Osteopath Karl Godden’s Tassie Hiking Adventure

Osteopath Karl Godden’s Tassie Hiking Adventure

How do you measure a successful bushwalk?

Competition is so easy to quantify. Faster, higher, longer equals better. The numbers of my most recent adventure to South- West Tasmania was eight days of walking, seven nights, 90Km and a pack weight of 24kg. But those numbers don’t even come close to describing the sights, sounds and sheer joy that I experienced walking along the southwest Tasmanian wilderness coast with three friends.

The trip initially began with a flight in a small single engine aircraft. My immediate thought was how the hell can four grown men with packs and the pilot fit into that tiny thing?

We flew out over Hobart and had stunning views across the ranges seeing Mt Federation in all its glory. A small patch of cleared dirt in the wilderness was to be our runway for landing and with the small plane bouncing around like a cork we knew we were in for an adventurous start to the trip.

Safely on the ground, we did our warm-up stretches, hoisted the even heavier packs (now loaded up with drinking water) and set off. The first day was relatively flat walking that headed for the coast.

The campsite was tucked in amongst the scrub beside a fresh water stream and not more than 10m from the beach. We had it all to ourselves and happily set tents up and cooked dinner on the sand all whilst in admiration of the rugged beauty of our surrounds.

With day two came the group discussion about “the Ironbound range”. The Ironbound range is 1000m in vertical height that we had to both walk up and down the other side of the range in a single day. We had the choice to tackle this monster on day 3 or 4 of the trip. It was at this moment that I knew regardless of how hard the walk was going to be, this was a great group of people as we discussed what options we had and all had an opportunity to voice our opinions. We decided to take a side trip to another beach campsite which gave us an extra day of walking to acclimatise to our loads, build fitness and wait for the better weather. We were rewarded with another remote wilderness beach camp complete with a waterfall onto the sand, beach caves to explore and the cold Antarctic ocean water to swim in.


To get to the campsite the night before the Ironbound range, we needed to cross a river. It was clear that this was no ordinary bushwalk. The river depth was unknown initially and from the evidence left behind by floods previously, the water was prone to being much higher. Luckily, there was a rope insitu. We safely crossed and found the camp on the other side beside a beautiful beach bathed in sunshine where we happily lazed around swimming in the very refreshing (chilly) river water.

The day dawned for the Ironbound range and after our daily morning warmups we began the ascent. After 2 hours of climbing, we were still going up and I was grateful for my pre trip exercises. These were simply a daily routine of 30 squats and 30 calf raises whilst my coffee machine warmed up in the morning for 2 months prior to the trip.

Views from the top were amazing, but we quickly descended due to the bitterly cold wind that was blowing.

On the other side of the range we walked or rather clambered through magnificent rainforest with moss dripping from every surface. This was to be our first foray into the experience with walking through the mud for hours at a time. In places the track was a torrent of water and /or deep mud as well as having to navigate the slippery roots, rocks and trees. Initially, we tiptoed around the edges of mud. After several more days of muddy walking I gradually became accustomed to the fun of slopping through and not worrying about dirty feet. In fact, at one point I fell into a mud hole up to my thigh and giggled at the absurdity of what we were doing. I was having a great time.

The environment and the weather kept changing around every corner and with every break there seemed to be something new to admire.

At one point we even had to row boats across a wide river. Throughout the course of the walk we had the time to follow conversations through to the end and pick up threads of thoughts and explore them with the time we shared eating and walking together. Walking in silence helped the forest colours come alive and dive into being comfortable with my own mind. We had no phone service so essentially, we were disconnected, and any rescue would have been very difficult. Yet I felt very connected.

So how do I measure the success of our bushwalk? Is it by how far and fast we walked? Is it getting to a space where I felt comfortable with being in uncomfortable situations? Appreciating the effort of my pre trip exercises that enabled me to enjoy the physicality of the walk? Having the time to allow conversations to be fully shared and consider other points of views and life experiences. Or in delighting at the simplicity of a beautiful view or wonder at the age of ancient trees? I measure it by all of those things as well as having the freedom to dream up other adventures through being inspired by others in the group and those that we met along the way. I measure it by the belly laughs and happy calmness of my mind and the Cntl/Alt reset that unfolded as the days progressed- that and how I responded when I dropped and smashed my phone trying to take a photo on the second last day….

Time well spent.

My next adventure is rock climbing a 500m cliff in the Darren mountains of New Zealand’s south island.

Stay tuned… Feb 2023.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]