Great South West Walk Day 5

River: Moleside Camp to Battersbys Camp (17km)

It was the coldest night so far on the trail, I was hoping it wouldn’t get much colder because my gear was very lightweight. Throughout the night I could also hear noise from heavy equipment, most likely from the large tree plantations near Moleside.

I got up when it was still dark, and I quickly moved all my stuff under the shelter — it looked as if it might rain and you never know how the weather develops.

Soon after it was pouring with rain.

Small detour due to bushfire damage on the track
Small detour due to bushfire damage on the track

I took my time with packing up, and by the time I was ready to leave around 10am, it was sunny again, although cold. Due to the bushfire damage there was a small detour section along the road, then after a while the route joined the track in the forest again. From there until Nelson, the track would now always stay close to the river, more or less.

There were quite a few kangaroos as soon as I walked on the forest road. It was nice to walk in the forest, sandy and soft. At Saunders Landing I met a friendly Ranger who was patrolling the campgrounds along the river. Seconds later it started to rain again.

It wasn’t one of the greatest days, the weather kept changing like every ten minutes, one of the things I can’t get used to in Southern Australia. It always just rained enough to soak all my clothes despite the rain coat, then it stopped again.

Pritchards Campground
Pritchards Campground

At Pritchards Campground I managed to catch one of the sunny moments of the day and stopped for a lunch break. I think in summer this must be a very popular spot for families. Nice views and a great place for swimming in the river.

Around 2pm I arrived at Battersbys Camp, my destination for the day. Beautiful campsite, with direct access to the river. Unfortunately it was too cold and windy to go for a swim.

Battersbys Camp
Battersbys Camp

I was in no hurry to set up camp, so I first dried my tent in the sun, washed my clothes and cooked early dinner.

On the walkers’ campsite I was the only camper again, but while I set up camp, the first Easter weekend campers arrived on the public campground right next to it.

A bunch of wallabies suddenly appeared and started to graze around my tent. There was also a family of Gang Gang Cockatoos that kept chasing each other from tree to tree and made a hell of a noise throughout the evening.

Battersbys Camp
Battersbys Camp

Another funny wildlife observation was when it started to get dark, and all of a sudden the Purple Swamp-hens in the area all started to fly or jump up some of the smaller trees close to the river, where they then spent the night sitting on a branch.

It would have been a calm and quiet evening, if the campers next door had not at some point decided to switch on their generators in order to power their spotlights and loudspeakers. Generators, spotlights and loudspeakers, that’s what some call ‘camping in the bush’. I don’t get these people. They travel all the way to a remote campground, far away from the noise and stress of their everyday life. They could spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the peace and tranquility that only nature can offer, but all they can think of is turning on music, electricity and lights, just like at home. Why not just stay at home then?

Gang Gang Cockatoo
Gang Gang Cockatoo

Wildlife seen: Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Red-necked Wallaby, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Purple Swamp-hen, Superb Fairywren.