Over the past year I became interested in a solo, winter coastal hike. Cape Conran to Mallacoota involved an 85 km walk whilst passing through the Croajingolong National Park, Wilderness Coast. This also was via the Sandpatch Wilderness Area in East Gippsland, Victoria.
Planning this walk was tricky. A week long stroll into an area, which is surprisingly remote. Access for the solo walker took a little organising and there were other problems as well. Even though it was a winter walk, lack of water is a drama. I did some liaising with the Parks Victoria, Mallacoota office a few times and I was informed there might be a stretch of about 50 km without fresh water. What? I’m not sure if they were trying to scare me, but it certainly made me prepare for the worst! Local knowledge would know of potential soaks hidden up in the dunes, but as a long time city slicker, that counted me out.
I tried my best to reduce weight, as I knew I may have to carry multiple days worth of water. My hiking kit didn’t really contain a lot of light gear, but I did the best with what I had. An Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy bag and a lightweight sleeping mat was all I could come up with at the time.
With water in short supply, food then was a bit of a problem. I prefer rehydrated for weight purposes, but with potentially such little water a rehydrated meal might not be the best idea. I experimented with food that wouldn’t require liquid to create, before settling on crap that would keep me going. The motto became, ‘to hell with the taste. Even with these compromises, I found it hard to drastically reduce weight, as I needed plenty of wet/cold weather gear. I carry my own PLB and I love the simplicity of a Garmin GPS. I didn’t think getting lost would be an issue though. Surely if I keep the ocean on my right, I couldn’t get lost?
Surprisingly, there was a lack of information online about this walk. I looked for blogs or forums and found bugger all. I bought a book called ‘Walking the Wilderness Coast’ by Peter Cook and Chris Dowd, which seemed to be the only reference I could find. It contained an itinerary of each day, which made sense to follow. The lack of information did intrigue me even more to do it. Then again, looking back, I do remember at times during this hike that I never, ever wanted to walk again and I would lie awake at night wishing I had an oven to put my head into..
NB – 11/03/2013: Hi there! I just noticed this post doesn’t contain a lot about this hike. One reason is this was the very first post on the blog and at that stage I had absolutely no idea how to do one! Maybe I still don’t? Anyway, each day of this hike is buried in the blog, but to find the entries quickly here are the links to each one. Again though, looking back at them, they seem unfinished and generally slightly worse than crap. One has to start writing somewhere though, don’t they?
Day 1. Cape Conran to Dock Inlet
Day 2. Dock Inlet to Sydenham Inlet.
Day 3. Sydenham Inlet to Clinton Rocks Creek.
Day 4. Clinton Rocks to Thurra River.
Day 5. Thurra River to Wingan Inlet.
Day 6. Wingan Inlet to Benedore River.
Day 7. Benedore River to Mallacoota.
Summing up the walk in the world’s shortest review.
SO…how was your trip??
Great photo of waves on rock shore by the way. Do you mind if I paint a color study from it?
Thanks for checking out the blog!
Sure, you can do a colour study of the picture. Hopefully I will get to see it!
The hike was hard, cold and wet. This means I loved it! I love and detest hiking in equal measure. I will keep doing it until I can't put one foot in front of the other any more…
So… How did it all work out? How did you get there and back again for example? Did you find water? Which sections did you like and which ones made you question your decision to take on this walk?
This reads like the introduction to a great story worth telling and sharing…
Hi Flo. This walk was pretty early in the blogging history, so it's a bit hit and miss. It's funny, but someone emailed me last week about this hike asking more or less the same things! I have written it up, day by day and it's under 'Croajingolong National Park' in my labels on the right there. I think the posts cover most things you ask? It seems to be a bit hard to find on the blog though, so I might try an additional label of 'wilderness coast'.
Yes, it was an interesting walk as the posts reveal 🙂
If you're ever interested in this hike and have some questions, feel free to email me!
I came across your blog post because I am also trying to find info on this hike so I can do it next year, I can’t even get the book as it’s out of stock everywhere ?
Oh well this will not stop me from doing the hike, wish me luck lol
Looking forward to reading your posts about the hike
Oh yeah, this hike is why I started the blog! Back in 2010 there was nothing at all online, so I wrote this up afterwards and they became my first posts. As it is, it appears no one else has really written about it, so I guess things haven’t changed a decade later 🙂 I’ve done the second leg from Mallacoota to Wonbyn in 2014, but didn’t ever get around to writing about it! I’ve still got the book, so it you need anything from it, I can scan it and send it on. Feel free to email me if you’re still interested.