Outdoor equipment is supplied through about 10 major stores in Australia, with the best selection all in one street in Melbourne. There is also a nice selection of 4 stores in close proximity in Lonsdale St, Braddon, Canberra. However, if you are researching brands, here are the websites, from across the world. All popular brands are shown without fear or favour - you decide!
Those Asterixed* allow purchases over the Internet.
(In alphabetical order - updated significantly 16 September 2013. Minor additions 19 Sep 2013: PROtog, Oziexplorer, OZtopo)
Explains some of the science and technology behind GPS, and how to avoid errors.
A good description of the difference between GDA94 and WGS84 is also attached.
If you would like more information, please email me using the email icon above.
The magnificence of the Australian outdoors on a sunny summer's day, can blind us to the reality, if bad weather hits.
This photograph was taken in April 1985 at Blue Lake, a time when snow is not normally expected. When the tent was pitched the evening before, the weather was fine and warm and there was no snow at all.
WARNING: the 121.5MHz EPRIB System will cease to operate from 1 February 2009. Walkers should replace their old EPIRBs with the new PLB (Personal Locator Beacons) on 406 MHz which are now available in Australia (at a higher price, but with direct identification for each unit)
Hypothermia is the reduction in the core temperature, by a few degrees, of a human being. It can result in death in an hour.
It is agravated by the combination of cold, wind and wet.A person suffering from hypothermia is likely to walk aimlessly, talk non-sense and feel unconcerned about their fate - ie sit and "wait untill it all gets better".
The condition is very hard to judge without lots of experience. A person who is wet, in ANY wind is likely to suffer to some degree. Get them out of the wind, in a hut, a tent, behind a boulder or off the ridge. Get them into a sleeping bag, or wrapped in a foil groundsheet. Feed warm liquid, but not alcohol. Nor put them too near a fire, as their heat will be drawn to their outer skin. Warm against other bodies.
To avoid getting hypothermia, wear multi-layered clothing, that keeps the wind out.
The NPWS has the view (given in writing) that EPIRBs will save a person in this state. This is unlikely, as a helicopter would rarely arrive in time. However, they are better than nothing. Huts, tents and correctly built snow caves provide immediate shelter.
Are you ready? Any time of the year?
EPIRB stands for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. An EPIRB (or PLB Personal Locator Beacon) is a small radio device that sends a signal to a satellite or airplane, indicating that you are lost or in trouble.
Ppocket versions have become available between $213 and $305 RRP, in particular the GME Model MT310, which is made in Australia. This device is being phased out now, in preference for the newer 406 MHz models, which will be mandatory from 1 February 2009.
This particular device weighs 175 grams, and is about the same size as a medium grade mobile phone.
It will transmit an emergency signal on 121.5 and 243 MHz which can be received by both COSPAS (USA) and SARSAT(Russian) satellites, and commercial aircraft.
They have been proven highly reliable (up to 48 hours) and have already saved a number of lives.
There is a safety cover so that it cannot be inadvertantly set off, and a test mode, to make sure it is working before you start walking or skiing. Kosciusko National Park offer these for hire.
There are many other brands and more sophisticated models, but these tend to be both much more expensive AND larger and heavier.
There are minor issues with this device - firstly it may take some hours for the signal to be received and acted upon. Secondly it won't work in a cave, inside a hut, or under heavy tree cover. Thirdly, to set one off in a non-emergency situation is likely tro bring the force of the law down on you.
Still, with GPS, Mobile Phone (in a few locations) and an EPIRB, a lot some of the risks of bushwalking and skiing are very much reduced for a party.
Renting or buying an EPIRB
EPIRBS can be rented from the Kosciusko National Parks Visitors Centre (Ph 02-6450 5600) for about $10 per day or from Getaway Equipment Rentals Ph 02-9456 0457).
Marine retailers such as BIAS Boating or Whitworths, or outdoor shops such as Paddy Pallins sell them for about $300.
Updated 28 April 2008.
We now have an interactive map! Click here to enter.
It will open in a new window or tab.
The map will only work with the latest browsers - Internet Explorer 9, Firefox or Chrome. Not tested on Safari. (Let me know if it works on a Mac)
Our aim is to progressively and carefully provide Latitude and Longitude positions for all key huts and sites, so that they are easy to find, even in a white out, dark or fog. This has the potential to save distress, if not lives.
Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers are now so carried as a matter of course for many bushwalkers, drivers and skiers. Most mobile phones also include a GPS receiver, although these are not quite as accurate as a dedicated receiver.
We are progessively building the list below, but PLEASE read the disclaimer attached below.
The best known location for standing huts have been added to the Open Street Map (OSM). Download free routable Garmin maps made from this project here.
(Data Last Updated 4 July 2011).
Hut Locations are in WGS 84
|KHA No||Name||Location Accuracy||Latitude||Longitude||GPS Source|
|0||Bag Range Hut||Good||-35.192392||148.773831||OM|
|2601||Botherham Plain Hut||Good||-36.252894||148.548135||OM|
|2001||Brandy Flat No3||Poor||-35.714889||149.019355|
|504||Bulls Head Picnic Hut||Good||-35.387830||148.804467||IF|
|0||Chaves Yarrangobilly village||Fair||-35.641544||148.450194|
|0||Coolamine Cheese House||Fair||-35.609559||148.664828|
|1604||Cotter Hut No3||Poor||-35.650918||148.831087|
|506||Cotter River Hut||Poor||-35.482776||148.816629|
|0||CSIRO Research Hut||Good||-36.229293||148.560654||OM|
|0||Devil's Kitchen (Rock Shelter)||Good||-36.560226||148.262415||OM|
|0||Dry Dam Ski Shelter||Fair||-35.933891||148.388160|
|1610||Gudgenby Homestead No2||Fair||-35.742892||148.985442|
|2104||Horse Gully No2||Good||-35.823842||149.065947|
|1203||Long Plain Homestead||Good||-35.697079||148.537372||OM|
|1703||Lutons Crutching Shed||Good||-35.826742||148.946200||OM|
|2402||Major Clews Hut||Good||-36.292977||148.142869||GM|
|2105||Max and Bert Oldfields Hut||Poor||-35.750909||149.071525|
|2308||Pretty Plain Hut||Good||-36.168742||148.295264||NI|
|0||SMA House Geehi Dam||Fair||-36.302202||148.314910|
|0||SMA House Tooma Dam||Fair||-36.050191||148.277134|
|2323||SMA Rain Gauge Jagungal||Fair||-36.135485||148.389550|
|0||SMA Seismic Station Geehi||Fair||-36.417178||148.181808|
|1002||SMA Weather Station||Fair||-35.924837||148.432672|
|2425||Snowy R Gauging Station||Poor||-36.392058||148.356996|
|2701||Tin Mine Barn||Good||-36.699982||148.250648||OM|
|0||Tooma River Gauging Station||Fair||-36.099788||148.258852|
|0||Tumut River Gauging Station||Fair||-36.020311||148.439859|
This table can be downloaded as a csv file or kmz (for Google Earth). See the attachments at the bottom of the page. To convert this file for use in your GPS receiver, use GPSBabel. This is a free utility that is easy to use, and is reliable.
GPS Locations by:
OM - Olaf Moon
NI - Narelle Irvine
PW - Peter Woodrow
GMcD - Garry McDougal
IF - Ian Frakes
DD - David Dalwood
GH - Greg Hutchison
RG - Robert Green
Balart, DE, GM, MC - Unknown
(Please tell us if you disagree with these figures, or can provide others)
Note 1: All locations are in WGS84 (World Geodetic System), not the older Australian Geodetic Datum 66 or 84 as shown on the border of many older Australian maps. Check your map Datum before reading off a position using the grid. The difference is about 200m NE for a WGS position, over an old map reading.
A comment field has been included to indicate the accuracy of the coordinates given.
Good - modern GPS reading, should be within 10 metres
Fair - coordinates from Google Earth, may be up to 50 metres error.
Poor - coordinates from topographic map reading, may be out by 500 metres. Hut may be marked incorrectly on published maps, coordinate system may not have been converted.
Accuracy aslo depends on the chip in your GPS Receiover. Newer chips have better accuracy and greater sensitivity than older ones. A Garmin Orogen series GPS will even give a reading indoors to less than 10 metres error. A good reason to upgrade!
Vertical Accuracy will be 30m or more unless you have a barometer in your device. The barometer needs to be calibrated to either the air pressure or a known height on the day, or at least weekly to acheive an accuracy of approx. 3m.
The KHA committee is wary of the variations in readings - so there are no guarantees for accuracy! For example, it is important that your GPS unit is set to the either the Geodetic Datum of Australian 1994 (GDA94) or the world Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) These two systems are equivalent for all intents and purposes.
Any errors in using different datums are your responsibility. Walkers and skiers MUST have other navigational skills before venturing into the bush, particularly in winter, the dark or both.
Most Australian maps still refer to AGD66 or 84. The difference is that GDA94 and WGS84 will lead you to the same spot if your GPS is set in WGS84, but will be 200 metres north east if you are applying the position to an old map.
Exploring GPS - the complete story (NSW Dept of Lands Publication)
External Pages about Datums
For those with a real thirst for knowledge, go to this learned paper and learn that the world is a spheroid (sphere that is slightly flattened at the poles). You can learn that Australia's new GDA system was based on the latest ITRF92 calculation and makes GDA about 10cm (on the ground) more accurate than WGS84, but who would care! Therefore using WGS84 is good, as all our maps and GPS receivers have, or will, move to it.
By the way, the difference between the old AGD readings and new WGS readings are about 4mm on a 1:50,000 scale map. So now you know.
While the Victorian mountain huts are not usually the preserve of KHA, many members walk and ski in the Alpine National Park as well, so we have commenced the collection of GPS data for southern huts as well.
|Basalt Knob Hut||S37 09.004 E147 06.138||A Russo|
|Bindaree Hut||S37 10.01 E146 32.61||D Sisson|
|Bivouac Hut||S 36 42.819 E 147 17.706||C Halabut|
|Black Bird (Kellys) Hut|
|Blowhard Hut||S36 59.429 E147 06.766||O Moon|
|Bluff Hut||S37 12.97 E146 31.44||Sisson|
|Bluff Spur Memorial Hut||S37 7.60 E146 29.60||Sisson|
|Bucketty (McNamara)||S36 57.285 E147 20.036||O Moon|
|Bus Hut (Ivans)||S37 5.34 E146 26.40||D Sisson|
|Charles Derrick Hut||S 36 58.272 E 147 09.645|
|Cobbler Lake Hut||S37 2.96 E146 37.55||D Sisson|
|Cope Hut||S36 54.395 E147 17.552||O Moon|
|Craigs Hut||S37 6.47 E146 31.94||Sisson|
|CRB (Country Roads Board) - Standing Ruin||S37 00.101 E147 06.022||O Moon|
|Diamantina||S36 58.589 E147 07.313||O Moon|
|Dinner Plain||S37 01.246 E147 14.208||O Moon|
|Evans Creek Hut|
|Frascas Dam Hut|
|Fry's Hut||S37 11.75 E146 19.79||D Sisson|
|Gardners Hut||S37 11.53 E146 22.68||D Sisson|
|Geelong Grammar School Hut||S37 7.45 E146 30.06||D Sisson|
|Howqua Gap Hut||S37 8.66 E146 29.43||D Sisson|
|JB Plain||S37 01.396 E147 13.304||O Moon|
|Keep Dry Hut||S37 7.77 E146 29.81|
|King River Hut||S37 5.28 E146 34.31|
|King Saddle Hut||S37 6.34 E146 28.50|
|Lovick's Hut||S37 12.41 E146 34.60|
|Mitchell's Homestead||S37 18.04 E146 21.67|
|Mount No.3 Hut||S37 3.75 E146 25.03|
|Pikes Flat Hut||S37 10.84 E146 30.74|
|Purcell's Hut Pannican Hut||S37 4.88 E146 28.67|
|Razorback Hut (Purcell's Hut)||S37 6.24 E146 27.88|
|Ritchie's Hut||S37.11.798 E146.28.447||CORRECTED|
|Ryans Hut Bullocks||S36 55.21 E146 26.73|
|Spargos Hut||S 36 58.912 E 147 09.778|
|Stockyard Ck Hut|
|Tomahawk Hut||S37 2.42 E146 24.66|
|Top Crossing Hut|
|Upper Jamieson Hut||S37 15.45 E146 26.90|
|Vallejo Gantner Hut||S37 10.32 E146 40.22|
|Wheeler Creek Hut||S36 32.805 E147 52.629||A Russo|
|Wires Plain (XC Ski Shelter)|
One of the many historical projects currently being undertaken by KHA invovles checking the the old maps of what is now Kosciuszko Park against what can still be physically seen on the ground. This process is formally know as "Ground-truthing".
Craig Doubleday has been plugging away since 2007 as a part of this effort locating signs of the original Kosciuszko road. This road was last used in 1909, 101 years ago. Below is a part of a progress report. The complete report includes photos 3 GPS data files which will hopefully be made publicly available on completion of Craig's project.
The report is an example of how, with patience and perserverance, it is still possible to locate and record old sites and tracks. Any reader interested in joining the ground truthing team is welcome to contact Graham Scully to talk over possible involvement.
Craig Doubleday's Report - Extracts
I'll discuss these (the photographs) first, as they are more interesting than a faint groove in the snowgrass.
One of my first finds was a hut site on the western edge of Boggy Plain. From memory this was shown on one of the old snow lease maps..... However on the ground there is a definite flattened area where the floor was, and some stones for the fireplace. There are pieces of lead and some timber remains hidden in the grass. Continuing west, the next point of interest is some gold workings on Little Diggers Creek. They are alluvial workings and are quite high up.
I've included the photos of a couple of typical sections of track, but one piece I must point out is a stone retaining wall located to the west of Pretty Point. It is only 40-50cm high, but is the highest structure I've found so far on the track. The wall has been built to get the road over a small depression in the track. I stumbled across this wall completely by accident late one afternoon whilst heading back to my car after a long day of searching.
Perhaps my favourite find so far is an old stone fireplace, located SE of Smiggin Holes. It's about 20m off the old road, and stands about 80cm tall. It is located near a large boulder, but I couldn't detect any traces of a structure that may have been nearby. I suspect it was merely a campsite or stopping place along the old road.
At a Botheram Plain workparty a couple of years ago Henry Willis mentioned to me that there was an old dam near Betts Camp . I've attached a photo of it. As you can see it's built of stones cemented together, and presumably would have supplied running water to the hut itself.
Finally, there are two points of interest along the new road that thousands of tourists march past each year. They are old milestones, at 2 & 3 miles from the summit.
Now, onto the road itself. As I may have mentioned to you both in the past, the track has been benched in places, whilst in boggy sections the ground has been built up. Generally the track sticks close to the crest of the range at the saddles (where the boggy ground is), but deviates around the edges of some of the smaller hills. The attached photos give you an idea of the more evident pieces of track, but I must warn you that 95% of the track is very hard to spot. Often the only way to confirm that you are on the track is to keep locating disturbance in a generally straight line; there must be countless times that I have crossed over the track at right angles without noticing its existence. Absolute confirmation of the tracks location can usually be obtained where it crosses boggy ground or small creeks, where built up sections and rocks make it visible.
Also note that as the track is quite old, some of my sightings may not be 100% reliable. For example, the section to the NE of Pretty Point I traced back in December 2007 and was quite confident of, yet in March when I rewalked this section I was struggling to find traces of it. Another section I am dubious about is some sightings I made to the west of Betts Camp, up towards the Stilwell Restaurant.
As to the future, I'd like to get a bit more of an idea as to the location of the road before doing much more searching. In particular I'd like to gain a better idea of where it went to the west of Betts Camp. Once armed with some more information it will enable targeting of some new sections of the road, and hopefully will result in more waypoints. Ultimately I would love to run a 2-3 day walk along the entire length of the road, but this can't happen until more sections have been located.
At this stage it looks unlikely that I will be able to spend more time searching for this road until early next year, so there is no rush for additional research. One item that may be very useful is if higher resolution aerial photography is publicly released for the Snowy Mountains. One of the online mapping companies (http://www.nearmap.com ) has amazingly clear imagery over Central Victoria, and I am certain that if such imagery was available for the Main Range the old road would be visible in many places. Even with the relatively poor quality of the Google Earth imagery I was able to identify a section of track west of Pretty Point, which I then confirmed on the ground.
.... Hopefully we can identify likely areas to search for the remaining sections of track. The perfectionist in me would to see the entire route accurately located before I'm willing to call this project complete.
Note by Narelle Irvine: I have been attempting to obtain (for free) high-resolution satellite imagery of the Park. I can only get 25 square kilometrers for free, and the park is about 7000 square kilometres!
Cost of decent satellite imagery over the Park would run into the thousands of dollars.
GPS receivers are great for telling you where you are, especially if you have been to the spot before and are simply returning, of if you have been given the coordinates by someone else.
However, plotting a GPS position on a topographic map is not as easy at it could be, mostly because there is a tendency to use the wrong units.
The first and most important thing you must do with your GPS receiver is to choose the right datum point, or starting point, from which your GPS will calculate your position.
The whole business of datums in Australia, as elsewhere, is confusing, partly because of the similarity of the acronyms being used, and partly because the Australian datum has recently been updated. The new Australian datum to use is GDA 94, and all new topographic maps in Australia are using this standard. The acronym stands for Geocentric Datum of Australia. However, many older GPS receivers do not have GDA 94 included in their list of datums. Fortunately GDA 94 is virtually identical to WGS 84 (WGS stands for World Geodetic System).
Set your GPS receiver to either GDA 94 or WGS 84 and leave it there.
For some reason, most GPS receivers have the default setting for reporting the position in latitude and longitude. This being the standard ânavigatingâ format, it satisfies the majority of users that they are now truly ânavigatingâ, even if they donât fully understand the system.
Within the lat/long notation there is a further divide: while traditionally one used degrees, minutes and seconds of arc to describe a position, modern usage also allows decimal degrees, and degrees and decimal minutes :
degrees, minutes & seconds of arc S 35Â° 55â47.1â, E 148Â°28â42.1â
decimal degrees S 35.92976Â°, E 148.47835Â°
degrees & decimal minutes S 35Â° 55.786â, E 148Â° 28.701â
All of the above positions describe the same spot - Four Mile Hut, SE of Mt Selwyn in NSW.
Quite apart from the possible confusion caused by different formatting, lat/long positions are very hard to transcribe to a topographic map because the grid shown is of a totally different system, and because of the difficult mathematics involved in minutes and seconds of arc.
Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)
The grid system shown on all Australian Topographic maps is UTM. In fact, as the name suggests, most topographic maps around the world use UTM, though the name is often different.
The same position (Four Mile Hut) described in UTM is Zone 55H E 0633363, N 6022832, though most GPS receivers leave out the E & N.
Using UTM the world is divided in into rectangles, each with a letter and a number. The rectangles are unequal in size, due to the fact that the projection from a globe to a flat map with relative angles and distances reasonably accurate requires distortion.
North-South, the globe is divided into 23 zones, which are each allocated a letter of the alphabet, and east-west into zones of 6Â° of arc, each allocated a number between 1 & 60. This is far more complicated that the general map-reader needs to know, but a full account can be read at http://www.uwgb.edu/DutchS/FieldMethods/UTMSystem.htm
Youâll note that in our example, Four Mile Hut, and much of southern NSW and northern Victoria, lies in zone 55H.
The figures following the zone number describe the distance from the SW corner of that zone, the first seven figures being the distance east of that point, the second seven being the distance north of the SW corner.
Somewhere on the map you will find a set of boxes telling you all about the position of the particular map in relation to the rest of the world, but if you set your GPS units to UTM (often described as UTM/UPS) you can almost forget about that, because the reading will give you that relativity.
Letâs take the Four Mile Hut position 55H E 0633363, N 6022832.
55H describes the zone.
Now look carefully at the Eastings, the numbers along the top and bottom of the map (which are identical): on the edge of the map beneath the spot on the map where Four Mile Hut is youâll see a very tiny 6, followed by the bigger numbers 30. These three numbers, 633, should really have another 0 before them to read 0633 (Iâm not sure why this convention is followed, but if the first figure is 0, it is generally left off). That tells you that the spot we want is somewhere in the grid square 0633.
Apply the same logic to the Northings, reading the numbers running up the left and right sides of the map â Four Mile Hut lies in the 1000m square 6022.
Mentally divide the square into ten parts eastings and read the position of the hut (3), and the same with the Northings (8).
Now, if you already know about grid references, youâll know that we normally pinpoint a spot with a six figure reference, the first three numbers being read from left to right, and the second three from bottom to top.
To cut a long story short, in practise you can look at your GPS reading, ignore the first two and the last two of each seven-figure set, which leaves you with two sets of 3-figure numbersâ¦ the ones you would normally use for a grid reference.
In the case of Four Mile hut, 55h E 0633363, N 6022832.
See what I mean?
The 55H and the first two numbers simply specify the map that should be used. The last two numbers, interestingly, refine the position way beyond the reach of a printed map, bringing the accuracy down to 1 metre, far more accurate than we could measure on a 1:25,000 map.
Itâs only recently that we have begun to realise that our old view of the shape of the Earth was somewhat inaccurate. In fact, youâll find a considerable discrepancy between positions plotted on the very latest series of Australian maps, and those more than ten years old.
Youâll find that the old maps are roughly 200 metres out. However, you should understand that they are only inaccurate from the point of view of an outside measuring device: something like a GPS.
Fortunately, the discrepancy is, in local terms, the same everywhere. If you plot a true GPS position on an old map, youâll find that it puts, for instance, Four Mile Hut nearly 200 metres NE of the position on the map. In wooded country or at night this could be a problem, but generally 200 metres isnât going to make a huge difference.
Conversely, if you are using a position taken from the old series maps, a GPS reading will put you two hundred meters to the SW. of the real position, so from the GPS position, go roughly 200m to the N.E. to get to the map position.
If you use your GPS receiver mostly to navigate with the aid of Australian topographic maps, set your machine datum to either GDA 94 or WGS84 and set the units to UTM, and leave it thereâ¦ youâll have no more trouble.
And finally, if youâre using an old map, your GPS will take you to a position around 200 metres NE of the spot marked on the mapâ¦ itâs the map which is wrong, not the GPS.
Conversely, if you are using a position taken from the old series maps, a GPS reading will put you roughly two hundred meters to the SW of the real position, so from the GPS position, go roughly 200m to the N.E. to get to the map position.
Â© Michel Dignand 2007
Michel Dignand studied celestial navigation in the mid 1960s, and has used most available navigating systems in ocean sailing and other outdoor pursuits for more than 45 years.
The Australian Government publication âMap Reading Guide â How to Use Topographic Mapsâ not only discusses this subject (though not as comprehensively as in this article) but also includes much valuable information about using topographic maps.
This series of maps have been created from Geoscience Australia datasets.
Layers can be turned on and off using the "Layers" symbol on the left hand side, underneath the "Pages" symbol.
Maps are georeferenced. Using the Geospatial Tool, coordinates for a location can be obtained.
They are designed to printed on A2 paper.
For printing on an A4 page, you have two options:
Print the whole document on one page (very small print!)
Download the PDF and open with Acrobat Reader.Â Then use the "Snapshot" tool to select an area, then click the right mouse button and select "Print". There should be an option in the print screen to "fit Image to page".
Central Kosciuszko National Park (2.7MB)
South Kosciuszko National Park (2.9MB)
Comprehensive guide to the technology of GPS, purchsing a GPS receiver, and how to use it.
Published by NSW Department of Lands.