Tag Archives: Bellerive

Sport and the Derwent River

A couple of weeks ago an international Test cricket match between Australia and the West Indies was staged at the Blundstone Arena in Bellerive. Australian cricket tragics (but probably not those from the West Indies) may enjoy these photos. When you stand in the open or sit in the grandstands, fabulous views of the Derwent appear before you and distract.  Cricket Tasmania’s website  shows a glorious aerial shot of the Arena with the Derwent River beyond and mysterious Mount Wellington looming behind the city.

Last Friday night, I was on the Hobart Domain at the Hobart tennis courts. First I watched retired Tasmanian tennis player Richard Fromberg (he reached about number 20 in the world when he was playing on the world circuit) play an up and coming Tasmanian player, Harry Bourchier, who hopes to break into the Australian Open Grand Slam in January.  Fromberg is circled below watching a later match.

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A fun doubles game followed with two 7 year olds (one of which was Cruz Hewitt, Lleyton Hewitt’s son) teaming up with their adult coaches to play a short game.  Those extraordinary 7 year olds stood firmly at the base line and served their balls over the net, despite the net being a great distance off and higher than they were tall. The night finished with ex World number 1 tennis player Lleyton Hewitt playing an exhibition match against Australian Sam Groth who currently has the fastest serve in the world.  In the photo below, Groth wears red at the left of the net and Hewitt wears blacks to the right.

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I was thrilled by the hard and fast hitting.  A good game!

Beforehand I wandered to one end of the main court and looked out through an overcast evening, to the Derwent River.

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On occasions when the sky is clear and blue, the Derwent River sparkles.  Getty Images has one shot I particularly like.  The blue tennis court in the foreground seems separated from the Derwent River by a giant cruise ship at anchor in port.

Fires above the Derwent River

On too many nights last week the sky was dense with a rosy fire haze across my suburb.  The smoke slipped through crevices in my house so that, through each evening, I felt like I inhaled a camp fire.  Back then I checked the Tas Fire Alert website and learned the closest fire was in Quarry Road less than half a kilometre away. Today I went off to see what the burn looked like.

I chose to walk through the bushland of Waverley Flora Park first and then descend down Quarry Road.

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From the top of one of the Park’s walking tracks, I looked through stands of gum trees towards the mouth of the Derwent River.

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In the other direction Mount Wellington loomed large over the Hobart CBD and the Derwent Harbour.

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I followed in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, ‘father’ of the theory of evolution, who walked around Hobart in 1836. At some time during that visit he crossed to the eastern shore and wandered around the Bellerive suburb and beyond.

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I saw unfamiliar medium-sized birds collecting nesting material and insect food morsels (who flitted away far too fast for me to take a photograph): one was dressed in silvery greys with a long strand floating after its tail, and another with a rich olive green coat. None of my bird books help me to identify either of these birds – any locals with bird knowledge?

A profusion of native spring flowers carpeted parts of the Park, or stood as single colourful spikes amidst the dull dry green grasses.

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It soon became clear that lots of burned vegetation and scorched earth passages were scattered next to the walking track and beyond.

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Later when I walked down Quarry Road with not a burn mark in sight, I realised that for bureaucratic purposes the Tas Fire Alert site had to indicate the best road for fire trucks to follow.  It had been parts of the Waverley Flora Park that suffered fire damage.

As I continued downhill, I heard the siren sounds of a fire truck and watched it whip past the intersection below.  When I turned the corner, the truck was parked askew with hefty yellow clad guys preparing their gear.  The screams of other sirens were closing in. I watched wisps of smoke escaping from all manner of slits and slots and dirty brown smoke puffing from the front door of the house below.  I saw an approaching ambulance and guessed this wasn’t someone’s best day.

Between the bridges: Stage 14 of my walk along the Derwent River

The achievement yesterday was to walk from the Bridgewater Bridge to the New Norfolk bridge on the western shore of the Derwent River.

I set off from home before the sun was up and I found Hobart was quiet when I arrived at the city bus mall.

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Then I bussed to Granton and alighted from the bus at the intersection with the Bridgewater Bridge causeway.

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From Granton I walked north-west then west towards the inland town of New Norfolk walking mostly along the Lyell Highway and then on a walking track for the last 5 or so kilometres. The morning was freezing and the afternoon warm.  But the sun was out; its hard autumn light made the world seem alive and sparkling. The Derwent River was splendid, often still and reflecting the trees and hills on its surface, under a bright blue sky with the sun shining gloriously.

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I finished my walk at the bridge crossing the Derwent River in New Norfolk.

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During the walk, I covered about 15½km of the length of the Derwent River.  By my reckoning, the total distance of the Derwent River on the western shore from the mouth of the River to New Norfolk is 54¼ km.

My walking distance was approximately 20¼kms.  I have now walked approximately 191¼ kms not counting getting to and from buses, as part of this project to walk along the Derwent River.

The highlights of the walk to New Norfolk were finding the remnants of two clearly visible heritage lime kilns, seeing a family of 6 pelicans, finding the track along the river leading to New Norfolk, and being mesmerised by the spectacular autumn foliage along the walk and especially in New Norfolk.

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I started walking from Granton around 8am and, despite wearing a thick woollen beanie plus a thermal top under my windproof jacket, I was frozen for the first two and a half hours.  It was 8 degrees Celsius at Bellerive when I left home, 6 degrees at Glenorchy and I suspect much less with a wind chill factor along the first part of the walk.  On this basis, I will not be walking further inland until sometime in Spring, and the timing of starting again towards Lake St Clair will depend on the air temperature.

Over the coming week I plan to enjoy writing up the journey and the discoveries of Stage 14’s walk in a series of different postings.

Pacific Seastars are multiplying in Kangaroo Bay

Recently when I walked past the Marina at Bellerive, I looked down in horror to see hundreds of seastars foraging across the river bottom. The water was clear so their orange arms were spectularly visible.  Some of these starfish were larger than a dinner plate.

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The white lines in the photo above are the reflections of yacht masts.

I talked about these pests in two earlier postings; ‘Northern Pacific Seastars’ of 14 September 2014, and Stage 2 on 4/9/2014 Mitchell’s Beach of 5 September 2014. The Tasmanian government department responsible for parks (http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/file.aspx?id=6917)  provides information about Tasmania’s 3 unique starfish and acknowledges the damage that Northern Pacific Seastars are doing to our marine life.

Pretty some might say.  Perhaps that is why they are multiplying and limited collection and destruction actions are being taken.

For a split second I thought to throw off my clothes, jump in and start throwing these scavangers onto the jetty. Of course, common sense prevailed:  I could have been overcome with hypothermia.  In addition, I realised there were too many for one person to collect.  Their removal needs a devoted crowd of wet suit clad divers to be methodical and dedicated.  Of course the sadness is that thousands more are grazing out of eye shot.  And they continue to breed so well in these cool waters.

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You can read Louise Goggin’s story on these marauding seastars at http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/starfish/.  ‘Enjoy’ the photo in this article “Community divers pulled 30,000 sea stars from the Derwent River in 1993 and hardly put a dent in the population”.

Mount Nelson Signal Station

Overlooking the centre of the city of Hobart and with a view sweeping across to the eastern shore of the Derwent River, Mount Nelson is host to a significant historical site, the Mount Nelson Signal Station.

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Wikipedia provides the information that originally this rise in the landscape was named ‘Nelson’s Hill’ after botanist David Nelson, who sailed on the ship ‘Bounty’ which visited Van Diemens Land on its way to Tahiti (the ship that was involved in the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty). In geological form, Mount Nelson amounts to not much more than a low foothill, however its name gives an indication that something grand awaits you if you venture to the top.

And such a visit is easy in a vehicle, or if you want to take an uphill walk from Hobart’s suburb of Sandy Bay.  In addition, the Mount Nelson via Dynnyrne and Tolmans Hill Metro bus service can deliver you to your destination.  If you like walking, you might choose to catch a bus to the top and then follow any one of a number of clearly marked tracks downhill. Yesterday I made a visit thanks to blog follower Je’s transport, accompanied by another follower Be who is visiting from Cairns.

From different vantage points, the spectacle of the Derwent River spread out below, made us breathless with delight. When I am walking at ground level along the Derwent River, the grand panoramas extending into the distance are denied me.  But yesterday it was exciting to see the bays and hills further afield.

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The photo above looks toward the mouth of the Derwent River on the eastern shore. South Arm peninsula can be seen extending along the water.  As  I stood on Mount Nelson I could clearly identify the Iron Pot, Fort Direction Hill, South Arm Beach, Opossum Bay and its beach, and  Gellibrand Point all of which I walked on during Stage 1 and 2 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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The photo above shows the eastern shore of the Derwent River with Gellibrand Point to the right on the northern tip of the South Arm peninsula. Then the great gaping space of Ralph’s Bay appeared straight ahead. To the left of the image, Trywork Point is in view; this was the starting point for Stage 3 of my walk (after I had walked there from the suburb of Tranmere).

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The photo above shows Ralphs Bay to the right, Trywork Point and then the suburb of Tranmere to the left – on the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

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The photo above shows the eastern shore from Tranmere on the right, through the suburbs of Howrah to Bellerive on the left – the River edges which I walked during Stages 4 and 5.

Across the parkland at the Mount Nelson Signal Station, native Wrens flitted around feeling safe as they hunted for insect meals on the ground.

I enjoyed looking at information panels on the site and learning more about how the place operated.  In addition, one panel showed the location of walking tracks.

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So … what is the history? Not long after Hobart was settled in the early 1800s, locals needed speedy and efficient communication between the convict settlement at Port Arthur and Hobart.  In addition, Hobart residents wanted foreknowledge of sailing ships approaching from the ocean through Storm Bay and on their way to the Derwent River in case any provided a threat to trade or security. To gather this information, in 1811 the Mount Nelson Signal Station was established and designed to use semaphore.  The method of communication was flags waving across the hills.  Details about the semaphore flag signalling system can be read at http://www.anbg.gov.au/flags/semaphore.html.  The site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_line provides further information. At the Mount Nelson Signal Station, flags were run up a pole – this seems a very cumbersome process compared to a person waving flags. I hope that someday the signal station will offer a demonstration to the public so I can understand the process.  Give me a re-enactment please.

This semaphore communication service continued in use until a more reliable system was available (what happened at the Signal Station on windy days, in wet weather and when clouds obscured the view?).   It was not until 1880 that a telephone line connected Hobart and Mount Nelson.

Walking around the area is free of charge.  Some pathways are provided. The site has various public amenities including picnic tables, public toilets, carpark, barbecues and a restaurant.

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For further information about eating in the heritage building pictured above, go to http://www.signalstation.com.au.  I recommend that you phone in advance if you are depending on eating there. Yesterday, despite permanent signs indicating the Brasserie was open, another sign on the building indicated it was closed.

During my visit, clouds loomed powerfully over the city and river. The day light was so bright and strong that when I turned northwards and photographed the land and riverscapes, the sky glowed white.  So I clicked a few images pointed at the sky and this silhouetted the landscape.  Using my simple mobile phone as camera, I was never able to control the light of the images.

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Although these looked like rain clouds, it did not rain.  These large puffs were just passing through.

Cruise ships berthing at Hobart

On a recent afternoon I could see the Marina cruise ship berthed at MAC2/3 (the name of one of Hobart piers). This ship arrived early in the morning from Geelong in southern Victoria on mainland Australia.

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For more information about the ship go to http://www.cruiseaway.com.au/ship/marina?gclid=Cj0KEQiA6ounBRCq0LKBjKGgysEBEiQAZmpvAxP6_HcT_3xcTvA4bqjanWX6gz9rMqc1ga4ZVAGuCFoaAiMt8P8HAQ

Later, I watched the Marina depart at 6pm.  The early evening sun sparkled across the Derwent River and brightened the ship so it made a spectacle as it gathered steam. The Marina’s next destination is Milford Sound on the south island of New Zealand.

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This cruise ship is one of many which dock in Hobart and release thousands of tourists across the city and further beyond, for day trips. If you want to know which ships  are due in port in the coming days then read http://www.tasports.com.au/port_services/arrivalshobart.html

The overall cruise ship schedule into Tasmanian ports can be read at http://www.tasports.com.au/port_services/arrivalscruise.html. This list is staggering because it shows the bookings up until 2020!

From my Bellerive home I can see these large ‘towns’ on water as they arrive and depart.  I can almost feel the thrill that I expect new arrivals might experience as they reach this new destination ready to discover a new world.  One day I hope one of my blog followers will be on such a cruise ship and will ask me to take them on a walk somewhere along the Derwent River.

Nudging into Blackmans Bay on Stage 12 of my walk along the Derwent River

At 3pm I turned left onto Roslyn Ave having walked up from Boronia Beach. Within 10 minutes I could see Blackmans Bay Beach.

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Five minutes later I turned left at Blowhole Road in search of a Blowhole. The road was narrow with no pathway and limited edges on which to walk.  Wattle trees were blooming and I passed an apple orchard laden with red globes. Flowering gums are spectacular at the moment.

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I reached the Blowhole sign, which indicated the entrance to a small park on a hill at the northern end of Blackmans Bay Beach, at 3.22 pm.

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The weather wasn’t gusty and so the water ebbed and flowed rhythmically but undramatically beneath a rock bridge. There was no blowing of water through the gap.

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I continued down hill.

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I reached beach level at 3.34pm and proceeded to walk on the path beside Ocean Esplanade. Inset into the pavement were handmade tiles and mosaics presumably made by community effort.  These were similar to those impressed into the footpath in parts of Kingston.

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A little way along the Esplanade public toilets and a kid’s playground provided useful amenities.

I decided to stop, look, listen and smell. Looking over the Derwent River to the South Arm peninsula and around about me watching people enjoying the beach and surrounds, listening to the seagulls calling, and smelling the salty air kept me seated for 10 minutes. I had walked two thirds of the way along Blackmans Bay Beach and it seemed a reasonable place to stop for Stage 12.  So I headed for  a bus stop.  I found one by turning into Hazell St and then into Wells Parade.  As I arrived at the stop, a Metro bus came over the hill in the distance.  Wonderful timing.  It was 4pm. The experiences of the day had been rich. I enjoyed the bus trip back into Hobart via the main Kingston shopping centre, and then the southern outlet highway. The view when we came to the top of the final hill is majestic (please ignore the dirty bus windows in the photos below).

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Some of Hobart and the eastern shore suburbs are laid out below with the blue Derwent River flowing between. Always stunning. After half an hour on the bus I arrived in Hobart city, then headed off for my Bellerive bus and was home before 5pm.  All together a brilliant day.  Stage 12 was complete!  Because of personal commitments and what I have seen in the weather forecast, I do not expect to walk Stage 13 until next week.