This year 17 Scouts from Tambo, grouped into three Patrols, are attending the very popular annual Scout Hike with over a thousand other Scouts from NSW. Tambo’s Timewarp, Kool Kids, and Dr. Emmett Brown’s Patrols will be spending the weekend fully self-sufficient and self-directed, hiking the trails of Wingello State Forest completing as many Activity Bases within a prescribed time as possible. The weather is forecast to be clear and sunny with cool nights. It’s a lot of fun and builds leadership, navigation, hiking, cooking, and self-reliance skills in one well-run weekend. Here they are preparing to board the buses in Sydney and head to the forest. Good luck Tambo.
Postscript: A big congratulations to Tambo Kool Kids: Robbie (PL), Adelaide (APL), Estelle, Xavier and Isaac for coming 12th overall and being awarded a Gold Medal. The Timewarp and Dr. Emmett Brown patrols also had a successful weekend being awarded a Bronze Medal and with the experience gained, hopefully setting up Tambo for continued success next year.
Tambo entered two Patrols this year in the popular annual Scout Hike. Ely, Eleanor, Mia, Maya, Adelaide, Rhys, Harry, Gabe and Luke were well prepared as they set off from Meadowbank Park on Friday Night.
The weather was unusually fine and mild this year and both Patrols reportedly had a great time. Congratulations to the Olympians who won a Silver Medal.
Some pictures from the weekend can be found here.
A short overnight camp at the Tambo Hall to help Patrols prepare for Scout Hike. Lots of great learning:
- Tent Pitching;
- Cooking Dinner on a Fire;
- Menu Planning;
- Understanding Warm, Waterproof Light-weight Hiking Gear;
- Navigation; and
So easy camping by the hall – camping gear all easily at hand, running water, and a toilet. Combine this with a movie and a night-hike. Perfect glamping right on the harbour!
More pics here.
In January 2017, a group of fourteen scouts, ex-scouts, leaders and parents ventured down south to experience the natural beauty of Tasmania’s world-heritage-listed Cradle Mountain National Park and to enjoy the quiet beauty of Maria Island off the spectacular coast of eastern Tasmania.
As all experienced hikers in alpine Tasmania will know, the weather, even in mid-summer, can be extremely fickle with reports of snow, in January, not uncommon. Cradle Mountain itself has an average of only 6 clear days every January and just under 70 in a year – it’s one of the rainiest and overcast places in Australia.
The Tambo Group spent considerable time preparing and planning. Pre-hikes, menu plans and gear preparation focussed on coping with hot, cold and wet conditions. They were well prepared.
The Group departed Sydney on an early Saturday morning flight, conveniently flying directly to Launceston where they piled into a minibus and, with gear in tow, travelled to the Cradle Mountain National Park. The next day, carrying heavily laden packs, they hiked up the infamously rough Horse Track to the Baden Powel Memorial Scout Lodge which was to be home for several days.
They explored many of the major day-hike tracks and sights around Cradle including Crater Lake, Marions Lookout, Ballroom Forest, Lake Wilks, the Face Track, and Kitchen Hut. There was some excitement as some in the Group assisted with the “rescue” of a small group of ill-equipped Chinese tourists as they were descending back to Dove Lake late in the day as the sun was setting and the temperature was dropping. Some others in the Tambo Group even got a small taste that day of how quickly the temperatures can drop and the wind can come up as they took temporary shelter in Kitchen Hut – specially reserved for such emergencies.
The Tambo Group spent the next day ascending and descending Cradle. The Group lingered on the summit for a long lunch enjoying magnificent, rare, cloud-free 360-degree views.
On their fourth day, after hiking back down from BP Lodge, the group spent an afternoon canyoning in the Dove River. The extraordinary clear and warm weather had lasted for the full three days they were in the Park – seasoned tour guides were heard to remark that the weather was the best they had experienced in many years.
The long trip diagonally south-east to the seaside fishing town of Triabunna passed along hair-raising roads – racing to meet the last scheduled daily ferry to Maria Island National Park. The island has an eclectic past involving convicts, tourism and mining entrepreneurs, and wildlife conservation. Our Tambo Group spent time getting to know the island and its history, swimming, exploring parts of it by push-bike, discovering the extensive concentration of wildlife, including Cape Barren Geese, wombats and Tasmanian Devils (yes, close up viewing of the Devils), and climbing the spectacular Bishop and Clerk Mountain. Again, the Group was lucky to have (mostly) fine and clear weather for their time on Maria Island.
The ferry trip off the island coincided with a change in the weather and some very high winds. The Group, aided by the local Ranger, pushed their gear on large trolleys along a jetty as waves crashed over them. The ferry trip back was more adventurous than the trip on calm seas a few days earlier. The ferry rose up on high waves before crashing down with a thump ahead of the next wave. Dolphins were even seen leaping in and out of the water alongside the heaving ferry.
Back in Triabunna, the Group, some a little green, re-boarded their minibus. This time for a more leisurely trip back to Launceston via the beachside holiday town of Bicheno and a route passing through the many tiny farming townships along the Fingal Valley.
At Launceston Airport the Group had a final moment of excitement as they ate their dinner awaiting a delayed flight back to Sydney that was within moments of missing Sydney Airport’s notorious curfew – many were starting to look forward to an unexpected last night in Tassie, comfortably accommodated in a Launceston hotel.
They are very pleased to report – 0 injuries, only 4 blisters, just 2 snake sightings, 2 broken Maria Island bikes, 100% of their planned itinerary achieved and an extraordinary average trip satisfaction score (by the Scouts) of 9.8/10!
A big thank you to the leaders and parents who came along to help: Christine, Vanden, Paul, Steve, Fabrice, and Kim.
And also to the boys for being so well prepared: Gabe, Luke, Duncan, Xavier, Isaac, Lucien, Tim and Robbie.
A selection of the many photo’s taken can be found here.
The hike from the Explorers Tree near Katoomba down to Cox’s River in the Megalong Valley is approximately 15.5km and passes through the picturesque Nellie’s Glenn, along fire trails, past a campsite at Old Ford Crossing, through farmland and down through bushland to Cox’s River and a large campsite on the bank of the river. The track crosses the river over a long swinging bridge high above the river. The route follows the Six Foot Track which extends on a further 30 km to the Jenolan Caves. Tambo has put on this hike every couple of years in recent times. It’s a good introductory hike offering alternative starting points and other options depending on the experience level of the Scout. Swimming in Cox’s River can be chilly but fun. The walk back to Old Ford Crossing is about 7km uphill and can be tough going with a heavy pack in the heat of the morning. It’s a very popular hike.
This year was no exception. Eleven new and experienced Scouts with two accompanying Leaders set off from Explorers Tree early Saturday morning and made quick progress down to Old Ford Crossing where two parents and a two additional Scouts joined the group for lunch and the continuing hike down to Cox’s River. The campsite, luckily, only had a few other hikers and campers staying overnight and the riverbank – usually very crowded – was completely deserted which is where we chose to setup our camp.
Darkness fell soon after we arrived which meant we had limited time for pitching tents and cooking dinner – but everyone managed to erect their tent and have a good meal ahead of a very surprising early bed…some very tired Scouts.
The weather had been threatening rain all day but it remained clear. The night was chilly and we had very little dew which helped considerably with packing up the next morning.
After a leisurely breakfast, the group started the journey back. We had a brief swim in the river (too cold for much more than that). The steep walk back to Old Ford Crossing tested everyone and despite a ride being offered to some for the last little bit of the walk, which was politely declined, everyone completed the hike successfully.
In addition to introducing the newer Scouts to overnight hiking and generally having a good weekend, this year the hike also offered those Scouts who are participating in the forthcoming Tasmanian Cradle Mountain and Maria Island trip in January the opportunity to test their gear, and themselves.
Blue Gum Forest is situated in the Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains National Park. It is a stand of magnificent blue gum eucalypt trees. There is a large camping area nearby at Acacia Flat. There are several tracks to chose from to reach the forest. Tambo selected a difficult 25km route starting from Victoria Falls Lookout, descending into the Grose Valley, walking along the Grose River to Blue Gum Forest and Acacia Flat and then exiting via Junction Rock, Govett Gorge, past Bridal Veil Falls and up to Govetts Leap Car Park. The hike was specifically aimed to give the more experienced Tambo Scouts something more challenging than they had done previously with Tambo. Kim’s photos can be found here and Ivan’s here.