June 2018 - Mt Amos and Wineglass Bay

On the long weekend in June Phil and Kat organised a fabulous getaway to Freycinet for our walking group.  A large weekender at Coles Bay was our base, with beds for eight and room for an additional body on the couch.

View from the large deck - Kat

In total eight of us found our way there over the weekend, some arriving on the Friday evening, others arriving on the Saturday.

The Mt Amos track is the red one on the left


On the Saturday we had Mt Amos in our sights.  Known to be challenging and accessible only to those with good bushwalking skills, including strength and balance, we knew it could only be attempted when the rocks were dry, as the rock faces are sheer and very slippery when wet.

Luckily there had been no rain for some time in these parts.  Taking on the challenge were Philip, Kat, Bob, Robert, Di, Kerrie and Richard.  We set off with some trepidation at 10am, noting the dire warnings posted on the track. 


Fortunately Kerrie and Richard are locals who had done the walk several times before so we felt we would be in good hands.

The trail started off with easy walking on a sandy path through dry bush.  However, it wasn't too long before we commenced rock hopping, the trees thinned out and we became heavily reliant on the yellow trail marker arrows (which were pretty useful and looked fairly recent).  Despite the dry weather, there were several soaks within the mountain producing little streams on the rocks, and we found that any water we collected on our boots made for instant slipperiness. The mountain ahead looked dramatic and exciting.

We're going up there? - Di

Yep.

Then we encountered the first of the sheer sloping rock faces, bloody hell.  It was a long and exhausting haul up one rock face after another, with some of the surfaces almost glassy in parts.  



Looking back - Bob


Halfway up - Robert
  
Getting a tad steep and scrambly - Kat

We used all appendages to scrabble up, finding little crevices to hold onto. 

Richard, Kerrie, Robert, Di - Kat


This is a climb for people with good balance, good rockholding shoes, strong knees and ankles, and a head for heights! There is little room for error and nothing to stop you if you should slip.

Disbelieving - Di

We were very pleased with ourselves to reach the top, and the views were worth it.

From Mt Amos towards Wineglass Bay - Robert
 



From Mt Amos, looking back towards Dolphin Sands


We had lunch as we rested and took our photos.

Then it was time to descend.  The climb down was as worrying as the climb up, if not more so. 

Oh dear - Kat

Taking the plunge - Kat



Taking assistance from a little tree - Bob



We eased our way downwards, some of us with knees that were starting to give trouble. 

It seems so unlikely - Di

It was a great relief for our group to finally leave the sheer faces behind and return to flatter and safer trails.  Arriving back at the trailhead at about 2pm, we eased our aching bodies into our cars.  It was a pleasure to get back to our holiday house for showers, a rewarding drink, and to watch The Hazards changing colour in the sunset.

Sunset on The Hazards - Bob

After sunset - Robert


That night we ate at the Geographe Restaurant, which happened to be just around the corner. Pub-style food and a bit noisy, but very pleasant nonetheless.  Angie showed us Scorpio in the heavens.

Scorpio - Robert

 Of course there were further drinks and nibbles back at our digs.

Next morning some of us were up early to watch sunrise on The Hazards and the mist on the bay.

Mist on the bay - Bob

For Sunday our plan was to walk the Hazards track anti-clockwise.  This would put the less interesting section at the front of the day and allow us to enjoy lunch on the fabulous Wineglass Bay. Setting out at 10am again, this strategy turned out to be a great way to gently ease our tired mountain climbing legs into walking again.

Group selfie
 The firm sandy path wound through Oyster Bay pines and teatree, quiet and easy.

Looking back, Oyster Bay Pines - Robert
 
Secluded amongst the teatree - Robert




We witnessed a stream of fishing boats coming from all parts of Great Oyster Bay, heading towards Hazards Beach.  There must have been some bites there!

Coming through the she-oaks - Bob

 It was lovely to come upon the first delightful little beach.

Promise Bay - Robert
At the northern end of Hazards Beach we stopped in the sun for a snack and marvelled at the peaceful beauty of the bay and the peninsula stretching into the distance.

Hazards Beach - Bob
We're here! - Angie

Beachwalk - Angie

Pied Oyster Catcher - Kat
A couple of Black Cockatoos screeched from the top of the sandhill, meanwhile Angie was investigating the midden evidence of Aboriginal occupation.

Mud Oyster midden - Angie
Goodbye to Hazards Beach - Angie

The track across the isthmus was flat, sandy and dry - very pleasant.

Pity about the bracken, though

At Wineglass Bay we found a nice spot on the sand and had a proper lunch, entertained by the antics of tourists, and some of us actually saw a dolphin.

Meanwhile Caroline and Warren had reached Wineglass Bay before us on a separate outing.

On the rocks - Warren
We committed to the climb up the Saddle - someone said there were a thousand steps.  It felt like it.
Finally reaching the familiar Lookout, we enjoyed another view of Wineglass Bay before managing the downhill leg back to the carpark, arriving back at about 3pm.

From the comfort of our deck we watched the Westpac helicopter rescue an unfortunate walker on Mt Amos who had broken their ankle. For us, that evening was barbecue night, and a large convivial shared meal with plenty of wine went down very well.  We hatched some plans for future weekends away, debating the best time of year to go.

Monday morning found some of us a bit subdued.  Was it a progressive unwinding after two solid days of physical activity and mental relaxation, or a bit of the morning after the night before, or were thoughts starting to turn to the world outside Coles Bay?  Whatever, we bid our fond farewells and made our various ways homewards.  It had been another very enjoyable interlude with good friends and our beautiful Tasmanian environment.

 

May 2018 - Randalls Bay

The last Sunday in May, Caroline, Warren, Lyn, Kat and Philip visited a fairly new trail which has been created at Randalls Bay, south of Cygnet. It was a clear day for a walk, sunny but pretty nippy!

This new 2.5km walk to the summit of Echo Sugarloaf is well formed and easy, through dry schlerophyll forest, with fantastic views down the Channel.  The two-hour (return) nature trail is in the Echo Sugarloaf State Reserve, near Cygnet in the State’s south-east.

The track starts at Williams Road in Randalls Bay.  There is a free gas bbq there as well as a loo.  We parked near there and walked along the beach to the end and up the road to the start of the walk.


We discovered that the path was well laid out and a pleasure to walk.  Thankyou to the largely volunteer workforce who created it!  We enjoyed a late morning tea at the top, the views were great.
 
There are spectacular views of the mountains of the Southwest National Park, the Huon River, D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Port Cygnet and the Cygnet township.

Towards Cygnet, from Echo Sugarloaf



Adamsons Peak

Snowy South and Mt Hartz


Warren captured this fabulous shot of a New Holland Honeyeater in flight at Echo Sugarloaf!



 We walked back down to Randalls Bay again, and wandered along past the carpark for a 30 minute look at the other side of the bay from the point. 

Randalls Bay





Then we had a nice bbq lunch, and headed home again.

April 2018 - Tarn Shelf, Mt Field

Thanks to Philip for these notes on our monthly walk for this April, which was to experience the autumnal fagus display at Tarn Shelf, Mt Field National Park.

Despite reports that that most of the brilliant autumn colours had already passed,  our walking group (Gerwyn and Wayne, Lyn, Caroline, Bob, Barry and Angela, and Kathleen and Philip) headed up to Lake Dobson for a mid-morning start to the walk , hoping to catch some of the remaining colours.

The morning  was crystal clear with clear skies, including the magical autumnal light for which Tasmania is renowned. After the initial hike to altitude, the tarns were glowing in the morning sunshine, and the remaining golden fagus was beautifully reflected in the clear morning light.


Today's mob

Don't look down!

Wayne and Gerwyn testing fate

After a morning tea break at the first tarn, we pressed on for a while before having a lunch stop at the third tarn. 
The last of the fagus

How beautiful

The Tarn Shelf Circuit is quite a long walk, so while Wayne, Gerwyn, and Bob and Lyn pressed on to Lake Newdegate, the remaining members of our group retraced our steps to Lake Dobson.



Leaving the Tarn Shelf

Interesting find by Kat

Temperate rainforest, anyone?

The Richea men are coming for us
In geological terms, Tarn Shelf is  a beautiful series of glaciated hanging lakes from the late Ice Age , and at at any time of year is a very special place. While most of the fagus autumnal colours had passed by the day our group walked through, it was still a beautiful walk.



The fagus does the talking