Breathe in blanket bush interrupted only by vertical columns of rock rising 100s of metres from the sea. Enjoy ranger hospitality at overnight huts – dormitory accommodation with cooking and dining facilities – and the company of friends, and new friends. Congratulate yourself for completing 48 km with a 12 kg pack on your back, and a new level of fitness.
This is mid-range hiking. Its not the really tough stuff, carrying your tent and enough water for 4 days. It’s doable for the reasonably fit, and the bed and kitchen at the end of and start of each day keep you on track.
We carried our necessities: daily water, sleeping bag, food (mostly dried), runcible spoon, cup and plate/bowl, change of clothes, phone/camera, binoculars, first aid kit and minimal toiletries.
The huts supplied beds, cooking necessities, water for topping up, a dribble of water for bodily cleaning and teeth brushing (it’s all you need to get the job done), a superbly presented and informative booklet, enough solar capture to light the communal areas and charge phones but the bunkroom and toilets require personal illumination, and gas and water for cooking those delicious freeze dried food packs (one of the joys of the trips were the all-important brand comparisons).
Each day, up to 48 people leave Port Arthur on the boat cruise that starts day 1. Our tour had the maximum and we were a varied lot. We were fittish but few were sleek and buffed. Many were professionals – doctors, nurses, lawyers, corporate employees, self-employed and retirees. There were a few European tourists, but the middle aged (and older) out numbered the young. The track is designed to build up capacity to the next day – from 2 hours on the first day to 7 or so hours (and a couple of thousand steps) on the last.
The obvious question for this Kangaroo Islander is – why is this level of very keen and numerous walker not being catered for in the plans of the SA Department of Environment and Water for the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail?
SA DEW says that they don’t run commercial operations well but the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service shows that a government department can do it, and do it very well. Have a look at their website and tell me if you think I’m wrong.
Why are we bringing in private enterprise to run an exclusive show for the wealthy, when if those people paid the appropriate taxes, environment departments would be able to afford to, umm, look after the environment.
And, I’m sorry. I just don’t buy the argument that if wealthy people are given a fully serviced, comfortable tour of wild places they will suddenly become environmental evangelists with commensurate financial input. Give me a break.
Those who value the environment for itself and understand its fundamental importance to human survival on this earth are finding wild places are being ‘opened up’ across Australia and elsewhere.
If you’d like to help us push the South Australia Government to show cause that what they are doing is legal (not to mention remotely sensible), then please contribute to our crowdfunding campaign and tell your friends as well. The planet and its (few) remaining wild places will thank you.