By now you may be well aware that I don’t mind a walk when the opportunity presents itself. Even better if the walk is through the Aussie bush and it is a path I have been meaning to explore for years.
When I was a kid, our family were keen waterskiers and we would regularly make the weekend pilgrimage to Burrendong Dam near Wellington in Central West NSW. The road would take us through Wellington, past Mt Arthur and its surrounding hills. Yes, I could have spent the journey admiring the scenery, but more likely I was jumping out of my skin with the thoughts of the day ahead filled with skiing and generally frolicking in the water.
Much time has passed since those days and now it’s high time we make Mt Arthur our destination, exploring the rough beauty of the Aussie bush.
Mt Arthur Reserve covers over 2,000ha and is part of Wiradjuri country. It is classified as a Crown Nature Reserve, as opposed to a National Park, and is maintained by a small bunch of dedicated volunteers. Their work would be a true labour of love as the paths are quite steep, relatively remote and heavily wooded/grassed. My mind immediately goes to thoughts of lugging chainsaws and shovels up bloody great hills, and my sincere thanks go out to those hardworking volunteers.
Mt Arthur Reserve includes six trails:
- Apex Nature Trail: 3.5km return
- Burrunggee Trail: 4.8km return
- Bundari Trail: 4km return
- Bimberdong Trail: 2.6km return
- Yarraman Trail: 3.2km return
- Trig/Waterloo Trails: 6.5km return
Some of these trails intersect, so you could extend your walk if you were feeling energetic. The trails are rated from ‘easy’ to ‘moderate’.
The chosen path for the morning was the Apex Nature Trail. Our Mudgee Bushwalking Club actively explores walks within easy reach of home and this one was a popular choice to kick off our walking year.
It felt good to be out on the trail again after so many of our scheduled walks were cancelled last year due to the Covid19 kerfuffle and unexpected wet weather. The group chatted away merrily (more talk than walk?) as we started the climb. Unfortunately there was no chance of us sneaking up on any native wildlife as the animals would hear us coming a mile away and quickly vamoose.
For botany lovers, interpretative signage describing various trees, shrubs and flowers is placed intermittently alongside the path. It had been quite a good season this year, with thick scrub and undergrowth, although the heat of Summer had sapped some of the beauty out of the land.
Brushing aside overgrown branches, the path underfoot was generally clear and easy to follow. There was the rare bench to stop, sit, and enjoy the view as well as a number of lookouts providing sweeping views over the surrounding valleys.
Wellington is located on the intersection of two rivers and has lush river flats – perfect for horticulture and lucerne production. I was dazzled to see the vast solar farm of 440,000 solar panels covering around 559 hectares. You can’t miss the solar farm as you drive into Wellington from the North, but the bird’s-eye-view from the top of Mt Arthur truly highlighted just how BIG it really is. Both the solar farm and the neighbouring wind turbines are important alternative energy sources in our region, although I understand both have been quite controversial, taking over prime agricultural land and visually impacting the landscape.
The nuts and bolts of the Apex Nature Trail:
- Distance: 3.5km circuit.
- Time: They suggest 1hr and 30 minutes. It took us much longer as we were a large group moving slowly. I recommend you try to time your walk for early in the morning or late in the afternoon to maximise the golden light over the land. It also increases your chance of seeing native animals.
- Rating: This walk is rated moderate. There are a few short, steep climbs.
- Facilities: Other than a carpark, a couple of signs and a seat, there is zilch. No toilets and importantly, no water. Waymarking is quite good.
- What to See: Bird lovers and native flora experts will be in their element.
- What to Take: I recommend you take water, sunscreen, and a good hat. Solid, enclosed footwear would be handy to protect feet and toes from stones, and the chance of snakes.
Our stroll around Mt Arthur really whetted the appetite for more. Bring on 2022 and a whole range of walking adventures both long and short.
Have you kick started 2022 with a bushwalk?
What: As well as a fabulous walking destination, Mt Arthur is also home to a seriously lung-busting fun run. I am not sure that ‘fun’ and ‘run’ belong in the same sentence! The Mt Arthur Challenge was knocked around by Covid19, so check the internet for new dates and details.
When: See my comments above about timing. I also recommend visiting in Spring when rare flowers such as the purple pea (Swainsona recta) may be spotted.
Why: Fresh air and exercise and spades of beautiful views.
How: There is no public transport servicing this area. If you are prepared for a longer walk, you could walk out to the Reserve. For more comfort, drive your own car or grab a taxi from town.
Who: People with mobility issues cannot progress further than the carpark at the top of Scenic Drive. Children will love the climbs and twisting and turning paths.
Related Posts: For another beautiful walk that goes way down rather than way up, have a look at our adventure at Dales Gorge in Western Australia’s Karijini National Park.
Related Blogs: A good round-up of Wellington’s history and all the things to see and do in Wellington, can be found in this article from the Traveller magazine.
Read About It: For a completely different Wellington, read about the Duke of Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo. There is a pub in Wellington called the Lion of Waterloo if you are thirsty after your walk. Go straight to the pub or Book Depository.
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