Heathy Hills Nature Reserve

Wednesday 1 October 2014

It was when looking at our route for the Harry Walker Tier walk that I noticed Heathy Hills Nature Reserve on the map and proceeded to view the satellite image.  It seemed that some of the reserve was fairly open and also appeared to have overhangs, as well, the name sounded quite enticing so a walk was planned.
The reserve is approximately 189ha and is 3km north north east of Elderslie.  It includes characteristic examples of Inland Eucalyptus tenuiramis forest. This place is located within the Elderslie Sandstone Landforms, a very extensive complex of sandstone cliffs and caves in Triassic sandstones.

Cliff on  north facing aside of gully
Spring is best for flowers and the volume of water in the Jordan River would hopefully be lower than the winter flow. Getting over was the first problem and after checking few options the spot used by farm vehicles was the best one, and a dash across kept wet feet to a minimum.  We had obtained permission from the owner of the small segment of land between the road and the river.

Boronia anemonifolia on plateau of southern section of Heathy Hills Reserve
There were massed flowing of Boronia anemonifolia in the reserve


A sizeable gorge was entered and the cliffs enticed a closer look, firstly to a decent sized cave then much to our surprise we came upon a big arch of rock.  This was quite a feature and certainly a most unexpected highlight.


A steepish climb up the opposite gully brought us to a sandy flat top with a very gentle walk up to the high point on this, the southern side of the reserve, for lunch.
The return was back down this top and down to the river where we found easy crossing points of the Jordan.  It seemed to have two channels here as we had to make two crossings.
The 7k walk took 3 ½ hours, including morning tea and return a mere 1 ¼ hours.

Click the image below to view the photo album

Heathy Hills

Heathy Hills

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Cape Raoul

Friday 26 September 2014

It was a fine quite pleasant day with lots of sun, although a bit of wind on the end of the cape encouraged us to sit behind the shrubbery for lunch.  Flowers were plentiful and colourful but it would have been even nicer if the Calytrix had been out. At the cape we could see seals up on the rock shelf.

Cape Raoul cliffs


Towards end of Cape Raoul with Epacris


At the Raoul Lookout we located a geocache and another at Cape Raoul.
It took a shade over 2 hours for the 7k walk to Cape Raoul, although it is took us 40 minutes longer than that with a morning tea break at the lookout.


Click the image below to view the photo album

Cape Raoul 2014

Cape Raoul 2014

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Snowy North

Tuesday 23 September 2014

After getting updated information on the walk, I imagined that it may be a little unclear in places where the pad was, but nevertheless no real problem.  However it worked out to be quite a hard walk, mostly because we had trouble finding where the pad was in one location and eventually ended up in thick scrub. The walk ended up being the hardest I had done in quite a number of years.

Getting to the start presented no dramas and it was handy having the road junctions in the GPS, as the South Styx road junction was unsigned. We did discover a quite new sign a few hundred metres from the track start indicating the end of the road, presumably because it was at a wide area for turning and parking.

Locating the track start was easy, but then we took a while to find where it went for the next 50 metres or so until a marker was spotted and a pad. It was straight forward until a small cliff line at which point some uncertainty crept as to the whereabouts of the next marker.  Eventually a pink tape was found in a Pandani thicket below a gap in the cliffs, and the assumption was made that the route went that way.  However we were considerably mistaken and this became obvious when thick bush began to close in on us.  We took the gamble that the scrub higher up would be more congenial, but this hope was soon dashed. A small rocky top was reached and the cliffs of Snowy North were directly in front of us, but a valley of thick scrub lay between.

First view of cliffs of Snowy North we ascended through the saddle on the left skyline

The scrub to be negotiated

The 1:25k map was consulted and we noticed it showed the track passing close to a tarn and we took another gamble that the map was correct and headed the 100 metres to it. The tarn was substantial being about 60 metres long but quite narrow.  There was even what seemed a sawn log there which gave encouragement and Neville scrambled around the edge to search whilst Greg and I attempted to get to the top of a ridge; our effort was aborted by a wall of scrub and we joined Neville at the other end for a hot drink and a bite to eat. It was now 10:50 AM and some 2½ hours since setting out.

Tarn from eastern end

Tarn in the thick scrub

It did not us long to discover that the track marked on the map was not correct and so we were left with more scrub to negotiate. For a short while this was relieved by a rock scree before commencing a steep pull up through more scrub, with the Bauera trying to push us back down.  At one stage I leaned back against a small tree thinking to myself that “I just can’t get up here”, but a zig zag up overcame the problem.  At a rock wall I tried to use some ledges but what lay in the rocky crevice ahead was too unknown so it was back to the scrub. However the ridge top was now quite close and a welcome break for lunch; it had taken us over 4 ½ hours to this point.

I had the track descent point marked in the GPS and we walked the 250 metres to verify that, then went to the Snowy North summit arriving there at 2:15, exactly 6 hours after setting out. The return walk was down a pad but nevertheless it was still somewhat scrubby and overgrown, but a dream run compared to the upward journey we had made. Once on the shelf where the track took a sharp turn I had some difficulty with spotting the pink tapes; being colour blind doesn’t help. Neville who was ahead had no such problem but Greg pointed them out to me when needed.

Valley  from rock scree
The valley crossed, the track is actually at the other end.


End of Jubilee Range

Jubilee Range from summit plateau of Snowy North.

Arriving back after 3 hours walking and now starting to feel all the scratches on the arms.  It was certainly the hardest walk I had done for quite a number of years.
The distance walked was 11.5k.

Here is the satellite image of our route with red line as our inward route to lunch time


Click the image below to view the photo album from the walk

Snowy North

Snowy North photo album

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, cliffs, forest, hiking, mountain, outdoors, Snowy North, South West Tasmania, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, wilderness | Leave a comment

Mays Beach via Coast

We had walked from Cremorne to Calverts Hill on a geocaching excursion and wondered at the time if it was feasible to continue on to Mays Beach and Lauderdale.  A couple of months later Sue noticed that Pandani bushwalkers were doing that trip and then by chance saw that a group from U3A had written up a northern end circuit. So we decided to try the Pandani route from Cremorne and knew that although a big section was crown land there was a private farm to cross.  We made the assumption that Pandani either got permission or were aware that the owner didn’t mind.

Mays Beach

The walk initially followed Cremorne Beach then climbed to a headland along a gradually diminishing pad to corner fence where the large parcel of former farmland now crown land was reached. The 900 metre crossing was through quite tall dry grass then much lower grass over the private farm.  A pad followed high above the coast until reaching the bush of a coastal reserve where a track took us down to Mays Beach.  The beach is quite nice and at the far end a public access track gives access from Lauderdale.
After lunch at the end of the beach we retraced our route.


In all it was 12.5k (although this included a short walk to a high point further north) and took 4:50 with lunch included.  The actual walk in was 1:50 hours and return walk 2:00 hours

Click on the image below to view a photo album.

Mays Beach
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Schnells Ridge

Wednesday 27 August 2014

What good fortune we had with a superb sunny and calm late winter day.

About 70 minutes after setting off we were seated for morning tea at the base of the climbing ridge to Schnells before starting on the unrelenting ascent. After 45 minutes of this I was quite looking forward to a breather and Alan mentioned that the spot ahead, with a view over the small tarn, would be a good spot. However when the assumed point was reached we realised there was another level to go and a stop now was preferred. The tarn lookout was a further 15 minutes on and gave a good excuse for another spell.

One of the peaks on the plateau of Schnells

Peak on the high plateau

The first high plateau was reached soon after and at last some views of Smiths Tarn. From here we also appreciated the surrounding mountain ranges with really good views to the Anne Range with Lake Judd at the foot. Further afield were stunning views over Lake Pedder to the Frankland and other ranges whilst to the south the Western and Eastern Arthurs ranges dominated the horizon.

The elapsed time to walk the 6.5k was 3 ½ hours and the return a bit less at just under 3 ¼ hours.


Shadows on the ridge to the south of Schnells



Hills south of Schnells ridge








Unnamed tarn on ridge

Tarn on ridge


The photo album can be viewed by clicking the photo below.

Schnells Ridge


Schnells Ridge photo album

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Mount Marian

Tuesday 19 August 2014

It is always a puff climbing up the Myrtle Forest track and it was good to arrive at the firetrail to see nice blue sky above Mount Marian. However a mere five minutes later it was grey and even a light scud could be seen there.

Nevertheless the day remained fine directly above us all day, relatively bright and with patches of sun.


Mount Charles from the Marian plateau


A call into the Pineapple Grass field under Trestle for morning tea was made. After lunching on the summit we did a sweep of the plateau west of the summit, where amazingly an exotic pine was discovered. Fortunately Greg had a small handsaw and it was enough to cut the small tree down.



Tackling the exotic pine (radiata) on the Mount Marian plateau

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Sarahs Waterfall

Thursday 7 August 2014

The final plateau leading to the waterfall was very pleasant open eucalypt with spacious low grassland.  The big v shaped valley below the falls was scenic as was the view of Table Mountain, which seemed quite close beyond the trees.   At the start of the walk the breeze was quite chilly but once we had a bit of tree and hill protection conditions became most pleasant, especially when in the sun.

The falls had a reasonable sloping drop of 40 metres and a good flow of water was going over.  The views were particularly good from the sheltered western side which had a number of edges in convenient viewing locations.

The walk started on a logging road then an old vehicle track and eventually through a section of fairly untouched open woodland.  It took almost 1:15 to get there and much the same to return. Although the return distance was 9k the wandering about the falls area added well over another kilometre.


You can view the photo album by clicking the image below.

Sarahs Waterfall

Sarahs Waterfall

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Cathedral Rock via Andersons

Friday 4 July 2014

After parking outside the farm gate, where there was plenty of space, we walked up to the owners home to seek permission to do the walk through to Cathedral Rock. The previous day I had attempted to ring a number that I was given but must have copied it incorrectly, however the woman we met could not have more amenable and friendly and we were soon on our way along the farm track leading into the bush.

At the first junction there was a little uncertainty, but the GPS settled the matter. The ascent was very gentle and quite minimal and once an open sunny area was reached it seemed appropriate to stop for morning tea. What did come as a surprise was the amount of clearing that had been done all the way to the Cathedral Rock junction; it made for easy walking and some cutting had been done in the recent past. We did wonder who was maintaining the track and enquiries made next day revealed it to be the land owner with help of walking clubs.

Montagu Thumbs from part way along the ridge

View along Cathedral ridge to Montagu Thumbs

The walk to this point had been very pleasant, going from tall forest then on to the top of a dry ridge with some open areas and stretches of lower growing vegetation, including plenty of Bauera and tea tree. After the steep climb to Cathedral Rock we continued along the Thumbs ridge to a sunny and fairly sheltered rocky perch for lunch. This is quite a delightful ridge so returning the same way was good as was the whole walk back, with one minor exception. A slippery slope was reached that caught Pam unawares, then Peter was down in a flash followed by Neville and then Pam again; only Greg was able to keep upright. Soon after I got home I did notice a stiffness in the thigh, which I suspect was a result of the slip.

We were fortunate with the weather being so nice to start with, although cloud moved in and a few very light spot of rain just as we approached Cathedral summit. However soon after arriving on top the sun was back out and it stayed that way for the remainder of the walk.

All up the walk was 5.25 km each way.

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Simmons Hill

Thursday 19 June 2014

On the eastern shore of the Derwent River the Meehan Range offers quite a number of walks and we decided that the Meehan geocache series would constitute quite a good one as well as allow a swag of caches to be attempted.

Things didn’t go quite as expected because we were looking for a bike track going uphill near an old munitions store site and missed it. A cement base was eventually spotted but no bike track and we decided to just climb up the slope through the bush, a 180 metre height gain. It was only on the return walk that it was realised there was a track that had been put in since our previous visit; this would have allowed us to do the walk in reverse.

The main drawback from the way we went was that the first two caches had already been bypassed and this necessitated a 450 metre each way double back to collect them. From then on it was easy walking along and over Simmons Hill then down the switchbacks of the fairly new bike track, which still had the track makers ribbons attached to trees. In all a 10.75k walk.

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Thark Bush Circuit

Tuesday 17 June 2014

When we looked at the mountain it was fine and with only a wisp or two of cloud, so the decision that Greg and I made was to walk over the northern end of Thark Ridge and follow the animal pads down to the old fire trail. I told Greg that when I last went there the pads went most of the way down and avoided all the plentiful rock screes. As the descent started a large scree was soon reached but fortunately by veering left an open area was located and from then on it was mostly not very difficult; the exception was one small patch thick bush growing in a sheltered spot.

One surprise was the amount of ascent that was involved once on the old fire trail to the track junction coming off the Thark saddle; which we both thought was fairly level. I could remember beyond this junction that the old fire trail became obscure in places and obvious in others, but could not find any clear bits. After searching about for a while we decided just to climb back up to Thark, where I had told Greg we should see an old large cairn. However that could not be found and I intend going back to try to locate it.

We returned by the Thark track and were pleased to see the rerouted sections of track in good order. The whole area of the walk must have had a lot of recent rain, because there was fast flowing water and plenty of ponds full of water.

The walk was just over 8K



The little circuitous bit near waypoint 270 was where the wrong route was chosen and we had to change course to avoid scree


Scree above morning tea stop with the bush line on the right


Scree that was sidled above before heading down on the bush on the left side of photo

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