Having made good time climbing The Sentinels in the morning, we were keen to check out another spot on the way back home. The Needles were a good fit as it’s a quick scoot straight up, with some great views- so we stopped by the road at the Humboldt Divide and made our way up through the bush. The well-cleared track passed through patches of thick bush before climbing steeply through open terrain. The large rock formations on the way up were impressive and provided a good vantage for checking out the surrounding peaks. Unfortunately the cloud was thick on the southern side, and we had no view whatsoever of Mueller, Anne and friends. The track levels off slightly before one last climb to the summit, home to a very large cairn, and was reached 40 minutes after leaving the carpark. A great short walk with some impressive scenery.
All up 2.6kms in 1 hour and 18 minutes with 386m ascent.
Getting there:The track starts 16.5kms past Maydena on the Gordon River Road at the top of the Humboldt Divide. There is a decent carpark and a sign that says it is the highest point on the Gordon River Road and states the average annual rainfall. A small cairn on the opposite side of the road indicates the start of the track.
Note that access to Abbotts and Marriotts is now limited to the shuttle bus that shuttles bike riders to the top of the Maydena bike park. I would assume that one could purchase a ride up to the top but they would not be able to drive up with their own vehicle.
Abbotts Lookout Abel #156; 1106m
Marriotts Lookout Abel #158; 1100+m
Having read a little bit about Abbotts and Marriots in The Abels Vol.1, I wasn’t expecting much except a bit of a scrub bash and some fairly unimpressive summits. This type of walk is therefore better completed with a good group of people and luckily it popped up on the Pandani program.
We left Granton just after 7:30, as we were aiming to get to the Parks Information Centre at 9 to pick up the key to the boom gate, in order to avoid spending a significant part of the day walking on forestry roads. The boom gate on Roberts Road was clearly visible from the Styx Road and made its way up towards Abbotts Lookout. A short 30 second walk from the carpark brings you to the summit of Abbotts Lookout, just above the abandoned tourist centre. From here, we had a full 360 degree view of the nearby peaks including Tyena, Floretine, Mawson, Snowy North and Mueller. A short drive further along the road brings you to a signal tower and the start of the “track” to Marriotts Lookout.
The walk begins in a steep drop down to the plateau through some tea tree, cutting grass and bauera. You can follow a taped pad down, but this stops just before the plateau-then you have to choose your own adventure for the remainder of the walk. Crossing the plateau is probably the thickest scrub that you will encounter, particularly on the end closest to Marriotts Lookout. The combination of cutting grass and scoparia dispersed throughout the bauera makes for an interesting path across the short stretch of flat alpine. In saying that, at no stage during the day did I not enjoy pushing through the scrub. Once you reach the other side it’s back into some fairly dense forest, so make sure you choose the path of least resistance. After a short climb you reach a false summit on Marriotts before dropping back down, and then up again to reach the flat top. The summit of Marriotts is on the southern end and is marked by a cairn wrapped in rusted wire. Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in just before we reached the summit so I turned my attention to the interesting lichen growing in the grass and on top of rocks that are scattered across the flat top of Marriotts Lookout.
We followed a similar path on the way back; this time it was Michael in front and for the most part we avoided any serious scrub. Overall, it was a pretty pleasant walk with a good group of people-in saying that I don’t think I’ll be revisiting these Abels in a hurry.
All up 5.8km in 5:20 including lunch and 378m ascent.
Getting there: I would highly recommend getting a key to the boom gate from Parks. This will save around 3-4 hours of boring road walking and all you need to do is phone a few days in advance and pay a deposit. Drive through Maydena and turn right onto Florentine Road. Shortly after turn right again onto Styx Road, directions Styx Tall Trees, and follow the road under the highway. The first road on your left after passing under the highway will be Roberts Road. Unlock the gate and continue up Roberts Road