May 2022 - Blessington Track, South Arm

Many of us had missed previous visits along this 8.6km (return) riverside trail to Fort Direction, so this was a great opportunity to try again. Gary organised us, a group of eight today: Gary, Bob, Wayne, Gerwyn, Di, Summa, Angie and Fin. Our first meeting point was the Foreshore Tavern at Lauderdale, about 20 minutes drive from the CBD. Here we did a minor reshuffle and continued on to the "emergency parking" area next to the war memorial obelisk at South Arm (you can't miss it!).
We'd scored a beautiful crisp sunny day, perfect for a walk. We set off along Jetty Road and almost immediately took the high road, where we saw this sign :) so we knew we were on the right track.
It was blissful walking along the quiet dirt trail just above the river, checking out the variety in the houses of the locals along the way. There are several other access points along here if you needed to shorten the walk a little.
We enjoyed fabulous water views of Bruny Island, The Channel, and Tinderbox.
There is a lovely little beach to walk along.
Our first snack stop was here :)
Up above is the establishment of Fort Direction, an army defence post.
The track leads you around the perimeter of Fort Direction, and on the first headland we found a scion of the famous Lone Pine -looking healthy, well protected and enjoying excellent views to the south.
LOL, the accompanying interpretative plaque generated more heat than light amongst our group!
Then it was down onto another nice little beach and at the other end a bit of a scramble through a penguin rookery. We were nearly there.
Finally we were at the point, Cape Direction, where we stopped for lunch and to take in the fantastic views.
To the east was Betsey Island and the infamous Black Jack Rocks. Immediately to the south, Iron Pot Lighthouse, and then Bruny Island. Westwards was Tinderbox.
Then we wound our way back again. Regrouping at the vehicles, our records showed that the walking time had been 1.5 hours, but somehow we had spent about the same amount of time stopped (for snacking, admiring and debating, perhaps). Anyhow we all agreed it had been just right - not too long, not too hilly, and great scenery. Some of us headed home and the remaining five looked for a coffee shop. The local cafe (Touch of the MO) had just closed (at 2pm), so we tried out TCM market in Lauderdale. The service was fast, the coffee OK, the musak pretty awful :).

April 2022 - Day 2 - Mount Farrell and Lake Herbert

Our second walking day on this West Coast getaway was a bit more challenging - to climb Mount Farrell and visit Lake Herbert. Some in our group took the option of kayaking on the Lake instead, and had a great day on the water.
The walkers set out at 9.15am along the lakeside trail towards the start of the track, which is just on the north side of the village. We gathered at the trailhead at about 9.45am and we were off. This record shows the climb up Mt Farrell (this climber not quite reaching the top), then a slight drop down to the Lake Herbert track, a visit to Lake Herbert and then a return around the mountain at the lower level.
The start of the trail leads up through light bush at a fairly steep slope.
Before long we were on a buttongrass plateau, with great views back over Tullah and towards rugged Mt Murchison.
There was a confusing little junction where we could choose between three tracks. The guidebook was suggesting that we to go to Lake Herbert first, and advised us to take the middle of the three options.
However the right hand trail was strongly indicated with two large stone arrows (where Summa is standing in the photo below) and the other two were clearly blocked with branches (shown by Warren and Wayne in the photo). Members of our group arrived at the intersection at different times and all followed the lead of the arrows.
Then there was more "up" and we reached the junction with the shortcut down to the Lake Herbert track.
Most of us continued up Mount Farrell for a while, reaching different points before turning back. The views were fabulous on such a clear day.
Here you can just spot Lake Herbert, a natural tarn, over on the right.
Fin actually made it all the way to the trig station at the summit,
and took this photo of Lake Herbert from there:
Most of us moved on to the Lake Herbert track, a beautiful and level trail which wound around the flank of the mountain.
Then we found Lake Herbert, just breathtaking. Ancient and pristine, its serenity was only accentuated by the violent tumble of glacial boulders around it. It would have been lovely to have spent more time here.
We reluctantly headed back to civilisation, winding back down the hill, and checking in with others in the group to make sure we were all getting down safe and sound. Interestingly, at the junction of three tracks we found that we had come back along the leftmost one. The last section, the steep downhill through the bush, was a little rough on the knees.
From back at the Lodge, this is a view of Mount Farrell from the Tullah village. The saddle that we climbed up is on the left.
What a great day in such a beautiful and peaceful place. We were so lucky with the weather and being able to spend the day with our friends, talking about anything and everything, what can be better? We had another nice chatty evening (chess, drinks, snacks, dinner...), and next morning we headed off our separate ways.
Di, Lyn, Angie, Fin and Summa had a touristy trip back. We saw the morning mist over Anthony Road:
We visited the old Imperial Hotel in Queenstown:
This staircase is listed by the National Trust. The locally cut blackwood was sent to England to be turned and crafted. The parts were shipped back and assembled in situ in 1904.
Di, Lyn and Angie ticked off another Great Short Walk on the way to Derwent Bridge - the Franklin Nature Trail.
Thanks to everyone for your company and for your contributions to making this West Coast getaway a fabulous experience for us all. We lift each other up in so many ways.

April 2022 - Tullah - Day 1 - Montezuma Falls

Wow, what a terrific trip this one was, thanks to Caroline for organising us (twice in fact, as we had to defer our planned trip from last year because of COVID and weather). We had a record turnout I think - Caroline, Warren, Wayne, Gerwyn, Kat, Philip, Di, Lyn, Angie, Fin, Summa, Gary, Adam, and a local guest Ian (Wayne's brother). And we were lucky with the fickle West Coast weather, hurrah!
Our base for the getaway was the Tullah Lakeside Lodge, a good option for groups, inexpensive, nicely located on the side of Lake Rosebery, and with a good bar and decent (pub style) restaurant. We all gathered on the Wednesday afternoon and evening, coming in from various parts of the state. On this trip Di was trying out long range EV driving, thumbs up on that!
There was a little rain on arrival. We sorted our rooms out and there was a bit of swapping around (thanks Fin for your thoughtfulness). Our first forays into the bar and restaurant were coloured by COVID, what a pain to have to decide to wear a mask and for some, to avoid the dining room altogether. Still we managed to plan our first walk over dinner - it was an easy starter and one of Tassie's Great Short Walks - the Montezuma Falls.
On Thursday we were blessed with a beautiful morning - here's Lake Rosebery (captured by Fin).
Some of us took a short walk to sample the coffee at the local Tullah Cottage cafe. Then we all set off to meet at 11am at the Montezuma Falls carpark.
The Falls are apparently named for an old silver mine which used to operate nearby.
The trail is shared with bikes, but we only came across a few. It meanders through very pretty rainforest, with lots of little bridges over creeks. All the bridges are marked for a load limit of 4 people.
The weather was kind to us, we barely needed our wet weather gear. It was lovely to chat as we strolled easily along the mostly level trail, soft myrtle leaves underfoot.
This is a rail trail, based on an old tramline, the NE Dundas tramway. We enjoyed strolling through the cuttings :)
There were some beautiful fungi amongst the lush mosses and ferns. Kat got some lovely shots.
Then we were at the Falls. They have been known to be a great sight for over a hundred years.
The old bridge is long gone:
Great fun on the swinging bridge :)
Just over on the other side was an open area in the sun, a good spot to stop for lunch.
Coming back over the bridge, the Falls viewing platform is just up to the right. Just awesome.
There was plenty of water! The sense of its power was amazing.
On the way back we ventured into an old adit mine entrance. Very dark! There were some creepy inhabitants.
The Montezuma Falls walk was posted as requiring 3 hours return, and that's just what we took. It was good to clamber back into the vehicles and return to the Lodge for a hot shower and refreshments :). There was a notable incident when the friendly electrician who was fixing the power points in Lyn and Di's room cut off the power. Kat happened to be mid-shower, mid hair wash, when the hot water shut off. There were screams. But she did recover nicely with the application of wine and food.