Reeds Peak and Great Dome via Lake Rhona

Reeds Peak; 1290m; Abel#66

We had a couple of free days over the weekend and were looking for a reasonable overnighter.  Originally the plan was to do Pindars Peak and La Perouse but decided against it due to average weather.  We decided then to do a somewhat less ambitious walk to Reeds Peak and The Great Dome.  The plan was to leave early and clear some trees that were down on the road leading to the Wylds Craig track.  The sun had just started to come up as we passed Westerway and we were lucky to see about 100 white cockatoos perched in the gumtrees.  After what felt like a long drive on gravel roads we reached the the campsite by the Floretine River.  From here the road that leads to Wylds Craig begins to climb up-but as expected the road was blocked by trees.  We then spent the next hour clearing the road so that when we returned in a few weeks time to climb Wylds Craig we could drive straight to the start of the track.

We then back tracked along Tiger Road until we reached the turnoff to the Lake Rhona.  I’d read a number of posts about Lake Rhona saying that it is a very popular walk but didn’t expect the number of cars that were parked in the carpark.  The forecast for the day was pretty average, overcast with a possible chance of showers.

Given that it rained so much the day before I was expecting the crossing of the Gordon River to be more difficult than usual.  Luckily the fallen tree across the river was still above the water line and allowed us to cross without getting wet.  However, the log itself was very slippery in the morning shade and we were forced to cross it on hands and knees.

The plan was to walk straight to Lake Rhona, with only a short stop at Gordonvale and oncemore before the final ascent to the lake.  The walk consists mainly of button-grass plains separated by areas of forest and a few creeks that provide a good source of water to refill drink bottles.

The climb up to the lake is pretty steep and provides great views of the valley as well as Wylds Craig.  We reached the lake and bumped in to a few people who had camped there the night before and had just started to leave their tents after a misty morning to explore some of the surrounds.  According to the log book there were about 20 people up there but they all decided to camp in the areas behind the beach. Seeing so many people at a campsite felt weird to me, especially after having done Lake Sydney only a few weeks earlier and not crossing paths with anyone.  Overall we made good time even with the steep ascent, having reached Lake Rhona from the carpark in a quick 4 hours and 20 minutes.  This gave us enough time to set up camp and have a quick bite to eat before heading up to Reeds Peak and Great Dome.

From the campsite we continued around the lake; it was a nice feeling to not have a pack on.  I was also trying out a pair of cheap reef walker shoes that I bought at Rivers for about $8.  I had intended to use them as river wading shoes, but thought I would see how they held up on a steep and rocky track.  We followed a creek up towards the saddle, where we rejoined the track along a ridge-line that continues up towards Reeds Peak. Once we’d climbed up the ridge, we were treated with the view of Lake Rhona’s pink sands and dark water, surrounded by the cliffs. After taking a few photos and chatting to a group who were coming back down from the plateau, we set off to ascend Reeds. Just before reaching the base of Reeds, we passed a chute that drops straight down to Lake Rhona that makes for a good photo opportunity. The walk along the plateau is relatively flat, with plenty of cushion plants and some dried up tarns, due to drier weather in the previous weeks. It’s an easy trek along the pad to reach the rocky beginning of the climb up Reeds, with a cairn route snaking its way up to the summit. Unfortunately, upon reaching the top we had a few seconds of the view before the rain clouds rolled in and we found ourselves in a downpour. On the way back to the camp we stopped by the Great Dome; however, due to all the mist we couldn’t see Lake Gordon which was visible earlier on in the day. We made our way back to the camp around 6:30 for some dinner, hoping the rain would hold off while we dried off again. This was not the case-we cooked and ate in the tent.

In the morning we were treated with a colourful sunrise and clear skies. After breakfast, we went for a quick dip in the lake before packing up. We were on the track by 9, and as we climbed back down the ridge-line the clouds from the valley were making there way up towards the lake. After a quick stop at Gordonvale we arrived back at the car after 4 hours and 15 minutes.

All up, 36.8km and 1391m ascent.

Getting there:  Shortly after passing through Maydena turn right on to Florentine Road.  Follow this road for about 20kms until you reach reach the turnoff to Eleven Road on the left hand side (there will be a sign saying Lake Rhona).  Continue along this road until you reach a T intersection.  Turn left onto Tiger Road and follow for 1km then turn left again onto Range Road.  Follow Range Road for 3.5kms then turn left onto Terry Walsh Road.  The track starts at the end of this road.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMt Wright obscured by clouds on the walk in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking back towards Gordonvale as we begin the steep climb.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEmily pretending to smile on the walk up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur first glimpse of Reeds Peak and Lake Rhona.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWalking around the lake on the way up to Reeds Peak and Great Dome

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeading up the saddle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReeds Peak free of clouds.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGood spot for a photo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReeds Peak from the plateau.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreat view of Lake Rhona

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother angle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe only photo from the Reeds peak before the cloud and rain rolled in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInteresting rocks and Wylds Craig in the background.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinger guns. 10/10

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Looking out towards Wylds Craig.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMorning light.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunrise from the tent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABreakfast with a view.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReflections as we leave.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlues skies make a nice change from the grey of the previous day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClouds rolling up the hill as we walk out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the mist on the way back to the valley floor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatiently waiting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMist settling on 1000’s of spider webs in the button grass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlues skies for the rest of the walk out.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrossing the Gordon  River on the way out.

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 8.53.22 pmGPS track

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 8.53.48 pmClose-up of the route we took to Reeds Peak and Great Dome.

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 9.02.46 pmElevtion plot.

Mt Bobs and Lake Sydney

Mt Bobs; 1111m; Abel #145

This walk had been on the list for a little while; unfortunately I still hadn’t received my camera back from getting repaired and was stuck with my phone camera.   We were really lucky with the weather with warm, blue skies and most importantly, no wind.  The plan was start at the Farmhouse Creek track around 11am then walk up to the lake before stopping for some late lunch.  We would then walk around Lake Sydney to set up camp on the southern side, near the start of the climb to the saddle.  The next morning we would head up to Bobs and the Boomerang then return to camp and collect our packs and walk back out.

After a second breakfast stop at Banjos in Huonville we arrived at the start of the Farmhouse Creek track around 11:15.  Ten minutes later we were off and followed the track along the banks of Farmhouse Creek where we encountered two large tiger snakes in the space of two minutes sun baking by the creek.  We walked next to the creek for approximately 2 hours until we reached the fallen tree that is used to cross over to the other side.  After a few quick snacks we crossed the log and continued away from the creek.  This part of the track has some particularly boggy sections, even in the middle of summer.  After about 500m we reached a small tree covered in ribbon indicating the turnoff to Lake Sydney,  where shortly after we arrived at a small clearing that could be used as a campsite if necessary.  After leaving the clearing through a small opening on the left hand side, you enter an almost impenetrable wall of cutting grass, vines and bauera with a gap just large enough to push your way through.  Luckily this section doesn’t last that long and before you know it you begin to climb up towards the Lake Sydney.

After climbing over and under a number of fallen trees and nearly treading on the third and final snake of the day we eventually reached a small opening that provided fantastic views back towards Chapman and Burgess, as well as Federation Peak.  We knew we were getting close  to the lake so we took a few quick photos then continued on our way.  From memory the track climbs a little bit more before it starts to decent into the marshy sections between Pine Lake and Lake Sydney.  About 1 hour after reaching the lookout we arrived at the sinkhole, where we stopped for a late lunch before walking around the other side of the lake.

From here on in there is no track except for the occasional ribbon in the dense forest on the way up to the saddle.   At first it was easy; all we had to do was follow the lake around the western side.  Just before reaching the camp we arrived at a small cliff that prevented us from continuing.  We had to backtrack slightly and head up into the forest above the cliff.  This section was fairly steep and scrubby and took a bit of effort with large packs on.  Before long we had reached the campsite, 5 hours and 25 minutes after leaving the Farmhouse Creek carpark.  We set up camp quickly so that we could have a quick swim and enjoy what was left of the afternoon sun.  The cliff that prevents you from walking around the lake provides a good spot to jump into the water as it drops off pretty quickly.  While we were sitting around the camp we spotted a platypus swimming out towards the middle of the lake, as well as a cormorant that seemed to be a long way from home.  That night the sky was clear and provided an excellent view of the milky way, further adding to my annoyance of not receiving my camera back in time for this walk.

The sunrise the next morning was worth waking up for and we quickly ate breakfast and packed up the majority of our stuff before heading up to the saddle between Mt Bobs.  The walk between the lake and the saddle is probably the worst part of the whole trip.  The trees and pandani are very dense and there is no real way to get your bearings.  Although we had GPS coordinates we were frequently back tracking to find a better path up.  The best advice I can give is to make your way up on the Boomerang side of the forest where you will find the occasional ribbon.  This was something we found out on the way back down.  Once we reached the saddle we had to make a decision on which peak we would summit first.  Given the climb up to the saddle took a lot longer than expected, we chose to summit Mt Bobs as it would probably take a bit longer than the Boomerang.  On the way up to Bobs we chose another bad path that led to an unclimbable cliff face and cost us about 20 minutes.  After backtracking and finding a much, much better route up we reached the top and quickly forgot about our troubles.  The view of Federation Peak that day was 10/10, and as expected there was not a breath of wind and blue skies were above the valley that was covered in cloud.  We were joined at the top by dozens of swallows that appeared to be heading south, but spent a little while whizzing around just above us.

On the way back down to the saddle we decided not to summit the Boomerang and return back to the camp to collect out bags.  I still regret that decision, but it gives us a good reason to return to this lovely place.  We stumbled across a better path on the way back down to Lake Sydney that would have made the climb up much quicker.  Almost 4 hours after leaving camp we returned and collected our packs for the walk back to the carpark.  We reached the carpark 4 hours and 54 minutes later, about 30 minutes quicker than the walk in.  I really enjoyed this overnight trip and would recommend it to anyone who is keen to get away from some of the more popular overnight walks in Tassie.

All up, 29.1km and 1474m ascent.

Getting there:  To get to Farmhouse Creek follow the directions to Mt Picton but do not turn off West Picton Road.  In short, from Geeveston head towards the Tahune Airwalk along the Arve Road.  Just before the Airwalk turn left onto Picton Road and turn right onto West Picton Road once the road forks.  Continue across the bridge over the Picton River and follow this road until you reach the gate and the start of the Farmhouse Creek track.

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Heading off at Farmhouse Creek. Bucket hat ready.
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Looking at the Eastern Arthurs and Federation Peak.
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Our first glimpse of the sinkhole and McPartlans Bluff.
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Water running into the sinkhole from Lake Sydney.

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Looking back towards the track.
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Lunch at Lake Sydney.  Our planned campsite was on the other side of the lake.
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The final hurdle to reaching the camp.
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Flag Iris by the lake.
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View from the camp looking back towards the sinkhole.
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The large boulder provided a good spot to jump into the lake.
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Sunrise on the second day.
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First light on McPartlans Bluff.
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Reflections in the water next to the camp.
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More reflection on a still morning.
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Heading around the next bend to walk up to the saddle.  Photo looking back at where we camped.
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Panorama from the top of Mt Bobs.  Federation Peak poking its pointy head out.
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Federation Peak.
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The top of Mt Bobs is very flat.
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A nearly dry tarn at the top of Mt Bobs and Federation Peak.
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Looking towards Lake Sydney from about halfway up Mt Bobs.
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Looking south.
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The walk around the lake.

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