Archive for the ‘Day walks around Hobart’ Category.

Bushwalking: Collins Bonnet, Tasmania

This is nice, not too demanding walk, close to Hobart that still commands excellent views. It takes in another, less busy part of the Mt Wellington Plateau and provides for walking in an alpine environment. As such, warm and waterproof clothing should always be carried.

The walk commences at the Myrtle Forest Picnic Ground, just under 5km from the village of Collinsvale. The trail crosses a bridge into forest and then follows Forest Creek southwest climbing steadily all the while. At a track junction you continue south (left) until the East West fire trail (a 4wd track) is reached. Some parts of the walking track prior to reaching the fire trail were somewhat unclear, so take care as it would be easy to drift off the actual track. There is a green shelter building at the base of Collins Bonnet that can be used as a guide if you do lose the track (head straight for it).

Around 100m or so south along the fire trail from the hut, there is a walking track to the summit marked with a cairn; this is easy to miss (I walked straight past it). Follow this track, which required negotiating some boulder fields, to the summit which is marked by a trig point.

There are excellent views from the summit, which include Mt Wellington itself.

After enjoying the views, assuming the weather is kind, you could return by the same route or alternatively take the East West trail west and then turn north on to the Collins Cap trail and at the base of Collins Cap take another walking track east to join the original track out of Myrtle Forest. This diversion also provides the opportunity to climb Collins Cap if you are so inclined – I wasn’t on the day I was there as the track is steep and looked reasonably rough and it was getting late in the day.

Bushwalking: Mt Rufus, Tasmania

Another terrific day walk in Tassie, this time taking in the summit of Mt Rufus in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park.

The walk commences from the National Park Visitor Centre, seven or so kilometres along a sealed road from a turn-off at the Lyell Hwy. The visitor centre sits at the southern end of Lake St. Clair and is a popular and busy spot with camping, cabins, a visitor centre and a licensed cafe.

The walks in this part of the park all start by following a closed (except to management vehicles) vehicular track that proceeds west from the visitor centre. After about half a kilometre a signposted track to Mt Rufus is reached. This track climbs steadily west for about four kilometres to a junction. Ignoring the link track, the path proceeds to climb west, before turning south-west and the north-west to work around a prominent rocky outcrop. There’s a final steepish pull up to the ridge line and then a fairly leisurely stroll up to the prominent summit cairn.

Views from the summit are simply magnificent with Lake St. Clair to the east, the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park to the west and to the north, Cradle Mountain and the wilderness traversed by the Overland track.

From the summit you could return the same way, but if time permits a better option is to descend north-west to a saddle and then eastwards towards Shadow Lake, before following the path through forest, an impressive clearing that requires careful attention to staying on the track as this area is rather boggy, and some wonderful woodland that includes one of Australia’s few native deciduous trees, the deciduous beech (or Fagus)*. I was there in autumn, so the leaves had started to change colour and this part of the walk was particularly attractive. The path eventually arrives at Watersmeet where it’s a 1.5km walk back along the vehicular track to the visitor centre.

All-in-all a definite A+ must do Tasmanian walk.

* I thought this was Australia’s only native deciduous tree, but a bit of research revealed that there are several others, although all are monsoonal deciduous (i.e. they lose their leaves just before the wet season) – the beech is the only native winter deciduous. This page has more information.

Bushwalking: Hartz Peak, Tasmania

This is another great day walk that is easily accessed from the lovely city of Hobart. It provides for excellent alpine walking with extensive views and secluded and attractive lakes and tarns.

The walk commences from a car park at the end of the gravel road that leaves the C632 road (see access below). There is a large visitors shelter and the path to Hartz peak is clearly signposted. Follow the path, which is boardwalks for a good deal of the way, as it climbs slightly and passes a signposted track to Lake Esperance (worth a side-trip). The path reaches Ladies Tarn another 1km or so further on at which point the track becomes less well used but still easy to follow, turning westwards for a short but very steep climb up to Hartz Pass.

From here the path turns south climbing steadily, marked by regular signposts with orange arrows and a series of small cairns. A bit of rock scrambling is required to attain the summit. The summit has a trig point and there is a small wind shelter nearby. The walk returns by the same route.

The day I was there in May the weather was pretty terrible on the way up to the summit – no views but plenty of wind and rain, which pretty much describes the weather when I did the walk in May 2008. Nonetheless, it was still enjoyable – or perhaps invigorating is the best word. Highly recommended, but please be ready and equipped for poor weather. There were a few Japanese tourists walking ahead of me in jeans and casual jackets – thankfully they only went as far as Lake Esperance as they were completely un-equipped for the conditions.

Walk date: 9th May, 2010
Time: Around 4 hours
Grade: Moderate day walk
My rating: A

Access: Follow the A6 from Hobart to Geeveston. From here take the road signposted ‘Hartz Mountains National Park’ and keep an eye out for further signposts. Eventually a gravel road is reached (just after Arve River Picnic Area) which leads to the car-park and start of the walk.

Bushwalking: Mt Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania

Mt Wellington provides an impressive backdrop to the city of Hobart, and also provides for some excellent walking in an alpine environment and tremendous views. Although you can drive right to the top, walking up at least part of the way is more enjoyable and provides a better introduction to the mountain. This circular walk commences from ‘The Springs’, located on the main road to the summit. It takes in the summit as well as a walk across the plateau. Because this is an alpine area, you should be well equipped for poor weather.

The walk commences from either the main car park at The Springs, or from the minor road that leaves the main road to the left and climbs briefly. The first part of the walk is the Pinnacle Track which is well signposted and easy to follow. After a series of steps the path becomes a well trodden bush track that climbs steadily to the north with occasional views to the east. After about 1.5kms a junction is reached; turn left up the accurately named Zig-Zag track which soon starts to climb steeply and provides superb views if the weather allows.

The track eventually reaches the plateau and a track junction, ignore the track to the left for the moment (this is the path for the return journey) and instead stay on the well formed track as it passes  to the left of the transmission tower on its way to the summit which is in the middle of a road loop so take care to watch out for traffic. After visiting the summit you could also drop down to the visitor centre or take in a viewpoint just to the west of the summit. In fine weather, the views are superb and extensive.

The return journey follows the path back to the above mentioned track junction and then follows a much rougher track, marked at regular intervals with poles fitted with orange markers. This track, the South Wellington Track, traverses the summit plateau before dropping briefly but steeply into bushland and ultimately reaching a signposted track junction with the Ice House Track. Take the Icehouse Track which is generally easy to follow as it descends through forest and eventually reaches the Miles Track. Turn left here back to the carpark.

Overall, a terrific walk featuring great views and a varied and interesting alpine and sub-alpine landscape, and all less then 30 minutes out of Hobart, a beautiful city in itself.

Walk date: 11th May, 2010
Time/Distance: Around 3.5 hrs
Grade: Moderate day walk
Map: TASMAP Wellington Park Recreation Map (1:20,000)
My rating: A+

 

Bushwalking: Cape Raoul, Tasmania

“The walk out to Cape Raoul is one of the highlights of the Tasman Peninsula”

Day Walks Tasmania

This is a great day walk based in the Tasman National Park about an hour and a quarter out of Hobart. The objective is Cape Raoul at the southern tip of the peninsula and there are great views along most of the path, featuring some impressive coastline and rock formations. The cape itself feels quite isolated – apart from the birds and the sounds of waves it’s very quiet and secluded.

For this walk, I used the track notes from “Day Walks Tasmania” by John and Monica Chapman which were useful and accurate. The path itself is well formed and reasonably easy to follow for the whole distance, in some places though it skirts very close to the cliff edge and there are no safety barriers so take care. It starts in farmland but soon gives way to bushland and then exposed coastal heath. Near the very end of the track at Cape Raoul the track splits – it’s worth following both branches to take in all the vantage points – the track to the right provides a bit more room to stop for a break or lunch (the one to the left ends rather abruptly at a cliff edge). From the cape it’s back the same way.

Overall, another recommended Tassie walk.

Walk date: 6th March 2010
Time/Distance: Around 4.5 hrs / 13.6km
Grade: Moderate day walk
Map: TASMAP Raoul (1:25,000)
My rating: B+