Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mount Cygnet

Tuesday 26th November 2013

Mount Cygnet
I had been planning to do this walk for some time, but had no information on it, as I guess no one ever goes there. This was fairly evident from the route that I walked as nobody had been that way for a very long time.
I drove past the last house on Garden Island Creek Road and found a place to park the car just inside the State Forest boundary. I was expecting to come across a locked gate but there was none.
After kitting up I headed off just after 0800. The first obstacle was Garden Island Creek, but that was quite easily forded whilst keeping my boots dry.
After that it was a short steep climb up a ridge to find an old forestry track. When I say track, I mean it was a track maybe 10 or 20 years ago, but any resemblance to a track now was in one's imagination.
Forestry "Track"-the good bit
The track did start out okay, but soon became a mess of tangled foliage, downed trees and further up cutting grass. There were many large trees down across the track which had to be climbed over or under and the track disappeared in places requiring a scrub bash to pick it up again. I lost it many times but just kept heading up the ridge where I would occasionally find it again.
It took a little over 2 hours to finally reach the top of the ridge where Mount Cygnet was situated. This was now a highway compared to where I had been walking and in about 20 minutes I reached the small cairn that denoted the summit. There were no views at all along the ridgetop but I had anticipated that would be the case. The plan was to keep walking along the ridge top and to then return via either of 2 tracks shown on the map, thus completing a small circuit. These tracks did not exist which I find quite common and I was more or less expecting that to be the case.
Highway along the ridgetop
I then had to walk back uphill and return to the car via the way I had come. The track seemed to be a little harder to follow going back down and I continually lost it and had to refer to my GPS quite a few times. It was pleasing to finally hear Garden Island Creek as I neared the car. I did end up with a couple of leeches on me which is a rarity down here, unlike in north Queensland where they are numerous and ferocious.
Overall not a great walk, mainly because of the scrub bashing and lack of views, but it was rather pleasant walking along the ridgetop through nice forest.

Distance: 9.9 kms.
Time: 5'30"
Ascent: 660 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Tangle of branches

Log across track
Garden Island Creek

Garden Island Creek

Another log across track

Summit Cairn

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Hellfire Bluff

Saturday 16th November 2013

Start of Hellfire Bluff
 Note: Please see the comment below regarding a log blocking the access to the walk start.

To get to the start of today's walk I had to drive out almost to Copping and turn off onto the road that passes through Kellevie and then onto Wielangta Road. At 568767/5269139 I turned right into a forestry road and followed this for 7.4 kms. to arrive at a quarry where I parked. This road was okay for 2WD with care but I did have to drive under a large gum tree which was leaning across the road. There was only enough space for my vehicle to pass under and all day I was hoping that it remained where it was because if it had come down I don't know how I would have been able to get out. I had a few different routes planned for this walk but when I checked a couple out I was not impressed with the steepness and scrubiness of a couple, so I decided to stick with the original route that I had planned.
Cockle Bay Track
I started walking at 0845 and the first 500 metres was a scrub bash downhill to meet up with a very overgrown pad through the bush.This was followed for a further 500 metres before encountering an old overgrown road which I walked for a short distance before arriving at an open area which had obviously been cleared in the past. I could see the Cockle Bay Track in the distance so I walked down to it and turned left and started walking uphill. Just a note here that from the start of the walk to the Cockle Bay Track is on private property but I saw no evidence of buildings, fences, stock or people and I am sure that other people have walked this way, although not too many, gauging by the state of the track through the bush.
Looking south from Cockle Bay Track
The track went uphill for some distance and at 4.3 kms. from the start and at 574094/5268202 I turned right onto a 4WD track that went uphill. This was followed until it petered out and then the track was just a walking pad along the cliff tops. At some places the track went within centimetres of the edge so some care needed to be taken. The views along here were spectacular and the water was like glass. I would guess that is why there were so many boats out fishing. There were quite a fews ups and downs along the way and just when you thought you were reaching the end another hill loomed up. Most of the time there was no real track to follow but it was just a matter of following the top of the ridge along. At some points the track was over 200 metres above the water and that was a long way down.
I finally reached the trig point at Hellfire Bluff at about 1100 where I had an early lunch and then headed back to the car. Overall a good walk with great views.
Distance: 13.8 kms.
Time: 5'01"
Ascent: 800 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Marion Bay

Bluff Beach, Pine Creek Beach, Eagles Beach, Marion Beach

Blowhole Point

Looking south

From Hellfire Bluff

Hellfire Bluff Trig

Looking north from Hellfire Bluff

Monday, 11 November 2013

Cataract Falls

Sunday 10th November 2013

Cataract Falls
This was to be an exploratory walk as I had no information on Cataract Falls regarding access, terrain and scrub and what the falls were actually like.
I drove out to the end of Van Morey Road near Margate and parked in a small car park beside the road. The road is deteriorating somewhat and 4WD is really required to reach the spot where I parked, although it is possible to park further back down the road and walk a bit further. The starting point for this walk was the same as I previously used when I walked to Grey Mountain and also the top of Pelverata Falls.
It was almost 0800 when I set off walking. The first 1.6 kms. was on the main track through Snug Tiers and this was a little wet in places, but the pools where easily negotiated. After this I turned left and headed down a disused track which was leading in a southerly direction. It was not long before I came upon a large puddle which I was only able to cross by taking a flying leap and landing on the other side - I need not have bothered as a little further on was this enormous puddle which I could not get around. So, if I was to do the walk, then wet feet it was going to be. This was the norm for this part of the track as I forded many such large pools of water. The water was cold and up to my knees in a couple of places, but once my boots were wet, I did not care anymore.
Waterlogged section of track
This went on like this for nearly 2 kms. until I reached a junction where I turned left and followed this overgrown track until I came to another junction before turning and heading east. Along this part of the track were some views of the Derwent estuary.
After about 1 km. I came to the place where I thought would be a good spot to head off track towards the falls, and after walking only a few metres came across an old track. When I say track, it was barely visible in the low scrub, but it did make progress a little easier. This finally petered out and I was confronted by dense scrub which I just had to battle through, if I was going to reach the falls. It probably only lasted for about 100 metres or so, but it took me ages to get through it. Once I broke through I was on the top of the slope heading down to the Snug River. My aim was to climb down to the bottom of the falls and the back up to the top of the falls and back out.
Rock Formation
 The descent into the creek was very steep, with lots of downed trees and soft soil to contend with.
There were also some interesting large rock formations and evidence of past logging with huge tree stumps remaining. Anyway, with what seemed like along time going down, I finally reached the base of the falls, and I was not disappointed. The falls were spectacular, with lots of water cascading over. Climbing up the actual falls was not possible due to the amount of flow and the slippery rocks, so I opted to climb back up to the elevation that I expected the top of the falls to be and then proceeded to walk across the slope. Once I reached a point where I thought the top should be I had to descend slightly and came out on a large rock overlooking the top of the falls. Another great view.
It was then just a matter of climbing back up the steep slope and retracing my steps to the car, with a slight detour on the way via another track. It was along this track that I discovered some old machinery just off the track. I stopped for lunch beside a small creek on the way back and finally reached the car at 1445.
Overall an enjoyable walk despite the water, mud, scrub bashing and steep slopes as the falls were great.
Distance: 14.6 kms.
Time: 6'43"
Ascent: 500 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Morrison Hill

Derwent Estuary

Derwent Estuary

Bottom of Cataract Falls

Top of Cataract Falls

Top Cataract Falls

Old Logging Stump

Abandoned Machinery

Abandoned Machinery

Friday, 1 November 2013

Montagu Thumbs Circuit

Thursday 31st October 2013

Cathedral Rock from Montagu Thumbs
I started the walk at a small car park beside the North West Bay River in Betts Road at about 0730. Previously I had walked to Cathedral Rock, Mount Montagu and Wellington Falls, but had not walked the circuit before.
The walk followed the North West Bay River for a time before linking up with an old fire trail which headed steeply uphill before flattening out somewhat. Soon the turnoff to Cathedral Rock was reached and I walked this to eventually reach Cathedral Rock 2 hours after I started. The track up to the rock is being eroded in places and is quite steep and rocky.
After a snack I headed off in the direction of Montagu Thumbs. It was quite blowy up here and I had to be careful walking along the narrow ridge. I would suggest that if one did not have a head for heights, then I would avoid this part of the walk as it is a very narrow ridge in places with steep drops on both sides. There are also a couple of tricky sections where long arms and legs are required, but other than that, it is okay. The track was easily followed.
Montagu Thumbs from Cathedral Rock
About 3 hours into the walk I reached a lookout point along the Montagu Thumbs and stopped for a short time to check out the view and take some photos. I continued on down, then up over the last hill and then down again to finally reach the old Montagu Fire Trail. I was now in familiar territory as I had walked this section when I visited Norris Hut about 6 weeks ago.
Four hours from the start I came across the turnoff to Wellington Falls and walked this track to the Falls. This section of track was quite poorly marked and hard to distinguish in places but I finally arrived at the top of the Falls after about half an hour. There was a reasonable amount of water flowing down the river and this proved to be an ideal spot for lunch. After a short break I crossed the river and connected up with the Wellington Falls track which I walked down to the Pipeline Track. From here I followed the Siphon Track down to the North West Bay River. This track was very steep and I had to walk sideways in some places to avoid slipping down. Needless to say, my knees were protesting by the time I reached the river.
Just as I was approaching the river, I came across a class of school children and teachers out on a day excursion. Lucky kids - I did nothing like that when I went to school those many years ago!! After a bit of a chat, I crossed the river and found the track which led back to the track I had taken earlier in the morning and walked back to the car.
This was a good walk although quite a tiring one. I think I must be getting old!!
Distance: 14.6 kms.
Time: 6"34"
Ascent: 1016 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
North West Bay River from Cathedral Rock

Collins Bonnet from Cathedral Rock

Montagu Thumbs

Mount Montagu

Above Wellington Falls

Montagu Thumbs from Wellington Falls Track

Cathedral Rock from Wellington Falls Track