Hi, my name is Steve Jones. I have been hiking, hunting, canoeing etc now for over sixty years, and am still doing so – though a little more slowly than I once did.

Here I am in April 2017, age 68, moose ‘hunting’ (with a camera) in the Hauroko Burn, Fiordland NZ.

My wife Della & I (combined age then 120) heading off from Freney Lagoon on the second day of our walk across Tasmania in 2011. We took seven days. Between us we were carrying around 20 kilos at the start which included enough food for 10 days obviously with me carrying about two-thirds of that. These days our combined age is 135+ we carry several kilos less than that for the same length trip!

I am (now) a semi-retired farmer in Gippsland, Victoria and have spent very many years walking in the Victorian Alps & elsewhere (more often than not in winter) and in every different weather. I hope to be able to continue my rambling for some time to come.

I have camped out a lot, much more now than two years of my life in total. I have seen the failure of just about every type of gear, and experienced just about every disaster which can befall you in the wilderness, and survived.

So, if you dream of doing a bit of camping, hiking or hunting, perhaps I can offer some useful advice? I hope you find something interesting and/or helpful here.

As of today (May 2018) there are over 1100 posts, over a million words (ie more than ten novels) and over 15,000 images – so it has been a lot of work!

You can also like or follow my page on Facebook at: The Ultralight Hiker – Facebook Page You can also  Follow The Ultralight Hiker on WordPress.com

A good way to see how much is here is to scroll through my Pinterest page where they are just about all collected: https://www.pinterest.com.au/stevendella/ultra-light-hiking/

Please do not judge this site too harshly. This is not a commercial site, nor do I have any staff or 20,000 members – such as a similar site might have. This is all just my own (part-time) work. I appreciate the positive comments and encouragement though. Please Keep them up!

This is a new version of my older website, Ultralight Hiking (Far Right on the Menu Bar – you may prefer reading it – as you can just scroll down).

In the meantime, if you would like to read more there is a page of advice here: Hiking Advice or  THE UPPER YARRA TRACK & TRACK INSTRUCTIONS if you are interested in walking Victoria’s greatest track! There are also links to other pages of mine http://www.finnsheep.com/Steve’sBlog.htm (if you don’t mind a bit of politics!) and http://www.finnsheep.com/index.htm – if you are interested in sheep. If you want to keep up with Steve’s Blog on a daily basis (I only manage to update it about once a week), you can catch my daily updates on my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001879813530

One way way to explore the site is to use the ‘Search’ facility at the top right hand corner. Try typing a word there (eg ‘Food’ or ‘Tents’ or ‘Dusky Track’) and see what surprising things it finds…



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30 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for the good info on the Upper Yarra Trail, I plan to hike it after covid isolation ends.
    I produced a .gpx file for it in preparation for doing the walk, so let me know if you’d like a copy of that to make available on your website.

    1. Sounds good Kieran. I don’t know what it is as I don’t use GPS myself but I’m sure it will be useful to others and I will post it or a link to it if you let me have it (along with credit to you for supplying it). I would usually use Vicmaps and an App on my phone such as Paper Maps: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2020/02/12/paper-maps-app/ You can just use the 1:100,000 free Geoscience Australia Topos: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/10/27/geoscience-australias-free-1250000-topo-maps/Just a thought: it is likely to be cold by then (May onwards). Conditions on the tops of the Baw Baws can become very dangerous. Perhaps you can detour down though Tanjil Bren (say after Toorongo -Link Rd) and along the Western Tyers to avoid the risk of dying in the cold. You can come back and walk the section beginning with the Block 10 Rd to the Mushroom Rocks when it is warmer in the Spring-Autumn period. You need to stay warm and have the ability and knowledge to light a fire under adverse conditions. I will be doing a post soon about getting lost; how to avoid it, what to do when it happens, how to survive etc, provoked in part by the disappearance of two people my age from one of my favourite places- the Wonnangatta Valley – recently. Up there (Wonnangatta) there are innumerable wild dogs and they will hunt you. A machete like this (https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2014/05/29/the-worlds-greatest-machete/) at least should be carried. I always carry a gun in the Alpine National Park area myself. Probably the best thing you can do when you get lost is stop and make a cup of hot tea. The worst thing you can do is panic. Making a small fire and boiling the billy, then drinking a cuppa or two gets your mind off your predicament and allows time to consider the situation soberly. It is not very far in any direction to civilisation in Victoria so really no-one should suffer the fate of the couple in the Wonnangatta, whatever it was. As long as they could fight off wild dogs with a couple of stout sticks and had the ability to light a fire they should have arrived at a station downriver (Eaglevale) in about four days walking. I will be going up there in the winter myself. I hope I don’t find them really. It would spoil my trip. Anyway, enjoy the Upper Yarra Track. it is a gem. Cheers, Steve.

    2. Pete Skipworth

      Hi Kieran!

      I’m also looking at hiking Warburton to Walhalla in the not too distant future 🙂

      I was about to sit down and create my own .gpx file of the Upper Yarra Trail, but it sounds like you may have done some legwork for me? Do you think you might be willing to send me yours and save me a little work? It’d be very much appreciated.


      1. Hi Pete, I have sent this message to Kieran: ‘You messaged me about a .gpx file you had created some time ago for the Upper Yarra Track. I do plan to cut and paste the Vicmaps for this purpose though you can just use the map on my page (https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/06/18/upper-yarra-track-map/) and this resource too- https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/10/27/geoscience-australias-free-1250000-topo-maps/ (in conjunction with the Paper maps App https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2020/02/12/paper-maps-app/). Trackback (or a similar) App is also a good way to avoid getting lost.  but I have others who can use your file if you have it available please. I can post it somewhere as a resource. Hope your trip goes well.’ When he gets back to me I will post his map. In the meantime you can use the resources I mentioned in my email to him. I hope you also have a good trip. Please peruse some of my other posts about the track, particularly https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/05/31/upper-yarra-walking-track-2/ and https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/06/08/upper-yarra-track-instructions/ Cheers, Steve

  2. Nice conversation this morning Steve. Just 1 o’clock and visited your sight and enjoyed the great photography and comments. A lot of places I have not got to. Like very much.

    1. Thanks Geoff. It will take you quite a while to work your way through it. Cheers, Steve. PS: The Pinterest Share Button I was working on doesn’t seem to work. Always some glitch or another!

  3. G’day Steve.
    I feel very lucky to have found your website. You are a great story teller, and we are all very fortunate that you have gone to the effort to share a lifetime of knowledge here.
    Having grown up on a property that backed on to bush myself, I was very interested to hear of your thoughts on learning to find your way without tracks (in the beginning hiking post). A skill I never even appreciated I had. We had a couple of streams that as kids we could follow for hours, but we never got lost as one passed close by our property.
    I loved hearing your stories in the ‘Matresses I have known’.
    It is so good to get advice that doesn’t involve spending big dollars,

    Thanks again,

    1. Thanks for your kind thoughts Matt. It’s so nice to be appreciated. Cheers, Steve. PS: I don’t know why so many people want to spend big bucks. It is much more satisfying to ‘make do’ I think – but then I have had a lifetime of making do, so I suppose I don’t know the difference. I am very happy with my 10 x 10 tarp though which you can make from a poly tarp for maybe $20. It’s the only tent you will ever need!PPS: I have a series of posts on ‘Finding Your Way‘…

  4. Ernesto GANADORES

    Dear Steve & Della,
    While I’m so tempted to write a lengthy note in my extreme appreciation to the beauty of your blogs in it’s entirety… I’ll try my very best to describe this little space of yours in the vast cyberspace.

    You are a superb story teller, you bring words to life!
    I am not fond of reading but your blog is like a drug sooooooo bloody addicting!
    Now I’m already hooked into it.
    Thank you much for sharing your amazing adventures and goldmine of advices.
    Certainly, I’ll keep in touch when I bag my first venison following your method.
    Wishing you all the best of health and everything, hugs for you, della and your jacks. 🙂

    Warm regards,

  5. Hi Steve,
    Just found your blog on the apprentice, well written, thanks enjoyed it. I will spend many more hours reading more of your adventures.
    I have been herding deer for about 15 years intermittently and the penny finally dropped for me last week at Eildon. Slow down, look and listen. I managed a nice eating Doe.
    Look forward to more of your adventures.

  6. Hi Steve
    I have just discovered the South Coast track and your post with pics (thank you so much) of Westies Hut. I have been looking but not seen yet, doesn’t mean it’s not there though; where did you go after the hut? Like did you just return the same way back over where you came or were you able to arrange something else?
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Kath, I have lots of posts about it so probably you just haven’t read them all. I am so glad they are being of some use to others. We came down the river in the jetboat (both times) walked out to Westies then walked back to Rarakau carpark via Port Craig. The second time we walked along the coast from the Waitutu Lodge to the Crombie Stream, which we crossed, walked up the ridge then got on the track again. We also walked along the beach from the Grant Burn to the Aan River. Next time we would have a look at Long Point, the Big River and the Slaughter Burn. It is apparently possible to walk along the beach past Big River and camp in another sea cave. We may even walk out to the Hauroko via Lake Poteriteri, or come back down the Hump Ridge to Port Craig. There are lots of options. It is all beautiful country and a wonderful walk. Do have a jet boat ride (Della loved it) and stay at the Waitutu Lodge. Also, do think about doing the Dusky. It is great – I also have lots of posts about it. Have fun. Cheers, Steve & Della Jones.

  7. G’day Steve,
    I just came across your blog whilst researching high country hunting options, and I’ve been glued to your posts for the past two days. I grew up wandering, fishing, climbing and ski touring in the Victorian Alps. Though I now live in Hong Kong, I miss that wild and beautiful country very much, so I have to thank you for bringing your own adventures to light, and providing me with a much-needed fix and the inspiration to get back out there. Your bush travels and prolific posts are providing me with great entertainment, and I appreciate your hunting ethic also.

    Keep up the good work.


    1. Thank you very much for your kind thoughts Scott. Just glad someone appreciates my efforts. Hope you can get back to your Alpine wanderings again someday. Cheers, Steve.

  8. Hi Steve – very much a fan of your approach and ideas – thank you. I would love to get hold of a version of the Bathtub Groundsheet Chair – can’t find anything of this style (i.e. one that doesn’t require me to fold up the sleeping mat) light enough – would you consider making / selling one. Kind regards Richard (UK)

    1. Hi Richard, Thank you for your kind thoughts. I have only made a prototype so far of this chair which I have laid aside while I work on a couple of other promising projects, but I will come back to it. I am getting a couple of them ready for a Kickstarter campaign which I hope will lead me onto a Store on my website where I will no doubt offer the product you would like and quite a few other of my ideas, including a new one which is just too good to take the risk of posting about, but which you will want too! Next year I think. I am so busy about the farm right now since it is spring. It would be nice if I wasn’t nearly 70 and so busy, but so it goes. As I have said before, ‘Watch this space’. Cheers, Steve.

  9. Howdy Steve – love you posts all reflect my own experience / principles – been up the Wonnangatta Moroka Glen when you had to drive through Happy Valley before the bypass so love your posts on this area as they have such fond memories for me – anyway could you pls get in contact with me as I was at the SSAA deer stalkers mtg a couple of months ago and GMA Vic was using some of your content which I didnt think was appropriate and thought you should be aware of it. – Cheers Mike

    1. Thank you Mike. The Wonnangatta-Moroka certainly is one of my favourite places. I have a photo of my then very small children (all over thirty now) on the verandah of Harry Smith’s hut taken many years ago to prove we went that way once too. I will message you privately about the other matter.

    2. The head of the GMA is equally dismayed by my photo of the ‘River Stag’ being used in an ‘anti-hunting’ context. There will be an investigation, a retraction and an apology in due course I suspect. If there is not, there may well be legal action. Thanks for alerting me to this. Cheers, Steve.

  10. Hi Steve,
    I’m really enjoying reading your posts, it’s clear you’re very experienced in the outdoors and your passion shows through your work.
    Thanks for all the information!

    1. Thank you Justin. Hope you enjoy deer hunting. I am working on a new story tonight. I may finish it tomorrow – or the next day. There is still so much other work to do. It is called, ‘A Wild River Stag’.

  11. Gday Steve, would love to hear more about how the western tyres is going and if any progress has been made since this post was put up.

    1. Hi Brent, Sorry for the slow reply. Computer problems. I haven’t done any more work up there since my last post. I hope to clear the tracks between Western Tyers and Caringal and Palmers to Growlers over summer. Maybe do some clearing along the Tyers River for canoeing too. Being nearly 70 I don’t get a lot done. Cheers, Steve.

  12. Hi Steve,

    I have just discovered your wonderful blog. My wife and I recently opened a lightweight outdoor gear store http://www.50days.com.au. so to read about your ultralight adventures is fantastic. We also live in Gippsland (Phillip Island) and are keen to make contact with you. Please visit our website and contact through [email protected]

  13. Great posts so far, New Zealand’s Fjordland looks amazing! Thanks for stopping by my blog, exploringtheearth. I look forward to more from you, cheers!

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