Tarn Shelf 2016

13 September 2016
Quite a lot of cloud cloaked the high ground and it was
mighty cold when we started walking and a light smattering of snow encased the
trees and bushes. It wasn’t until getting inside Rodway hut that the we escaped
from the cold, but amazingly as soon as we departed, after a drink and snack,
the sun came out.  Luckily it remained
that way for the remainder of the day, making for fine scenic views of the
shelf and Rodway Range.
Tarn Shelf pool and Rodway Range
Lunch location
Before ducking down to Twilight Tarn, we stopped for a lunch
in the sun near Twisted Tarn, with the Rodway Range as a lovely backdrop. It
wasn’t all that long before the long haul up from lake Webster had to be tackled.   After that we opted to walk along the
vehicle track beside Lake Dobson and whilst Pat contained on that way, Dave and
I went down the track to the HWC hut and followed the old and now overgrowing
pad closer to the lake.
On the Tarn Shelf
Total time including breaks 6:40 (actual walking time 5:30

Distance 15.5k

Posted in Field East, hiking, Mount Field, mountain, Mt Field, outdoors, South West Tasmania, Tarn Shelf, Tasmania, tramping, trekking | Leave a comment

Cape Pillar

26-28 April 2016
After such a disastrous walk to Cape Pillar in October 2007 I was anxious to only go there in light winds. On that trip I was blown into a rock and suffered deep cuts and a broken nose and considerable lacerations and of course an abandoned walk.  A four-day period was set aside to pick out three for the walk and fortunately the weather was suitable for them all.
Crescent Bay from Arthurs Peak
The idea was to use the old Cape Pillar track for an hour then branch off turning west across several plains on northern side of Crescent Mountain with final short ascent to Arthurs Peak by this time using the new Three Capes track which will be followed through to the junction where it meets with the old track.   From there is not a long way to Lunchtime Creek where the new track swings away on a new route.
Soon after setting out Agnes Creek was reached where it was surprising to find a tree had knocked the bridge down and all traces of it had been removed.  The creek is however a very simple crossing on rocks and after a drink we were on our way up to the plains where the old track had been quite recently trimmed back quite wide.  It was on the return walk, after passing two hut rangers, that it dawned on us that one of the reasons for this would probably be to make access for them easier.
Arthurs Peak
Once past the junction the cleared track ended and the next hour and a bit was mostly pushing through scrub varying between waist high and well over the head and it was not until close to Arthurs Peak that it got lower and drier. We cut off from the pad for400 metres to intersect with the Three Capes Track and from there it was high quality track. Initially involving a climb to get great views to Crescent Bay and surrounds then down to the sidle Crescent Mountain where the gravel and rock steps.  Once over the plain of Ellarwey Valley a delightful shelf on the northern edge of Tornado Ridge went through forest on mostly a gravel track to the junction with the old Pillar track and then the refurbished part of the old track was followed to the turnoff to Lunchtime Creek where we camped.  I did make a blunder here by telling Nigel I would leave my blue drink bottle on the track at the turnoff, but after passing some walkers heading the other way, I thought someone might pick it and take so just put a few logs over the track instead. When Nigel failed to appear I realised that something had gone wrong, and sure enough he had kept going as my bottle was not there to mark the spot; however, he eventually backtracked and reached camp before dark.
Cape Pillar
Another nice day and a most enjoyable walk, initially following the old track, then joining the new one for the walk to The Blade. There was one quite extensive section of boardwalk bypassing well to the east of Perdition Ponds, but the rest was good to travel on and the views from the cliff tops just so splendid. On return we went via the old Perdition track which is overgrowing rapidly then went on the check the swanky Munro hut, where the ranger invited us to inspect it, before completing the circuit to arrive at camp at a more respectable time of day.  We met a lot of Three Capes patrons during the day and over half of them were in the 20-30’s age bracket with the remainder over 50’s.
The final day was cloudy but nice for walking and we arrived at the car at 11 just as rain began, which soon became quite heavy; good timing.
Distance 40.5k


The upgraded track along the clifftops


Click on the image below for the photo album

Cape Pillar April 2016
Cape Pillar April 2016

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, Cape Pillar, cliffs, flora, hiking, outdoors, Tasmania, tramping, trekking | Leave a comment

Neika Snake Plains Circuit

Saturday 7 May 2016

Previously we had walked from the Snake Plains track along a rough somewhat overgrown pad over hills covered with Melaleuca squamea to an unnamed hill above Neika.  On the way a junction was met and today the walk was the reverse, starting at Neika and climbing the hill to see if the pad at the junction could be followed.

Route up to the top of the hill

Well it could for a while and had some rock cairns and the occasional old bit of tape marking it, but just before it would have entered a wooded area, dense Bauera was met and eventually we had to give up and retrace our steps.  Back at the junction we opted to head over the hill down to Levert Rivulet (previously Millhouse Creek on old map) and on to the Snake Plains track then to the Pipeline track to Neika.

On the way up from Neika a pad was noticed leading around the right hand side of a prominent rock area.  Previously we had followed the pad down using the left side, but decided to see where this other one went, hoping it may provide a better way to the top of the rock ridge.  However, despite coming upon old cut bushes, it petered out suddenly leaving us to with little option but to scramble up the slope to locate the previously used track.  This was quite warm work, but it didn’t take very long to get back on the right course.  It did leave us wondering why this other track was there and why it suddenly ended.

Cathedral Rock and Montagu from plains 

At lunch, on a pleasant and open rocky top in the forest, we heard a variety of songs from a Lyrebird accompanied by a lot of clicking sounds from another. On creepy along the track were able to get a view of them with feathers raised before they spotted us and fled in panic with a hissing type of alarm sound. 

Route profile

Map of route

Total distance including the diversion was 6,7k and took 4 hours including lunch.  Height gain 360m.

For more photos click this link or the image below
Plain where track emerges from the trees on skyline.

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, forest, hiking, mountain, outdoors, Snake Plains, Tasmania, tramping, trekking | Leave a comment

Belton Florentine Circuit

Tuesday 15 March 2016

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.

Click the image below to view a photo album

Belton Florentine Circuit
Belton Florentine Circuit

Posted in Belton Lake, bushwalk, bushwalking, Mt Field, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Mount Fortescue

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.

Mount Fortescue

Mount Fortescue

Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, cliffs, Fortescue Mt, hiking, outdoors, Tasman NP, Tasmania, tramping, trekking | Leave a comment

Ellendale to Mount Field

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

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

North East Ridge Mount Anne

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.


Cushion shelf


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.

North East Ridge2015

North East Ridge 2015

Posted in Anne Range, bushwalk, bushwalking, cliffs, flora, forest, hiking, mountain, outdoors, South West Tasmania, Tasmania, tramping, trekking, wilderness | 1 Comment

Heathy Hills

18 November 2015
It was only a year since first walking in the Heathy Hills Nature Reserve but the rock arch there was so stunning that I was keen to return.  Previously, which was October 2014 we had to ford the Jordan River but this time it was simply a matter of walking over the drying mud.  The other change was that now there were tapes and rock cairns marking the way, whereas before it was unmarked; I much prefer the old conditions. As it was we departed from the tapes and wandered to the arch via some cliffs and caves, but after leaving the arch we again met tapes.
Under the Arch and Adrian
The arch area was just as enjoyable as previously and we spent some considerable time there. The remainder of the walk was to the high point on the same side of the gorge and then back along the cliff tops on the northern edge.  Below was another gorge with cliffs of a smaller third section of the hills. Parts along our route were mighty dry and there was the variety of flowering bushes as we had found the previous year on the wider plateau of the other side.
Ozothamnus and far north cliffs and hill 
It was also a shorter walk being 5.27k and taking 4:40 hours.
Click the image below for the photo album

Heathy Hills 2015

Heathy Hills 2015

The route taken on the walk


Posted in bushwalk, bushwalking, cliffs, Heathy Hills, hiking, outdoors, tramping, trekking | 1 Comment

Big Hill

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.

Eucalypt on Big Hill with Neville














Old Eucalypt

Quoin Mountain

Quoin Mountain

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 Kempton Sugarloaf



Big Hill from viewed Kempton Sugarloaf


Although it doesnt look it so much in the photo, this slope was very steep.

Although it doesn’t look it so much in the photo, this slope was very steep.

Big Hill

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Beatties Tarn

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.

Beatties Tarn from near outflow

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


Posted in Beatties Tarn, bushwalk, bushwalking, Field East, flora, forest, hiking, mountain, outdoors, Tasmania, tramping, trekking | Leave a comment