After unsuccessfully attempting to summit Quoin Mountain- largely due to access issues- we returned to Hobart and made our way to the Big Bend car park. The plan for the afternoon was to summit Mt Connection via the Big Bend Trail, then return via Thark Ridge.
The track initially follows a wide and rocky 4wd trail that is used as an entry point to the East West Trail. After 1.8kms, there will be a sign indicating the Collins Bonnet Trail on the left hand side. We followed this for a few minutes before reaching a second Collins Bonnet Trail sign and turning right. From here you enter an open moor that has been duck boarded as it crosses the numerous streams and pool that make up the beginning of Mountain River. The track then climbs gradually as it passes along the northern edge of Mt Connection, and a small cairn is encountered indicating the way up to the summit. We sat in the sun on the summit for a few minutes before heading off once more.
We backtracked down to the small Collins Bonnet sign, then turned right and continued up to Thark Ridge. We completed the circuit and walked back down the road to the car, after poking around an old hut. Note that the section between Collins Bonnet Trail and Thark Ridge is not maintained or marked, and is overgrown in sections.
All up 12.2kms in 3hours and 20 minutes with 544m ascent.
Getting There: Drive along Pinnacle Road until you reach the clearly marked Big Bend Trail. Additional parking can be found a few hundred meters up the road and the Thark Ridge Carpark.
Having spent the past few weeks eating excessive amounts of nasi campur in Indonesia, it was time to get some exercise. I had been interested in visiting Deep Glen Bay for some time, primarily to drive in by boat and go diving, but I have also heard that the walk in is pretty special. The opportunity to bag a nearby peak was also enticing and with that, we had decided to do it as a circuit. This was put together with information from Dennis’s excellent blog, Hiking South East Tasmania, which I encourage you to check out if you don’t know it already. Link here.
We parked at the carpark on Macgregor Road and followed the signs toward Macgregor Peak. This track follows a zig zag fire trail up to a fire tower, which we reached in just over 20 minutes. Note that there is a track that descends to the other carpark, which can be accessed a few kms past the MacGregor Road turnoff. The views from here weren’t great, so we continued up through the bush. The forest just past the fire tower was still regenerating from the last big bush fire and as a result was rather boring. As we climbed, the impact of the bushfire seemed to reduce until we reached forest that had been largely spared. At this point we entered some very unexpected but beautiful moss covered forest and followed this up to the summit.
Unfortunately the clouds had not lifted and the views across to Eagle Hawk Neck were non-existent. Keen to keep moving, we followed the track (to the right of the sign that says fire tower 1h) along the ridge in a north easterly direction. The forest along the ridge was as stunning, if not even more stunning than the way up and it was a shame to drop down to Schofields Road. A few hundred meters down the road we passed a small hut. The door had been left open and it looked pretty grim, though someone had stored a fair bit of firewood in there which might lighten the mood somewhat. I had read somewhere that there used to be a large shark jaw in there that was supposedly found at Deep Glen Bay- unfortunately there was no sign of it anywhere.
Continuing along Schofields road for a few hundred meters, we saw a number of Pink Breasted Robins finding some breakfast in the mud. We soon reached a sharp left turn, but continued straight down through the old forestry road. We followed this towards Deep Glen Creek for about 10 minutes before reaching a small clearing on the right hand side of the track. From here there is a reasonably well-marked but steep route down to Deep Glen Bay, which follows and frequently traverses Deep Glen Creek. A number of large, recently fallen trees need to be negotiated but overall the huge man-ferns and sassafras make for a very pleasant walk to the ocean. We reached the bottom in an hour and had some lunch on the rocks, before a quick 45 minute trip back up to the road.
To get back to the car we backtracked along Schofields Road, past the turn off to MacGregor Peak until we reached a fork, about 2.2 kms past the hut. Note there is a taped tracked through the bush a hundred or so meters before the fork, that cuts out maybe 200m of road walking. We followed this for another 2.2 kms as it climbed steeply before dropping back down to Macgregor Road.
All up 15.1kms in just over 6 hours with 919m ascent.
Getting there: The turnoff to Macgregor Road off the Arthur Highway is approximately 5kms past the small township of Murdunna, heading towards Eagle Hawk Neck. There is also a sign by the road that says Fazackerlys Range Circuit. Access to the other Macgregor Peak track, which rejoins the route described above at the fire tower, can be accessed by driving a couple of kms further along the Arthur Highway and taking the next left turn up Pattmans Road.