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.

Peter Murrell Reserves, Blackmans Bay, Oct 2013 and March 2014

Our March 2014 walk was to be an easy one, as we have quite got out of the habit of walking recently, what with the distractions of Christmas, holidays and unexpected hospital stays (gosh, are we getting old or something?).  So Di, Robert and Julie eased into the day with a cappuccino before heading to Blackmans Bay to pick Bob up.  From there, only a couple of blocks away, we rendezvous'ed with Austin in the little carpark off Burwood Drive.

We walked northwards and anti-clockwise around the outsides of the Peter Murrell Conservation Area, along fire trails:

Disappointingly, there were not many wildflowers out.  When I did this walk  in early October last year, with Angie, Heather and Joan,

we saw lots of:
Slender sun orchid

lots of little flowers
springing up in the mowed verges of the park.  Early March is not a good time for these exquisite flowers.  Also we found out that a bushfire prevention burn had got out of control recently, and a large part of the Conservation Area was pretty black.

Still, we had a nice walk, catching up on what we have all been up to lately, and the weather was fine.   We visited Penrhyn Pond, which has ducks, a shelter shed and access for people in wheelchairs to do some fishing. 

Then we headed south along the horse riding trail, encountering some forbidding looking geese:

and had to do a little scrambling to get onto the dam wall of Heron Pond. 

Heron Pond is very pretty, with ducks and huge blackwoods and white gums to admire.

We walked south along the Coffee Creek Fire Trail, then turned into the Peter Murrell State Reserve, which is more protected than the Conservation Area.  Bikes are not permitted on the Nature Trail, however we could see recent signs of them on the track and everyone ignores the badly designed "bike deterring" chicanes.   

In October, Heather took us along the right hand leg of the Nature Trail, which was rather lovely.  This time, we took the left hand leg, which turned out to be a mistake.  It was a bit degraded, there had been fire there in the past and the trees were taking their time to come back.  Perhaps it is nicer in the spring.

Still there were some pretty flowers to admire, including Trigger plants, and this one:

 We got back to the carpark before midday, so the loop we did took about 1 hour and 40 minutes.  And it was just the right timing to visit the Beach cafe at Blackmans Bay for lunch!