Sitting between the easily accessible Mt Hartz and Adamsons Peak, Esperance Peak is rarely visited and doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. I had gathered some information regarding access, but was unsure as to what we would encounter along the way. We were surprised to find a recently taped and mostly cleared route all the way to the plateau.
The track begins along an old, overgrown forestry road which heads west for a few hundred meters before heading up into the forest. A steep climb ensues before entering a patch of cutting grass where the track makes use of a number of fallen logs. A small creek is crossed about 35 minutes in, which was the only source of water on the way up. The initial crossing was dry, as the creek appeared to be running underground; but water was accessible a bit further up the track.
A number of fallen trees need to be crawled under before the forest opens up and the pandani start to appear. After ~2.4kms – or about 1hour 20 minutes – the gradient increases as you make your way up the steep and scrubby edge of the plateau. Suddenly the views opened up, and we spent some time checking out the geology on the northern rim before picking a clear line through the alpine scrub. There were a number of small tarns on the southern side that were full of water, but looked like they would dry pretty quickly during the warmer months. We stumbled across a faint pad and followed it towards the northern ridge before heading southwest to the summit, as this pad avoids a scrubby section on the eastern slopes. Once on top, we were treated with uninterrupted views in all directions and had a longer than usual lunch, before making our way back the way we came. Just after dropping off the plateau, I made a small detour to check out the large cliffs just south of the track which can be seen on aerial imagery, and are only a few minutes from the track. We arrived back at the car in just over 2 hours.
All up 8.8kms in 5 1/2 hours with 740m ascent.
Getting there: Follow the Huon Highway past Dover until you reach the bridge over the Esperance River. Turn right onto Esperance River Road just before the bridge and follow it for 11.3kms until you reach Casey’s Road. Turn left and follow Casey’s Road for 5.1kms and turn right onto Casey Spur 7. About 100m up there road there is a small carpark and the start of the old forestry road.
While visiting Emily’s family in Burnie, we were keen to tick off an Abel in the area. We ended up choosing Mt Tor, as it relatively close-by and should’ve been pretty quick to get up and back. There are a couple of ways to access this Abel, both outlined in the Abels Vol.1; we choose the northern route, as there can accessibility issues on the western approach due to forestry activity.
The track starts by crossing Dempster Creek- thankfully, it’s not deep enough to cause any problem though the rocks are quite slippery. Shortly after, you reach the Leven River which can be a bit more difficult to get through due to deeper patches and a stronger current. Unable to pass safely where the road traverses the river, we headed upstream to see if we could find a more suitable crossing. A few minutes later we came across a shallower section with a number of partly exposed rocks. The rocks were incredibly slippery, but I managed to get across without getting wet; however, Emily was not so lucky and took a dip. Having made it past the two major obstacles, we pushed on, following the old 4WD road along the banks of the river before veering left and finding the final creek crossing at Tor Creek.
From here the track begins to wind up through nice rainforest, climbing steeply before levelling off and then descending slightly. After 3.7kms we arrived at a fork and continued left and up for a few hundred meters before reaching a large cairn indicating the track upwards. The tapes seemed to disappear almost immediately and we were left with no choice but to find our own way up. Initially, we were able to follow some rocky sections and avoid the thick scrub, but we were soon met with a wall of bauera and his mates tea tree and banksia. Any attempt to stay dry was thrown out the window as we pushed up through the wall of scrub. Thankfully, we had already climbed a fair way and we soon reached the buttongrass fields which we were able to cross without too much trouble. Unfortunately the cloud was still present and we got no views whatsoever atop the wet and windy summit.
On the return we found a slightly better route down that avoided the worst of the scrub but had a number of cliffs to negotiate and clamber down. We also found a better river crossing about 100m upstream from where we first crossed, marked by an old road entry.
All up 12.7kms in 5hours and 45 minutes with 791m ascent.
Getting there: Turn off the Bass Highway at Ulverstone onto Preston Road. Follow this past Preston and onto South Preston Road towards Nietta. At Nietta turn right onto Loongana Road (also marked as Leven Canyon). Follow this for 21.2kms and park down by Dempster Creek.