Mt Field East

Abel#72; 1274m

A sunny autumn day was forecast and we were keen to summit our last Abel in the Mt Field area. Instead of a simple up and back, we decided to make it a circuit and walk in via Lake Nicholls and out along Lake Fenton. We parked about halfway between the Lake Fenton and Mt Field East carparks, then walked about 1km back down along the Pack Track prior to intersecting the Mt Field East Track.  As it is a pretty quick walk all up, we decided to check out a few other spots along the way-  the first of these was Beatties Tarn, which takes about 5 minutes to reach from the main track.  This is a nice little tarn, nestled under the eastern slopes of Seagers Lookout and is worth checking out.

Our next stop was at the day use hut at Lake Nichols, which is in good shape and has a lot of information about the history of the area.  From the hut the track begins to climb up towards Windy Moor, with another possible detour to check out the crystal clear water of Lake Rayner.  As we were heading up, we noticed the cloud was moving quickly out of the valley towards us and had already reached Lake Nichols.  Worried that we might soon be in the clouds, we pushed up along the rocky scree and towards the plateau of Windy Moor.

Once on the plateau, the track continues north east for ~200m before reaching the main route from Lake Fenton.  From here we turned right and followed a cairned pad up to the summit, which we reached about 2 hours after leaving the car.  We had good views of the rest of the Mt Field Abels including  Mt Lord , which we had bagged a few weeks back in complete whiteout.

On the way back we quickly traversed the newly constructed duckboards across Windy Moor.  Once across, the track starts to drop down towards Lake Fenton and passes by old snow gum before reaching the intersection to Seagers Lookout.  We decided to go and check it out ,and spent a bit of time scrambling across the rock on the eastern side to get a good view of Beatties Tarn.  Unfortunately we didn’t find a good vantage point, so we made our way back towards the carpark.  The fagus had started to turn and the last 30 minutes was spent photographing various bushes between Lake Fenton and the car.

On the way back home we decided to go and check out the Styx Big Tree Reserve, which can be found about 20 minutes from Gordon River Road just out of Maydena.

Carpark to Lake Nicholls via Beatties Tarn 3.6kms in 55min.

Lake Nicholls to Mt Field East 1.8kms in 46min.

Mt Field East to Seagers Lookout 3.5kms in 1 hour.

All up 10.9kms in 3hours and 50 minutes with 618m ascent.

Getting There: Follow all signs to Mt Field then drive up towards Lake Dobson.  Road status can be checked by contacting Mt Field Visitor Centre.  The carpark to Mt Field East is well indicated about 10-15 minutes in.  There is another small carpark about 1km up the road that is about halfway if completing the walk as a circuit.

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GPS track of the walk
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Beatties Tarn
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Lake Rayner
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Heading up to Windy Moor
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Looking back towards Lake Nicholls
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Summit in view
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Pineapple Grass fields
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Looking towards Mt Lord and Wylds Craig
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Looking back towards the ski fields and Mt Mawson
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Nice walking across Windy Moor
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New track work on Windy Moor
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Pandani
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Twisted gums.
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Lake Fenton from Seagers Lookout
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Fagus turning
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Some fagus near the carpark
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Styx Big Tree Reserve
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Styx River
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Styx River

East Cloudy Head

Our last day on Bruny was spent down south, checking out Cloudy Bay and walking to East Cloudy Head.  I used to camp around here a lot when I was in high school, but hadn’t been back in a long time; it was nice to see that most things had stayed the same over the past 5 years.

We drove along Cloudy Bay beach towards Cloudy Corner and were surprised to see only a few people camping here on such a nice weekend.  The track starts near the water tank on the far side of the campsites and follows an old vehicle track that hasn’t been used in many years.  There is a registration box but it was empty, with only scraps of paper and no pencil in sight.

The walking track climbs up a few small sandy hills before dropping back down to the intersection to Beaufort Bay.  The track down to the bay is overgrown but only takes about 5 minutes and leads to a nice rocky beach full of bull kelp. The main track then climbs up once more, before narrowing and becoming overgrown.  The beautiful view east towards Pyramid Bay and The Friars makes up the last 20 minutes before reaching the bushy summit of East Cloudy Head.  We made it to the top in a leisurely 1 hour and 10 minutes and had some lunch with a huge skink that was basking in the sun.  There are a number of lookouts on either side and both are worth checking out while you are there.

All up 7.3kms in 2 hours and 50 minutes with 427m ascent.

Getting there: Follow all directions to Cloudy Bay on South Bruny.  Continue driving along the beach towards the eastern end and park near the far water tank and toilet at Cloudy Corner.  If you cant drive along the beach it will add another hour or so to the walk.

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GPS track of the walk.
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Looking up from near the start
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Beaufort Bay
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Looking back towards Beaufort Bay
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Overgrown track.
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Pyramid Bay and the The Friars.
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The trig hidden in the trees
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Looking back towards Cloudy Bay
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Fat skink on East Cloudy Head
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Pyramid Bay
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Beaufort Bay

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Mt Mangana

Having spent the morning cruising around the south east coast of Bruny Island, we were keen to check out the view from its highest hill, Mt Mangana, which is named after the leader of the south east tribe of aborigines and who was also the father of Truganini.

This short walk starts on a dirt road and climbs gradually through damp dogwood and sassafrass forest, with a number of other mountainous plants such as cheeseberry, native pepper and a lot of candle heath.  The track drops back down slightly before the canopy opens up and you can start to see some ocean through the trees.  After about 30 minutes you see the top of two radio towers that are located near the summit. Note that the first of these you can detour to has warnings regarding radiation poisoning if in the area for longer than 5 minutes.

Unfortunately the trees have blocked the view from the top but there is a pad to a rocky lookout that can be found about 15m east from the summit radio tower.  This spot provides a good view of South Bruny, as well as Adamson’s Peak and Pindar’s Peak.  A number of large forestry burn-offs somewhat spoilt what would have been an impressive view of the mountains that make up the eastern section of the SW National Park.  I didn’t get a chance to go and check out the western side, but I’m sure there is a good vantage point that looks over Adventure Bay and up towards The Neck.

By no means a hard walk, but I was surprised to see a number of alpine plants growing up here and recommend heading up if you have a spare few hours.

3.9kms in 1.5 hours with 160m ascent.

Getting there: From Adventure Bay, head north along Adventure Bay Road past the shop and turn left onto Coolangatta Road. Follow Coolangatta Road for about 5kms until you reach the top and can see the sign indicating the start of the Mt Mangana track.

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GPS track of the walk.
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Sign by the road.
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Large Candle Heath as we climb higher.
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Moss by the track.
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The radio tower at the summit.
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Looking over Partridge Island towards the Southern Ranges.
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(L-R) Adamsons, Esperance and Hartz shrouded by smoke from forestry burn offs.