Tag Archives: Mount Faulkner Conservation Area

Around Bridgewater on the 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

After Green Point and looking southwards, I could see Mount Direction in the distance (overlooking the Bowen Bridge – which I could not see). In the photo below, the swell of land on the right of the Derwent River is the foothills of Mount Wellington.


Early, on this leg of the walk, I stopped and looked northwards along the Derwent River. In the distance Mount Dromedary peered over the landscape.

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The early highlight of this part of the walk was seeing a collective of about 3 dozen plovers together. I don’t think I have ever seen such a group. The plovers were mostly standing around although some were walking around on an open mowed park area near a cluster of gum trees.  Perhaps some were older ‘young’ plovers because from a distance they all looked the same size, give or take a bit.  This seemed so unusual because I am only familiar with the two parents hanging about and guarding their one or two baby birds.  In some paddocks, in the past, I have seen a number of pairs of parents but the pairs don’t hang out together and keep their own territory quite some distance from each other.

How pleasant this walk was.  Consider the sublime calmness represented in the photo below.


Around 12.45pm I stopped and sat on a bench seat with a view and watched what amounted to a natural cygnet farm. Dozens of cygnets about the size of a small duck were on the water close to shore.  Only one adult black swan seemed to be on supervision duty. I wondered if the swan bureaucracy had been suffering major cutbacks of ‘staff’ like our Australian and State public agencies where services are meant to continue with less staff.

Opposite where I sat the Mount Faulkner Conservation Area was the main feature on the western shore of the Derwent River.


At 12.56pm I reached Woods Point, sat under a shelter structure and consulted my maps. Five minutes later I left this Point and began walking north along Gunn St all the while having a good look at Mount Dromedary rising on the eastern shore but away in the distance north of Bridgewater.

I was walking through suburban streets when a letterbox, under the shade of a tree, captured my attention.

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A poor sad concrete koala (maybe commiserating with the live koalas in Brisbane given to G20 leaders for a cuddle)!  The postman would push his letters into a slit in the koala’s stomach.

I also had a larger view of part of two uprights of the Bridgewater Bridge.


I seemed so close.  My day’s goal to nearly reach the Bridge had to be superseded. I was compelled to reach the Bridge and kept on walking, even passing bus stops.  When I could see the golden arches of McDonalds at the end of the right hand road I veered left and headed for the Bridge nearby.


I stopped to photograph the semi-ornate gates of Memorial Reserve commemorating locals who died in various overseas wars (after all, this walk was occurring on the 11th November, Australia’s official Remembrance Day).


Then I was at the Bridgewater Bridge. Now it wasn’t enough for me to reach the Bridge: I felt compelled to walk across it rather than waiting to do so in the next stage of the walk.


Herdsmans Cove

On my walk northwards towards the Bridgewater Bridge, the next Brighton Municipality suburb that I will walk through as I continue along the Derwent River, will be Herdsmans Cove.  I hope I will be discovering this residential development tomorrow; the weather forecast is good.

According to http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/top-suburbs/tas-7030-herdsmans-cove.aspx, this northern suburb of the Greater Hobart Area has a population of 1134. The median weekly income is $675, the median age of residents is 25 years, with the median monthly house loan repayment is $879, 52% are not married and a further 20% are in a de facto relationship, 56% are not in the labour force and only 20% work full time.  Of those employed, 30% are labourers.  67% of people in Herdsmans Cove rent their accommodation. There is a sense from newspaper articles that this is a suburb suffering from a range of social problems including irregular school attendance, low educational achievement, unemployment and higher than average crime rates. Surely sitting next to the beautiful Derwent River with a stunning view of Mount Wellington in the distance and the Mount Faulkner Conservation Area across the way could be enough to lift people’s spirits.  But I guess that the superb natural features do not lift the bank accounts of local residents.

I will be most interested to see the natural features of this suburb tomorrow.

Discovering the suburb of Old Beach – 7th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

At 12.40pm I reached the town sign for Old Beach at Cassidy’s Bay. The Bay was covered with ducks of every age.  Families of ducklings are always a pleasure to see. Seemed like a safe haven for them.  Tall grasses grew into the water but there was no beach.

I continued walking along the highway, passed the turn off to the Baskerville raceway, and was eventually forced down into a clay sogged ditch almost until I reached the roundabout at 12.50pm.  At the roundabout, with the hilly section of Old Beach up on the right, the choice was to continue on to Bridgewater or turn left into Fouche Avenue. I turned left to the lowlands and walked through a reasonably affluent area. Back on proper footpaths. Just before 1pm I reached the Old Beach Neighbourhood Store claiming to serve hot food 7 days a week.  I didn’t enter to check.


By 1.03pm, after passing a house outlandishly decorated for Halloween, I came to the end of the road.  It seems like one of those roads which will connect up with a street coming from the other direction at some other time. Everywhere I looked, new houses were being built so that I feel confident roads will connect sooner than later. I walked through the open paddock in the photo below in order to reach the ‘golden’ pathway in the distance which I assumed might lead me onwards next to the Derwent River.


At 1.06pm I reached the lower path, which was appropriately signposted as the Old Beach Foreshore Trail, and enjoyed seeing more black swans, swooping swallows, flocks of starlings, and the usual screaming plovers. Closer to the water the path divided.  To the left it returned to Cassidy’s Bay (although I saw no signs of a path when I was there), to the right the path would continue to the Jetty at Jetty Road.  The spot where I stood was named the ‘Calm Place’.


The photo above faces south across the lowlands of Old Beach (which doesn’t seem to have a beach), and provides a view of Mount Direction in the distance.

I headed north by taking the right hand trail. Not long after, on the right hand non River side of the path, I saw a tiny man-made lake, with its quota of swimming ducks and a rusting large sculptural tower on a central island with two Dominican Gulls on top (the expression ‘kings of the castle’ came to mind), amidst a stack of new houses and others being built. The sign on the fence worried me.


I was concerned that because the land was so low and the lake depended on a levee to contain the water, any River flooding could be of great concern to the new property owners.  I wondered how much of that being built on was reclaimed land. I am surprised the local government allows new buildings here. With global warming increasing the sea level, these houses won’t be around in hundreds of years.

Blue skies opened above Mount Wellington in the distance but heavy clouds sat overhead.  Spits of rain persisted off and on for the rest of my time at Old Beach.  But it was time to have lunch. In the absence of any seats or rocks or other raised area, at 1.20pm I sat on the grass beside the Foreshore Trail, emptied my pack, and started munching as I absorbed the details of my low lying surroundings.  I could see heavy rain clouds that darkened the day travelling across the Derwent from the Mount Faulkner Conservation Area on the western shore.

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At 1.35pm I was on my feet and continuing along the path, passing an alternative walk to Sun Valley Drive, and spotting a pair of native hens pecking ahead on my path.  A private fence made from large pieces of driftwood festooned with creeping bright flowering geraniums, caught my attention.


At 1.43pm I arrived at the Old Beach jetty


where I found an interpretative panel explaining some of the early 19th century history associated with the location of the jetty.


As early as 1821, an Inn was established near the current jetty, and people would ferry across the Derwent from the western side of the River.

This 7th stage of my walk was coming to a quick close.  I knew a bus would be travelling along Jetty Road at 2pm, and that the next service would not be in the vicinity for another couple of hours. I had wanted to finish walking through all of Old Beach before I finished this stage, but the potential for a long wait for a bus inclined me to cut the anticipated walk short.  I walked along Jetty Road and waited at a bus stop.

Metro bus 114, destined for the Glenorchy Bus Mall on the western shore, picked me up.  I did not travel the entire way but if I had, I would have needed to catch a Hobart city bus to reach the CBD, then a bus to take me back to my home suburb of Bellerive on the eastern shore. A long way. A long time. From Old Beach there are no bus services travelling along the eastern shore.  All the buses travel to the northern city of the Greater Hobart Area of Glenorchy via the Bowen Bridge. Since I live in Bellerive on the eastern shore, I resolved to try Plan B. I proposed to catch a bus from Glenorchy to Hobart via the eastern shore and close to the Bellerive area. Once over the Bowen Bridge from Old Beach, I got off the bus at the first stop which was outside the Elwick racecourse at 2.15pm. I crossed the road and waited in a bus shelter for Metro bus 694. As the rain started to pour in earnest at 2.35pm, the bus arrived. Phew!

I loved the return trip. While again on the Bowen Bridge I looked northward and could see where I had walked earlier in the day. Ahead and looming over the land, was Mount Direction. Looking southward I could see the Cleburne Spit was empty of cars and people, the suburb of Risdon looked quiet, and a thick eddy of smoke rose from behind Risdon Cove. Closer to the area with the fire, a sweet wood smoke smell spread through the bus and reminded me of camping fires I have enjoyed in the past. That was a great conclusion. Memories of the immediate day and memories of the past coming together.

Now I am looking forward to preparing for and then walking the 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent River.  This next walk is likely to happen early next week, weather willing. Let the discoveries continue!

Leaving home last Friday towards the start of Stage 7 of my walk along the Derwent

From my house early morning, I could see a mirror sheen across the Derwent River. This promised a great day for walking and so I was eager to get going.  Unfortunately the bus service to the area I was starting from departs only every couple of hours. Eventually I caught the Metro bus 694 when it passed through the Eastlands Shopping Centre bus mall at 9.13am.

The bus passed through upper Lindisfarne as it headed along the East Derwent Highway. When I looked left across the Derwent River, my view of the top of the mountain was cut off by a thick resting white cloud. The roads were calm. People were at work and kids at school. When we passed Geilston Bay I could the water was serenely flat. By this point, I was the only passenger on the bus and felt luxuriously chauffeured.  We detoured for a scenic view through the upper Geilston Bay residential area, then back to the highway.  As we travelled onwards, I noted the start of the trail to Bedlam Walls which I had walked previously, then the electricity pylons and fire trails marking the East Risdon State Reserve. The Willows Tavern loomed on the left and on the right hand side of the highway I glimpsed the starkness of the barb wired fencing of the state Prison.

At the roundabout (where I wanted to go left) the bus turned right to travel through the suburb of Risdon Vale.  Lots of small weatherboard houses and lawns with a few bushes rather than complex luscious gardens. ‘Donut’ burnout tyre marks on the intersections of roads. Rooves needing paint.  Neat and tidy. Streets prettily named after plants: Spinifex, Sycamore, Lindon (although Lindon Park had no Lindon trees), Poplar, Heather, Banksia, Kerria, Hawthorn, Marlock, Gardenia, Lantana and Holly.

Side view of the mountain: I marvelled at the speed with which clouds were being pushed across the top of the mountain southwards.

At 9.39 I was off the bus just before the junction of Saundersons Road, Risdon with the East Derwent Highway.  This is on the southern side of Risdon Cove. Around the corner of the road in the photo below, I could look over the railing in the direction of the Derwent River.


I walked to that distant railing and realised that walking on the road would be very dangerous with traffic speeding on the narrow lanes.  I legged it over the railing and walked on the River side. The photo below is one of my first views.  Note the pair of black swans.

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No longer did I have Mount Wellington as my standard backdrop across the water. In the photos above, the elevated section on the other side of the Derwent River (above the Bowen Bridge) is the Mount Faulkner Conservation Area.