Today was a choice between Hartz Mountains and South Arm. The forecast was a bit ordinary, although it improved during the week, but in the end the day dawned damp, cloudy and drizzly in Huonville. The Keoghs Pimple weather station reported 99% humidity (clag) and an apparent temperature of -1.2° C. The weather in Huonville didn't promise any rapid improvement, so South Arm self-selected early. Sorry Peter! The walk around the end of South Arm (Arm End) starts at the very end of the road. You drive through South Arm and on to Opossum Bay, and then a little further until you reach a turning circle/parking area at the end of the road. It's labelled Arm End, but has also been known as the Gellibrand State Reserve.
You either walk clockwise or anti-clockwise. The tracks are obvious inside the gate, so choose one and head off. The tracks are quite obvious to start with, but do disappear in places, or at least there are more than one choice. Basically you follow the coast all the way, and climb gradually up and down. There are tracks across the middle too, and if you wanted, the whole place is so open, you could just wander around wherever you liked. I recommend turning left, and heading for the obvious transmitter tower at White Rock Point. The tower here appears amongst other things to provide Taroona with some digital TV signals. The views from here of the cliffs south of Taroona are very good, as is the view of Mt Wellington usually (but not today!) The Shot Tower is very obvious. If you walk down beyond the radio mast, you can find some rocks just above sea level which are good to sit on. The views here are very good, and on a still day it is a very attractive place.
From here you can follow the coast eastwards, and then northwards to descend to the beach on Mary Ann Bay. Walk along this beach, and then ascend through the trees at the far end. You could probably clamber around the rocks below the low cliffs, but there is easy walking at the higher level. Then keep walking north, and descend again to the beach with the ornate sculpted-sandstone headland.
The Gellibrand Vault is just south of this headland. You may notice it as you walk along the top, but if not, then walk a short way back along the beach and keep an eye out up the slopes. It is a little beset with landsliding dirt, and probably someone should look after it. Here lie several ancestors of the Gellibrand family, who donated this land to public ownership.
The main inscription reads "In Respectful Memory of William Gellibrand Esquire J.P. the original grantee of South Arm. (and father of the first Attorney General of this Colony)...who died at Hobart Town 27th September 1840. Aged 75 Years. ...n illness of acute pain and suffering which he bore with Christian ...sion and resignation. His mortal remains lie in this vault beneath ...nder his own direction and superintendence. He was courteous and affable in his disposition, benevolent and generous in his character and of uncompromising integrity of purpose." His son, Joseph Tice Gellibrand, was the first Attorney-General of Tasmania.
Beyond here, it's a short climb and then a flat walk to the end of South Arm, where there is a view to the north of Droughty Point, and a fairly clear view up the Derwent to the Tasman Bridge, Mt Direction and even Selfs Point. From here there's a clear track back to the carpark around the eastern side of the Arm End. It's worth going down to the beach south of The Spit, which is very obvious as you head south. The easiest way is to keep walking until adjacent to the south end of the beach which runs south of The Spit, and follow the 4WD Track down the south side of the obvious fenceline. The track continues obviously back to the carpark past Shelly Beach. The shells on the Spit beach seem in many places to be "cobbled". That is they've been arrangec by the waves to stand on end in their thoudands (or maybe in their tens of thousands).