Tuesday, 30 October 2007
I note that Tasmanian Land Conservancy are seeking to buy 125 ha on the Egg Islands, located in the Huon River estuary. These were the subject of a Stateline item the other day too. I note that the north island contains black gum (E. ovata), which is the alternative food source for the Swift Parrot when blue gum isn't as abundant. There are some good photos in their gallery, but I reckon my swan is better!
Jonathan Sturm has a page about the Egg Islands too, with some interesting historical notes.
Saturday, 27 October 2007
This is the view eastwards from Cape Bruny across Lighthouse Bay. West Cloudy Head is the main headland, and behind it is East Cloudy Head and Tasman Head.
Thursday, 25 October 2007
The track leads along the bottom of the range, and then climbs into a saddle over boulders. From there you can walk either way along the range - marked to the south, not to the north, or drop to the far side of the range towards Collins Bonnet. The track to the south from the saddle is marked on the Wellington park map, but the way from the road to the saddle is not. I'm unclear why they have omitted well-known and marked tracks from the map. Someone is even marking the track from the saddle southwards with grey plastic stakes, so why would you leave the northerly continuation off the map?
Anyway, the views are pretty good, and there were plenty of snow-streaked southern and western peaks in view today. Ben Lomond was clearly visible a little east of north. A wedge-tailed eagle was soaring around the ridge today, pursued by three ravens or currawongs - I wasn't sure which. I'm not sure whether currawongs actally chase eagles, but I know ravens do.
Sunday, 21 October 2007
Saturday, 20 October 2007
Nevertheless, this is an interesting walk, with lots to see. The walk starts at the Lighthouse Jetty Beach Campground. This is equipped with water tanks and toilets, and plenty of space for camping or picnics. Don't drive right down to the end of the road on the beach, but turn into the camping area at the main turnoff. You can drive in and park right next to the walk start, which is on the left as you drive down to the main parking area.
The walk is a circuit, and clockwise is recommended to make looking at the scenery easier, and to use the shade in the afternoon inside the forest. The track heads uphill moderately at first and joins an old firetrail. This meanders up and down along the western side of the peninsula and is easy to follow. It comes down to the coast at a rough, steep, boulder beach looking out at Hen and Chicken Rocks. This place is quite spectacular, and would be an "interesting" place to be in a storm.
The track then climbs quite steeply up Mount Bleak (143m) and passes close to the highest point, before descending more gently to Hopwood and Butlers Beaches at the end of the peninsula. The first part of Butlers Beach looks out at Partridge Island, named apparently because d'Entrecasteaux's explorers saw brown quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) there and thought they resembled partridges.
At the far end of Butlers Beach, the track enters the scrub, and gently rises and falls along the eastern side of the peninsula. The vegetation quickly becomes good tall forest, which does provide useful shade for warm days. This track returns to Lighthouse Jetty Beach, where the scrappy remains of the old Jetty can be seen. The total circuit is around 17km, and is, as the Walking Club would say, a "good leg stretch". There was plenty of birdlife on the way too, wedge-tailed and sea eagles, swamp harriers, martins, black cockatoos, gulls, bronze-cuckoos and others.
Some Historical notes: Many of the placenames in this part of the world derive from the visits of d'Entrecasteaux in 1792-1793. Huon, Recherche, Esperance, Bruny, Labillardiere, and others were given to features noted by this expedition, which was actually in search of the lost expedition of La Perouse (another local name). There's an interesting book put out by ANU which looks at d'Entrecasteaux's expedition in terms of their interaction with the aboriginal population.
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Rocky Whelan's cave is a popular destination for families, and lies just a few minutes from the Radford monument, above Ferntree.This sandstone overhang and "cave" is reputed to be wehere Rocky Whelan, a bushranger, hid out in between forays. More careful investigation suggests that he probably hid elsewhere. However it's interesting to see this rather paltry shelter, and imagine a group of criminals huddling here to avoid the rain. Unfortunately the rock has been quite extensively defaced by grafitti over a long period of time.
O'Gradys Falls are worth a look when there's any decent flow of water. From Rocky Whelan's cave the track heads down steeply to the Pinnacle Road. Woods Track continues downwards directly across the road, and after a few minutes reaches an intersection. A few minutes along the left turn O'Gradys Falls are found. They were attractive today with a moderate flow.
Friday, 12 October 2007
If you get to go out in the longboat from Far South, you get some interesting views from the river. Adamsons Peak becomes very visible, and it makes an impressive sight just now with the snow on it. In this view, you can just see the small pinnacle that you pass on the way to the top of Adamsons, as a separate and similarly-shaped peak to the right of the actual peak. The Calf appears like this, behind Adamsons Peak, but from more northerly vantage points around Dover. You can just see The Calf to the left of the peak from here.
Saturday, 6 October 2007
The whale sculpture at Cockle Creek makes an interesting silhouette. It's by Stephen Walker, who also did various other sculptures around Hobart and elsewhere. When it was erected, I think Peter Hodgman or John Cleary was minister for National Parks - I'm sure they were both implicated. It was just after they introduced the entry fees for National Parks, having promised to spend the fees on improving the "facilities". So then they spent $45,000 on this sculpture, which didn't fit most people's understanding of the term "facilities". In addition, the link between Recherche Bay and whales is that they used to hunt them from here. The grinning goons were roundly bagged in the Mercury, and rightly so.
Having walked from Cockle Creek for a bit over an hour and a half, you emerge on these black, shaly cliffs, at the eastern end of South Cape Bay beach. The bay extends further eastwards towards South East Cape, the most southerly part of mainland Tasmania. To the west of the bluff lies the beach, reached by carefully walking around the black, gravelly cliffs and descending a set of steps to the beach. The waves were quite impressive yesterday, long slow swells were breaking into huge, streaky curlers a long way from the beach. Nobody was surfing. Beyond the bay, South Cape stretches into the Southern Ocean (background of the photo). To visit South Cape requires a lengthy off-track scrub-bash from where the South Coast track crosses the South Cape Range. I understand the South Coast Track is to be re-routed to pass much closer to the Cape, and this will make for a much drier, more enjoyable and much more scenic walk.
I'm always interested to see what shape the beach is in when I walk here. Last time the sand was reasonably well spread along the beach, and before that. there was a huge spit where the sand had collected in the middle of the beach. This time the sand has migrated to the ends, and away from the middle. The rocks and boulders at the east end were well covered by sand.
However, in the middle there was no sand and the waves were breaking on a steep shore of rounded pebbles, similar to the situation at Granite Beach on the far side of the South Cape Range. At the western end, there was more sand than usual. I must find out what conditions cause sand to collect in the middle or at the ends of beaches. Very interesting.
Lion Rock is made of dolerite. It makes a very imposing sight at the far end of the first beach. The brown stain in the creek is from the tannin in the water. Looks terrible in a clear water bottle, but the water tastes great, and is fine for drinking.
This log has been washing around the western end of the bay for a while. It appears to have been moved several times by storms, as it is normally found in various places quite high above the waterline, but then one day it will be somewhere else. Makes a good seat anyway.
This is the low-level route below Coal Bluff, which forms an alternate (not recommended) part of the South Coast Track. I've not walked it. The water always seems to be high enough to make it wet. It was yesterday, with the waves washing up to the cliffs just beyond this notch, and that wasn't even high tide. It can be very dangerous below here, and people have been swept away. This notch was apparently blown with explosives sometime after WW2, so says Ron Woolley.
Lion Rock is quite interesting from close up. It's worth walking beyond the end of the beach, tide and waves-permitting, and scrambling along the boulders to get the end-on view of Lion Rock. It really is a very thin strip of dolerite poking out into the bay, and end-on with decent waves and nice light it can be quite dramatic.
These oystercatchers were among various bird species on the beach. There were no Hooded Plovers today, not sure where they might be. Maybe somewhere warmer. Interestingly there were two Pied Oystercatchers (Haematopus longirostris) and a single Sooty (Haematopus fuliginosus) hanging around in a small group.
The crumbling cliffs at the eastern end of the beach look ready to collapse, and I suppose every now and then they do. Hope I'm not there when it happens. Beyond them can be seen South East Cape. I understand someone has cut a track to it. I hear it might be the same bloke who cut the track from Cook Creek to Mt Picton. Anyway, I just have to try to find the start of the track along the shore, on a day with a good low tide! It used to be a nightmare dry scrub-bash, attempted only occasionally.
This is the view up Blowhole Valley between Cockle Creek and South Cape Bay. The track along the valley is very well duckboarded now, but it used to be a deep-mud slog. Cows once grazed here, perhaps not very successfully, and a fenceline can be seen about halfway up the valley (as you walk, not in the photo).