Tyenna Peak

We had previously attempted to summit Tyenna during a winter walk to Florentine Peak; however, we hadn’t anticipated the amount of snow that day and were forced to turn back at Florentine so that we wouldn’t be walking in the dark. This time we thought we would do it as part of a circuit, beginning at Wombat Moor then heading up to Tyenna from Lake Belton, before returning via K-Col and the Rodway Range.

The track begins on duckboards across Wombat Moor – also called the Moorland Walk – which is a very short walk that has some placards with information about the local flora. Shortly after, the duckboards disappear and you reach a slightly muddy track that has become a watercourse. We were pleased to see a lot of pink, white, red and orange scoparia, a nice change from the variations of yellow that were abundant on the Ben Lomond Plateau a few weeks earlier. You then leave the moor as the track heads west up through snow gum forest to a small saddle below Mt Mawson. There are good views of Mt Mueller and the Needles before dropping down into the subalpine forest around the Humboldt River. The track down to the river was in surprisingly good condition, and I believe this is thanks to the Friends of Mt Field,  who do a lot of great work all around the Mt Field NP.

Once we reached the Humboldt River the track quickly became a muddy, and sometimes scrubby pad through button grass plains. We reached the hut in just under 2 hours, where we had a snack and admired the recent renovations carried out by the Friends of Mt Field. We had a quick look at the lake before backtracking to the small signpost near the beginning of the buttongrass section (see photos). This sign is also the start of the overgrown pad to Lake Belton. The pad climbs for a bit, before levelling out and skirting some nice small tarns just before Lake Belton. It took only 25 minutes to reach the lake from the sign, and we stopped briefly on the shores to take in the nice view and to refuel before finding a way through the forest to Tyenna Peak. From the lake we were able to scope out what appeared to be a good route up, and ultimately we were able to follow scree all the way to the top with only a very short section of scrub.

Lunch was had sitting on top of Tyenna, 60 minutes after leaving Lake Belton. The position of this peak provides a unique vantage point of the impressive Mt Field cirque as well as number of mountains within the SWNP. We then pushed onwards towards K-Col to continue our circuit around to Lake Dobson. The plateau between Tyenna and Floretine was very pleasant, with large patches of flowering scoparia, other native blooms and cushion plants surrounding alpine tarns. The only sign of other walkers that day was a tent in the bushes around Clemes Tarn, presumably there to check out the floral display. Having done the leg between K-Col and Lake Dobson a number of times now there wasn’t much need to stop and take photos. We reached Lake Dobson 1 hour and 45 minutes after leaving K-Col hut, and made our way back down the road for about 2kms to the car at Wombat Moor.

All up 21.9kms in 8hours and 18 minutes with 1052m ascent.

Getting there: The Wombat Moor carpark is on the left hand side ~2kms before Lake Dobson.

GPS track
Wombat Moor
Looking North
Forest before the saddle
Looking towards Mt Mueller
A large scoparia branch
Crossing the Humboldt on a slippery log
Boggy track and the sign (left to Lake Belton)
Tarns in the buttongrass
Lake Belcher Hut
Inside – new walls and well looked after
Lake Belcher
Tarns before Lake Belton
Lake Belton
Lake Belton panorama
Pandani family on the scree
Lake Belton from higher up
Looking towards Snowy Range from Tyenna Peak
Looking at Mt Floretine from Tyenna Peak
Alpine gardens
richea scoparia
Looking towards Mt Field West
The tarn shelf
Snow gum

South Ben Lomond Circuit

Having only been to the Ben Lomond National Park during the winter, we were keen to check out the numerous bluffs along the southern rim, as well as the two highest lakes in Tassie. We started the walk at Storys Creek, planning to do a clockwise circuit with an overnight stop at Lake Youl. The track begins on some old forestry roads and climbs up through dry sclerophyll forest for 1.2kms, before the road ends, leading onto an easy to follow path that winds higher towards the rim of the plateau. Before long, the forest gives way to large boulder fields and an uninterrupted view of Stacks Bluff and Denison Crag can be enjoyed. Cairns can be followed across the boulder field and up a steep chute on the eastern side of Denison Crag to reach the plateau. The short side trip to check out Tranquil Tarn is well worth it, especially on a warm day when extra water is required.

Once on the plateau we had a quick snack, then continued west towards Stacks Bluff. We occasionally lost the pad, but for the most part it was pretty open and easy going. We dropped packs and picked the easiest looking route up to Stacks, and stumbled across some cairns along the way. We reached the summit in just under 3 hours and spent some time walking around checking out the cliffs on all sides. On the way back to our packs we made a quick trip up to Wilmot Bluff to claim a point and get some good views NW to Heimdall and Asgard Crag. We then followed the eastern side of Lewis Creek down through Foster Vale and through to Lake Youl, passing by large cushion plants and tarns surrounded by flowering plants. The remainder of the day was spent paddling around the very shallow Lake Youl and admiring the small sand dunes formed by the relentless wind that is normally present in this area.

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Start of the track at the car park.

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Alpine finger orchid
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Stacks Bluff
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Denison Crag
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Tranquil Tarn
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Up the chute, Storys Bluff and Sphinx Bluff behind
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On the plateau
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Stacks Bluff and Wilmot Bluff
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Looking north from Stacks Bluff summit
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Dolerite stacks on the southern end of Stacks Bluff
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Nice alpine gardens
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Denison Crag, Story Bluff and Sphinx Bluff
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Asgard and Heimdall Crag from Wilmot Bluff
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Nice tarns below Wilmot Bluff
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Lewis Creek
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Tarns near Lake Youl
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Sand dunes and scoparia
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Getting ready to paddle on Lake Youl
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Sunset over Lake Youl

Day 2: The morning started well with a nice sunrise and only a faint breeze; but by the time we had packed up camp and made it about halfway to Lake Baker, the clouds rolled in from the east and visibility dropped to to about 30m. We arrived at Lake Baker and pumped up the raft for a quick paddle on Tasmania’s highest lake. Our next target was Pavement Bluff- unfortunately the cloud was still present, so we had to rely on the GPS in the absence of a marked track. We found the easiest way forward was following the rocky river bed of the River Tyne, which is no more than a small creek at this altitude.  This not only avoids some of the scrub, but also prevents damaging the sensitive alpine plants. We reached the summit of Pavement Bluff in just under two hours after leaving Lake Youl, but the clouds were still lingering and so we had no views whatsoever. Our last bluff for the weekend was Sphinx Bluff, and we experience the same sort of weather as we traversed SW across the plateau to The Knuckle where we dropped packs.

We followed a small scree down to the saddle then picked up a cairned route that climbed up the north western side of the bluff.  The dolerite on Sphinx Bluff was quite different to what we had seen on the trip so far and was well worth checking out.  Again we had no views on top, so we returned to our packs and made a bee-line to intercept Storys Creek. I was keen to check out Coal Falls but I wasn’t sure how we would go following the creek down as there was little information about it.  It ended up being pretty straight forward, and we made it to the falls without any trouble. We had some food and poked our heads into the old coal mine which was now home to a few swallows before continuing to follow the creek down, which was pretty slow going and hard on the knees. At one point the creek disappeared, leaving only a dry creek bed before reappearing about 100m downstream. As we neared the old forestry road we left the creek and made our way southwest through the open forest.  We did come across a few tapes and cairns but they were few and far between, and were more confusing than helpful. Before long we popped out on the road and were then 10 minutes from the car.

All up 27.1kms with 1196m ascent.

Getting there: The Stacks Bluff Track starts behind the old school in the small township of Storys Creek (google maps pin here).  There are a few blue arrows that indicate the way up the forestry roads.  The road is quite rough and probably not suitable for a 2wd car with low clearance. There is plenty of parking further down and would only add a few hundred meters of walking.

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Sunrise 
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Looking back at Lake Youl
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Stacks Bluff and Wilmot Bluff from the between the lakes.
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Fogbow
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Nice alpine gardens and the cloud getting thicker
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Paddling on Lake Baker
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Pavement Bluff summit
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Great view 
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Large cliffs on Pavement Bluff
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Dolerite on Sphinx Bluff
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Nice walking on Sphinx Bluff
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Storys Bluff
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Heading down Storys Creek
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Waterfall on Storys Creek
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Large dolerite towers on the way down
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Coal Falls and coal mine 
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Coal mine
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Mist on Storys Creek

Cape Queen Elizabeth

While visiting my sister on Bruny Island, we had set aside the morning to go and visit Cape Queen Elizabeth and to check up on the Cardboard Goblet, as many years had past since we were there last. The day was already starting to heat up as we made the short drive down from Great Bay to the start of the track. We passed a number of runners who were partaking in the Bruny Ultra, and we were all pretty happy not to be running 64km on hot bitumen.

We followed the sandy road on foot down towards the beach, passing by the Big Lagoon to check out some of the birdlife. The water level was pretty low so we didn’t spend long looking around.  Shortly after leaving Big Lagoon behind, the track narrows as it passes over the sand dunes behind the beach. The tide was up but on it’s way out, and we decided to try and get around the rocks below Mars Bluff. We were able to get past scrambling along without too much trouble, and spent a fair bit of time admiring the geology of Mars Bluff. The long walk along Miles Beach was made more interesting by the strange trail left by a wallaby the night before, as well as a number of juvenile sea birds and their noisy parents. The Cardboard Goblet hut is located behind the beach, and was in fair condition; according to the logbook, it also still gets a few visitors. We had contemplated staying out there one night, and we were pleased to see someone had brought in a plastic drum to collect water off the roof. However, it could do with a bit of a sweep and there appeared to be an endless stream of ants passing through.

We left the beach and began heading south through the dry eucalyptus forest. The first snake was encountered just before a section of mutton bird nests, but didn’t hang around long enough to get featured in a photo. We reached CQE after a leisurely 2hours and 20 minutes, and enjoyed some lunch overlooking a large bait ball and a pod of  dolphins in the bay.  On our way back we headed over Mars Bluff and were pleased to see a number of black cockatoos very close to the track feeding on the banksia that lines the cliff tops.

All up: 13.4kms in 4 hours and 20 minutes with 322m ascent.

Getting there: The start of the track is access just off Bruny Island Main Road, just before the airstrip (when heading south) and about 4kms before the neck lookout.

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Starting off on a section of road

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Melaleuca sp.

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Melaleuca sp.

 

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Big Lagoon

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Neck Beach – looking south

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Climbing around from Neck Beach

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Golden rays

 

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Nice rocks on Mars Bluff

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View out from the arch

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Wallaby trails

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Cardboard Goblet

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“Kitchen”

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Miles Beach and Mars Bluff

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Mars Bluff from the mutton bird nests on the way to CQE

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The Hounds Tooth

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A mountain dragon

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Looking back towards CQE from Miles Beach

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Black Cockatoos feeding on banksia