Snake Bite Management Kit

If you venture into the Australian bush during the warmer months of the year chances are you will eventually encounter a snake. Now don’t get me wrong I am not a passionate snake lover but I certainly don’t let the possibility of meeting one deter me from getting out doors, respecting them and accepting the fact you are in their environment is the best thing you can do.


Australia is home to many different types of snakes, some venomous and some not, but the risk of being bitten is very low. In 7 years of bushwalking in various parts of Australia I have come across about 8 snakes and not one has become aggressive towards me. Most of the time they are gone before I have even had time to identify them. That being said one thing that is always in my pack is a good quality snake bite kit. After purchasing a couple of kits I was very disappointed in the quality of items they contained and they did not install me with a lot of confidence. I then came across a kit from the guys at Next72hours.

The kit is assembled in Australia using specifically chosen quality components and has been well thought out. It comes vacuumed sealed so is completely waterproof, makes it more compact and as long as it is sealed you know all the contents are there. The kit is based around the pressure immobilisation bandage technique so is suitable for snakebites, and stings and bites from: the Cone Shell, the Blue Ringed Octopus and the Funnel Web Spider.  Obviously knowing how to use this kit properly is very important, I would recommend anybody travelling to remote areas be trained in first aid, or at the very least research information regarding the treatment of snakebites.


Contents of the Kit

1 Pair Latex Gloves

1 Packet Sterile Gauze Squares

1 Permanent Marker

3 x 10cm Compression Bandages

1 Triangular Bandage

1 S.O.L.A.S Approved Rescue Whistle

1 Comprehensive Instruction Pamphlet

1 User Friendly Patient Notes Card

I highly recommend this kit for anyone interested in the outdoors, I keep one in my 4WD and have another ready to pack on any adventure be it a short day hike or multi day trek.

Cheers, Mat

A Weekend Swimming

With the mercury forecast into the 40’s we felt it necessary to head north and be near some water. Due to some life admin we weren’t underway till the early afternoon (in the peak of the heat). Now as much of an off road weapon Bone’s is she does fall short in the comfort department on an extremely hot summers day, so an impromptu swim in Lake Eildon was very welcomed before we climbed back into the sauna and continued on.

After passing through Mansfield we decided not to head north and up through Whitfield and Cheshunt but instead to head east then north through State Forest. We didn’t know it yet but this was a perfect decision as getting of the blacktop and into the bush we noticed a significant drop in the temperature.



After airing down at the beginning of Buttercup Jeep Track we climbed the loose rocky track to Bald Hill. As we were travelling on our own I make sure I take the time to air down my tyres as although the track conditions were good it is a lot easier to not get stuck than to have to air down in an unsafe position. It also looks after the track and does wonders for the comfort level in a leaf sprung Hilux.


Lake William Hovell

From Bald Hill we headed north along Cambatong Spur then on to Evans Creek track which lead us all the way to the beautiful site of Lake William Hovell. Lake William Hovell takes its name from Australian explorer William Hovell, who trekked through the region in 1824. Construction of the reservoir was completed in 1973. After another much needed refreshing swim we drove up river to find a campsite.


King River

About 4 or 5km up river we found a great spot right next to the King River and decided to call it a day and setup camp. A short 50m walk further upstream led us to an amazing waterhole and you guessed our final and nicest cool off for the day, before settling down to a relaxing evening in a near perfect camp spot.



Bones, Southern cross swag, King River

Our morning started with a return to the waterhole for a wakeup swim followed by some breakfast and a bit of camp chill time. We were looking at another high thirties day and it was warming up fast. With camp packed away we headed back to Lake William Hovell and found another delightful place to swim, before we drove north through the King Valley and beside the King River to Cheshunt.


King River, Waterhole at camp

From Cheshunt we decided to go south and visit Paradise Falls. To the carpark of Paradise Falls is about a 20 minute drive along a well maintained gravel road. There is a 500m walk down to the falls on a very good trail consisting mainly of stairs. The falls do not flow all year round and while we were there in January it was barely a trickle coming over. Some may have been disappointed but we loved it as we were able to lay back and watch the slight breeze deform the waterfall causing the small lizards and other insects move hastily to keep themselves on the cool wet stones below. I feel seeing it in both states being just a trickle and in full flood have different beauties to offer and we will return towards the end of spring to hopefully witness the other.


Lake William Hovell

It was now early afternoon and time to start heading back home. This time we drove to Whitfield and headed back towards Mansfield. This is an amazingly scenic drive winding through hills and forest. As we were close to home we made one final stop to swim at meeting of the waters in Buxton. Victoria is spoilt for choice with freshwater swimming options although some are a little further away they are definitely worth the effort and it’s a great excuse for a quick overnighter especially on these really hot summer weekends.


Take care, Mat

La La Falls

As the weather cleared and the sun came out after a few average days with scattered rain we headed out for a short daywalk into the Yarra State Forest. Our destination was La La Falls.



La La Falls was named after past landowner Leila Ward, whose guesthouse, ‘La La’ (meaning Welcome Welcome), was located in the area. This picturesque 3.2km return hike takes you through tall mountain ash forest and lush ferny undergrowth with the gentle sound of Four Mile Creek flowing beside you all the way to the falls.  Distance to Melbourne city 92km, the closest town is Warburton.


The trail is compacted gravel and easy to follow and suitable for all fitness levels though there are a few steep sections that can get slippery so take care.



La La Falls is a lovely short hike through some beautiful forest, I recommend it for anyone after a nice easy walk fit for the whole family.

Take care, Mat

Ritchie’s Hut Overnighter

‘My reason for building this hut is for the purpose of fishing.’ Bob Ritchie 1947

Ritchie’s Hut is a perfect introduction to overnight hiking or can be completed in a day walk, 6km one way or a 12km return. It is a beautiful walk situated in the Alpine National Park, which follows the Howqua River. The walk begins from 7 or 8 mile flat camping area, about 49km from Mansfield. There is a high and low track. The low track contains approximately 14 river crossings and dependant on the weather is sometimes impassable.


Ritchie’s Hut is located at the junction of 14 mile creek and the Howqua River. The original hut was built in the 1940’s by the Ritchie family and Fred Fry but was destroyed by the 2006/2007 Great Divide fires. The hut was rebuilt in 2008/2009. The hut has a large fireplace with a table and benches to roll out a sleeping bag, or there is plenty of room outside to pitch a tent.


Our hike began from 7 mile camp. We chose to walk in on the high track and out on the low track. Our reasoning was that way we would not have the possibility of having wet footwear at the start of the second day. It took us 2.5 – 3 hours to get to the hut. We left our vehicle at 1pm and it was a 30-degree day so it was rather warm. We only carried 1L of water and a Sawyer filter as you are close to the river, although on the high track you don’t have access to the Howqua there are a couple of feeder creeks making there way down which were perfect spots to top up containers. The upper track is a combination of grassy slopes and cool tree covered gullies, which can be a nice relief from the intense sun on a hot day.


Arriving at the hut we set up camp and headed down to the river for a swim, the Howqua is fed by alpine streams and melting snow so it is always fresh even on a hot summers day.


Leaving in the morning we followed the signs for the low track and got our feet wet. This track took us a little longer with all the crossings but when you are somewhere as beautiful as here why rush. Depending how brave you are there are multiple water holes to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Howqua on the way out.



Ritchie’s Hut is an amazing place to visit. We were lucky enough to have had the hut to ourselves on both occasions we have visited.

Thanks for reading, Mat

Outback Survival Bob Cooper


“The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain” Bob Cooper

Hopefully I never find myself in a survival situation.  Any form of outdoor adventure can carry some form of danger or potential for things to go wrong.  Being prepared could be the difference between life or death and anything you know no matter how small could be that difference.

A lot of my adventures in Australia see me exploring alone.  I always carry a First Aid Kit, a separate Snake Bite Kit and a PLB (personal locator beacon).  When I was researching information on survival situations most of what I found was based over seas mainly in America.  That led me to Bob Coopers book titled Outback Survival.  Bob Cooper is one of Australia’s leading survival experts, he has written an excellent book which covers; survival kits, finding water and shelter, bush tucker, snakes and spiders, dealing with fear and more.

Part 1: My Story is the beginning of the book and has some great stories on Bob’s experiences with survival situations and SAS training and I found it a very interesting read.  Bob is definitely a very talented man and has some great experience in the outback.  Part2: Outback survival goes on to cover all the different areas of survival including; Control, The Big 5, Dehydration, Finding water, Fire, Shelter, Distress Signals, Navigation, Snake bites and stings and much more.

Outback Survival by Bob Cooper contains a lot of hugely valuable information all relevant to Australia and I think anybody venturing into the wilderness should have some knowledge of survival situations and what to do in the event of.  I highly recommend this book for all persons that venture outdoors as a refresher or as new knowledge as I feel it is invaluable to be prepared for any situation that may arise.  Outback Survival is well written and easy to read, Bob Cooper has done an amazing job.

Thanks for reading


Natures Botanical

Through my experience working in the mining region in North Western Australia it doesn’t take long to appreciate a good insect repellent. Not to mention just about anywhere you might go camping in the warmer months there’s a strong possibility of midges and mosquitoes trying hard to fight your relaxation. At a guess the most common and well known insect repellent would be bushmans which I used and it does work, but because we were using it so often I started to look for more natural alternatives. Now I do not have any scientific information regarding the ingredients used in insect repellents or the harm they may or may not cause but my personal choice is I feel more comfortable using more natural products directly on my skin. One of my dislikes with some of the main insect repellents is the often chemical/synthetic type smell and the feeling some of them left on my skin. One of the main areas of use is your face as it is not usually covered and some products often left me with parts of my face feeling numb.

That lead me to the product Natures Botanical. Nature’s Botanical is an Australian made essential oil based personal insect repellent. It repels flies, sandflies (aka midges) and mosquitoes. Nature’s Botanical essential oil ingredients are Rosemary Oil and Cedarwood Oil. It is available in a thick cream which is applied by hand and a lotion which can be sprayed or rolled on. Due to the rosemary and cedarwood oil in Natures Botanical it has an amazing smell. After using this repellent for a few years I can tell you it does work, there’s always some stashed in Bones for our camping adventures. If you are looking for a better smelling repellent made from more natural ingredients I strongly suggest giving this a go. I’ll leave a link below to there website which has a lot more info and a store you can purchase from.


Big River Trout, New Waders


Having recently purchased a pair of what some might call “proper” waders I was eager to get out for a fish and try them out. Over the last few years I have owned a few pairs of gumboot style waders. These were mostly used to fish surf beaches in winter which considering you don’t need to walk long distances and you are normally on sand they were great to keep you warm and dry. After moving to Victoria and fishing more in fresh water streams for trout I soon found that these waders although well priced were not the best option to walk long distances in stony creeks and can in some circumstances be quite dangerous.


After visiting the guys at Gavin Hurley’s Fly Fishing World I came away with a pair of Stalker backcountry waist waders and Simms Freestone boots. This is a great entry-level setup coming in at around $490 (the freestone boots were on sale!). Although still considerably more than gumboot waders they are a lot more affordable than some other brands and material technology has improved over the years, which has brought prices down.  I will review both these products once they have had more time on the water.


Leaving home at 7:30am KB and myself headed north to our destination of Big River State forest, 30km east of Marysville. Parking the Ute, gear ready, waders on, we were in the river by 10am. The river (a small tributary of the Big River) was looking great, with a steady flow and super clear water confidence levels were increasing. Within wading just 30 metres the cost of my new waders had left my mind, they were extremely comfortable. The old saying of why hadn’t I done this earlier rang true in my mind.


Fishing turn about for a couple of riffles we were yet to see a fish. Approaching our first decent pool it was decided KB would have first cast. KB cast to the other side against the bank and half way through the retrieve a small brown trout could not resist the Strike Tiger 1” froglet he had on offer and engulfed it. After a small fight we had it on the bank, a photo and a quick release and we were keen to get lines back in the water. If you have not seen the Strike Tiger range of soft plastics I would highly recommend heading to there website/online store and check them out! I hate to admit it but after KB’s success I basically cast into the same spot as he did, the only difference was I had on a Strike Tiger 1” Nymph in copper berry.  Again half way through the retrieve BANG! I was on, this time a small rainbow that leapt and danced all over the place it put on quite the show. The fish was quickly released and took off back to the cover of the depth. After all that commotion unsurprisingly the pool went quiet so we moved on.


Continuing upstream for another 1km I was rewarded with another rainbow and although there were no more landed fish we had a lot of follows and spooked a few fish so overall the river was looking really healthy.  I was extremely impressed with my new waders and boots and how they felt in the water.  Even after wearing them for a few hours they were still really comfortable, I can’t wait to get back out and chase some more trout.  A great couple of hours fishing in a beautiful small stream in Victoria.