Tag Archives: Derwent Harbour

Fossil Cove posting 4 of 4

I relaxed with the sounds of the wash of the water onto the shore.

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After one last look around this deserted Cove and across the glorious Derwent Harbour, I turned toward the path and walked back uphill. Slowly.  Very slowly.  I swear the incline on that hill had steepened. I found each blade of grass and each leaf on the path infinitely interesting and worthy of stopping for closer inspection. Often.

For blog readers who live in Hobart, give yourself a treat, take a picnic with you and enjoy a visit to this wonderful Cove.

‘What’s in a name? A fair bit , actually’ says Rex Gardner

On page 14 of The Mercury newspaper on 5th February Rex Gardner asked ‘What’s in a name?  A fair bit , actually’ about a part of my favourite Tasmanian river.

He talked about the area near the Hobart docks and further out into the harbour and remarked that it ‘really doesn’t have a proper name’.

Rex commented: ‘We call it the River Derwent, or Derwent River. But that name aptly describes the Derwent around New Norfolk, and upriver from there, because a river is a naturally flowing fresh watercourse, flowing towards the sea.  Heading downstream towards Bridgewater, the Derwent becomes an estuary, defined as brackish water fed by streams and rivers, and flowing to the sea.’

When Rex added ‘What flows through the city of Hobart is not a river’, I gasped.  Over time, my blog has addressed the challenges of defining where the Derwent River starts and stops.

To help you to visualise the location, below is an excerpt from Google maps.

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Rex Gardner explained, ‘It could be loosely called an estuary, and more properly a harbour, which is a body of water surrounded by land.  The Derwent is 1.4km wide at the Tasman Bridge. From the Hobart docks to Howrah Point is 6km.  From Sandy Bay to Tranmere is 5km.  The Mississippi and the Amazon rivers don’t boast distances like that, except at their mouths or when they flow through lakes.’  Finally he remarked: ‘You have to wonder how the Derwent has suffered the indignity of being called a river for so long.  Just like Mount Wellington got a name change, so too should our Hobart Harbour.’  An alternative fact: our mountain has two official names – Mount Wellington and Kunanyi.

Rex Gardner’s approach adds a new dilemma. To understand some of the legal issues associated with defining a ‘river’ read here, here and here.

The Derwent Estuary Program describes the section of the Derwent between the Iron Pot (at the inner edge of Storm Bay near the eastern shore river mouth) and New Norfolk as the Derwent Estuary rather than the Derwent River and explains it is “a unique environment; a partially enclosed body of water where tidal seawater and fresh river water mix”.

What constitutes our Derwent River – where does it start and stop?  What is the location of its mouth? I have become so used to thinking of the Derwent River starting in the Lake St Clair area and ending around the Iron Pot that these ideas have shaken me up; they are making me question my position.  Does it matter to you? I wonder what others think.

Brilliant bird’s eye view

Thankyou blog follower Ju.  Recently Ju connected me with a woman with a husband who has a Private Pilot’s Licence.  Once I made contact, Michelle and Dave were delighted to fly me in their four seater plane, a Cirrus SR20 which Michelle referred to as the BMW of the skies.

Today we flew.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Clean blue sky. Hardly a breeze.  The landscape rich and varied.  The Derwent River sparkled from start to finish.

The experience was stunningly magnificent.  I love words but I find it difficult to express my excitement, my pleasure, and the sheer joy of the flight in the depth which I felt.  There below me was the river I have come to love and know a little more. There below me were the tracks, paths, roads and landscape over which I have walked – and I laughed occasionally remembering certain experiences during my walks. There below me were logging tracks, dam roads, and fading vehicular pathways.  And then we were flying over impenetrable sections which may not be walkable.

We left Hobart airport and flew to Storm Bay by rounding the Iron Pot, then we followed the river upstream to the source. Dave flew on until we reached the northern most point of Lake St Clair. The return journey was equally as beautiful and engaging. The light had changed presenting us with a ‘new’ landscape.

Of the hundreds of photos taken by Michelle, friend Chantale and myself, I include a tiny selection here.

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The photo above taken by Michelle caught me totally preoccupied by the view.

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MIchelle’s photo above shows the Derwent River snaking around the Claremont Golf course with Cadbury’s Chocolate Manufacturing buildings in white to the left.

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The photo above shows a straight section of the Derwent River before the township of New Norfolk on the upper left.

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The photo above shows the Derwent River circling part of Reid’s cherry orchards.

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Chantale’s photo of the Pumphouse Point accommodation projecting into Lake St Clair, also shows the dam across the Derwent Basin where the water enters St Clair Lagoon.  The source of the Derwent River starts to the right of the photo.

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Michelle’s photo above shows part of sprawling Hobart set against the Derwent Harbour.

Those photos taken while flying over the river westwards of Gretna will be incorporated into the stories of my walks from Gretna onwards, in future posts.  From now on, you can expect both ground-based and aerial photos to enrich the stories.
I feel like the luckiest person in the world for the opportunity to travel in a smooth flying small plane, to see the Derwent River winding through the landscape in glorious blueness, and to be reminded Tasmania is a superb place. A truly wonderful and memorable day. Thankyou to all concerned.

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.

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Iron Pot off the southern end of South Arm peninsula

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Driftwood beach shack on Pot Bay Beach, South Arm peninsula

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Mount Wellington across the Derwent River from South Arm Beach

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

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Looking uphill from Trywork Point

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Lichen on rocks at Tranmere Point

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Little Howrah Beach

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Looking southwards along Bellerive Beach

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

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Tranquil Geilston Bay looking toward Mount Wellington

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Bedlam Walls Point

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Shag Bay

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Native flowers in the East Risdon State Reserve

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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.

Hobart Regatta – it is on this weekend!

Only a couple of Stages ago I walked through the Hobart Regatta Ground as part of my trek along the Derwent River. At the time, other than a few fishermen the area was people-less and very dull.

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By contrast, next weekend the area will be crowded with people involved in all sorts of Regatta related activities. The place will be buzzing. You only have to read the blurb offered by the Royal Hobart Regatta organisers on http://www.royalhobartregatta.com/ to realise there will be something that should interest everyone. Serious boat races and silly community fun races will be the mainstays of the Regatta. Concerts, movies, music, wood-chopping contests, pageants and trans-Derwent swims will support the event. Members of the Royal Australian Navy will arrive on the Flagship HMAS Sydney, complete with helicopters simulating live rescues etc. Finally, a fireworks display will light up the Derwent Harbour on Monday night.

The Regatta experience runs in tandem with the Australian Wooden Boat Festival over the weekend. Hobart’s waterfront will come alive with festivities. Thousands of people will throng the area over the four days.

I am on holiday watching over the Derwent River

Yesterday afternoon I left home, for a week, to live in a unit above Kingston Beach which overlooks the wide expanse of the Derwent  Harbour in Tasmania’s south east.

In future, I will walk along the edge of the Derwent River below as part of my stroll along the Derwent from the eastern shore mouth to the western shore mouth and then from Granton to the source.  Here I am located very close to the mouth on the western shore. I feel tempted to walk the last kilometres this week, and then go back to Berriedale and walk the remaining distance to Kingston. The weather and Christmas commitments will influence the decision.

I am living in a leafy suburb where the rain has pattered through most of the night.  The ground is moist, the air is clean, and the vegetation looks delightfully healthy. This morning, despite slight drizzle, I have taken photos from and around where I am living to give me a sense of place.

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The water and the air over the Derwent River are pale and silvery. The sky and water blend softly over disappearing hills so that they all seem to slip from my eyes. Details are scant. Focusing is difficult.  It is not surprising that the photo below shows no water detail.

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Last night in the evening’s continuing light (today is the longest day of the year) I looked across the Derwent River and could identify the land on which I walked in parts of the first three stages of my walk.  The entrance to Ralphs Bay is marked by Trywork Point to the north and Gellibrand Point in the south stands proud at the northern end of the South Arm peninsula. I can see the northern parts of the suburb of Opossum Bay and, further south, the hill above Fort Direction intrudes into the light wispy sky.

Today is the sort of day when ‘you can leave your hat on’ (rain hat that is) and I am enjoying my holiday so much that I have been ‘singing out of key’ around the place … thanks Jo Cocker. Devotees will remember Jo Cocker’s fourth album was titled “I can stand a little rain”.  Bring it on!