Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Leven Canyon Floor - 28th December 2012

I took the opportunity to do a couple of short walks near Ulverstone recently. I'd previously been to the Leven Canyon lookout, but not down to the canyon floor, so I thought it was worth a look.

I didn't actually take the guidebook (Chapman) with me, so I wasn't too sure what tracks went where. The track starts about a kilometre beyond the turnoff for the lookout, where there is a small amount of parking, but also a cleared area across the road which might be OK. The track heads downhill, moderately and steeply, and shortly emerges close to the bottom of the gorge at a steel bridge. Beyond this the track climbs and falls with steep drops in places, and tree roots that would be slippery in the wet. It's not too hard, but you would need to watch children closely and assist them in places. The water was quite low when I was there, but I imagine when the flow is high that a slip into the river would be rapidly fatal.

There is a spot in the narrowest part of the gorge where you can clamber steeply down the rocks in the bottom of the gorge, and the cliffs rise steep and close on the far side. With the river in flood, I should think the water level rises rapidly.

Following a steep descent, including on a steel ladder, you emerge on the river bank where the canyon makes a tighter-than-90 degree right-hand turn, below a huge bluff which forms the inside corner. With the water low I was able to sit on a rock in the river and make this panoramic image. It's 16 shots (8x2) and shows more than a 180 degree view. To the right the river flows steeply towards the camera through the narrowest part of the gorge. The bridge you cross is back this way. The river flows around the bluff to the right of centre and down the gorge to its left. The tourist lookout is on the highpoint seen down the gorge in the background. I suspect this spot where I sat is not accessible when the water is high, but there is a viewpoint just above it which would give a good view of the river flowing into here and away down the gorge.

16-shot panorama, Leven Canyon
To the left of the shot is another valley which runs down to this point, and when I was there it looked like a river ought to flow down it. Indeed, Chapman (Penguin Crdale Trail section in his Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair book) notes that the river did once flow down this valley, before it was diverted to its current course by a huge landslide. Looking at the satellite photos of the area, it does indeed appear that the hillside above the bridge has slipped in the presumably quite distant past.


. said...

Amazing pictures, now I really want to see Tasmania (always been a dream to travel there)... What would be the best time of the year to camp and hike there? Is there any canoeing?

Cheers from Ontario, Canada!!


Mark said...

Hi Mari. Glad you like the photos and Tasmania. We think it's the most beautiful place in the world. Yes, there are plenty of places for canoeing or kayaking, and even more for walking.

Best time of year is probably summer through to autumn, maybe Dec to Apr. However, the weather can be unsettled at any time.