombeyan, to Moss Vale, Bowral, Mittagong, or Goulburn, or vice versa—a round trip, the equal of which it would be very difficult to indicate on the planet. I had almost omitted to mention the courtesy received from the caretaker. Mr. Chalker was most attentive to our wants, entertained us with good stories, and with many historic facts concerning the opening out of the Caves; the accommodation was in every way satisfactory, and the charges were moderate—6s. to 8s. per day, exclusive of expenses incidental to inspection.
Swag and billy is the order. Once gained, the top of the range is followed for some miles. As Taralga is neared the country opens out into splendid agricultural land, for the most part locked up in one huge estate, to the everlasting hindrance of the prosperity of the district; at least so saith local gossip. Pursuing the even tenor of our way, the little village famous for its potato crop is entered at midday. The intention had been to bring up at a hotel 10 miles further on, reaching Goulburn next day, but disappointment is part of man's inheritance, and a heavy storm causes a modification of the programme. In point of fact, a sound drenching had been escaped by a very narrow margin. So sudden and violent is the storm that a team of bullocks standing in front of our hotel becomes utterly demoralised, and threaten serious damage to property ere the driver can regain control. Though fortunate in the respect mentioned, much valuable time had been wasted, and the highway is to a large extent under water. At which juncture the Taralga—Goulburn mail coach offers a way out of the difficulty. Goulburn is reached about 9 p.m.
With assistance of the Melbourne express we breakfast at Moss Vale, preparatory to a delightful and easy day's tramp to Mittagong, viā Berrima. The day being hot, opportunity is taken to have a dip in the Wingecarribee, and in the fullness of time we pass through the quaint and withal prettily situated village of Berrima, of recent years chiefly remarkable for the "solitary" dispensed at its penal establishment. Stories of Berrima's pristine opulence are extant, which, having regard to its present dignified restfulness, are incredible. It was in what are known as the "roaring" days, when all team traffic of the Great Southern Road took this route. At which period the faithful chronicler alleges a thirst settled on Berrima like unto which the historic Barcoo is not so much as a circumstance. Through no fault of our much respected and vigilant Canon of St. Paul's the figures have not been preserved, and the annual drink bill can only be roughly estimated by the prodigious number of licensed houses that existed—-the owners of which rapidly reached a condition of pride and affluence. Life was fast and furious, and the dispensing of "tanglefoot" a profitable business. All this has passed for ever. But though "Ichabod" is writ large everywhere, the situation is attractive, and such a seductive restfulness obtains that Berrima offers an ideal asylum to the tired city man: here with pipe and book and, perchance, fishing tackle, he may,—
Spend the long warm days
Silent beside the silent-stealing streams,
To see, not gaze,
To hear, not listen; thoughts exchanged for dreams.
See clouds that slowly pass,
Trailing their shadows o'er the far faint down,
And ripening grass,
While yet the meadows wear their starry crown.
To blend at last with Nature and to hear
What songs she sings
Low to herself when there is no one near.
(The Hawkesbury River near Windsor.)
We boil our billy, lunch, and tramp on through interesting country, staying only to drink of the waters of the famous Chalybeate spring, whereof I fill my old canvas-bag for the experience of city friends. Mittagong is reached in time for a shower and the evening meal. Next morning per express to Sydney.
EAST MAITLAND TO WEST MAITLAND, VIA MORPETH, HINTON, CLARENCE TOWN, DUNGOG, AND PATERSON.
We, Australians, are accounted a pleasure-loving, holiday-keeping public, and by common consent Easter is the popular holiday of the year. The explanation is easy. The temperature is such that out-door exercises may be entered into with zest, most folk are just recovered from the effects of a long and distressing summer, and our excellent practice of extending the holiday over four consecutive days is fairly general. Good Friday, 1905, broke an ideal day for the track, and, as the late G.P.R. James might have written, "shortly after dawn the observant early riser might have remarked four swagmen on the highway to Morpeth. Sound of wind and limb, and elastic of step, their sandals spurned the earth"—but, my native modesty...The famous and fertile valley of the Hunter, and in fact the country everywhere, was looking its best consequent upon recent and bountiful rains. This is not wild, picturesque country—
By gaping gorges and by cliffs austere,
abounding in beautiful leaping cataracts, foaming waterfalls, and uncanny spirit-haunted ravines. By way of distinction it might be described as pretty country.
From the highly cultivated Hunter Valley you pass into cleared and timbered land, mostly devoted to sheep and cattle raising and dairy-farming. Up and down the magnificent broad channel of the Williams, unlovely but busy little steamboats are plying, bustling along to drop empties and pick up full milk-cans at the several wharves. The day is warm, the river is clear and inviting, but fear of sharks prevents the enjoyment of a dip. Several fishing parties are met with camped on the bank of the river. Clarence Town is reached in ample time to permit of a dip in the Williams before tea. In the early morning a lucky meeting with an itinerant baker had enabled us to celebrate the day in the orthodox way, and our luck still followed us. Tinned fish is served for tea.
On the top of a 23-mile walk in an exhilarating atmosphere, living on fritz, fruit, and biscuit, anyone of us would have preferred a hot meal, but established custom is triumphant. The evening is occupied in various ways: for the most part in listening to the anecdotes of "Old Bill," an aged and kindly gentleman who, recognising the courtesy visitors might properly expect of his village, had imposed on himself the task of entertainer. Among other things it transpired that in his day, somewhere in Riverina, "Old Bill" had taken a pull at the Archimedean lever. It had only been a modest weekly sheet, price 6d., which had struggled manfully to fashion and direct public opinion. The story is old as it is pathetic. In good seasons subscribers paid spasmodically, in cash and in kind; in bad seasons the "Thunderer" was the first luxury retrenched. Postponed obligations had one day to be met, and the venture petered out after five or six years of struggle, semi-starvation, and disappointment.
One story may serve to indicate the economical spirit of the public to whom the "Thunderer" carried its weekly message. When not engaged in writing leaders or crisp and caustic comment on passing events "Old Bill" would "notice" mammoth pumpkins, &c., left at the office by clients anxious for cheap advertisement. And in this connection he one day visited the home of a boss-cocky, attached to which was, perhaps, the finest orchard on the lower Lachlan. The owner had kindly piloted him through the garden, stopping here and there in front of a tree bending to the ground with ripe fruit, to mention the name, and expatiate on its rare flavour. Finally, as they were leaving the orchard, he pulled a fine ripe peach, and breaking it, handed "Old Bill" half, remarking, "Now that's wot I calls a peach." "Old Bill" called it several other things.
An early start is made. Having, at some trouble, secured a few excellent shortloin chops, and with the aid of a few feet of rejected fencing wire grilled the same, we sacrifice to the fleshpots of Egypt, and resume our swags like giants refreshed. Our road is through undulating country, fine cleared paddocks mostly occupied by dairymen on the river side. The river is only a short distance from us at any time, and at midday we cross the intervening paddock, and rest and bathe for a few hours. Clarence Town to Dungog is an easy journey—15 or 16 miles only; hence we can afford to loiter and luxuriate. It is a superb day, bright and warm; the kind of day which impels a walker to sing:—
Wealth I ask not, hope, nor love,
Nor a friend to know me;
All I ask, the heaven above
And the road below me.
(Group of Typical North Coast Ferns and Palms.)
Clarence Town being at the head of navigation of the Williams, and the port for Dungog, so to speak, there is considerable traffic between the two townships. Many well-appointed turn-outs pass, and it is observed that our party excites much rural wit. A couple of miles out of Dungog we encounter a genial gentleman whose face and accent proclaim his nationality.
"Its a foine day."
We agree that it is.
"Is it looking for work ye are?"
Somebody furnishes a negative.
There is an enthusiastic desire for information on the part of our interrogator, and we gracefully submit, at the same time contriving to get some particulars anent local hotels. But he is not taking many risks, and steadfastly refuses to recommend any. From Clarence town side Dungog breaks upon you all at once, and the effect is good. The town is situate on a gentle slope adjacent to the Williams River. It is only a small place, but has a prosperous, go-a-head appearance, numbering several well-built business houses and private residences. Our reception is doubtful. We demand accommodation at an hotel, are regarded with some suspicion, and at first assured that there is no room. On second thoughts a large room at the top of the building is offered. Inspection discloses a very ordinary sort of barn, containing four or five stretcher-beds, which might have passed had inquiry as to a shower-bath been satisfactory. A "shower," forsooth! What manner of swaggies be these? There is a bath "down the yard," to which the water has to be carried or pumped. As none of the party is eager to do this service, we thank the good folk and go elsewhere, and are excellently suited.
The usual early start is made. For the first 2 or 3 miles we go back in our tracks of yesterday, and then bear away to the right to Wallarobba. The country is much the same as we passed through on the previous day—mostly grazing land stocked with cattle. The little hamlet of Wallarobba does not concern us much and presently we are ascending the "Mountain" of that name. Said mountain is only a very small affair as our experience goes, but the zigzag track on Paterson side is not unattractive. Acting on advice, we leave the main road about 3 miles after crossing the range, and follow the travelling-stock route. This is a shade shorter, and crosses the Paterson near Mr. Elliott's very snug model farm. Here is a splendid water-hole. As we rest after lunch, some of the locals come down to bathe; they splash in and out, complain of the temperature, and tell uncanny stories about the depth of the hole. Among other things, it is alleged that the blacks are afraid of it, and no man had found its bottom. This opens the way to a demonstration. We are not concerned about its depth, but in a very short time four well-tanned Warragambas get all over its surface. This is not an uncommon experience in the country. Late autumn and winter bathing does not obtain, and invariably there is a hole in the river or creek, which it is alleged the blacks cannot bottom. Passing through the Upper Paterson, truly a lovely country, comprising for the most part fertile river flats, an easy stage brings us to the pretty, if somewhat straggling village of Paterson, where we rest for the night.
Only 12 miles to go, so there is no anxiety about an early start. Breakfast promised at 6 a.m. Like the cautious Mistress McLeerie, we ha'e our doots, but for the first time in our experience, it is served to the minute, and hot, too. The walk to West Maitland is pretty. We go by way of Tocal, and have the willow-fringed Paterson on our left throughout. From the heights a magnificent view of the Hunter Valley is obtained. Later on we come into close contact with the cultivated area—the famous lucerne fields. The holdings are apparently of small acreage, but they are as closely filled as a kitchen garden. No a square yard is wasted. I am assured that the productiveness of the Burrundulla flats at Mudgee exceeds the Hunter Valley, but that is a question for the farmers and the statistician to settle.
(Wallis Lake from Forster.)
As we meander along we have the luck to fall in with an old sundowner, who has come from out west and is making towards the Richmond River. He has been at Dubbo and Bourke, is tired of the west, has come down through Mudgee, and is making to Lismore for a "feed of fish." He is an old man, carries a bulky swag—probably all his belongings—and has every indication of a wanderer on the face of the earth. By this time, no doubt, we present a dust-stained, not to say vagabond appearance, and as the Hunter bridge is crossed have the satisfaction of being mistaken for genuine swaggies. We stop to watch a fox-terrier swimming below: an old man is similarly engaged.
"Looking for work?"
"Not much chance. Never knowed things worse."
"Any likelihood of a job of fencing?"
"No. The Government gives you coves a railway pass to the country, and doesn't care what becomes of yer."
We feel hypocrites, but it were a pity to disillusion him, and, besides, our vanity. We must look like the real thing.
"Oh, well, s'long."
"S'long, and good luck to yer."
A change of raiment is awaiting us at West Maitland, which having assumed, we lunch and catch the afternoon to Sydney. This is a fairly easy trip: it cuts up nicely—23, 16, 23, and 12 miles. There are no big hills to climb, and accommodation is to be got each night at moderate rates. Good views of the Hunter, Paterson, and Williams rivers, the roads are good, and excellent bathing is easily obtained.
BOWRAL TO KIAMA VIA KANGALOON, ROBERTSON, KANGAROO RIVER, BROGER'S CREEK, WATTAMOLLA, AND THE MOUNTAIN RANGE (SADDLEBACK, &c).
Bridle-track hunger was heavy upon us: at different times we had "done" to satiety the several highways which lead from the tableland towns to the South Coast, and it was determined on this journey to use the main road only when it could not be avoided.
With this intent the president and the writer set out from Bowral at daybreak. Not that there was any need to get under way at that hour, seeing that the day's walk was to terminate at Robertson—15 miles only; moreover, the morning was clear and frosty, and so stimulating the air that, had it been desired, Robertson could have been reached by midday. But, as mentioned elsewhere, it is the practice of the Warragambas to breakfast and lunch on the track. At Robertson a curious thing happened. While it is common enough to meet and hear of parties of walkers at this season, cyclists are generally well represented; but this evening the only tourists who ate at the excellent dinner provided by Mrs. Carter ("Royal Hotel") were walkers. The others—two parties—had come across by Fitzroy and Belmore Falls from Moss Vale.
This morning we enter the bush proper, and for about forty hours get right away from the haunts of ordinary traffic.
Robertson may be left by two tracks which meet on the mountain top ere the descent to upper Kangaroo River. One track bears away to the right from the Macquarie Pass road, a short distance out of Robertson; the other branches off to the left from the Robertson-Belmore Falls road about 3 miles out of Robertson. The former is indicated by a notice "To Fountaindale." We took this track but never sighted Fountaindale, nor any person who could direct us to it, and the Robertson-Belmore Falls track is recommended. Arrived at the mountain edge, Kangaroo Valley was found to be enveloped in thick fog, but what was lost in general view was subsequently compensated for in the glimpses of fairy-land to which the fog introduced us.
Here and there as we descended, the proximity of homesteads could be roughly judged by the sound of the axe, and the more or less musical voices of dairy cattle. The foot of the mountain reached, our track followed the course of the Kangaroo River for some miles. This was a most interesting part of the journey. The river, now noisy, now silent, rushed along a few feet below, with the mountain range rising high on either side, from the fertile, if steep, slopes, of which prosperous looking dairy farms looked down at us. As the day advanced and the fog rose, some beautiful effects resulted: at one moment it appeared as if a narrow strip of cliff were suspended from the skyline, in some danger of being precipitated on unwary tourists; and it required no great effort of imagination to associate projecting headlands with mammoth ruins.
Having declined the kindly invitation of a party of road-makers to "have a drink of tea out of the billy," we rest, have a dip in the stream, and lunch a few miles further on. This function over, the river is crossed, and course set for Broger's Creek. For some miles this creek, a fine clear, strong-running stream, only slightly inferior to the river, is followed; eventually wading across, Berry-road is joined. The afternoon is bright, and as the road gently ascends, a delightful panorama, embracing valley, stream, and mountain, is presented, added to which the comfortable-looking homesteads suggest a general prosperity. Here the chief industry is dairy-farming. Over the rich pasture lands which fringe Broger's Creek roam healthy, well-conditioned dairy herds, and it is recognised that you are among a people who are getting a satisfactory return for their labour and outlay. Particular cases of hardship could, no doubt, be cited: even as we passed, an "evicted" family proceeded to its new and temporary home with some lamentation; but inquiry elicited that the family, while sympathised with, was held to be mostly responsible for the misfortune that had overtaken it.
Hotel or other public accommodation at Wattamolla there is none, but, through the kind intervention of a friend, Mr. W. Brandon had consented to come to the rescue, and, tired and hungry, a sumptuous entertainment awaited us. Hot water to bathe our feet, a cheerful fire blazing, and—what might be called the height of hospitality—a juicy turkey-cock, taken in the flower of his youth, done to a turn, and garnished with such vegetables as were in season. Perhaps most delightful of all was the feeling that the hospitality was heartily extended. Some music, a smoke, and then to bed.
Awake at daybreak, but we were among early folk, and breakfast, substantial and piping hot, thoughtfully prepared by Miss Brandon, was ready at 6 o'clock.
Our route lay by Berry-road to Woodhill; thence by cattle tracks along the mountain range at the back of the Fox Ground, descending to Kiama by Saddleback. Steady rain commenced to fall as we climbed up to Woodhill, and continued to do so until the plateau was reached. Mr. Brandon had some anxiety as to our finding the track, and very kindly proposed himself as pilot. Of course, this was not to be thought of, and, although very indistinct in parts—at the best but cattle pads—little if any difficulty was experienced. After rejecting the turn off to the left at the mountain top, which leads to Robertson, if it be borne in mind that while the tracks, in skirting gullies, often appear to bear overmuch to the left, their general trend is to the right, no mistake can well be made.
At its top the mountain forms a barren, sandy, wind-swept plateau, which recent rains had rendered somewhat sloppy. A bright, clear day had succeeded the clouds and rain of early morning, and magnificent views to the south were obtained; but with Saddleback it was, as Macaulay said of Boswell, a case of Eclipse first, and the rest nowhere. However the beauty and extent of this view has been fully dealt with in three-day trip, No. 7.
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