Tomorrow, Friday 26th September will be marked by my fourth walk along the Derwent River. The first two stages were on the South Arm Peninsula from Cape Direction to Gellibrand Point, and the third walk covered a little territory from Trywork Point to mid Tranmere. Tomorrow I will take up where I left off. This means I will be taking the Metro bus, number 615 which leaves the Hobart City Bus Mall at 8.23am for Camelot Park and travels through Bellerive and Howrah to bus stop 31, the starting point for the walk. The direction I will take will be northwards through the last part of the suburb or Tranmere and into Howrah. My intention is to walk the length of the Howrah Beach, then the Bellerive Beach and beyond. The weather and my feet will be the factors controlling the distance. There is a 10% chance of rain so I will be unlucky if any drops fall while I am out and about. All in all this means it should be a great day for anyone to be out and about and enjoying our gorgeous spring weather.
This Saturday morning in Hobart was gloriously sunny so it was time to take a walk along the Derwent River. The Camelot Park number 615 Metro Bus departed from the city bus mall at 8.48am and travelled to the eastern shore of the Derwent River. I jumped on the bus a little after 9am having already enjoyed the short walk to the bus stop past ornamental cherry trees plump with green buds and a sprinkling of newly opened palest of pink flowers, past the mass of flowering jasmine strangling a fence between neighbours, and past the rich red pink jewels of a flowering nectarine tree that promises tasty juicy fruit in the new year.
The bus continued along Cambridge Road before turning left along Clarence Street, which runs parallel to the Derwent River. I wondered whether the name was in remembrance of Lieutenant John Hayes’ ship the Duke of Clarence, a British Duke of Clarence from some era, or whether there had lived an interesting Mrs Clarence once upon a time whose memory is now enshrined in this long street.
Half way along the street, a sign noted the change of suburb from Bellerive to Howrah. Soon the bus was pulling into the mini bus mall in the Shoreline precinct of a hotel and a shopping plaza. Moments later the bus was travelling down the road towards the River and, after sweeping around a bend, it continued through the suburb of Howrah then the suburb of Tranmere, always parallel to the River. I had a clear view of Mount Wellington and the city centre of Hobart on the western shore. Between sat an almost rippleless dark blue Derwent Harbour. It wasn’t long before I could see, in the distance, the treeless hills that I expected to be tramping across.
Around ten minutes after leaving the Shoreline, the bus circled into bus stop 33 at the corner of Tranmere Rd and Oceana Drive. This was the final stop, and as I got out the driver turned off the engine and stepped out to stretch his legs while waiting for his return departure time to arrive. The air was clean and the day was colourful. I stood on Oceana Drive edged by large suburban houses and felt the strength of a cool breeze.
A number of black and white magpies were broadcasting their fantastic singing voices. Their melodious sounds were crossed with a cacophony of the de daaa tt de daaa tt of the wattlebirds.
I was standing at the bus stop when I took this photo looking along Oceana Drive in the direction that I needed to walk. But despite my maps and internet research I stood still looking and puzzling, and not clear where to walk or whether I would be able to access my starting destination: Trywork Point.
Stage 2 of my walk along the Derwent River finished at Gellibrand Point and the next point directly across the inlet to Ralph’s Bay was Trywork Point on an exposed headland. So today’s walk needed to start at Trywork Point, south of this bus stop, but I had to get there on foot somehow before retracing my steps to continue walking northwards along the Derwent River.
I started walking along Oceana Drive then looked back from where I came and clicked this photograph. The bus is still ‘resting’ where I left it.
The image featured directly above is of the watery inlet from the Derwent River on the left into Ralph’s Bay on the right. The low hill in the distance is north of and opposite from Gellibrand Point (which is at the northern end of South Arm peninsula). The low hill is Droughty Hill: Trywork Point will be to the lower left of the hill.
Previously, I walked from the mouth of the Derwent River and covered the length of the South Arm peninsula which amounts to approximately 11 km of the River. Stage 1 took me from Cape Direction to the Opossum Bay shop. Stage 2 took me from the Opossum Bay shop to Gellibrand Point. Only 238 Kms to go!
Continuing on from the last walk will require me to leap-frog over approximately 2kms of water for the next starting point Trywork Point which is south of the Rokeby Hills. The reason for my ‘jumping over’ is that I am guessing that the Derwent River was measured as a ‘straight’ length and did not count the many extra kilometres going in and out of every bay and crevice. The water between Gellibrand Point on the South Arm peninsula and Trywork Point is the entrance to the large Ralph’s Bay which feeds off the Derwent River.
So my initial destination for Stage 3 is Trywork Point – that will mark the start of the walk. To reach this starting point I will need to walk south from a bus stop and then later be prepared to retrace my steps or find a more suitable alternative route before continuing northwards through as many Hobart’s eastern shore suburbs as my feet will carry me. The suburban area has frequent bus services (by comparison with the Opossum Bay bus service) so that timing the duration of Stage 3 is dependent on my health and inclination rather than on bus timetables.
Unfortunately, TasMAP Taroona 5224 is not a great deal of help for reaching Trywork Point. It clearly shows the acres of land between the bus stop and Trywork Point but offers no roads or tracks. I am clear that I will walk from the last Camelot Park bus stop (Metro Bus number 615) south to the Point – somehow. The Hobart and Surrounds Street Directory is only of marginally more use than the TasMAP. However this Directory will be especially useful with the names of streets as I return northwards and walk in and through the suburbs in the later part of this Stage 3 walk.
The most useful mapping and tracking information comes from the Google earth map of the area (which was also useful to see tracks on Gellibrand Point in Stage 2) – although the name Trywork Point is not recorded and does not appear on their map (Note that Trywork Point and some other landmarks are indicated on the TasMAP). The best that Google can offer is Droughty Point Road. From there I moved the map westward until I found the T junction with Tranmere Rd and Oceana Drive – this intersection is the bus stop from where I will start walking.
Walking south, the bitumen road peters out and the tracks across the land are variously strong and faint on the Google earth map. With this limited information, finding my way will be an experimental process.
Years ago friend Je and I walked from the end of Tranmere Road across some of this land. However, I remember that we encountered stout almost impassable fences. This memory makes me wonder what I will find now, and how easy the access to Trywork Point will be. I look forward to my ongoing discovery of the land besides this wonderful Derwent River.
As expected, the early morning (number 640) Metro bus arrived from Hobart at my eastern shore bus stop, and once on board I settled down ready for the new experience of Stage 2 of my walk along the Derwent River. After charging along Cambridge Road, the bus turned left at Bellerive village and commenced the long haul along Clarence St. It occurred to me that the houses along both sides of the road represented many vintages of free-standing suburban house architecture for this part of Hobart. I was surprised to see Wunderlich panels of decorative pressed metal in the frontispieces of some houses in the gable beneath dual pitched roofs, indicating an architectural age of early in the last century. There were the flat roofs of houses that had more in common with Tasmanian shacks of the 1950s, the three fronted brick veneers, the fashionably rendered homes in tones of dark beige with their black roofs, the remnants of rural cottages from a time before the city sprawl had moved to fill the land on the eastern shore of Hobart, substantial pretty weatherboard family homes, and much much more. If your experience is of the repetitive rows in London streets, the towering repetitive apartment blocks of Moscow, or the repetitive white family group block houses of Athens, then the sight of the houses along Clarence St will be a revelation. Somewhat puzzling but fascinating nevertheless. You will not be familiar with the diversity of free standing houses with their own front and back gardens that so many Australians take for granted, and accept as their right. One family to a large block of land is a situation more prevalent and typical in Hobart perhaps than in other Australian capital cities and it is one of the features that attracts me to this beautiful and interesting city.
The first stage of my walk along the Derwent River took me away from home for 7.5 hours. This included walking to the tip of the eastern side of the mouth of the Derwent River in the South Arm area, then gradually plodding northward on the eastern side of the river. I am exhausted but exhilarated. When I stand on my feet or move around, my body screams ‘sit down, stay still, and never move again!’
My walk started at Bellerive when I jumped on the Metro bus No 640 that departed from Hobart at 8am. The sky was blue and cloudless but I was rugged up and beanied to avoid the early morning chill. I was nervous, and queasily excited. This felt so much like travelling into the unknown when overseas; an unknown destination (years ago Ru took me to a weekend market at South Arm, and prior to that I had driven down and back to Opossum Bay – but I have never spent time in or explored the area), unknown bus stops and reliability of timetables, new maps, unknown people and circumstances, and no idea how long it would take me to cover the stage I had planned. The return bus was leaving Opossum Bay at 2.02pm and the next one wasn’t leaving until 5.55pm. I wanted to time my walk to catch the earlier rather than the later bus because I knew my feet wouldn’t last long. I calmed myself with the realisation, that unlike the situation with most of my travels, I had a mobile phone and sufficient funds for a taxi if need be.
Nothing I imagined turned out to be.
I had thought there would be no one on the bus because everyone would be heading towards Hobart. Of course, this was a dopey idea. But I was the only passenger from Lauderdale onwards as the bus sped along the uneven bitumen rattling strongly (these buses are not designed for nonurban areas).
What did I see during the bus trip? Peak hour traffic streaming towards the city. The Bridgewater Jerry steaming down the Derwent to the sea. The early morning sun in the driver’s eyes. Hard winter sun on the new growth on gum trees. Yellow floral masses on wattle trees. Dew still sparkling on wet grass. Rare smoke trails from occasional chimneys. Sheep, horses, llamas, billy goats, olive trees and small house orchards. It was a simply gorgeous day to behold.
The bus route deviated through the back streets of Rokeby, a tiny suburb still 30 kilometres from Opossum Bay. From the upper streets the blue flat glittering expanse of Ralph’s Bay (which is fed by the Derwent River) was stunning.
I am excited that today I will be travelling by a series of local Metro buses to MONA (our wonderful comparatively new, Museum of Old and New Art – which incidentally also houses ancient Egyptian art). The award winning architectural edifice sits on the banks of the Derwent river in Hobart’s northern suburb, Berriedale. In the future, one of the walking stages will include passing by MONA.
Today, however, the only walking to be done involves getting to bus stops, and then walking up the driveway past Alcorso’s old house and the green leafed rows of grapevines to the new museum. Inside a treat is waiting for me: Synaesthesia. This is where a select few visitors will be asked to submerge themselves in a ‘reverberating, subterranean private playground’. Presented by MONA and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Synaesthesia will create an immersive experience for its patrons with musicians spread out across the entirety of the museum. This is edgy stuff and having attended one day of the inaugural event last year, I can’t be sure what lies ahead – and therein lies the attraction. I do know the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra chorus will be giving me a new experience when they sing in total darkness while listeners are contained in an unlit room: Black Bach.