Tag Archives: Metro bus

Unspeakables. Unmentionables.

Where ever we walk some sort of crime is likely to have been committed in past years, centuries, or millennia – that is, if the concept of crime is part of the culture.

In the past week, Tasmanian police have been hopeful for a breakthrough in the search for Lucille Butterworth, a young woman who has been missing for almost half a century, believed murdered.  Reports indicate that police ‘have the best lead yet with credible new information leading them to the lonely gravelled roadside area 8.5km from the Granton turn-off on the Lyell Highway’. The location is next to the Derwent River.

Having seen the latest news media photos, I remember walking this section of the road on my jaunt from Granton to New Norfolk. It was the section where no road verge offered protection from the traffic and I needed to walk on the tarmac.  No sign of human habitation.  Only vehicles with their racing drivers charging along the highway.  I had no clairvoyant moments that day – I never felt the presence of anyone interred in the land nearby.  But I hope the scientific and systematic exploration of the area between the road and the Derwent River will bring answers to the many questions which the family have lived with for decades.

Lucille disappeared at a time in history preceding the invasion of mobile phones.  By all accounts she waited for a public bus in Hobart’s northern suburbs but the bus never arrived so she accepted a ride with someone in a passing car.  These days, a person in a similar situation would simply phone a friend or a relative for help.

Should a blog reader have more information about Lucille Butterworth’s disappearance please contact Tasmania Police.

The last leg to the New Norfolk Bridge on Stage 14

A couple of minutes after passing below the Bush Inn, I enjoyed walking underneath the grandeur of an elderly spreading oak tree.  And then moments later, ahead of me I could see small portion of a massive horizontal girder belonging to the New Norfolk bridge over the Derwent River.

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Information panels provided details about earlier bridges across the Derwent, and historic buildings located nearby.

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The grand and stately houses pictured above, are located near the bridge.

But back to my path to the bridge. In front of me was a gated fence with a sign informing me the gate was locked overnight.  I pushed it open and walked across an impeccably kept mowed lawn. A private sanctuary. Green and lush. The sparkle on the river to my right.  A strongly built bridge ahead.  I reached my destination for Stage 14 at 2.58 pm.

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Instead of charging off up and into the New Norfolk township, and finding a bus to return me to Hobart, I lay down on that green carpet and, soaking in the sun, I felt incredibly fortunate.

My stage 14 day had started with a  5.30 am rise (in the dark) and a Metro bus departure from central Hobart at 7.17 am. The bus left New Norfolk at 4.20 pm and returned me to Hobart. I walked in my front door at 6 pm (as the sun set) feeling quite chuffed because I had seen and experienced many beautiful natural features, the sun had lit up the landscape and the river, and I had talked with interesting people. A wonderful day!

Raceway at Sorell Creek

Signs alerted me that I was approaching a raceway on my left as I walked toward the Mountain Dew Race Park on the edge of the tiny settlement of Sorell Creek (which is located closer to New Norfolk than Granton).  Photos on http://www.mountaindewiceraceway.com/ give an indication of the types of vehicles which race on this circuit.  It was all quiet as I walked past, and looking at their events calendar it seems no races are scheduled in the future.

A bus stop for the Derwent Valley Link bus service is located on this part of the Lyell Highway.

It was the rows of poplars changing from summer green to autumn gold that I will remember most. Absolutely stunning.

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Seeing the paper mill at Boyer for the first time during the Stage 14 walk, was a thrill

After 15 minutes of walking, following my departure from the powerboat racing arena, the tarred road verges disappeared and weedy grass grew over lumpy and uneven ground to the edge of the Highway. I was forced to stand clear as cars and trucks approached, but there were moments when I could step out a rhythm walking on the Lyell Highway tarmac.  This situation continued for half an hour, however I was pleased that before and after this section I had a good metre or more width of road verge to walk along safely.

The features that could be seen from the Highway were varied: a feeding family of pelicans across the water; prominent Mt Terra on the other side of the Derwent River with Mt Dromedary behind; occasional tiny creeks lost in verdant grasses passing under the road; vehicle pull-offs at the edge of the road so boats could be entered into the water; corrugated iron cut-out full sized cows standing in a paddock; and a paddock full of horses their heads turned towards the sun.

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At one part of the walk, in the distance and way south, the peak ‘Collins Cap’ pointed into the autumn sky.

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The distant paper making mills at Boyer showed their steaming stacks – an expanse of water, farming land or thickets of trees kept me separated. I knew these mills were very close to New Norfolk so that the larger the buildings seemed, the closer I was to reaching my destination.

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By 10.50am I had a sense that I was returning to peopled land. Firstly I walked passed a long drive leading to a private house at the bottom of the hill; with long rows of old Radiata pines edging the highway.

A few moments later I passed the sheep grazing property named ‘Sunnyside’ on the western side of the road – a sign announced ‘Sunnyside’ was for sale.  You can make an expression of interest at http://www.domain.com.au/property/for-sale/rural/tas/sorell-creek/?adid=2010785567&sp=1 if interested. In the write up on that site, mention is made that the soils are based on limestone – makes the establishment of the lime kilns further south understandable.

At 10.54 am I reached a large cherry growing orchard on my right.

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Over the road to my left, on the property named ‘Scottsdale’ sat two old buildings which seemed late 19th century in architectural style. The sign on the gate declared this was the Derwent Dorper Stud (Rams), however this seems not to have a presence on the internet.

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I noticed a Derwent Valley Link bus stop outside Scottsdale and the cherry orchard – for fruit pickers or shearers???  Certainly not for me. I had many kilometres yet to walk. New Norfolk was my destination, and so onwards I continued.

Arriving in Granton for Stage 14 of the walk along the Derwent River

Since walking along the Derwent River in the northern suburbs on the western shore earlier this year, I have revisited MONA at Berriedale on a number of occasions but I have not been further north. So it was a great delight when my X1 Metro bus, which departed from Hobart city at 7.17am, used the old main road after the Glenorchy bus mall to travel through Berriedale, Claremont and Austins Ferry before reaching Granton.  I was able to see the acres of majestic gold and red leafed vines of Moorilla Wines, to observe Cadbury’s chocolate factory puffing plumes of white steam into the crisp blue sky morning, to identify a range of native birds that were using Goulds Lagoon as a safe resting place, and to recognise various bays and other features that I had passed previously.  Everything seemed edged with the early sunlight which glowed strongly through rain washed, impeccably clean air.

I was off the bus at stop 49 on the last of the Brooker Highway at 7.50am.  Looking northwards, the sign made it clear the direction to take was straight ahead. An earlier post introduced the history of the old Granton watch house (search Historic Granton, Tasmania) – that’s the low yellow building on the left in the first photo below, and then the second photo shows the sun-struck front of the building.

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I was aware New Norfolk, over last weekend, had been celebrating the glories of its autumn foliage as indicated by the sign below. The sign served to increase my anticipation of those colourful delights.

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The unmemorable architecture of the Granton Memorial Hall solidly facing the morning sun, seemed very out of place in this beautiful area.

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Equally solid and immediately serviceable was the public toilet block at the edge of the carpark used by many city bus commuters.

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In front of the carpark a sign reminded me of the importance of grape growing in Tasmania – not the least because the wine from our vineyards is very drinkable (as agreed by wine judges from around the world).

Vineyards ahead

My eyes swung across to the roundabout for vehicles travelling north on the Midlands Highway to Launceston via many rural towns. In the distance, the vertical towers of the Bridgewater Bridge marked the Derwent River crossing.  The calmness of the day, and the quality of the light was sublime.

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I hadn’t walked far along the Lyell Highway when I saw the sign below which indicated that 16 kilometres further along the highway I would reach New Norfolk.  But could I trust the sign? Two or so kilometres further back, when I was still bussing on the Brooker Highway, I had seen a sign indicating the distance was 16 kilometres.

Leaving Granton

Not far away another roadside sign alerted motorists (and the occasional pedestrian): Welcome to The Rivers Run Touring Route.

The Rivers Run

Walking on the right hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic and with the Derwent River on my right, I continued into the icy breeze heading towards New Norfolk.  It wasn’t much after 8am when I left the (comparatively) built up area of Granton on the first leg of Stage 14.

I pay my own way as I walk along the Derwent River

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Some friends feel sure I must be asking for freebies, discounts, backhanders, cash-in-hand or other special deals from businesses, restaurants, accommodation facilities, buses and other organisations which I comment on in my blog, as I pass along the Derwent River.  No, I do not. I have not asked for, I do not seek for, and I do not expect to receive service or goods for free or cheaper simply because I have something to say about them in my blog.

I would not like to feel fettered by an obligation to ‘go easy’ on a business or product which was substandard.  I would not like to feel pressured to remark on a particular product or service that I was not interested in, or I could not make relevant to the walk along the Derwent.

In the current environment when travel writers routinely have their costs covered and often have access to premium products and services for no charge, I can understand why some people might be surprised to learn I have not joined that gravy train. That way of funding travel is not necessary for me; to date, my only cost has been small local bus fares.  I would like to be able to make any comment I prefer about Hobart’s Metro bus service and, therefore, I have not approached them for assistance.

Of course, the future is a different place and when I venture northwards, no longer will I be able to organise walks as one day events.

I will need places to stay overnight occasionally. In addition, I will be using different public bus services so my costs may be greater than those which I am used to. Despite the likelihood of increased costs, I view these walks as my ‘holidays’ and I am prepared to pay for them.

When I started the blog, one of my intentions was to inspire local people to follow in some or all of my footsteps. I want local readers to know exactly what the situation is and so my walks will not be doctored by special privilege.

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Another matter concerns me.  I hear rumours that a few tourism operators away from the main cities and towns are not always serving their customers in the hospitable contemporary way many of us feel visitors to Tasmania should expect.  If I find some ‘bad eggs’ in the more remote parts of Tasmania, then I want to be able to expose their weaknesses or recommend possible improvements in my blog (and probably on Trip Advisor as well).

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(Photo above ‘Fresh Start” from Dreamstime.com)

On the other hand, where I find excellent service, I want to reward that with the words and pictures of my choosing. On this basis, I see no reason to persuade people to give me a free night’s accommodation or meal or pay for any other expense which I might incur.

Hmmmm.  Almost seems a shame to take this point of view!  I wonder if blogger jenspen1961 from Cairns, when she sets off walking around Australia, will think differently.

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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.