Flora at Last

Floras Falls – Silver Falls

Tuesday 15 May 2018
Following information that identified where
floras Falls were, the incentive to make a visit was strong. The official name is Silver Falls and when we were last looking for Floras we had the intention of going to Silver Falls to check, but lost enthusiasm.  It was just a short distance  from where we had parked the car below Collins Cap.
Prior to our walk the area had been subject to very heavy rain, causing flooding in Hobart. Now four days later there was a good flow in the creeks and Silver Falls Creek could be heard as we started to  descend the steep slope of the reserve, then cascading water came into view. After 25 minutes the top of the falls and it was obvious that this was a significant waterfall, with plenty of water flowing it was in fact quite stunning.

Upper section
The falls are in an amphitheatre and in 3 sections totalling some 45 metres in overall height drop. He first drop has a sizeable overhang making it very easy to walk behind, whilst the second is on bands of sloping benches.  It is a bit more of a descent to reach the bottom as some cliffs have to be skirted, but here the drop is the biggest and large pool lies at the base.

Top taken from north bank

 

Under top fall from Jon Marsden-Smedley

 

Middle falls

 

We were all most impressed by the scenic nature of the waterfall and felt that it was deserving of more visitors. The slope in and out is quite steep, but by taking a slightly wider path to the north it would be not that difficult to create a track, although some rock would need to be used for steps in parts.   The route could also be made easier by contouring more towards the cascades and crossing below them.
The walk was a mere 3.2k and took a little over 2 hours.
 
Thanks to Martin Stone for the the location of the falls.
Top and bottom of falls

 

Silver Falls from Bruce Champion

 

Pool at the bottom

There is a photo album from the walk which includes the 1905 photos




Floras- Silver Falls

Floras- Silver Falls

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Letterbox Gully

Tuesday 17 April 2018

After reading a report of a group going to Letterbox Gully at Heathy Hills, I looked at the map and noticed that there was such a gully, but it was definitely not where the walkers described.   In fact, it is at Harry Walker Tier to the east.   Satellite images indicated some prominent rock features, most likely sandstone and it seemed worth a visit.   We have been to Harry Walker Tier on previous occasions with Dave and he organised the access for this walk.
Once past the farmland and up on Harry Walker Tier, Eucalypts totally dominate.  Walking is easy and pleasant, although the vista it mostly fairly uniform and level.  Lots of litter from the trees is everywhere and the signs of past logging visible but so old and sparse that it is not much of a detraction.
Eucalypts approaching Letterbox Gully


Eventually the country changed, and Letterbox Gully was before us. Descending wasn’t a problem and we came below a cliff to find a sizeable cave. As did a couple of others we had passed, there were what looked like Devil droppings. 

 

What is this
However, in this one a large pile of dark matter had us quite puzzled. It seemed more like regurgitations built up over time than animal droppings and it was in several spots, some with very little head room which would probably preclude any large animal being responsible.


Perspective of size
More of the mystery items. Droppings or digested food

The cave had a light source at the back and on clambering up proved to be a small gap in the roof. Also noticed was small ledge that appeared wet but was quite dry and simply shiny smooth, almost as if it had been rubbed to that state. So, we left with some unsolved mysteries.

Once on the gully floor we followed it up valley as far as rock pool of dark forbidding water. The gully was exited at this point and continued up along a wooded plateau to rejoin our inward route.

The total time for the walk was 4 ¾ hours with a distance of 10k.  It does cross private property to reach the Harry Walker Tier Conservation Area

Holes in sandstone wall
Dave at the large cave
Cliffs from Letterbox Gully floor


 

Letterbox Gully

Letterbox Gully

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Mount Montagu

Tuesday 20 February
 
The track is along the eastern flank of Thark Ridge then climbs to a saddle. At this point it follows the ridge top through very pleasant snow gum country before dropping through a rocky section to a heath plain to the southern end of Thark. The track is mostly quite distinct to where it meets the end of an old fire trail, however the last kilometre was now getting quite overgrown and had to be pushed through in parts.

Mount Montagu
 
All along the Thark Ridge part of the walk there was mist but this cleared soon after dropping off the ridge and from then on we had a sunny day. The temperature was mild and pleasant with virtually no wind.  It was easy relaxing on the Mount Montagu summit and this was made even more so by the fact that pesky insects, such as march flies and mosquitoes were not present. But the 3 hours walk ahead eventually forced us to start back.

Devils Throne on far left and Thark Ridge at centre
Collins Bonnet

 

On Montagu summit

 

Thark Ridge

 

Mount Montagu from Thark Ridge

 

Cathedral Rock and  Montagu Thumbs from Thark Ridge

 

Whilst on the summit we could hear a distant helicopter sound and the source was revealed when we reached the Springs. A helicopter was lifting bags of material to the Organ Pipes track, but even the noise wasn’t sufficient to cause us not to enjoy a coffee on this delightfully pleasant afternoon.


Snowberry
 

 

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Wellington Falls 2018

Tuesday 13 February 2018
 
The level and relatively good surfaced Milles Track does not give a good indication of what is in store on the walk to Wellington Falls. After the Snake Plains junction, the track gently descends, but it soon becomes rockier underfoot and even more so for the crossing of Potato Fields.  Both these sections seemed longer than my memory of them, but that is a very common with me.  Beyond it was easier walking, with delightful sections of thick Richea dracophylla (candleheath or dragon heath) forming a canopy over the track in spots.

Wellington Falls
 
The whole of the track was been trimmed since last visit, the normally damp bits draining off South Wellington were dry and day very good for walking.  Wellington Falls weren’t gushing, but there was still a decent volume of water going over.
 
Pentachondra involucrata

 

Avenue of candleheath Richea dracophylla

 

Leaves of Richea dracophylla

 

Robyn crossing Potato Fields

 

Coprosma nitida  berries

 

 
 

 

From the Springs it took 2:45, with a morning break. Return for the 6.4k was 2:25
 
Total time with all breaks was 6 hours for the 12.8k walk.
 
Total ascent:   566 m              Avg. moving speed:     2.75 km/h
Total time:      6:01                 Moving time:  4:36
 
 
 

 

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Not Boronia Moor

Wed 31 January 2018
It seemed that it may be reasonable, but there had not been enough sun to sufficiently dry the vegetation from the overnight rain.  This made pushing through scrub for 500 metres an unenticing prospect, so walking to Boronia Moor was replaced with a trip along the track to river flowing out of Lake Dobson and back.

 

We looked up at the horizon, after finishing lunch in pleasant sunshine on Kangaroo Moor, and saw dark clouds approaching. Showers arrived soon after departure and remained for most of the walk back to the car.
Snow gums Kangaroo Moor

 

Mountain Heath-myrtle, Alpine Baeckea Baeckea gunniana   Kangaroo Moor

 

More photos at this link.

 

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Cliffs But No Flora

Floras Falls Expedition Number Two

Wednesday 24 January 2018
After the attempt to find Floras Falls in November I had put the falls way off in the back of my mind, thinking that was probably it.  However, Adrian gave some more thought then worked out another possible location.

Yellow Cliffs from Glen Dhu cliffs
A warm day was predicted, but the morning was really a most pleasant temperature. After an hour we departed from the track through bush burnt in the Molesworth fire of February 2013.
We had walked about 300 metres into the bush and were quite surprised to come upon a hut ruin. The outline was obvious and the rocks making up the chimney end were standing to shoulder height and one part at head height.  A sandstone hearth was intact and apparently in good order. Scattered bits of tin and a water tank lay nearby.  Another surprise was a beer can that had been placed on a branch and a yellow tape tied to a tree, indicating a quite recent visitor.

Old hut site
From here it was another 250 metres to a lookout to part of the Yellow Cliffs making it an inviting place to stop for refreshments.

Yellow Cliffs from southern lookout (morning tea break)

The creek where it was hoped, to find Floras Falls was not far away and being unburnt was a bit scrubby initially.  The creek was small but had a decent flow, and following some investigating we not unexpectedly concluded that the falls were not at this site.

On leaving the creek a direct line was taken to the main cliff edge some 250 metres away, passing a spot where several large eucalypts had been sawn down and mostly left.  We were all quite mystified by this as it was almost 500 metres to the closest point ion Glen Dhu Fire Trail, which has been impassable for vehicles for about 15 years, there was no sign of a loggers track and at a guess the trees had been cut down between 10 and 20 years ago.

Yellow Cliffs from lookout
On first ledge below the top

 

Looking down Glen Dhu Cliffs

 

The cliffs were splendid with as good a view as you’re likely to get of the yellow Cliffs; they looked close but were 500 metres off.  From where we were perched it was a spectacular sheer drop.  Fortunately, it was lunch time and the temperature on the cliffs ideal for sitting back gazing at the view.

By the time the track was reached it was warming up, but for most of the journey out there was plenty of tree shade.

A photo album is online click here or on the image below

Glen Dhu Cliffs

Glen Dhu Cliffs

 
 
Route from old Glen Dhu Trail

Some background from the records of the journey made to Floras Falls in 1894

The written information (The Mercury Supplement, Saturday 24 Nov 1894) indicates that the walk started at a house in the Collins Cap area and they “went to see some wonderful falls under the peak of the cap”. 
The walk started at “Blumberg” (hill of flowers), the residence of Mr. R. Relet. This was described as being over 10 miles (16 km) from the nearest railway station. Presumably travel was by horse (buggy) or walking on existing roads, described as “excellent”. By modern roads from near Collins Cap to Berriedale is about 14 km. Thus the house might be situated near Nicholls Road (or the end of Glen Dhu Road). 
They went up a ridge and then descended its very steep side, getting to a platform “on top of the 1 west of three falls”. l west – meaning? lowest? (The ridge could be something like the one bearing the Glen Dhu Trail that probably did not exist then.)
Eventually
they got to the bottom of the lowest and biggest falls. 
At this point:

They were in the heel of a horseshoe amphitheatre of uniform perpendicular rocks (sandstone from photos).

The lower portions of the bare walls encompassed them on three sides.

The upper portions were “indented here and there, with delightful caves”. 

When “facing the fall, the right o’er-shadowed (but not discernible) by the waratah, clematis, and grass-tree, crowned majestic Collins’ Cap”. (In modern terms “grass-tree” is not Xanthorrhoea sp. but man fern?)

Presumably this last statement means that when at the base of the falls,
Collins Cap is on the right hand side of the falls (although not visible). That seems to not fit with a Yellow Cliffs location; anywhere there Collins Cap would be to the left and relatively a long way away.
There are said to be three falls: 

“Flora’s lower and grandest fall” possibly 200ft (60 m) in height.

Middle falls “Something under 50ft (15 m) in height” and “very much resembles the Silver Falls on Mount Wellington, but surpasses it in beauty”.

Upper falls “the topmost and smallest, but very pretty, fall of the
three”.

 

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Mount Crooke

Friday 5 January 2018
 
View of Lakes Seal and Webster from Mount Crooke
 
Windy Moor
 
The first part of the walk to Windy Moor is so familiar to us all, but never loses its attraction though. Once the middle of the moor crossing was reached we left the track and walked to the waterholes, which had ample water in them, and then located the main drainage creek of the
area.  There was a little concern that it might be starting to dry up, which would make the planned camping there for the track workers due to start building a boardwalk there in February a bit dicey, however the creek had quite a good flow.

 

 

Creek and pond on Windy Moor
 
It was so nice there that a morning drink break was taken, before heading down Windy Moor to Davis River. Mostly the ground was reasonable to walk on and it is scenic with well-spaced Richea and other bushes together with the surrounding wooded ridges and hills.

 

Richea scoparia Windy Moor
 
Mount Crooke lies beyond the valley of the Davis and that is where dense patches of Richea and a host of other bushes grow thickly and make walking quite a bit tougher. Very few people visit, and it is not a spectacular peak, but it is a pleasant and the views to Lakes Seal and Webster are unique with the Rodway Range, Mount Bridges and Tarn Shelf as the backdrop. The immediate surrounds of Crooke comprise snow gums and a high country plateau
devoid of fearsome scrub.
Mount Crooke summit

 

Snow gum on summit
 
The return route taken was more westerly and by luck the scrub was not as bad. We even came upon a hollow comprising a host of Pandani (Richea pandanifolia) surrounded by pineapple grass.  On reaching the Davis River again the shorter route via Lake Fenton was chosen which had the advantage of lessening the distance to travel to 2.6k from an otherwise 3.6k.
 
 
Mt Crooke is named after William Crooke, who was instrumental and a driving force to have Mt Field declared a nation park.  He was often referred to as the father of Tasmanian conservation and   in 1906 promoted the concept of land reservation for the Mount Wellington and Queen’s
Domain parks, Hobart, and of wildlife reserves including bird sanctuaries. Crooke was a keen fisherman and was a regular visitor to Lake Nicholls.

Route of walk
 
 

 

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Freycinet Peninsula

8-10 November 2017
Water had never been a problem on a walk to Freycinet, but it was seriously so on this one. Our plan
was to camp at a small sandy bay near Hazards Beach and source water from Lagunta Creek, but on arrival there it was not running and decidedly dry. A short way up a shady pool did contain some that didn’t look too bad.
Beach and Mount Mayson

 

Sunset on Hazards

 

Bryans Beach with rebuilt  dunes also being eroded

 

Pigface at Bryans Beach

 

Kunzia
 
There was a school group in the camp site and they had collected water from cooks Beach, as did a couple just arriving from there. On the day we headed back there were two people camped and they told us that they went back to the carpark for water when they learnt of the shortage. We left the water to boil rapidly for over 3 minutes and fortunately had no ill effects.  As we were going on a walk to Bryans Beach on the middle day of our stay, a full bladder of good looking water was carried back from Cooks.
Our inward journey was over the saddle and down all the new steps to Wineglass Bay and noticed with
some concern that much of the lagoons were dry. Hazards Beach for once was quite firm and easy walking. Sunset from our campsite was delightful and the morning conditions as well, but the flowers on the walk to Cooks Beach were past their peak.
A surprise was in store at the hut with rubbish bins provided and they were chockers; I thought that perhaps Parks have them here because people were leaving a mess behind anyway, but it turns out the bin was for husk for the composting toilet and a visitor had moved it the hut.
Over the years erosion of the bank at Bryans Beach has progressively got worse, but since our previous visit a rebuilding of the sand has taken place and now there are effectively two bank lines. The new one has been undercut, so it must be part of an ongoing  natural process.

Walk out was by the coastal track, which has had an upgrade with gravel to smooth it somewhat.

 
 

 

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Waratah on Organ Pipes Track

Saturday 25 November 2017

From the Chalet and along the Organ Pipes track where the Waratah were brilliant and at peak flowering. Down the Pinnacle Track and bought lunch from Lost Freight at  The Springs before ascending by the Sawmill to Organ Pipes and on to the car.
Telopea truncata Waratah
Olearia phlogopappa

 

Organ Pipes Track
Olearia phlogopappa
More photos here

 

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Yellow Cliffs

No large waterfalls

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Floras Falls

As shown in Weekly Courier, August 12, 1905. Note person standing at lower right of falls.

Photo: Beattie
Copied from  “A Brief History of the Waterfalls Of Kunanyi/Mount Wellington“ by Maria Grist 2016

The mystery of Floras Falls was not solved today, but a couple of potential locations were eliminated. 
It was accurately predicted to be a warm day, so we started out a little earlier and it proved beneficial. Our first spot to check to see if a waterfall existed was at a large sandstone cliff to the east of Glen Dhu Rivulet, but although at first sight it looked promising there was no creek and no real sign of a waterfall.

Cliffs on eastern side of Glen Dhu Rivulet

 

Yellow cliffs

 

Glen Dhu Rivulet
 
After leaving there we descended to Glen Dhu Rivulet and found it had
ample fresh running water and the temperature decidedly pleasant. All too soon
we were on the climb through the woodland, heavily shaded by Musk and other
small trees until reaching a cliff line.
From here conditions became rugged, with fallen trees, still blackened
from the fire a few years ago. There were boulders to clamber over and bands of
regrowth scrub.  Nevertheless, we reached
the gap in the cliffs where a creek was marked some 1¼ hours after leaving Glen
Dhu Rivulet, a distance of 1.2k

Yellow Cliffs from our route
Absolutely no waterfall here and as there was a further cliff line higher
up, we climbed up and continued to the very top of the cliffs, passing a large overhang
on the way. Beyond the first few metres at the top the land sloped west so any
water would head away from the cliffs.   Fortunately,
the old logging track was located and could be followed along the plateau
without too much difficulty. It wasn’t long before a more prominent track was reached,
and this had large numbers of logs and debris placed on it since the fires. I
recalled Peter from PWS mentioning this, and presume it was to aid recovery.

Olearia phlogopappa on cliff edge
We had travelled along the track too far before I realised with the
result that we met the Glen Dhu Rivulet about 150 metres above where we needed
to be, but the water level not high it was easy enough to get back. The day was
now hot and our clothes sweaty and there was plenty of debris down the back of
my shirt. However, it was really delightful and a pleasant temperature sitting
there having lunch and with clear cool water to drink. Traveling along the top
and descending was a shade over 2k and took 1½ hours.
Above the overhang

 

Oxylobium ellipticum Golden Rosemary – only one noticed
The climb back to the old Glen Dhu fire trail was warm and felt steeper than
it ought but we were back at the car in little over an hour.

More photos are at this link.

Route to and from GlenDhu Rivulet
Profile from Glen Dhu Rivulet to cliff top.

 

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