Tag Archives: East Coast

Macgregor Peak and Deep Glen Bay

Having spent the past few weeks eating excessive amounts of nasi campur in Indonesia, it was time to get some exercise.  I had been interested in visiting Deep Glen Bay for some time, primarily to drive in by boat and go diving, but I have also heard that the walk in is pretty special. The opportunity to bag a nearby peak was also enticing and with that, we had decided to do it as a circuit.  This was put together with information  from Dennis’s excellent blog, Hiking South East Tasmania, which I encourage you to check out if you don’t know it already. Link here.

We parked at the carpark on Macgregor Road and followed the signs toward Macgregor Peak. This track follows a zig zag fire trail up to a fire tower, which we reached in just over 20 minutes. Note that there is a track that descends to the other carpark, which can be accessed a few kms past the MacGregor Road turnoff.  The views from here weren’t great, so we continued up through the bush.  The forest just past the fire tower was still regenerating from the last big bush fire and as a result was rather boring.  As we climbed, the impact of the bushfire seemed to reduce until we reached forest that had been largely spared. At this point we entered some very unexpected but beautiful moss covered forest and followed this up to the summit.

Unfortunately the clouds had not lifted and the views across to Eagle Hawk Neck were non-existent. Keen to keep moving, we followed the track (to the right of the sign that says fire tower 1h) along the ridge in a north easterly direction. The forest along the ridge was as stunning, if not even more stunning than the way up and it was a shame to drop down to Schofields Road. A few hundred meters down the road we passed a small hut.  The door had been left open and it looked pretty grim, though someone had stored a fair bit of firewood in there which might lighten the mood somewhat. I had read somewhere that there used to be a large shark jaw in there that was supposedly found at Deep Glen Bay- unfortunately there was no sign of it anywhere.

Continuing along Schofields road for a few hundred meters, we saw a number of Pink Breasted Robins finding some breakfast in the mud. We soon reached a sharp left turn, but continued straight down through the old forestry road.  We followed this towards Deep Glen Creek for about 10 minutes before reaching a small clearing on the right hand side of the track. From here there is a reasonably well-marked but steep route down to Deep Glen Bay, which follows and frequently traverses Deep Glen Creek. A number of large, recently fallen trees need to be negotiated but overall the huge man-ferns and sassafras make for a very pleasant walk to the ocean. We reached the bottom in an hour and had some lunch on the rocks, before a quick 45 minute trip back up to the road.

To get back to the car we backtracked along Schofields Road, past the turn off to MacGregor Peak until we reached a fork, about 2.2 kms past the hut. Note there is a taped tracked through the bush a hundred or so meters before the fork, that cuts out maybe 200m of road walking. We followed this for another 2.2 kms as it climbed steeply before dropping back down to Macgregor Road.

All up 15.1kms in just over 6 hours with 919m ascent.

Getting there: The turnoff to Macgregor Road off the Arthur Highway is approximately 5kms past the small township of Murdunna, heading towards Eagle Hawk Neck.  There is  also a sign by the road that says Fazackerlys Range Circuit. Access to the other Macgregor Peak track, which rejoins the route described above at the fire tower, can be accessed by driving a couple of kms further along the Arthur Highway and taking the next left turn up Pattmans Road.

 

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GPS route of track –

 

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The fire tower
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Nice moss under the fire tower
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Regeneration following the large fires a few years back

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Nice forest on the way to Macgregor Peak
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What’s left of the trig
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The view south to Eagle Hawk Neck

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Currawong feathers on a mossy mound
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Hut beside Schofields Road
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Man Fern bridge – Deep Glen Creek
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Deep Glen Bay
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Deep Glen Bay
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Schofields Road

Freycinet Circuit

The weekend forecast was looking promising and the thought of a weekend away that didn’t include snow and sub-zero temps was also enticing. Emily had done Graham and Freycinet before, but I had only done the Hazards Circuit- so we decided to tick them off during the significantly quieter winter months.

Day one started with a quick trip up to the summit of Mt Amos to catch the sunrise.  It turned out to be a ripper and I only just made it in time; unfortunately Emily wasn’t as lucky and missed it by a minute or two.  We drove back into Coles Bay for a nice and fresh brekky at Geographé, before returning to the main carpark where we would start out along the Hazards Track.  The first sight of the cloud-covered peaks of Graham and Freycinet were from Lemana Lookout; though they would not be summited until the following day. Today’s aim was to reach Bryan’s Beach and set up camp, then spend some time checking out the coastline further south.

We noticed a lot of Eleven Armed Seastars washed up along Hazard Beach and did our best to return them to the water. The southern end of the beach has a toilet and decent camping, but no water.  We continued past this camp, through the forest towards Cook’s Beach, and passed the turnoff to Mt Freycinet at the northern end of the beach.  Surprised to find no one at the hut, we stopped for some lunch at Cook’s Beach Hut and filled up our water bladders and bottles from the numerous rainwater tanks. There had been little rain in the lead up to this weekend, and every creek we had passed was dry so the chances of finding any water at Bryan’s Beach were slim.  The track between Cook’s Hut and Bryan’s Beach was clearly less used than where we had been earlier in the day, but it was still well defined and mostly clear of debris.  We reached Bryan’s Beach 4.5 hours after leaving the carpark and bumped into a couple who had been spending the day down there before returning to camp at Cook’s Beach.

We found a nice spot under the she-oaks to set up camp, when suddenly a wallaby hopped up next to our tent to have a look, before it continued down to the beach and began to swim circles in the see while being swooped by seagulls. After all that excitement, we continued down the coast towards the shipwreck on Passage Beach.

Day 2 started with another nice sunrise, this time over Schouten Island.  We left our camp and made our way back towards Cook’s Beach, where we refilled with water again and made our way along the beach to the junction to Mt Freycinet . From here the track slowly starts to climb through the forest, a welcome change from the soft sand. A lot of the plants had just started to flower and added a bit of colour and scents to the forest.  The climb up to the East Freycinet Saddle was steep, hard work thanks to the extra 7 or so kgs of water I was carrying. There were a couple of smaller creeks along the way that were flowing slowly but I would not rely on them, especially during the summer months. From the East Freycinet Saddle, the track descends slightly before another quick climb to the Mt Freycinet/Graham Saddle, which we reached 1.5 hours after leaving Cook’s Beach.

Given that we had only seen 2 people in the last 24 hours, we were surprised to find around 20 odd backpacks spread out in the scrub. On the way up Mt Freycinet we passed the owners of the packs, a large school group of GYC that had initially planned to do the Overland Track, but changed plans due to the weather. Thankfully they were heading to Wineglass Bay and would not be joining us on Mt Graham, so we’d have some peace and quiet. We reached the summit in 30 minutes of rock scrambling, and spent some time taking in the views before returning to the saddle to pick up our packs. We were standing on top of Graham 25 minutes later and had also just earned our 99th peak bagging point. At this point we were pretty happy to stop and set up camp; as expected there weren’t many good spots, and we ended settling with a what I think was the most sheltered spot on the eastern side below the track.  This was a good choice as later that night the wind really picked up and would have led to an interrupted sleep.

An early rise the next day saw us packed and walking by 8am, and we wasted little time getting back to the carpark in 2.5 hours. Lunch was once more had at Geographé, and we were happy to have a mini feast. Given our early start, we decided to check out Bluestone Bay on the way back to Coles Bay. I decided to go for a quick snorkel at Little Bluestone to test out a new underwater lens, while Emily read a book on the rocks.

All up 44.4kms with 1743m ascent.

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GPS track
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Sunrise from Mt Amos
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Approaching Hazards Beach, Graham and Freycinet in cloud
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Graham and Freycinet from Hazards Beach
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An upside-down 11 armed seastar
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Northern end of Cook’s Beach
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Cook’s Hut
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Cook’s Hut
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Bryan’s Bay
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On the way to Passage Bay
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Schouten Island
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Passage Bay
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Sunset from Bryan’s
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Sunrise over Schouten Island
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Bryan’s Lagoon
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Flowering plants
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Hazards from Mt Freycinet
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Schouten Island from Freycinet, Maria Island out back
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Sunset from Mt Graham
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Hazards from Graham
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Wineglass Bay
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The Nuggets from Little Bluestone
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Testing out a new underwater lens
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Underwater macro

 

 

Mt Mangana

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.

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GPS track of the walk.
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Sign by the road.
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Large Candle Heath as we climb higher.
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Moss by the track.
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The radio tower at the summit.
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Looking over Partridge Island towards the Southern Ranges.
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(L-R) Adamsons, Esperance and Hartz shrouded by smoke from forestry burn offs.

 

Leeaberra Track

It was the AFL Grand Final weekend and the weather in the south was looking pretty miserable, so we decided to head to the east coast.  I had been checking out a couple of multi-day walks in the area, but in the end we decided to go with the Leeaberra Track in the Douglas Aplsey National Park.  Given that we only had the Saturday and Sunday off, we had decided to do it as an overnighter, rather than the 3 days PWS recommends.  So that we could get an early start, we drove up after work on Friday and camped at Little Beach, about 10 minutes north of the turn off to the Leeaberra Track on the Tasman Highway.

Day 1: We left Little Beach early and made our way up the E road to the northern end of the National Park.  There are two low level creek crossings on the way to the top; these are pretty straight forward but expect to scrape the tow ball, especially on the second one. There is also a small carpark at the start of the walk that can fit a few cars, as well as a decent camping area about 100m back on the left hand side. We quickly ate some breakfast in the car out of the wind, then signed into the registration book just before 8am.  To begin with, the track follows an old 4WD road that skirts the Thompson Marshes, before snaking its way down towards the first campsite by the Douglas River.  We reached the first campsite in 1 hour and 45 minutes and dropped our packs for the side trip to Heritage and Leeaberra Falls.  Note that about half way between the start and the first camp, you will pass the start of the Rainforest Ledge track, which follows the eastern rim of the national park and rejoins the Leeaberra Track about 45 minutes past the first camp.

The track to Heritage Falls had been damaged by flooding so it was easier to just rock hop down the river.  It was quite impressive to see just how high the river had risen during the floods, and this was made evident by the log jams present high up on the banks. About 10 minutes downstream you will reach the top of Heritage Falls; to get to the base there is a taped and cairned route on the left hand side (when standing at the top) that initially climbs up before dropping steeply back down, bringing you right to the base.  The next set of falls about 2 minutes downstream is Leeaberra Falls.  Unfortunately there is no track down, but we did find a way on the right hand side (when standing at the top), that initially climbs up behind a rocky outcrop then drops down a steep and exposed section, before reaching the river about 30m downstream of the falls.

After spending around 2 hours exploring the falls and taking photos, we made our way back to our packs and continued up, out of the valley and onto the highpoint of the Leeaberra Track.  We reached the beginning of the Nichols Cap side trip 1 hour and 50 minutes later and again we dropped packs and made our way towards to summit.  It only takes ~15 minutes to reach and it is well worth the time.  Although it is only 536m in altitude, the view from the top is pretty special.  Looking south you can see all the way to the Hazards on the Frecyinet Peninsula.

Our next stop was the second campsite on the Douglas River, where we would set camp for the night.  After picking up our packs again, we spent the next hour and 10 minutes making our way back down into the valley.  We reached the camp on the other side of the Douglas River and decided to head up river to check out Tevelein Falls.  This part of the walk was definitely a highlight, and even though the falls weren’t anywhere near as impressive as the first two, the large water holes and carved sandstone boulders that we passed while rock hoping up the river were truly worth seeing.  We reached the falls after 45 minutes and for the most part we were able to stay on the river bed, there were only a couple of larger waterholes that required heading up into the bush on the right hand side in order to get around them.

 

Day 2:  It was the first day of October and we wanted to get another early start. The first part of the day was probably the hardest of the whole trip, with a steep climb out of the valley before reaching another emergency use 4WD track.  We were packed up and ready to go just after 8am and I raced up the hill, hoping to get some phone reception to check the result of the previous day’s AFL Grand Final.  Unfortunately there was no reception at the top and I just ended up with a very sweaty shirt.  From here, the track follows anther old 4WD track that drops back down towards the Denisons Marshes and the third and final campsite.  The scrub and cutting grass gets quite thick while crossing the marshes, but there is a lot of recently added tape to guide the way.  As a whole, the track was in pretty good condition; a ranger must have come through fairly recently with a chainsaw and cleared the majority of the fallen trees and limbs that ended up on the path.  After leaving the Denison camp, the track then climbs up again slightly before dropping back down towards the Apsley River and the end of the Leeaberra Track.  We arrived at the car park 4 hours and 10 minutes after leaving our campsite.

Unfortunately my GPS was playing up on the first day and I’m not convinced that the information is truly accurate.  With some confidence, I estimate we covered ~31kms including all side trips.

Getting there:  The turnoff the to the E road, or East Road, is a few hundred metres past the Templestowe Lagoon.  There are no signs to indicate the road, but you will know if you are on the right one as about 500m in you will encounter the first low level crossing.  If you are unable or unwilling to cross, expect it to take a bit over an hour to reach the start of the track by foot.

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Sunset at Little Beach.
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Low level crossing.

 

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GPS track of the walk.
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Walker registration box.
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Keen as.
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Old 4WD road by Thompson Marshes.
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Turn off to the Rainforest Ledge.
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Heading down to the Douglas River.
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The Douglas River.
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Heritage Falls from above.
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Heritage Falls from below.
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Leeaberra Falls from below.
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Wild flowers in bloom.
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Nichols Needles from Nichols Cap.
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The Douglas River by our campsite.
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Rock hoping up river.
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Water-carved channels in the sandstone.
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Making our way around the large waterholes.
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Finding a way around.
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Small falls and large waterholes.
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Not much water coming down what I think is Tevelein Falls.
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Camp for the night.  Fires allowed May-September
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Pushing through the Denison Marshes.
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More cutting grass.
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At the end of the walk.