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.
The plan for the day was to check out a little-known hut above Mountain River in the Huon Valley. We had chosen to take a track that we hadn’t been on before-the Thark Ridge track- and join up to the Montagu Track, which would take us to our intended destination. Unfortunately the road was closed at The Springs due to icy conditions, meaning we were forced to rethink our route. We decided to continue with our original plan, but to start with a quick trip up The Pinnacle Track to the summit then back down the road to the start of Thark Ridge. As Murphy’s Law dictates, The Pinnacle Track was also closed due to track works that are supposed to be completed by August 2018, so we had to take the Sawmill Track up to the Organ Pipes then follow it back down to the start of the Zig Zag Track before reaching the summit. We were in low cloud from the Organ Pipes onward and it made the climb up pretty spectacular. Once on top we were hit by the wind, and the frozen bushes told us a story of the previous night.
We were amused to see that in the hour it took us to walk up, the road had been reopened and people were scurrying around the summit carpark to get a photo before jumping back in their warm cars. I also copped some strange looks for being in shorts in the midst of the wind and flurries of snow. We made our way down the road to the start of the Thark Ridge Track, which begins a few hundred meters up from the Big Bend carpark. For the third time that day we were confronted by a “track closed” sign, but decided to continue on as we had already made it this far. The reason behind the closure was supposedly due to flood damage on the Montagu Track, of which we later found out was not dangerous at all- only comprising of a few areas where branches and rocks had accumulated.
Crossing Thark Ridge was not that memorable thanks to lingering cloud and the occasional shower. What appeared to be fairly recent track upgrades were well done and not over the top, but the ridge proper was probably the most interesting landscape we encountered during the day. A nice little tarn about 70 minutes in can be easily seen from the track and seems to be the only decent source of water. There were a couple of steep drops on the south western side and some large boulders, before a boggy and overgrown marsh had to be traversed. All hope of staying relatively dry went out the window and we pushed ahead through the wet scrub.
After about 1.5 hours we reached the Montagu fire trail and continued past the Mt Montagu track (information about Mt Montagu and Montagu Thumbs can be found here.) Large sections of the trail are overgrown with candle-heath, which had already begun to bloom. We continued past the turnoff to Montagu Thumbs and made our way down towards the hut, which was reached in around 5 minutes. This nice little hut has been built up against a large boulder and has a few bunks, as well as a small wood heater. According to the logbook we were the first visitors in a few months, but could only stop briefly as it was looking likely that we would be walking in the dark and wanted to get back on a clear track before then. Instead of returning the same way, we decided to take the track down to Wellington Falls and return to The Springs via The Milles Track. Head-torches came out just after traversing the Potato Fields and 2 hours and 50 minutes after leaving the hut we reached The Springs.
All up 21kms in 6 hours and 10 minutes with 1009m ascent.
Accessing this Abel is possible from a number of different starting points, the easiest being driving along the East West Trail. However, we decided to head up from the Myrtle Forest Track and check out a few other land marks along the way. Unfortunately there was very little water coming down Myrtle Forest Falls, so we pushed on towards the track junction just after crossing the creek and continued right towards the Collins Cap Trail. This was the first time I had walked through this area and was surprised to see a number of large trees and heaps of Candle Heath, particularly in the more open sections of track.
We reached the Collins Cap Trail in 45 minutes and decided to continue up towards the East West Trail. Once on the East West Trail, we headed west and followed it to the shortcut that bypasses the Mountain River Track and rejoins the East West Trail just past the Trestle Mountain turnoff. This whole section of track is easy walking along fire trails and provides good views of Collins Bonnet, Mt Marian and the Derwent Valley through the trees. We reached the start of the Mt Marian Track 1 hour and 40 minutes after starting, but decided to go and check out Fools Tarn first. It was just by chance that we decided to leave the trail where we did and stumbled across a number of cairns that led us directly to our destination.
We then had the idea to head further west to try and find a reasonable way down to Hutchinson’s Falls. After finding a few more cairns we thought we were on the right track, but quickly ended up in some THICK scrub- a nice mix of banksia, tea tree and bauera over uneven ground. We gave up shortly after and returned to the East West Trail to summit Mt Marian. We reached the top in 30 minutes, following a well-marked pad and took a few quick snaps before heading back to the car. On the way back we ducked up to Collins Cap and were lucky to see some nice clouds forming over Collins Bonnet. The howling wind meant we didn’t stay too long on the summit, quickly taking some more photos before making a speedy return back down. Emily managed to over-estimate how quickly she could negotiate the downhill, ending up with a bruised knee and torn pants for her trouble. Over all this is a very enjoyable walk- plenty to see, not far from home and we have plans to return over winter.
All up 19.7 kms in 6.5 hours with 1170m
Getting there: If coming from Hobart, drive through Collinsvale and turn left onto Springdale Road, follow for 1.8kms to Myrtle Forest Road then you will reach the boom gate and carpark.
This was my third attempt at catching the elusive Disappearing Tarn; we’d had a significant amount of rain over the weekend and at 2pm I decided to leave work early, heading home to get my camera and boots.
The quickest way to walk to Disappearing Tarn is via the Milles Track that starts at the Springs upper carpark. I was surprised to see only a couple of cars and thought to myself that it might already be too late to catch the tarn. The walk out there took a bit longer than expected, as I was distracted by all of the native flowers in full bloom. At one point the track will split and you will need to stay right to continue towards Wellington Falls and Disappearing Tarn. The tarn is located right at the start of the Potato Fields, and there is a large cairn on the right hand side that indicates where to leave the main track.
As I approached the tarn I heard some voices and found a few people relaxing in the sun. There appeared to be some water left but it was draining fairly quickly. I spent the next 15 or so minutes taking photos, and by the time I had left it had already dropped another 50mm. I would recommend going earlier in the day, as it does drop very quickly. After some more photos, I headed back along the Milles Track and past a number of people who were heading in to check out the tarn themselves.
All up: 7.8kms in just over two hours.
Getting there: Follow all directions to kunayi/Mt Wellington. At The Springs, take a left to the upper carpark. Follow signs toward the Ice House Track but stay left and continue along the Milles track. As soon as you reach the cairn at the lower section of the Potato Fields, take a right and head across some large rocks for approximately 30m.
This was another walk organised by the PWC, and a chance to catch up with friends.
We had a couple of options when it came to how we would tackle this one. Option one was an up and back starting with Cathedral Rock, then onto Montagu Thumbs and finishing with Mt Montagu. Option two-the more exciting option-was a circuit where would head up to Mt Montagu as per option one, but then head down towards Wellington Falls and cross the North West Bay River twice before heading back to the cars.
We arrived at the Betts Road carpark shortly after 8 and the group (9 in total) set off. Having had walked parts of these tracks on my own, I knew what was ahead and prepared myself for the annoying zig-zag track that leads to the start of the Cathedral Rock climb.
By the time we reached the top of the zigzag track, the previous nights’ snow was becoming more apparent, and from here on in we practically didn’t see the sun for the rest of the day. We had a quick snack on top of Cathedral but decided to move on, as we were expecting a decent days walk ahead of us. On the way to Montagu Thumbs the snow started to fall, transforming the whole place into a scene out of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I wasn’t familiar with this section of the track and we passed a number of false summits on the way to Montagu Thumbs; however I’m sure on a clear day you wouldn’t have this problem. We stopped for some lunch on the fairly unimpressive highpoint of Montagu Thumbs, and decided that we would take option two and continue on to Wellington Falls. Shortly after, we reached the old Montagu fire-trail and made a quick detour up to the summit on Mt Montagu. The cloud was too thick to see any nearby peaks but the climb up was still an enjoyable scramble.
We made our way down toward Wellington Falls, where we would have to cross the North West Bay River for the first time. Luckily there wasn’t too much water coming down and we found a pretty good spot to jump across. After a quick stop for a snack at the Wellington Falls lookout, we continued down towards the Siphon Track which would take us straight down to the North West Bay River. Anyone who has walked down the Siphon Track knows how steep and slippery it can be, and this day was no exception. Having walked it only a couple of weeks earlier I had said to myself that I would not do it again in a hurry. Unfortunately I was not interested in taking the long way round and followed everyone else to the bottom. No serious injuries to be reported, but plenty of near misses, skids and uncontrolled falling.
We then crossed over the North West Bay River for a second time and followed the Cathedral Rock Track back to the cars. Unfortunately the batteries in my GPS died just after crossing the river so I don’t have the exact distance and time taken but it should be pretty close.
All up: ~16kms in a bit over 9 hours with plenty of stops and 1176m ascent.
Getting there: There are many ways to walk to Mt Montagu but we started from Betts Road. To get here drive along Huon Road until you reach the junction with Leslie Road. If you are coming from Longley, Betts Road will be immediately on the left after you pass the Leslie Road Turn off.
I had the morning off and the weather was better than expected so I decided to try and find Disappearing Tarn. My hopes weren’t high given the lack of rain and snow over the past couple of weeks, but I was still keen to go and check it out.
Instead of starting at the Springs and taking the Milles Track, I decided to ride my bike along the Pipeline Track from Neika then head up the Millles Track via Snake Plains. If I had enough time before work I would then continue to Wellington Falls to rejoin the Pipeline Track before walking/riding back out.
The ride to the start of Snake Plains was fairly quick and the turn off is well indicated. I stashed my bike, then continued to climb along old 4×4 tracks and and into the forest. This is where I first noticed the frost and ice from the previous night. At first it was just a light dusting, but as I approached the open scrub of Snake Plains I could see that all of the puddles were totally frozen over. At the intersection with the Milles Track the rocks became more and more slippery and set the precedent for the day.
I reached Disappearing Tarn an hour and 20 minutes into the walk, but as expected it had disappeared. I decided to continue with the original plan and followed the track past the Potato Fields and onto Wellington Falls. A quick stop for some lunch at the top of the falls, then it was back down towards the Pipeline Track. If I had all day I would have considered heading up to Mt Montague, which looms over the falls towards the west.
Once I reached the Pipeline Track I decided to head down to North West Bay River instead of winding along the road back to the bike. The track down was very steep and so was the hike back up on the other side. I picked my bike up again at the start of Snake Plains then it was straight back to the car and off to work.
All up 15.8kms in 3 hours and 40 minutes with a 749m ascent.
Getting there: Continue past Fern Tree along Huon Road until you reach Morphetts Road. There will be a small carpark on the left hand side of the road, the Pipeline Track start on the opposite side.
With nothing better to do on a Sunday in January we decided to walk up Collins Bonnet (also known as the Sleeping Beauty) and the adjacent Trestle Mountain. There are a number of ways you can take to reach the start of the track up to Collins Bonnet. We chose the Mountain River side as it the longest and has the greatest gain in elevation. This is an old fire trail that hasn’t been used for some time and makes it was up towards the East West Trail in Wellington Park. There are a few large trees blocking some sections of the track but overall it is in good condition and very easy to follow. There are a couple of smaller creeks that had plenty of fresh running water, even in the middle of January. After a consistent climb the candle heath begin to appear and the view opens up to reveal Trestle Mountain on your left and Collins Bonnet on your right. The track then climbs for a little bit longer before you reach the East West trail.
We chose to summit Trestle Mountain first so we turned left and followed the road until we reach the sign indicating the start of the track. The climb was fairly straight forward with a couple of sections involving a bit of rock scrambling. After a bite of lunch we went back down to the East West trail and headed in the direction of Collins Bonnet. A short time later the road forks with one road leading up towards Collins Bonnet and the other road (Collins Cap Trail) heading down towards Collins Cap and the Suhrs Road carpark in Collinsvale. Continue walking up past a hut and you will find the start of the Collins Bonnet track marked by cairns on your right. The climb up is pretty easy and from memory has only one sections that requires some rock scrambling. The view of the Huon Valley from the top is definitely worth the effort. Although not a very challenging walk I did enjoy the scenery and the abundance of flowering natives. We were lucky enough to also see a couple of Wedge Tails and some Black Cockatoos up close.
Unfortunately I did not have my GPS on me but I think it took ~7 hours with plenty of stops for photos. All up around 18kms with a 1300m ascent according to the Walk the Huon Page.
Getting there: As Imentioned there are a number of ways to reach the start of the Collins Bonnet and Trestle Mountain walks. The walk from Mountain River is probably the most challenging however I have not walked from the other locations.
From Mounatin River: Turn right onto Mountain River Road at the Grove shop on the Huon Highway. Follow this road all the way to the end where you will see a boom gate and an adjacent private driveway indicating the start of the track.
From Collinsvale: Drive up Collins Cap Road until you reach Suhrs Road and follow to the carpark. Walk up along the Collins Cap Trail until you reach a T intersection and the East West trail. Turn left to head in the Collins Bonnet direction or right to head towards Trestle Mountain. Access to the East West trail can also be reached from the Myrtle Forest carpark in Collinsvale.
From Mt Wellington: Drive up Pinnacle Road until you reach the Big Bend and the start of the Big Bend Trail. Continue on this trail past Mt Connection until you reach the East West trail and follow towards Collins Bonnet.
You can also access the start of these walks in a 4×4 by obtaining a gate key and permit from Parks and Wildlife.