Tag Archives: Bushy Park

Big trees

One of the water flows which feeds into the Derwent River is the Styx River.  Long term blog readers will recall, in an early stage of my walk along the Derwent River, I passed the point where the Styx flows into the Derwent in the township of Bushy Park.

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These clear clean waters, and those of the Derwent River are used to irrigate hop fields.

So when media headlines recently mentioned the Styx, I was alert and interested.  The story focuses on an area further inland and in a very remote section of the Styx Valley. You can read more here about the process of photographing one of the world’s tallest trees – and the article includes some sensational photos.

A frisson of excitement pulses through me at the thought of those wonderful primeval forests.  Fresh and clean and original.  But alas, I believe these trees are close to forestry operations where similar trees are routinely clearfelled –  for wood chips! Refer here and here for more thoughts on the matter. If you use Google Maps to look at the Styx River area, a patchwork of logged areas are clearly visible.

 

Recapping the walk along the Derwent River

 

I lived the walk along the Derwent with a vital obsession but, after so many months intensely engaged on other projects, now some of the details are vague. To re-immerse myself into the experience, I am writing this post.

In addition, I suspect it will be a great help to people who have become followers of my blog during the past 6 months.  Despite my inactivity, it surprises me how many visitors and views the blog gets daily, how many different posts are read, and how many different countries around the world are represented.

In August 2014, from an impulsive unplanned idea, I took a bus to a spot near the mouth of the Derwent River on the eastern shore, walked to the sea then retraced my steps and began the walk towards the source of this great river approximately 214kms inland.  On day trips, and around other life commitments, I walked in stages along the eastern shore until I reached the Bridgewater Bridge which crosses the Derwent approximately 43 kms upstream.

Instead of continuing inland, I crossed the bridge and headed back on the western shore towards the southernmost  mouth of the River.  Most of the walks along the eastern and western shores between the sea and the Bridgewater Bridge were along designated pathways, although some informal track walking, road walking and beach walking was required during my trips.

Then I returned to the Bridgewater Bridge and began the journey inland expecting only to walk on the side of the river that made passage easiest.  I had no intention to walk both sides from this point onwards in anticipation the landscape would be inaccessible for a number of reasons or particularly wild with dense and difficult forests. I walked to New Norfolk on the western/southern side of the Derwent but from then on, I switched from side to side. Using maps I determined where I must take up each new stage of a walk while switching from side to side, so that I could say I had traipsed the entire length of the Derwent River.

The farthest inland stages of my walk are easily defined.  I walked from near the township of Tarraleah besides Canal 1 (along which is transported Derwent River water) above the actual River bed, past Clark Dam, and around majestic Lake King William to the township of Derwent Bridge.  From there I followed the river to its source at St Clair Lagoon dam.  In case some people believe the source of the Derwent is further inland, I walked onwards to the weir where the Derwent Basin empties into the St Clair Lagoon via passing the southern end of Lake St Clair.

Between New Norfolk and the area near  Tarraleah, my walk beside the River was in country near  townships (some of which were located at a great distance from the River) such as Bushy Park, Gretna, Hamilton, Ouse, and Wayatinah.  This necessitated additional travel to or from the highway and roads, on which these towns exist, to reach the river or to return home from a walk along the river.

Inland, the water of the Derwent River is controlled by dams constructed to create hydro-electricity for Tasmania: I walked past them all. From the end of the river closest to the mouth, these are the Meadowbank, Cluny, Repulse, Catagunya, Wayatinah, Clark and St Clair Lagoon dams.  Each of these has a bank of water behind them:  Meadowbank Lake, Cluny Lagoon, Lake Repulse, Lake Catagunya, Wayatinah Lagoon, Lake King William and St Clair Lagoon.  Most of these dams and bodies of water has a power station: Meadowbank Power Station, Cluny Power Station, Repulse Power Station, Catagunya Power Station, Wayatinah Power Station and Butlers Gorge Power Station.  I was privileged to be shown around one of these power stations during one walk.

Water from the Derwent passes through two other power stations:  Nieterana mini hydro and the Liapootah Power Station.  I did not follow the trail of these Derwent River managed flows.  The water from other locations inland passes through the Lake Echo Power station and Tungatinah Power Station then flows into the Derwent after power generation, thereby increasing the volume of water flowing downstream.  I did not walk along these feeder rivers.

The few stages of the walks which have not been recorded in this blog, are in all the zone between Gretna and the area near Tarraleah – a stretch of perhaps  120 km.  I have written up and posted most of the walks in this zone, and now it’s time to add the missing sections.

Tea from Linden flowers

When I walked from New Norfolk to Bushy Park, I passed a property named Linden.  You can reread my post and the informative additional comments provided by blog followers.

Not long afterwards, a local friend exclaimed with surprise when I informed her that I did not know what a Linden tree looked like, and that I had never drunk tea brewed from Linden tree flowers.  Imagine my pleasure when, one day, Alex called by with a bag of dried linden flowers.  They seemed to possess an ethereal beauty. Out came my camera and here are the resulting photos.

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The tea was delicate but refreshing. Most enjoyable. Thanks Alex.

Fields of Dreams

Under the subheading of Horns of Plenty in a local newspaper article, I read about the farmer of the Highland Cattle which I photographed during my walk from New Norfolk to Bushy Park.  By reading the article, I learnt how enterprising Bev Lynd has been, and how useful these cattle are to control the inroads of overwhelming vegetation.  I thought you might be interested in this information.

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My original post can be read at Woolly Long Horned Cattle.

Revisiting sites

With a friend last Thursday and then with another yesterday I returned to Bushy Park,  where I introduced them to the hop kilns/Oasthouse precinct that is hidden at the end of 10 Acre Lane, next to the Derwent River.  They were amazed and delighted with the discovery.

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As it was when I first walked there, no-one else appeared on site. Thanks Alex and Andrew for the revisits. This site proves to be enthralling and special each visit.

Yesterday I realised the vegetation had grown dramatically and lushly in recent weeks so that ‘fences’ of flowering and green leafed Hawthorn blocked some previously easy views.  When Alex and I smelt delicate fragrant perfumes floating in the air, our noses were led to a throng of tiny roses clambering over themselves with a very strong but beautiful perfume. Standing beside this tangle was a flowering tree with perfumed drops of flowers somewhat similar to those on a wisteria, although coloured white.  We couldn’t identify this tree.  In another part of the precinct was a mass of trees with flowers in cone shaped clusters sitting up above their branches. Alex thought they might be chestnut trees.

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The ducks ran out of the Junior Angling Pool hoping for a feed.

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Idyllic.

Revisiting the hop kilns was my reward after walking a little more of the edge of the Derwent River. But more about that in later posts.

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My sunhat has seen better days but it has a long way to go yet.

Possible locations where the Derwent River can be ‘touched’

I have compiled a list of those locations where I believe, with a vehicle, it will be possible to ‘touch’ the Derwent River occasionally along its length between Gretna and Lake St Clair.  Please let me know if any section listed below takes your fancy and if you would be interested to try it out.

Almost all sections include driving on bitumen highway, gravel roads and poor tracks. Some of these may be forestry roads.  If you wish to volunteer to take me to one of these sections (let me know on walkingthederwent@gmail.com), please feel comfortable that your car can handle the different conditions.  Of course, common sense will prevail and we will never push on if a road is too rough for your vehicle and your peace of mind.

If you are happy to help me reach my goal, albeit differently than originally expected, I would like to fill up your tank with petrol as some compensation.  You know my ‘walking the Derwent’ is a non-commercial project, but since I do not own a car nor drive, I need transport – and therefore, I am happy to cover the cost.

  1. On eastern shore – From New Norfolk drive along the Lyell Highway and then, not far past Gretna’s Sports ground, take a left turn into Clarendon Road and drive to farmstead buildings about 250 metres from the river on a hill. Perhaps 140km return trip.
  2. On western shore – From New Norfolk drive along Glenora Road, and turn left at Bushy Park then right onto Meadowbank Road over the Tyenna River then next to Derwent, then on over Meadowbank Creek to a hill top with buildings. It may be possible to continue quite a way on this road. Minimum 130 and maybe up to 160kms return trip
  3. On eastern shore – From New Norfolk drive along the Lyell Highway and turn left off the Highway onto Meadowbank Dam Road. Continue to dam and southern end of Meadowbank Lake. At least 170 kms for round trip.
  4. On western shore – Travel from New Norfolk and turn left into Gordon River Road at Bushy Park, then turn right off Gordon River Rd into Ellendale Rd and then right onto Rockmount Road before you reach the township of Ellendale. There seem to be many dirt forestry tracks to Meadowbank Lake. At least 170kms return trip and maybe 200kms return or more depending on roads.
  5. On western shore – Travel from New Norfolk and turn left into Gordon River Road at Bushy Park, then turn right off Gordon River Rd into Ellendale Rd and drive on through the township of Ellendale until you reach Dawson Rd / Dunrobin bridge over Meadowbank Lake. Turn left before bridge and it seems we can drive 2kms further up along the Lake edge. Return to Ellendale Road, cross bridge and connect with the Lyell Highway. At least 170kms return trip and maybe 200kms return or more depending on roads.
  6. On eastern shore – From New Norfolk drive up Lyell Highway and continue past the left turn off to Dunrobin bridge and afterwards and to the left there are a number of dirt tracks seemingly without gates. After a while these tracks/roads only extend to the Ouse River and not the Derwent River so map consultation is crucial. At least 180kms return and maybe over 200kms return depending on how many side roads/tracks can be driven along.
  7. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway past Ouse then turn left at Lake Repulse Road. Continue to intersection with Cluny Lagoon Road and turn left and go to Cluny Dam. Return to intersection and continue on Lake Repulse Road to the Repulse Dam. Can cross a bridge and continue back south around Cluny Lagoon to a ‘settlement’ named Cluny.  Perhaps could access this road from the Ellendale Rd on the western shore? By driving north from Repulse Dam along Dawson Road/then renamed Thunderbolt Road it seems we can take right hand detours to Lake Repulse. Over 200kms maybe 250kms or more minimum round trip.
  8. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway past Ouse, over the Dee River until the sign appears for a left turn at Catagunya Road. Drive down to Catagunya Dam. 200kms minimum return trip
  9. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway past Ouse, over the Dee River, past Black Bobs and turn left at Long Spur Road. This runs around Wayatinah Lagoon. Go past the intersection to Wayatinah Dam, turn left and travel to Wayatinah Power Station on Lake Catagunya. Return to intersection and turn left and travel to Wayatinah Dam. Cross bridge and continue on to Wayatinah township. Access dirt tracks in the vicinity of all. Drive south from the Wayatinah Dam on the western shore along the Florentine Road but don’t bother crossing the Florentine River because the road goes inland away from the river. Minimum of 230kms but most likely  at least 300kms round trip.
  10. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway and when you reach a canal passing under the road, and where the road turns right to go to Tarraleah, go straight ahead on Butlers Gorge Road. Note there are limited roads off and around going closer to the river near that intersection. Continue along Butlers Gorge Road for 10-15 kms heading for Lake King William. Reach Clark Dam and Power Station. Continue onto Switchback Track along side of Lake King William. This track stops and you have to return the same way – swamp separates you from the track north about 500 metres away. This would be a big day and I suggest take overnight accommodation at Tarraleah before setting out. PERHAPS it is possible to walk across the swamp and then walk about 7 kms to Derwent Bridge. Unknown over 300 kms return trip.
  11. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway to Derwent Bridge and continue past to left hand turn off on the western side of Lake King William and drive the track to the lake. 360 kms return trip minimum.
  12. On eastern shore – Drive up Lyell Highway to Derwent Bridge. Walk from the bridge over the Derwent River near the township of Derwent Bridge to St Clair Dam at the bottom of Lake St Clair Lagoon where the Derwent River starts. Walk to Pump House Point and St Clair Weir at the southern end of the Derwent Basin. 350kms return trip minimum.

 

Settling in, indoors+

Once inside the Gretna Green Hotel, immediately I felt comfortable.  I walked out to a back room, plonked my gear and then hung onto the bar looking eager.

“Would it be possible to have a shower?  I’m happy to pay.  I don’t care if the shower is in the private residential quarters upstairs.  I’ll even clean it afterwards if that will help.  I’d REALLY like a shower.” All said with pleading eyes.  ‘No. Can’t do,” said the barman.  I stared with desperate eyes, waiting for an explanation.  Apparently TasWater, which manages water quality and delivery around Tasmania, has declared the water at Gretna to be so unsafe that no-one should drink it, and the locals deem it so bad that there is a flow on risk with showering and washing your clothes in it.  “Well we all shower in it, but that’s the risk we take”, barman Brad informed me. “But we won’t let you take the risk.” I spoke up. “If you shower in it then I am happy to shower in it and will even sign a slip of paper saying I am accepting the risk against your advice.”  “No can do. Nah. Sorry.  The publicans won’t allow it,” was the barman’s response. He was trying to be helpful and so I saw no point in putting him offside.  After all, my bus back to Hobart wasn’t passing through Gretna for another 7 hours – I reckoned that creating an aggro situation wouldn’t be smart.

“OK. A bottle of water and a cup of black tea please.”  The cup with its tea bag was soon in front of me.  While the hot drink cooled, I sculled the bottle all the time sitting and chatting to friendly and informative Brad.  After the second bottle and second cup of tea, I began to feel refreshed.  I made up my mind to get clean including brushing my teeth (in the offending water) and to change my clothes, so off I went to the toilets and slowly completed the ablutions and the makeover.  When I left the cubicle, I felt like a new person. I was rehydrated within from having imbibed the fluids earlier, and now I knew I looked different. I felt so much more alive. I only had to survive the waiting time until the bus came through. Only 6 hours to go.