Bucegi Mountains, Omu Peak, Romania

Bucegi Mountains, Omu Peak

Bucegi Mountains, Omu Peak,  is a description of a hiking circuit from Busteni to Omu Peak. Omu Peak is the ninth highest mountain in Romania with an altitude of 2505 m.

Bucegi Mountains is the most accessible mountain in Romania. It has the shape of a horseshoe with the eastern side being very busy due to numerous resorts at the bottom of the mountains such as Sinaia, Predeal, Busteni.

The circuit starts from Busteni.

From Busteni take the cable car to Babele Chalet which is at 2200 m altitude. This will save some time in order to complete the circuit in one day. The Cable Car does not function if the weather is bad. Wait until is opened to see if is functioning, as many drivers want to take advantage and try to convince you that is closed and to change your plans at the car at heftier price. Unfortunately this still happens in busy touristic areas.

As you arrive by cable car at Babele you are basically on the Plateau.

Bucegi Mountains, Omu Peak, Romania
Western Panorama

On this area, the geology of the mountains is conglomerate and the weather elements  created interesting geological features such Babele and the Sphinx.

Bucegi Mountains, Omu Peak, Romania
Babele
Bucegi Mountains, Omu Peak, Romania
Sphinx

From the Sphinx follow the track marked with red cross to the Heroes Cross. It takes about 45 minutes.

Bucegi Mountains, Omu Peak, Romania

The Heroes Cross was built between 1926 and 1928 on Caraiman Peak. The Heroes Cross  is also known as “The Cross on Caraiman”. The monument was built by King Ferdinand I and Queen Marie of Edinburgh his wife, in the honour of railway heroes who died in the First World War. The Cross is the tallest summit cross in the world. The Cross has a height of 28 metres and two arms of 7 metres.  At night the Cross is illuminated and can be seen from far away.

From the Heroes Cross,  head towards Costila on the track marked red cross to the Saddle Saua Sugarilor. Take  the track marked yellow stripe to Omu Peak. At Omu Peak Hut you can have a cup a tea or coffee. From Omu Peak descent to Busteni, via  Cerbul Valley following  the track marked  yellow stripe.  It takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. The descent has some rocky parts at the beginning.  A beautiful mountain goat was watching us from a far.

The route without the cable car  has about 23.5 km.

The route has a total ascent of 742.28 m and has a maximum elevation of 2,478.34 m. The average speed was 3km/h . Time without the cable car about 8 hours.

The second map includes the trip with the cable car. The total time of the trip including  the trip with the cable car was 9 hours.

Balea Waterfall

Balea Waterfall or Cascada Balea is in Fagaras Mountains, Romania, also called the Alps of Transylvania.

Balea Waterfall is at 1234 m altitude and has a height of 60m. Access is via Transfagarasan highway to Balea Waterfall Chalet (Cabana Balea Cascada).

Balea Waterfall
Balea Waterfall Chalet, in the distance

 

The track is marked with a red dot and it takes 50 to 60 minutes to reach the waterfall.

The total distance is 3 km and took 1 hour 36 minutes return. The track has a total ascent of 297.48 m and has a maximum elevation of 1,561.75 m.

The scenery is beautiful but it’s shadowed by the amount of garbage left on the track. I could not understand the lack of respect for nature. As we hike along two women were throwing a big rock in the creek. I was told they want to break the rock to take a small piece home???

It will take years of education for people to enjoy nature as it is and leave “no trace”.

Transfagarasan is a famous road on its own which was built during seventies by military forces. It crosses the mountains from Transylvania to Muntenia and has numerous tunnels and viaducts. Top Gear Jeremy Clarkson named Transfagarasan on of the best world’s road. The road is opened between June and September.

Other walk  in Fagaras Mountains: https://www.aussietrailwalker.com/2017/10/fagaras-mountains-vinatoarea-lui-buteanu-peak

Dandenong Ranges National Park, Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

 

Dandenong Ranges National Park

Dandenong Mountain is the Melbourne’s Mountain. A brief escape from the city and popular with walkers and runners is Ferntree Gully Forest, about 35 km from Melbourne.

 Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

Kokoda Track Memorial Walk also known as 1000 steps. The walk is dedicated to Kokoda Veterans who fought in Papua New Guinea in the Second World War.

Dandenong Ranges National Park, Kokoda Track Memorial Walk
Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

It was created in 1900 and was adopted by Kokoda Veterans as a Memorial Site in 1998.
It starts at Ferntree Gully main car park near the Kokoda entrance arch. Follow the Treefern Gully Track also known as Kokoda Memorial walk.  Walk the steep section to the top and return via Lyrebird Track.

Along the track there are 14 plaques, which relate significant events that occurred on Kokoda Track in the second World War.

Dandenong Ranges National Park, Kokoda Track Memorial Walk
Memorial Plague 1000 steps

This is very popular as a fitness trail and is crowded over the weekend.

The walk has a distance of 3.34 km with  a total ascent of 179.16 m and has a maximum elevation of 389.88 m. It takes about 1 -1.5 hours.

 

 

 

Short walks in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria

 

Short walks in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria

Wilson Promontory is an ideal destination for bushwalking.

From overnight hikes  and numerous day walks of all fitness levels, you will be enchanted with natural coastline features, granite boulders, pristine beaches, and lush rainforests or Stringybark woodlands.

Wilson Promontory is the southernmost tip of Australian mainland. The stunning coastline, the marine park, numerous bushwalking trails  make a popular destination in Victoria.

From Melbourne is a 3 hour  drive. Take the South Gippsland Highway A440 and then Meeniyan- Promontory Road C444 to the Wilson Promontory entrance. From the entrance to Tidal River is 30 minutes drive. At Tidal River are a campground, visitor centre and general store.

The closest towns are Yanakie, Fish Creek and Foster.

Mount Oberon Summit Walk

Distance is 6.8 km

Time is 2 hours return

The walk starts at Telegraph Saddle car park.

The route has a total ascent of 332.27 m and has a maximum elevation of 540.58 m.

During peak periods in summer there is a free bus shuttle from Tidal River to Telegraph Saddle which runs every half an hour.

Mount Oberon offers a wonderful panorama over the Bass Strait.

Squeaky Beach Loop Walk

Distance is 8.6 km

Time is 3 hours

The walk starts at Lilly Pilly Gully car park.

The route has a total ascent of 225.98 m and has a maximum elevation of 144.93 m.

Cross the road and walk on Lilly Pilly Link Track.  At the bifurcation follow the left track of Tidal Overlook Circuit. The track follows the Tidal River and offers nice views of the Tidal River and Norman Beach.

Short walks in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria
Tidal River

 

Short walks in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria
Norman beach

Follow the track to the boulders of Pillar Point. From the Pillar Point backtrack to the bifurcation with Squeaky Beach Track. Turn left on the Squeaky Beach Track to reach the beautiful white Squeaky Beach.

Short walks in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria
Squeaky Beach in the distance

The name of Squeaky Beach is from the rounded grains of quartz that make a squeak noise when walked on. Take the time to cool off in the ocean and have a break. Return to the Lilly Pilly car park following the inland part of the Tidal Overlook Circuit.

You need to carry enough water for the day and have ample sun protection.

Mount Stapylton, Grampians National Park

Mount Stapylton Loop Walk

Start the walk from Stapylton campground.

Mount Stapylton, Grampians National Park

Walk through a scrubby bushland and soon after crossing the Pohlner Road arrive to a junction, where you take the right side of the track.

Mount Stapylton, Grampians National Park

Follow the track, climbing for almost 5 km, 300 meters from 254 to 454 meters altitude.

Mount Stapylton, Grampians National Park

 

Mount Stapylton, Grampians National ParkMount Stapylton, Grampians National ParkPassing a large cave, climb to a rocky point view on Mount Stapylton. After admiring the views, take the track towards Mount Zero Picnic Area. Turning left at the second junction with Mount Zero track, continue on Mount Stapylton loop walk, to return to the Mount Stapylton camp ground.

Mount Stapylton, Grampians National Park

The total distance of the loop was 12.5 km. The track is difficult, rated hard with rocky sections.

Can be slippery if wet. Total time taken was 5.45 hours.

For changes of the track conditions check Parks Victoria website at http://parkweb.vic.gov.au

Mount Stapylton Camp ground is 15 km south west of Western Highway on Olive Plantation Road.

Access is on unsealed road.

Closest towns are Halls Gap at 28.6 km and Horsham at 27.1 km.

Cape Otway Loop

 

Cape Otway Loop walk includes a section of Great Ocean Walk and you will enjoy a journey through history along with natural beauty of  the coast. From Great Ocean Road drive to Cape Otway Lighthouse.

Cape Otway Loop
Cape Otway Lighthouse

Cape Otway Lighthouse is the oldest on the main land and was built in 1848. The stonework for the tower was hand carved and was brought in from the Parker River. The coastland around the Cape Otway is hazardous with numerous cliffs and there have been many shipwrecks in the area.  The Cape Otway Lighthouse was flashing three times in 18 seconds which helped the ship captains to determine the location on the map. You can climb the lighthouse  after paying a hefty fee and enjoy the coastal views from the top. Just make sure you won’t lose your hat! On the grounds you can visit the Dinosour Hut, a restored Telegraph Station, Keepers Quarters and have some cofee and snacks at the cafe.

Walking starts from Cape Otway Lighthouse car park. Follow the track signed Great Ocean Walk and when it divides take the right track  towards Bimbi Park.   The track follows farmland and some gravel road.

You can walk through the gate towards Bimbi Park but ensure you stay on the track and keep the gate closed.  Bimbi Park provides accomodation and you can enjoy horse riding on the tracks among the gum trees.

Cape Otway Loop
Bimbi Park horse riding

From Bimbi Park , follow the signs towards Station Beach. Walking across coastal dunes, you will reach the remote Station Beach.

At the southern end of the beach there are abrupt cliffs called  the Rainbow Falls. The Rainbow Falls  are a spring fed waterfall which gives off an array of beautiful colours at certain times of the day as the water flows over the cliffs. If you take the trip the Rainbow Falls ensure the tide is low as you need to return the same way. We were unable to take the trip due to above reasons and returned via Great Ocean Walk to the car park.

Cape Otway Loop
On Great Ocean Walk

Ensure you carry enough water. The total distance of the walk was 10.2 km and took 2 hours 40 minutes at 4km/hour. This is an easy walk . Around  Bimbi Park the walk can be confusing due to numerous horse  trails.

Mount Lofty Birriee Track

Mount Lofty Birriee Track is a loop walk that starts at Mount Lofty Summit, 710 meters altitude. The walk is 10.7 km long and takes 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete.

From Mount Lofty Summit, follow the Waterfall Gully Track downhill turning left  at the junction with Adventure track also called Chinaman Hut Track.
Continue downhill on the Chinaman Hut track until you meet Carro track at a T junction. Turn left and follow Carro track.

Mount Lofty Birriee Track
Chinaman Hut Track

You  have two options to return to Mount Lofty Summit.

The shorter and steep option is to continue on Carro track.
This walk is described

https://www.aussietrailwalker.com/2017/06/mount-lofty-carro-track/

For a flatter walk take the track on the right Birriee Track.

Birriee track is a narrow track meandering through bushland glades with daisies and swarms of butterflies. Black cockatoos with yellow tails could be seen in large numbers.

We follow the new link trail Crafers to Mount Lofty Summit marked blue to take us back to the Summit and car park.

Mount Lofty Birriee Track
The Nan Harford Trail

Walking on the Harford Bushland Trail dedicated to the first inspector of forests offers nice views over the Adelaide Plains.

Mount Lofty Birriee Track
View from Nan Harford Trail

 

Hiking Anstey Hill

 

Hiking  Anstey Hill covers a range of fire tracks and trails in the area. Make your own hiking adventure choosing from the different tracks. The fire tracks and trails have been upgraded for bushwalking and mountain bikes.
Anstey Hill Recreation Park is 19 km from the city and can be reached via North East Road or Lower North East Road and Perseverance Road.
The hike starts at gate 2 on Perseverance Road. Take the short track towards Boundary Track. Follow the Boundary Track and then Quarry Track uphill to the Old Quarry. From here, hike on Kaurna Way to the Ridgetop Track. You will arrive at an intersection with the Torture Hill Track to the right and Silver Mine Track to the left.
Turn left on the Silver Mine track for a short detour to see the mine shaft.

Hiking Anstey Hill
Silver Mine Shaft

The Tree Gully Iron Mine Company searched in 1888 for silver in this area. The mine was closed one year later as no silver was found.
Returning back follow the Lookout track. Take a short break at the Lookout, to admire the views over the park and Adelaide.
From the Lookout you continue your exploration of Anstey Hill on Newmans track which takes you to Newmans Nursery Ruins. The Nursery was built by Charles Frederick Newman and his wife Mary Ann in 1854.  They had 17 children. The nursery was devastated by floods in 1912 and bushfire in 1983.

Hiking Anstey Hill
Newmans Nursery Ruins

Hiking Anstey Hill
Continue on Water Gully Track following the creek. You can return via boundary track straight to the start. An alternative is to turn right on the Ridgetop Track for a steep climb and come down via Wildflower Wander trail which will join Boundary Track. These are steep sections of the hike.

Hiking Anstey Hill
The hike has 9.61 km and has a total ascent of 333.55 m and a maximum elevation of 393.36 m.
The total time was 2.5 hours.

 

Bran To Magura, Walking in Romania

Bran to Magura,  Walking in Romania

You might not meet Dracula, but walking from Bran to Magura in Romania, takes you back into history and to little changed villages in the foothills of Carpathians.
Bran Castle is a beautiful mediaeval castle, built on the rocky hilltop, in 1377 by Transylvanian Saxons with the authorization of King Louis I of Hungary.
In 1940 the castle was a defence against Ottoman Empire. In 1920 the castle became the Royal Residence of Queen Maria, Queen’s Victoria granddaughter, who married the King of Romania.

Bran to Magura, Walking in Romania
Here lies the heart of Queen Maria

The Bran Castle is known as “Dracula Castle” from Bram Stokers novel Dracula. The name Dracula comes from the Vlad the Impaler’s father surname “Dracul”. The truth is that Dracula Vlad Tepes never lived in the castle. The only Dracula we have seen, was a friendly one outside the castle, at the touristic stalls. Ignoring the kitsch stalls and the crowds the castle is worth exploring. It does have a torture chair, the only scary thing.
After visiting the Castle, you start the trekking from Bran, on the red stripe sign. This is the main route which links Bucegi Mountains to the Piatra Craiului National Park.
The route is easy to medium, through forest and meadows, with great views to both mountains and to the Bran village.

Bran to Magura, Walking in Romania

The track description specifies that in about 2 hours you will see the Magura village. At one moment the path goes down directly to the main road of Magura village, you walk about 2 km and you reach a junction. Here you turn to the left and after 300 m you see the guesthouse “ Nea Marin”.

Bran to Magura, Walking in Romania
Magura village in the distance

When we saw the village, we did not know what to do as the path was not marked.  We went down  through the houses to the main road earlier then we suppose to.  In the end we arrived to Nea Marin guesthouse walking on the road.
The whole track was 9.67 km. The track had a total ascent of 625.27 m and had a maximum elevation of 1,334.04 m. The time taken was 5.21 hours with a medium effort on rolling hills.

Nestled in the middle of Piatra Craiului National Park, Magura is a picturesque village, where local traditions are preserved. The hay meadows, the sheep grazing on the alpine pastures and horse drawn carts can be seen on the road along the modern cars.
At Nea Marin Guesthouse you can enjoy the tranquil life of the Magura Village and the homemade Romanian food. At the guesthouse was also was filmed the Romanian TV series “Serviti, va rog!”

This was a self guided walk,  organised by Active Travel Brasov. Marian from active travel took care of the transport and accommodation.

You can contact Marian at :

www.activetravel.ro

 

Fagaras Mountains, Vinatoarea lui Buteanu Peak, Romania

 

Fagaras Mountains, Vinatoarea lui Buteanu Peak, Romania is a short but challenging track which starts from glacial Lake Balea. It takes 2 hours to reach the peak Vinatoarea lui Buteanu, 2507 m altitude.
Fagaras Mountains are the highest mountains in Romania, with 5 peaks over 2,500 m the highest being, Moldoveanu Peak with an altitude of 2,544 m. The access to the mountains is by car, driving on Transfagarasan road which crosses the mountain and is famous for its numerous hairpin turns, tunnels and viaducts. Transfagarasan road was featured in Top Gear in November 2009 and considered one of the best mountain roads. The road was constructed between 1970 to 1974, with military forces, during the Ceausescu communist period. Many soldiers lost their life during the road construction as they were not trained in blasting techniques.

Track Description
Fagaras Mountains, Vinatoarea lui Buteanu Peak is a loop hike starting at Balea Lake. The total distance was 4.44 km. The route has a total ascent of 404.68 m and has a maximum elevation of 2,435.17 m. It took us 4 hours to complete the loop! From Balea Lake we climbed to Saua Caprei (Capra Saddle) 2249 meters altitude on blue Triangle for one hour, and afterwards we followed the blue cross track to Vanatoarea lui Buteanu (2507 M). From Capra Saddle we turned to north east and walked along the ridge towards Vaiuga Saddle, where we come across the trail that climbs from Vaiuga Valley marked with blue dot.
Walking on the ridge, we enjoyed spectacular views of Lacul Capra (Capra Lake).

 

Fagaras Mountains, Vinatoarea lui Buteanu Peak, Romania
Lake Capra

As the ridge track was challenging, we decided to take a short break and consider our options. The decision was to return to Lake Balea, via Vaiuga glacial cirque. We returned to Vaiuga Saddle, from where we followed the track marked with blue dot.

This proved to be a brave decision, as the descent was very steep through a lot of scree. We made it safely to the bottom and reached the track marked with blue stripe, which we followed back to Balea Lake.