Tag Archives: Alum Cliffs

Picnic on Hinsby Beach

Local Hobart followers have, from time to time, been fascinated by the new places discovered on various Stages of my walks along the Derwent River.  A number of followers fell in love with my description and photos of Hinsby Beach, a beach which I like many others had not previously known existed.

Recently a group of us made our way to Hinsby Beach for a picnic. This was not a normal bus connected walk; rather I sat in the luxury of a car as we travelled to our destination. We parked at the bottom end of Hinsby St which drops down from the main road in the suburb of Taroona. Then, with small backpacks and an esky, we strolled down the tree-lined bitumen track to the beach.  This short track is enticing because, from Hinsby St a circular shape of light can be seen at the bottom end and the picture you see is a small arc of sand and waves spreading up and down.  Seductive.

Rugs were spread out over the sand. Food was spread out. Drinks were shared.  Stories were told. Laughter wove its way around us.

For a short period after we arrived, we ‘owned the beach’. Then couples strolled down, swimmers dashed into the wavy water, and kids of various ages enjoyed their own space at different points along the sand.  We felt we had all the space in the world.  A big sky. An expansive Derwent River.  Deep clean pale yellow sand. Despite clouds crossing the sky, the temperature wasn’t cold.

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Being on Hinsby Beach brought back all the memories of the day I discovered this wonderful hideaway at the end of Stage 11, and then I remembered the day I started off at Hinsby Beach and clambered around over the Alum Cliffs before finding the official track on Stage 12. Before leaving the beach we walked to the southern end and found the correct track a few metres to the left of the track ascending from wooden stairs, which I took and led me to an awkward gully crossing,being on private property and fence hopping to get back onto the ‘real’ path.  Where are the signs?  Kingborough Council, can you please make it clear which track to take?

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My photos make the beach seem gloomy but I remember the picnic experience was bright. It was a wonderful way to end my birthday celebrations which had spread over a couple of weeks.  Thanks Fe for organising the day.

Finally I reached the mouth of the Derwent River on the western shore at Pearsons Point

The goal of walking along the western shore of the Derwent River was to reach the mouth and during Stage 13 I reached this destination marked by Pearsons Point.

Before then at 10.44am I walked past a turn off: Mt Louis Road. There was a lump up in the sky on my right.  Maybe another time it might be pleasant to see what is up there and to look at the view – which is probably a spectacular 360 degree outlook along the Derwent River, the D’entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island.

As I panted up the final hill, I heard the thwack of balls and realised the fencing I could see in the distance amounted to a tennis court.  A tennis court!  Ye gods! Out here in the bush and miles from anywhere?  Yes it was.  Two women were slamming the balls up and down the court.  Their two cars were the only vehicles in sight.

10.52am: I reached the Pearsons Point Reserve and was feeling rather chuffed.

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I wandered around the site which included a disused gun emplacement and a couple of large historic cannons.  Guess Pearsons Point would have been the first line of defence against any Russian threat (which seemed to be the main thought through the 19th century).

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Note: the bump behind the gun emplacement and tennis court is Mt Louis. A large white edifice on the end of the Point (on the other side of the cannon) appeared to be a marine navigation beacon.

In front of me to the right hand side of the Point, the D’entrecasteaux Channel separated the mainland of Tasmania from Bruny Island (famous for its fresh produce such as cheeses, smoked fish and meats, berries, premium wines, and local oysters).

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I was very surprised how close Bruny Island (Dennes Point) was to this part of Tasmania’s mainland.  So close.  So accessible.  And its green hills and the white sandy Jetty Beach were most attractive.

On the other side of Pearsons Point to my left, the Derwent River flowed out to Storm Bay and then onto the ocean. I could see the Iron Pot and Cape Direction at the southern tip of the South Arm peninsula on the eastern shore of the River.

I found a pleasant picnic table and at 11am ate half my lunch under a small cluster of gum trees hoping no branches would be shed on my head.  Feeling on top of the world. The sun was out and the tiniest of breezes moved through the area.  Past the trees I could see motoring boats leaving white streams behind them as they sliced through the River. I looked back northwards to the Alum Cliffs between Taroona and Kingston.

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With a little sadness I left Pearsons Point at 11.25am.

By 12.40pm I was passing the Hidden Cove turnoff, at 1.05pm I reached the Fossil Cove Drive junction, at 1.25pm I walked across the intersection with Treatment Plant Road, and at 1.30 I stopped for a moment at Suncoast Drive.  I looked at the one bus stop (there wasn’t a pair one either side of the road) and it did not have a timetable attached to the post, so I continued walking to Wells Parade.  I had been told this was a long road, and now I know it is.

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I stopped and waited for a bus which didn’t come (the first in my entire travels) and left and walked up and down and up and downhill until eventually I was back parallel to the Blackmans Bay Beach.  I sat for a while at the beach soaking in the atmosphere, smelling the salt, and relishing the fact my feet were having a rest.  When the time came (according to my bus timetable), I walked to the bus stop where I had alighted hours earlier in the morning, and before long Metro bus number 85 arrived.  After passing via the Suncoast Drive bus stop that I had looked at earlier in the afternoon on arrival back in Blackmans Bay, Maranoa Heights, other suburbs, and Kingston, I was back in Hobart city by 4pm feeling elated.  Stage 13 was over.

The land begins to open, making possible expansive views across the Derwent River.

Every so often, along Tinderbox Road, a cluster of a few properties on 5 acres or so of land each would appear after a kilometre or so of the densely bush environment.

The closer I walked to Pearsons Point the more likely that Tinderbox Road was close to the River or I could see more of the River.  Around 10.20am, while on a long and winding road (on which I considered breaking out into one of the Beatles favourite songs) which undulated so that I was walking uphill then downhill seemingly repeating this process ad nauseum, I was stopped by the beauty of a rose bush in its glorious rose hips stage. I took photographs at that point and in a number of roadside places in the following kilometres.

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In the distance after climbing one hill, I looked back northwards to Lucas Point behind the steep rock edged bay of ‘Fishermans Haul’ (see photo below).

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In the photo above, the far distant hill on the left is the Alum Cliffs between Taroona and Kingston.  It gives you an idea of the distance covered in these walks.  The other land is on the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

A little further along I was looking down on a disused farmhouse at what I believe was Passage Point.  The photo below shows (green plastic protective shelters around new plants) new trees have been planted in the paddock. I saw such revegetation practices on a number of properties throughout the day.

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Another photo looks across the Derwent River to the southern tip of the South Arm peninsula. The glistening white buildings are those of the Fort Direction defence services complex which I passed through on Stage 1 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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An extra historical morsel regarding Browns River which runs out into the Derwent River

Browns River separates Tyndall Beach (below the Alum Cliffs) from Kingston Beach. On the Kingston side, a plaque remembers Robert Brown.

According to http://www.rampantscotland.com/placenames/placename_hobart.htm  the township of “Browns River was named after the noted Scottish botanist Robert Brown who explored the area a week after Hobart was founded. “  Apparently Hobart (Sullivans Cove) was established on 21 February 1804 (I shall remember the date because it is my birthday – well not the 1804 bit) and therefore before the end of February this ‘township’ of Browns River was in its infancy. A week – ye gods!  How quickly these pioneering settlers got around.  Nothing could happen so fast these days.  But, is the timing true or simply a legend? I don’t know.

The name was changed to Kingston in 1851 by the Governor of Van Diemens Land, Sir William Thomas Denison.  The website http://tasmaniaforeveryone.com/tasmanias-names-the-suburbs-of-hobart suggests “The name Kingston was advocated by the then Police Magistrate, Mr Lucas. Although his exact reason for deciding on the name of Kingston is unknown, there are many theories. His parents, Thomas and Anne Lucas, the district’s first settlers, lived at Norfolk Island before coming to Van Diemen’s Land and the capital of Norfolk Island was Kingston. Another possible reason is that Thomas was born in Surrey, England in a village close to New Kingston. It had been settled in 1808 by Thomas Lucas and his family, who were evacuated from Norfolk Island. He named his property ‘Kingston’, after the settlement on Norfolk Island. “

On through Kingston still heading southwards past Boronia Beach

I finished my lunch on the south side of Browns River, crossed the pedestrian bridge over Browns River at 12.17 pm then proceeded along Osborne Esplanade (parallel and next to the Derwent River) towards the Kingston shops.  Over Christmas I holidayed in Kingston and my 3 posts titled I am on holiday watching over the Derwent River, Getting out into the air at Kingston Tasmania and Kingston Beach, Tasmania offer more information about this leg of my walk along the Derwent River.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Em for cups of tea and a long happy chat and saying hello to people I knew as they walked past the outdoor café Beachfront 32.  Immensely pleasant.

At 1.52 pm I restarted my walk southwards amidst foreshore joggers, walkers and seagulls – the sun was shining again and my world was warm.

By 1.59 pm I reached the Kingston Beach Sailing Club and could look back northwards across the sweep of water and the arc of Kingston’s white sandy beach.

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The last photo looks north to the headland at the end of Tyndall Beach which was spread at the bottom of the southern end of the Alum Cliffs.

A minute later I reached the Boronia Beach Walking Track and turned left.

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A gentle shady path meandered along above the water and I could hear happy voices on the rocks below.   The views through the trees were spectacular.

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Up above me on my right were large houses with massive picture windows surrounded by high mesh fences. Then the landscape opened out and I could still look northwards to the Alum Cliffs where I had walked during the morning.

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At 2.18 pm I reached a gate marking the entrance to the track down to Boronia Beach, a beach that I had previously not known existed.

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By 2.24 pm I was walking on the beach.

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I remembered the chitons which had featured on a public art work at Taroona Beach and wondered whether they could be found on this beach (refer back to my posting Public art works along the Derwent River –Taroona’s Chiton for more information). I checked the rocks but found none.  I  concluded the chitons must collect together only on the Taroona Beach rocks.

The rock formations at the southern end of the beach were a surprise.  The soft sandstone has been weathered and small caves were formed into the cliff.

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Seeing these caves cast my mind back to Kalambaka in north western Greece. Last year I visited this town and marvelled at the stunning beauties of the Meteora (refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora for more information) Below is one of my photos showing the caves in some of the cliffs which hermits used to climb up and live in (and which Roger Moore as James Bond climbed over dramatically in the movie “For Your Eyes Only”).

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Boronia Beach’s caves are smaller and different in many ways from those of the Meteora.  However they surprised me in this tucked away gem of a beach.

For those who loved the photo of mussels growing on Boronia Beach rocks which I provided in an earlier posting about the Stage 12 walk, here is another.

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Five or so minutes later I began the trek uphill out of Boronia Beach under old pine trees.

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I was horrified to see thousands of escaped ‘forget me not’ plants, some flowering as they carpeted lots of the area near the beach and up the hill. I pulled out a few dozen and their roots came out easily but a concerted effort of a few days’ work to remove these before they spread any further is essential if the wild bush is to stay as pure as it can.

A gate half way up the hill let me out onto a continuing walking track at 2.36pm.  Not long after I decided to sit on the steep steps and smell, look and listen to the environment. Very peaceful.

By 2.45pm  I was walking again and a couple of minutes later I reached a gate to exit the entire walking track area.

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The entry was signed but, while the exit was easy, it was entirely unclear whether to turn left or right.  At the end of the dirt road in both directions I could see gates closed over the road.  Murphy’s Law has it that I will often make the wrong choice and it was no different at that point. I chose to walk down to the gate at the bottom of the road but found it entered into private property. Back up the road, lined one side with large girthed pine trees, I walked to the other gate and found no obstacle to walk around it. At 2.54 pm, I was continuing along the road watching a family of magpies fossicking in an open paddock, and later marvelling at an old crab apple and a pear tree both of which were laden with fruit.

At 3 pm I arrived at the junction with Kingston and Blackmans Bay’s main linking road, Roslyn Avenue.  The address for the dirt road on which I had been walking is Roslyn Ave 82-88, and it is directly across from Jindabyne St over the roundabout on Roslyn Ave.  One corner of the intersection is occupied by the Catholic Church of Christ the Priest and the Aloysius Primary School.

Tawas

One follower asked what was tawas, which I mentioned in the posting: Alum – what is it?

The powder of some alums is used as a ‘natural’ deodorant, and in some countries is named as Tawas. Wikipedia explains “Alum’s antiperspirant and antibacterial properties contribute to its traditional use as an underarm deodorant. It has been used for this purpose in Europe, Mexico, Thailand (where it is called sarn-som), throughout Asia and in the Philippines (where it is called tawas).

In Hobart and other places in Australia, potassium alum is sold commercially as a “deodorant crystal”. This information prompted me to check my deodorant which is marketed as Body Crystal comprised of natural mineral salts. I was surprised to read its main constituent is Potassium Alum. I have been using this deodorant for years and years and years as an alternative to the usual aluminium based deodorants which I understand are more toxic to the body over time.  Besides it has always worked effectively whatever the climate or the situation.

Thanks for the question because it forced me to learn more.

By the way, a new reader today was from the Phillipines. I wonder whether he or she was searching on the word Tawas and came up with the connection to my blog.

Down from the Alum Cliffs onto Tyndall Beach on the edge of the Derwent River

Discovering the Alum Cliffs had been a goal and now this part of the Stage 12 walk (on the cliffs) along the edge of the Derwent River was coming to an end. At 11.42 am I was walking above Tyndall Beach and a minute later reached the sign indicating a steep pathway leading down to the beach.

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By 11.49am I was walking on the softly squishing expressive white sand. The day was now overcast, but it was refreshing to be at sea/river level again and feel the onshore breeze.  I noticed a track continued at the cliff bottom along a grassy area but chose not to take that route when I saw a sign indicating snakes might be around.

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I have never seen this sign before in Australia.

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I walked along the sand until I reached Browns River, then turned inland along the river until I arrived at the Christopher Johnson Memorial Park with its public toilet, picnic tables and kids play area near the cross bridge.

At midday I stopped for a lunch break on this reserve and watched contented dogs and owners roaming.  A very brave Mr Blue Wren grabbed at insects in the grass around my feet and talked away to me (or someone – never saw Mrs Wren) incessantly. Parts of his wings were iridescent blue in the light of the greying day. I was afraid to move and frighten him away.  Wonderful.