On the tracks with Canberra bushwalking expert John Evans

  • Row Image

From swinging bridges to an abundance of natural beauty, Ginninderry residents are lucky to live in an area that begs to be explored.

And with the recent announcement of 10km of new walking tracks, they now have even more reasons to head outdoors for an active adventure.

Following his recent review of the Ginninderry Walking Tracks, we sat down with John Evans from Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog to talk about all things bushwalking – and why (if you haven’t already), you need to hit the tracks at Ginninderry.

Why did you begin Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog?

My daughter knows how to press my buttons so that’s where the ‘Johnny Boy’ comes from. Originally it was to share my adventures with family, but there was little interest. A byline is to “… get out and breathe a bit of fresh air” and the blog has developed into a go-to source of hikes in the ACT and surrounding NSW.

My world view is based on stewardship, which means to both use and preserve the natural environment for future generations.

When did your love of bushwalking begin and why do you enjoy it?

Like many baby boomers, my introduction to Country was through the Scouting movement, school Cadets, and the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme. A number of years in an Army Reserve infantry unit continued this association, although it is hard to appreciate the bush while managing tactics and barking orders.

Work and family rightfully led to time out, but retirement opened new opportunities. I did a navigation refresher course with the Canberra Bushwalking Club and got ‘sucked right in’ to the joys of visiting new places in the bush. Some were close to home in Namadgi National Park, others in the wilds of Tasmania.

What is the Canberra Bushwalking Club?

The Canberra Bushwalking Club is a 400+ strong group of active members who enjoy the outdoors. Our activities range from multi-week overseas expeditions to half-day walks in local nature reserves. There’s also canyoning, kayaking, mountain bike riding, and snowshoeing. There’s something for everyone. We welcome guests on up to three trips so they can get an idea of what’s involved.

What makes a good bushwalk and what do you consider when writing your walk reports?

Every walk is a good walk! An extra good walk has an edge, a special attraction. It might be a new destination, walking at night by moonlight, rock-hopping in a creek in mid-summer or snowshoeing in winter. Views are important, so a high point should be included. Social connection with old and new friends is important; equally important is connection with nature. When human activity ceases the bush comes alive.

Of course, having the correct gear is a consideration. Forget something on an overnight hike and you are either cold, hungry, wet, or lost. Manage the risk associated with a walk – tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. I sometimes walk alone accompanied by a PLB (a Personal Locator Beacon) or satellite communication device, but I prefer to walk in a group.

Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog trip reports are written to aid my memory and to provide information to others who might consider doing the same or similar trips. There are plenty of metrics, such as distance, climb, time taken, a digital record of the hike, and photos to show what to expect. If it’s your aspiration, it’s good to extend your experiences in manageable increments. Hopefully, the trip reports provide descriptions to enable others to do this.

You recently explored the Ginninderry Walking Tracks – what did you enjoy most about the new track?

A family was walking behind us one morning. A girl, perhaps six years old, loudly proclaimed “This is the most beautiful place!” What a recommendation.

I enjoy the easy walking tracks interconnecting lookouts and vistas, and the access from any part of Canberra. I’ve visited three times since the tracks were opened and my greatest joy is to see the huge number of people using this great resource. Congratulations to Ginninderry and the Ginninderry Conservation Trust for the vision to implement the walking tracks.

What are some things not to miss on the Ginninderry Walking Tracks?

Tromp over the two swing bridges, commune with nature and take in the views from the lookouts. There’s a beaut stone staircase and walk the stepping stones over the natural creek crossing.

You might also like

Ginninderry’s Inspire podcast: Jo Farrell on the importance of building like a girl

The captivating student-led exhibition celebrating the next generation of artists