Want to do some planning for your upcoming Bicentennial National Trail trek but don’t know where to start? Looking for the best online resources for planning a BNT trek ?
Well if you haven’t already, you may like to check out this page all about the Bicentennial National Trail.
It’s a known fact that former Bicentennial National Trail trekkers love to relive their time on the trail by sharing tips and advice with those who have recently hit the trail, and I get just as excited as the next person when reminiscing gear, girths and trail grub.
However, I do not in any way profess to be an expert on all things BNT and am simply sharing my own hard-won lessons and experiences. They may be relevant to you, or not. If you’re big and bad enough to be planning a trek on the BNT, chances are that you’re perfectly capable of tracking down your own resources and information. Then again, you may like to check out these resources I used both prior to and on our trip along the Bicentennial National Trail.
MY FAVOURITE ONLINE RESOURCES FOR PLANNING A BNT TREK
1. BLOGS/FORMER BNT TREKKERS
What’s consistently the most valuable resource for people trekking the Bicentennial National Trail? The tales and experiences from former trekkers – they’ve been there, done that, so there’s no better resource than hikers, cyclists or pack-saddlers who have just finished a jaunt on the trail. Below are some of the peeps I have cyber stalked in my eternal quest to suss out more info on the BNT. I’m sure there are many more out there that I have yet to discover…
FACEBOOK PAGE: LIVING THE BNT DREAM
In a nutshell: Jackie Mann’s writings are enthusiastic, down to earth and contain detailed information about each day’s travel and campsite. With emus in the distance, the odd waterhole amidst a dry bush setting, and sun-baked gravel trails stretching off into the horizon, her pictures evoke images of a Queensland we all long to experience from the back of a horse.
FACEBOOK PAGE: WILD AT HEART AUSTRALIA
IN A NUTSHELL: photogenic Frenchwoman trains three wild brumbies and sets off across Australia with them. Could anything possibly be more hype-worthy? The confident, generous and highly-competent Alienor here is in fact one of the few trekkers we actually bumped into during our time on the trail. Her Guy Fawkes heritage ponies are truly adorable both in the flesh and on the screen and and her Facebook photos are just something else.
FACEBOOK PAGE: TROT TO THE TOP
IN A NUTSHELL: Hilarious, poignant, informative and quirky, Kimberly of ‘Trot To The Top’ is one incredible writer. Armed with three pairs of undies and her trusty steed, Archie, she sets off to conquer the BNT, oft utilizing the hash tag #notdeadyet when coverage on the trail resurfaces. Her posts are joyfully riotous tales of food found (and consumed) on roadsides, the type of road-rage that only horse-riders can relate to, and anecdotal witticisms on her childhood.
Reprimanded by her mother for her frequent ‘oversharing’, Kim’s stories are raw and honest, depicting both the comical sides and harsher realities of life on the Bicentennial National Trail.
FACEBOOK PAGE: GLENN ON THE TRAIL
IN A NUTSHELL: Glenn on the Trail is the one other trekker we happened to share a teensy part of the BNT with. We met by the Bowen River of an one afternoon, and in the space of half an hour, Glenn had showed us what Burdekin plums were, pointed out wild passion fruit plants, and explained how he manages to cook up a simple and satisfying loaf of damper, (sans tools or alfoil) on his campfire every day. I felt like we had just met the real deal bush tucker man, and was beyond impressed.
Although this guy walked all the way from Darwin without enlisting any support along the way (and without a tent for most of it!), he is never one to make a song and dance about it and his writing are as genuine as they come.
FACEBOOK PAGE: JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME
FACEBOOK PAGE: TAILS FROM THE TRAIL
IN A NUTSHELL: If anyone’s to be blamed for the wave of lone female Bicentennial National Trail thru-trekkers over the past few years, its this lady. (Kudos to you, Belinda!) Known in the papers as ‘The Lawyer that Rode into Town After Crossing Australia’, Belinda received the Australian Geographic Young Adventurer of the Year award on completion of the trail. She inspired many a female (well, me at least) to set aside their fears, saddle up and head for the hills.
BLOG: VINCENT ON WHEELS
IN A NUTSHELL: Cycle tourers seem to either love or hate the Bicentennial National Trail, and Vincent’s comprehensive blog is one of the few out there that detail his conquests along the length of the trail. And with a decently loaded bike and some steep, slippery and overgrown trails, conquests they were indeed (Did I mention that some cyclists hate the BNT?) Vincent’s awesome site truly is a wealth of information and speaks volumes about his meticulous planning, preparation and oodles of determination.
BLOG: LIFE ON THE TRAIL
IN A NUTSHELL: If the BNT was a painting, these guys would be Van Gogh. Or maybe, like, Monet or something. They just did it bloody beautifully. I’d say Kathryn and Preston are the creme de le creme of horse trekkers and we were lucky enough to stay with them and pick their brains near Canberra. Their gear list was one of the first things I excitedly printed out and pinned to my wall for reference in my early days of BNT nerding out. And if anythings gunna bring out the nerd in me, its gear.
2. ONLINE SADDLERY: Outfitters Supply
IN A NUTSHELL: Outfitters Supply touts itself as the premier supplier of horse and mule trail riding, packing, camping and hunting equipment. Although they located in the US, they ship to Australia at fairly reasonable rates. Its fun just to browse through their site and see just how much is out there in the way of horse packing equipment (bow scabbards, anyone?). More importantly, the trail tips section of their site has some great articles on hobble/ tether training and other such info.
3. WEBSITE/ BUSINESS: PACK SADDLING AUSTRALIA
IN A NUTSHELL: Jo of Pack Saddling Australia was another person we had the pleasure of staying with on the trail, and their website (and gear list of course!) is an awesome resource for people wanting to learn the elusive art of horse packing in Australia.
WEBSITE: THE OFFICIAL BICENTENNIAL NATIONAL TRAIL SITE
IN A NUTSHELL: Here’s where you’ll find all the nitty-gritty info you’ll need to actually pull off a trek- updates, contact info for coordinators, and a run down on each of the twelve BNT sections.
There’s also some great downloads in info on cycle touring , reading maps, and using a compass.