Friday, July 11, 2014

Top Ten Tips For Trekking The Tabletop Track

We are just back from four days on the Tabletop Track in Litchfield National Park. Normally, I'd write an in-depth report on this trip, but, just now I can't be fussed plus I lost my camera on the trip so there are no photos. Instead, you get the top ten tips for walking the track which should cover everything you need to know.

  1. The loop up on the plateau is 39 km but, depending on where you access the track (Wangi, Florence, Walker or Greenant) you could be walking considerably more than that. Also add more kilometres for any side trips off the plateau you choose to do.
  2. Probably the best access for having relatively equal length hiking days is Florence Falls. The parking lot is very busy, however, and Florence Falls itself is like Pitt Street, Sydney on a busy day.
  3. The worst access, and I can say this with absolute confidence, is via Greenant Creek. This is the longest link track at 6.3 km (one way) and the worst. No-one walks in this way and consequently there is no sign of any foot track. The track markers are very widely spaced so you will spend at least half your time trying to follow the markers, the other half stumbling through dense bush and head high spear grass. Allow about 2 km/hour if you go in this way.
  4. The camps on either side of the Greenant Creek link track are really nice. The camp to the west (called Tjenya Falls as far as I can tell) has three small pools, the lowest is deep and great for swimming. There is plenty of room for a few tents here and a wire metal table (wobbly). Look for the toilet way back from the escarpment edge. The camp to the east (might be on Wangi Creek but I don't have a map so can't say for sure) is also lovely, has a wire metal table (not wobbly) but has very few sites for tents unless you want to sleep on hard rock slabs. Again, the outhouse is a long way back from the creek and unmarked apart from one orange arrow to get you started.
  5. The campsite up on the plateau and 1.8 km from the Walker Creek link track is horrible. There is water from a stagnant creek surrounded by scrub typhus and mosquito infested bush and there is very little shade. I have no idea why the campsite is located here instead of beside the beautiful creek that cascades over rock slabs and is perhaps an hours walk further on (towards Florence Creek).
  6. You can also walk down and camp near the road side at Walker Creek. These are all nice campsites, very secluded with a wood table along the creek but they do add some distance particularly if you are walking clockwise from Walker Creek right around past Florence Falls to Greenant camp (Wangi Creek). We walked from the nasty camp to Greenant Creek and it took almost 9 hours (this, however, did include a side trip to Florence Falls, and an hour spent dithering about when I discovered I lost my camera).
  7. A good way to split up the track for a four day walk allowing you to visit Walker Creek, Wangi Falls, and Florence Falls as side trips would be to start at Florence Falls and camp at Greenant Creek (Wangi), Tjenya Falls and, have an illegal camp (you didn't read it here) at the creek about an hours walk from the nasty campsite.
  8. The track markers are fairly widely spaced and the track does not seem to get that much traffic so it can be difficult to follow in parts. Allow extra time to search out the track. We found we were only averaging about 3 km/hour which is significantly slower than we normally walk. A map, which we did not have might help, but, it might not as the track wanders about an awful lot and there really are very few clear terrain features (apart from creeks) up on the plateau.
  9. Trousers, trousers, trousers, unless you want your legs cut to pieces by spear grass, Mitchell grass, sword grass, and various other scratchy bushes. Also, this is scrub typhus territory and long pants may help you avoid this nasty disease.
  10. It's hot, even in the dead of winter, so, do your best to walk in the morning and rest in the afternoon.

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