Kerrisons Hut

We were invited to join some friends to help with the Where Where Wedgie survey, a statewide survey designed to estimate the likelihood of seeing birds of prey when out and about. The 4km x 4km plot they had chosen was North-West of Lake Augusta, wedged between Julian and Pillans Lakes, and was a priority square as defined by the survey.  Jane and AB had decided to ride fat bikes in along the 4wd track, whilst Emily and I would walk in.

We had decided to drive up on Friday night and sleep in the ute, in order to get an early start in the morning. We found a nice spot by the boat ramp at Lake Augusta under the stars, and settled in for the night.  The forecast for the weekend was clear but cold; this was evident, as the moisture in the canopy had completely frozen and at one point the doona was stuck to the canvas. With the moon almost full and with a clear sky, I took the opportunity to take a few shots of a very still Lake Augusta under moonlight.  The sunrise the next morning was also worth getting up for, as parts of the lake had frozen and there was still not a breath of wind.

Jane and AB met us at the boat ramp early, and before long we were ready to start the walk in. Access to the Julians Lake Track in a 4wd is entirely dependant on dam levels, and with that in mind we had chosen a more non-conventional route. This track started just near the boat ramp and follows the northern side of Lake Augusta, before crossing the Ouse River and rejoining the Pillans Lake Track just before the first hut (Allisons Hut). AB had the route marked, and it looked like a decent track on the state aerial imagery.  We found out very quickly that this track was quite overgrown and would have been almost impossible to ride bikes through.  In the end, they decided to ride along the normal 4wd track and hope that the water level was low enough to cross.

We continued along the overgrown track, negotiating a few creeks and arrived at the Ouse River around an hour after leaving.  Crossing at this point would have required wading, and we were keen to stay as warm and as dry as possible.  Instead we followed the river upstream to find a more suitable crossing.  This proved difficult, as most of the exposed rocks were covered in ice and spaced too far apart to cross safely.  We ended up walking almost a kilometre upstream, until we found what seemed to be the safest place to cross. For those interested, the crossing we used was just upstream of the first pine tree that can be easily seen on the other side of the river. We eventually made it across the Ouse and continued to our rendevouz spot at the first hut. As we approached the hut we could see Jane and AB, who had just arrived a few minutes earlier. We spent a bit of time checking out the very cool Allisons Hut; unfortunately I didn’t take any photos but information can be found here.

We then continued along the Pillans Lake Track, as it climbed out of the bush and into the more open landscape that is characteristic of the Central Plateau.  Although we had not yet reached our intended survey plot, we spotted a pair of wedge tailed eagles flying just overhead and gave us hope of seeing more over the weekend. We chose to take a small shortcut across an open- but very boggy- grass plain that was once used by vehicles.  This track has since been closed to facilitate rehabilitation, however, the deep tyre tracks are unlikely to disappear any time soon.

We continued on towards our destination, stopping occasionally to conduct 10 minutes survey once we were within our plot. We reached a junction in the track that either heads a few hundred metres further to Kerrisons Hut, or continues along to Julian Lakes and the other huts (private) in the area.  Once at the hut, we set up camp and conducted a couple more surveys in the area; unfortunately we didn’t see any other birds of prey, so cracked open a can of rum and coke, a few bottles of red and settled in for the night.  According to some scribbles on the wall, the flue had blown off so it had been decided to start afresh and build a whole new fire place. An unopened bag of pink mats on the top bunk also suggested the hut might be getting some insulation in the near future.

Clear skies that night made for some nice photos of moonlit tarns and trees; it also meant it was very cold, and we could hear the hoarfrost cracking up through the ground.  I decided to get up early to check out the sunrise and wasn’t disappointed, as all of the tarns had frozen over, as well as parts of the larger lakes. A fiery reflection of the sky on the ice was worth the frozen hands and face. We packed up after breakfast and returned along the Pillans Lake Track to conduct more surveys on the way. This time, we were lucky enough to see two Wedge Tailed Eagles (likely to be the same pair from the day before) and a Brown Falcon during a survey. On the way back out, we decided to walk back the long way and avoid crossing the Ouse.  I had only recorded the GPS track for the return journey

Kerrisons Hut to Bernacchi – 16.7kms in just over 6 hours including lunch and surveys, 207m ascent.

Getting there: From the Lakes Highway at Liaweenee, turn onto the Lake Augusta Road until you reach the Thousands Lake Lodge.  The shorter track that crosses the Ouse starts just up from the boat ramp, but the Pillans Lake 4wd Track starts a few kms past the lodge.

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GPS track on the way out – the shorter track follows the northern end of Lake Augusta from Bernacchi. 
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Sunrise on Lake Augusta
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Large cushion plants
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Old vehicle tracks on the short cut
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An open but very boggy paddock
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Large pineapple grass mounds by the track
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A lone pine at at night
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Kerrisons Hutand our campsite
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A fiery sunrise
Landscape
Frozen tarns at sunrise
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A great place to camp
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Patterns in the ice
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Ice up close
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AB acknowledging the crowd
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Not so easy going
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A secret garden
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Approaching the plain
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Wombat toilet
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Long shadows as we approach Lake Augusta
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A convenient crossing

 

Clear Hill

Abel#105; 1198m

The day started off with a quick visit to Adamsfield after collecting the key from the Mt Field Visitors Centre. We had a look around the Clarke Huts and some old machinery, before heading further along the Morley Track to poke around the old mine sites.  After negotiating a couple of creeks and puddles we reached a large section of the track that was significantly under water, and decided not to take the risk and return in drier times.

After performing a 48 point turn, we returned to Clear Hill Road and continued on for a few kms to the start of the Clear Hill Track.  There is a small cairn on the left hand side of the road, and a number of ribbons on the right hand side that indicate the start leading up the embankment. The first ~10 minutes from the road follow a steep and slippery track cut through thick bush before reaching the ridge.  At this point, a number of large conglomerate boulders occupy the landscape and The Thumbs can be seen across Clear Hill Plains. We were lucky to get a quick glimpse of Gordon Gorge before the clouds settled in, and any chance of getting a view from the top had vanished.  From this point the track climbs steadily, passing by a number of very large boulders that seem out of place.  At one point the track descends into a gully and passes by a small cave on the left hand side, before the final climb to the summit.

We reached the summit trig 1.5 hours after starting and had some lunch out of the wind.  I can only imagine the views of Stepped Hills, The Thumbs and the Denisons would be pretty spectacular on a clear day.  On the way back we stopped to check out Adams Falls which had a lot of water coming down.

All up 5.1kms in 3 hours and 10 minutes with 592m ascent.

Drive along the Gordon River Road until you reach Clear Hill Road (4kms past the Scotts Peak Dam turnoff). Follow Clear Hill Road for 21.6kms and the track will be on the right.

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Adamsfield Hut
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Old machinery at Adamsfield
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Morleys Mansion
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Rust and lichen
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Looking towards The Thumbs
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Clear Hill Plains and Gordon Gorge
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Gordon Gorge
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Near the summit
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Lake Gordon on the way down
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More cloud on the way down
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Large boulders
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Interesting geology
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Adams Falls

 

 

 

Mt Marian and Collins Cap

Mt Marian Abel #127; 1144m

Accessing this Abel is possible from a number of different starting points, the easiest being driving along the East West Trail.  However, we decided to head up from the Myrtle Forest Track and check out a few other land marks along the way.  Unfortunately there was very little water coming down Myrtle Forest Falls, so we pushed on towards the track junction just after crossing the creek and continued right towards the Collins Cap Trail. This was the first time I had walked through this area and was surprised to see a number of large trees and heaps of Candle Heath, particularly in the more open sections of track.

We reached the Collins Cap Trail in 45 minutes and decided to continue up towards the East West Trail.  Once on the East West Trail, we headed west and followed it to the shortcut that bypasses the Mountain River Track and rejoins the East West Trail just past the Trestle Mountain turnoff.  This whole section of track is easy walking along fire trails and provides good views of Collins Bonnet, Mt Marian and the Derwent Valley through the trees.  We reached the start of the Mt Marian Track 1 hour and 40 minutes after starting, but decided to go and check out Fools Tarn first.  It was just by chance that we decided to leave the trail where we did and stumbled across a number of cairns that led us directly to our destination.

We then had the idea to head further west to try and find a reasonable way down to Hutchinson’s Falls. After finding a few more cairns we thought we were on the right track, but quickly ended up in some THICK scrub- a nice mix of banksia, tea tree and bauera over uneven ground.  We gave up shortly after and returned to the East West Trail to summit Mt Marian. We reached the top in 30 minutes, following a well-marked pad and took a few quick snaps before heading back to the car.  On the way back we ducked up to Collins Cap and were lucky to see some nice clouds forming over Collins Bonnet. The howling wind meant we didn’t stay too long on the summit, quickly taking some more photos before making a speedy return back down. Emily managed to over-estimate how quickly she could negotiate the downhill, ending up with a bruised knee and torn pants for her trouble.  Over all this is a very enjoyable walk-  plenty to see, not far from home and we have plans to return over winter.

All up 19.7 kms in 6.5 hours with 1170m

Getting there: If coming from Hobart, drive through Collinsvale and turn left onto Springdale Road, follow for 1.8kms to Myrtle Forest Road then you will reach the boom gate and carpark.

 

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GPS track
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Heading up through the forest
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Myrtle Forest Falls
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Top of Myrtle Forest Falls

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A large Pineapple Grass clump and Mt Marian behind
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Collins Bonnet
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Fools Tarn
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One of the cairns we found leaving Fools Tarn
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Start of the Mt Marian Track on the East West Trail
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Pineapple Grass fields on the Mt Marian Track
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Collins Cap (L) and Collins Bonnet (R) from Mt Marian

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Collins Cap from the shortcut
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Yellow Cliffs from Collins Cap
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Collins Bonnet from Collins Cap