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.
Beehive
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



2 comments :

  1. Hi,
    I have completed this walk many times and I noticed that you turned backhalf way along the 4WD track on the ridgeline.

    if you keep walking you meet up with the prominent switch back road that will return you to Back River Road.

    Keep up the blogs I enjoy reading them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments, Mick. Yes, I did know that track continued on but assumed it went through private property so I avoided it. I turned around at the boundary of the Mount Dromedary Conservation Area.

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