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.
Information panels provided details about earlier bridges across the Derwent, and historic buildings located nearby.
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.
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!
On a bench seat, at the fork in my path towards the New Norfolk Bridge on my Stage 14 walk, sat an elderly couple, their faces to the sun.
When I admired the view, vociferously and without drawing breath, they competed to give me directions to a place for even better views from the other side of the River.
‘If you want a view, you should drive … and then go up … and then across; see that over there. Go up and then you will get your view. A good view. If you like views, that’s where you oughtta go. Where dja leave y’ car?’ …. ‘Oh. Well, the track down to the river has 99 steps.’ He pointed to the righthand track.
I asked where those 99 steps went. Would I have to retrace my steps and climb those 99 steps later. ‘No but there are 99 steps to go down.’ ‘So where do these 99 steps lead?’, I asked. Finally, I understood these steps would connect with a pathway to the New Norfolk bridge. Thanks to these helpful locals.
After their walk and because of meeting me with my confusion about which path to take, the woman told me she planned to go into New Norfolk, walk into the Derwent Valley Council building and tell ‘them’ to get signs put up on the tracks so people know where to go. I could imagine the determination with which she would tell ‘them’ what should be done.
The arrow on the map below points to where the 99 steps descend. You can see a yellow road on the left; the one that crosses the New Norfolk bridge. At the top of the 99 steps, I was not far from my destination.