Walking on the Wirrabara Way


 
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jones
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 11 8:55pm 
Post subject: Walking on the Wirrabara Way
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This thread is for anyone describing/ discussing walks on the Wirrabara Way section (Crystal Brook to Melrose) part of the Heysen Trail.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 11 9:02pm 
Post subject: Crystal Brook to Hughes Gap
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2011-Sep-18 On Sunday I walked 25Km return on the HT (5:54 walking time) between the corner of Railway Tce and Bowman St, Crystal Brook (between points A and B on map 2.1) and Hughes Gap (near point C on map 2.2) and back. The walk is on a path, tracks, unsealed roads, and roads. Grades were mostly easy with a couple of small hills but the surface was a little rough at times. Elevations vary from 105m to 230m. The day was warm to hot and mostly sunny with a light breeze. The countryside was still green, but there were only a few places in the creek with water. There were flocks of sheep, a kangaroo, plenty of sleepy lizards, and birdlife included magpies and galahs.

I parked near the pub and walked north along Railway Terrace. It (of course) parallels the railway line, past some grain silos, and the town oval. Go east above some flats, and descend to the caravan park. Cross over a road into the golf course. There are big gum trees scattered along the creek from here (most actually in the creekbed). Cross over the first hole you encounter, and then over a rise. Continue alongside the next hole, cross the creek past the next pin (leaving the course), and go along a faint track by the creek. This ends at a road crossing the creek. Turn up Valley Road (unsealed). It rises to a small hill near a farmhouse below.

After about 2.5Km on Valley Road, turn into a sanctuary. The way diverts from the sanctuary track to a well built walkers hut. It then goes back to the track and shortly thereafter reaches the access road to Bowman Park. This is the centre of a historic property, and has been renovated as a function centre and oval. Pass along the edge of the oval, the buildings, and a stone wall. At this point descend to the creek again along a narrow part of the valley until it opens out a bit across from a rock outcrop. Just along this point I met a party of about 10 people who were walking down the creek (possibly from Hughes Gap).

Follow a track which varies between faint and well defined along the creek. At times it is probably just as easy to walk along the edge (or even in) the creekbed. At one point there are a dozen orange trees together in the remains of a grove, complete with ripe oranges. After nearly 5Km the way comes close to the Gladstone-Pire Road. Follow a fenceline parallel to the road to the west for a short distance. Cross the road and then follow the fence on the other side up towards Hughes Gap. My turning point was at Tanks Road near the top of the hill.

Gum trees in the Crystal Brook
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jones
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 11 8:59pm 
Post subject: Hughes Gap to Beetaloo property
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2011-Nov-21 On Monday I walked 21.1Km return on the trail (4:04 walking time) between Hughes Gap (near point C on map 2.2) to Beetaloo - the corner of Mills Road and Collaby Hill Road (near point H on map 2.3) and back. The walk is entirely on dirt roads. Grades were mostly easy. Elevations vary from 230m to 380m. The day was mild to warm with a little high cloud and some light winds. The countryside has dried out, though a couple of farmers dams still had water. There was a flock of sheep, two kangaroos, and birdlife included magpies, galahs, small parrots, and (probably) quail.

The walk started by going north(ish) along Tanks Road. The tanks on Hughes Gap are visible from this road looking south, but they are not close to the road (though it does have a smaller pipeline running along side). There are two creekbed crossings in it's 2Km length. Turn left up Youngs Road. This quickly rises to a ridgeline and follows it north and west for about 2.2Km. At a road junction the way turns gradually to the north, and follows the main ridgeline at the western edge of the Beetaloo Valley (containing the upper parts of 'the' Crystal Brook). After another 1.5Km, Collaby Hill Road comes up from the western valley. Views are excellent to the east over the Beetaloo Valley, and to the west to Collaby Hill and a ridgeline extending from it north. Continue along the road along the ridge going mostly north with a few eastern and western curves until it descends a bit and ends at Mills Road. There are a few more trees at this end of the road. At this point there is the property "Beetaloo". This was my turning point.

I had noticed on the way that the wheat crops were reasonably high on the eastern side of the road (where they were not harvested). On the way back I saw a harvester hard at work, and going around a ruin. I also saw a 4WD driver bringing up one of those mini-silo things to the action (not in fact all that small on the road). A farmer had already put sheep in the stubble further along.

Beetaloo
Harvester overlooking Beetaloo Valley
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jones
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 8:33pm 
Post subject: Remarkable Creek to Yellowman Creek tributary
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2012-Jun-09 On Saturday I walked 13.2Km return on the HT (2:55 walking time) between Remarkable Creek (point F on map 2.11) to a creekbed west of Yellowman Creek (point B on map 2.11) and back. The walk is on roads, unsealed roads, verges, and in paddocks along fencelines. Grades were easy to hard. Elevations vary from about 390m to 490m. The day was cold to warm and sunny. The countryside was green, and there was water in some of the creeks.
I walked past a community event's stalls and large number of bikes, and navigated a few turns to the southern edge of the town. Survey road gradually climbs out of the valley (a nearby peak is Lellos Hill), and passes an old quarry. A sign explains what the 'Mount Remarkable Special Survey' is all about (an area surveyed when copper was discovered at two sites close to Melrose Creek). This large area is several kilometres wide by 20 or more long going southwest from Melrose.

As the road climbs, the trail markers indicate you should follow the fence (set back from the road a bit) first one side then the other of the road. Do this where practical, but there are a few spots with a steep angle; trees; or water make it better to walk close to the road. At one point the fence cuts out a curve in the road by going up part of a hill and down again.

After 3Km or so, leave the road near 'Woodville', travelling along a paddock fence north then northeast to the top of a hill. Along here there are good views of Mt Remarkable. The fence descends south and then southwest. After a while it crosses 3 steep gullies. At the next stream bed (point B on the map), I turned back for the town as it was starting to get late.

On my return to town, I followed the trail markers off Main North Road down to Melrose Creek and a caravan/ camping park. The trail crosses the creek on a 'swing' style footbridge and reaches the camping part of the park. Further on the trail starts the climb of the mountain, but I would leave that for another day.

Mt Remarkable and the gum tree
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 7, 12 9:20pm 
Post subject: Yellowman Ck tributary to near Murray Town
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2012-07-07 I walked 21.1Km return on the trail (4:13 walking time) between a creekbed west of Yellowman Creek (point F on map 2.10) to the George Street/ Archie Road corner just outside Murry Town (point E on map 2.9) and back. The walk is on unsealed roads, tracks, and in paddocks along fencelines. Grades were easy with just a little medium. Elevations vary from about 355m to 370m. The day was cool to warm and sunny with just a little high cloud. The countryside was green, and Yellowman Creek was flowing.

Animal life seen included three kangaroos, two quail, galahs, a kookaburra, various parrots, some tiny finches (plumage brown with a dash of yellow), some horses, and some sheep.

I drove in from Main North Road about 4Km east of Melrose down Crits Road to it's end at the junction with Brooklyn Road. The other way is Murray Town/ George St/ Rosslyn Rd/ Dust Bowl Rd/ Brooklyn Rd. Note however that Brooklyn Rd is a dry weather road.

I first walked a short scenic section from the road junction west to my previous turnaround point. Views of Mt Remarkable, and some old gums by Yellowman Creek looked great. Grades here are mostly easy except for one minor medium slope, and a few rocky outcrops. I reached the creekbed west of Yellowman Creek fairly quickly and returned to the car (about 2.6Km). There are good views to the east as well over farmlands and some hills in the distance.

The other part of the walk started by going east along Brooklyn Road. This gets muddy after rain, but was ok on this day. It goes for about 4Km, with a turn right and a turn left. At the junction with Dust Bowl Road, cross into farmland to the east, and follow a fence down to a ruined farmhouse by a bore with a windmill. Follow a track south and east to a gate. Turn south onto Wild Dog Creek Road, and follow it over some minor rises and creekbeds. After about 3Km it turns right, going west for 1/2 a km, and then quickly south, west, and south to Rosslyn Road. It is then 250m south-east to the intersection of Rosslyn Road, Archie Road, and George Street. Here was my turn around point for the car.

From most places on the return trip Mt Remarkable was visible. Along Wild Dog Creek Road, at each crest most of the lower slopes are visible, but even in the little creekbeds the peak would be showing. The sight draws the mind to thoughts of climbing it, but that is for another day.

Mt Remarkable from Crits Rd
Yellowman Creek
The windmill and the ruined farmhouse
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jones
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 12 10:07pm 
Post subject: Murray Town to Yellow Cutting Road
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2012-Jul-21: I walked 17.9 km return on the trail (3:34 walking time) between the George Street/ Archie Road corner just outside Murry Town (point E on map 2.9) to the corner of Yellow Cutting Road and Wilds Dairy Road (between points D and E on map 2.8) and back. The walk is on unsealed roads, a track, and along fencelines. Grades were easy. Elevations vary from about 380m to 430m. The day was mild and partly cloudy. The countryside was green, a creek running down to Rocky River was running, and a gully stream had water in it.

I walked south along Archie Road, passing Dog Trap gully, and over a couple of minor hills. On this road and most of the following ones, the trail markers tend to be up against one fence or the other. As the fences are sometimes well back from the road, follow them rather than walk on the (dirt) roads where practical. Sometimes it is best to walk on the road to avoid obstacles. In one place a new fence has been built closer to the road, isolating a marker!

At the next cross road, continue south onto Rubbish Dump road. After about 1Km, it turns west for 700m, and south for 800m. Here you cross the Port Germain-Murray Town Road, and go south on Collins Road. A sign here explains this area used to be a small-farm settlement (called Murphy Town) between 1880 and 1930 with mixed crops and livestock including fruit trees. This explains the more than usual number of ruins. After 1.2Km, the road turns to the north west for 500m. Turn south down Burfords Road, and after 1.1Km, west on Willow Dam Road. After 200m, turn south west along Wilds Dairy Road, passing a property on Rocky River with a particularly large barn. The road crosses a stream going down to the river, and turns into a track as it rises over a minor hill to the junction with Yellow Cutting Road.

Here I turned for the car. At each little hill on this walk there are good views of the nearby major hills and ridges. At one hill I noticed there is a good view of Mt Remarkable perhaps 30Km to the North-West. When I turned to the South West, I could easily see perhaps 15Km to the TV tower on the 'Bluff' ridge between the Wirrabara Forest and Telowie Gorge CP.

Ruins near Burfords Road, Wongyarra
Wilds Dairy Creek
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 12 11:48pm 
Post subject: Block Nine Rd to Yellow Cutting Rd/ Wilds Dairy Rd
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2012-Aug-25: I walked 16.4 km return on the trail (3:47 walking time) between Block Nine Rd (Heysen intersection) in the northern part of the Wirrabara Forest (between points H and I on map 2.7) to the corner of Yellow Cutting Road and Wilds Dairy Road (between points D and E on map 2.8) and back. The walk is on unsealed roads, and forest trails. Grades were mostly easy but there was a fair bit of medium and just a small bit of hard. Elevations vary from about 410m to 490m. The day was cool to mild and partly cloudy. The countryside was suprisingly green, dams were full, and there was standing water here and there from recent rain. I saw two kangaroos, some glimpses of kookaburras, what may have been a hawk, and plenty of sheep.

The drive in was by the main highway, turning off past Port Pirie onto the Port Germain-Murray Town Road. This is a C grade road but has views of the range in one direction, and the Spencer Gulf (with the other side visible too) in the other. When the road reaches the range it climbs to the top through a twisty gorge - an interesting tourist drive! On the return trip I noticed just before entering the gorge a road sign warning of rockfalls. It showed a car next to a cliff with a large boulder falling towards it. A kangaroo was also shown falling! A short time after exiting the gorge, turn down White Park Rd for about 3.5 Km, and right down Block Nine Rd for 1.8 Km (there were muddy patches in the gullies on this road). Park at an intersection where the Heysen trail briefly comes out of the forest. A road sign near where I parked shows a goanna symbol. Perhaps this means "Beware the giant goanna!" or perhaps "Escaped Komodo Dragons in the area - danger!"

I walked about 10 metres along Block Nine Rd, and then crossed a fence into a pine section of the Wirrabara Forest. This borders a vineyard (no vines visible). Follow the boundary fence west for 1 Km - there are a couple of gullies to cross and some little hills. The fence turns NW, then NNW then NNE over the next 1.2 Km. On one side there is pine forest (with a few sugar gums), and on the other side there is more open country, being grazed by sheep. There is a slightly deeper gully before a relatively short but somewhat steep climb to the top of a hill. From near the top you can see the gulf through a gap in the ranges, and even the other side of the gulf. At the top (Sugar Gums Lookout) you can see a fair way along the ranges to the north, west, and south.

Shortly after the lookout the trail turns east then very shortly northeast past a small dam. It then approaches White Park Rd. Follow the fence on the forest side until you can cross a stile where Yellow Cutting Rd ends at White Park Rd. Walk along Yellow Cutting Rd for about 1Km to the edge of the Wirrabara Forest. From this point you can see Mt Remarkable off to the north. Keep following Yellow Cutting Rd for about another 3 Km through fields. The road is fairly level (and a little muddy) until it descends slightly in the last 1/2 Km before reaching Wilds Dairy Rd.

Here I turned for the car. The country is about as green as you will ever see it. Two woodcutters that I passed on the road said that a reasonable amount of rain has fallen in the last week - over 2mm, and higher in the forest.

Photos and a map are on my bushwalking site.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 12 8:25pm 
Post subject: Block Nine Rd to Go-Cart Shelter
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2012-Sep-16 I walked 18.2 km return on the trail (4:50 walking time) between the Go-Cart Track shelter (between B and C on Map 2.7) and Block Nine Rd (Heysen intersection) (between points H and I on map 2.7) and back. The walk is on forest trails and paths. Grades were about 60 percent easy, 30 percent medium, and 10 percent hard. Elevations vary from about 395m to 670m. The day was mild and mostly sunny. The countryside was still green, a dam was full, and there were pools of water in two creeks. I saw four kangaroos, two kookaburras, some currawongs, some galahs, and other parrots.

The track leaves the road and goes along a track SW at the edge of the forest next to a vineyard. It goes up and down a few small hills, and then turns onto Sheep Yard Track. It leaves this almost immediately to go on a minor track to the top of another small hill, and back to the main track within 500m. After another couple of hundred metres the way leaves the main track, following a minor track down a moderate slope for 500m. It then turns onto a path which follows a creek (dry except for a few pools) down a gully for 800m. The way then rejoins Sheep Yard track for 1Km as it goes alongside a larger creek (also dry except for a few pools).

The way then leaves the creek heading 1Km south then west up a steeper grade path to the main north-south ridge separating the Wirrabara Forest and the Telowie Gorge CP. The way along here follows the Go-Cart Track. Views are a little restricted in most places due to trees, but some rises and one lookout allow you to see the Conservation Park's gorges to the west, some of the towns on the gulf, and also the forest to the east. After almost 4Km, the way rises to two points about 670m high, the second of which has a large CFS tank, and a large shelter right next to it.

Here I turned for the car. As I was descending down from the ridge I met an end-to-end walker on his way south from Parachilna Gorge! He was intending to camp at the Go-Cart shelter that night, and was glad to here there was some water there in the walker's tank.

Photos and a map are on my bushwalking site.
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 13 7:51pm 
Post subject: Old Nursery to Go-Cart Shelter
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2013-May-18 I walked 19.6 km return on the trail (4:50 walking time) between the Ippinitchie Old Nursery (between points C and E on map N2.6) to the Go-Cart Track shelter (between B and C on Map 2.7) and back. The walk is on forest trails and paths. Grades were about 50 percent easy, 45 percent medium, and 5 percent hard. Elevations vary between 422m and 718m, with a total vertical climb for the day of 715m (lots of little hills). The day was mild and sunny. The countryside was starting to green after rain and showers during the week, but no creeks were actually running. I saw five kangaroos.

The drive in was by the main highway, turning off to Crystal Brook and Laura. Go north to along the Horrocks Highway almost to Wirrabara township, and turn off on minor roads (eventually Wirrabara Forest Road) to the forest. Pass a turnoff to the Ippinitchie campground, the Wirrabara Hostel, and the forest office. Park at the old nursery. The Ippinitchie spur ends here now rather than continuing down to the campground. Here I met a bloke in his car waiting for his wife walking from Beetaloo. He expected her to come down the old spur ending at the TV tower, or perhaps the TV track which goes up to the ridge 2Km north of the tower. He realised reroutes had happened, but on his map had crossed out the Apricot track way :-<

Follow the spur through the "Brown Gate" first to the west and then north up a hill. Just over the top of the hill keep left where a track joins from the east. This used to be an alternate way to the Ippinitchie campground. Follow the track more or less west for 1.5Km. In this section of the track there are at least 4 small hills with easy to medium grades. Last year there was a bushfire in the area; the gum trees are regenerating well. Turn NNW for 1.2Km along the flank of a ridge parallel to the main ridge to the west. The track crosses 4 creekbeds but does not climb the ridge. The Apricot Track turns off this track to the SW.

The Apricot Track climbs up the centre of the ridge. The suface of this track is loose in places so watch your footing. The track curves west then northwest and drops a bit just below a hill before starting a 120m climb over the next 1.3Km to the top of the main ridge. The steepest bit is probably a short section just before the southernmost end of Crews Track. After another 200m Apricot track ends on the main ridge at Go-Cart track.

At this point I followed Go-Cart track ENE along the main ridge to Frypan Hill (718m). Views are not good from here, but just a little further along there are good views to the NE, and then there is a nice lookout to the west over the gulf. The ridge gradually descends as it passes three tracks descending east and one to the west. A second west descending track (BBQ Track) starts next to the Go-Cart shelter (600m); my turn-around point.

The climb back to Frypan Hill wasn't too bad, and the descent down the Apricot track had good views at times to the east and also at one point SSW to the TV tower on the ridge. Some of the small hills below the Apricot track ridge seemed to have a decent grade towards the end of the walk. A few kangaroos were around as I passed Curnows track. I got back to the car about 15 minutes before sunset.

Photos and a map are on my bushwalking site.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 14 8:03pm 
Post subject: Bangor Fire effect on Wirrabara Way
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Hi I was just looking at the Bangor Fire map from 09/02/14 (it went from 14 January to at least 18 February) and it has impacted on the trail route all the way from Collaby Hill above Beetaloo to the outskirts of Murray Town.

This has taken in no less than 5 of my walks on this section of the trail (admittedly not particularly long day walks) plus an 11+Km section between Beetaloo Station to the TV tower.

At this time the Forestry Service has the Wirrabara Forest closed "indefinitely" and this may persist well into the walking season. I expect that even when it reopens it will take some time to re-mark the trail (and put in reroutes if required). The most likely sections for problems I would say is climbs onto the main ridge and some steeper areas along the ridge.

It's a real shame as parts of the area were recovering nicely from a fire in the forest just a couple of years ago.

Oh, and I forgot to say last night - the Germain Gorge Road is closed (in the gorge section) due to damage caused by the fire. Supposedly it was badly damaged.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 14 6:58pm 
Post subject: Bangor Fire effect on Wirrabara Way
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I heard on the radio this 15th of April that the Bangor fire (including all hot spots) is now officially out! Does this mean walking in the area this coming season? We will just have to wait and see...
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