On the return journey towards Hobart, the bus deviated via large mudflats into the town of Cremorne adding 5 minutes to the trip, then it dropped me at a Lauderdale bus stop for transfer to another bus (because the Opossum Bay bus terminates at Lauderdale) approximately 5 minutes later (with his two way communication, the bus driver alerted the other driver there was a transferring passenger to be collected). Once on the Lauderdale bus, the trip towards Hobart deviated through the suburb of Oakdowns and so a further 5 minutes was added to the journey. After the bussing and the walking I was home in Bellerive at 3.20pm.
In this series of blogs for the first walk stage, I have provided approximate times for various sections of my walk as an indication only. I am short legged and plod slowly (and towards the end I felt I was shuffling like an old man). If you are tall and can happily stride long steps faster, then my walk will not be sufficient to fill the time between buses. In fact some speedy walkers may be able to continue through the Opossum Bay community and walk to the end of Gellibrand Point, the most western tip of this piece of land before Ralph’s Bay makes its inlet. My next walk will be designed to complete that section, and then I should be able to advise as to whether fitting it all into 5 hours is possible for the able.
Since it is unlikely anyone else will have my success if they turn up at the gate of Fort Direction and get driven through the site, the only general public approach is to walk along Fort Beach having walked most of Blessington Road. Based on the information I recorded, I suggest one way on this route from the set down bus stop to the Lone Pine Memorial will take an hour if you take time to enjoy the views and click photographs. Add the half hour return walk between Cape Deliverance and Cape Direction with its gun placement bunker and the whole excursion takes approximately 2 ½ hours. As an alternative, you could spice it up by jumping the shore rocks like a goat, from South Arm to Fort Beach. I would guess another hour could be added to the duration of the walk.
I noted that the tide was going out while I walked, and that the high tide merged with the dune verges in places on Fort Beach. It made me think that on a high tide, this route might be impassable. In such a circumstance and if you had made the special trip and your heart was set on a beach walk, the expanses of the South Arm beach with their outstanding views, old pines shadowing parts of the dunes, and soft roaring Casuarina trees, would make a very attractive substitute. You might be lucky, as I was, to see a giant fresh squid washed onto the beach being enjoyed by immature grey feathered winged large Gulls.
Many of our native birds are various shades of black and brown but we also have an array of colourful specimens. During my walk, the sun brought out not only the musical black and white Magpies, the hard cawing jet black Crows, but also plump pink and grey Galahs feasting on the ground, Mr Blue Wren flitting in and out of the shadows, a glorious Mr Robin with his red breast, and a flock of multi-coloured Rosella parrots.
My guess is that I walked around 10-12 kms including getting to the start and then continuing on. But how much of the 249km length of the Derwent River have I covered? About 7kms. A great start! A memorable day. A very positive experience.