Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Handsome Caves

Wednesday 22nd October 2014

Handsome Caves
To access the start of the walk drive out from New Norfolk on Back River Road until Handsome Caves Road is reached on the right. Park on the corner either in Back River Road or on the left in Handsome Caves Road. The road could be driven in a high clearance 4WD but it is not far to walk and a locked gate is soon encountered, although this has been destroyed by a large tree that now sits on top of it.
Handsome Caves Road
I set off just after 0800 and walked up Handsome Caves Road past some houses and after the last house the road started to deteriorate somewhat and became 4WD only. At the top of the first hill I took the left hand track and kept going uphill. The right hand track goes round a sweeping bend and meets up with the left hand track again. The track continued on past a shack and eventually arrived at the locked gate.
The gate is now under the tree
Just past the gate I walked up the left hand track which soon became just a foot pad and continued on to cross a dry creek and then arrived at Handsome Caves. The caves are sandstone structures known as Tafoni and they provide homes for the Striated Pardalote. There were plenty of these small birds flying around.
Tafoni at Handsome Caves
I spent some time admiring the cave structures and then decided to walk to the right around under the caves to see how far I could get. It was a bit hairy in places as there was a steep drop off below, but I went as far as I felt safe. I climbed up to get some photos of caves above. I probably could have kept going but I chose to retrace my steeps back to the caves proper.
Cave around to the right
There were shallow caves a plenty and it certainly was an interesting place. My aim now was to walk up to Handsome Crag where people go bouldering and rock climbing. The old track continued on past the caves to the left and went up hill to a point where a faint pad turned off to the right. There were no tapes and only one cairn that I saw, but it was fairly easy to follow this up to an old track and then on to another pad that went up to meet a good forestry road.
Good Forestry Road
There were great views along this road of the surrounding countryside.
Platform Peak from Forestry Road
I walked down the road to the point where the road met private property which was marked by rock cairns on either side. From here I headed up to one of the rock climbing areas and walked along under the cliffs for a while before going back to the road.
Climbers Rocks

Climbers Rocks
Small spring in the rock

Climbers Rock

Climbers Rock
Just as I was about to reach the road I came across a bee hive in a crevice of a large tree.
I then walked back up the road and deviated over to the left where I was on top of handsome caves and walked along here for a short while before heading back to the road. There were great views from along the top of these cliffs. Feeling that I had not done enough walking I decided to head back up hill to another rock climbing spot and then up to the top of the hill to see what was over there. At the top was an open paddock, but still forestry land , so I walked over to the boundary fence and along this to another fence and then back to find a spot for lunch. I enjoyed my lunch sitting on a large rock in some nice forest. There were some views over to the Wellington Range area.
After a relaxing break I headed back to the road and tracked back to the car.
This was a most enjoyable walk with great views of the caves and surrounding country. It was much better than I was expecting. The walk to the actual caves and return would probably be only 2 hours.
Distance: 10 kms.
Time: 4'42"
Ascent: 580 metres
Click here to download GPX file.
Handsome Caves

Handsome Caves

Handsome Caves

Handsome Caves

Inside a Cave

Inside a Cave

Handsome Caves

Mount Dromedary

Looking towards Back River

Paddock up top

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Bluff River Gorge

Saturday 18th October 2014

Sandstone Cliffs
Having visited Bluff River Gorge a couple of months ago and enjoyed the experience immensely, I decided that another trip to the area was required to walk some more of the tracks. See here for access directions and previous post.
We set off early from home and drove to the starting point which took about 1'40" and began walking at 0840. The sandy track was much drier than last time with no evidence of water or mud and we soon reached the section of track where it began the descent to the gorge. After climbing down for a short period we took the track that branches off to the left with the aim of walking along the western side of the gorge first.
Sandstone Cliffs
The track meandered along the cliff line below the top of the cliffs and gradually descended to a deep hole in the river where we stopped for morning tea. All along this section were tracks of  small animals in the sand and one small cave showed evidence of being inhabited by Tasmanian Devils, which was quite pleasing.
Looking across to eastern side of gorge
We also spotted the tracks of a large snake, presumably a Tiger, but we did not see any, although we kept a good lookout. The sandstone formations and caves along this side of the gorge were equal to or possibly better than the other side. After our break we climbed up steeply to the wide ledge above the river and then down to the river crossing. The water level was much lower than last time I was here. After crossing the river we walked along the faint pad to meet up with the track proper a little further on and walked back along the eastern side of the gorge. We found a convenient log and had lunch and then walked down to the southern river crossing and then up steeply to join the outward track and then back to the car.
This was a great walk with spectacular scenery of sandstone cliffs. caves and formations.
Distance: 9.2 kms.
Time: 4'30"
Ascent: 380 metres
Click here to download GPX file.
Sandstone Cliffs

Sandstone Cliffs

Sandstone Cliffs

Sandstone Patterns

Sandstone Cliffs

Deep hole in the river

The river from eastern side

Looking across to western side

Eastern side cave

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Mount Dromedary

Saturday 11th October 2014

I had previously walked to Mount Dromedary a couple of years ago, and on that occasion had walked up to the peak on the western approach. See Here. This time we decided to find the track that went up from the south.
The walk starts at the end of Braslins Road in the Magra/Black Hills area. There is a small parking area here.
We walked up the road and around the locked gate and gradually climbed uphill to the junction -  Platform Peak left and Mount Dromedary right. We turned right and walked around the north side of Little Marsh. The track was a little wet in places but nothing major. There was lots of evidence of timber cutting in the area and many living trees had been felled and just left there. There was also heaps of rubbish beside the track which was most disappointing.
When we reached the start of the western track, it was very hard to discern as the markers had been removed. We carried on along the road in a southerly direction until we reached the point where the track should have been. We did find it but there were no tapes for quite a while so I suspect that they had been removed also. For what reason, I do not know. The track was generally easy to follow and was not overly steep and we reached the eastern lookout after about an hour of climbing. I had not been to this lookout before and I think it provides better scenery than the actual summit. After soaking in the views we took the short walk to the summit where we had lunch.

After a good break we walked back down the way we had ascended and walked around the southern side of Little Marsh back to the car.

This is an enjoyable walk with great scenery at the top of the mount. We walked at quite a leisurely pace today so the walk could obviously be completed much faster.

Distance: 18.0 kms.
Time: 6'40"
Ascent: 700 metres
Click here to download GPX file.
Overlooking the Derwent from eastern lookout

From eastern lookout

Overlooking the Derwent from eastern lookout

Looking towards New Norfolk from eastern lookout

Mount Wellington from eastern lookout

Summit Trig

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Davis Lookout

Friday 3rd October 2014

Davis Lookout from hill before
I had not been to Davis Lookout before, so with the promise of good weather, I left home early and arrived at the walk start ready to go at 0800. The unsealed section of road up to Mount Field was in poor condition with lots of corrugations that wanted to shake the car to pieces, so I just had to go slowly. The walk starts at the upper Mount Field East car park, adjacent to Lake Fenton.
Lake Fenton
The track initially crossed over the outlet of Lake Fenton which supplies drinking water to Hobart and then climbed steadily before descending slightly to Windy Moor. There was low cloud in the distance but I was hopeful that it would lift later on. This proved to be the case as it turned into a perfect spring day. As I descended to Windy Moor I thought I could see Davis Lookout in the distance but this later proved to be the hill before it. Mount Field East was also clearly visible.
Mount Field East from the track
As soon as I reached Windy Moor I turned left and headed off track across the moor towards Davis Lookout. The ground underfoot was soft and uneven which slowed progress somewhat. There were also many water filled puddles and ponds and some small flowing streams. There were some animals pads to follow in various places. I presume they were made by wombats as there was plenty of dung around.
Small stream on Windy Moor
I headed towards a wooded section which turned out to be much easier walking. After crossing this it was back on the moor like country again before crossing another wooded area. I then walked across more low country before finally reaching the start of the final ascent section. I climbed up to one summit to discover that Davis Lookout was actually the next peak along. I almost stepped on a small tiger snake here. After a short descent and ascent I was standing on the top. There were spectacular views all around and I could hear the Davis River roaring in the valley below.
Summit Cairn Davis Lookout
After soaking in the views and an early lunch I headed back the way I had come. I did managed to step in a few waterholes on the way back as I became tired from constantly having to lift my feet in the soft terrain. I was quite pleased to be finally back on the track. It was then an easy walk back to the car.
This was an excellent walk with great views.
Distance: 12.6 kms.
Time: 6'00"
Ascent: 435 metres
Click here to download GPX file.
Rodway Range from hill before lookout

Rodway Range from hill before lookout

Mount Field East from hill before lookout

Rodway Range from Davis Lookout

Rodway Range from Davis Lookout

Rodway Range from Davis Lookout

North West from Davis Lookout

Looking back across Windy Moor from Davis Lookout

Davis River from Davis Lookout