Nevada Peak; 1390m; Abel #42
Snowy South; 1398m; Abel #38.
The last couple of walks we went on were in the Franklin Gordon National Park so we decided to stay south. There were a couple of day walks that I wanted to check out including Mt Burgess, Nevada Peak as well as Mt Riveaux. I can’t think of any reason as to why we chose to do Nevada but that’s what we ended up choosing. I hadn’t heard much about this walk but knew it was between Snowy North and Snowy South and, on a clear day, provided excellent views of Mt Weld. The plan was to walk to Nevada Peak then Snowy South before heading back out again.
A quick stop in Banjos Huonville to pick up lunch then we followed the Huon River towards Judbury. We then continued out past the Rivers Edge camping ground and began winding up Russell Road. Unfortunately we reached a bridge over the Russell River that has been blocked. A quick glance at the GPS showed that we were roughly 5kms from the start of the track and it looked as though the other access road would take ~45 minutes to reach. We decided then to cross the bridge by foot and walk along the road until we reached the start of the track. It took approximately an hour to reach the start of the track. Note that about 10 minutes before the start you will reach a bridge that has partly collapsed, this is where you will have to leave your car and continue on foot.
Follow this road and stay left when it forks until you reach the end of the road and the old carpark. From here follow the blue sign posts towards the forest, before long you will see the sign indicating the start as well as the walker registration box. The track then slowly climbs through the mossy forest and involves a traversing a couple of logs with foot holes cut out. Overall the track is well marked and easy to follow, it was a nice change from some of the more overgrown tracks that we had encountered in the months before. Thirty five minutes after the registration box we reached the junction and turned right towards Woolleys Tarn. The track then continued to climb through pandani and myrtle forests until it opened up and revealed Wetpants Peak and Woolleys Tarn. Although Woolleys Tarn did provide a good spot to stop and refill drink bottles, it was not that interesting and we decided to keep on moving. The climb from Woolleys Tarn to the plateau below Nevada Peak was slightly overgrown and required a keen eye to spot the next cairn or ribbon. Once on the plateau we walked towards the Snowdrift Tarns so that we could summit from the southern side. From what I could see there was no marked track here just a mix of pineapple grass, cushion plants, scoparia and the occasional boulder to navigate around. To get to the summit we followed a rocky scree and before long we had reached the top. After a quick look around and some photos from the summit we sought shelter from the strong wind and had some lunch.
At this point we had to decide whether we would try to climb Snowy South before heading back to the car. It was already almost 1pm and we had to factor in the extra hour of walking back to the car because of the stuff up in driving to the start of the walk. We decided to give it crack and headed off along the ridge in the direction of Snowy South. Mt Weld could be easily seen towards the west and is definitely on the bucket list of overnight walks to do in the near future. The walk between Nevada and Snowy South involved a lot of scrambling over various sized boulders and careful foot placement to avoid slipping and I would not recommend it to everyone. Careful route planning before ascending may help a lot and save a considerable amount of backtracking. Dispersed between the rocky sections are flatter areas with lots of small shrubs and cushion plants that shouldn’t be walked on. The last rocky section before reaching the summit of Snowy South is probably the most difficult as the rocks here a quite large and can be very slippery.
We reached the very windy summit around 2:30 and had a quick snack and a drink before heading back towards the Nevada Peak track. By this stage we were planning to be back at the start of the track just before dark and then walk along the road back to the car. On the way back I made a couple of small detours to check out the Honeybird Basin and Dungeon Tarn from above. There is also an unnamed tarn to the north of Dungeon Tarn that features heavily in the photos taken that day. After refilling our water bottles at one of the Snowdrift Tarns below Nevada Peak we set off back down to the car park, this time taking the more direct route. The light was slowly fading and the thick canopy made it harder to see the track ahead. We made it back to the old carpark then continued to walk along the road for about 15 minutes before night fell. The rest of the walk back to the car was helped by a phone torch light as the moon was hiding.
All up 30.3km in a total of 10 hours and 14 minutes and 1565m ascent. Note that if you take the correct route you can shave off about 10kms of road walking and approximately 2 hours.
Getting there: The correct route as of 18th of April 2017 is to head towards Judbury from Huonville then drive along Lonnavale Road where you will reach Denison Road. Continue along Denison Road and follow all signs towards Lake Skinner. You will eventually end up on McDougalls Road which you will follow for about 6.3kms where you will see the last sign indicating the Lake Skinner track. Continue along McDougalls Road following all signs indicating Forrest Drive. 1.5kms later you will now be on Russell Road which you will follow for 6kms. At the intersection turn left (turning right will lead to a blocked bridge about 1km down the road) and follow this road for 4.3kms, making sure you go left when the road forks about 2kms in. You will reach a taped off part of the road indicating the collapsed bridge then continue walking up the road for about 10 minutes to reach the start of the track. Clear as mud.