COVID restrictions have been eased, trips are resuming in June, July and August!
The navigation weekend is a 2-day self-supported bushwalk where you will learn how to read a topographic map and how to use a compass, taught in a practical and inclusive style that allows you to immediately put into practise what you are learning. You will do real navigation in a real wilderness environment to find your campsite hidden deep in a sandstone labyrinth.
Navigating is fun. Learning to use a map and compass is fun. Bushwalking and camping in a beautiful area with a group of like minded people is the best.
The area we will be walking in is beautiful. It was severely burnt by bushfire in October 2013 and again in 2019-2020. The area is severely impacted by the recent fires but is beginning to recover. New life is blooming and the colours of ash and charcoal are tempered with green. There are delicate sandstone formations and you will learn to navigate to reach a particularly special area of natural rock gardens which is where we will camp on Saturday night.
The skill is empowering because it enables you to head out into the bush on its terms, and to become confident in your own ability to find your way and be comfortable in a natural environment far away from any human infrastructure. With navigation skill the bush becomes your home, not something to feel insecure in and not something you need to insulate yourself from or protect yourself against.
The whole point of the weekend is so you can learn to venture into a wilderness area - where there is no human infrastructure - safely and confidently, and find your way back out again. And to enjoy it.
Being a self-supported bushwalk, idea is that everyone brings their own gear and food for the weekend. Click the button below to review the gear list for this trip.
If you don't have some of the items listed, don't worry, many of the items can be borrowed or rented for a small fee.
The 2 day navigation weekend is MountainSphere's entry level trip which is open to all.
The trip is open to beginners with no previous navigation experience. However a minimum fitness level is required. You will be hiking with a backpack and you will be carrying all your own food, camping gear and water. Your backpack may weigh around 12kg.
To help you learn navigation skills, you will at times be walking through sections of bush where there is no track. At times you will be hiking through dense scrub and in a few places the terrain is steep and uneven.
We'll be hiking for about 4-6 hours per day with frequent breaks and rests, with plenty of time for navigational training to be carried out during the hike.
The trip is within the capabilities of people of all ages, provided you do regular exercise. By exercise I mean something that causes you to sweat and become out of breath. By regular I mean a couple of times per week.
The size of the group will be capped at 10 clients and the trip will not proceed unless a minimum number of 5 clients sign up.
This price is the base price for the guided hike and the navigation training.
Not required if you already have the correct map. Maps can be shared one between two if you are attending with a friend. Maps purchased from MountainSphere are then yours to keep.
You will need a suitable baseplate compass. If you have your own you may bring it. Otherwise, you may rent or purchase a compass from the list below. If in doubt contact me or check out my compass recommendations below.
A suitable compass will be provided in new or near new condition, and must be returned at the end of the weekend.
The most popular option is to buy a Silva Ranger.
This is a good budget option.
Has additional features and will work anywhere in the world. Popular choice if travelling in both northern and southern hemisphere.
The mirror is a very useful feature on a compass. You will learn how to use it on the course!
This is the best compass on the market, though regrettably it is not always available so may not be in stock. Southern hemisphere only.
You don't need to choose a compass right now anyway. Take your time and check out my detailed compass recommendations by clicking the button below.
This trip is open to beginners with no previous bushwalking or navigation experience. However a minimum fitness level is required. Because we will be camping overnight, you need to be able to walk with a backpack containing your camping gear, food, some water and weighing around 12kg. The trip should be no problem for anyone that does regular exercise. By exercise I mean something that causes you to sweat and become out of breath. By regular I mean a couple of times per week.
To help you learn navigation skills, you will at times be walking through bush where there is no track. There are areas of scrub and a few steep hills. In some places the scrub is thick and difficult to walk through. There are 2 river crossings which involve steep descents into and out of a river gorge. The vegetation around the rivers is dense. There is the occasional rock scramble, for details on this please see the section on rock scrambling below. On the positive side the steep and difficult terrain is limited to only a few short steep sections. The difference between the highest elevation and lowest elevation on the walk is about 200m. Most of the country is open bushland that can be walked normally. There is steady climbing and descending. The ground is uneven and bushy most of the time. It is not a walk along a track, it is walking through the bush – literally! We will be stopping frequently to gain map reading and compass skills so there will be plenty of time to rest on the way. I estimate that we may be walking 4-6 hours per day with our packs. The trip should be no problem for anyone that does regular exercise. It is graded a moderate overnight walk.
There are one or two places on this walk that involve some basic rock scrambling. The term “rock scrambling” refers to steep and rocky ground where ropes or other protection is not needed however you might be using both your hands and feet to climb or descend. Your hands and arms are not needed to support your weight in any way however you may use your hands for balance and added support to climb or descend. There are a couple of places on this walk where this technique is used. It is well within the capabilities of people unfamiliar with this sort of terrain.
There is one short route used to exit and enter the camping area where a rope will be setup to allow you to climb and descend easily. Use of this route is entirely optional and an alternative route exists which does not require rope or rock scrambling. People of all ages and abilities have used this scrambling route successfully.
On both days we must cross the Wollangambe River. The crossing is at a different place on each day.
The width of the river at the crossing point is only about 2-3 metres. The depth of the river is below knee deep. The riverbed is comprised of smooth stones which may be slippery.
Crossing the river is simply a matter of wading for a few steps through water that is above your ankles but below your knees.
Don't hesitate to write to me if you are unsure if the trip is suitable for you.