Hiking Australian Camp in Nepal

on my way back from Australian Camp, this is probably somewhere around Dhampus

Before doing this hike, I had never heard about Australian Camp. When talking about Nepal, everyone talks about Everest Base Camp Trek, Anapurna Base Camp Trek, The Poon Hill Trek, Mardi Himal, or Langtang Trek. And for very good reasons. Beside the view these trek offers, people hike these treks as a preparation for a more advance trek or challenging trek or admiring the beauty of Himalayas. I would love to also hike these treks, but i had only a week (including travel time from Indonesia to Nepal and vice versa) so I looked for treks that less or up to three days in Nepal.

What are some the best 3-days Trek in Nepal?

After a not-so-thorough search in the internet, some suggested three-days trek in Nepal are:

NOTrek NameRouteDeparture CityDurationEst. Elevation
1Chisapani-NagarkotKathmandu – Sundarijal (trek begins here) – Chisapani – Nagarkot – KathmanduKathmandu3 days 2175 m
2Bhaltali Village TrekKathmandu – Dhulikhel (trek begins here) – Namo Buddha – Balthali – Panauti – KathmanduKathmandu3 days 1730 m
3Kathmandu-Namobuddha-Dulikhel TrekKathmandu- Dhapasi (trek begins here) – Namo Buddha – Dhulikhel – KathmanduKathmandu3 days 1750 m
4Ghandruk TrekPokhara – Phedi – Ghandruk – PokharaPokhara3 days 2012 m
5Nagarkot- Changunarayan TrekKathmandu – Nagarkot (trek begins here) – Changunarayan – Bhaktapur – KathmanduKathmandu3 days 2195 m
6Dolakha – Kalinchowk TrekKathmandu – Charikot (Trek begins here) – KathmanduKathmandu3 days 3842 m
7Pokhara SightseeingPokhara – Sarangkot (hike begins here) – PokharaPokhara2 days 1500 m
8The Sunset Village TrekPokhara - Astam – Dhampus - Australian Camp – Khare – Sarangkot – PokharaPokhara3 days 1900 m
9Ghorepani Poon Hill TrekPokhara – Nayapul (Trek begins here) – Tikhedhunga – Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Nayapul – PokharaPokhara3 days 2874 m
10Panchase TrekPokhara – Pumdi – Panchase – Kande – Pokhara Pokhara3 days2080 m

Note: Some of trek require car ride to the beginning of the trek, and some combined with cable car with easy to medium difficulties level. The link attached to each trek is not affiliated with this blog nor a form of any advertisement. It is a useful reference that i found in the internet.

The Sunset Village Trek: Pokhara – Astam – Dhampus –  Australian Camp – Sarangkot – Pokhara

At that time, I chose number 8: The Sunset Village Trek because I wanted a trek that start anywhere outside Kathmandu, and I picked Pokhara because it has such a beautiful lake. I also picked it since sunrise in Sarangkot was said the best from some review I found at the internet. The other reason is, based on the availability of the trek offered by the recommended and trusted trekking company. I used three sister adventure trek, which empower Nepalese women and provide female trekking guide.

I also used guided trek because it was the first time I was in Nepal, and I wanted the trusted company (someone with the knowledge) book everything (accommodation, transfer required in between treks) for me. You can always do the trek on your own, book your own accommodation, and hike with the help of independent trusted guide (who familiar with the route) and rent a porter. The cost for porter is from USD 20-25/day who can carry up to 15-20 kg (this is different for every porter, better ask in advance). At that time, I was offered a porter too, but i politely declined since my bag was relatively light (+/-7kg) and i could carry it on my own.

I arrived at Tribhuvan International Airport Nepal at Wednesday, April 17th 2019 around 6 pm. I was with a friend. Since the next day was the beginning of the hike, after immigration clearing we went straight to Pokhara. To get to Pokhara, we booked a private transfer at Adventure Great Himalaya Treks & Expedition in advance. Kathmandu to Pokhara is a 5,5 hours drive and we booked the transfer at 120 USD per ride (60 USD per pax). We arrived at Pokhara at 3 am in the morning and hit the bed immediately.

Touched down Nepal, woohoo!!!

Below is our adventure from day one to day from Pokhara to Sarangkot, Australian Camp, Astam, Dhampus, and back to Pokhara.

Day 1 –  Pokhara (820 m) to Sarangkot (1580 m)

780 m Ascent | Kms : 10 km walk | Duration : 3hrs walk

We were picked up from our accommodation in Pokhara to the 3 Sisters Adventure Trek office and waited until the guide came for us. Our guide was in her early 20s and very knowledgeable about the area, and she decided to switch thing a little bit. Our trek route was switched, so that our descent route became our ascent route as she wanted to make the most of the good weather. We started trekking around 11 am to Sarangkot, passing narrow street, wide asphalted street, and just some bushy route.

We stopped by a this wonderful, beautiful view point where we can see Pokhara Valley and Phewa Lake of Pokhara. The view also provided us with small houses in terraces and everything just looked so beautiful.

Lakeside Pokhara

We also stopped at another viewing point on our way up to the Sarangkot. This place also offered wonderful of the cities below. Just Remarkable view!

After another walk that felt like a lifetime, we finally arrived at a humble accommodation in Sarangkot. And by the way, from our balcony in the hotel we could see everything. Layers and layers of hills and mountains. The hotel we stayed in has wifi and electricity as well as hot water. We spent the sunset on the balcony, enjoying the view.

The view from our balcony room pre-sunset

Day 2 –  Sarangkot (1580 m) – Australian Camp (1900 m)

670 m Ascent | Kms : 18,4 km (Walk + Bus Ride) | Duration : 1 hr drive 3 hours walk

Early in the morning before sunrise (around 5:30 am), we hiked to the Sarangkot Sunrise Point where so many people were already there. We picked our spot before sun magically appear between the mountain ranges. All of the sudden all the mountain, the bends, the valley, and the small houses appears, with the Machapuchare (also called Machhapuchchhre or Machhapuchhre) stood tall behind like a holy protector.

Machapuchare mountain (or known as the fish tail – because of the peak’ shape) height is 6993 meters and it has never been hiked to its summit due to the impossibility of gaining permit from the government of Nepal (source: Wikipedia)

The valley with Machapuchare’s Peak in the background (Taken from Sarangkot View Point at sunrise)

It was the most perfect morning in Nepal after the Perfect day hike on the first day. The weather was perfect and the view was amazing. After circling the area for another view, we went back to our hotel for having a breakfast. The view was also perfect and the breakfast was super delicious. After that, we back on our feet and started to hike towards Australian Camp.

The hike towards Australian camp was pretty challenging, but it is combined with the bus ride towards the beginning of the trek to Australian Camp. So, we walked to the bus station, rode a bus, and then continued hiking. The beginning of the trek was marked and so many small restaurant and rest area around it. We stopped for a quick lunch. I had Chow Mein, a Nepalese stir fried noodle and it was delicious.

This is where the beginning of the trek towards Australian Camp Begins – behind me is the trekking path entrance

The hiking path was pretty narrow, and about half of the trek was stone staircases, so it really helps with the hike. About 2 hours we arrived at Australian camp and it felt so good to be finally arriving on a beautiful village with a beautiful background. I didn’t remember the name of the bed and breakfast we stayed in, but the mountain range was literally our backgrounds. It was such a wonderful feelings to be surrounded by mountains and fresh air. From here we could see Mountain Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South, Himchuli, Machhapurchhre, Annapurna IV, Annapurna III, Annapurna II, Lamjung Himal and Manaslu range in a clear day.

Viewing point at Australian Camp – before sunset Picture taken by: @yunivayang

The three of us [from left to right: my friend Yuniva – me – our Guide Binu]

The place we stayed in has wifi, hot water and electricity, but that night the wifi was down. I had no expectation at all to having “managed” expectation when i heard “accommodation at the camp”. But hey, it was beyond my expectation. The electricity, hot water, and wifi is all I want in any camp ever! Although, consistency for availability of any of those is not guaranteed. But all things considered, I was happy about it.

Our accommodation, that building in the front is the receptionist as well as communal room where breakfast/lunch/dinner is held

That night after having super delicious dinner of Dhal Bhat (a traditional Nepal food – my favourite meal ever), we stayed outside a bit to admire the stars before going to bed.

Day 3 –  Australian Camp (1900 m) – Pokhara (820 m) via Dhampus

950 m descent | Kms : 22,4 km (Walk + car Ride) | Duration : 2 hours drive 2 hours walk

That morning was amazing, I could not believe we had the best morning for three consecutive days. We spent early morning for watching the sunrise and then having a breakfast and started packing.

 

Just before sunrise at Australian Camp

Sunrise at Australian Camp

The descent towards Pokhara was different than the ascent route. We passed Dhampus and stopped by several view point that offered different view of the majestic Machhapurchhre. A stop was made for lunch in a village (I don’t remember what the name was), and from there, a 4×4 waited for us and brought us back to Pokhara.

On our way to Dhampus

We made a stop at World Peace Pagoda, before going back to three sister’s Office. World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa) is a Buddhist Pagoda-style that was built at 1973 by Japanesse Buddhist Sangha with the local supporter. It is the first World Peach Pagoda in Nepal out of seventy-first pagoda built by the Japanesse Buddhist Sangha (Nipponzan-Myōhōji) in the world (source: Wikipedia). It is 115 ft tall and 344 ft in diameter. From this Pagoda, we could see Pokhara City and Phewa Lake and it such perfect spot to see all of these.

World Peace Pagoda

That night after arriving at Pokhara, we took car ride again back to Kathmandu and arrived at Kathmandu City center around 11 pm.

Tips and trick

This tips is specific if you have decided to take this three-days-hike to Australian camp and back.

  1. What to bring

I was advice by the tour agency that temperature difference between night and day is between 10 degrees to 30 degrees celcius, so I had to bring different clothing. These are my list of things that I brought with me:

  • Hiking boots – a comfortable, sturdy hiking boots (this pair of boots has saved me many hikes including those in Patagonia and Antarctica! )
  • Socks – 2 pairs outer socks, one pair socks for inner or sleeping (as comfortable as you like)
  • Long John 3 ea
  • Waterproof and or comfortable pants – 2 ea
  • A Pair of warm sleeping wear
  • Warm lightweight sweater/fleece
  • Sun Hat
  • A waterproof Lightweight wind jacket
  • Rain gear (fortunately, my outer jacket also waterproof. But, if you don’t have waterproof outer layer, rain gear/poncho is a must during rainy season)
  • Wind blocker
  • Walking sticks (I did not bring this, but in some route this is certainly be helpful)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • First Aid Kit – essentials
  1. Independent Trekking VS Guided Trekking (by tour agencies)

The pros when having guided trekking:

  • Everything has already put in place and you do not have to worry about getting lost. Your focus is only on the trekking itself.

The downside are:

  • It’s expensive and
  • Can be less flexible in term of itinerary (although in my case, the guide was very accommodating and flexible).

On the other hand, independent trekking has some advantages:

  • It gives you total flexibility in term of time, choice of accommodation, route, and more cost efficient.

And the downside with independent trekking are:

  • There is a chance of getting lost and more time spent navigating the path
  • Really have to dig down into details (I’d prefer this if I have so much time to travel)
  1. Chosing Tour Agent

I usually use these following considerations when cho0sing tour agents, not just for this specific hike in Nepal, but also for every other tour:

  • Looking for candidates & recommendations

I primarily use google when searching for travel agencies/tour. And usually, the results come either from the tour’s official website, third party dealer such viator, klook, or coming from travel forum or website such tripadvisor or lonely planet. What I do next, is to read the reviews and recommendation from others who has been using the tour services to determine whether the tour’s performance is great. I read both number of review and negative and positive reviews as well.

  • Not just one, but contact at least three

When I found one tour company, I usually searched for more. I have the rule of three, in which I search for another three companies that offer similar services/trek that I want. Please also note where the travel company is based. I usually choose the one that based on that country I travel, in this case is Nepal. Local company usually does not charge as much as international company.

  • When looking for travel agents, considering these aspects:
    • Are they registered in the any official Nepal tourism board or any official bodies and can be tracked back to the official’s site?
    • Are the companies sustainable? You can read this on the company policies
    • Are they treating the guide and porter responsibly? (one of the many reasons I chose Three sister Adventure Trekking is that they set up standard that the porter can only take up to 13 kgs for female porter and 15 kgs for male porter)
    • Are the guide professionals and or have experiences?
  • Comparing the price

By having at least three companies or agents, we have comparison and get the “sense” of the price on the market, and thus we can make a rational bargain if required.

  • Look for the inclusions

This is the most important part when looking for tour guide in Nepal. Some of the things to consider when choosing the trekking company:

  1. How many meals per day?
  2. What gear is included?
  3. Is porter already included in the price? What about the guide?
  4. Is the travel private or in groups?
  5. The quality of the accommodations and the foods
  6. The transfer (from and to original city)
  7. Insurance
  8. Entrance fee to the national park

All in all, hiking in Himalayas has been such a wonderful experience from the beginning to the end. And it was made possible by our wonderful Guide Binu and the professional at the Three Sister Adventure Trekking. So, choosing the suitable guided-trek operator is very important, as well as making necessary physical preparation in advance. Although 3-days hikes in Nepal are usually rated easy to medium, it’s always helpful to prepare your body fitness. I used to run 6-10 km every other day, yet I found 3-4 hours hike per day quite challenging.

As to how I love the scenery, it is no doubt that the hike to Australian camp passing Sarangkot and Dhampus has a very unique and beautiful view of Nepal. I had never been surrounded by mountains literally, and when thinking about the extent of the Mountain Dhaulagiri (8167 m), Annapurna South (7219 m), Hiunchuli (6441 m), Machhapurchhre (6993 m), Annapurna IV (7525 m), Annapurna III (7555 m), Annapurna II (7937 m), Lamjung Himal (6983 m) and Manaslu (8156 m), it’s just amazing. I would love to revisit Nepal in a heart beat and try more scenic hikes.

 

 

Asana Kusnadi
I'm Asana Kusnadi from Semarang Indonesia. Some of my friends call me Mei, it is taken from my Chinese Name. I was born in Semarang, capital city of Central Java and lived there until I graduated from University. After graduated i worked in Sumatera island and it's been almost 9 years now i live in Riau Province

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