Anzac LWE scrub-free! (25-27 Apr 2024)

There were a few permutations before our leader John settled on what was a significantly easier trip than the one originally posted on the Club program. We exchanged probable hours of thick bush-bashing with full packs for idyllic open ridges and a base camp meaning we only carried full packs for a day and a half. The downside – a 5 hour drive from Sydney – but something I was willing to stomach given the ANZAC day public holiday was a Thursday, giving me a four day weekend.

The temperature as we drove down from Canberra on Thursday morning started at 4°C and hovered between -1°C and 1°C most of the way. We warmed up with a free sausage sizzle (and excellent coffee) at the Courtyard Cafe in Cooma. Those that had camped at Numeralla had a pretty chilly night and I think we were all questioning whether we’d packed enough warm clothes.

Don’t think this obstacle was on the trip waiver

Our early walking was stymied early on when we found ourselves inside a very securely fenced revegetation area – but like numerous wombats before us, we escaped!

Revegetative works

Regrowth has become such a normal part of walking in most parks within 2-3 hours of Sydney that I had to keep pinching myself as we walked up open ridges where barely a bush brushed our legs. What a treat!

But where’s the scrub?!

By lunch time we had reached our proposed base camp an idyllic setting with what looked like a great swimming hole. Ha swimming. Who would do that when temperatures still felt like they were in the single digits.

River crossing

But why is no one swimming?

Post lunch most of us headed off for a upstream excursion which had some fun scrambling, river crossings and more hills. At the top of our last hill I was wondering why I was feeling so tired, but felt somewhat better when told our cumulative ascent for the day was around 700m.

Lauren attempting to negotiate a bluff

Beautiful river scenery

More open walking!

Our camp for two nights

That night, appropriately given it was ANZAC day, Tom gave us a moving rendition of “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. A poignant reminder of the futility of war.

Fortunately it was nowhere near as cold overnight compared to the previous night and I think collectively we all slept really well. Day 2, we had a 7:30am departure from camp, for a day trip that John threatened might finish after dark. This time we headed downstream. This was mainly very quick walking apart from a wiggly section with some really picturesque rocks and an amazingly balanced tree – evidence of the previous flood.

Early morning river crossing


Lauren taking her own route

Tom scrambling

Fun rocky river section


We had morning tea downwind of a pig carcass before taking on some more hills. Lunch was at a pleasant spot with views over the surrounding area. Before we had a wonderful ridge walk back towards camp and another scrub-free ridge descent back to camp. A wonderful day with lots of variety and very little to complain about. Especially since we were back in time to have an afternoon coffee 🙂

Less fun scenery – but better dead than alive

Climbing up a small creek

Lunch views on day 2

Despite the cool temperature on the first day Tom & I still had a swim. It was much warmer on day 2 but the water was still very chilly for our swim on the second day.

Our second night’s entertainment, a pivot from the previous night, was the story of an epic that one of the party had recently been on. The story itself was an epic and everyone was so engrossed, that dinner got pushed back to after 6pm!

Chilly swim

Day 3 brought a split in the group. One party member’s knee was not functioning well, so one contingent would take the most direct route back to the cars, while the other group would take on John’s original plan for day 3. Initially the fabulous five were going to take the longer route, but in the end it was just the three musketeers (me, Tom & Lauren). We chose to modify John’s route and just follow the ridges for our route out – these ended up being quite different from our ridge line the previous day. Getting up to 1200m we seemed to be above the main tree line so had expansive views of the surrounds. But the Allocasuarina nana covered much of the bare ridges. While it was generally only knee high it did slow things down.

Early morning views on day 3

Sort of scrub-free – at least we can see 🙂

Unusual rock

Rocky ridge walking

We had hoped for some views from our high point for the day but it was a eucalypt covered mound. Instead we headed down an old fire trail and found a couple of flat rocks poking out of the allocasuarina for great lunch views.

Lunch spot (tree-covered high point in the background)

After lunch we were mainly on fire trail and some very open ridges back to the car. We were also walking into the sun, which seemed very scorchy, and by the time got to the cars we were all feeling pretty fried and looking forward to milkshakes in Cooma!

Another open ridge back to the car

What a treat to get out in unburnt country for three days. Thanks to John for organising.