|Crescent Bay from Arthurs Peak|
|The upgraded track along the clifftops|
|Crescent Bay from Arthurs Peak|
|The upgraded track along the clifftops|
|Route up to the top of the hill|
|Cathedral Rock and Montagu from plains|
|Map of route|
|Plain where track emerges from the trees on skyline.|
I had been trying to organise a circuit walk to Lake Belton and up to Florentine Peak for several months, but weather and other circumstances intervened. Finally, it was on and completed successfully. The walk was from Wombat Moor to Lake Belton, alongside the eastern shore and ascending by a narrow and very distinct ridge to the plateau between Tyenna and Florentine Peaks. The return journey to go via k Col and the Rodway Range.
|Greg and Neville at morning break at Lake Belton|
Being a long walk we needed an early start and were on the track at 8:00 am. Wombat Moor was as usual a bit wet in parts but not as awful as sometimes and the track from the saddle down to the Humboldt River in very good condition, due to the work of the Friends of Mount Field. A previous visitor had recently placed pink ribbons on trees along the way, which seemed a strange and irritating thing to do as the track is very obvious.
After crossing the river, a route through the bush was taken, as it would be good to find a better way to Lake Belton than the existing poor track. The bush was a bit wet but by the time we arrived at the lake some 30 minutes later it was sunny and trousers quickly dried during a pleasant break near the shore. The walk beside the lake is mostly quite easy with lots of open spots and it is scenic with even a few spots giving views down the Lake Belcher valley. There are numerous Pencil Pines on the banks.
|Lake Belton from high on ridge, the lunch time view|
Belton has a long narrow isthmus jutting into it and this could now be seen and soon after it was time for the brief descent to cross the outlet creek and climb onto the ridge that goes all the way up to the plateau. We were now on new territory for us and it proved to be about as expected; light scrub interspersed with relatively open country. High on this narrow ridge we stope for lunch at a spot giving very good views and a different perspective of Lake Belton. Above awaited a further short climb then we had to locate the way down to the route that would take us to K Col. Two things stood out, one being we had all forgotten the need to pinpoint the rocky descent location and the other being the minimal pad between there and Clemes Tarn; clearly it does not get high usage. As we had all been more than once to Florentine Peak and did not bother going to the top.
The remainder of the walk was via the Bobs Peterson hut for a break, then over the Rodways to lake Dobson followed by the trudge up the road to the car at Wombat Moor. It was fair to say by then we were somewhat tired.
29 December 2015
It seemed an interesting idea to head down the Tasman Peninsula to walk again along the track to Mount Fortescue now that it had been upgraded as part of Three Capes walk. However, the experience has left me quite disgusted with what PWS has done, and I do not get upset easily. The PWS website currently has under Tasman Peninsula a walk listed to Mount Fortescue via Hauy track, but when we got to the junction with the Cape Hauy track, there was a sign that said no entry (due to the spurious excuse of phytophthora). Below is the extract from the PWS website as at time of writing.
Mt Fortescue Track
(6-7 hours return)
This track takes walkers to the 490 metre Mt Fortescue and provides excellent views of the rugged coastline. The track commences at Fortescue Bay. Follow the Cape Hauy Track (see above) for about one hour to a low spur where a sign marks the Mt Fortescue Track, which leads off to the right.
By and large most walkers coming from the Retakunna hut will have reached or be close to the Cape Hauy junction by the time anyone wishing to go to Mount Fortescue reach that point.
I say that the phytophthora is a spurious excuse for stopping people. The very susceptible Banksia marginata is in very good health all the way along the Hauy track, which suggests that the argument is quite spurious and only being used as an excuse no one could come up with a reason that would be acceptable. In any event is not beyond the wit of PWS to construct a better scrub down station or chemical treatment entry gate to replace the very basic one currently existing. How can walkers going one way be not a threat but those the other are? This is all more ridiculous because walkers can start from the exact same Fortescue Bay spot and walk to the Mount Fortescue by the prescribed route, but presumably do not pose a risk of bringing phytophthora that way.
Denying people access to the spectacular cliff lookouts 10-15 minutes up the track, is simply an appalling situation It is truly ridiculous and from observation many other people probably thought the same as several parties (9 people noticed in short period of time) ignored the sign and proceeded up the track. In other words, a walk of under 3 hours return or trip 6:30 to be able to get views from the same point by the designated route.
The new track closely follows the old route and is of a high standard, but somewhat lesser than the Hauy track and is also not as wide. Clifftop lookouts are not far from the junction and are quite spectacular and from a couple of spots you can see a sea tunnel going right through a headland cliff. On one trip we were sitting on one of these rocky aeries when a sea eagle rose up from below and was ever so close.
Apart from the improved track there is new lookout high up on the side of Fortescue and the summit has been improved including clearing of a bit of vegetation to allow better views of cape Pillar.
It is 8.2k from Fortescue Bay and takes a bit over 3 hours for the up direction and is a somewhat quicker 2:30 hours coming down.
To view an album of photos click the image below.
Sunday 13 December 2015
It was hoped that we would be able to replicate in part the first known walk from there into the park, but where we ended at lunch time was at the bottom of a hill that, initially at least, was quite a scrubby ascent and was 1.5k and a height gain required of 200m.
This made it too far to the moorland and we opted to return. It also makes future trips that way perhaps needing an overnight stop, a very early start or having transport at the Lake Fenton end. Even so if the scrub encountered, above the marsh, continued it would be a bit tedious and hard to know how long it would take to get through. Perhaps in 1907 there were trapper’s tracks leading through the bush from the marsh level, although from the journal it sounds like the vegetation was much less and had been badly burnt.
The walk up to the marsh was pleasant especially once past the old sawmill site. The part to that point was on the old vehicle access track then we followed tapes to the Jones River and from there continued uphill to emerge through thick Baeackea and tea tree to the open part of the marsh.
John mentioned that it was now easier to reach Mannys Marsh and that there was a way up to the plateau from there. Although the original 1907 party did go via Jones River it seems that this other approach might be a good compromise and at least we could follow over some of the original route. See below for extracts from the journal, the full one is at this site.
In quite an amazing coincidence, Adrian heard that on the very same day that we went another party went via Mannys Marsh through to Lake Fenton starting from Pillies Road. So it is obviously very doable that way.
Extracts from 1907 journal
….. Higher and higher the defined track led the wanderers …. vegetation grew scarcer and scarcer. The track passed through a veritable forest of bare dead trees of no great height. ………The descent was fairly easily accomplished, and at Jones’ River, about three-quarters of the way down, the guides, who had gone in advance, had tea ready…….
Click the image below for a photo album
|Ellendale to Mount Field|
Flowers of Aristotelia peduncularis Heart Berry
4-6 December 2015
Finally, after several postponements the walk was on with moderately promising weather. Although it takes a bit of effort getting there, the North East Ridge is a superb area and in good weather it is quite sublime. The plan was to get an early start to allow time for rests on the way up and this had us on the track by 7:30 am.
The plain was fairly wet, after recent rains, but not too bad and the bushes didn’t seem any higher or thicker than my memory from the last crossing. My last visit was in late March 2008 in delightful conditions. The details and photos are on the web. It has not been uncommon to have to do a bit of route searching in the forest from time to times from time to time and it again was the case today, but with 5 of us it didn’t take all that long to find one of the tapes marking the way.
Camp site area
A break beside the one and only creek, then lunch higher up provided much appreciated rests. By this point the slope is reasonably steep and continued that that way until the ridge top was reached; I hadn’t remembered the bit once beyond the small cliff line in the forest being steep, but it was.
It was a bit cloudy rather than the bright sunlight and clear skies hoped for, but nevertheless pleasant. Then on to camp with plenty of time to relax after the exertion. The ridge comprises several terraces and one of them has a few huge cushion plants, whilst one tucked away lower has an extensive and striking area of cushions covering much of the ground. That is where we ventured in the morning, although at first it was very misty and didn’t fully lift all day. Nevertheless, the cushion shelf was really attractive and from there we followed the ridge top up the slope of Mount Anne. Although I had the GPS reading for the way beside a buttress and onto a narrow shelf under the north east face of Anne, I walked well past before discovery the mistake and then when we did get to the point it looked different to what I thought. However, when Neville said is here a pineapple grass ledge, I knew we were in the right spot. A little bit of hither and thither on ledges, a couple of heave-hos and we were on top. We got a number of decent views although cloud cut vision at times and we departed after lunching just as another party arrived by the conventional route. Once back on the shelf of North East Ridge a drizzle began and it was then I discovered that my parka had been left at the tent; fortunately, it remained light and it was only just after arriving at camp that a heavier shower began.
Mount Anne from the cushion shelf
On a shelf on the way up Mount Anne
Morning was again very misty and it was not until well into the descent before we began getting below it. I found my legs felt stiff during the steep downhill section and getting under and over logs became a tedious imposition. As I had knocked my thigh against a log on the way in, it was not unexpected that there would be a bit of tenderness there, but the surprise was the discomfort whenever a log had to be hopped under or any other time the hip belt padding pressed upward against my side. I later discovered a bruise below my ribcage which perhaps was the result of swinging under limbs and making the pack belt press into my side.
By taking advantage of the early start for rest meant the inward walk was over an elapsed time of 8 hours (7:30 – 3:30) whereas the return was 6:20 elapsed time (8:30 – 2:40)
Photos from Neville.
On the ascent of Mount Anne, Greg, Peter and Graham. Photo from Neville
On the cushion shelf, Peter, Alan, Graham and Greg. Photo from Neville
The photo album can be viewed by clicking the image below.
The route taken on the walk
Tuesday 5 November 2015
I misunderstood the route Dave intended to take for this walk; he mentioned an old road which I assumed was the old railway line. However, it was the old road that was once the Midlands highway running south out from Kempton. So we followed that for about 2k before going through a farm gate; well actually climbing over is a more accurate description. After crossing paddock, we climbed quite steeply through bush, stopping on a knoll for morning tea, before reaching the wide summit then down a much gentler slope with spaced out trees, some quite large and old.
Before us was a short ascent to Kempton Sugarloaf where we lunched then a very steep grassed slope past a series of white pained tyres advertising the Kempton Festival.
As we walked the short distance back along a road we met the property owners who gave us a suggestion for another walk on their property to the west. The mention of cliffs, caves and losing ourselves in the gully spiked our interest and no doubt this walk to Johnsons Hill will get a guernsey before too long.
All up the Big Hill walk was an 8.6k circuit and it took a shade over 4 hours including lunch.
Big Hill from viewed Kempton Sugarloaf
Although it doesn’t look it so much in the photo, this slope was very steep.
Saturday 19 September 2015
The track to this lovely area is once again open for walkers to visit. Beatties Tarn is such a tranquil and beautiful spot sitting 200m below the tree covered slopes of the high ridge between Seagers Lookout and Mount Field East.
The park management plan suggested a re-route the Beatties Tarn side track and rehabilitate the old track, (page 37) and a consultant in a 2008 report on tracks commented that he was “not convinced it’s practical or desirable to prevent access to the tarn.
The track was closed for several years because the original track traversed a very wet area where some of the water flowed over a small flat area and became degraded. This area also has a considerable sphagnum content. A suitable route close to the old was marked out by Friends of Mount Field with PWS staff and is about 320 metres of track of which 80 metres is the existing but overgrown track and the remainder is rerouted but close to the former track
The track now passes through a flat area of very nice bush to reach a short boulder field where the rocks have been manoeuvred to allow relatively easy passage. It then drops down to bush again before veering west through some tall old tea tree to meet the original track just below a short boulder climb. It is then along a dry level section to reach Beatties Tarn at a very pleasant spot beside the water with a good vista. It takes about 10 minutes from the main track which in turn is about 20 minutes from the Lake Dobson Road.
There is a Beatties Tarn web site that gives details of the track, referred to in PWS and Placenames Tas documents as Beatties Tarn Side Track.
Details on the work of the Friends of Mount Field can be found on the web
Tuesday 18 August
Rock slab area with Mount Wellington
The morning for the walk was still, clear and sunny with a chill still in the air. As we were about the leave from Risdon Vale a car pulled up behind us and what we though was a woman got out and began talking to us, however by this stage we were quite unable to determine if the person was male or female. Afterwards neither Greg, Adrian nor I felt any the wiser.
Initially the walk is on a rough 4wd track that appeared to have been cleaned up and it also had a few ditches dug to try to stop vehicle access, but bikes obviously were managing to bypass them. This continued for about 2k until a private property sign and fence were met and at this point we headed uphill. During the 200m ascent we went through some really nice country with big rock slabs, lookouts and numerous grasstrees. In fact grasstrees were a stunning feature of this section of the Meehan Range. Once on top there are several open areas and sections of easy scrub free through the trees. Morning break was at rocky hillock where we noticed that the eucalypt tree species was now smaller and quite different to those prior. We were now on Basin Hills and open walking and soon came upon a 4wd track that continued along for the remainder of the way to Downhams Road. At one point before exiting the PWS reserve land a track turned downhill and this may well go back down to a marked entry point off Magnolia Rd and would make quite a good circuit.
Open lead through Eucalypts
A private property sign was noted after we left the reserve, but it was only a short distance to the next bit of reserve and then the steep downhill to the road. It was amazing to see where vehicles have gone up and down and they must be desperate to get to the trees for woodhooking to bother. Closer to the road there were heaps of rubbish unfortunately. Chris had made a note about the way down but we must have missed his turn as we arrived at the road some 500 metres south of where he did and as a consequence had a steep ascent up the hill opposite.
This hill had suffered from a fire, but seedlings were plentiful and, as we believe the gums here are Eucalyptus risdonii, many looked like they may be that variety. The property through here is owned by the Flagstaff quarry lot up until a solid fence is met, which we hopped over as it was easier walking but then on the upper part of Eagle Hill we had to hop back over again. A couple more hills had to be ascended then descended before we reached Caves Hill and Rocky Tom (I had originally mistakenly thought this was part of Pilchers Hill Reserve). To get there it had been mostly open country and at one point we reached a rough 4wd which we didn’t follow for long as it started to go too low, but we did wonder if in fact it came back up because we met a track again closer the Caves.
I managed to include a geocache at Rocky Tom. It isn’t a long walk to it by the regular tracks, but this would have to be one of the longest routes taken to get to it. We had journeyed in from the Basin Hills part of the Meehan Range, a distance of 10.5k with a 700m height gain and 500m of downhill. The GPS pointed to the spot to start searching and Adrian who had been here to log it before saved me bending down to look by pulling it out from the hiding spot.
After a wander about the rock climbing venues of Shadow Buttress and Excalibur it was down to Seagers Saddle and the open grassy hilltop. I did ask Greg whether the blob in the distance was an animal or bush, but the head of a wallaby looked up to provide the answer, after which about of them began hopping away. A gentle downhill bush section brought us back to Downhams road and the back through the streets of Risdon vale to the car.
A total distance of 15.2k with a 790 metres of climbing. Total time was 6:15
A photo album is online and can be viewed by clicking the image below