Sunday, 19 December 2010

Canoe Bay - 19th December 2010

Had a short walk around the coast to Canoe Bay. The dead seal at the northern end of Fortescue Bay beach was extremely pongy. Care is required on this walk to avoid nettles. I didn't. There was also a small child who had probably touched one. Very painful things.

Dead seal, Fortescue Bay - 19th December 2010
Stinging nettle, Canoe Bay Track - 19th December 2010
Kelp, Fortescue bay - 19th December 2010

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Cape Hauy - 18th December 2010

Broadleaf Triggerplant, Stylidium armeria, Fortescue bay - 18th December 2010

Dubious weather forecasts often indicated that somewhere eastwards might be best for s dry-ish walk. Another walk was taken to Cape Hauy, which always has those spectacular cliffs. The forest has been continually changing as spring flowers give way to early summer flowers. These are the Broadleaf Triggerplant, Stylidium armeria.

The Monument, seastack off Cape hauy - 18th December 2010

The Monument was first climbed by a Climbers' Club of Tasmania group in 1970. As I have noted before, Peter McHugh (where in the world is Mr McHugh these days?) and Mendelt Tillema were involved. I found the notes here. Quoting from that page:
This large sea-stack is just off to the south of Cape Hauy (clearly visible from the track) was first climbed in 1970 by a Climbers' Club of Tasmania group. This sea-stack is much less popular than the others in the area, perhaps due to the fact that it is not as dramatic looking and is only about 50m high. However, since it is about 100m off shore, it is not any less of an mission to reach the top. Indeed, the tale of the first ascent is yet another grand CCT epic spread over a few attempts.

Prior to the successful attempt, Mendelt Tillema had already swam out to the stack, though his companion (Peter McHugh), who planned to follow in a rubber dingy was not able to make it out to the stack due to the swell. Mendelt swam back to shore and the attempt was aborted. The next time, Mendelt again swam (trailing a rope) to the prominent ledge on the NE corner of the stack. Mike Emery and Ray Lassman tied in the middle of the rope and followed, while Col Hocking held the other end and waited on the mainland should things get messy. McHugh contributed to proceedings by tumbling down the cliff as the start of the day, leaving blood stained rocks as markers for the path to the sea.

From the ledge, the team took the prominent chimney in the corner. This was an 80ft (or 25m) pitch at a grade of "VDiff" (now considered about grade 12-ish), and then a scramble to the top. Upon erecting a cairn they donated some green tights for a flag, though it appears these have long since blown away.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Pipeline Track Flag Iris (Diplarrena moraea)

Flag Iris, Diplarrena moraea, Pipeline Track, Mount Wellington - 5th December 2010
Had a few walks on the Pipeline Track when opportunities presented. This Flag Iris (Diplarrena moraea) cooperated by staying still for the right instant of time.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Cape Raoul - 20th November 2010

The crew wanted another walk, probably to make up for the rainy walk to Cape Hauy. That one where we went in search of somewhere less wet than Mount Wellington, but we might have found somewhere even wetter. Anyway, that sorted the men from the boys, or at least the men from the whingers.

Cape Raoul from the 400+m Mount Raoul Lookout - 20th November 2010

Cape Raoul is a terrific walk, with superb cliff views. The best is probably from the 400m-high point just before reaching the top of Mount Raoul. The sea is so far away.

Cape Raoul and the seal colony from the left-fork lookout - 20th November 2010

Just to note, at the end of Cape Raoul, you need to go to both lookouts, so take bothe left and right fork. The track comes to a very sudden and precipitous end along the left fork. (It's not much better along the right fork, but you'd have to work harder at falling off accidentally.) If you take children here, make sure they're either with you or sensible enough to self-preserve.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Fossil Cove - 13th November 2010

Cliffs to the south of Fossil Cove, Tasmania - 13th November 2010 Cliffs at Fossil Cove.

This is a nice short walk between Blackmans Bay and Tinderbox. This is one of the walks identified by the Kingborough Council, and details can be found here. There's a rock arch and a rock platform absolutely crammed with fossils.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

South Cape Bay - 7th November 2010

Echidna, South Cape Bay Track - 7th November 2010Had a nice walk to South Cape Bay. This fellow was happily munching ants along the track and was quite unconcerned about me, at least until the camera's flash became annoying.

Sponge, South Cape Bay - 7th November 2010Lots of interesting flotsam on the beach, including this sponge.

Kelp and Lion Rock, South Cape Bay - 7th November 2010Stormy weather had washed up large mounds of kelp, which makes for interesting foregrounds in photos at least.

Kelp, South Cape Bay - 7th November 2010I wondered about harvesting some pieces to see if I could make some of those lovely water-carriers and other items the Aboriginal ladies make. Then of course I remembered it's a national park...

Dead Shearwater, South Cape Bay - 7th November 2010There were quite a lot of dead shearwaters around. I've also seen significant numbers on Fortescue Bay Beach.

Stormy weather had altered the beach quite a lot. There was lots of exposed rock and sand had been stripped from most parts of the beach.

Tasmanian Laurel, Anopterus glandulosus, South Cape Bay Track - 7th November 2010The Tasmanian Laurels (Anopterus glandulosus) were in flower along the track, noticeably in the old sand dunes behind the beach.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Hartz Peak and Mount Snowy - 6th November 2010

Mount Snowy and Emily Tarn from the saddle between Emily and Arthur Tarns - 6th November 2010This walk connects Hartz Peak and Mount Snowy south of the main peak, with some off-track and route walking. It provides great views while traversing along the ridge. Emily and Arthur Tarns are features of the return walk. The walk starts with a standard ascent of Hartz Peak. It is advisable to carry extra water, as you are unlikely to find any until descending to Emily Tarn after the ascent of Mount Snowy.

Mount Snowy from Hartz Peak - 6th November 2010The route then heads along the ridge to the south. The first part of the ridge consists of buttresses, and you need to descend to the right/west to boulder-hop around their lower ends. If tempted to climb back to the ridgeline, you'll get a good view and there are some good cliffs to look down, but you need to get past a good few buttresses before the ridge-top is easily navigated. There is no need to do any rockclimbing or even actual scrambling at any point going in either direction. If you find that you need to, you've missed the easiest way and can either proceed if comfortable, or go back a bit and find an easier way. Eventually the ridge starts to drop steeply towards the Hartz/Snowy saddle. There is a little scrub here and you may have to wade through some scoparia, but it's pretty easy to tell where you're going. Descend to the saddle. Note that from this point you can walk along the south ridge to Adamsons Peak. I gather it's a bit dry and scrubby, and it would be best to get some directions from someone who knows the best way.

Hartz Peak, Emily Tarn, Hartz Plateau and Devils Backbone from Mount Snowy - 6th November 2010From the saddle there is a cairned route up Mount Snowy. It's occasionally indistinct, but basically head for the big scree patch and there are cairns up the middle of it. You'll know when you're at the top - it's the highest bit.... Good views of Hartz Peak from here, as well as the ranges to the south. Descend again to the saddle.

Hartz Peak stands above Emily Tarn - 6th November 2010From the saddle there's a cairned route which drops off to the right/north and heads for Emily Tarn. This passes through alpine shrubberies which can be a little moist underfoot at times. The way is also occasionally indistinct. In clear weather you can see Emily Tarn though. (Maybe when it's foggy, people who haven't done this walk before might be advised to leave it for another day actually.) Emily Tarn is lovely, with the cliffs and crags of Hartz Peak ringed above it, and with a great view of Mount Snowy. There are good spots to put up a tent here, but please don't take lots of people there, it's pretty fragile. Oh, and there aren't LOTS of tent sites, certainly not together.

Arthur Tarn - 6th November 2010The return track continues around the right of the tarn and then climbs to a cushion-plant lawn in a tiny saddle between Emily and Arthur Tarns. This bit is definitely moist underfoot, and is becoming a little degraded. The track descends slightly to Arthur Tarn which sits perched above a steep drop and can be very visually attractive. Below Arthur Tarn the track drops down the outlet creek, and winds down a little before entering the creek bed which it follows for a couple of hundred metres. You need some navigational smarts below here, keeping a lookout for cairns and tags. The track then undulates across the plateau to return to Ladies Tarn. As a useful guide in clag, it would be a good idea to have marked Ladies Tarn in your GPS to give you something to aim at. The track has some apparent false leads in a couple of places. If the track peters out, backtrack a little and cast about for another route. This plateau walk can be wet to very wet underfoot, and will boots will probably be most comfortable. The track emerges just above Ladies Tarn, and you turn right to retrace the walk to its beginning.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Mount Wellington - 30th October 2010

I've left a lot of walks un-noted and photos unpublished. Trying to catch up now. This was a nice walk up the Zig-Zag track, with some botanical photography thrown in.Mountain Needlebush, Hakea lissosperma, Mount Wellington - 30th October 2010

Lichen on dolerite, Mount Wellington - 30th October 2010
Kerosene Bush, Ozothamnus ledifolius, Mount Wellington - 30th October 2010

Kerosene Bush, Ozothamnus ledifolius - Photo here also.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Hartz Peak - 24th October 2010

Very nice day for a quick climb up Hartz Peak, with a cool breeze and continual sun.

Mount Weld from Hartz Peak - 24th october 2010
New bud on Waratah, Telopea truncata - 24th October 2010

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Mount Wellington - 21st October 2010

Storm Bay, Bruny Island and D'Entrecasteaux Channel from the south end of the Mount Wellington plateau - 21st October 2010
Show-Day weather was superb today, so to Mount Wellington. Had a nice walk up the Icehouse Track and across the plateau to the summit. Lots of people at the summit trying to find snow to throw at each other. They seemed like they'd probably prefer to be at the show, and I wondered why they weren't. Anyway, not a peaceful time at the top, but nice to sit on the stone benches halfway down the Zigzag Track.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Dauntless Point (Mount Brown/Crescent Bay) - 10th October 2010

I've been impressed with Dauntless Point, as seen from the southwestern cliff on Mount Brown. The point sits to the west of Mount Brown, south of Port Arthur. This walk starts at Remarkable Cave, and follows the same track as the Mount Brown and Crescent Bay walk(s). Description of that walk here. Walking to Dauntless Point didn't look too hard, so this was the aim. The point itself has a pretty impressive cliff, maybe 100m high, and sits below the cliff of Mount Brown, which is about 170m. You can sit right on the highest point of the Mount Brown cliff and look down to the sea - it seems close to vertical from the top, but it's always hard to tell whether a cliff really is vertical from above - for me anyway.

Walking to Dauntless Point involves climbing to about the 100m level up the normal Mount Brown track (I went a bit higher actually) and then sidling back on steep sloping rock, boulders and scrub to the northwest and then west. There's a sort of saddle between Mount Brown and Dauntless Point, which drops very steeply (and dangerously, with loose pebbles and gravel) into a gulch to the south. I think Dauntless Point could be approached from the north directly, but there's a fair bit of woody scrub, and there may or may not be a clear path. Sidling round Mount Brown wasn't too hard. From the saddle, you climb easily onto the highest point and then beyond, with occasional pushes through bits of scrub, and a couple of points where the track is very close to the impressive cliff. With the wind blowing it was interesting, but not too problematic. I think those who don't like heights would have problems, as the cliff falls away in a clearly visible slope from several spots. The views of the cliff on Mount Brown are superb. There comes a point where the scrub thickens and the slope steepens significantly, and I didn't go all the way out to the end of the point. Maybe next time.

This cliff on Mount Brown's southwestern side is about 170m tall. The picture above doesn't really do it justice, but a tall person would be 1/85th of the height of the cliff. You can stand on the highest point visible in this picture, and would be visible in a picture like this,but very tiny. The cliff appears to slope outwards from that highest point, but is then basically massively undercut. There is a big sea cave at the base of the cliff, and the whole cliff sweeps inwards to it. The (guessed) 4m swells were making a good show as they rushed inwards. The dynamics of the water rebounding from the cave suggested that it is reasonably deep. Mount Brown must one day collapse at this point - and indeed to cut the cliff as it is already there must have been significant collapses in the past. Anyway, the view is pretty impressive.

Note: there is no marked track to Dauntless Point, there are no safety features or warning signs, and the whole area has numerous huge cliffs which would be fatal if toppled off. Use this area at your own risk. Keep children close.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Cape Hauy - 9th October 2010

I went back to Cape Hauy in better weather, and among other things clambered down at the end of the cape a fair way. This provides a good view of the Candlestick, showing the size of it very clearly.

The forest was full of flowers, very pretty.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Hartz Plateau - 2nd October 2010

With the need to unexpectedly spend a second Saturday afternoon watching football, I was keen to take some exercise in the fresh air on Saturday morning. The day looked clear and sunny, so I headed up to Hartz with the hope that the snow would be light enough that I could get to the top and back and then get home in time to see the Mighty Pies thrash St Kilda. The snow was a little deeper than I'd hoped in many places and required care, but it wasn't too bad - occasionally knee-deep, usually ankle- to shin-deep. If I'd got there an hour earlier, I'd have confidently set off for the top. I stopped at Ladies Tarn, from where the deep snow on the slopes above was clearly visible. I'm not very good at low-friction activities, so I'm slower than some in the snow. Also decided my gaiters absolutely need throwing out and replacing. However, with the sun out and only light breezes it was very nice. Two groups arrived as I was heading off, and I reckon they probably went to the top.

Hartz Range from the Lake Esperance Turnoff - 2nd October 2010
Hartz Peak from ladies Tarn - 2nd October 2010

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Cape Hauy - 18th September 2010

This walk was supposed to be up Mount Wellington, and six of us turned up. By popular choice, we decided to avoid the forecast showers, and overcrowding by Hobartians wanting to play in the snow, and head for the peninsula. The walk was a little moist at times - on the return we had some actual soaking rain - but I found it enjoyable. The views were improved by occasional bursts of sunshine, dramatic mist and squalls, and quite wild seas generated by the "Australia-Sized" storm which has passed by and is now ravaging New Zealand. More photos at Picasa.

The Lanterns and The Candlestick from near the end of Cape Hauy, Hippolyte Rock beyond - 18th September 2010
The Monument - 18th September 2010

Fortescue Bay - Dolomieu Cliffs - 12th September 2010

Cape Hauy, The Candlestick and The Lanterns from the Dolomieu Cliffs - 12th September 2010I haven't done this walk for about 20 years. It's normally labelled as Canoe Bay and Bivouac Bay, which are passed along the way, but the aim should be to walk on beyond Bivouac Bay and up onto the cliffs just north of Dolomieu Point, which give grandstand views of the rocks at Thumbs Point and Cape Hauy.

Sunken boat in canoe bay - 12th September 2010The walk starts at the Fortescue Bay carpark, and heads north along the beach. The creek flowing from Fortescue Lagoon has been flowing strongly with recent rain, and may need to be waded. (On the return it was nearly narrow enough to jump given the lower tide.) At the north end of the beach, the track climbs a little into the forest. The walking is easy and pleasant, and the track meanders through the forest for a while before descending to Canoe Bay. Here a sunken steel boat now serves as a large perch for cormorants, but is said to have been a breakwater for fish processing works which formerly operated here. A very rough 4WD track (Canoe Bay Track on the 1:25,000 map) intersects the walking track just before it arrives at Canoe Bay. This track apparently heads off uphill and joins Fortescue Road.

Thumbs Point from the Dolomieu Cliffs - 12th September 2010The track continues beyond Canoe Bay, crossing the substantial creek on a good suspension bridge, and contouring around the north side of Canoe Bay. The track then climbs about 110m quite steeply over the headland and descending again to Bivouac Bay. Here there is a toilet and camping area, with water available from the creek - apparently permanent.

Cape Hauy, The Candlestick and The Lanterns from the Dolomieu Cliffs - 12th September 2010The track then continues around the head of the bay across the creek, and climbs 100m to cross Dolomieu Point and emerge on the cliffs just north of the point. There are several good lunch spots within a few minutes of the top of the hill where you can sit on flat rock at the edge of the cliff with spectacular views. This climb at the end is very well worth it.

Clydes Island - 11th September 2010

The tide was very low when I visited the Tesselated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck last weekend, and a walk out to Clydes Island just northwards along the bay looked like a good idea. The sea was very calm, and the way along the edge of the bay below the cliffs was an easy walk. The rocks are interesting, and the walk out there gives a different perspective on Pirates Bay. This short walk would be difficult at high tide, and obviously dangerous, if perhaps spectacular, in rough seas. More photos at Picasa.

Clydes Island from the Tessealtyed Pavement, Tasman Peninsula - 11th September 2010
Narrow funnel-shaped channel separating Clydes island from the mainland - 11th Spetember 2010

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Crescent Bay and Mount Brown - 15th August 2010

To round out the Tasman Peninsula weekend, I did Mount Brown and then walked on to Cresecent Bay. See previous exploits, which include a map. The cliff on the south-western side of Mount Brown remains a "high"light. The shape of the top of the cliff means people like me with borderline height-tolerance can securely sit with a leg, or even two, dangling over this 170+m cliff without feeling insecure. It gives a great vertical view to the sea, and back towards Remarkable Cave across Dauntless Point. Mind you, this is where I misplaced Phil for a few slightly concerning minutes on a walk a while back. The photo here is of Cape Pillar from the Mount Brown trig, with The Blade in clear view protruding at the right. Mount Brown affords great views of both Cape Pillar and Cape Raoul, along with their related topography, as well as of the whole of Port Arthur.

Crescent Bay is superb, although not necessarily a nice safe swimming beach. The waves break beautifully at times, but the beach falls away quite steeply. Looks good for fishing. In the middle of the beach is this rocky outcrop, with a big dune that drops steeply behind it. The rocky outcrop looked to me like a metamorphosed mudstone or similar, which shows the obvious signs of salt water weathering. It's really quite interesting. David Leaman confirms in "Step into History in Tasmanian Reserves" some of my inexpert assessment, but adds a lot more information.

This is Mount Brown as seen from the northern end of Crescent Bay. The cliff is on the far side. Crescent Bay's most notable feature is its tall dunes. There were people sliding down the dune in the middle of the beach on sandboards and other items. I'll do a blog about sand dunes sometime soon, but they didn't seem concerned about their use of the dune in this way. Other people do the same down the dunes at the northern end at times too. I don't know really, but I do know the dunes at Crescent Bay have been there for 20 years, and don't seem to have diminished. Perhaps the wind restores them. I see there are some track notes for this walk here.