Macquarie Island (Macca) is truly a beautiful place filled with rugged terrain and spectacular wildlife. It fills our senses with a variety of sights, sounds and smells that can only be discovered to its maximum potential by exploring the island.
The way this is done usually, is by donning our issued field gear, throwing on our pack full of essentials like First Aid kits and bothy bags etc and getting those legs moving!
Now, as walking is the primary mode of transport up and down the island, a factor that can put uneasiness into most expeditioners (unless you are Urs, our seasoned Swiss mountaineer Field Training Officer (FTO), who was a mountain goat in another lifetime) is the dreaded jump-up/down.
Now some might be wondering what is a jump-up/down!
A jump-up/down is a specific route up and down the steep slopes of the plateau that encompasses the length of Macca. They are found at various points around the island, usually near the various field huts like Waterfall Bay and Hurd Point. They come in different degrees of incline and distance, covered in loose rocks and hardy tussocks which make them a definite challenge.
But don’t despair, over the years the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service Rangers have marked the path with florescent orange stakes to identify the safest route. In addition there is fantastic training from the station FTO on navigating the island and all it's potential hazards.
But in the end, if you are going to tackle any jump-up/down, the best advice is “Watch your step it can be a long way down”.
Brad (Station Supply Officer)
P.S Kudos to the Rangers and FTO (Andrea, Jarrod and Urs) who travel the various jump-ups/downs on a regular basis.