Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cape Raoul - 28th December 2013

This was Cape weekend, so off to Cape Raoul the next day. Despite being generally warm, it was actually a little cloudy and breezy as I sat at the end for lunch. On the return I came across a couple of people watching an echidna. The GoPro turned out to be very useful for filming him when they left. He/she was basically unconcerned about my presence, snuffling the camera several times, and me once. The Vimeo version is edited down from the 20+ minutes I spent with him.

Cape Raoul from the lookout north of Mt Raoul. This lookout is above high cliffs, around 390m above the sea.

Looking back after crossing the shoulder of Mt Raoul and descending towards the cape.
Shipstern Bluff and Salters Point are in the background.

Mount Brown seen under clouds, across Maingon Bay from the end of Cape Raoul.

Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) on the Cape Raoul Track - see following video too.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Cape Hauy - 27th December 2013

Had a nice walk to Cape Hauy after Christmas. At least they haven't yet put the railings up at the end. Here's hoping they decide not to.

The Candlestick and Totem Pole sit between Cape Hauy (right) and The Lanterns on the left. This
view is from a Pennicott's Tasman Island Cruise Boat, and is from the north. The track ends at the
highpoint on the right, although a very steep, scrambly (and dodgy) route allows you to descend down the north
side of the cape towards the camera here.

Banksia marginata, Silver Banksia or Honeysuckle
On the Cape Hauy Track.

White Flag-Iris, Diplarrena moraea
On the Cape Hauy Track.

Cape Pillar across Munro Bight from near Cape Hauy.

Cape Pillar across Munro Bight from near Cape Hauy, The Blade and Tasman Island lighthouse easily visible.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

South Cape Bay- 5th October 2013

A windy day was forecast, with some possible showers. As it turned out, it was indeed windy at South Cape Bay, and it showered occasionally. Good day's walk though, generally sunny, with a few spring flowers out, and South Cape Bay looking very wild. The waves weren't huge, but the bay was a maelstrom, the sea streaked by the strong and gusty westerly wind.

New stone and timber steps have been built to the left of the coal cliffs. It will remain to be seen what happens to the large boulders that form the base of the steps, but I think they'll probably do better than the timber steps which have regularly been bashed around by the sea. It pays to realise that every boulder on the beach is either so large it fell off a cliff and sat where it was, or it has been placed where it is by the sea. This would be a dangerous place in a proper storm.

New steps from South Cape Bay onto the coal cliffs at the eastern end - 5th October 2013

South Cape visible across the windswept bay, South Cape Bay - 5th October 2013

South East Cape - 5th October 2013

South Cape Bay - 5th October 2013

South Cape Bay - 5th October 2013

The creek flowing strongly across the beach near Lion Rock, South Cape Bay - 5th October 2013

Lion Rock, South cape Bay - 5th October 2013

Sunday, 21 July 2013

From the Zig Zag Track

Yesterday was actually a really good day for climbing the mountain. The river and even Storm Bay were very calm, with lovely pastel hues. This is a three-shot panorama, and is massively detailed in its full size incarnation.

South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula from the Zig Zag Track
South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula from the Zig Zag Track

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Changes proposed for management of the Walls of Jerusalem

St Davids Peak from Solomons Throne at sunrise
There are some interesting suggestions from Parks and Wildlife about how the Walls of Jerusalem should be managed in future. The area is certainly quite heavily used, and they've been trying to work out how to minimise the impact of the number of visitors for some years. There's a pdf you can download with all the details.

Perhaps most notably, they propose a circuit walk in through Herods Gate, over to Dixons Kingdom, then down to Lake Ball and then Lake Adelaide and return from there.

I will note one item I have come across in the report. At one point, in talking about the use of the area by large non-commercial groups, it notes "Anecdotal reports have also noted the poor social conduct of some large groups, their lack of adherence to an appropriate code of practice and general lack of understanding as to the sensitivities of the environment in which they are bushwalking."

This may be true, but I have encountered the well-known local school groups who take both primary and secondary students for daywalks from the Arm River campsite. The last group I saw were beautifully behaved, friendly and cheerful, led I think by Aardvark Adventures, and were enjoying the landscape. Mr Aardvark, the boss I think, correctly identified me to the group as a specimen of a Whiskered Tasmanian Bushwalker.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Chalice Lake and Twin Spires - 13th to 15th February 2013

Having circled this area in January, I was intrigued to see what was there. I met the three ladies of Warrnambool at Junction Lake, and they were headed for Chalice Lake for a night on their way to being picked up at the very end of the Mersey Forest Road. Indeed, I found their brief entry in the logbook at the start of the track as I headed upwards on this trip.

Maybe I visited at the right time - the weather was excellent - but this is one of the most spectacular and scenic places I have been. It also seems to be quite ecologically fragile, and I suspect that camping at Chalice Lake shouldn't be encouraged. I had some difficulty finding a spot to use as a toilet actually, and had to go a considerable distance before I thought any "flow" wouldn't be likely to end up rapidly in the lake.

Chalice Lake sits in a large natural bowl in the Cathedral Mountain plateau. Cathedral Mountain is the spectacular line of cliffs visible from Kia-Ora along the Overland Track. The lake itself is awesome, and working against the idea of not camping there is the fact that at sunrise and sunset it is very photogenic. From Chalice Lake, you can walk on a little higher to Tent Tarn, where there is a more obvious campsite, but the same ecological concerns would apply. Around the edge of the plateau are various peaks - mostly the peaks noted along the rim of Cathedral Mountain. Twin Spires is the tallest point - the North Spire being the true "summit" of this high area. There is basically a quite obvious route from Chalice Lake to the summit of Twin Spires, with a few spots where the way ahead isn't entirely clear. I will put up a walk description, but I'm not going to be too specific about the route, as part of the fun is finding your way there. The Abels and Chapman both have descriptions, with Chapman probably a little more complete.

For now, here are a few selected photos which show a little of the beauty of the area and the views from the summit.

Chalice Lake in the early morning.

Twin Spires at far right, from my campsite at Chalice Lake.
Twin Spires at far right, from my campsite at Chalice Lake.

The Pelions and Mount Ossa from Twin Spires summit
The Pelions and Mount Ossa from Twin Spires summit.

The Du Cane range visible behind the Southern Spire from near the summit of Twin Spires
The Du Cane Range and Mount Ossa visible behind the Southern Spire from near the summit of Twin Spires.

Chalice Lake at sunset
Chalice Lake at sunset.

Sunrise at Chalice Lake.
This one above is available to purchase at RedBubble.

Sunrise in the mist at Chalice Lake
Sunrise in the mist at Chalice Lake.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Mount Pillinger Walk Description

Mount Pillinger from Twin Spires
Mount Pillinger from Twin Spires
Mt Pillinger lies to the east of the Overland Track and provides spectacular views (1MB jpg) of the main peaks along that route, as well as many other peaks of the Central Plateau and northern Tasmania. This is a moderate daywalk and well worth the effort.


The walk should take 2 to 2 1/2  hours one-way, but this will depend on how quickly you climb steep hills. Slower climbers should allow more time. You will also need to allow extra time for sitting on top soaking in the view.

Accessing the walk

The walk commences from the very end of the Arm River Road; the first part of the walk is along the standard walk-in to Pelion Hut. Drive to Mole Creek and then heading west out of the town take the Mersey Forest Road.  About 35 km from the middle of Mole Creek, you turn right into Maggs Road (signed to Arm River), and then after a further 2.5 km fork right into Arm River Road. Follow the road to its end. There isn't a great deal of parking - try to park so that others can too.


The summit is at 1280 m, and in poor weather the approach and climb would be unpleasant as for all Tasmanian walks, take warm and waterproof clothing. Some of the slopes are steep and bouldery, so some care is required. Mobile phones on the Telstra network operate from the higher parts of the peak.


From the carpark, the track first heads through the forest and is fairly level for a short distance before climbing steeply to the plateau. Once the track has levelled out, you will come across a fork.  The main track goes right, and a more minor pad heads left.  Someone has placed some sticks across the minor track, and I'm not sure if perhaps there is a later turnoff to the Mt Pillinger walk. Anyway, you can head left, and the track undulates and winds along a pleasant valley.

The wrong cairn which does NOT
lead up Mount Pillinger
There is the opportunity to go astray along here where a misleadingly well constructed small-cairn marks an intersection with a track leading left. This track actually heads east, away from Mt Pillinger, probably back to the end of a road in the Mersey Valley I think. (See photo of the WRONG cairn.)

Keep going until you find a substantial cairn (GPS Ref. S 41 48.404 E 146 07.802) and can see a reedy lake ahead. The track now turns left and heads uphill and is easy to follow all the way to the top although some sections are steep and/or bouldery. The track first heads roughly southeast, then turns through roughly southwest before turning west and climbing steeply and more directly to the summit. The views open up, and from the top there is a very spectacular view of many of the peaks of the Overland Track and Central Plateau.


At 1:100,000 you can use either the Mersey (8114) sheet or the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National park map. At 1:25,000 you will need the Rowallan (4237) and Cathedral (4236) mapsheets.

Other sources of information

The Abels Volume 1 contains a description.
John Chapman also covers this walk as a sidetrip in his Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair Guide.

See also my post about my walk to Mount Pillinger in February 2013.