December 2019 - Bangor

Our recent run of cold and wintry weather cleared just in time for us to enjoy our (brought forward) Xmas outing on 8 December.  This walk is via private property, so access needs to be booked via Bangor winery, a key picked up to get through a locked gate and a fee of $10 per person paid.  Bob organised all this for us, and we gathered in the carpark of Bangor winery at 10.30am, relishing a beautiful early summer's day.  We let the restaurant know when we were due back so they could set up a table for us :)

We redistributed ourselves into three cars for the drive to the start of the Bangor walk.  Kat had done the walk a couple of times before and knew that the dirt road is a little pot-holey, so we decided to leave our low wheel base town cars in the carpark.   It takes about 45 minutes to drive through the farm and various gates to the start point of our walk (the first gate is locked and at last three others need to be opened and closed behind us).

The slow drive along Blackman Bay Road, through the lazy sheep paddocks and dry coastal bushland was a perfect way to slow down in preparation for this coastal walk.  The road skirts the Blackman Rivulet Marine Conservation Area, and it is plain to see that the owners, the Dunbabin family, have taken some care to protect the natural values of the area.

Taking it easy on a country road

We were lucky that Kat could be our guide, as there was no signage or clear direction marking anywhere.  Of course the owners know this place inside out and don't need signs!  First we drove to Lagoon Bay (just to the right of the blue dot on the map), just to take a look. There's an idyllic little camping spot there, with toilet and firewood supply, and a beautiful safe beach.  We were blown away by the clear air and unspoiled beauty.

Bull kelp at Lagoon Bay - Robert

Lagoon Bay
Then we drove back to find the tiny spot (the blue dot on the map) where the cars could pull off the road, and we commenced our walk to the Monument at 11.40am.   The trail is very easygoing, mostly well cleared and with very little in the way of hills.  

All smiles at the beginning.

There is a turn off the cleared path to the left, not well marked, with a fence to hop over, to get to North Bay.

What's the best method?
North Bay was pristine and serene, with a soaring sky.  

We saw some plovers nesting, a couple of Sea Eagles enjoying the thermals, tiny Visscher Island (a bird and seal colony) at the edge of the bay, and Maria Island off in the distance to the north.  A couple of little boats were out fishing, and we were spotted by a couple of sightseeing small planes (and later on a Hercules making circles for unexplained reasons).

Who'd want to be anywhere else?

Looking north

A scallop was here, by Kat

A pair of Sea Eagles were enjoying the day too

Shells, by Robert
Looking back, by Warren

At the far end of the beach we sat down for a snack before climbing a small headland to meander around to the next little bay, called Tasman Bay.  

Looking north, Maria Island
Of course it is called Tasman Bay because Abel Janz Tasman stopped here with his ship and landed, in 1642.  There is a monument to prove it.

Modern adventurers considering old exploits

The Monument

At this spot the expedition under Abel Jansz Tasman being the first white people to set foot on Tasmanian soil planted the Dutch flag on December 3rd 1642 as a memorial to posterity and to the inhabitants of this country.  This stone was erected by the Royal Society of Tasmania 1923.

1.20pm seemed like a good time for lunch, on the rocky beach of Tasman Bay, which is a private looking little semi-lagoon with a half submerged rock reef across its mouth.  
Tasman Bay, 377 years after Tasman stopped by
It was a bit of a challenge finding a spot to perch on the round rocks, but at least they were smooth!

Has anyone brought a cushion?
The weather remained kind to us as we backtracked along the route, poured ourselves into the cars and returned to Bangor winery at about 3.45pm for refreshments. 

The return along North Bay
So this walk is approximately 3 hrs return, plus 30 minutes for lunch, and a 45 minute drive each way.

It was a fabulous day out with good friends. We all felt grateful for being so easily able to experience these stunning and isolated natural areas.  Private ownership of land in this case is ensuring protection and solitude.

Planning for walks in 2020 is well underway! 

November 2019 - Long Spit to Marion Bay

The Walk a month group ventured out again last Sunday after a few months hiatus.

It was a gorgeous day to undertake the  Long Spit to Marion Bay circuit , an easy 6 km walk along the beautiful beach and returning on a 4WD track. 

Marion Bay was named after French explorer Marion du Fresne who arrived there in 1772 recording the first ever sighting of Tasmanian aboriginal people by Europeans.

A good turnout of 11 walkers, Di, Robert, Philip, Kat, Lyn, Caroline, Warren, Bob, Gerwyn, Angie and Summer met up at the carpark at the end of Marion Bay Rd  right on 10.30am.

The walk begins at a large sign 

From here you cross the dunes emerging at the mouth of Bream Creek where it flows into the ocean. 

And then an easy 3km stroll along the deserted beach

  watching the birds,

 spotting pebble crabs carrying their babies, 

observing aboriginal middens which are now exposed on the canal side,

and collecting shells. 

We stopped for lunch at the end of the spit, enjoying the sunshine and catching up on everyones news.

From here you can see Little Chinaman Bay on the Forestier Peninsular and the Denison Canal at Dunalley , a convenient shortcut for many vessels making the journey into Hobart.

As the tide was coming in we opted to walk inland and follow the 4WD track back to the carpark. Of some note was the significant increase in erosion since our last walk in 2015.

and along the way we found large bushes of lupins.
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We made it back to the vehicles just as the forecasted rain began a bit ahead of schedule at 1.30pm.
Another lovely walk with great company and fabulous scenery.

May 2019 - Lake Pedder

Our May 2019 walk happened on the first weekend of June.  The excellent plan was to base ourselves at the Lake Pedder Wilderness Lodge (the refurbished Hydro village at Strathgordon) and do some nice walks (or even canoeing) in the wild and beautiful South West National Park.

Our first challenge was the terrible bushfire season this summer.  Large tracts of the SouthWest World Heritage Area were badly burnt, and sadly this included the area immediately to the east and south of Lake Pedder. The fires have been extinguished but the trails we were most interested in investigating (like Lake Judd, and Mt Eliza) were closed for repair. Never mind, we thought we could do Mt Wedge or find some alternatives once we got there.

The second challenge was the weather.  Winter had arrived in Tassie just that week.  As we rolled along the Gordon River Road on Saturday morning, the mountains were obscured by lowering clouds and strange little mounds of snow appeared on the sides of the road.  Snow was in the weather forecast, as well as rain.  It was going to be cold and wet.

You know you've arrived when you come to the McPartlan Pass Canal, which links Lake Gordon and the enlarged Lake Pedder.

Kat, Philip, Bob, Lyn, Gary, Rachel, Di, Robert and Angie congregated at the Wilderness Lodge, curiously checking out the facilities.  Lyn had carefully booked three cabins, each with room for three or more guests, but it turned out that these were a bit spread out.  There are several neat little groups of three cabins, a good setup for a large group we thought, but we were told that two of the cabins in each group were smaller, only one bedroom.  Never mind, we ransacked our three allocated cabins for the required numbers of plates, glasses, cups and cutlery, and piled into Kat and Philip's cottage (the party cabin) for the first of many yummy shared meals.

The weather was holding up nicely so far, and our first excursion was to see the Gordon Dam.  En route we drove up to the Serpentine Lookout for excellent views over Lake Pedder.
At the Serpentine Lookout

There are some white dots in the water on the RHS, these were some canoeists, involved in some event that weekend.

Next stop was the huge Gordon Dam.

This dam was an engineering marvel due to its size and double-curvature when it was built in the early 1970's, and is still pretty awe-inspiring today.

We couldn't resist the long walk down to the dam wall, and staring down to where a quiet trickle of water now follows the course of the original Gordon River downstream of the dam.

Back at the Lodge, we located the start of the nearby Rainforest Trail, just about 100m to the west of the entrance to the Lodge.  Short and sweet.

This is a pretty little cool temperate rainforest trail, looping around and back to the road, and it did take less than 30 minutes to walk!

As darkness began to fall, it was time for pre-dinner nibbles and drinks.   

Then dinner - everyone had brought a contribution, with Lyn and Kat providing the core casserole dishes.  It was lovely.  The big hit tonight was Rachel's meringues with Persian Fairy Floss - wow!

Sunday dawned with rain, and showers were forecast for the whole day.  Bummer.  Six of us (Di, Lyn, Angie, Kat, Philip and Bob) opted for a short morning walk up Jack's Track, which is basically a gravel access road up to a weather station on the top of the Twelvetrees Range.

Map of Jack's Track

Parking is on the lake side of the road, just past Ted's Beach campground.  We set off up the trail, and immediately of course the showers and rain began.  We managed to catch some views of Lake Pedder and Ted's Beach as we steadily gained altitude.

The road is a steady gentle climb, and has been cut through some pockets of glacial moraine.

On all sides are mountain heath and buttongrass.

By about halfway up we were into the clouds, with the views disappearing fast.  Half the crew decided that they were sodden enough and the rest of the climb was not worth the effort.  Di, Lyn and Angie continued upwards. 

While the views FROM the top were not to be had, the misty views AT the top were rather lovely.

It was about 65 minutes going up and 55 minutes coming down.

We took a look at Ted's Beach on the way back, quite pretty and looks like a nice camping spot.

A warm shower and we were ready for another cosy lunch in the cabin, not out in the rain!   Afterwards, with the weather not getting any better, we ambled over to the lounge to hang out in company for a while. It was time for the manager to feed the local Green Rosellas.

They were very friendly!

The views over the lake were nice, the bar was well stocked, and eventually (after some prodding!) the manager lit the wood fire.

We had dinner at the restaurant, and were very happy with our meals.  Then it was back to the cabin for coffee and Lyn's apple crumble.  And Kat's tokay.  It's a hard life.

On Monday we saw blue sky again, but it was time to head home.   We got some lovely views as we left.

View from the lounge

Ted's Beach with sun

Last views of the enlarged Lake Pedder.
We were looking for the access to the Mt Wedge trail on our way back, but didn't see any signs.  So if wanting to do this walk, best to navigate via maps and road distances.