Tag Archives: Bellerive Beach

Season’s greetings

When I am in Hobart on Christmas Day, as I will be this year, I make a point of finding time to walk along Bellerive Beach which forms one border with the Derwent River.   I love the bonhomie of people who walk there that day. Good spirits abound. I can almost hear their bodies groaning from eating too much Christmas food. Many are happily dragged onwards by joyful dogs that are delighted to be out in the fresh air. All of this is a wonderful spirit lifter – the goodwill of people, their gambolling dogs, the grand Mount Wellington in view over the water, and the lapping sound and salty smell of the blue river.

For some people Christmas is a happy time, for others it is surrounded by sadness, and for many people Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is a rush of stressful events.  Of course a person’s level of interest and engagement with Christmassy activities depends on religious persuasion and so some people are never involved in the festivities.  But if Christmas is your thing, then I hope you have rituals with family and friends that relax you and, if not, then I urge you to find a way to be calm.  All in all, I wish everyone happiness during the Christmas season.

Have the invading Seastars been discovered by a mortal enemy?

Today I watched a family of Dominican Gulls at Howrah Beach on the Derwent River.

When the temperature rose, I meandered off towards the Derwent River beckoned by the thought of a peaceful walk along a beach (albeit one that I walked on an earlier stage of my trek from the mouth to the source of the River). By the time I reached the end of Bellerive Beach I was feeling very good about the world and so I continued around the point and down onto the people-less Howrah Beach.

The only life was a pair of adult Dominican Gulls and their three immature offspring fishing.

Two surprised me.  From a distance I could see that one adult and one immature were active on the sand where the wash of gentle waves covered their feet from time to time. Each had food of some sort which they couldn’t seem to swallow.  How they tried!  When I walked closer, it was clear both birds were playing with exotic Seastars, with their five brightly orange-coloured arms.

20140904_094156

The immature bird played with a tiny starfish, while the adult focused on a much larger version.  While I watched, both birds battled with their prey, sometimes getting it into their mouth then usually it was disgorged immediately. The shape of bird throats and the shape of the food source were seemingly incompatible. Apart from the challenge of five thick arms which are not particularly pliable, the surface of the starfish is a little knobbly, so I could not believe the birds would have any success getting them ‘down the hatch’.

But then my mouth dropped open in amazement. The immature bird suddenly swallowed his Seastar.   Gulp.  And s/he waded off looking for more. Now that was a feat!

You can read more about these invading starfish in earlier postings at: https://walkingthederwent.com/2015/03/31/pacific-seastars-are-multiplying-in-kangaroo-bay/; https://walkingthederwent.com/2014/09/14/northern-pacific-seastars/; and https://walkingthederwent.com/2014/09/05/stage-2-on-492014-mitchells-beach-email-4-of-14/.

After today’s experience, I wonder whether the Dominican Gulls are finding these Seastars sufficiently tasty so that they will seek them out deliberately.  Perhaps these Gulls will become the natural predator to help reduce the Seastar plague on our native species.  But it looks like hard work to me. Not a comfortable swallow.

Nature is cheaper than therapy

A Californian fiction writer M.P. Zarrella offered the opinion ‘nature is cheaper than therapy’.  Since then, her point of view has spawned posters, cushion covers, and T shirts such as:

Nature cheaper than therapy  and tshirt nature its cheaper than therapy

The use of this comment spread until people couldn’t help themselves …

facebook cheaper than therapy and Beer is cheaper than therapy

Thinking about whether nature is cheaper (with the inference of ‘better’ than therapy), I have been inspired to trawl through my walking-the-derwent photos.

Here are a few favourite natural scenes clicked during Stages 1-6 of my walks along the eastern shore of the Derwent River.  Most of these images spent time as my computer screen background where they lifted my spirits daily.

20140822_100301

Iron Pot off the southern end of South Arm peninsula

20140822_101716

Driftwood beach shack on Pot Bay Beach, South Arm peninsula

20140822_114606

Mount Wellington across the Derwent River from South Arm Beach

20140904_110312

Looking northwards into the gigantic Derwent Harbour from Gellibrand Point at the northern end of the South Arm peninsula.

20140920_102738

Looking uphill from Trywork Point

20140926_095629

Lichen on rocks at Tranmere Point

20140926_104056

Little Howrah Beach

20140926_115158

Looking southwards along Bellerive Beach

20141010_093842

The suburb of Sandy Bay across the Derwent River through the casuarina trees from Rosny Point

20141010_123003

Tranquil Geilston Bay looking toward Mount Wellington

20141015_101248

Bedlam Walls Point

20141015_104855

Shag Bay

20141015_122048

Native flowers in the East Risdon State Reserve

20141015_133435

Tommys Bight

Whenever the weather is deteriorating outside my window, by looking at these photographs from the first 6 of 14 walking stages, I ‘revisit’ the various locations and feel most uplifted. No therapy needed here.

Mirror smooth waters of Kangaroo Bay, an inlet off the Derwent River

Last weekend, when I walked to Bellerive Village via the Bellerive Yacht Club and Boardwalk, I was stunned by the beauty of the view.  The water in the marina was smooth as glass.  The yachts were clear edged by the crisp air and hard bright morning sun.  Despite puffs of cloud obscuring full vision of Mount Wellington in the distance, the vista was spectacular.

2015-03-28 08.22.12 2015-03-28 08.22.28 2015-03-28 08.22.21

Kangaroo and Bellerive Bluffs on Stage 4 of my walk along the Derwent River

After lunch, I walked up to the road (Victoria Esplanade), turned left and proceeded to walk around a new headland, Kangaroo Bluff. The photo below looks south along Bellerive Beach to Second Bluff.

20140926_121521

Continuing the walk and a little way ahead at Gunning St, on the right hand side of the road, a sign indicated the Kangaroo Bluff Historic Site could be reached uphill in a couple of hundred metres. I didn’t take this route rather I continued on the Trail around the Bluff until I reached Bellerive Bluff, the official finishing point for my walk on Stage 4 along the Derwent River. Before reaching Bellerive Bluff, I watched the tomato red coloured Aurora Australis, the Australian Antarctic Division’s research and resupply flagship, manoeuvring around the Derwent Harbour.

Once I arrived at Bellerive Bluff, an information sign reminded me that Charles Darwin, the eminent English naturalist, visited when the Beagle sailed into Hobart in 1836. The sign is particularly informative because it includes a map showing exactly the path Darwin walked on the eastern shore, some of which I have walked during Stage 4. Apparently some of the geological research and findings he made here on the eastern shore of the Derwent River, laid the grounds for the development of the significant theory of continental drifts. This information reminded me that it does not matter in which little pocket of the world you live, some important global story will come from it.

The next, 5th leg of the walk will start opposite Bellerive Bluff at Rosny Point, on a day yet to be determined.  The dark treed headland in the photo below is Rosny Point at the foot of the low Rosny Hill (the ever present Mount Wellington is visible in the distance).

20140926_113324

From Bellerive Bluff further walking is required to access bus routes and return to the Hobart city centre (although I walked home nearby). The Clarence Foreshore Trail continues along the edge of Kangaroo Bay from Bellerive Bluff. This pleasant walk leads to the Bellerive Ferry dock, a Fish and Chip Bar, and the Waterfront Hotel all overlooking the calm Kangaroo Bay with its marina full of yachts.

20140926_130133

Continuing past the Hotel onto the Boardwalk (which stages wonderful open-air festivals throughout the year such as the Seafarers Festival, the Jazz Festival, and the Fruit Wine Festival) there are two choices: to continue along the edge of Kangaroo Bay and past the Bellerive Yacht Club, or to walk up to the street and access the shops and restaurants of Bellerive Village. On the road (Cambridge Road) after the Yacht Club, after the shops finish and not far from the intersection lights, the sign for bus stop number 8 is planted on the edge. From here a bus can be hailed (please do not expect a bus to stop if you do not hold out your arm and indicate, even though you may be standing at the bus stop).  A timetable of bus services is posted on the bus stand.

Once on the bus, you should feel satisfied (and so lucky) that you exercised your body, cleansed your mind, and experienced the beauty of a portion of the Derwent River and its immediate environment. At the end of every walk I treasure where I have been during the day, and I am always excited thinking about the unknowns of the next stage, and looking forward to it.

Walking Howrah and Bellerive Beaches on Stage 4 of my walk along the Derwent River

On arrival on Howrah Beach, I chose not to deviate to the Shoreline Shopping Centre, having no desire for shopping and because the fresh air and walking experience was such a joy. The long Howrah Beach was almost deserted, however occasionally happy dogs and mostly happy owners were enjoying themselves; I am never sure who is taking who for a walk.  I was fascinated by the man who declared he was deaf and then told me his dog was deaf, yet they both seemed to communicate well and understand each other.

20140926_105712

The photo above shows the stretch ahead of me as I started along Howrah Beach. The photo below shows the Beach when I had walked half its length.

20140926_105703

The sky gathered clouds, and the onshore breeze cooled the air as I walked. Before long I reached Second Bluff at the end of the Howrah Beach, and walked up and along the gravel pathway around this headland. At both the southern and northern ends of Second Bluff it is easily possible to walk off towards roads and, in the distance, to reach the main connecting route, Clarence Street, along which buses run regularly.

While walking around this Bluff, I passed some large Australian native Leptospermum trees in full flower; their snow-white petals presented a spectacular display.  Off and on I noticed bright bursts of fleshy native pigface acting as ground cover, with its purple-pink flowers made brilliant by the sunlight. I was afforded spectacular views back to Howrah, Tranmere, Droughty Hill, across the opening of Ralph’s Bay, and of Gellibrand Point and Fort Hill on the South Arm peninsula.

20140926_112427

20140926_112443

Once I reached the Bellerive Beach stairs, I descended and took my walk towards the northern end of the Beach over a kilometre away.

20140926_113238

From time to time tall white poles with red tops are positioned along the beach to indicate walkways to the Clarence Foreshore Trail behind the dunes and then the roads and suburban houses of Bellerive.

20140926_115126

Bellerive Beach is much frequented by fitness fanatics, walkers, joggers, kids, families, individuals, and dogs on leads with owners.  The clean sand, the tide moving the Derwent up and down the beach, and the startling prominence of Mount Wellington are always welcome.

20140926_115121

Near the far end of the Bellerive Beach, a massive structure looms above a row of tall pine trees. This is Blundstone Arena, once known as the Bellerive Cricket Ground. This sportsground, as a national venue for international and local cricket games in the summer, also hosts major AFL (Australian Rules Football) and state level games during the winter months. Between Blundstone Arena and the beach are public toilets along the edge of the Clarence Foreshore Trail.

20140926_121450

Further on and next to the Trail, an outdoor adult gym inspires beach visitors and picnickers to push and pull and otherwise move their bodies.  From here you can see a blue and white painted building standing prominently.

20140926_115457

This is Bellerive Beach’s Fish Bar where fresh fish and other seafood is battered or crumbed and cooked while patrons wait. Dining in or taking away are the two options; the weather and wind generally controls whether I take a fresh cooked meal and sit on the edge of the beach with friends. I live in Bellerive and so I know very well this Beach and all the delights which it offers.

On this walk as usual, I brought my own packed lunch so I passed the Fish Bar and sat towards the end of the beach, and munched and contemplated the leisurely activity of others. A simple pleasure amidst the flighty flashing of hungry squawking silver gulls, all expecting to be fed.

20140926_120252

My route for Stage 4 walking along the Derwent River

Yesterday’s route took me from Tranmere to Bellerive on the Derwent River’s eastern shore of the Greater Hobart Area.

  1. I caught the Number 615 bus to Camelot Park and got off at bus stop 31 in Tranmere just before 9am. The bus continued onto it final stop 31, while I crossed the road to look down on the rocky foreshore, before striding out along the concreted Clarence Foreshore Trail (CFT) back towards the city.

20140926_085658

  1. When I reached bus stop 29, public toilets were located next to the Trail. I continued along the Trail to the left on a gravel path separating the rocks and water from the back yards of houses lining the river. Fifty odd minutes after leaving the bus, and after passing Punch’s Reef and Anulka Park, I arrived at a significant curve in the Trail. At that point it seemed to be returning up to the roadway for continuation on a concreted pathway next to Tranmere Road.
  2. Instead I walked on northwards, next to the river on a grassy terrace but was eventually forced down onto the rocks of Howrah Point. Fifty minutes later I arrived at the southern end of Little Howrah Beach where I sat and ate some of my lunch. I would not recommend followers take this route because when the tide is in, some rocks will be impassable. At other times some uncovered rocks will be slippery with moss. In addition, there are overhanging prickly bushes which will scratch if you follow this way. I suspect staying on the Clarence Foreshore Trail would have taken half an hour or more off my walk.

The photo below shows the tranquillity of Little Howrah Beach.

20140926_104107

  1. Half way along the road next to the Little Howrah Beach is bus stop 21. Close by are public toilets.
  2. It took 6 minutes to walk the length of this short beach, a minute to walk over a tiny rocky shoreline, and then 30 minutes to walk the long Howrah Beach. The photo below shows the Howrah Beach. Second Bluff is the treed area at the end of the beach.

20140926_105721

  1. From Howrah Beach, I walked up and around the Second Bluff headland on a well-marked path (the rocks below would be impossible to walk around) and arrived at the start of the Bellerive Beach approximately a quarter of an hour later. The leisurely stroll along Bellerive Beach took about 30 minutes. The photo below was clicked looking back along Bellerive Beach after my walk was completed.

20140926_121521

Near this end of the beach a large football and cricket ground is evident through the trees.  Between this ground and the beach you will find public toilets.

  1. I took the stairs at the northern end of Bellerive Beach up onto Victoria Esplanade, turned left and followed the road around Kangaroo Bluff to Bellerive Bluff where this fourth stage of my walk along the Derwent finished.

This Bluff marks the point where the small Kangaroo Bay opens off tto the east of the Derwent River. Northwards across the water I could see Rosny Point which will be the starting point for the next leg of this journey.

20140926_123316

On the other side of the river, the city centre featured prominently below Mount Wellington.

20140926_123103

A number 608 bus runs through this part of Bellerive and continues onto Hobart. Alternatively, if you continue walking along the edge of Kangaroo Bay, then through the Bellerive Village onto Cambridge Road, buses can be hailed to stop at Bus Stop 8 for travel into Hobart city.

How much of the Derwent River have I walked?

I strolled very slowly for almost five hours. If followers choose to stay on the Clarence Foreshore Trail and are not as engaged as I was in making notes and taking photographs, I believe this walk will take a comfortable 3 and a half hours including snack breaks. In total, I probably walked about 10 kilometres because of the convoluted nature of the Howrah Point rocks and other non-Clarence Foreshore Trail pathways which I followed from time to time.  In relation to meeting my goal to walk the 249 kilometre length of the Derwent River, I gained another 4 kms; the total distance covered so far is now 19.5 kilometres.