Category Archives: Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair

Reynolds Falls

I had heard very little about this waterfall, but when I saw it pop up on the Pandani program and that it was being led by AB we decided to join.  The plan was to walk to the campsite on day 1, spend day 2 walking with day packs to the waterfall, and to walk out on day 3.  The weather forecast for the weekend was hot; temperatures around 30 degrees, with the chance of rain and a thunderstorm on the final day.

Day 1: Our party of 7 left Cradle Lodge just after 9am and made our way onto the Speeler Plains, the last section of the Penguin/Cradle Trail.  It was already starting to get hot, so we spent little time out in the open and headed towards the forest.  Once you have traversed the buttongrass fields of Speeler Plains, the track to Reynolds Falls can be found off the left of the main track-about 5.8kms from the Cradle Lodge. The track then descends down an old four wheel drive track that crosses Fleece Creek, which is a good spot to have a break and refill water bottles.  From here the track climbs slightly, winding through dry forest and buttongrass fields, before a rock cairn on the right hand side indicates the start of Ossie’s Track to Reynolds Falls.  After passing over a couple of small creeks and pandani groves we bumped into the other two members of our group- Marie and Anna-who had camped further along the Penguin-Cradle trail at Fourways the night before and had planned to meet us along the track.  We continued on for another 10-15 minutes across large open plains covered in coral fern, before finding a shaded spot to have some lunch.

The track then enters open myrtle forest and descends rapidly towards Tumbling Creek, passing by a nice unnamed waterfall along the way.  We decided to name this falls Numbum falls as AB slipped straight onto his arse while crossing the slippery rock.  Descending through the forest can be particularly difficult, especially when wet, and finding the next blaze or ribbon can sometimes be tricky as a number of trees have fallen over the track.   This section of forest is pretty special; I have since heard it referred to as Cloud Forest, as the higher altitude limits growth of the understory, leading to a thick canopy of myrtle branches over an open forest floor that is only home to a patchwork of ferns. We reached Tumbling Creek 5 and a half hours after leaving the Lodge, and had made it to our campsite on a spur above Tumbling Creek shortly after.   There were a number of descent spots to pitch a tent, and a small creek about 100m metes further along the track provided an adequate source of water for us all.

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GPS track.

 

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Mt Beecroft from Speeler Plain.
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Fleece Creek.
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Walking along the 4wd track.
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Pandani Grove.
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White flowers cover the plains.
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Coral Ferns
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Descending Cloud Forest.
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Heading up from Tumbling Creek.

 

Day 2:  Expecting a shorter day than the previous, we didn’t get going until just after 9.  We passed the creek that we used to get fresh water, and the track then climbs up before contouring another spur. We followed a pad marked by blazes and ribbons down towards another potential campsite a couple of hours past our own, with room for a couple of tents and a descent water source nearby.  Much of the walk down to the falls was fairly similar and there was little to look at except a number of large trees and the occasional glimpse of the western-most slopes of Mt Beecroft.  The track then drops very steeply down to the Vale River, which we reached just over 3 hours after leaving camp.

It was very warm and we didn’t hesitate to jump into one of the many rock pools and cool off. After sufficient paddling, a few of us ventured further up the creek to the base of the falls and had a quick swim in the large and seemingly deep bowl where the water lands. Unfortunately, I was unable to take my camera up this far as it required some swimming, but I would highly recommend checking this out if the water level is low.  We spent the next 2 or so hours relaxing and taking in the view, before heading back the way we came. From the campsite it was approximately 9.5kms return in a comfortable 8 hours (including all stops).

 

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Reynolds Falls.

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Vale River downstream of the falls.
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Face in the tree.

 

Day 3: We were all packed and ready by 7am so that we could get the steep walk back up through Cloud Forest out of the way before things really started to heat up. By the time we reached the Fleece Creek crossing, it had really started to heat up and so we made the most of the last bit of cool, running water before crossing the exposed Speeler Plains.  We reached the Lodge just shy of 6 hours and were getting stuck into the refreshments and burgers before long. All up, this was a great trip over a very hot weekend. Although this trip would be possible to do over two days or even as a very long day trip, I would recommend taking your time and really taking in the waterfall.  It would have to be one of the best I have been to in Tasmania and was particularly good on a hot day.

All up: 29.4kms with 1703m ascent.

Cradle Mountain Lodge to Start of Ossies Track: 5.8kms in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

Start of Ossies Track to Tumbling Creek: 3.8kms in 3 hours (with lunch break)

Campsite to Reynolds Falls: 4.7kms in 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Getting there:  Drive to the Cradle Mountain Lodge and park in the carpark across the road at the interpretation centre.  The track can be found by following the signs to the Pencil Pine Track.

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Ursula and Marie above “Numbum” Falls.
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10 minutes before a beer and some lunch.

Mt Campbell

Abel#87; 1248m.

Australia Day long weekend had been set aside to join a Pandani Club walk to Reynolds Falls. Instead of leaving Hobart early in the morning, we decided to drive up after work and stay the night in the Cradle Mountain area.  This gave us good opportunity to bag a peak and we decided on Mt Campbell, as it’s a short walk and has an excellent view of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake.

We arrived at the Dove Lake carpark around 7pm and made our way around the eastern side of the lake and followed all directions to Hansons Peak.  Instead of walking to the saddle between Mt Campbell and Hansen Peak, we decided to head up a rocky scree a bit earlier in order to save a few minutes.  This was a mistake and most likely took a little longer than just going the regular way.  Once at the saddle head left and follow one of many paths that snake through the fagus and up towards the peak.  Once you get to the rocky scree there is only one main path that can be followed all the way to the top.  We stopped for sometime about halfway up as the sun was setting and lighting up Cradle Mountain in a yellow/orange glow.  The flat and unimpressive summit was our next target and we reached the heap of rocks that is the highpoint (~40 minutes after leaving the carpark).

All up: 4.1kms in an easy 1 hour and 40 minutes with 318m ascent.

Getting there: Follow all directions to Cradle Mountain and drive to the Dove Lake carpark.  Once at the lake, walk around the eastern side and follow directions towards Hansons Peak.  At the saddle, turn left and follow the pad up to the summit.

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GPS track.
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Emily on the way up.
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Near the top.
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Taking in the view.
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Sun setting over Marions Lookout.
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Golden hour.
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The summit cairn.

Mt Ossa

Abel #1; 1617m

Summiting Tasmania’s highest mountain had been on my mind for a very long time, but the thought of getting there and then not caring about climbing any others was a slight concern.  However, after experiencing some of the wide variety and variable difficulty  of other mountains in Tasmania, this was unlikely to be the case. We had decided to do it in style, and walk in-and-out in a day from the Arm River Track.  A number of online sources stated that it would take around the 12 hour mark, so we were keen to get an early start and be back on the road to Hobart before too late.

We arrived at the carpark at 9:30pm the night before and were surprised to see a number of cars parked, there given the weather had been pretty average over the last few days. After a quick check of daypacks and food, alarms were set for 5:30 and a restless night ensued.

We were on the track by 6:20am and made our way up the zigzag track to the western rim of the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair NP.  We reached Lake Price in 50 minutes, slightly wet from the dew covered bushes that were encroaching on the track.  In an attempt to reduce weight and increase comfort we had opted not to wear gaiters and only pack the bare minimum, not including my tripod, which I had instantly regretted when we arrived at the lake.  The next 15 minutes were spent taking a number of photos of the lake and Mt Pillinger.  From here the track descends into open myrtle forests, before crossing a small creek and onto clear marshland.  Another small tarn is passed before heading south, down into the forest and towards Lake Ayr.  The registration box can be found near the start of Lake Ayr and it also indicates the hard to see intersection with the Lees Paddocks Track.

It was then onto New Pelion Hut where we had a quick snack and avoided the hoards of miserable looking people (this might have been due to the rain the previous day or the fact that they had to sleep in a hut with 40 or so other people). We had arrived there in just under 3 hours and were making pretty good time, even with the extended stop at Lake Price.  The walk up to Pelion Gap consisted of overtaking large groups of people and Emily taking a slip on a tree root.  Fancy new steps, similar to the grippy plastic stuff that we saw on the way to Vera Hut, had been installed on the first part of the ascent to Mt Doris and made for quick climbing.  The track then contours the southern side of Mt Doris on some very nice rock work that weaves around cushion plants and scoparia, before dropping down into a saddle before the first rock scramble.  Unfortunately we were following a couple in front of us, and hadn’t paid attention to the ski poles marking the way; this meant that we went straight up the chute and had to a climb up a fairly exposed section of rock instead of the somewhat less airy route on the right hand side.

The track then dips again slightly, before the last little climb to the plateau and on to the mass of boulders that is the true highpoint. Hail had started to fall as we reached The Pools of Icarus and we sought shelter from the wind on a large rock on the northern side of the boulders, looking towards Cradle Mountain and Mt Oakleigh.  After a bite to eat and losing half my chocolate bar down a deep crevasse between the boulders, we made our way back down towards New Pelion Hut.  About 15 minutes before reaching the hut we made a quick detour to check out a track that leads down to Douglas Creek beside the track.  We were delighted to find a couple of very nice little waterfalls that were flowing quickly, and again made me regret not having a tripod.  From here we basically walked straight out, with only a couple of short stops to get a snack or stretch the legs.  We were happy to have made it back in just over 11 hours and for the most part, in pretty good condition except for a sore knee and a bit of sun burn.

All up: 39.2kms in 11 hours and 9 minutes with 1660m ascent.

Start of the track to Lake Price – 50 min, 3.2kms

Lake Price to New Pelion Hut – 1 hour and 55 minutes,  8.8kms

New Pelion Hut to Pelion Gap – 1 hour,  4.4kms

Pelion Gap to Ossa summit – 1 hour 15 minutes, 2.8kms

Ossa summit to carpark – 5 hours and 18 minutes 19.5kms

Getting there: Access to the Arm River Track is off the Mersey Forest Road.  Follow the Mersey Forest Road past the dam and continue until the road becomes dirt.  Shortly after, take a right up Arm River Road and continue for 3kms past the old Arm River Outdoor Education Centre.  The road then forks and you need to turn left onto Maggs Road as the bridge on Arm River Road is down. Follow Maggs Road for 13kms until you reach a pile of dirt.  Take a left again and follow this road for about 1km to the carpark.

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GPS track.
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First light as we reach the rim of the plateau.
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Mt Pillinger from Lake Price.
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Myrtle oranges everywhere.
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Lake Ayr and Mt Oakleigh.
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Mt Oakleigh.
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Pelion East and the new track.
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Rock steps.
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Local wallaby.
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Looking back down the chute that we mistakingly took.
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Pools of Icarus.
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Getting cricket scores on the highest rock in Tassie.
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Looking south. Too many mountains to name.
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Looking towards the southern end of Ossa.
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Cushion plants near Mt Doris.

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Small waterfall on Douglas Creek
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Open walking near the Lees Paddock intersection.