Today was a glorious Spring morning, and the bush fringes of the mountain park were irrestible. This is my favourite local walk, a one hour circuit of Knocklofty via the Summit Loop track. It is 4.5 km long.
I usually access this walk from the top of Kirby Court. Unfortunately the usual parking area up next to the old Pacific Vista hotel is closed off at present (for revegetation, I think) so if arriving by car you need to park at the turn around area at the end of Kirby Court. Walk up what looks like the driveway of the old hotel, walk through the closed off car park, veer left up the bush track.
I like to do this loop clockwise, starting by turning hard left where the bush track emerges into a grassland area, and strolling through the meadow on the left of the frogponds. Turn left at the level track, heading southwards and towards the Knocklofty lookout. Today the wattles were a riot of spring blossom.
Just past here is the historic spot where Glover stood to paint his famous view down the Derwent.
The track here is level and very well maintained, both by the Council and by the loyal and hard working volunteers of the group Friends of Knocklofty. The track can be accessed near here from the top of Poets Rd.
The view from Knocklofty Lookout is panoramic and just stunning on a clear day. The track can be accessed near here from the top of Forest Road.
From here, backtrack slightly and take the track to the left and up the hill. The next 20 minutes are fairly steep and steady, with views towards the mountain as you come around the back of Knocklofty. Finally you reach the top of hill, the halfway mark of the loop. This is where the track from Mt Stuart meets the Summit Loop. Turn right.
It's great to be at the top! Here the dry schlerophyll bush thins out a little and the sunshine washes through. You can often see wallabies bouncing around up here.
The reward for the 20 minutes uphill slog is the relaxing downhill meander through pretty bush. Halfway down, on the right hand side, is an attractive wood bench seat - a great spot for a picnic.
While enjoying a drink or a snack, you can enjoy a great view over West Hobart towards the bridge.
The track continues downhill and then around a level closure of the Loop track. I like to stop and listen for frogs at the Frog Dam just before exitting the park.
UPDATE January 2015:
The downhill section has been rebuilt to remove steps.
Here's another route to access the Summit Loop, from the carpark at the top of Poets Rd: