Leeaberra Track

It was the AFL Grand Final weekend and the weather in the south was looking pretty miserable, so we decided to head to the east coast.  I had been checking out a couple of multi-day walks in the area, but in the end we decided to go with the Leeaberra Track in the Douglas Aplsey National Park.  Given that we only had the Saturday and Sunday off, we had decided to do it as an overnighter, rather than the 3 days PWS recommends.  So that we could get an early start, we drove up after work on Friday and camped at Little Beach, about 10 minutes north of the turn off to the Leeaberra Track on the Tasman Highway.

Day 1: We left Little Beach early and made our way up the E road to the northern end of the National Park.  There are two low level creek crossings on the way to the top; these are pretty straight forward but expect to scrape the tow ball, especially on the second one. There is also a small carpark at the start of the walk that can fit a few cars, as well as a decent camping area about 100m back on the left hand side. We quickly ate some breakfast in the car out of the wind, then signed into the registration book just before 8am.  To begin with, the track follows an old 4WD road that skirts the Thompson Marshes, before snaking its way down towards the first campsite by the Douglas River.  We reached the first campsite in 1 hour and 45 minutes and dropped our packs for the side trip to Heritage and Leeaberra Falls.  Note that about half way between the start and the first camp, you will pass the start of the Rainforest Ledge track, which follows the eastern rim of the national park and rejoins the Leeaberra Track about 45 minutes past the first camp.

The track to Heritage Falls had been damaged by flooding so it was easier to just rock hop down the river.  It was quite impressive to see just how high the river had risen during the floods, and this was made evident by the log jams present high up on the banks. About 10 minutes downstream you will reach the top of Heritage Falls; to get to the base there is a taped and cairned route on the left hand side (when standing at the top) that initially climbs up before dropping steeply back down, bringing you right to the base.  The next set of falls about 2 minutes downstream is Leeaberra Falls.  Unfortunately there is no track down, but we did find a way on the right hand side (when standing at the top), that initially climbs up behind a rocky outcrop then drops down a steep and exposed section, before reaching the river about 30m downstream of the falls.

After spending around 2 hours exploring the falls and taking photos, we made our way back to our packs and continued up, out of the valley and onto the highpoint of the Leeaberra Track.  We reached the beginning of the Nichols Cap side trip 1 hour and 50 minutes later and again we dropped packs and made our way towards to summit.  It only takes ~15 minutes to reach and it is well worth the time.  Although it is only 536m in altitude, the view from the top is pretty special.  Looking south you can see all the way to the Hazards on the Frecyinet Peninsula.

Our next stop was the second campsite on the Douglas River, where we would set camp for the night.  After picking up our packs again, we spent the next hour and 10 minutes making our way back down into the valley.  We reached the camp on the other side of the Douglas River and decided to head up river to check out Tevelein Falls.  This part of the walk was definitely a highlight, and even though the falls weren’t anywhere near as impressive as the first two, the large water holes and carved sandstone boulders that we passed while rock hoping up the river were truly worth seeing.  We reached the falls after 45 minutes and for the most part we were able to stay on the river bed, there were only a couple of larger waterholes that required heading up into the bush on the right hand side in order to get around them.

 

Day 2:  It was the first day of October and we wanted to get another early start. The first part of the day was probably the hardest of the whole trip, with a steep climb out of the valley before reaching another emergency use 4WD track.  We were packed up and ready to go just after 8am and I raced up the hill, hoping to get some phone reception to check the result of the previous day’s AFL Grand Final.  Unfortunately there was no reception at the top and I just ended up with a very sweaty shirt.  From here, the track follows anther old 4WD track that drops back down towards the Denisons Marshes and the third and final campsite.  The scrub and cutting grass gets quite thick while crossing the marshes, but there is a lot of recently added tape to guide the way.  As a whole, the track was in pretty good condition; a ranger must have come through fairly recently with a chainsaw and cleared the majority of the fallen trees and limbs that ended up on the path.  After leaving the Denison camp, the track then climbs up again slightly before dropping back down towards the Apsley River and the end of the Leeaberra Track.  We arrived at the car park 4 hours and 10 minutes after leaving our campsite.

Unfortunately my GPS was playing up on the first day and I’m not convinced that the information is truly accurate.  With some confidence, I estimate we covered ~31kms including all side trips.

Getting there:  The turnoff the to the E road, or East Road, is a few hundred metres past the Templestowe Lagoon.  There are no signs to indicate the road, but you will know if you are on the right one as about 500m in you will encounter the first low level crossing.  If you are unable or unwilling to cross, expect it to take a bit over an hour to reach the start of the track by foot.

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Sunset at Little Beach.
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Low level crossing.

 

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GPS track of the walk.
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Walker registration box.
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Keen as.
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Old 4WD road by Thompson Marshes.
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Turn off to the Rainforest Ledge.
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Heading down to the Douglas River.
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The Douglas River.
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Heritage Falls from above.
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Heritage Falls from below.
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Leeaberra Falls from below.
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Wild flowers in bloom.
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Nichols Needles from Nichols Cap.
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The Douglas River by our campsite.
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Rock hoping up river.
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Water-carved channels in the sandstone.
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Making our way around the large waterholes.
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Finding a way around.
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Small falls and large waterholes.
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Not much water coming down what I think is Tevelein Falls.
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Camp for the night.  Fires allowed May-September
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Pushing through the Denison Marshes.
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More cutting grass.
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At the end of the walk.

 

Mt Riveaux

It was Sunday and our first mountain in “Spring”;  showers were forecast, as well as possible snow around 1200m.  We had decided to do Mt Riveaux as it was only around 845m in elevation and had been on the to-do list for a while.  There wasn’t that much information on this walk, but we were expecting to reach a locked gate and then have a ~3km road walk followed by a decent climb, which would take around 3 hours to get to the top.

After a few stops in Huonville and Geeveston we eventually made our way to the start of the track on Riveaux Road,  where we reached the gate and I decided to check to see if it was actually locked.  Luckily it wasn’t, which meant that we could drive almost all the way to start of the track and avoid the annoying road walk.  Unfortunately, there were a number of small trees across the road and they took some time to move so that we could drive under, over or around them.  We also wasted some time wandering around the bush where we saw some pink ribbons, thinking it was the start of the Mt Riveaux Track. As it turned out, the ribbons led nowhere so we continued driving down the road until we reached another gate, which was definitely locked.  It didn’t matter however, as the actual start of the Mt Riveaux track was only 50m past the gate on the left hand side.

The first part climbs steeply through some very nice rainforest full of large man-ferns, lichen and moss covered sassafras trees.  The gradient then lessens and the forests opens up;  there is no defined track for the majority of this walk, just a decent number of ribbons guide the way.  In saying that, we did find ourselves searching for the next ribbon a few times, especially in the areas where a lot of trees have come down-which can be said for most of the track.  Forty-five minutes in and we were completely soaked; the rain wasn’t heavy but it was consistent, and the constant brushing up against wet bushes and fallen logs didn’t give us much chance to stay dry.  Emily decided to try and walk over the slipperiest looking log in the entire Southwest NP and ended up slipping sideways-unfortunately I didn’t get to see the fall, but I did manage to get a photo of how she landed before she picked herself up as if nothing had happened.

As you get closer to the top, the bauera takes over and makes it a bit harder to find the correct path.   The last section before the summit is a pretty fun zig zag between large boulders, as well as a couple of short climbs up a short rocky face. Exactly 2 and a half hours after leaving the car, we popped out of the top and were confronted with some very strong winds which almost blew the beanie right off my head.  We spent the next 15 minutes layering up and taking some photos, before heading straight back down to the car which we reached after 2 hours and 5 minutes .

This was definitely not the longest or steepest day walk we have done, but it was probably the most annoying.  There are a lot of fallen trees and slippery slopes that make it seem like you are constantly stepping over or crawling under something.

All up 7.1kms in 5 hours including some short breaks, and 682m ascent.

Getting there:  Follow the Arve Road out towards the Tahune Airwalk.  Just before the Airwalk, take the left onto Picton Road and stay right at the fork.  Cross the bridge over the Picton River and take the second right onto Riveaux Road (the first right takes you to the Huon/YoYo Track).  Follow Riveaux Road until you reach a boom gate; either park your car here, or if it’s unlocked continue along this road for a couple of kms without taking any of the side roads.  You will eventually reach a second gate and what is basically the end of the road.  Continue past the gate for about 50m and you will see a bunch of ribbons indicating the start of the track

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GPS track of the walk.
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The beginning of the track.
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Large man ferns on the way up.
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Emily racing up the hill.
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“Having a rest”
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A bit of bog before the bauera.
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Popping out near the summit.
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Looking towards Red Rag Scarp and Blakes Opening
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View from the summit.
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A rainbow appears as we drop back down into the forest.

Reuben Falls

Today had been set aside to join a PWC walk to Mt Blackwood and Sandbanks Tier; unfortunately the weather forecast was pretty miserable and the walk was canceled.  Still keen to head out for the day, we decided to head south and check out some spots around the Weld River and Reuben Falls.

The first stop was to visit the Weld and Huon River junction.  To get there, we drove down a 4WD track next to Eddy Road, but we quickly reached a point where I could drive no further and we continued the rest of the way by foot.  There is no track to the rivers but the bush is easy enough to navigate and fairly open.

We then drove across the Weld River and along South Weld Road until we reached the giant sinkhole, and the start of the Reuben Falls track.  On a side note, this is also the start of the walk to Mt Weld. Although the sign says 70 minutes return, the walk to the falls is only about 10 or 15 minutes along, and follows Isabella Creek before dropping steeply down to the base of Reuben Falls.  We spent the next hour or so walking around the upper and lower sections of the falls taking pictures, and looking at the fossils that can be found in the rocks at the base of the falls..

On our way back out we made a quick detour to check out the lookout on Glovers Bluff. Unfortunately this highpoint had been used to roll tyres down to the plains below and somewhat spoiled the view.

Overall, it was a very easy day with minimal walking-but it was still nice to be out in the bush.  Hopefully the next time we are out here is to walk to Mt Weld.

Getting there:  Access to South Weld Road from the Airwalk has been blocked off due to road damage so the only way to Reuben Falls is via Southwood Road.  We drove in via Lonnavale and continued along Denison and Southwood road then took the first right past the entrance to the Southwood mill.  This road is called Eddy Road on the 1:25000 TASMAP maps but is unnamed on google maps.  Continue along this road and cross over the Weld River bridge until you reach a T intersection with South Weld Road.  Turn right at this intersection and follow South Weld Road until the end of the road and the start of the Rueben Falls Track.  To access Glovers Bluff, take the first right on South Weld Road and stay left at the fork.

 

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Flowering heath.
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The obstacle.
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The Weld and Huon meet.
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The track down to Reuben Falls
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Approaching the waterfall.
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Checking out the falls.

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The lower section.

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Isabella Creek
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The end of the road.