Walks near Sydney sought

NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby johnw » Mon 02 Oct, 2017 4:39 pm

Lophophaps wrote:I finally found Little Blue Gum in a book; the SV 1:50 BM Noth does not have Little Blue Gum marked. Is the Grose crossing at Oronga wet? Oronga is a possible top-up, as I intend to get most water on the afternoon of day one at Orang Tung Gully.

I also have that map but prefer the relevant 1:25000 topo map (Mt Wilson) as it has more detail. Also per Tom's link from above you can view NSW topo maps in detail online at: http://maps.ozultimate.com/ which is a deriviative of https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/ Six Maps will let you search and locate Little Blue Gum and save/print a section of map that you define. Little Blue Gum and Oronga etc are shown in both versions.

The Grose R was probably a little above boot deep at the shallowest convenient crossing point near Oronga/Banks Ck. Some agile persons might be able to find a way to dry hop over but not me. Might be less water now 2 weeks later with no rain. It's a short crossing at present.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Mon 02 Oct, 2017 5:01 pm

Thank you everyone. No probs I won't do this walk without map or compass.

John, a few weeks ago I actually did buy the exact K-Mart compass you're talking about, however when I got it home it doesn't seem to work. I think the needle is supposed to remain pointing in the same direction, north-south I assume, however it's just all over the place.

Yep I won't drink any untreated water. I have a lifestraw, brilliant piece of kit!

Hey, are the topo maps from Aussie Disposal the right kind, because that shop is within striking distance? Where else do they sell these kinds of map?

I've been doing a lot of walking at Blackbutt Reserve here in Newcastle, and on my very first visit the other day, in my very first hour of bush whacking, I saw two red bellie black snakes. But thereafter, during a few days of trekking in Blackbutt, I haven't seen any more. It was quite a pleasant introduction to Blackbutt to see two snakes! One was big for a black bellie, and the other I didn't see the whole thing as it was half in a log and slivered in when I walked past.

And thanks, I've have a look at that other signposted Blackheath walk.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby johnw » Mon 02 Oct, 2017 8:07 pm

A Jay wrote:John, a few weeks ago I actually did buy the exact K-Mart compass you're talking about, however when I got it home it doesn't seem to work. I think the needle is supposed to remain pointing in the same direction, north-south I assume, however it's just all over the place.

Yes, unless you are Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean your compass should point north. Check that some magnetic force is not interfering with it at home - test it in local bushland away from houses etc. If still erratic I would exchange it and If that one doesn't work get a refund and look elsewhere. Easy to do at K Mart. I returned a glass kettle last week because the stainless steel base rusted on first use :shock:. Its replacement is fine.

A Jay wrote:Hey, are the topo maps from Aussie Disposal the right kind, because that shop is within striking distance? Where else do they sell these kinds of map?

If it's the 8930-1N MOUNT WILSON 1:25,000 topographic map, then yes. Lots of places have them - online sellers, camping/fishing stores, outdoor shops like Paddy Pallin etc, NPWS... Here is an online outlet (I have no association and have never used them) https://www.mapshop.com.au/ess/shop.php?aisle=NSW+Topographic+Maps+L+-+N
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Mon 02 Oct, 2017 8:31 pm

I took the compass out on the street and it's still not right, although I'm in a very heavily housed area. I'll take it bush tomorrow and check.

Thanks for the map link. I looked on the Aussie Disposal website at their maps, and they don't list all the maps they have at the store, they only list a few on their site. But the few they do have listed are 1:100,000, with the reverse side featuring an important section(s) in 1:50,000. Here is an example of one of their maps:

https://www.aussiedisposals.com.au/camp ... enture-map

I guess 1:100,000 is nowhere near as detailed as 1:25,000. Does it require 1:25,000 or better to navigate well in the bush?
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 02 Oct, 2017 9:24 pm

A Jay, magnetic fields are fairly weak for most iron objects. You can test this by putting the compass on a wooden table and moving objects with iron or a magentic field close to the compass. A mobile phone closer than about 100 mm will affect the compass, as will a GPS. Another option may be that the compass is made for the northern hemisphere. Or maybe the compass is not very good; this is the excuse I often use when lost. Having a Silva 15T mirror compass does not lend credibility to this excuse. Another possibility is metal wire under a bra.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 03 Oct, 2017 8:30 am

A Jay wrote:
wildwanderer wrote:...SNIP....Slightly overgrown track in some places but easy enough to follow.


Wildwanderer, you said you did the gross valley from Mt Victoria to Blackheath. I'm scoping it out myself.

It says on the WildWalks site that some sections are off-track and have no tracks, and that someone in the group needs to be an experienced nagivator. However you said that it's easy enough to follow.

Did you have a map and GPS with you? I'm looking for a short multi-day walk to go on, that I can do without navigation equipment. Is this walk suitable in that regard? This will be my first trip.


Without knowing your complete experience its hard to give a definite yes to your question on suitability. Assuming you have done a number of day walks including some with narrow footpads/ moderately over grown tracks and can navigate, then you could think about giving it a go. The entire way has a track/foot pad and your in a valley/following the river for most of the way so its harder to go off course.

On my trip I took a map/compass, PLB and a GPS(on my phone). I dont use the phone gps for navigating (uses up to much battery) however as a general rule on walks I'l turn it on a couple of times a day to double check position.

As others have said above, Id definitely take a map and compass with you. 1:25000 map is what you want. As well as using a compass competently, make sure you can read a map including contours etc. Ideally get to a stage where you can see the map as a 3D picture of the land. Once you have identified your location on the map etc, a good tip is make sure the bearing to a identified hill/along a river etc is the same on the map as it is on the ground. A easy error is to think you are looking at Hill A but in reality your looking at Hill X. Often noticing that the bearing to that hill should be Z but your compass says its Y is enough to realise the mistake. (you should also know about magentic declination see - http://www.bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9023)

If your solo (or even with a group) Id take a PLB (locator beacon) with you. Snakes are out in force along the rivers at the moment. I was walking along/in the kowmung river last weekend, and we must have seen over half a dozen red bellie blacks. Most scurried off when they heard us coming but a couple were determined that they had right of way and either didn't move or actually slithered toward us. Snake bite is very rare, especially if you leave the snake alone, but on the remote chance your bitten, you would want that PLB. (compression wrapping the affected area, activating the PLB and sitting still while you wait for assistance is infinitely safer than trying to walk out or sitting there hoping another party stumbles on to you).

You can pick up complimentary loan PLBs at Blackheath NPWS, Katoomba and Springwood Police stations. There is no mobile phone reception once your down in the valley.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Tue 03 Oct, 2017 9:37 am

wildwanderer wrote:
A Jay wrote:
wildwanderer wrote:...SNIP....Slightly overgrown track in some places but easy enough to follow.


Wildwanderer, you said you did the gross valley from Mt Victoria to Blackheath. I'm scoping it out myself.

It says on the WildWalks site that some sections are off-track and have no tracks, and that someone in the group needs to be an experienced nagivator. However you said that it's easy enough to follow.

Did you have a map and GPS with you? I'm looking for a short multi-day walk to go on, that I can do without navigation equipment. Is this walk suitable in that regard? This will be my first trip.


Without knowing your complete experience its hard to give a definite yes to your question on suitability. Assuming you have done a number of day walks including some with narrow footpads/ moderately over grown tracks and can navigate, then you could think about giving it a go. The entire way has a track/foot pad and your in a valley/following the river for most of the way so its harder to go off course.

On my trip I took a map/compass, PLB and a GPS(on my phone). I dont use the phone gps for navigating (uses up to much battery) however as a general rule on walks I'l turn it on a couple of times a day to double check position.

As others have said above, Id definitely take a map and compass with you. As well as using a compass competently, make sure you can read a map including contours etc. Ideally get to a stage where you can see the map as a 3D picture of the land. Once you have identified your location on the map etc, a good tip is make sure the bearing to a identified hill/along a river etc is the same on the map as it is on the ground. A easy error is to think you are looking at Hill A but in reality your looking at Hill X. Often noticing that the bearing to that hill should be Z but your compass says its Y is enough to realise the mistake.

If your solo (or even with a group) Id take a PLB (locator beacon) with you. Snakes are out in force along the rivers at the moment. I was walking along/in the kowmung river last weekend, and we must have seen over half a dozen red bellie blacks. Most scurried off when they heard us coming but a couple were determined that they had right of way and either didn't move or actually slithered toward us. Snake bite is very rare, especially if you leave the snake alone, but on the remote chance your bitten, you would want that PLB. (compression wrapping the affected area, activating the PLB and sitting still while you wait for assistance is infinitely safer than trying to walk out or sitting there hoping another party stumbles on to you).

You can pick up complimentary loan PLBs at Blackheath NPWS, Katoomba and Springwood Police stations. There is no mobile phone reception once your down in the valley.


I've done loads of both on and off track day bush bashing in my time where I simply decided to strike out without map or compass and use sense of direction and memory. That's always been totally reliable, never been lost in a serious way whether on or off trail. However I've usually never gone further into multi-day. I have done some multi-day stuff in good conditions with the same unplanned approach, however that was in a different time as a different person.

Now I'm a fraction of my former fitness, strength and confidence, completely different on account of long-term illness. So I guess I do have some casual former experience, but it's been a very long time between drinks and I'm still ill so I'm not the drinker I used to be. I've been house or bed bound for the last 15 years, although I'm now slightly improved and able to do something.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Tue 03 Oct, 2017 9:39 am

Lophophaps wrote:A Jay, magnetic fields are fairly weak for most iron objects. You can test this by putting the compass on a wooden table and moving objects with iron or a magentic field close to the compass. A mobile phone closer than about 100 mm will affect the compass, as will a GPS. Another option may be that the compass is made for the northern hemisphere. Or maybe the compass is not very good; this is the excuse I often use when lost. Having a Silva 15T mirror compass does not lend credibility to this excuse. Another possibility is metal wire under a bra.


Thanks Lophophaps, I took my bra off and compass now works perfectly
(:-D
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 03 Oct, 2017 9:58 am

A Jay wrote:Thanks Lophophaps, I took my bra off and compass now works perfectly (:-D


I am so glad to be of assistance. The picture below shows another possible cause of deviation.

Metal bra.jpg
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Tue 03 Oct, 2017 10:07 am

Lophophaps wrote:
A Jay wrote:Thanks Lophophaps, I took my bra off and compass now works perfectly (:-D


I am so glad to be of assistance. The picture below shows another possible cause of deviation.

Metal bra.jpg


Haha! One thing I like about compasses now is I can request that all females I come across take their bras off so I can read my compass. Brilliant! I like your advices.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Wed 04 Oct, 2017 6:41 am

I was just looking at the 1:25,000 topographic map overview, this one:

https://topographic-maps.com/mapshop/NS ... b_2017.pdf

I can see that for the 1:25,000 scale maps, between Katoomba and Mittagong on that trail, there are 7 individual maps.

I'm not planning that trip right at this moment, but am asking to get a sense of the map world for us hikers and to plan for this trip. Does this mean that if one is doing the Katoomba to Mittagong hike, they need to take all those 7 individual maps?

The 7 maps I've identified, in a line from Katoomba to Mittagong, are:

1) KATOOMBA 8930 -1S
2) JAMISON 8930 - 2N
3) BIMLOW 8930 - 2S
4) BURRAGORANG 8929 - 1N
5) NATTAI 8929 - 1S
6) HILL TOP 8929 - 2N
7) MITTAGONG 8929 - 2S
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby Mark F » Wed 04 Oct, 2017 9:38 am

The maps you need for the route via Beloon Pass and Scotts Main Range are:
8929-2S Mittagong - only if you are starting/finishing at Mittagong rather than Hilltop.
8929-2N Hilltop
8929-1S Nattai
8929-4S Bindook
8929-4N Yerranderie
8930-3S Kanangra - only covers a very small portion of the Scotts Main Range FT but important if you go by other routes involving the Kowmung or Kanangra Walls.
8930-2S Bimlow
8930-2N Jamison
8930-3N Jenolan - Covers part of the fire trail up White Dog Ridge to Medlow Gap.
8930-1S Katoomba

All these can be downloaded in GeoPDF format for free from https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/etopo.html for viewing on your computer using Adobe Acrobat. They can also be used on a phone using the Avenza Map app and possibly others.

8929-1N Burragorang is not needed for the standard route.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Wed 04 Oct, 2017 11:37 am

Mark F wrote:The maps you need for the route via Beloon Pass and Scotts Main Range are:
8929-2S Mittagong - only if you are starting/finishing at Mittagong rather than Hilltop.
8929-2N Hilltop
8929-1S Nattai
8929-4S Bindook
8929-4N Yerranderie
8930-3S Kanangra - only covers a very small portion of the Scotts Main Range FT but important if you go by other routes involving the Kowmung or Kanangra Walls.
8930-2S Bimlow
8930-2N Jamison
8930-3N Jenolan - Covers part of the fire trail up White Dog Ridge to Medlow Gap.
8930-1S Katoomba

All these can be downloaded in GeoPDF format for free from https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/etopo.html for viewing on your computer using Adobe Acrobat. They can also be used on a phone using the Avenza Map app and possibly others.

8929-1N Burragorang is not needed for the standard route.


Thanks for this Mark, much appreciated. This might sound like a silly question, but I have to hear it outright. That's 10 maps. People actually take 10 of those fold up maps with them for the trip, in their pack? 10 maps?

Yep, I already found that adobe thing. But to go on the trip I assume you have to order each of them in physical fold up form and take them along for the ride. I don't mind doing that, but I have to confirm that that's what people do.

EDIT: Just watching some navigational stuff on YouTube. At present watching this bloke from Glenmore Lodge. He's say that most people that do multi-day stuff use 1:50,000 so that they're not carrying so many maps. For multi-day stuff, is this what everyone else here does? What's the feelings on this?

EDIT 2: So for the 1:25,000 maps, each map represents is 20 square kilometres, which is about 4.5 km the short straight way across that area, and about 6.75 km diagonally across the area.

For a 1:50,000 map, it represents 40 square kilometres, the short straight way across the area is about 6.3 km, and diagonally across the area is about 9.5 km.

So even with the 1:50,000 map, one map's not getting you very far is it. If you're on the move each day, you're basically needing one to two new maps per day of your journey if using 1:25,000.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby Mark F » Wed 04 Oct, 2017 1:27 pm

There is always lots of extraneous parts of any map when doing a walk. One solution is to buy paper copies of maps that are likely to be of use on later walks and snip screen shots and print the sections of other maps to cover the small sections or bits with simple navigation. Carry the all maps on your phone as a backup but with care most probably won't be accessed. If you are planning to do further walks in the Wild Dogs, Kanangra area then you most probably will end up wanting Jamison, Jenolan, Kanangra, Yerranderie , Katoomba and Bimlow.

In your case I expect you are planning on the standard trip along Narrow Neck - White Dog Ridge - Mt Cookem - Yerranderie - Beloon Pass etc. I would buy Jamison as it gets you down off Narrow Neck and up onto Scotts Main Range - useful for other walks. Do you need Katoomba if you know where Narrow Neck starts? - perhaps a printout of a screenshot will deal with this. The required bit of Jenolan only covers a section of fire trail so a screen shot should be fine. Similarly, through to Yerranderie you are going to be bashing along a major fire trail so do you need a map? - nice to know where you are on the fire trail - so screen shots should do the trick. Useful to have Yerranderie and Nattai but a screenshot of the NE corner of Bindook should cover this little section - all road with a very obvious left turn onto the Sheepwalk. You most probably need Nattai and Hilltop as well as Mittagong if you plan on a bit of a sufferfest to finish at Mittagong.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Wed 04 Oct, 2017 2:05 pm

Mark F wrote:There is always lots of extraneous parts of any map when doing a walk. One solution is to buy paper copies of maps that are likely to be of use on later walks and snip screen shots and print the sections of other maps to cover the small sections or bits with simple navigation. Carry the all maps on your phone as a backup but with care most probably won't be accessed. If you are planning to do further walks in the Wild Dogs, Kanangra area then you most probably will end up wanting Jamison, Jenolan, Kanangra, Yerranderie , Katoomba and Bimlow.

In your case I expect you are planning on the standard trip along Narrow Neck - White Dog Ridge - Mt Cookem - Yerranderie - Beloon Pass etc. I would buy Jamison as it gets you down off Narrow Neck and up onto Scotts Main Range - useful for other walks. Do you need Katoomba if you know where Narrow Neck starts? - perhaps a printout of a screenshot will deal with this. The required bit of Jenolan only covers a section of fire trail so a screen shot should be fine. Similarly, through to Yerranderie you are going to be bashing along a major fire trail so do you need a map? - nice to know where you are on the fire trail - so screen shots should do the trick. Useful to have Yerranderie and Nattai but a screenshot of the NE corner of Bindook should cover this little section - all road with a very obvious left turn onto the Sheepwalk. You most probably need Nattai and Hilltop as well as Mittagong if you plan on a bit of a sufferfest to finish at Mittagong.


Ok, this is very useful and very clever. I'm really behind the times with technology, I don't even store numbers on my mobile, I still use a paper address book for all that. Never used my phone's camera.

By screen shot, do you mean bring up one of those free Geo PDF Maps, then take a photo of the screen using my phone? Then I have to print it somehow. I got no printer, but I can go to the library. How do I get the photo from my phone to the libraries printer? Is there a way to send the Geo PDF Maps file to my email? I'm pretty tech illiterate.

EDIT: I've taken a screen shot of a map with my iphone and have succeeded in sending the file to my email. Tomorrow I'll head to the library and see if I can print it out. I'm not quite sure if I've got enough detail, I'll have to wait and see what it looks like on printed paper.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby A Jay » Wed 04 Oct, 2017 2:33 pm

I just realized if I can print off a few screen shots, I can take them to do the 2 day grosse valley walk. I can zoom in quite a way and take multiple shots of different parts of the route. I mean the whole route, but different parts of the map. It's only one map for that journey. If I can wraggle this, I could be on a trail in the next 3 days or so! I've been collecting my gear for the last few months and have everything now. The navigation is the last thing (I hope). Compass and map. I've got an ultralight hammock system.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 11 Oct, 2017 9:13 am

The above advice was most helpful. I managed rail to start in 95 minutes, taking time for the road works and crossing the highway twice, very scary. I had to use the GPS to find the start at the highway, opposite a sort of side road on the south side. Tres steep down, many steps. Track on and off to Crayfish Ck, got water, camped opposite Pierces. Easier after this to Acacia, where there was a rogaine or orienteering course set. Going up Govetts was easy, not more than 30-40 rests. I needed CPR twice; the lady was nicer than the bloke.

At Katoomba went down FUBAR Steps, also steep. Near the coal mine the SP to Solitary is subtle, needs to be bigger. Water in the tanks at The Castle campsite. Tanks on 507590 would save lugging water. Nice views north and east.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby johnw » Wed 11 Oct, 2017 12:40 pm

Lophophaps wrote:The above advice was most helpful. I managed rail to start in 95 minutes, taking time for the road works and crossing the highway twice, very scary. I had to use the GPS to find the start at the highway, opposite a sort of side road on the south side. Tres steep down, many steps. Track on and off to Crayfish Ck, got water, camped opposite Pierces. Easier after this to Acacia, where there was a rogaine or orienteering course set. Going up Govetts was easy, not more than 30-40 rests. I needed CPR twice; the lady was nicer than the bloke.

At Katoomba went down FUBAR Steps, also steep. Near the coal mine the SP to Solitary is subtle, needs to be bigger. Water in the tanks at The Castle campsite. Tanks on 507590 would save lugging water. Nice views north and east.

:) Good stuff, glad you survived. I forgot about the road works on the highway at Mt Vic. Yes, despite all the improved signage around that area for some reason the side deviation to Solitary via the Landslide (actually the main Federal Pass track) remains delightfully vague. Even to some of us who have walked it many times :oops:.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby wildwanderer » Wed 11 Oct, 2017 5:27 pm

Lophophaps wrote: Tanks on 507590 would save lugging water. Nice views north and east.


NPWS constructing the campsite (with tanks/toilet etc) at ruined castle always struck me as quite optimistic. Unless mandated NPWS were never going to convince people that this was a better spot to stop for the night compared to the campsites atop Mount Solitary. Personally I think a tank and toilet at Chinamans Gully would have been a great idea.

and yeah I think everyone misses that turn off at scenic world atleast once.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby davidf » Wed 11 Oct, 2017 5:52 pm

get a wollengambe map. The walk to the crater is good, there are a few others in the area and gooches crater is equally good. Plenty of info on these walks.
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby DaveNoble » Wed 11 Oct, 2017 9:45 pm

wildwanderer wrote:
Lophophaps wrote: Tanks on 507590 would save lugging water. Nice views north and east.


NPWS constructing the campsite (with tanks/toilet etc) at ruined castle always struck me as quite optimistic. Unless mandated NPWS were never going to convince people that this was a better spot to stop for the night compared to the campsites atop Mount Solitary. Personally I think a tank and toilet at Chinamans Gully would have been a great idea.

and yeah I think everyone misses that turn off at scenic world atleast once.


I think the NPWS rationale for the campsite with water tanks and toilet facilities at Ruined Castle was that it was an area that had already been developed with the mining etc. That way they could keep the top of Mt Solitary in a more natural state. It fits in with their other campsite at Kedumba. So visitors could camp at either one of these sites and then visit Solitary as a day trip (with a lessened impact). Certainly the campsite at Ruined Castle has been a favourite place for scout and school groups to camp at over the years.

At Scenic World - I think the Federal Pass track may pass through private land at the bottom of the Scenic Railway, and the operators probably don't want their customers straying from the boardwalks - which are certainly very prominent, so have deliberately made the Federal Pass turn off not so obvious.

Dave
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Re: Walks near Sydney sought

Postby johnw » Thu 12 Oct, 2017 12:45 pm

DaveNoble wrote:...the operators probably don't want their customers straying from the boardwalks - which are certainly very prominent, so have deliberately made the Federal Pass turn off not so obvious.

That makes sense Dave. There is always a lot of tourist bus people running around down there looking confused.
John W

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