Sugar Gum Lookout hike

Camping : Mount Remarkable National Park

Located in the southern Flinders Ranges, this beautiful national park offers a few campgrounds and a selection of great hikes into gorges shaded by red river gums.


Mambray Creek Camground

We stayed at Mambray Creek, shaded by big, twisted river red gums along the dry creek bed.  There are 54 designated sites, with plenty of taps offering great tasting drinking water.  In the centre of camp are toilets, showers and deep sinks for dishes and hand washing clothes.



If you’re after more sheltered accommodation, there is a cabin that offers basic accommodation right next to the amenities.  It sleeps a maximum of four people, contains a stove, table and chairs with cooking and eating utensils but refrigeration and bedding is BYO.



We couldn’t believe how close the animals got.  Our first surprise was a curious goanna lurking in the bushes near camp and a band of kookaburras perched in the nearby trees while we cooked dinner on the electric BBQ.  We also saw emus and kangaroos during our hike to Sugar Gum Lookout.



Daveys Gully Hike – 1 hour loop, 2.4km

A track that everyone who camps at Mambray Creek should do.  It’s a quick trek through a gully before ascending the hill that overlooks the entrance to the national park.  You can see the Spencer Gulf from the top and even Whyalla on a clear day.  Along the way, you’ll see lizards and kangaroos.  Best time to do this hike is in the late afternoon just before sunset.



Sugar Gum Lookout – 3 hours return, 8km

An easy walk that follows Mambray Creek, the path is shaded by big river red gums.  We bumped into kangaroos, wallabies and a family of emus that dashed ahead as we approached.  A small cabin just before the 600m ascent is interesting to check out before marching up to the lookout, which overlooks red quartzite cliffs.



Camping is at around $18 a night, plus a $10 entry fee into the park, but if you get a Parks Holiday Pass for $70, that takes care of all entry and camping fees to SA National Parks for two months.


Dave spying distant beaches on the way to Deep Creek Cove

Camping : Deep Creek Conservation Park

When we arrived, it was dry and hot and we were surprised that the park wasn’t closed due to extreme fire danger.  The rangers at the park headquarters were extremely friendly and offered suggestions on where to camp and what to see.


Deep Creek Conservation Park covers 4452 hectares and is the largest portion of natural vegetation on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  The coastline of Deep Creek is mainly rocky cliffs with the occasional pocket of sandy beach or rocky cove.  The forest within the boundaries of the park has a variety of flora and fauna, including endangered emu-wrens, glossy black cockatoos, grey kangaroos that bound through your campsite in the morning, stringybark eucalyptus trees and tall yaccas or grass trees.



A section of the Heysen Trail, a 1200km path from Cape Jervis to the Flinders Ranges, weaves through the park and includes the hike to the Deep Creek waterfall.  This 3.5km return track starts off easy then plunges 800m into the valley.  Unfortunately, the waterfall was only a trickle and the walk back up the mountain was quite a workout.



Another walking trail that we conquered was the Deep Creek Cove track, which is a 6.7km return trek over a ridge that leads into the valley that the Deep Creek follows.  The cove is where the creek meets the ocean and it is a rocky beach with polished grey stone.  The colours are fantastic and we ate breakfast as we watched the waves crash against the rocks.



There are five campsites in the park – we stayed at Trig Campground.  It had 25 sites with fire pads that are only allowed to be used outside of fire restriction months.  It is relatively quiet, if you don’t count the noisy magpies, there were drop toilet facilities, a rainwater tank with tap, and generators are NOT ALLOWED, which is awesome.



Camping is at around $13 a night, plus a $10 entry fee into the park, but if you get a Parks Holiday Pass for $70, that takes care of all entry and camping fees to National Parks for two months.


ViPR Training at 1000 Steps

Staying Fit : ViPR Training

Packing up, moving house and finishing up at her job has destroyed Juz’s daily ritual of waking up, heading to the gym and working out before going to work.  Now that things have settled down a bit and with just over two weeks to go before we leave for our trip, Juz is focusing on getting back into some sort of routine with her exercise regime.


Andrew at Pivotal Health & Fitness had scheduled a ViPR training session at the 1000 Steps Kokoda Memorial Trail in the Dandenong Ranges National Park so Juz invited herself along.


Where is it?

The 1000 Steps is located to the east of the CBD in Ferntree Gully.

You can get there by catching the train towards Belgrave and it is a short walk from Upper Ferntree Gully station, or if you are travelling by car, head east along Burwood Highway and the car park for the track is located at the intersection with Mount Dandenong Tourist Road.


GPS Coordinates: -37.88637,145.317833


The Workout

The 1000 Steps Kokoda Memorial Trail was made in the early 1900s and is one of the most treasured spots for outdoor fitness enthusiasts.  Despite what the name suggests, there are only about 770 steps, but the path weaves through lush forest full of ferns, moss and eucalypts.  Dotted along the way are commemorative plaques that offer a perspective into the experiences of Australian soldiers of 1942.


The track is a 1.5km stairway that ascends about 275m up Tree Fern Gully Track and requires a reasonable level of fitness to complete.  There are benches at a few locations on the way if you need to sit down and catch your breath.  Andrew brought his ViPR tubes along for some additional exercises once we got to the top.  He carried the 12kg ViPR up the track while Juz had a 6kg ViPR.


We reached the top of the stairs after about 20 minutes and once we had a quick drink, we started our ViPR session.  ViPR stands for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning and is a whole-body training system that revolutionises free-weight exercise and “bridges the gap between movement and strength”.
Andrew is a qualified national ViPR trainer and put together a selection of exercises that were completed in 30 second intervals.


Set #1 – repeated twice

Threaded squats

3-point lunges with lateral shift

Forward flips

Side shuffles with lateral tilt


Set #2 – repeated twice

Plank lateral drags

Shovelling drills

Lunging uppercuts



Lyrebird Track is the usual return route but it was closed for fitness facility upgrades so we took the stairs back down.  The downward journey back to the car was a lot cruisier and allowed us to soak up the scenery around us.  Cockatoos were squawking overhead and crimson rosellas were romping around in the trees, getting close enough to pinch some sandwich crusts from a group of school girls.


At the base of the track is a memorial terrace that was completed in August 2012, just in time for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Isurava.  There is a panelled wall that provides historical insight and photographs of the war, as well as four pillars that represent the Kokoda values – courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice.



For more information about ViPR Personal Training, contact Andrew at


Check out the Parks Victoria website for info on the Dandenong Ranges National Park.