• SANDSTONE TO WILUNA P1010475
    Alan Melville

    Hiking the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT)

    A journey by Alan Melville
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    Alan Melville

    Hiking the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT)

    A journey by Alan Melville
    Get emailed when something new is posted
  • WILUNA TO MEEKATHARRA REV 1 P1010768
    Alan Melville

    Hiking the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT)

    A journey by Alan Melville
    Get emailed when something new is posted
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  • SANDSTONE TO WILUNA P1010475
    Alan Melville

    Hiking the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT)

    A journey by Alan Melville
    Get emailed when something new is posted
    ...
  • WILUNA TO MEEKATHARRA P1010524
    Alan Melville

    Hiking the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT)

    A journey by Alan Melville
    Get emailed when something new is posted
  • WILUNA TO MEEKATHARRA REV 1 P1010768
    Alan Melville

    Hiking the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT)

    A journey by Alan Melville
    Get emailed when something new is posted
  • 01
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I start walking soon

I begin my journey in the first week of May 2017....hopefully..... - on Thursday, 27 April 2017.

Hi, Alan Melville here and I'd like to welcome you to my blog dedicated to my journey along the Bicentennial National Trail.

So a bit about the site. If you pop your Email in the field to the left and hit subscribe, you'll not have to come back and check to see if I've made any updates as you'll automatically receive a notification. Later on we'll add comments and to stop the spam, we'll put in a "Capchta" so we know your human.

The idea is too keep the site simple and therefore easy to navigate.

Don't pay too much attention to the cycling pics that are visible at the moment. They are just to add a bit of colour and are from a ride I did back in 2015, which incidentally, I purchased an old 1800 buck ute to finish the ride with....... another story, another day.......

This walk is not connected to any sponsorship or charity, it's just amongst the many different 'crazy' [I've been informed!] things I do.

Please don't expect continual updates, there will be some sections where I'll be out of contact for perhaps weeks at a time. Let's say all updates will flow with a regular irregularity. :) However, there is a Twitter tab, and once I get a handle on how all that high tech shit works, I'll use it for posting meaningless pictures of food like other people do.....can you even do that on Twitter or is that Instagram?????

So, the plan.....

I hope to fly into Cairns on Friday the 5/5/2017. I need to pick up a battery from Jaycar for running my electronics, and I'll then jump on a bus Saturday morning and head to Cooktown, where, no doubt, I'll need to visit the local Supermarket to pick up 'high tech specialized' trail food, [baked beans, salami, you know, that sort of shit] I'll hunt down the trail head and maybe start walking Saturday arvo if I feel up to it, otherwise I'll leave Sunday morning.

In order to carry all the shite that we deem necessary in this modern age, I'm going to use a 'Monowalker' which is a 1 wheeled hiking trailer. I'm told by its inventor, Kai, that it will halve the weight on my shoulders due to the harness system it utilises. Trust me, I shall be keeping this under close surveillance and will report all findings here. I'll be assembling the Monowalker [hereafter known as the MW] tomorrow. My first impression is one of very high quality, attention to detail and it's blatantly obvious that it's designed by a German and NOT made in China!!! Mind you, it cost me a few bucks to land it here in OZ.

The MW and obtaining the required permissions / guide books from the BNT committee are the extent of my 'Training and preparation' that have taken place for this trip. However, those that know me well will understand that I don't require any further prep than that. The preceding comes with one caveat; I have eaten like a horse this year and put on 17 Kg's for the walk. I suspect I'll lose about 20 Kg's if I complete the walk. I've already lost 3 Kg on a motorbike ride I've just completed from the Gold Coast back home to Muka........bring on the Mars Bars I say.......  :)

So, here's a few silly little stats for you, I have an sad history for working out these silly little things......                                                      

I'll very likely end up walking 5500 K's, if I finish, for me this equates to approximately 7,857,142 steps. My boots weigh approx: 650 Grams per boot, so I'll therefore lift 2,553 Kg [not taking into account mud 'n' crud en-route] with each foot. I'm already thinking of staying at home or going for a motorbike ride....... I'm not even going to go into the stats that involve altitude gain / loss...... 

OK, it's way past my bed time. Here's hoping I can keep you entertained with 'stories from the trail' and also post a few nice pics of the country I pass through. 

Here's an article about the BNT from Wikipedia;

History

The trail was initiated and planned by the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association. The association spent many years planning and negotiating a route that linked up the musteringbrumby tracks, pack horse trails, historic coach roads and stock routes, thus providing an opportunity to legally ride the routes of stockmen and drovers who once travelled these areas.[3]

 
Trail Marker

The development of this image was left to a committee led by R. M. Williams. Dan Seymour was sponsored by R.M. Williams to find a route along the Great Dividing Range, and to promote enthusiasm for the proposal. Dan volunteered to ride the Trail and set off from Ferntree Gully, Victoria in February 1972 with two saddle horses, a packhorse and ‘Bluey’ his blue heeler cattle dog. The Australian Trail Horse Riders Association provided Dan with encouragement during this lengthy journey. His amazing twenty-one month ride finished in Cooktown, Queensland in September 1973. Dan’s journey, which was regularly reported, created increased interest in the formation of the Trail.

The development of this image was left to a committee led by R. M. Williams and coordinated and planned by Brian Taylor [4] in cooperation with the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association affiliated clubs, farmers, landowners and government agencies.

 
Medallion presented to those who carried the first mail on the BNT

In 1978 the first mail was carried along the route, initially known as the National Horse Trail, from Cooktown by a group of registered riders. These riders were acknowledged with a commemorative medallion.

The Trail committee proposed that the concept be made a project to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988. The suggestion was accepted, and funding of $300,000 was available to research, mark a route and print guidebooks. In November 1988, this had been accomplished and the Bicentennial National Trail was opened. Since the opening of the trail people have travelled all or a part of the trail with camels and donkeys as well as with horses and mountain bikes.

Bicentennial National Trail Riders From Cooktown to Healesville 5330 km & From Healesville to Cooktown 5330 km[5]

1989

  • Ken Roberts and Sharon Muir Watson (south with Horses Cooktown to Healesville)The first horse riders North to South.

1991

  • Arlene Christopherson, (north with horses Healesville to Cooktown) The first horse rider South to North.
  • Anthony Mair and Melissa Weeks, (heading north with horses from Healsville to Cooktowwn)

1994

  • Gabrielle Schenk (south with horses Cooktown to Healesville)

1995

  • Darryl(Doc) Eckley and Robyn Surry Healesville to Cooktown

1997

  • Peter Spotswood (Cooktown To Healesville with horses)

1999

  • Geoff Daniel (Healesville to Cooktown with horses)
  • Ed and Maria Van Zelderen. ( Cooktown to Healsevllle to Cooktown with horses 10000 km) The first Riders both directions.

2000

  • Urs Marquardt and Karin Heitzmann, (Cooktown to Healesville on Horses)
  • Dyane Sabourin and Geoff Grundy with daughters Angela and Serena Cooktown to Healesville with 12 horses)

2003

  • Therese Hanna ( Healesville To Cooktown with horses)

The Trail[edit]

 
In the rainforest with packhorses The Creb track

This Trail links eighteen of Australia's national parks and more than 50 state forest providing access to some of the wildest, most remote country in the world.[6] The Bicentennial National Trail is suitable for self-reliant horse riders, walkers and mountain bike riders. Parts of the Trail, such as some of the Jenolan Caves to Kosciuszko section, are suitable for horse-drawn vehicles.[6] The BNT trail route is not open to motorised vehicles or trail bikes, and pets or dogs are not permitted. The trail is divided into 12 sections, of 400 to 500 kilometres, each with a corresponding guide book.

1. Cooktown to Gunnawarra; the trail passes through rain forest, gold fields and historical tin mining towns.

2. Gunnawarra to Collinsville, through the grazing country of far north Queensland.

3. Collinsville to Kabra

4. Kabra to Biggenden

5. Biggenden to Blackbutt

6. Blackbutt, Queensland to the New South Wales border at Cullendore; this start of this section of the trail follows the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.[7]

7. Killarney to Ebor; this is a rugged remote section that follows the Guy Fawkes River through Guy Fawkes River National Park[8] and across Waterfall Way.

8. Ebor to Barrington Tops, is another rugged remote section that passes through Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. After passing Ebor the trail crosses the Point Lookout Road before it passes briefly through Cunnawarra National Park. It then runs on the east of Georges River until it crosses the Armidale to Kempsey road. The track is mostly unmarked as it follows the Macleay River past the historic East Kunderang homestead in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Following Kunderang Brook it winds its way to mustering huts at Left Hand Hut, the remote Middle Yards Hut, Youdale’s Hut and to Cedar Creek on the edge of Werrikimbe National Park. After crossing the Oxley Highway the trail passes through the Mummel Gulf National Park. This section takes at least five days to travel and all food and equipment has to be carried. There are numerous creek and river crossings, with some steep ascents and descents.

9. Barrington Tops to Jenolan Caves

10. Jenolan Caves to Kosciuszko

 
The start in Cooktown

11. Mt Kosciuszko to Omeo, including the Tom Groggin Track

12. Omeo to Healesville, near Melbourne

 

Comments (1)

  • Rog Fryer

    Rog Fryer

    03 August 2017 at 22:32 | #

    Can you write story about your adventure for BNT TRACKS magazine? 1000 words plus half a dozen good high res photos (5mg for emailing). Deadline August 20. Send to tracks @nationaltrail.com.au*

    reply

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