Mt Tyndall

Abel #112;1179m

We were still camped by Lake Rosebery and it had been raining on and off for most of the night, showing no signs of stopping.  After flicking through The Abels Vol 2. we were keen to do a longer walk in the area, but decided against it due to the lack of visibility and the likelihood of spending half a day wet and cold.  Having done Murchison the previous day, we were left with climbing Tyndall or driving down to Queenstown and summiting Jukes or Owen.  I had always been interested in doing the Tyndall Range and so we decided to go and check out the first part of it.

The road by the highway leads to a locked boom gate, but has room for a number of cars.  Follow the road past the boom gate and continue across a bridge before reaching a road on the left that follows the powerlines.  Continue along this road for a few hundred meters and you will reach the registration box.  The start of the track follows a boggy, overgrown section that makes its way up towards the short section of forest, where the climb begins and is pretty relentless until you reach the Tyndall Plateau.  A number of small creeks are passed along the way, as well as large conglomerate boulders that provide a good place to stop and catch your breath.

Once we reached the plateau we turned north and followed a faint pad up towards the summit.  The visibility was low and there was no distinct summit, so we walked to what we thought was the highest point and had a quick bite to eat.  The wind was blowing the low lying cloud up and over the cliffs on the north eastern of the summit; before long, we started to get cold and decided to head back down to the car.

Even in poor visibility it was clear that this is a very beautiful mountain range with excellent camping, and I am looking forward to getting back here for a few days.  The way back down was much quicker and we reached the car in 1 hour and 20 minutes, unfortunately I had left the lights on and we had to spend almost 2 hours sitting in the car waiting for a friend to come and give us a jump.

All up 7kms in 3hours and 10 minutes with 696m ascent.

Getting there: Coming from Queenstown, follow the Zeehan Highway (A10) until you reach Anthony Road on you right.  Follow Anthony road for 10.8kms and you will see a dirt road on the right hand side with a pile a tyres.  Note that this road is a few hundred meters before you drive over Tyndall Creek.

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GPS track.
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A small creek to cross on the powerlines track.
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Emily heading uphill after leaving the scrub.
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Lots of water coming down.
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The north eastern cliffs under cloud.
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Starting to feel the cold.

Mt Murchison

Abel #73; 1275m

We were camping with a group of friends on the shores of Lake Rosebery and managed to convince them to head up to Mt Murchison with us.  In hindsight, it was probably not the best walk for those with very little bushwalking experience-not to mention with a fear of heights.  We left our campsite and drove a short distance to the start of the track.

The well cleared track starts off by climbing up through teatree forests, before the bush thins out and reveals the glaciated cliffs and small lakes that occupy the main ‘bowl’.  The track then continues along a ridge before climbing steeply to the north.  Unfortunately we had to leave one of our friends before the steepest section, as she did not think she could make it back down due to a fear of heights. Luckily, the skies were clear and the view towards the east was very easy on the eyes.

A couple of small creeks and nearby tarns are passed on the way up and would be an excellent place to camp; however, some sections of this track are pretty exposed and would require extra care in adverse weather.  The trig can be seen a few hundred meters away after climbing up through a small rocky chute and requires you to drop back down on the western side of the ridge before following a large rock slab straight up to the top.

All up 6.3kms in 4 hours and 25 minutes with plenty of breaks for those less experienced and 774m ascent.

Getting there: Drive along Anthony Road  and you will see a sign indicating  start of the track.  There is a sign on on both sides of the road and there are a number of spots for cars to pull over.  The start of the track is closer to the Tullah end of the road and about a 10 minute drive from the town centre.

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GPS track.
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Climbing up one of the steeper sections.
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Conglomerate rocks and Eldon Peak.
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Looking down into the ‘bowl’ from near the summit.
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Heading back down the more exposed section.
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Interesting rocks.
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Blue skies and green fagus.

Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff

Well-over a month had passed since the previous walk in Tas, and we were keen to get some longer days in before attempting Ossa in a day.  Originally we were thinking about heading to Lake St Clair and climbing Rufus, Hugel and maybe Little Hugel, depending on the time; but we ended up canning that idea and sticking to something a bit closer to home.

We had attempted to summit Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff on a very wet and windy day last winter (Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff (almost) , but were forced to turn around at Square Tarn due to blizzard like conditions and a very high chance of walking back in the dark if we had kept going.  This day was a much more enjoyable 23 degrees, with light winds and barely any cloud cover, and I was keen to see what the area actually looked like.

We arrived at the the track just after 9:00am and left the car at 9:25am.  The start of the track follows an old logging track that is now overgrown with cutting grass and other small trees, before making its way into the bush after about 5 minutes.  From here, its basically straight up through the forest and over a bunch of fallen trees-but for the most part, it is easy to follow. Additionally, it looks as though someone has been through fairly recently and retagged the route with pink ribbon.  After about 50 minutes the forest starts to thin out and you can start to see Mt Picton across the valley.  This area is mainly heathland, with a track running through the middle. When we were here last in winter, that same track was basically a knee high creek and we were forced to wade through it;  this time there was a significantly less water, and apart from a few large bog holes we managed to stay relatively dry.  It is a bit scrubby through here though, so a long sleeve shirt and pants isn’t a bad idea-but it is over fairly quickly.

It was then onto the first plateau, where the scrub clears up and pad makes its way towards Square Tarn.  This is one of my favourite sections, as not only is it full of wild flowers but on one side you can see Mt Chapman and Mt Picton, while on the other side you can see Hartz, Esperance, Adamson’s and Bobs.  Large rock formations begin to appear, and the track takes you right along the side of one before reaching a small and hard to see junction.  We decided to head to Square Tarn to refill our drink bottles and have a quick snack; this was a good idea, as there was very little water for the rest of the walk apart from a few stagnant ponds on Abrotanella Rise.   Two hours had passed since we left the car and we now had to make our way up to the saddle.  I had heard that there was a faint pad that heads up from Square Tarn and rejoins the main track on the left hand side of Abrotanella Rise; we managed to find some sort of track but ended up having to scrub bash our way back across.  I would recommend back tracking to the junction and heading up from there to avoid any unnecessary scrub.

About halfway up, the track pretty much disappears and it’s up to you to find the easiest way up on the southern side. We reached the top of Abrotanella 40 minutes after leaving Square Tarn then headed south to climb Burgess Bluff first.  The walking here was easy and we were careful not to tread on the hundreds of flowers and cushion plants that dot the area.  I later found out that a number of the landmarks around here are named after the abundant flora that grow in the area; for example abrotanella is the genus of cushion plants, Pineapple Flat is named after Pineapple Grass (Astelia alpina) and Hewardia Ridge is named after the Tasmanian Purple Star (Isophysis tasmanica), which is also called Hewardia.

We first made our way across Anderson Bluff to avoid the scrub on the eastern side, then found a cairned route across to the summit of Burgess Bluff.  We had some lunch and took in the views of Mt Bobs and PB to the south and Federation Peak to the south west.  It was then back the way we came, and across Abrotanella Rise to the base of Mt Chapman.  We passed a number of nice spots to camp below the rocky scree on the southern face of Mt Chapman, but unfortunately there is almost no water near here in the dryer months and it would require carrying what you need up from Square Tarn.  We came across a cairned route about halfway up Chapman but overall it was an easy rock hop to the top.  Looking north-west from the summit you could see all the way up to The Thumbs and Mt Field West, but it was Mt Weld that really caught my eye.  On the way back down we bypassed Square Tarn and took the much quicker, direct route across the plateau.

All up: 19.2kms in a leisurely 8hours and 12 minutes with 1134m ascent and plenty of stops for photos.

Carpark to Square Tarn – 5.4kms in 2:20.

Square Tarn to Abrotanella Rise – 1.2kms in 36min.

Abrotanella Rise to Burgess Bluff (via Anderson Bluff) – 2.2kms in 53min.

Burgess Bluff to Mt Chapman – 3.2kms in 1:15.

Mt Chapman to Carpark – 7.1kms in 2:32

 

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GPS route.
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Christmas Bells everywhere as we leave the forest.
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Still some water on the track as we enter the heath.
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Mt Picton from across the valley.
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The scrubby section.
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Mt Chapman from the first plateau.
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Interesting rock formation.  The track passes right beside one of these.
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Looking back from where we came.
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Reflections on Square Tarn.
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Snack spot by Square Tarn.
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In the scrub after leaving Square tarn.
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Mt Chapman from Abrotanella Rise.
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Looking at Burgess Bluff, Mt Bobs and Precipitous Bluff from Anderson Bluff.
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Lunch on Burgess Bluff.  Federation Peak behind.
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Federation Peak.
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Heading back up Anderson Bluff, Lake Burgess behind.
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Cushion plants on Abrotanella Rise.
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Mt Chapman.

 

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Nice camp spots below Mt Chapman, but no fresh water nearby.
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Looking back at Anderson Bluff and Burgess Bluff from Mt Chapman.
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A wedgie joins us on the summit.
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Tasmanian Purple Star (Hewardia) – Isophysis tasmanica
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Lake Burgess.

 

Disappearing Tarn

This was my third attempt at catching the elusive Disappearing Tarn; we’d had a significant amount of rain over the weekend and at 2pm I decided to leave work early, heading home to get my camera and boots.

The quickest way to walk to Disappearing Tarn is via the Milles Track that starts at the Springs upper carpark.  I was surprised to see only a couple of cars and thought to myself that it might already be too late to catch the tarn.  The walk out there took a bit longer than expected, as I was distracted by all of the native flowers in full bloom. At one point the track will split and you will need to stay right to continue towards Wellington Falls and Disappearing Tarn.   The tarn is located right at the start of the Potato Fields, and there is a large cairn on the right hand side that indicates where to leave the main track.

As I approached the tarn I heard some voices and found a few people relaxing in the sun.  There appeared to be some water left but it was draining fairly quickly.  I spent the next 15 or so minutes taking photos, and by the time I had left it had already dropped another 50mm.  I would recommend going earlier in the day, as it does drop very quickly.  After some more photos, I headed back along the Milles Track and past a number of people who were heading in to check out the tarn themselves.

All up: 7.8kms in just over two hours.

Getting there: Follow all directions to kunayi/Mt Wellington.  At The Springs, take a left to the upper carpark.  Follow signs toward the Ice House Track but stay left and continue along the Milles track.  As soon as you reach the cairn at the lower section of the Potato Fields, take a right and head across some large rocks for approximately 30m.

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GPS track of the walk.
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Snow berry.
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Tasmanian waratah.

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Still some water left at Disappearing Tarn