Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Barren Grounds

Bit of a gap, but I have a good excuse!


Our son was born last July, a whirlwind of change and good times. Approaching nine months he is a happy little dude who loves climbing and standing up. God help us when he learns how to walk!

So yeah, adventures of the wilderness type have been a bit light on over the past year. We have still been doing some nice walks, exploring the pram friendly tracks around our home and also lots of time at the beach surfing and playing in the sand.

A free morning recently presented me with a great opportunity to check out the Barren Grounds Nature Reserve which is a short drive from our house.

I took the Griffiths Trail which was in really good condition and I quickly made it my first stop, a lookout north to Lake Illawarra.

North to the Illawarra from Barren Grounds Nature Reserve

Small section of temperate rainforest on the Griffiths Trail

Woodland typical of the environment on the opening section of the Griffiths Trail

There was some beautiful wild flowers and the escarpment reminded me of the heath of Tasmania.

Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea australis)

Christmas Bells (Blandfordia nobilis)

Fuchsia heath (Epacris longiflora)

Barren Grounds Nature Reserve heathland

Drumsticks (Isopogon anemonifolius)

Not sure

I followed the Griffith Trail all the way around to a natural stone bridge across Lamonds Creek. While sitting having lunch I noticed some small flowers and assume them to be some type of orchid. Identifying them back at home I found them to be carnivorous!

Stone bridge at Lamonds Creek, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve

Fairy apron (Utricularia dichotoma)

Spoon-leaved sundew (Drosera spatulata)

On the way back I took a short diversion to Cooks Nose where there was a great lookout to the south taking in the Kangaroo Valley.

Kangaroo Valley from Cooks Nose lookout

I had intended to keep going and check out some of the other side tracks but it was really hot and I was spent. So good to get back out into the bush and so much more to explore the Barren Grounds NR and the adjacent Budderoo NP.

Our son is getting to an age where we will be able to enjoy the outdoors together and we are looking forward to spending more time in the bush and sleeping under the stars. Winter is not far off and we are excited for some snowy adventures. So hopefully more time outdoors and some more blog posts.

Great morning out 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Exploring Parma Creek

A lovely sunny Saturday and a chance to explore a great little spot near our new home, Parma Creek Nature Reserve. Oh yea, we moved! Work opportunities and life have taken us out of the mountains and back to the coast. The NSW south coast is a beautiful spot, amazing empty beaches and only a short drive to the mountains, the best of both worlds.

Anyway, yea, a sunny Saturday checking out Parma Creek. My parents had an old guide book for the area and this one of the walks recommended. We went a bit off track joining up two separate walks from the book.

We left the Princes Highway and straight into gravel road, much more my style. We parked up just near a crossing of Parma Creek and set off.

First spot was a nice lookout, a little early for break but the view was nice so what the hell.

Parma Creek from Parma Fire Rd

 Too early for a break? nah

After our break from the exhausting 200m that we had walked we continued on across the creek along the fire trail. There were some nice flowers about.

Drumsticks isopogon anemonifolius 

A type of Leptospermum (tea tree)?

Pink Fingers Orchid Caladenia carnea

A type of Hibbertia (Guinea Flower)?


A type of prickly pea, I got over trying to identify this one!

We left Parma Fire Rd and followed a nice track through the bush. There were lots of side tracks and we kind of just followed our way.

Nice track
An then we ended up at an awesome waterfall.

Very nice waterfall, photo is a bit crap 

Being full of adventure we bush bashed down and found a fantastic cave, nice and cool out of the sun.

Now it got interesting, instead of heading back we (maybe I) thought it would be a good idea to follow this tributary downstream until we came to Parma Creek which we could then follow back upstream to the lovely lookout that we started at. The going was very interesting...

Finding our way through the little tributary back to Parma Creek

Amazing trees though

After some time, actually quite a bit of time, we ended up at Parma Creek and what looked like a great swimming hole. We left the swimming for another day and followed Parma Creek upstream.

Potential swimming hole Parma Creek

 I started to take us higher to avoid the waterfall at the start of the walk. It was pretty good going compared to the creek bash earlier with some nice views of the valley.

Parma Creek from the eastern ridge

And that was about it. No snakes or other bities so all good. Great day out exploring a new area.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Short posts at the moment, we have recently moved and I am now painting and renovating our second house!

Anyway, a quick vid of a fun little surf I scored on my longboard.

Monday, February 2, 2015


Hello from summer in Australia. Some underwater shots from a favourite reef of mine :)








Monday, October 20, 2014

Spring Skiing, The Sentinel and Mt Carruthers

Our last big group ski for the season is becoming a bit of a tradition. A big day out followed by a night of camping with beers and stories around the fire. This year we continued the tradition. Rohan, Mark and Marcin the mad Polish man arrived at my house in Berridale late Friday. After a few beers and stories of toilet practices gone wrong while snow camping, a recurring theme it seems, we hit the hay.

Angry Wagyu bull I met on the drive to the mountains

Kind of excited too

We were up early and at the turning circle around 8:00 to meet a host of people; Belly, Rimey, Tim, Dave, Richard, Carl, Mrs Skifree and Paul the telemarking sheep farmer. After a mostly uneventful wet crossing of the Snowy River and walk/ski to the saddle above Soil Con Creek we assessed the skiing out to the Sentinel.

Multiple gear explosions as everyone gets ready for the day out

Boot packing up the Main Range Trail

Looking out to The Sentinel, the boys weigh up the options

The Sentinel, a beautiful peak

The group split with the snowboarders electing to head over to Little Austria and Carruthers while the real man decided to take on the Sentinel.

For our first run we dropped off Sentinel Ridge, the snow was pretty firm and not that great. Huge dimples, like giant golf balls, played havoc with our cool carbon layup skis.

Frame grab of me on our first run off Sentinel Ridge, the dimples were not fun

We then bush-bash contoured around to the south east face of The Sentinel. Some of us donned crampons and climbed to the peak while others experienced snowboarder-esque screw issues with their new crampons. Those of us that climbed to the peak dropped in while Rimey and Mark met us at the bottom after skiing another line off the ridge.

Mark with some classic Australian backcountry ski conditions

Stoked to finally be able to ski The Sentinel

Watsons Crags

Sentinel peak and Mt Townsend

Paul drops in

Hats off to Rimey who after surviving a nasty fall last summer, and subsequent recovery, is back to carving up lines way out in the middle of nowhere.

Classic style, Rimey drops off Sentinel Ridge

The climb out was long and hot.

Crampons on and straight up

We made our way back to Carruthers for some afternoon lines into Club Lake. I met up with some old mates, Ryan and the Snowy Mountains' own bush carpenter Dougs (and here).

Hey Dougs, where's that single malt?

The run down to Club Lake was beautiful, just the right amount of softness and steepness to really let the skis run.

Mark drops into The Elevator, a pretty nice Australian chute from Carruthers down into Club Lake

Frame grab of me skiing off Carruthers

While the fitter members of the group booted up for another run I started the climb up to Mt Lee for my preferred last run of the season. Looking back I saw some tele gold by Paul the telemarking sheep farmer.

The awesome terrain off Mt Carruthers into Club Lake

My last run down Mt Lee was fun, beautiful wide open turns all the way to Club Lake Creek then drift hopping all the way back to the Snowy River. We finished the trip with a memorable night around the campfire discussing snow camping toilet etiquette and tales of youth misspent.

Classic night

Roos around the camp site in the morning

We wet a line in the Thredbo River but no luck as usual

A glacial erratic I encountered on the way home?

Lucky to see hundreds of endangered Hoary Sunray

Thank you everyone for the good times out on the hill. Another great season with plenty of good snow and backcountry learning opportunities. Enjoy summer.

An edit by Rohan who really loves 80's rock!

Sentinel and Club Lake SD from Rohan Verco on Vimeo.