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.
Our last day on Bruny was spent down south, checking out Cloudy Bay and walking to East Cloudy Head. I used to camp around here a lot when I was in high school, but hadn’t been back in a long time; it was nice to see that most things had stayed the same over the past 5 years.
We drove along Cloudy Bay beach towards Cloudy Corner and were surprised to see only a few people camping here on such a nice weekend. The track starts near the water tank on the far side of the campsites and follows an old vehicle track that hasn’t been used in many years. There is a registration box but it was empty, with only scraps of paper and no pencil in sight.
The walking track climbs up a few small sandy hills before dropping back down to the intersection to Beaufort Bay. The track down to the bay is overgrown but only takes about 5 minutes and leads to a nice rocky beach full of bull kelp. The main track then climbs up once more, before narrowing and becoming overgrown. The beautiful view east towards Pyramid Bay and The Friars makes up the last 20 minutes before reaching the bushy summit of East Cloudy Head. We made it to the top in a leisurely 1 hour and 10 minutes and had some lunch with a huge skink that was basking in the sun. There are a number of lookouts on either side and both are worth checking out while you are there.
All up 7.3kms in 2 hours and 50 minutes with 427m ascent.
Getting there: Follow all directions to Cloudy Bay on South Bruny. Continue driving along the beach towards the eastern end and park near the far water tank and toilet at Cloudy Corner. If you cant drive along the beach it will add another hour or so to the walk.
Having spent the morning cruising around the south east coast of Bruny Island, we were keen to check out the view from its highest hill, Mt Mangana, which is named after the leader of the south east tribe of aborigines and who was also the father of Truganini.
This short walk starts on a dirt road and climbs gradually through damp dogwood and sassafrass forest, with a number of other mountainous plants such as cheeseberry, native pepper and a lot of candle heath. The track drops back down slightly before the canopy opens up and you can start to see some ocean through the trees. After about 30 minutes you see the top of two radio towers that are located near the summit. Note that the first of these you can detour to has warnings regarding radiation poisoning if in the area for longer than 5 minutes.
Unfortunately the trees have blocked the view from the top but there is a pad to a rocky lookout that can be found about 15m east from the summit radio tower. This spot provides a good view of South Bruny, as well as Adamson’s Peak and Pindar’s Peak. A number of large forestry burn-offs somewhat spoilt what would have been an impressive view of the mountains that make up the eastern section of the SW National Park. I didn’t get a chance to go and check out the western side, but I’m sure there is a good vantage point that looks over Adventure Bay and up towards The Neck.
By no means a hard walk, but I was surprised to see a number of alpine plants growing up here and recommend heading up if you have a spare few hours.
3.9kms in 1.5 hours with 160m ascent.
Getting there: From Adventure Bay, head north along Adventure Bay Road past the shop and turn left onto Coolangatta Road. Follow Coolangatta Road for about 5kms until you reach the top and can see the sign indicating the start of the Mt Mangana track.