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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Craigow Hill

Wednesday 16th July 2014

Craigow Hill
There are a vast number of fire trails, old vehicle tracks and mountain bike tracks in the Meehan Range Recreation Reserve and today I thought I would check out some more of the old tracks, as well as some of the new mountain bike tracks on my way to and from Craigow Hill. I have actually been there before but via a different route than today.
The walk starts at the end of Belbins Road, which is just off the A3 before Cambridge.
Main Meehan Fire Trail
I set off a little before 0800. The weather was okay, somewhat overcast and quite cool. I firstly walked along the fire trail and then turned right and headed uphill slightly before coming to a bike track, which I followed for quite a distance up to Golden Hill. The initial section of this track went away from the fire trail and then returned close to it and then paralleled it up to Golden Hill. It was more pleasant walking on the bike path than on the fire trail.
Bike Track
The bike track finally returned to the fire trail and I guess the plan for the bike riders would be to ride back down the fire trail from here to where they started. The fire trail/track deteriorated markedly from here and I could see no evidence of bikes using it. It went quite steeply downhill and had large washout ruts that had to be negotiated.
Fire Trail going downhill from Golden Hill
After arriving at the bottom I turned left and walked along beside Cross Rivulet before crossing it. There was not a drop of water to be seen. The track then went steeply uphill for a while before levelling out somewhat. Along a good section of this track someone had used machinery to excavate large ditches across the track, thus making it impassible for vehicles.
Ditches across the track
It was quite easy walking and the track was in fairly good condition apart from the ditches, which were easily bypassed. The country up here was rather nice and consisted mostly of open bush.
Open country on the way up to Craigow Hill
The track followed the ridgeline up and when it finally levelled out I could see the trig marker for Craigow Hill. I simply made a beeline for it across country. There were acceptable views from here of the Derwent and I stopped for a short while for a snack. I didn't linger too long as a breeze was blowing and it was rather cold.
Trig Marker Craigow Hill
From Craigow Hill
From here I headed in a south easterly direction and picked up an old track which I followed along the ridgeline. Along here I was either following the track as well as off track, but all the while just walking along the ridge. The path went up and down a few small hills before coming to a working quarry. All along here were great views of Hobart, The Derwent and Mount Wellington.
View of The Derwent
At the quarry there were a couple of excavators working and one was perched precariously on the quarry wall. Before I took the photo it was around the other way with the last quarter of the track  hanging in free space. It looked very dangerous but obviously the operator was quite skilled.
Quarry operation
At the quarry I turned left and walked down an old track, through a gate which had been unceremoniously opened, and arrived at the main fire trail once again.
One way to open a locked gate
I walked along the fire trail for about 1.0 km. before turning right onto a new bike track that basically followed along the top of some high cliffs and provided great views. The track eventually met up with the fire trail once more which I walked all the way down to the start of the Clarence Mountain Bike Park. There were many bike tracks that I could have taken but I just stuck to the fire trail. From the bike park a track ran all the way along the highway to Belbins Road and then back to the car.
This was a most enjoyable walk with some great scenery and was quite easy with no scrub bashing required. The walk could be varied easily as there are so many tracks to choose from.
Distance: 16.5 kms.
Time: 5'13"
Ascent: 870 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Grass Trees on Craigow Hill

Hobart from ridge

Hobart and Mount Wellington

Hobart

Derwent

Along the Cliff Top track

Add caption

An alternative shorter route

Click here to download GPX for this track.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Pebbly Bight

Thursday 3rd July 2014

Pebbly Bight
I have been putting off walking to Fishers Point as it is only a short walk and a fair way to drive so I thought I would extend the walk around to Pebbly Bight on the eastern shore and make it worth the drive down.
The gravel section of road from Ida Bay down to Cockle Creek was in poor condition with thousands of water filled pot holes and when I arrived, there was a closed gate before the Cockle Creek bridge which was only open from 10am to 4 pm. I parked here and started walking at 0830.
Cockle Creek
I immediately walked down to the beach and followed this around to the well known whale sculpture.
Whale Sculpture
After this I walked along the track for a short distance before emerging on to the beach again. The track basically followed the coast line around to Fishers Point, sometimes on the beach and sometimes on a track a little inland.
Pilot Station ruins at Fishers Point
At Fishers Point was the ruins of the Pilot Station building, built in 1843 and a solar powered navigation light on the point.
Navigation light on Fishers Point
After having a good look around I continued on heading south along the coast line of Pancake Bay. It was constant rock hopping from here and I had to be careful as the rocks were a little slippery and the kelp that had been washed up was super slippery and worse if it was wet. There were a few large trees down across the beach and these had to be negotiated as well.
Pancake Bay and First Lookout Point
I carried on to First Lookout Point where I came up to a gully in the rocks which looked very difficult to cross as the rocks were so slippery. I headed inland and immediately stumbled on to a track which went slightly inland, thus bypassing the point, before emerging once more on the beach.
Gully at First Lookout Point
Not long after emerging onto the beach I found an oceanographic buoy washed up in amongst the rocks. I took photos of it along with the serial number and have since contacted the manufacturer as per the instructions on it.
Looking towards Pebbly Bight and Second Lookout Point
From here it was more rock hopping to the end of the beach at Pebbly Bight. The rocks were more slippery here from the spray that was coming of the shore break. I stopped for an early lunch before retracing my steps back to the car except for the section from the whale sculpture, where I walk along the road.
This was a good walk on a good day and if one doesn't mind rock hopping, then it is enjoyable. No navigation is required as the walk just follows the coast around.
Distance: 11.9 kms.
Time: 5'06"
Ascent: 135 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Rocky Bay

Pilot station building Fishers Point

Oceanographic Buoy

Pebbly Bight

Pebbly Bight




Sunday, 29 June 2014

Nicholls Falls

Saturday 28th June 2014

Nicholls Falls - Look closely to see the cascade
Nicholls Falls has been on my list for a while so I decided to check it out today. I had no information on the falls or if there was any track at all so I thought I would just wing it and see what happened.
To get to the start, drive up Van Moreys Road from Margate and park just before a quarry. The last couple of kilometres are 4WD only, and it is possible to drive much further- all the way to Grey Mountain actually, but I value my vehicle so I park here.
I set off at 0750 along the 4WD track which I have walked quite a few times to various sites in Snug Tiers.
The track as usual contained a lot of water filled holes but these were quite easy to walk around. On my way back to the car I discovered why this was the case.
Typical condition of the track
The track went downhill for about 2.0 kms. before I turned left onto the track that goes to Grey Mountain. I followed this to a junction at 4.6 kms. from the start where I turned left onto a side track which I knew led to a water storage dam and hopefully access to Nicholls Falls. It was not long until I crossed over one branch of Nicholls Rivulet and arrived at the dam site. A large log and dirt mound had been placed at the end of the road to stop 4WDs from accessing the dam , but they had made a bypass around this and driven along the dam wall and made a complete quagmire of the place.
Dam Wall
This dam along with a larger one further along the Grey Mountain Road provides water for the town of Cygnet and apparently feeds into a reservoir downstream from Nicholls Falls. There was an outlet with a valve more or less at the base of the wall and water was flowing out to provide a flow, albeit small, for Nicholls Rivulet. After checking it out I walked back down the road to try to find an old track. I found a few tapes where the track should have been, so I started following them. The tapes eventually ceased so I just made my way through the scrub and did pick up the track again. When the track ran out I more or less followed the creek downstream, sometimes in the creek, and sometimes high up on the western bank. As I neared the falls I had to descend quite steeply to the top of the falls. I was actually sliding down on my posterior in some places, which is something I rarely do, but there was nothing to hang onto.
Looking back up Nicholls Rivulet at the top of the falls
I took me 1'10" to scrub bash the 1.0 km. to the top of the falls. The rocks were as if I was standing on wet glass so I wasn't getting anywhere near the edge as there was a shear drop. I gingerly had a look and then kept climbing down to see if I could get a decent look at the falls. The view was not great but I could see the water cascading down, although it is not apparent in the photos. Trust me, there was some flow.
Looking South from top of Falls
I decided not to go down any further as it was quite steep and I didn't know if the views would have been any better. Maybe on the eastern side would be a better outlook as there were some rocky outcrops.
The eastern bank of Nicholls Rivulet from just below the top of Falls
I had some lunch and walked back upstream, roughly following my steps and came across the junction of the eastern and western branches of Nicholls Rivulet. The western one, from the larger storeage dam was flowing about the same as the eastern one. As I neared the Grey Mountain track I could hear motor bikes and soon came across four of them, closely followed by four 4WDs. As I walked backed to the car I encountered 3 more bikes and 4 more 4WDs. It is easy to see why the track gets churned up. Although they are permitted to drive on the Grey Mountain track and also the Pelverata Falls track, they don't just stay on these tracks and seem to drive anywhere they please. I arrived back at the car at 1320 to a light sprinkle of rain.
This was not a bad walk although the view of the falls was pretty limited. I had a good day anyway.
Distance: 13.4 kms.
Time: 5'30"
Ascent: 400 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Snug Plains

Snug Plains

Dam

Obstruction to stop access to Dam wall

Gorge below Nicholls Falls



Sunday, 22 June 2014

Hidden Falls

Saturday 21st June 2014

Hidden Falls
Hidden Falls can be reached via a couple of different routes. One is from Twamley Road and the other one which I chose to walk is from Three Thumbs Lookout Road. To arrive at the start either drive via Orford or Copping along Wielangta Road to The Thumbs Lookout Road and up this to the start point. The drive via Copping is shorter but on gravel for a fair distance and I found that both ways take about the same time and the route via Orford is better.
Forestry Track
I started walking just after 0800 after a leisurely drive up. There was thick fog at home but it was clear around Hobart and came in again as I was approaching the Orford area. Thankfully it was quite clear at the walk start. There was the option of walking along the old forestry track or taking the "short cut" through the scrub on a lesser track. I opted for the road as I didn't want to get saturated from the wet foliage and decided to take the short cut on the way back when everything had hopefully dried out. I followed the road for almost 5.0 kms. before it ran out. It was mostly downhill all the way and there were some limited views along the way. The track was quite clear and made for easy walking.
Griffiths Rivulet
Upon reaching the end of the road there was no alternative but to take to the scrub. I climbed down quite steeply over rocks and through the scrub to Griffiths Rivulet. The scrub was not too bad and I availed myself of animal pads which made it a little easier. It took me 30" to make the descent. The rivulet was only flowing slightly so I knew then that there would not be much of a cascade at the falls. I had to be extremely careful crossing the stream as the rocks were super slippery. After crossing I climbed up steeply on the other side, up a ridge to another old disused forestry track. This was followed for about a kilometre as it went up and down a couple of times before I decided to leave the track and head for the falls. The walking here was quite open with some large gum trees and soon I was descending very steeply to the falls. I came out right at the base of the falls, and, as expected there was very little flow. That did not bother me as it was a nice spot anyway. After lunch I made the climb back up out of the rivulet and walked back towards the car. When I was about 3 kms. from the car I took the short cut and walked back to the start. This time I found the section of track that I missed when I walked the Three Thumbs Circuit. The track was initially dry but when I neared the car my pants became saturated. The "short cut" is not really a short cut as it takes longer to walk than the road and is only marginally shorter in distance but it is a break from the road walking.
Overall this was a good walk even though Hidden Falls was not flowing very much.
Distance: 13.3 kms.
Time: 5'38"
Ascent: 800 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Griffiths Rivulet

Remains of weather balloon

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls

Cliffs at Hidden Falls

Looking across from track before descent to Griffiths Rivulet