Late May 2012 - Cape Hauy

We (Lyn, Sophie, Philip, Kat, Robert and Di) were some of the first walkers to check out the new trackwork on the Cape Hauy track, which has recently been renovated as part of the developing Three Capes walk.  We found it to be first class, apart from some recent little washouts due to recent heavy rains, and some of the trackwork gear was still sitting on the track waiting to be helicoptered out.  There is a LOT of new stonework, including a dear little stone bridge, and kilometres of expertly made steps. In fact, there were 2019 stone steps, as counted by Philip!  The weather held out for us, with some small showers just missing us.  The views around Fortescue Bay and up and down the coast were fantastic.

Pristine and stunningly beautiful, what more can we say? 

The walk:
This is now an 8 km walk, and still takes 4 hour return.  NPWS rate it as Grade 4:  "Bushwalking experience recommended.  Tracks may be long, rough and very steep.  Directional signage may be limited".  We can attest that it still warrants that Grade - on account of its steepness!   There are lots of ups and downs. Hearts and knees are tested.  We met at Fortescue Bay, in the carpark near the boat ramp at 10.30, set out just before 11am and were back just before 3pm.

Just out of Fortescue Bay we met a pademelon, lolling back, quite at ease, next to the path.  Soon after we came across a couple of Forester Kangaroos.  Fantastic!  The walk rises through a variety of heath and woodland, where Kat spotted some robins,  and levels off for a while, before coming to the magnificent views over the Cape.  From there the track dives down (and up again!) across the headland.   Here we spotted some New Holland Honeyeaters and a pair of Black Cockatoos.

We had a picnic lunch at the Cape, overlooking the mighty dolerite Candlestick, the Mitre Rock and looking out to the Hippolyte rocks.

The spectacular dolerite columns and cliffs at Cape Hauy are popular areas for climbing and abseiling.

 We limited ourselves to gawking at the cliffs and the blue crashing seas far below.

The walk back was pretty long and steep, climbing back up to the headland and then descending steadily back down to Fortescue Bay.

We tried to give some business to the Blue Seal cafe at Eaglehawk Neck on the way home, but apparently their "Open" sign doesn't mean much(!).  The Dunalley Waterfront Cafe was an excellent choice for view, service, and quality coffee, tea and Two Metre Tall ale.

However, there were after effects...  I think we all suffered for the next few days from sore calves from all the steps!

Getting there:
Take Arthur Highway (A9) to the junction with Fortescue Bay road (C344), which is 4km south of Taranna and 4km north of Port Arthur. Turn into C344 and drive 12km to Fortescue Bay. This road is an unsealed forestry road and not in great condition, but is OK for 2WD vehicles and mountain bikes. It is a 90 minute drive from the city to the carpark.  Note: National Park car stickers/membership is required. 

Early May 2012 - Russell Falls and Lady Barron Falls

A small group of explorers this time, Angie, Lyn, Robert and Di.  We were keen to see a new part of Mt Field NP and to catch a sight of the autumn colours of the "fagus" (Nothofagus gunnii).

Luckily Robert thought to check that we had our current NP pass on the windscreen (we didn't!).  After fixing that, we made a quick visit to the Hobart Farmers' Market to stock up on cheese and seedlings, and then headed west towards Mt Field. It was an hour and a half drive (make sure you've got some pleasant music on board for the drive home!).

We parked near National Park visitors' centre,and took the track to Russell Falls. This is a short 10 minutes walk on a sealed path. The falls are three tiered and stunningly beautiful.

We took the path up to the right, which offers a closer view of Russell Falls from halfway up, and then another view over the valley from the top of the falls (a creek with an infinity edge!).

Very impressive.
We took a short diversion to look at the unassuming but unusually curved Horseshoe Falls

and then continued, following the signed track southwest through the forest.
There were heaps of fascinating mushrooms and other fungi to marvel at all along the way.

Watch out for the slippery edges of the boardwalks - we had a couple of tumbles.  We took the left hand circuit around the Tall Trees walk. We estimated the height of one of the tall E. regnans at 72.1 m using the clinometer, and failed to agree with the answer provided by NPWS.  Clearly the tree had been recently pruned by the winds!

Crossing over Lake Dobson Rd, we proceeded through more wet forest.  The Lady Barron Falls were lovely.   On the track back towards the visitors centre there is a new detour over the hill, involving many timber steps(!), but we had a timely rest for a snack at the top.  This track emerges into distinctly drier forest on the hilltop and then descends pleasantly towards civilisation.
This walk took us 3 hours, including many stops to admire mushrooms, tall trees, and to take photos. It could easily be done in 2 to 2.5 hours.

We drove up to Lake Dobson, stopping en route for some spectacular shows of the Fagus (near the takeoff points to Mt Field East).

Lyn had her first look at Lake Dobson, and we were pleased to see a neat new boardwalk at the lake's edge.
Driving back home, we came across a new coffeeshop in New Norfolk, the Patchwork Cafe near the Willow Court Motel.  Good coffee, yummy snacks and attractive patchwork quilts to admire.