East Cloudy Head, Bruny Island, March 2014

Thanks Caroline, for taking on organising our walks this year.  This walk was a good pick, and we were lucky to enjoy a fine, cool day, perfect for walking. Lyn, Di and  Robert set off from West Hobart at about 8.30am, and met Caroline, Warren, Austin and Sophie at the ferry terminal at Kettering at 9am.  Bob was an apology this time, with bad knees. We sorted into two cars to reduce the ferry costs, and (just) had time to order takeaway coffee before the 9.30am ferry left. We had a quick stop at the Bruny Island Cheese Factory so that Robert could order a cheese platter for lunch, then we had a pleasant drive southwards past Alonnah and Lunawanna.   The travel time from the Roberts Point ferry terminal to Cloudy Bay was an hour, and we set off on our walk at 10.55am (I recorded all the times because Bruny Island visits tend to be shaped by the ferry timetable, and we were aiming to make the 5.30pm ferry home).

It was a lovely walk along the smooth, firm sands of the beach.  There are now several desirable beach houses peeping over the dunes, with prime positions facing south and west across the bay.  40 minutes later we reached the 4WD road which leads up to the pretty camping ground at the east end of the bay.  This is within the South Bruny National Park and is very well maintained, with large private bush camping spots and a pit toilet.   The 4WD track makes a large loop around the campsite - to reduce walking time, take the road to the right on entering the campsite.  We came across the break in the fence next to the large boulder, dropped down the track to the walkers' registration point, and at 11.50am signed on to the walk.

The track was in good condition, with the first kilometre or so recently cleared.  Then it got pretty close and scratchy, so long trousers or gaiters are recommended.  The heathlands are kept trimmed by the winds - we were lucky to have a still day!

There were great views as we got higher, looking back towards Cloudy Bay, westwards to the Tasmanian mainland from Mt La Perouse to Mt Hartz, and far south to the ocean.

It is a fairly steady climb up towards Beaufort Point and a further climb to the ridge that leads towards East Cloudy Head.  Here the climb becomes less steep, and soon we were overlooking the beautiful Pyramid Bay, with The Friars in the distance.  Right on time, at 1pm, we saw one of the Pennicott Bruny Island Cruise boats emerge and start investigating the seal colonies on the Friars.  What a spectacular view of the pristine waters and rugged coastline.

 We soon reached the trig station (292 m a.s.l.), and a few steps further on we reached a flat rocky outcrop on the headland, with panoramic views, a perfect spot for lunch.

We set off on our return trip at 1.45pm, and enjoyed a mostly slightly downhill walk back.  The view of the sun shining on Cloudy Bay as we came down the hill was quite special.  By 2.50pm we were back at the beach camp, signing off in the book.  Thirsty Di and Robert were disappointed to find the water tank at the campsite empty, but Caroline, Warren and Lyn enjoyed a dip in the bay.  The walk along the beach was tranquil and the sun on the waves very beautiful.

With the swims, and being a bit tired by now, we took longer walking back along the beach than on the outward trip, and we got back to the cars at about 3.45pm.  The total walking time for us had been 4 hours 50 minutes.

We reached Roberts Point at 4.45pm, in good time for the 5.30pm ferry (we found ourselves halfway in the queue), and eased our stiff joints down towards the shop to enjoy the ritual icecream. It was a good way to finish the day.

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