Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Knocklofty Summit Loop - 29th May 2012

Rounding out this current short series of walks close to Hobart, is this nice walk accessible from the top of Forest Road. I'll have a few more close-to-town walks shortly, to be put into a Hobart Walks website. In the meantime, there are a small maze of tracks and pads on Knocklofty that seem worthy of exploration.

The summit loop is well marked, and can be started and finished either from the upper carpark or the walking track entrance to Knocklofty located by the turning circle at the top of Forest Road. Make sure you don't get locked inside the carpark, and if in doubt just park at the top of Forest Road and take the extra 15 minutes' walk to return from this point. Walk up the hill from the lower entrance, until you emerge next to the upper carpark. From here walk around to the right, past the open area with benches and tables and a good view of Hobart, and on, to fork left and up the hill. A few minutes later turn left and more steeply uphill, and follow the 4WD track as it climbs steeply under the electricity wires and on up the hill.

The loop is well marked on posts, but you will turn right across the top of the hill, then left and right again to go back under the wires pretty much at the summit. There are views here to the northern suburbs and hills. The track then descends and becomes a narrow walking track through very pleasant bush, zigzagging down the hill, then heading more directly around the hill back towards the start. You emerge on 4WD tracks near the Frog Ponds, and follow the main track back around the hill to where you forked off uphill earlier.

There are various other tracks you can explore, and it is tricky to get lost, although I caution that just behind here I once missed a turn and ended up at Pottery Road, Lenah Valley rather than climbing the back of Knocklofty - among the trees sometimes it's hard to tell exact direction. I estimate this walk at just under an hour without deviation or stopping to look at the view.

Hobart from the Knocklofty Lookout - 29th May 2012

Sunset clouds from the Knocklofty summit - 29th May 2012

The open forest near Knocklofty summit - 29th May 2012

Monday, 28 May 2012

Lambert Creek to Mount Nelson to Taroona - 27th May 2012

This is a semi-suburban walk which passes close to houses at both ends, and briefly in the middle, but is mainly in the pleasant bush on the slopes of Mount Wellington. You can do the walk as either a return walk or use a car/pushbike/bus shuffle to just walk one way.

Leafy Lambert Avenue is the starting point for this walk.

Starting at the Sandy Bay end, there is ample parking in Lambert Avenue (opposite the casino), which is one of the leafiest and most salubrious walk-starts you can find. You can head off from the lower entry to the park (The Rivulet Track) or just walk to the end of the road and head off on the wider track which goes to Churchill Ave more directly. Crossing Churchill Ave the track doglegs to the right, but is signposted well. The track is easy to follow from here as it heads up the hill, sometimes steeply. Follow the signs to the Signal Station. Quite a bit of work has gone into this track. The park is known as Bicentennial Park - the 200 years being those from 1804 to 2004 marking the establishment of Hobart. It is interesting to see the vegetation change as you leave the gully and climb onto the ridge.

Good track work makes the climb easy
The northern suburbs of Hobart on a rainy Sunday from the Signal Station

At the Signal Station there are good views, and then the track continues on to Taroona, in the Truganini Reserve. There is a brief sidetrack to view the Truganini memorial, placed in 1976 to note 100 years since her death. The track descends gradually and then steeply into a gully which gets wetter, and thence to the large parking area on the Channel Highway.

The Truganini Memorial near the Mount Nelson Signal Station

The walk is likely to take around 1 3/4 to 2 hours one-way, longer with a stop for the views.

If returning from Mount Nelson to Lambert Creek, the alternative Loop Track (signposted) can be taken to vary the walk. It will only take a few minutes extra.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Mount Direction - 26th May 2012

The weather forecast for Saturday just gone was pretty abysmal. The Tasman Peninsula was facing heavy rain, maybe easing to just normal rain. Looked like rain in many places. However, on the day it didn't look too bad around Hobart, so a walk up Mount Direction seemed to offer some worthwhile exercise in moderate conditions. In the event, it didn't rain and it wasn't even too chilly at the top.

This walk starts at Risdon Brook Dam, and I've previously described it here. Interestingly, upon reaching the gate when leaving the dam-circuit track, it has been padlocked shut. You have to climb over the damaged fence to one side. Not sure what the purpose of the lock is, but I think Hobart water are a bit legalistic. Maybe they have trouble managing the whole area - last time I went they'd closed the site due to it being windy.

The attractive forest high up on Mt Direction - 26th May 2012

The walk was very enjoyable on Saturday, and the sun came out quite a few times. The forest is quite attractive once you are higher up, and there are good views of the western shore and the upper Derwent estuary to Bridgewater. Gunners Quoin and Grasstree Hill are prominent to the northeast and east. Time for this walk I estimate at 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours up, and an hour down.

Growth creases on a gumtree, Mt Direction - 26th may 2012

The Mt Direction summit cairn - looks like a "Sprent" cairn - 26th May 2012

Risdon Brook Dam does not in fact dam Risdon Brook. The brook is "saline and murky" (Leaman 1999), and is diverted all the way around the dam in a concrete trough. (See also David Leaman in Wikipedia) The brook can be seen flowing into the spillway in the photo below. On Saturday the dam was spilling and the brook was flowing. I have to admit to being somewhat mystified as to why the dam was spilling - the water in the dam is pumped there from elsewhere. I think that possibly we just needed to stop pumping? But what would I know. no doubt it was producing some good "environmental flows" further down towards Risdon Cove.

The dam and the creek were flowing - 26th May 2012

View Mt Direction area in a larger map