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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