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How to Peak

Prompted by numerous inquiries by prospective guests, I’ve decided to pen a short series of blogs on frequently asked questions. Firstly, most of what you need to know to fully enjoy climbing the Blue Mountain Peak. By my estimation, unencumbered by any statistics, if available, less than 0.1% of tourists make it to our side of the Blue Mountains. Not a bad thing, don’t want it spoiled like other famous destinations do we? Trampled under foot by tens of thousands of noisy tourists, leaving mountains (no pun) of garbage. There is only one practical driving route to the start of the peak walking trail at Abbey Green – through Papine in Kingston, passing through Mavis Bank, followed by a slow grind (4 wheel drive only) up a steep (not sure if it deserves the definition of road) bone jarring rutted track – around 1 hour! From the start of the trail at Abbey Green to the peak, passing through the Ranger station at Portland Gap the average walking time is 3 hours – not much less coming down. There are ‘facilities’ at the Gap, a bunk house, a foam mattress is available to rent and sometimes running water. Camping is permitted – and safe. The mountains are a national park and there is a fee to climb the peak – 20US$ for tourists, payable in cash to the ranger at the Gap. The trail is well kept and marked ( do not take short cuts), though we strongly recommend a guide at night. Wear, at least, good trainers, take snacks, water and a raincoat – good idea to take a spare warm top. Accommodation this side varies in price and levels of comfort, it really comes down to a trade off, whether you prefer to travel less on the day – you will have to take the drive at some point. From our farm to the start of the trail is around 90 minutes, most guests choosing to leave at 5 in the morning to reach the peak before the clouds on the Portland side spill over the peak. If planning the sunrise hike, people will generally stay closer to the peak since they will typically leave out around 2am. To summarise – reaching the peak is not easy, troublesome logistics, infrastructure this side is appalling, an arduous drive and a long hike – and that is why we get so few tourists and this side remains unspoiled and beautiful – and well worth the extra effort. For those that love hiking at a less punishing level, we have excellent local hiking trails, every bit as beautiful, but without the kudos of climbing the peak! Still, you can be back at the farm in 2 hours enjoying a cup of Blue Mountain coffee.