All posts by bogholesbuckethats

Ironstone Mountain and Forty Lakes Peak

It was the Queen’s birthday long weekend and we were setting out on our first walk with the Pandani Walking Club.  The walk was a 2 nighter visiting huts along the Western Tiers, and the summits of Forty Lake Peak and Ironstone Mountain.  The proposed plan was to walk up the Higgs Track to Lady Lake Hut on day 1, where we would set up camp and spend the night.  For day 2 we would walk to the hut next to Lake Nameless, drop our packs and head to Forty Lakes Peak before returning to the hut.  On the final day we would head off track towards Lake Ironstone, and then climb up Ironstone Mountain before returning to the cars via the Western Creek Track.

Day 1:  Higgs Track to Lady Lake.

We left Hobart just before 8 so that we could meet up with the others in Deloraine.  We met AB and Jane at the Deli in Deloraine to grab a quick coffee before heading off to the start of the Higgs Track.  Along the way we met John and continued along the back roads of the Meander Valley and finally on to forestry roads to reach the car park (directions at the bottom of the page).  Given that we were walking out via a different route a few clicks up the road, we did a quick car shuttle to leave one car at the end of the Western Creek Track.  After a quick bite to eat and a final pack check we were ready to head off.

We were spoilt with the weather, with plenty of blue sky and almost no wind.  The Higgs Track starts off reasonably flat but then quickly begins to climb up towards the Great Western Tiers.  Some sections are fairly steep, but overall it is a pretty pleasant climb through old forests.  The restoration of the track back in 2014 using ancient Scottish stone-pitching techniques provides a nice level surface to walk on, even when the gradient begins to increase.  Sections of rock wall-presumably used as a retaining wall-are also quite impressive and make for a good photo.  Once you pop out on top you can see the Lady Lake Hut about 150m in front of you.  This open section is quite boggy but a few strategically placed logs make crossing the small and particularly deep ponds very easy.  To our surprise there was no one at the hut, which meant we had first choice on where we would camp.  We chose a slightly elevated section of ground between the hut and the toilet (which I’m told has a fantastic view) and got to work unpacking all of our gear.  We wandered around the area for some time taking photos of Lady Lake, which can’t be seen from the hut but is only a 2 minute walk away; surprisingly, some of the smaller ponds still had ice in them.  When we returned we met a young girl and her mum who had just walked up the Higgs Track and were planning to spend a couple of nights sleeping in the Lady Lake Hut.

Not long after we spotted another couple of people popping up over the horizon; this was likely to be Simon and Jess who had decided to join us last-minute as their kayaking trip looked in doubt due to large rainfall forecast for the South West.  As the sun began to set I positioned my camera next to a small pond and a King Billy Pine in order to catch some colour changes of the sky.  I was not disappointed.

We only had a short walk on day 1 – 2.9kms in 2 hours with a 524m ascent.  It was nice to have some time to relax and look around, as normally we push to walk as far as possible without time to pitch the tent and relax for a few hours.

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The start of the Higgs Track from the car park.
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AB leading on the Higgs Track.  The stonework is impressive.
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Lady Lake Hut as you pop out from the Higgs Track.  Lady Lake to the right of picture.
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Setting up camp.  Higgs Track continues up behind the tents.  Hut 20m to the right.
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Inside Lady Lake Hut. No wood heater but there is an alcohol burner and plenty of space.
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A sea of grass.  The Lady Lake Hut is sheltered behind the hill.
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Emily, John and Jane having a chat at the Lady Lake outlet.

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King Billy at sunset.

Day 2:  Walking to Lake Nameless and Forty Lakes Peak.

I set the alarm at 7am to catch the sunrise.  I had woken up earlier that morning when Emily had to go to the toilet, and I could hear the frost cracking under her feet.  She said that everything was white and spent a bit of time walking around under the bright light of the full moon.  I was hoping that it would still be white when I got out but that was no longer the case.  The weather that morning was a big step down from the day before, as mist had settled in and it looked like there were going to be a couple of showers.  We had some breakfast and packed up our damp tents and followed a taped/cairned route out behind where our tents were towards Lake Nameless.  After a short climb we reached the top of a small hill and caught sight of a number of lakes,  unfortunately the low-lying cloud had obscured our vision of any nearby peaks.  The pad was easy to follow with a number of ribbons and cairns to mark the way.   We passed a number of lakes, including Weston’s Lake and Lake Lucy Long, before we reached the northern end of Lake Nameless.  As we walked down the western side of the lake, we caught a glimpse of Mt Ironstone in the distance and that of the much closer Forty Lakes Peak perched behind the Lake Nameless Hut. By this stage it had been raining on and off and the constant mist had effectively dampened our clothes and packs.

We arrived at the hut after 2 hours and 40 minutes and covered 6.6kms with a 200m ascent.  During trout season this hut gets used regularly by fishermen and is home to a very nice Tassie Barrel wood heater, but unfortunately the last people there had burnt all the wood so we had to go and find our own.  We managed to find a fair bit of dry timber in the vicinity, enough to get the fire lit and to start warming up the hut.  The Lake Nameless hut appears much older that the Lady Lake Hut and is significantly colder and darker.  A brief pause in the rain allowed myself and AB to set up our tents on the limited flat ground surrounding the hut while John, Simon and Jess decided to sleep in the hut instead.  With plenty of light left in the day we decided to go up to Forty Lakes Peak, then walk down the south-eastern side to try to find some old cairns that mark the Ritter’s Track.  The walk up to Forty Lakes Peak follows a cairned pad past the toilet about 50m to the east of the hut and up through some scrub and snow gum forest.  About 20 minutes later we had reached the peak.

We descended on the south-eastern side to look for the 100-year-old cairns that mark the Ritter’s Track.  The Ritters Track is a 100-year-old stock route originally used by a Meander Valley farmer called Charles Ritter who used to drive cattle to the Walls of Jerusalem, more information can be found here.

http://www.simoncubit.com.au/blog/ritters-track

We eventually found a number of very old-looking cairns that were covered in lichen, unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of any but I’m sure they will still be there the next time I’m in the area.  Our last night was spent in the hut back at Lake Nameless where we ate dinner and dessert, as well as some delicious custard prepared by Jane.

Day 2: 10.8kms in 6 hours in 15 minutes including breaks and only 399m ascent.

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Misty morning on day 2.
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Our campsite at dawn.
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Morning light.
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A bit of water of the Higgs Track
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Westons Lake
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Creek between Westons Lake and Lake Lucy Long.
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Leaving Lake Lucy Long.
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Creek crossing.
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Heading around the western side of Lake Nameless.
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The hut at Lake Nameless
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Ironstone Mountain as the clouds clear.
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Forty Lake Peak.
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Ironstone from Forty Lakes Peak.
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Heading down to find the Riddis Track.
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Scoparia balls.

 

Day 3: Ironstone Mountain and the Western Creek Trail

Today was going to be a long day so we set our alarm for 6:30 and had all of our bags packed to leave at 8.  The sunrise that morning was very special.  We headed east along the lake and made our way towards Ironstone Mountain.  The next few hours of walking were all off track but navigating was easy due to the large open spaces.  We eventually reached Lake Ironstone and proceeded to walk around the western side until we reached a pad leading up the saddle to Ironstone.  There were a number of scattered cairns on the way up but for the most part we made our own way through some scrub and over small boulder fields.

The summit of Ironstone is marked by a trig that John had painted about 10 years earlier.  However, the last time he arrived by helicopter.  The lack of cloud provided a full 360 degree view of the Walls of Jerusalem in the south-west,  Ben Lomond NP to the east,  the Meander valley and Mother Cummins to the north-east and Mt Roland towards the north-west.  We shared a few lollies and chocolate then returned to where we had left our packs.  The trip up from the northern end of Lake Ironstone took a little over 2 hours with a couple of breaks along the way.

We had our final lunch of the trip next to the lake then proceeded to head north to find Whiteley’s Hut and the Western Creek Track.   This didn’t prove too difficult and before long we were following a pad down to the hut.  From here the view back towards Ironstone are pretty impressive.  Whiteley’s Hut is a small but seemingly cosy hut that has a good wood heater and room for ~4 people.  There were a couple of people camped there who, unfortunately had decided to bring their dogs into the world heritage area.

The rest of the walk follows the beautiful Western Creek Track down the gully.  There are countless waterfalls and rock pools almost all of the way down.  Compared to the Higgs Track on day 1 this is considerably more undulating, and also has a water crossing sections that would prove difficult following heavy rain.  I would not hesitate to come back here though as it is truly an amazing walk.

We arrived at the carpark and thanks to a car shuffle a few days earlier we were able to drive a couple of km down the road to the Higgs Track carpark and pick up the rest of the vehicles.  That brought an end to a very enjoyable weekend away and our first walk with Pandani was a success.  Big thanks to AB, Jane, John, Simon and Jess and we hope to catch up again soon.

Day 3: 12.5kms in 7 hours and 20 minutes, 338m ascent and 803m descent.

All up 26.6Kms with 1261m ascent.

 

Getting There:

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Sunrise over Lake Nameless and Ironstone Mountain
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Lake Nameless
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Open walking towards Lake Ironstone.
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Approaching Lake Ironstone.

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Pools by the lake.
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Looking back at Lake Ironstone.
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Climbing up the saddle to Ironstone Mountain.
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A wedge tail and the Walls of Jerusalem.
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Approaching the summit.
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AB and John taking in the view.
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A small pool with a view.
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Rock hoping back down to Lake Ironstone
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Pencil Pine by Lake Ironstone
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Heading down to Whiteley’s Hut and the Western Creek Track.
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Looking back towards Ironstone.

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Whiteley’s Hut

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Very cosy.
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Western Creek

 

Winterbrook Falls

Winterbrook Falls lies in the Winterbrook Forest Reserve, about an hours drive south of Burnie.   This is a nice half day walk (3-4 hours return) that takes you through old myrtle forests and up to about 900m in altitude.  There hadn’t been much rain in the previous days but there was still a fair bit of water coming down the falls, allowing us to walk around the base without getting too wet.

This weekend had been set aside to visit Emily’s family in Burnie, and we were hoping to have some free time on the Sunday to go and bag a peak in the area.  Originally the plan was to hike up to Black Bluff via the Penguin-Cradle trail but this was likely to take the best part of a day so we decided to cut the walk right down.  I wasn’t overly disappointed as I had a few too many wines the night before.  The walk we chose to do was a more leisurely 3-4 hour return to Winterbrook Falls, which lies just below the Black Bluff ridge.

The walk starts along the old forestry road and passes over the eroded bridge.  Turning left at the fork brings you to the old carpark and the start of the Tramway track.  The beginning of the track is mainly duck boards followed by open forest and a small bridge.  The track then climbs slightly while still following  the old snig track.   About an hour in you will reach Winterbrook Creek which provides a nice spot to stop and refill drink bottles.  From here, the track climbs reasonably steeply until it opens up to reveal the falls from afar.  To get to the base of the falls, continue along the duck boards and follow the signs/ribbons.  The final climb to the falls is short but fairly steep and could be difficult if there is a lot of water coming down.  We decided not to return via the slightly longer Maxwell track as we had to be back in Burnie for lunch.

All up 9.7kms in 3 hours and 15 minutes.  390m ascent.

Getting there: Take the B15 (Castra Road) off the Bass Highway at Ulverstone.  Continue along this road through Sprent and Upper Castra until you reach South Nietta Road.  Drive along South Nietta Road then continue straight onto Smith Plains Road.  Follow all signs for Winterbrook Forest Reserve.

Black Bluff can also be accessed via this track but I believe it is a bit steeper and more challenging than the Penguin-Cradle trail.  For those interested in reaching Black Bluff from here, you can start along the Maxwell track by turning right at the fork past the collapsed bridge (continuing along Smiths Plains Rd).  Alternatively you can walk the Tramway Track and turn right about 5 minutes before the falls to cut across to the Maxwell track.

 

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GPS route.
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Sign indicating the collapsed bridge and the new car park.
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The traffic hazard.
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There is an information sign at the beginning of the track.  We only walked the Tramway track.
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The old Tramway from the footbridge.
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Open walking in old forests.
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Duck boards near the start of the walk.
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Odd fungi on the side of the track.
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A Fun Guy.
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Playing around with the live exposure function on my camera.
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Winterbrook Creek.

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Our first glimpse of Winterbrook falls
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Winterbrook falls from the base.

 

Mt Field West

Mt Field West; 1435m; Abel #24.

Almost a month had passed since our last walk up to Nevada and Snowy South; I’d been checking the weather all week and Sunday looked like it was going to be a good day for a longer walk.  Up until now, I hadn’t actually been to Mt Field when the tows weren’t  running, and the snow was deep enough to need snow shoes or seal skins.  We arrived at the Lake Dobson carpark around 9am and quickly set off towards the ski fields along the Urquhart track.  Shortly after, we reached the 4WD track that zig zags its way up towards the ski fields and continued up until we reached the start of the Snow Gum track.  The weather was as forecast- blue skies and no wind what so ever.  As we started to climb up along the Rodway Range cloud started to make its way up the valley, obscuring the nearby peaks and lakes.  Pockets of snow that had survived the previous days sun had started to melt and there was plenty of fresh water on and around the track.

The walk along the Rodway Range involves a bit of rock scrambling and was made more exciting by the frozen puddles that displayed interesting patterns of frozen ice.  We then started to descend towards the K. Col. hut and a break in the cloud revealed Naturalist Peak and Mt Field West.  Just before the hut you will reach a junction that marks the start of the Newdegate Pass track on your right.  We continued straight and made our way up and along the ridge that leads to Mt Field West, with a small detour to the summit of Naturalist Peak.

Unfortunately the view from the summit was pretty average due to the low lying cloud surrounding it and everything else around it.  While eating lunch we started chatting with a guy who had walked in carrying a full ~70L pack full of photography equipment, including a drone that he was going to use to shoot a promo for Parks and Wildlife.  This was the second time he had walked in in as many days and both times the cloud cover was too great.  We also chatted with a German guy who had spent the night in the Newdegate Hut and advised us not to ever stay in there, as it’s probably warmer if you sleep outside.

Having made it to the top of Mt Field West in 3 hours and 15 minutes we decided to take a small detour back through Newdegate Pass and The Tarn Shelf  instead of walking back along the Rodway Range. We followed Newdegate Pass past The Watcher and down towards Newdegate Lake, where we checked out the cold and crappy hut that smelt like possum piss and took lots of photos of the yellowing Nothofagus gunnii.  The lack of wind the entire day made for a nice walk despite the cloud cover, and provided some nice reflections in the lakes and small tarns along The Tarn Shelf.  The track made its way back up towards the main ski fields, where we rejoined the Snow Gum Track and made our way back down towards Lake Dobson.  The walk out from Mt Field West  via Newdegate Pass and The Tarn Shelf  took 4 hours and 15 minutes.

All up 23.9km in 7 hours and 32 minutes with plenty of stops for photos.

Getting there:  Getting to Mt Field National Park is very easy.  From Hobart follow directions to New Norfolk,  here is a good place to stop for additional supplies.  Continue past New Norfolk towards Maydena and Lake Pedder,  the turn off to Mt Field is on the right hand side between Westbury and Maydena.  To get to Lake Dobson continue past the visitors centre and follow the dirt road for 20kms until you reach the end of the road.  Chains may be required in winter after decent snow but road access is dependant on the availability of the grader used to clear the road.

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Blue skies over Lake Dobson as we head off.
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Looking towards the Rodway Range from the Snow Gum track.
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Frozen puddles all along the track.
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Naturalist Peak and Mt Field West appear out of the cloud as we descend the Rodway Range.  K Col Hut is the shiny thing on the left.
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The junction before K Col hut.  Wylds Craig poking out of the clouds.
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Clemes Tarn and Florentine Peak.
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Peaks poking out of the cloud.
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Looking back towards The Watcher from Mt Field West.
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Looking toward K Col hut and Florentine Peak from the summit of The Watcher
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Plenty of small tarns along the Newdegate Pass
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Lake Newdegate

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Backhouse Tarn

 

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Mount Bridges
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Nothofagus gunnii
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Lake Dobson as we walk out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nevada Peak and Snowy South

Nevada Peak; 1390m; Abel #42

Snowy South; 1398m; Abel #38.

The last couple of walks we went on were in the Franklin Gordon National Park so we decided to stay south.  There were a couple of day walks that I wanted to check out including Mt Burgess, Nevada Peak as well as Mt Riveaux.  I can’t think of any reason as to why we chose to do Nevada but that’s what we ended up choosing.  I hadn’t heard much about this walk but knew it was between Snowy North and Snowy South and, on a clear day, provided excellent views of Mt Weld.  The plan was to walk to Nevada Peak then Snowy South before heading back out again.

A quick stop in Banjos Huonville to pick up lunch then we followed the Huon River towards Judbury.  We then continued out past the Rivers Edge camping ground and began winding up Russell Road.  Unfortunately we reached a bridge over the Russell River that has been blocked.  A quick glance at the GPS showed that we were roughly 5kms from the start of the track and it looked as though the other access road would take ~45 minutes to reach.  We decided then to cross the bridge by foot and walk along the road until we reached the start of the track.  It took approximately an hour to reach the start of the track.  Note that about 10 minutes before the start you will reach a bridge that has partly collapsed,  this is where you will have to leave your car and continue on foot.

Follow this road and stay left when it forks until you reach the end of the road and the old carpark.  From here follow the blue sign posts towards the forest,  before long you will see the sign indicating the start as well as the walker registration box.  The track then slowly climbs through the mossy forest and involves a traversing a couple of logs with foot holes cut out. Overall the track is well marked and easy to follow,  it was a nice change from some of the more overgrown tracks that we had encountered in the months before.  Thirty five minutes after the registration box we reached the junction and turned right towards Woolleys Tarn.  The track then continued to climb through pandani and myrtle forests until it opened up and revealed Wetpants Peak and Woolleys Tarn.  Although Woolleys Tarn did provide a good spot to stop and refill drink bottles, it was not that interesting and we decided to keep on moving.  The climb from Woolleys Tarn to the plateau below Nevada Peak was slightly overgrown and required a keen eye to spot the next cairn or ribbon.  Once on the plateau we walked towards the Snowdrift Tarns so that we could summit from the southern side.  From what I could see there was no marked track here just a mix of pineapple grass, cushion plants, scoparia and the occasional boulder to navigate around.  To get to the summit we followed a rocky scree and before long we had reached the top.  After a quick look around and some photos from the summit we sought shelter from the strong wind and had some lunch.

At this point we had to decide whether we would try to climb Snowy South before heading back to the car.  It was already almost 1pm and we had to factor in the extra hour of walking back to the car because of the stuff up in driving to the start of the walk. We decided to give it crack and headed off along the ridge in the direction of Snowy South.  Mt Weld could be easily seen towards the west and is definitely on the bucket list of overnight walks to do in the near future.  The walk between Nevada and Snowy South involved a lot of scrambling over various sized boulders and careful foot placement to avoid slipping and I would not recommend it to everyone.  Careful route planning before ascending may help a lot and save a considerable amount of backtracking.  Dispersed between the rocky sections are flatter areas with lots of small shrubs and cushion plants that shouldn’t be walked on.  The last rocky section before reaching the summit of Snowy South is probably the most difficult as the rocks here a quite large and can be very slippery.

We reached the very windy summit around 2:30 and had a quick snack and a drink before heading back towards the Nevada Peak track.  By this stage we were planning to be back at the start of the track just before dark and then walk along the road back to the car.  On the way back I made a couple of small detours to check out the Honeybird Basin and Dungeon Tarn from above.  There is also an unnamed tarn to the north of Dungeon Tarn that features heavily in the photos taken that day.  After refilling our water bottles at one of the Snowdrift Tarns below Nevada Peak we set off back down to the car park, this time taking the more direct route.  The light was slowly fading and the thick canopy made it harder to see the track ahead.  We made it back to the old carpark then continued to walk along the road for about 15 minutes before night fell.  The rest of the walk back to the car was helped by a phone torch light as the moon was hiding.

All up 30.3km in a total of 10 hours and 14 minutes and 1565m ascent.  Note that if you take the correct route you can shave off about 10kms of road walking and approximately 2 hours.

Getting there:  The correct route as of 18th of April 2017 is to head towards Judbury from Huonville then drive along Lonnavale Road where you will reach Denison Road. Continue along Denison Road and follow all signs towards Lake Skinner.  You will eventually end up on McDougalls Road which you will follow for about 6.3kms where you will see the last sign indicating the Lake Skinner track.  Continue along McDougalls Road following all signs indicating Forrest Drive.  1.5kms later you will now be on Russell Road which you will follow for 6kms.  At the intersection turn left (turning right will lead to a blocked bridge about 1km down the road) and follow this road for 4.3kms, making sure you go left when the road forks about 2kms in.  You will reach a taped off part of the road indicating the collapsed bridge then continue walking up the road for about 10 minutes to reach the start of the track. Clear as mud.

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Start of the track just after leaving the logging coup.
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Plenty of climbing heath at the beginning of the track.
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Pandani searching for light.
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Walking down to Woolleys Tarn.  Wetpants Peak above.
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Walking up to the plateau from Woolleys Tarn
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Looking back down towards the start of the walk.  Collins Bonnet at the very back.
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Wetpants Peak
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Looking towards Nevada Peak
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Emily climbing up a rocky scree on the way up to Nevada Peak
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Looking towards Wetpants Peak from Nevada Peak
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Snowdrift Tarn and Snowy South
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Snowy South and blotches of shadow from the clouds.
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Small tarns of the way to Snowy South.
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Mt Weld and the Western Arthurs (back right).
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Getting closer to Snowy South.
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Boulders heading up to Snowy South.
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Nevada Peak and Snowy North from Snowy South.

 

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Unnamed tarn and the Honeybird Basin in the background.
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Dungeon Tarn out the back and unnamed tarn in the foreground.
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GPS route of the walk.  Note the waypoint indicating the start of the track if you drive the correct way.
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Elevation plot.

Wylds Craig

Wylds Craig;1339m; Abel#58

This was the last free weekend I had before the football season started and I was keen to finish clearing the trees on the Wylds Craig access road and walk up to the summit.  We arrived around 9am and spent the next 45 minutes cutting and clearing the remaining trees off the road.  We had hoped to clear the road all the way to the start of the track- however the last tree proved too big.

We set off at 10 on the dot and walked for about 5 minutes, before seeing a number of cairns on the left hand side of the road indicating the start of the track.  The path leads into myrtle forest and weaves its way through a mossy maze of fallen trees and rocks.  After a short climb the steep cliffs of Wylds Craig can be seen through the trees.  After 3.3kms we arrived at the creek which was bursting with water from the previous days rain.  Up until this point the track was in decent condition; however as soon as we crossed over the other side, the small shrubs and trees took over and slowed us down.  We then began to climb quickly and steeply through pandani forests until we reached the plateau.

The route towards the summit is well-marked with cairns and the lack of trees provides a great view of the surrounding mountains, as well as a nice change in walking pace.  We arrived at the top after 2 hours and 10 minutes and were surprised to find some snow on the shaded side of the peak.  The next 30 minutes were then spent eating lunch and taking in the view.  On the way back we made a small detour to try and get a better view of the cliffs, but we were somewhat unsuccessful.  After a short stop to refill drink bottles at the creek we arrived back at the car at 2:40 and headed off home.

All up 11.8kms with 853m ascent. 1338m max elevation.

Getting there: Shortly after passing through Maydena turn right on to Florentine Road.  Follow this road for about 20kms until you reach reach the turnoff to Eleven Road on the left hand side (there will be a sign saying Lake Rhona).  Continue along this road until you reach a T intersection.  Turn left onto Tiger Road (turning right will lead to a bridge that cannot be crossed).  Continue driving on this road for about 11.5Kms and you will reach a bridge on your right that was been closed.  Keep driving another 200 meters and the road will fork.  Stay on the left and follow this road for another 2.5kms as it climbs up.  You will reach a large tree that has blocked the road.  The start of the track is about 5 minutes walk past the tree.

 

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Large tree blocking the road.  There is just enough room to turn a car around.
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First glimpse of Wylds Craig through the trees.
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Plenty of fresh water coming down the creek.
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Pandani begin to appear in the forest as we climb higher.
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Some sections of the track require a certain degree of acrobatics.
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Wylds Craig
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Looking north-west.
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Trig and summit cairn.

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Looking north from the trig.
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Cliff face on the southern side of Wylds Craig.
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Cracked tarn refilled after some rain.
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Layered rock on our little detour.
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GPS track of the walk beginning at the fallen tree.
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Birds eye satellite imagery.
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Elevation plot.

 

Reeds Peak and Great Dome via Lake Rhona

Reeds Peak; 1290m; Abel#66

We had a couple of free days over the weekend and were looking for a reasonable overnighter.  Originally the plan was to do Pindars Peak and La Perouse but decided against it due to average weather.  We decided then to do a somewhat less ambitious walk to Reeds Peak and The Great Dome.  The plan was to leave early and clear some trees that were down on the road leading to the Wylds Craig track.  The sun had just started to come up as we passed Westerway and we were lucky to see about 100 white cockatoos perched in the gumtrees.  After what felt like a long drive on gravel roads we reached the the campsite by the Floretine River.  From here the road that leads to Wylds Craig begins to climb up-but as expected the road was blocked by trees.  We then spent the next hour clearing the road so that when we returned in a few weeks time to climb Wylds Craig we could drive straight to the start of the track.

We then back tracked along Tiger Road until we reached the turnoff to the Lake Rhona.  I’d read a number of posts about Lake Rhona saying that it is a very popular walk but didn’t expect the number of cars that were parked in the carpark.  The forecast for the day was pretty average, overcast with a possible chance of showers.

Given that it rained so much the day before I was expecting the crossing of the Gordon River to be more difficult than usual.  Luckily the fallen tree across the river was still above the water line and allowed us to cross without getting wet.  However, the log itself was very slippery in the morning shade and we were forced to cross it on hands and knees.

The plan was to walk straight to Lake Rhona, with only a short stop at Gordonvale and oncemore before the final ascent to the lake.  The walk consists mainly of button-grass plains separated by areas of forest and a few creeks that provide a good source of water to refill drink bottles.

The climb up to the lake is pretty steep and provides great views of the valley as well as Wylds Craig.  We reached the lake and bumped in to a few people who had camped there the night before and had just started to leave their tents after a misty morning to explore some of the surrounds.  According to the log book there were about 20 people up there but they all decided to camp in the areas behind the beach. Seeing so many people at a campsite felt weird to me, especially after having done Lake Sydney only a few weeks earlier and not crossing paths with anyone.  Overall we made good time even with the steep ascent, having reached Lake Rhona from the carpark in a quick 4 hours and 20 minutes.  This gave us enough time to set up camp and have a quick bite to eat before heading up to Reeds Peak and Great Dome.

From the campsite we continued around the lake; it was a nice feeling to not have a pack on.  I was also trying out a pair of cheap reef walker shoes that I bought at Rivers for about $8.  I had intended to use them as river wading shoes, but thought I would see how they held up on a steep and rocky track.  We followed a creek up towards the saddle, where we rejoined the track along a ridge-line that continues up towards Reeds Peak. Once we’d climbed up the ridge, we were treated with the view of Lake Rhona’s pink sands and dark water, surrounded by the cliffs. After taking a few photos and chatting to a group who were coming back down from the plateau, we set off to ascend Reeds. Just before reaching the base of Reeds, we passed a chute that drops straight down to Lake Rhona that makes for a good photo opportunity. The walk along the plateau is relatively flat, with plenty of cushion plants and some dried up tarns, due to drier weather in the previous weeks. It’s an easy trek along the pad to reach the rocky beginning of the climb up Reeds, with a cairn route snaking its way up to the summit. Unfortunately, upon reaching the top we had a few seconds of the view before the rain clouds rolled in and we found ourselves in a downpour. On the way back to the camp we stopped by the Great Dome; however, due to all the mist we couldn’t see Lake Gordon which was visible earlier on in the day. We made our way back to the camp around 6:30 for some dinner, hoping the rain would hold off while we dried off again. This was not the case-we cooked and ate in the tent.

In the morning we were treated with a colourful sunrise and clear skies. After breakfast, we went for a quick dip in the lake before packing up. We were on the track by 9, and as we climbed back down the ridge-line the clouds from the valley were making there way up towards the lake. After a quick stop at Gordonvale we arrived back at the car after 4 hours and 15 minutes.

All up, 36.8km and 1391m ascent.

Getting there:  Shortly after passing through Maydena turn right on to Florentine Road.  Follow this road for about 20kms until you reach reach the turnoff to Eleven Road on the left hand side (there will be a sign saying Lake Rhona).  Continue along this road until you reach a T intersection.  Turn left onto Tiger Road and follow for 1km then turn left again onto Range Road.  Follow Range Road for 3.5kms then turn left onto Terry Walsh Road.  The track starts at the end of this road.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMt Wright obscured by clouds on the walk in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking back towards Gordonvale as we begin the steep climb.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEmily pretending to smile on the walk up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur first glimpse of Reeds Peak and Lake Rhona.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWalking around the lake on the way up to Reeds Peak and Great Dome

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeading up the saddle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReeds Peak free of clouds.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGood spot for a photo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReeds Peak from the plateau.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreat view of Lake Rhona

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother angle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe only photo from the Reeds peak before the cloud and rain rolled in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInteresting rocks and Wylds Craig in the background.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinger guns. 10/10

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Looking out towards Wylds Craig.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMorning light.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunrise from the tent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABreakfast with a view.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReflections as we leave.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlues skies make a nice change from the grey of the previous day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClouds rolling up the hill as we walk out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the mist on the way back to the valley floor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatiently waiting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMist settling on 1000’s of spider webs in the button grass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlues skies for the rest of the walk out.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrossing the Gordon  River on the way out.

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Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 8.53.48 pmClose-up of the route we took to Reeds Peak and Great Dome.

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 9.02.46 pmElevtion plot.

Mt Bobs and Lake Sydney

Mt Bobs; 1111m; Abel #145

This walk had been on the list for a little while; unfortunately I still hadn’t received my camera back from getting repaired and was stuck with my phone camera.   We were really lucky with the weather with warm, blue skies and most importantly, no wind.  The plan was start at the Farmhouse Creek track around 11am then walk up to the lake before stopping for some late lunch.  We would then walk around Lake Sydney to set up camp on the southern side, near the start of the climb to the saddle.  The next morning we would head up to Bobs and the Boomerang then return to camp and collect our packs and walk back out.

After a second breakfast stop at Banjos in Huonville we arrived at the start of the Farmhouse Creek track around 11:15.  Ten minutes later we were off and followed the track along the banks of Farmhouse Creek where we encountered two large tiger snakes in the space of two minutes sun baking by the creek.  We walked next to the creek for approximately 2 hours until we reached the fallen tree that is used to cross over to the other side.  After a few quick snacks we crossed the log and continued away from the creek.  This part of the track has some particularly boggy sections, even in the middle of summer.  After about 500m we reached a small tree covered in ribbon indicating the turnoff to Lake Sydney,  where shortly after we arrived at a small clearing that could be used as a campsite if necessary.  After leaving the clearing through a small opening on the left hand side, you enter an almost impenetrable wall of cutting grass, vines and bauera with a gap just large enough to push your way through.  Luckily this section doesn’t last that long and before you know it you begin to climb up towards the Lake Sydney.

After climbing over and under a number of fallen trees and nearly treading on the third and final snake of the day we eventually reached a small opening that provided fantastic views back towards Chapman and Burgess, as well as Federation Peak.  We knew we were getting close  to the lake so we took a few quick photos then continued on our way.  From memory the track climbs a little bit more before it starts to decent into the marshy sections between Pine Lake and Lake Sydney.  About 1 hour after reaching the lookout we arrived at the sinkhole, where we stopped for a late lunch before walking around the other side of the lake.

From here on in there is no track except for the occasional ribbon in the dense forest on the way up to the saddle.   At first it was easy; all we had to do was follow the lake around the western side.  Just before reaching the camp we arrived at a small cliff that prevented us from continuing.  We had to backtrack slightly and head up into the forest above the cliff.  This section was fairly steep and scrubby and took a bit of effort with large packs on.  Before long we had reached the campsite, 5 hours and 25 minutes after leaving the Farmhouse Creek carpark.  We set up camp quickly so that we could have a quick swim and enjoy what was left of the afternoon sun.  The cliff that prevents you from walking around the lake provides a good spot to jump into the water as it drops off pretty quickly.  While we were sitting around the camp we spotted a platypus swimming out towards the middle of the lake, as well as a cormorant that seemed to be a long way from home.  That night the sky was clear and provided an excellent view of the milky way, further adding to my annoyance of not receiving my camera back in time for this walk.

The sunrise the next morning was worth waking up for and we quickly ate breakfast and packed up the majority of our stuff before heading up to the saddle between Mt Bobs.  The walk between the lake and the saddle is probably the worst part of the whole trip.  The trees and pandani are very dense and there is no real way to get your bearings.  Although we had GPS coordinates we were frequently back tracking to find a better path up.  The best advice I can give is to make your way up on the Boomerang side of the forest where you will find the occasional ribbon.  This was something we found out on the way back down.  Once we reached the saddle we had to make a decision on which peak we would summit first.  Given the climb up to the saddle took a lot longer than expected, we chose to summit Mt Bobs as it would probably take a bit longer than the Boomerang.  On the way up to Bobs we chose another bad path that led to an unclimbable cliff face and cost us about 20 minutes.  After backtracking and finding a much, much better route up we reached the top and quickly forgot about our troubles.  The view of Federation Peak that day was 10/10, and as expected there was not a breath of wind and blue skies were above the valley that was covered in cloud.  We were joined at the top by dozens of swallows that appeared to be heading south, but spent a little while whizzing around just above us.

On the way back down to the saddle we decided not to summit the Boomerang and return back to the camp to collect out bags.  I still regret that decision, but it gives us a good reason to return to this lovely place.  We stumbled across a better path on the way back down to Lake Sydney that would have made the climb up much quicker.  Almost 4 hours after leaving camp we returned and collected our packs for the walk back to the carpark.  We reached the carpark 4 hours and 54 minutes later, about 30 minutes quicker than the walk in.  I really enjoyed this overnight trip and would recommend it to anyone who is keen to get away from some of the more popular overnight walks in Tassie.

All up, 29.1km and 1474m ascent.

Getting there:  To get to Farmhouse Creek follow the directions to Mt Picton but do not turn off West Picton Road.  In short, from Geeveston head towards the Tahune Airwalk along the Arve Road.  Just before the Airwalk turn left onto Picton Road and turn right onto West Picton Road once the road forks.  Continue across the bridge over the Picton River and follow this road until you reach the gate and the start of the Farmhouse Creek track.

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Heading off at Farmhouse Creek. Bucket hat ready.
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Looking at the Eastern Arthurs and Federation Peak.
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Our first glimpse of the sinkhole and McPartlans Bluff.
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Water running into the sinkhole from Lake Sydney.

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Looking back towards the track.
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Lunch at Lake Sydney.  Our planned campsite was on the other side of the lake.
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The final hurdle to reaching the camp.
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Flag Iris by the lake.
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View from the camp looking back towards the sinkhole.
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The large boulder provided a good spot to jump into the lake.
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Sunrise on the second day.
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First light on McPartlans Bluff.
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Reflections in the water next to the camp.
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More reflection on a still morning.
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Heading around the next bend to walk up to the saddle.  Photo looking back at where we camped.
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Panorama from the top of Mt Bobs.  Federation Peak poking its pointy head out.
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Federation Peak.
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The top of Mt Bobs is very flat.
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A nearly dry tarn at the top of Mt Bobs and Federation Peak.
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Looking towards Lake Sydney from about halfway up Mt Bobs.
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Looking south.
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The walk around the lake.

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