24 Feb 2013 - Battery Point heritage stroll

Something a bit different for our end of February walk this time!  I was alerted to a likely gem of a concert on the Sunday afternoon, in St George's Church in Battery Point.  So it was eventually decided that we would take a leisurely walk around Battery Point, enjoying the history, and ending at the church before 3pm in time for the concert.  And the best part of the plan was to start with lunch at The Jam Jar Lounge on Hampden Rd.  

Eight of us met for lunch - Catherine, Peter (it was his birthday!), Austin, Sophie, Kat, Philip, Angie, and me.  Four of us had enjoyed making extra endorphins by riding our bikes to Battery PointThe food at the Jam Jar was good, and the coffee.  The music was rather too loud, but upon enquiring, Sophie was advised that the music is either OFF or ON there (!?). 

We set off into the hot afternoon sun for our heritage tour.  I had an old Historic Village map, produced many years ago by the Battery Point community association.  Sophie had some notes, and both Angie and Philip had useful info in their memories.  With some pointing, questioning, checking the notes and debating, we made our way around.

We learnt new things about handmade bricks and early sash windows, and I think we all saw houses and  sights we had never noticed before.  Some notable stops were:  Kelly's Steps, Hillcrest, Arthur's Circus, Rosebank, Secheron House, industrial docks at A J White Park, Watson's Cottages, the old boatyard and dry dock.
By the time we got to the vicinity of Cromwell St, the heat was getting to us - it was over 30 degrees, over the maximum predicted temperature for the day, and none of us had thought to bring water. Catherine and Peter retreated to the Shipwrights Arms.

At the upper end of Cromwell St, we reached St George's Church.  Sophie and Austin headed off (to Jackman McRoss, for more refreshments!).  The rest of us entered the church to take a rest in the (relatively) cool and calming environment there.  

Robert and Summa joined us for the lovely little concert by Nuove Musiche Ensemble.  This is a Hobart-based trio including soprano, lute, baroque guitar and viola da gamba.  The musical combination was lovely and quite suited the performance space.  Over nine short pieces were performed in about 45 minutes, the music dating from the mid 16th century to the mid 17th century.

Sufficiently cooled, relaxed and educated, we left the church, picked up another friend Austra, and walked a couple of blocks to Kat and Philip's flat for a champers to complete the outing.  It was a lovely social and cultural walking afternoon.

December 2012 - Milles Track, Mt Wellington

Another belated report on a walk I did in December with some new friends - Joan, Denis, Sue, Pauline - and my dear friend Angie.  It was a warm day in town, but the cloud sitting on the mountain indicated it would be pleasantly mild on the track. 

We gathered at the upper carpark at The Springs, and made our way straight upwards on the wellmade track signposted for the OrganPipes etc.  At the top of the stone steps, where the track to the Organ Pipes led off to the right, we turned left onto the Milles Track.  The Ice House Track leads off to the right not far along, but we headed straight on.

The path was pleasant walking, fairly level, with lots of mountain flowers on show and a misty moisty feeling of being enveloped in our cloud.

 The waratah was out (yay!).

After 45 minutes of flower spotting and sharing of stories, we reached the turnoff to the left for Snake Plains.  This was a good spot for a short rest, a snack and a photo! 
Then we simply headed back the same way we had come. So the total walk time was a little over an hour and a half.

22 February 2013 - Gentle Annie Falls and Pipeline Track

Today Angie, Heather and I investigated the lower end of the Pipeline Track, starting from the upper carpark in the Waterworks Reserve. The full return walk, to Ferntree and back, would take about 2 hours, but we stopped a little early as Heather had to be back at a certain time.
From 'Hobart Walks' booklet
There is a noisy colony of dozens of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos roosting in the trees at the entrance to the Waterworks.  We met at the carpark above the upper reservoir, near the interpretation cabin and Site 9.  The track isn't exactly signposted, but you head straight up the hill on a dirt track towards Gentle Annie Falls.  Now Gentle Annie Falls does not actually contain any water, it is a historical manmade sluice cut by hand by convicts out of the sandstone to carry the water that came down the stone pipeline.  'Hobart Walks' states that it does in fact carry water after heavy rain, that would be worth seeing.

It is incredible to imagine the hard manual labour that would have been involved in cutting the channel and the chiselled ledges, and the site is definitely worth seeing.

It is a steep climb up the side of the Falls (there are carefully hewn stone steps alongside it), but the reward is a nice view back down over the reservoirs once at the top.
From here on the Pipeline Track is a comfortable walk through light bushland along the route of the pipeline towards the Mountain. The track rises to McDermotts Saddle, where you pass the site of McDermott's Farm.  From here to Halls Saddle at Chimney Pot Hill Rd the track is almost level and is very easy walking.   We passed an original stone house (for a Sluice gate operator),
and there are intermittent views of the flank of Mt Wellington along the way.  The track meets Chimney Pot Hill Rd at its junction with Huon Rd, and continues across on the other side.  After another 10 minutes we found the first of the old stone aqueducts.
This is where we turned back, and this return circuit took us 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Angie and I had ridden our bikes there, so we added the ride to our feel-good endorphins tally :)

December 2012 - Blackmans Bay toward Tinderbox -

This is a belated post about a walk that I did with Angie and Pauline in December (and I have forgotten some of the details now!).  It was a hot day and this turned out to be a very pleasant walk.
The walk was 2.4km to a quiet little beach with great views across the Derwent, a good stop for a snack. I think it was about an hour there and an hour back again.

We started from the carpark at the northern end of Blackmans Bay, and strolled down the beach on the clean sand.  At the end of the beach, we transferred to a paved footpath.  Here you have to stay fairly low on the cliff, there are several tracks to choose from, don't head upwards through the houses to the streets.  The track skirts the clifftop properties and seems to be being upgraded in patches, with a trackname something like Suncoast .

At a large grassy area (possibly Flowerpot Reserve?), take the path straight onwards in line with the clifftop.  This then veers to the right around some bushland and then passes alongside a sewerage treatment plant.  Cross the road above the treatment plant and continue onwards on the path.  The path meanders towards the riverside and down the bank to an isolated little rocky beach with a lovely view across the river.

You wouldn't want to swim here though!  We had a yummy snack and discovered lots of Warrigal Greens spreading over the sand.  After a short rest, we headed back the same way we had come.

On the way back, at Soldiers Rocks, we saw some game (or foolhardy) teenagers jumping from the vertical rocks into the water - it was hair raising just watching them.

Back at the beach, we relaxed and enjoyed well made coffee under the sun umbrellas at the Beach restaurant.

3 Feb 2013 - Shadow Lake Circuit

Our first Walk-A-Month for 2013!  This was a long day, travelling up and back from Hobart, with a walk that was longer than anticipated, but still well worth doing. We (Robert, Bob, Kat, Philip and I) left town at 8.15am and got to the Lake St Clair carpark by 10.30am.  

Here we mixed with runners who had completed the 80km Cradle Mountain Run through the park the day before - all mad.   We set off from the Lake St Clair Visitors Centre around 10.45am, and soon noticed some disturbing information in the walks hut: the Shadow Lake Circuit, described on the NP website as 4 hours, was here described as 4 to 5 hours!  Uh oh.  But it was a lovely day, so we kept going.

From the Visitors Centre, you simply follow the Overland Track. The first section, up until Watersmeet, is level, broad and well graded, you could ride a bike or a wheelchair along here.  We passed the fork to the left which heads to Mt Rufus, as we had decided to take the loop in an anti-clockwise direction.  At Watersmeet (1.5 km from the start), which is the junction of the Hugel and Cuvier Rivers, we found a smart new bridge, and the joining of the rivers was beautiful.  

We took the signposted left hand track on the (near) south side of the bridge. All the signposts looked recently updated and were very clear on directions and times required.  
The track up to Shadow Lake has been recently maintained and was fairly easy walking.  It heads up the Hugel River and soon crosses over another smart new bridge to the northern bank. 
Cyttaria gunnii (Beech Orange) 
 The track climbs gently through rainforest, rising approximately 270m over a distance of 6.6km from the Overland Track to Shadow Lake.  There is a small tarn on the left shortly before Shadow Lake.   Near the lake the rainforest vegetation changes to sub-alpine forest, with snow gums, buttongrass and sedges flourishing, and pencil pines fringing the lake edge.  Apparently the lake contains the introduced brown and rainbow trout, which can be fished if you have a licence.

It took 2 hours to get to Shadow Lake, where we stopped for lunch.  Unfortunately it was a very short stop, as the clouds covering Mt Hugel decided to drop down and over us, and we got cold and damp quite quickly.  It turned out we would be in and out of heavy clouds /light showers /sun all the while we were up on the ridge.

There is a short walk along the eastern side of the lake and northwards to Forgotten Lake, and a further short walk (steep) to Little Hugel (2 h return).  We didn't do this today!  Instead we got going again on the track toward Mt Hugel.  The turnoff back southwards to join the Mt Rufus track appears some 15 mins from Shadow Lake.  Here the signposts confirmed our earlier fears.  The remainder of the circuit would take 2h 45min, making the whole Shadow Lake Circuit a total of 5 hours.                      

The first half of the new track is fairly level, and runs through delightful sub-alpine moorland, with long stretches of new duckboard snaking across a beautiful broad plain.   It looked as if the ferns had been hit hard by the recent heatwave.  If you wanted to avoid the Mt Rufus track, you could turn around after enjoying the moor and head back the way you came.

The track then rises toward the next ridge, through highland eucalypt forest.
Trigger plant
At the Mt Rufus track, we turned left and descended for what seemed like forever.  This track has not been upgraded, and is quite hard on the old knees.  By the time we reached a new Indigenous exploration path near the bottom, we had no energy to investigate.  Finally we rejoined the Overland Track, and on reaching the Visitors Centre, feeling somewhat rickety, we headed home.

Another sight to see just south of the turnoff to the park is The Wall ($10 adult, $5 child).  We'll check it out next time.  Robert and I decided to visit the Teez Cafe at Tarraleah on the way home.  It was well advertised from the highway, but we were dismayed to find that it was not in fact open and the whole place looked very quiet.  The highland cattle were cute though!
We had to wait until reaching Hamilton to enjoy a good cup of tea, with lamingtons as consolation.  Hamilton seems to be doing good things in working to preserve its heritage and to attract visitors.
The show might be good!
Another bonus from this trip was that I discovered a new anti-blister product which may supersede our old favourite Dr Scholls Moleskin  i.e.  Bandaid's Blister Block.   Must pack some on future walks, to apply at first hint of a blister!
In summary:
Getting there:  It is a 2.5 hours drive west of Hobart via the Lyell Highway (A10).  At Derwent Bridge, turn right onto the 5.5 km long access road to the Visitors Centre at Cynthis Bay.

Walk time:   5 hours
National Park entry fees apply
NP grade this as Level 3, and Group C items should be taken (gaiters and wet weather gear always advisable).