South Wellington Plateau

Friday 13 March 2015

Drizzle and mist caused abandonment of this walk recently, but today was ideal with mostly sunny and calm conditions. 
 
The route was up the Ice house track and a short distance along the track to smiths Monument we turned off and ascended  a rise of mixed scrub and rock to reach Hutchisons Fireplace. This rock structure has been sanding in this spot for over 100 years and was built by surveyor H. R. Hutchison.  He was commissioned by Hobart City  to survey watersheds of the streams west and south of Collins Bonnet and the survey was completed in May 1903.  The area was also known as Camp Rock and described as being at Wellington Gap. 

Click image below to view the photo album

South Wellington 2015

South Wellington 2015

 

Tarn on South Wellington
Tran on South Wellington plateau

The central part of the plateau is open and with several small tarns and pools, whereas the edges and the drier rockier areas have low snow gum coverage.  Both these quite varied parts are interesting in such nice weather were a pleasure to walk through. Two rocky prominences at the far end of the plateau were visited and then a descent made to the lower shelf.  Getting down proved harder to navigate than it is when picking a route up when walking in in the reverse direction and resulted in a couple of quite short boulder fields having to be crossed. With the help of a GPS waypoint the track back to the Ice House was located but was diverted from to use the Smiths Monument track in order to shorten the journey.

Rock split into three parts
 

 

Route for walk

South Wellington March

 

The walk including breaks took 6 hours and was approximately 9.6k

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, hiking, mountain, outdoors, South Wellington, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, Wellington Park | Leave a comment

Thark Ridge Circuit

Friday 13 February 2015

This walk had a secondary purpose which was to do some geocache maintenance.  Out on the plains that are the headwaters of Mountain River there is an absolutely lovely copse of trees and bush with an open area in the middle. It is a spot we have enjoyed stopping at so many times over the years and we put in a geocache there in 2014, but is was reported as missing. A replacement one was in the pack as we headed down the fire trail from big Bend. 
Lovely copse of trees  beyond Richea procera

 

On the way we noticed a Tiger snake curled up in the sun which had only just come as the clouds cleared away.   Although close to it, the snake did not seem to be aware of our presence and remained curled up. This was the first seen for this summer but this was the first of four for the day; two tigers and two whipsnakes.  In this area a flock of about 20 green rosella flew over and landed in the trees making a cacophony of chatter.
 
The old overgrown fire trail running south west below Thark was used to bring us to the junction with a track ascending to the saddle on Thark Ridge. At the bottom on the other side a new section of track cuts off a muddy area and as we had placed a geocache beside the old track it needed to be moved to the new one. It was then a pleasant walk all the way back this very good quality bush track. 
 
Baeckea gunniana Mountain Heath-myrtle, Alpine Baeckea on plainCreeping Tea-tree Leptospermum rupestre saddle Thark RidgeCreeping Tea-tree Leptospermum rupestre saddle Thark RidgeMountain Rocket seed heads Bellendena montanaMountain Rocket seed heads Bellendena montana 

Walk distance 7.5k

A photo album is on the web, click the image below to view.

Thark Circuit

Thark Circuit

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, flora, hiking, mountain, outdoors, Tasmania, Thark Ridge, tramping, trekking, Wellington Park | Leave a comment

Hidden Tarn

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Many years ago I went over Mount Mawson and down to Hidden Tarn.  On that walk we continued down to Lake Belcher, but after looking at the map and satellite images I thought it might be interesting to walk to the tarn then along the shelf as far as it is practical to go.  The shelf is reasonably level and generally about 100m wide and 700m long.

Tyenna and Florentine Peaks above Lake Belton with Lake Belcher bottom right.

Tyenna and Florentine Peaks above Lake Belton with Lake Belcher bottom right.

Although the day was predicted to be in the high twenties in the nearby valleys, the alpine area at Mount Field was expected to reach a maximum of 21⁰ and this is what eventuated.  As we started out from Lake Dobson it was a very pleasant temperature but by the time the jeep track was reached it was warming up.  However crossing Mawson Plateau was both a pleasant temperature and delightful scenery.  The Snowy and Anne Ranges came into view then soon after good views of Lakes Belton and Belcher below Tyenna and Florentine Peaks.

After a short rock screen a long slope of low alpine vegetation followed then a Eucalypt woodland before reaching Hidden Tarn. The tarn was a great site and in effect had an almost sandy shore.  From the distance it looked like a beach and once on it you realise it is fine grains from centuries of eroding dolerite. Hidden Tarn is about 5,500 sq. metres a bit over 100m long and 50m at the widest and doesn’t have an outlet. At times it must get quite full, but there is every indication that it holds water all year.  In the deeper spots there are lots of small aquatic ferns and we noticed plenty of Mountain Shrimps (Anaspides).

Hidden Tarn view west

Hidden Tarn view west

The tarn is at the northern end of the shelf and we walked along it for about 650 metres before it gave the appearance of becoming quite thickly scrubby.  To that point we had a few sections of prickly scoparia to but also some easier walking including one open area of small herbs and grasses.

It was a steep 200 metre ascent back to Mawson Plateau and quite warm with the slope facing the sun, then as a variation we went down the old Golden Stairs, which in fact is 500 metres shorter than by the jeep track.

As is often the case nowadays after a bit of strenuous exercise, by about 9 pm I was yawning and tired, especially after a quite warm walking day.

Total distance 7.2k.     Under 2 hours actual walking to get to Hidden Tarn   and the return route was 2:15.  The distance both ways was very close to the same due in part to using the Golden Stairs on the return, which is a 500 metre shorter journey.

Click on the image below for the photo album

Hidden Tarn

Hidden Tarn

 

image

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, Hidden Tarn, hiking, mountain, Mt Field, outdoors, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, wilderness | Leave a comment

Mount Lord and Lanes Peak

Thursday 5 February 2015

 

Rodway Range and  Mount Field West

Rodway Range and Mount Field West from Mount Lord

When Nigel suggested a walk to Mount Lord and Lanes Peak I said it was a hell of long walk, but when he mentioned starting in the Florentine Valley I remembered reading an account of a walk from there.   I recalled it was written by Dan on the Bushwalk forum  (Dan is stepbystep) and worked out from his description the best approach.

Now Dan moves fast and starts early but had to time to also climb Tim Shea, get a coffee at the possum Shed and be back in Hobart by 3PM; so it seemed that we should be able to do the walk in reasonable time.
Mount Lord from a prominent rock tor  just after leaving the forest

Mount Lord  from the rocky tor just after coming out of the forest   

Thursday was consistently predicted to be sunny but fairly mild making for ideal weather and in fact it was quite cool when we started out.  It didn’t take long, however, before jumpers were removed during the reasonably open forest ascent.  The higher part of the forest became even easier underfoot but then a prominent rock tor was reached and with it scrubbier conditions. From here views of Mount Lord allowed us to pick the easiest route to the top, although it did mean weaving past rocky areas and what was 580 metres in a straight line was 1 kilometre to walk to the summit and took 60 minutes.  

With the new version of Oziexplorer you can replay the track and it amazing how much extra distance is walked when measured against a straight line projection.

Just as the top was about to be reached Neville spotted an eagle close overhead and we were treated to the awesome sight of two eagles soaring about for a good 10 minutes with one going on several downward swoops at speed; Quite something to watch.

Getting down to the tarn at the end of broader ridge off Mount Lord was easy enough then after filling up from the tarn we headed to Lanes Peak some 1.6 k off over lumpy ground that made for tedious walking; up on a pineapple grass mound, down it then up another with scoparia and other heathy scrub all closely packed around them. It was a relief to finally arrive at the summit and after a break we took a direct line initially through scrubby country then under tall and open forest to the car.

Distance 7.3k.   Elapsed time 6:45.   Walking time 5 hours.

Mount Lord and Lanes Peak

Mount Lord and Lanes Peak – click image above for photo album

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, flora, forest, hiking, Lanes Peak, Lord Mount, mountain, Mt Field, outdoors, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, wilderness | Leave a comment

Fenton Webster Track

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Pleasant section of track besdie lake Fenton

The track between Lakes Fenton and Webster is one of our favourites. Although in the high country it is a fairly protected from the elements and takes you along the side of Lake Fenton where initially there is Fagus then a variety of plant communities including Cheeseberry in flower and the Fagus relative, the evergreen Myrtle at the far end. Beyond is Kangaroo Moor where a lot of Boronia was in flower and also Baeckea.  Up until the end of the moor it is almost level walking, but after crossing a creek it is downhill through shadier forest where the ground level vegetation is dominated by dense Bauera.

Pine-leafed Daisy-bush.Baeckea leptocaulis Slender BaeckeaLemon-scented Boronia,Cheesberry Cyathodes glauca
At the bottom of the track Boronia returns and there is the crossing of the Dobson outflow which soon after joins that from Lake Webster to become the Broad River.
The river was flowing strongly and we took the option of not crossing and picked a lovely Boronia dominated mound to have lunch before returning. 

Lake Fenton from Kangaroo Moor

The 5k walk took   2 ½ hrs which included a pleasant 30 minute stop on Boronia Moor.  The return took close to 2 hours.

 

To view a photo album click the image below.

 

Fenton Webster Track

Fenton Webster Track

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, Fenton Lake, flora, hiking, mountain, Mt Field, outdoors, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, Webster Lake | Leave a comment

McGradys Gully

Thursday 15 January 2015

Not a long walk but nevertheless it was 6.5k and took 3 ½ hrs.  The cars were left at the community centre and we walked up the quiet road to the gully, passing a host of car wrecks before doing so. It was fairly typical of the midlands sandstone country with dark soil, patches of bracken and other spots in shade with spindly small trees that could easily be walked under.  After all the rain of the day before, there was a surprisingly low flow in the creeks.
After morning tea under an overhang we went further up the gully before climbing out of the creek onto the north facing side. 

Cliffs in McGradys Gully

 

Here the vegetation changed markedly, with lots of Boronia and some Ozothamnus and quite open walking along the cliff tops. Then it was down to cross one of the several gullies in the area Greg and Dave in cavewhere we could see several caves on the cliffs opposite.  Getting down involved an area of stinging nettle and a few of us managed to touch a bit.  My ever so faint touch stung for ages and even that evening I could still feel the effect on my finger tip.
Soon after an early lunch on the top we followed the gum covered hills back to meet the road halfway along leaving a short stroll to the cars remaining.  Coffee was at Brighton.

Click the image below for the photo album

McGradys Gully
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Fenton Peak

Wednesday 31 December 2014

Although a minor peak at 1228 metres the peak directly above Lake Fenton is only 46 metres below Field East and 20 metres higher than both nearby Seagers and Davis Lookouts but is unnamed, so I have called it Fenton Peak. The idea was to walk there to view the scoparia in the very attractive setting at the saddle before Windy Moor and I described it as a stroll.

Scoparia at saddle

Lake Feonton from the peak

Lake Fenton from the high point (Fenton Peak)

First we went through the most pleasant bush to Seagers Lookout where we met three women, one who knew me and one recognised Adrian; as is often said “Tasmania is a small place”. From there we went on the aforementioned saddle where we discovered the scoparia was not as brilliant as previous years then a fairly scrub free ascent to the Fenton Peak. From there it was much scrubbier than I remembered to descend to the valley of the Davis River. Adrian did say that he was going to write to Websters Dictionary and ask that the definition of “stroll” be amended. Return was through more scrub down to the Lake Fenton track.

Spice bush (Ozothamnus ledifolius) at the edge of the Davis Valley - Mawson in distance

Spice bush Davis Valley

Whilst going down we came upon a rocky area with both Pencil and King Billy pines although none were particularly large.

Distance of walk 7.6k

 

 

The elevation profile below gives the appearance of a big climb, but there is only 200 metres difference from low to high.

FentonPeak

An album of photos is on the web, click the image below.

Fenton Peak
Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, Field East, flora, forest, hiking, mountain, Mt Field, outdoors, Tasmania, tramping, trekking | Leave a comment

Thark Ridge Rock Slab Circuit

Monday 22 December 2014

Several years ago while walking on Thark Ridge Sue and I discovered a largish cairn in an unexpected spot and sometime later we went back there to find where it lead.  Below the couple of cairns it went down a sloping rock slabs and through some snow gum woodlands to an old overgrowing fire trail. Then on a  recent walk coming from a different direction I just could not find the cairn nor could I locate the old fire trail. 
A couple of weeks ago whilst walking on Thark we discovered the cairn again and returned for this walk.  

Old cairn marking route downa rock slab ridge

Having the cairn in the GPS made it easy to get to that point and from there it was a matter of making use of the several rock slabs before getting to a heathy area without overstory, which was colourful with wildflowers. Part way down a large cairn was spotted that had obviously been there for quite some time. After a couple snowgum woodland spots, made very pleasant to have a spell in by being relatively clear of scrub, we found ourselves on what remains the old fire trail.

Old fire trail 

 

 

 

 

 

As we followed the fire trail it changed from obvious to scrub and back again several times until reaching a quite scrubby section interspersed with boulders and no real sign of a track.  A push through for a couple of hundred metres revealed the track to Devils Throne and the fire trail again.  The plains over that way was strikingly floristic, with Epacris and Orites heavily loaded.

Flora on plain to Devils Throne Epacris and Orites

The remainder of the walk was on the track back over Thark and on to the car up from Big Bend.
The total distance for the walk was 7.7k and the circuit from the main Thark Ridge saddle some 3.3k with that part taking about 2 hours. To reach that point is 1 hour each way, giving 4 hours of actual walking.

Click the image below to view the photo album

Thark Ridge Slab

 

Thark Ridge Slab

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, flora, forest, hiking, mountain, outdoors, Tasmania, Thark Ridge, tramping, trekking, Wellington Park | Leave a comment

Nevada Peak

Monday 15 December 2014

This was a delightful early summer day without much wind at all and cloud free, but also quite a mild temperature. On top of that bugs were minimal and the flowers great.

Nevada Peak

During the drive in we arrived at an unsigned road junction and fortunately took the left one to successfully get to the start of the track. A fresh parks sign was met a couple of hundred metres in and then a short boggy bit of track, but once past that it was good underfoot. Some years ago I helped Dave T and PWS cut the new Woolleys Tarn track and got a surprise how long that section went for. It was still in good order and nice a firm and dry whereas the old start was wet and degraded. Things deteriorated at the other end well beyond the junction on the old track.

 

Woolleys Tarn was really a nice sight and we took a break there in the shade of the old myrtle trees before climbing up to the plateau.

Woolleys Tarn

 

On the way we went past a number of Waratah at peak flowering and a welcome stream running down slope giving easy access for a drink.

Waratah

At the foot of Nevada Peak a moraine took us to the slope leading to the summit.

Nevada Peak and moraine till

It was calm on top and ideal lunch conditions after which it was down to Snowdrift Tarns with some flowering cushion plants. Further out on the plateau hosts of snow daisies were evident and it would have been a great if they had been out.

Pterygopappus lawrencei Sage cushion plantScleranthus brockiei Mountain Knawel  CARYOPHYLLACEAEEuphrasiaDracophyllum minimum

We did make a minor error by heading a little too far north and had to drop down to cross rocks missing the easier route. Next came the downhill bit through woodland to the rainforest. It was warm enough to really appreciate the cool water when a creek was reached. A really good walk in ideal weather.

The walk took 6:15 hours of actual walking for the 12.5k circuit

Click the image below for the photo album

Nevada Peak

Nevada Peak

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, flora, forest, hiking, mountain, Nevada Peak, outdoors, Snowy Range, South West Tasmania, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, wilderness | Leave a comment

Frenchmans Cap

Monday 20 October – Wednesday 22 October 2014

Originally I intended to do the walk to Frenchmans Cap over 4 days which was the usual time I had taken most visits, but after considering some of the things I needed to get done later in the week, a 3 day excursion sounded a better fit.  The weather forecast had been insisting two very fine sunny days followed by most of the third one which gave me great hopes.  Neville had been in contact but only had two days free, but in the end I decided that my mind had become set on this walk and I wanted to see what it was like with the new track.  Graham was interested but couldn’t go til Wednesday and that would have left me with too little time to get ready for another trip and besides the weather was just too promising to pass up.  I mentioned all this to Sue and she reckoned I should stick to my plan, and that helped with the decision.
When I pulled into the car park there was another vehicle and a reasonably young fellow getting ready to depart on the walk.  We chatted for a while and established that our plans were fairly similar, including going for 3 days but with food for an optional 4th day.  I set out first expecting him to soon overtake me and wondered why I didn’t hear him closing the gap as I ascended mount Mullins. However I was most surprised that he didn’t turn up whilst I had lunch at the Loddon River. He talked about photographic equipment so perhaps taking photos was the reason.  However he didn’t get the lake Vera that night and I did feel a little worried about him; Alasdair I think his name was.  

Frenchmans Cap from Mount Mullins

That first view of Frenchmans from Mount Mullins is always breathtaking.

 

Although the bogs had all been hardened prior to the Loddon, it was once over that the main work on the new track begins. Initially it follows the old route, with the worst bogs hardened and just a few not as bad sections waiting to be fixed.  After some 1.7k a sign was reached indicating Laughton’s Lead and at this point it is a completely new track of really good quality that winds around the hills.  It is mostly north facing and so is in a good perspective for drying.  Much of it is built up from the excavation of often deep drains with soft sections boarded. There is a photo of the machines used for the work in the huts.  Anyway it is excellent although the end joining to the old Philps Lead is still under construction.  The surprising thing is that it feels to be mostly uphill, but on the return walk you realise that there is quite a few short uphill bits that way as well.  On checking the map this new track starts at the 400 metres height and joins Philps at 500 metres so for a distance of 4 Kilometres it only rises 100 metres, but it certainly feels like it was more. 

Lake Vera with part of Philps Peak
Lake Vera and Philps Peak

I had completely forgotten how many steps up it was on the Philps Lead part.  The other surprise was coming upon a group of seven walkers here; I read in the log that there was such a party but that their departure was the previous day.  They were from the mainland and had arrived by bus latish in the afternoon and because it was raining had camped by the Franklin, so had really only set off today. They were a pleasant lot and I had a bit of a chat to them at the Vera hut after I had finished my tea and gone to see if Alasdair had arrived; which mysteriously he hadn’t.

Nicoles Needle comes into view

Nicoles Needle comes into view during the latter part of the climb to Baron Pass

Shortly before I set off on this trip I decided to go for 3 days rather than 4 and said I wouldn’t be worried if I didn’t get the summit of Frenchmans.  The area is spectacular with the sharp quartzite spires and massifs and just being there is sufficient.
I was conscious that I would need to keep to the times in my notes, which I was able to do.  In fact I was ahead but without a big pack that as not unexpected.  What I didn’t sufficiently allow for was rest breaks, and being keen to get to Lake Tahune with ample time for Frenchmans Cap, arrived feeling a bit tired.
I weighed up the options and decided just to go part way up to North Col to get the view down on Lake Tahune.  The decision was for me the wise one as it gave me a full hour for lunch and able to ensure the day was much better than if I was tired and rushing.  Even so I didn’t get back to camp until 4:30 after leaving that morning at 7:20.
I never felt any regrets and still haven’t; perhaps it might be different if I had never been to the top before. I have freely admitted that it takes me longer to get to places than once and I guess this is just acknowledging that I am not able to do as much either.

Barron Pass flanked by Sharlands and Philps Peaks

Barron Pass flanked by Sharlands and Philps Peaks

Whilst sitting back at camp I heard a voice and walked over Vera hut to find a couple there, Barry and Hu.  Barry was telling me he had camped at Barron Pass with a photographer named Dan; well there surely could be only one bushwalking photographer with that name.  It transpired that Barry and Hu had also started the same day as me but later and had camped at a nice grassy site on the western bank of the Loddon.  They also mentioned meeting a walker returning who hadn’t gone all that far, which solved the Alasdair mystery; although he didn’t explain why he was returning.
Well the weather for return walk was again fine with no clouds and it eventually got quite warm by the middle of the day.  The climb up Mullins seemed to be seemed steeper than the impression when coming in; a common theme.  A few minutes resting and taking in the last views of Frenchman before going over the other side and back to the car. That last bit of track between the creek at the bottom of Mount Mullins and the Franklin River certainly felt a lot longer than it did on day one.

Frenchmans Cap with North Col on approach to Lake Tahune

 

Frenchmans Cap on the approach to Lake Tahune with North Col

A few people queried me about the safety of leaving a car at the parking area odd the Lyell highway and I answered to the effect that I had heard of no problems in recent years.  Nevertheless this did put that uncomfortable feeling in my mind.  It was good to not see any broken glass there when I arrived, but during the walk I did think a few times about the possibility.  I asked the last two who arrive at the Vera hut if the cars were OK and then as I was departing Barry said he hoped my car was not up on blocks.  Although said in jest it caused me to think how I would cope with such a situation; not very well I think.  I was pleased to find the car OK when I did arrive back.
 
In Car to Lake Vera 5:20 inc 30m lunch  = 4:50  15.25k
Lake Vera to Lake Tahune 7k 3:30 with a 15 m break   = 3:15
Lake Tahune to Lunch 0:55  Vera 2:20 inc break 15m = 3:00
Vera to car 5:05 inc break at Loddon 10 min  =   4:55

 

A photo album can be viewed by clicking the image below.

Frenchmans Cap

Frenchmans Cap

Posted in bushwalking, cliffs, forest, Frenchmans Cap, hiking, mountain, outdoors, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, wilderness | 1 Comment