Date: Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Start: Honeysuckle Creek Campground
Finish: Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre
Daily Kilometres: 15.4
Total AAWT Kilometres: 659.6
Weather: Cold early, then mild and sunny
Accommodation: Overnight train to Melbourne
Aches: My knee still a problem descending, but improving.
Highlight: Reaching the end of the AAWT and our journey on a beautiful sunny day.
Pictures: Click here
Map and Position: Click here for Google Map
We had no nocturnal visitors, and didn't sleep too badly on the concrete floor of the campground's picnic shelter. However, we were both awake by 5:30am, and packed and hiking, with frozen fingers as usual, by 6:40am. It was lovely single-track trail through peaceful forest and past grey boulders for the first hour or so and the sun finally began to filter through the trees and warm us a little.
After an hour, the trail emerged onto the Bushfold Flats, a large grassed valley populated by many kangaroos who seemed less fazed by human interlopers into their domain than those of the past. The sun was now up, though there were plenty of frost patches, and it was a glorious morning to be walking through the bush.
From the flats, the trail climbed through dry eucalypt forest up onto the shoulder of Mt Tennent and we found a perfectly-placed log in the sun to have our last meal, breakfast, on the trail. We had good mobile phone coverage for the first time in three days, and spent some time catching up on emails and I posted the past three days blog.
From there it was an occasionally steep descent, with many fine views, to the finish of the AAWT at the Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre in Tharwa. We arrived about 11:45am and were greeted by the park staff with a free drink (or ice-cream), a certificate, cloth badge, and an iconic "Alpine Track" marker as we had seen attached to many trees along the way.
Cousin-in-law, Chris, kindly picked us up shortly afterwards and treated us to a shower and lunch at his and Jocey's home. Later, we will be catching an overnight train to Melbourne, retrieving my car, then driving back home to Terrigal over two days during which we will collect our food cache drums from their hiding places.
The hike has been everything we hoped for, even including those bad times when we wished we were somewhere else, but survived. We enjoyed fantastic Australian bush scenery and soaked up the solitude and isolation that often saw us go for days without seeing another person. Of the trails I have hiked, the AAWT is the most hardcore. Especially in Victoria, where the climbs/descents can be extremely steep and the trail unmaintained, overgrown and hard to follow. Nevertheless, often the only way to see and experience this country is deal with these challenges, and we were glad we did.