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Jim Harker's Bushwalking Page
Victoria, Australia


Last updated 28 Aril 2000


I am a member and past President of the Victorian Mountain Tramping Club (VMTC) and I am wasy the Publicity and Promotions convener for Vicwalk (The Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs) for 1999 - 2000. Significant trips that I have done include the Kokoda trail and Mt Wilhelm in New Guinea, the Frankland Range and South West Cape in Tasmania and the Australian Alpine Walking Track from Walhalla in Victoria to Canberra in the ACT.

General Information on Walking in Victoria

Compared to many overseas areas walking in Victoria is much more self reliant. You cannot rely on buying food along the way or finding a farm house to stay in. There are huts in many mountain areas but these are small and are often used by other walkers or by the cattlemen who own them. You can't expect to find food at these huts. Walkers in Victoria need to carry tents for their accomodation, carry their own food and a stove for cooking.

There are a number of dangers to be aware of. One of the most important is bushfires. Victoria's eucalypt forests are one of the most fire prone areas in the world. The fire danger period is from December to March. Fire danger is advertised in newspapers, radio and television, usually under the weather report. The highest is total fire ban days. On these days no fires may be lit in the open, this includes camping stoves. Fires, including stoves, may only be lit inside permanent structures, not tents. There are heavy fines and prison terms for people breaking a fire ban day. Note that the state is divided into several fire districts and a fire ban may be declared for only some districts. If you don't have access to the news a hot day with strong northerly winds is likely to be a total fire ban. It is best to avoid bush walking on total fire ban days. For further information see the Country Fire Authority.

Another danger in the hot weather is snake bite. The chances of actually been bitten by a snake are quite slim. Many walkers have never known anyone to be attacked by a snake, but it can occur. There are a number of ways to minimise the chances of being bitten by a snake. Snakes are quite shy and will usually flee from humans unless surprised. if you make a lot of noise as you walk the chances are that any snakes in the way will hide from you. If you encounter snakes remember that they are protected animals and you should not kill them unless absolutely necessary. Try to frighten a snake away or leave your path to avoid it. Wearing long trousers or gaiters will reduce the impact of snakebite as snakes often make a quick bite and then run (slither) away if they attack humans. Also a lot of the venom will be on the outside of the wound and trousers or gaiters will absorb it. Information about snake bite can be found at Emergency Medicine Australia. or Emergency First Aid for snakebite in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

There are poisonous spiders in Australia but apart from the Sydney funnelweb, which is found around Sydney, their bite is painful, but not fatal, to an adult. See Emergency Medicine Australia for information on how to treat spiderbite.

In the mountains hypothermia, or exposure, is a danger in cold, wet weather. Take appropriate clothing, including parka and warm clothes for the body, legs and head, when walking. If you are in severe weather try to find shelter or pitch a tent. See Hypothermia Prevention, Recognition and Treatment for more information.

In hot, dry conditions sun stroke can be a problem. Take plenty of water,check the availability of water along the route and try to rest during the hottest part of the day. Consider doing walks along the beach or rivers where you can have swims to cool off, rather than along mountain ridges where water can be very scarce. See Heat, Cold, High Altitude and Motion Sickness for more information.

Walkers should try to minimise their impact on the bush by carrying away rubbish, using stoves in preference to fires and by being careful in their choice of campsites and toilet arrangements. See Vicwalk or Tread Softly for full details.

If you are using something to calculate times for Melbourne then you would be interested to know that it is located at 37o 49'S and 144o 58' E.



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buttonTide Times for Victoria

button Sun, Moon and Planet rising times for Melbournemoon

Bushwalking links

buttonMy notes on walking areas. Starting with the Australian Alps Walking Track.

buttonMy links to other walking websites, with notes on each site.

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