Mt Montagu


This was another walk organised by the PWC, and a chance to catch up with friends.

We had a couple of options when it came to how we would tackle this one.  Option one was an up and back starting with Cathedral Rock, then onto Montagu Thumbs and finishing with Mt Montagu. Option two-the more exciting option-was a circuit where would head up to Mt Montagu as per option one, but then head down towards Wellington Falls and cross the North West Bay River twice before heading back to the cars.

We arrived at the Betts Road carpark shortly after 8 and the group (9 in total) set off. Having had walked parts of these tracks on my own, I knew what was ahead and prepared myself for the annoying zig-zag track that leads to the start of the Cathedral Rock climb.

By the time we reached the top of the zigzag track, the previous nights’ snow was becoming more apparent, and from here on in we practically didn’t see the sun for the rest of the day.  We had a quick snack on top of Cathedral but decided to move on, as we were expecting a decent days walk ahead of us.  On the way to Montagu Thumbs the snow started to fall, transforming the whole place into a scene out of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I wasn’t familiar with this section of the track and we passed a number of false summits on the way to Montagu Thumbs;  however I’m sure on a clear day you wouldn’t have this problem.  We stopped for some lunch on the fairly unimpressive highpoint of Montagu Thumbs, and decided that we would take option two and continue on to Wellington Falls.  Shortly after, we reached the old Montagu fire-trail and made a quick detour up to the summit on Mt Montagu. The cloud was too thick to see any nearby peaks but the climb up was still an enjoyable scramble.

We made our way down toward Wellington Falls, where we would have to cross the North West Bay River for the first time.  Luckily there wasn’t too much water coming down and we found a pretty good spot to jump across.  After a quick stop for a snack at the Wellington Falls lookout, we continued down towards the Siphon Track which would take us straight down to the North West Bay River.  Anyone who has walked down the Siphon Track knows how steep and slippery it can be, and this day was no exception. Having walked it only a couple of weeks earlier I had said to myself that I would not do it again in a hurry.  Unfortunately I was not interested in taking the long way round and followed everyone else to the bottom. No serious injuries to be reported, but plenty of near misses, skids and uncontrolled falling.

We then crossed over the North West Bay River for a second time and followed the Cathedral Rock Track back to the cars.  Unfortunately the batteries in my GPS died just after crossing the river so I don’t have the exact distance and time taken but it should be pretty close.

All up: ~16kms in a bit over 9 hours with plenty of stops and 1176m ascent.


Getting there: There are many ways to walk to Mt Montagu but we started from Betts Road.  To get here drive along Huon Road until you reach the junction with Leslie Road.  If you are coming from Longley, Betts Road will be immediately on the left after you pass the Leslie Road Turn off.Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 9.26.58 pm.png

Snow at the top of the Zig Zag track
Climbing up to Cathedral
On top of Cathedral
Simon in the snow
Misty mountain top
Setting off towards Montagu Thumbs
Steep ridge line
Group meeting
Pushing through
Mt Montagu trig
Approaching Wellington Falls
North WestBay River
Simon flying over the river
Top of Wellington Falls
Wellington Falls
Heading down the siphon track
North West Bay River crossing
AB about to cross


Little Hugel

A few weeks had passed between walks and Sunday was gearing up to be a pretty decent day. Originally we had hoped to join Jane and AB again on another walk around Cradle or the Walls; unfortunately I had work on Saturday and couldn’t take it off, which didn’t matter in the end as the trip was cancelled due to some pretty serious weather warnings. Heavy snow falls Friday and Saturday meant that we were somewhat limited with our options.  Having not walked in the Lake St Clair area before, we decided to head up that way and summit Little Hugel.

We arrived at the Lake St Clair visitor centre around 9:30 am and set off along the Shadow Lake Track (direction Watersmeet). The walk to Shadow Lake was easy and it took just over an hour and a half to reach the junction to Forgotten Lake. Up until that point, the snow on the track was only around 5cm thick and didn’t slow us down-however, things started to get interesting once we reached the northern side of Shadow Lake.

At this point the track had completely disappeared under a thick blanket of fresh snow and showed no signs of reappearing.   We continued toward Forgotten Lake, then followed a sign-posted track up through the forest and to the base of Little Hugel where we sat in the snow for lunch.  By the time the pandani started to appear, we were well and truly walking blind.  The mist had settled in and the markers were buried under snow, as was the boulder field leading to the summit.  There isn’t much to say about to walk to the top from here, except that the snow was very deep and the intended track was almost impossible to follow.  The soft powder meant that every movement forward was a slog, and we found ourselves chest deep on many occasions. We were forced to backtrack a couple of times to try and find a slightly easier route up, and also had to refer to the GPS to get our bearings.  We arrived at the top just over two hours after leaving the Shadow Lake Circuit Track, including our 10 minute break for some lunch.  Unfortunately the mist was still present and we could not see anything beyond 20m.  It was a shame as I’m sure the view of Olympus would have been pretty special after the glimpse we got heading out from the visitor centre.

The way back down from Little Hugel was significantly quicker-this was in part due to retracing our steps up, as well as sliding down the steeper rocky sections.  We arrived back at the intersection to Forgotten Lake in 1.5 hours and decided to head back along the Shadow Lake Circuit Track, even though it was slightly longer than the way we came in.  The sun appeared momentarily, and so did Rufus, giving me no choice but to add it to the ever growing list of places to explore.

All up a solid 19.6kms in 7hours and 7 minutes with a 779m ascent.

Getting there:  On the Lyell Highway follow direction to Derwent Bridge/Lake St Clair.  Once at the Lake St Clair visitors centre follow the direction of all walking tracks.

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GPS track of our walk.
Olympus from Lake St Clair
SNow starting to get thicker
Frozen tarns
Buttongrass mounds
Little Hugel
Snow capped banksia
Shadow Lake
A platypus and Rufus
The path up to Hugel
Trudging up through deep snow


Sun shining through the forest on the way out.
Rufus on the way out.