Tag Archives: Old Beach

How many square miles?

I do not know the area of land over which I have and will walk along the Derwent River.  And I do not care to find a definitive answer. That’s the sort of fact which doesn’t interest me.

However, I am fascinated to learn that there are 196,939,900 square miles of Earth to explore. So I made a slippery calculation – and determined there is less than 30 square miles per person on our planet.  Take out the area of deserts, and the too high mountains, and the number drops lower. The world’s population is growing rapidly so I strongly recommend you get out and walk your local beaches, parks, bushland, or sail the rivers and seas.  Enjoy these outdoor spaces while you can.

Almost two years ago I visited Hong Kong and walked the city streets with millions of locals in what was claimed to be the most densely populated suburb on earth. But even Hong Kong has thousands of acres of amazing parks, beaches and nature reserves all of which have walking trails in or around them.  All you have to do is to find your special natural places whether they are located in rural or urban areas.

Another revision: naturally therapeutic images from stages 7-10

I can’t help myself. Having reviewed my favourite images from the first half a dozen stages of my walk along the Derwent River, I felt compelled to continue looking through my collection from the subsequent walks.  I have chosen photos showing aspects of both the natural and man-made world and I believe all will prompt thinking about the Derwent River, Hobart and its suburbs, and the natural environment. My selection of the images with the most memorable impact for me, from stages 7-10, are given below.

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From the eastern shore looking northwards towards the Bowen Bridge, with a couple of black swans on the river.

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Two plaques ‘opened’ by two great Australian prime ministers near the Bowen Bridge.

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The rusting raw-edged remains of a ship, the Otago, at Otago Bay.

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My enjoyment of any family’s black sheep.

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Heading into Old Beach and gradually leaving Mount Wellington behind.

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The gloominess of the approaching storm when I reached Old Beach.

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The pleasures of well-made pathways, thanks to local government.

Green Point from new Old Beach

Looking northward across the Jordon River to Greens Point.

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The glories of native flora. In these instances, it was blooming wattle and a spectacular stand of eucalyptus/gum trees which attracted my attention.

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The remains and the signs of a burnt out car on a back track.

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Knowing that it is still possible to have a laugh when walking.

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Arriving at the Bridgewater Bridge.

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Walking on the western shore of the Derwent River for the first time during this project.

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The house of one of first European settlers, James Austin, at Austins Ferry.

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At Dogshear Point, walking around the Claremont golf course, with the thwacking sound of hit balls crossing the greens.

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Reaching Cadbury’s chocolate manufacturing factory in Claremont.

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The hand-hewn rustic style seat near Connewarre Bay.

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Passing MONA somewhat camouflaged as it nestles into a tiny hill against the Derwent River.

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The mosaics along the foreshore.

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The jumble of boats and boat houses at Prince of Wales Bay.

Hoon tyre marks

Road mark making in Lutana.

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Cornelian Bay’s oil tanks up close.

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The Tasman Bridge.

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The circus had come to town.

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The emptiness of an arena of stands waiting to be filled during wood chopping competitions.

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Reaching the ‘end of the line’ on arrival in Hobart city.

Kunanyi

Mount Wellington was a prominent feature in the lives of the Moomairremener people for thousands of years before white settlement of Van Diemens Land, later to be renamed Tasmania.  The indigenous names include Kunanyi, Unghbanyahletta and Poorawetter. I understand that the Palawa (which seems to be a collective term for all Tasmanian aborigines – perhaps a blog reader might be able to supply further information?) who are the surviving descendants of the original indigenous Tasmanians, tend to prefer the former name – Kunanyi.

A couple of years ago, the Tasmanian government introduced a dual naming approach to a number of geographical features around Tasmania, and these included the mountain which towers over the Greater Hobart Area and the Derwent River. The then Premier Lara Giddings remarked ‘Dual naming is about recognising the Aboriginal community’s rightful status as the first inhabitants of this land and celebrating their living culture, traditions and language’.

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Photo taken from Bellerive Bluff on Stage 4 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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Photo taken between Rose Bay and Lindisfarne on Stage 5 of my walk.

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Photo taken from Old Beach on Stage 7 of my walk.

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Photo taken from Green Point on Stage 8 of my walk.

I am including a posting specifically about ‘the mountain’ as locals refer to it, because it has been a significant marker on my trek from the mouth to the mouth of the Derwent River via the Bridgewater Bridge, and I am about to lose sight of it.  From Granton, as I walk west along the River and then northwards, the mountain will no longer be in view.

Current official information about walking tracks, facilities, weather related precautions and other details associated with the mountain can be read at http://www.wellingtonpark.org.au/  Note that you can download maps from this site.

The highlights of the 9th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

The 9th walk took place on 25th November. I loved every part of the day but a number of highlights stand out.

  • The tranquillity of Goulds Lagoon
  • Being at the Austins Ferry point and looking across to the Old Beach jetty
  • Finding James Austins House
  • Being surprised how long it took to walk around the water edge of Claremont Golf Course
  • Arriving at and walking around Dogshear Point
  • The down time at the Cadbury chocolate factory
  • Being followed by a duck
  • Pied Oyster Catchers on the golf course and parks
  • The rough-hewn bench seat near Lowestoft Bay
  • The memorial to defence force dogs
  • Discovering the Worm Mound at MONA

Earlier postings provide more information on these highlights or you can email me for further information

Please note; anyone choosing to walk this stage needs to be aware there are no public toilets. However, a number of businesses have toilet facilities to which you may be able to gain access.

My 10th walking stage will start at bus stop 33 in Berriedale and then will continue south towards Lutana.

The Claremont Bowls Club

From the Cadbury factory, the Bournville Road curved around towards the Claremont Bowls Club. The houses that I walked past were all interesting architecturally and represented diverse styles deemed suitable for past employees of the Cadburys confectionery manufacturer (which operated in Claremont from the early 1920s).  It seemed to me to be a row of history.

At the end of the road was a carpark for the Claremont Bowls Club through which the Derwent River beckoned me. I walked down the hill until I reached an impasse of fence and vegetation. I walked along this barrier and was able to recognise the eastern shore suburb of Old Beach.

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The Derwent River stretched northwards and I was surprised to realise I had walked so far south already that the Bridgewater Bridge was no longer in sight.

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Mt Direction was clearly visible.

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And just for the record, I didn’t stop for a bowl. There were more exciting discoveries to be made next door at the Claremont Golf Club.

Onto Austins Ferry edging the Derwent River on the 9th walking stage

At 9.36am last Tuesday I had passed St Virgil’s College with its warbling magpies and raucous plovers flying overhead and turned left at Merley Road. I was in the heartland of the suburb of Austins Ferry and now walking down a hill towards the River. Opposite a street signposted Willow Walk, I crossed some land and then up and over the railway line. I walked across an open area with large fat rabbits quickly disappearing from view.

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The view from the water’s edge looking northwards was as follows:

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Once at the River’s edge I turned left towards the Austins Ferry Yacht Club and a jetty.

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An interpretative panel explained that the Austin’s Ferry was the main Hobart to Launceston link from 1816 until 1848 when the bridge was constructed up stream. James Austin managed the Roseneath Ferry from the western shore and his friend James Earl managed the Compton Ferry from the eastern shore. I peered across the brightly lit water but could barely distinguish the Old Beach jetty on the other side. Clouds were scudding across bringing light and shade so that all my photographs which try to record the jetty on the other side are abysmal failures. Nevertheless I know where to look for that jetty from this Austin’s Ferry jetty.

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Roseneath on the Derwent River

Signs at the jetty at Old Beach on the Derwent River’s eastern shore referred to Roseneath opposite on the western Shore (within the northern suburbs of the City of Glenorchy). The very impressive blog postings by Geoff Ritchie at http://ontheconvicttrail.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/roseneath-house.html provides detailed and well researched information, plus great photographs.  I wonder if I will be in the vicinity of the location of Roseneath house when I walk this way next week (Harbinger Lane and Austin’s Ferry Road).

Onwards into and around Herdsmans Cove on the 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent Rive

At 9.48 am I was leaving Old Beach and continuing my walk northwards along the East Derwent Highway with its noise of heavy trucks and speeding cars passing me by. To my left were masses of overgrowing blackberry brambles reminding me of the thicket scrambled through on my last walk.  Not long after, the hint of a track on the left took me away from the edge and above the Highway and a little closer to the River.  I continued for a while when it seemed like the track would descend into Gage Cove, but it petered out – I recommend anyone following in my tracks stays on the Highway. Overhead soared a large hawk or kite drifting on the breeze while looking down for a feed.   Below I could see black swans feeling safe on the waters of the reedy Cove. Back towards the road I walked, clambered over a collapsing barbed wire fence, and eventually down onto the unprotected road verge and again sometimes into the ditch (with the thrown cigarette butts and the jetsam of McHappy Meals). At 9.58am I reached the sign for Gage Brook and soon after observed some water ran below towards Gage Cove, amidst a conglomeration of marshy and spiky vegetation.

I continued past a second sign directing traffic to the Baskerville Raceway, and at 10.10am I turned left at a major roundabout (suburb of Gagebrook to the right, Bridgewater straight ahead and Herdsmans Cove to the left). A minute later I turned left at a T-junction then left again at Calvert Court at 10.19am.

I loved hearing the wind in the massive gum trees.  Majestic to look at. Thrilling to listen to. The photo bellows shows a stand of gums in a mowed parkland beside the Bellerive walk. The trees I saw at Herdsmans Cove were much larger.

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At 10.23am I turned left at a short unnamed cul de sac with an empty block leading to a foreshore trail. Two locals, who were mowing lawns, confirmed this was the way to go. On the track, a sign gave directions along this ‘Swan Park Trail’.

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I never discovered if there was an actual Herdsmans Cove as in a bay or body of water, but I suspect it may be the small inlet adjacent and north of the Lamprill Circuit. If I had turned left I could have walked the Lamprill Circuit. However, because I could look down and could see a small shelter structure had been built at a vantage point where the River and mountain views could be appreciated and I realised going down meant coming back up a hill, I did not pursue this direction.

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Instead I turned right and headed northwards. This was the first of the Brighton local government signs and it made me more confident of where I was walking as I came across more.

At 10.30am I was rounding another gate and soon, away in the distance, I could see the tops of the Bridgewater Bridge.

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The walk around the suburb of Herdsmans Cove was uneventful. Lots of bird song beside the path and scattering tiny birds in the long grasses. A brilliant Blue Wren flitting. Mounds of black swans like dark rocks sleeping on the rocky shore. Foreshore Trail signs off and on. Gates to walk around.

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Eventually I was curving back towards the Highway and nearing the bridge over the Jordan River. Initially I was looking across the Jordan River at the suburb of Green Point (part of Bridgewater) –

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Then I was approaching the Bridge.

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A TasWater worker had parked his vehicle and was absorbed in problem solving inside a building alongside the Jordan. Beside him, I took an informal track up and onto the Jordan River Bridge.

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Starting stage 8 of my walk along the Derwent River

My starting point was the jetty half way through Old Beach on the eastern shore, and to reach this from my home in Bellerive on the eastern shore of the Derwent River was not straightforward. There are no direct buses from Bellerive to Old Beach.

Instead, I left home at 6.45am (way too early for my liking but no other choice), passed three Black Cockatoos feasting on a native tree in a private home (one acted as a sentry high up while the others gorged themselves), walked to the Eastlands bus mall and caught the first bus through to the bus mall in Elizabeth St in Hobart’s CBD. At 7.17am the X1 express bus to Glenorchy in the northern suburbs of the Greater Hobart Area (and beyond) departed. This arrived at 7.35am at the Glenorchy bus mall and, anticipating public toilets would be non-existent for my walk, I walked over to the Northgate shopping centre to use their facilities. I was back at the bus mall in time to catch Metro bus 126 to Old Beach which departed at 8am. At 8.20am I stepped off the bus ready for the day.

The sky was overcast and I was wearing a thermal top over my T-shirt and topped with a fleece jacket.  Blowy. Hard air hitting my face.

Since there was no direct water access from the jetty northwards, I walked through the suburban streets staying on the hard concrete footpaths. Plovers and Blackbirds were my constant companions and extravagant blooming roses and wattles perfumed the air. It was rubbish removal day and the streets were lined with bulging large faded red wheelie bins and yellow lidded green bins. The wind had lifted many lids and these were thrown back as if saluting when on parade (a vision that friend Jo exclaimed he saw).

At 8.33am I reached the intersection with the East Derwent Highway and lost a footpath. I turned left and walked beside the highway where it was obvious a few other people had walked but there was no formal pathway. At this point I could see the water of the Derwent River but I was not close. It was clear that property owners had fenced and gated off any access to the River and I need to determine whether they had the right to do this in all cases.  I continued on the Highway noticing the signpost to the Bonorong Wildlife Park and Compton Agistment Centre marking the turn off from the highway away from the River.

Not much further along I saw a track between new houses on the left and followed it then through the grassy bushland but, as lovely as it was, it was impassable offering no easy way to the River and so I had to retrace my steps. At 8.54am I was back on the Highway walking to the left of the guard rails (so that I wasn’t directly on the Highway) on rolling gravel where a path was never intended.  Then the guard rail disappeared so I walked carefully as far off the road on the narrow verge as I could.  Sometimes I walked in the ditch. By 8.58am I was passing Compton Road and at 9.01 I reached Clarrie’s Creek. I began to disrobe as the morning and the exercise began to warm me: off came my thermal top.

The perfume from the flowering wattle trees was invasive and pervasive in the nicest way.  Please feel free to use any of the photos below as a screen saver. I have.

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Continuing along the Highway, I walked up an incline until I could turn left on a bitumen roadway. This was blocked by a gate, but there was walking space around this, used by others. I had reached the newest part of Old Beach on its own rounded headland. Once past the gate I turned left towards the Verve Village site office signs and walked on. Through the mesh fence to my right I could see the Verve café, not open. The time was 9.10am.

Not long afterwards I was snapping photos of the low mountains and hills across the Derwent River on the western shore. Grandly beautiful in a simple way.

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This ‘roadway’ eventually ended at a locked gate but again a regularly padded informal path was clearly visible around the obstacle.  I turned left and 100 metres along, a yellow gravel path appeared. The path had no sign but I hoped it was a foreshore trail and followed it. It was.  A trail with almost no signs of animal life except a massive black furry feral cat bounding away and a sole man out for exercise.  Crows carrhh carrhh carrhhed in the distance and overhead. Casuarina trees edged the path and through them the woodland was open and airy. Water lapped onto the shore. Mudstone rocks edged out of the soil on the banks. I enjoyed a flash of colour when I noticed yellow and orange flowering nasturtiums that had escaped from a suburban garden into the bush.

The photos below show a view southwards to the River from the first 100 metres of the path.

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The foreshore trail was easy to follow, wide and clear.

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At 9.36am I reached the point where the Derwent River and Gage Cove met.

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The trail curved into the Cove but not before a man-made construction, to the right of the path, seemed to flush deep below and then a dreadful stink followed. I tried not to think what was going on there.

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By 9.42am I was walking up into the suburb having enjoyed watching black swans floating around in the Cove, and a few minutes later I reached a gate which, as usual, I walked around.  I turned left and followed the road from the cul de sac amidst the noise of every neighbourhood dog barking to indicate a stranger was nearby.  Me.

At 9.45am I turned left at the T junction and by 9.48am I reached the intersection of Stanfield Drive with the East Derwent Highway.  Continuing on I could look down in Gage Cove with its coating of red algae or some other red plant.

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So far my morning had gone well and I was enjoying myself. Also, I was pleased that I had finished passing through all parts of the suburb of Old Beach and was ready for the next suburb.

Major milestone achieved on 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

Originally, I decided to walk the length of Tasmania’s Derwent River without research, foreknowledge of the challenges, and without determining the possible milestones.

With hindsight, actually starting the walk and reaching the Bridgewater Bridge were my two main milestones held subconsciously and not recognised at the time.

In late August this year I started at the southern tip of the South Arm peninsula (Cape Direction) and today I have not only reached the Bridgewater Bridge but crossed it and started the walk back towards the mouth of the Derwent River on the western shore.

I am rather amazed that such a thing is possible; to walk such a distance in this day and age and to do so for pleasure doesn’t seem quite real. And yet it is truly possible, even when my feet feel permanently crippled and I want to crawl. Just one foot after the other and it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to put one foot in front of the other. It only matters that I keep doing it. And then and only then can such milestones as today’s be achieved.  And celebrated, which I am about to do.

I was also mindful that today Australia marked the ANZAC soldiers killed and injured in the World Wars and others more recently with Remembrance ceremonies and a minute’s silence across the nation at 11am (on the 11th day of the 11th month). I have nothing to complain about and only much for which to be grateful. The photo below was taken close to the Bridgewater Bridge on the eastern shore.

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Over the coming days, I will write detailed postings of today’s walks through the suburbs of Old Beach, Herdsmans Cove, Bridgewater and starting into Granton South; the areas that I have passed and the trails that I have followed. For now it is enough to know that I have walked yet again, and the countryside and cityside has simply rolled along beside me.

Today I was away from home for almost 9 hours partly because the walking area was relatively difficult to access and leave from by public transport. Some waiting and bus changes were required. Of these hours, just under 5 hours were involved with walking from the starting point in Old Beach to the start of the Bridge, and 1/2 hour was involved from the Granton end of the Bridgewater causeway until I jumped on a bus somewhere in Granton South. Including crossing the Bridge, I walked approximately 16 kms.  Approximately 14 and1/4 kms on the eastern shore, and 3/4 km on the western shore by the Derwent River. So far I have walked 93 kilometres.

At the end of the 7th stage of my walk I had covered 34kms of the length of the Derwent River. Add another 4.5kms for today’s 8th stage and the total distance from the mouth of the Derwent River to the Bridge on the eastern shore is 38.5 kms as ‘a crow might fly’ more or less straight down the centre of the River (by my reckoning – perhaps others will argue). The length covered today of the Derwent River from the Bridge southwards on the western shore is about 1/2km.

Before each stage of my walks along the Derwent River, I have been somewhat nervous about how everything will go and how my body will hold up, yet there has never been any event or location that has turned out to be a problem. My walks have been ‘smooth sailing’. This morning I was particularly anxious because of the less savoury activities of some of the people who live in Herdsmans Cove and Bridgewater. I was also thinking about Tasmania’s ‘ice’ epidemic and remembering that some addicts can go for 7 or more days without sleep and therefore can be totally irrational. I was hoping not to encounter any unpleasantness and I didn’t. So I am delighted to report that today’s walk was safe, beautiful and calm. Quite marvellous in its simplicity.

The photo below is a close up of wattle blossom. The seductive heady perfume surrounded me most of the day.

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Acknowledgement of Country – to the Paredarerme people

The first people to live along the Derwent River were the Paredarerme people otherwise known as the Oyster Bay tribe. The Moomairremener people, whose land I have been walking on from South Arm to Old Beach, were one band of the Paredarerme people. I cannot find the specific name of the Paredarerme people along the Herdsmans Cove and Bridgewater area where I will walk tomorrow, although the Moomairremener people did move up and down the Derwent River.

I will be walking on the land of the Paredarerme people as I continue my walk along the eastern side of the Derwent River.  Therefore,

“I acknowledge and pay respect to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community as the traditional and original owners and continuing custodians of this land.”

 

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.

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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.

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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At 1.43pm I arrived at the Old Beach jetty

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

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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!

Completing the last northern part of Otago Bay suburb – on 7th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

Where I went and where followers should walk are two separate pathways.  I will describe my walk for your amusement, but you should stay on the highway and not deviate as I did. Only a  masochist would take my path.

Having connected back onto the East Derwent Highway from Otago Bay Road I continued walking north. On route I looked north across the Derwent River to the next suburb Old Beach, as shown in the photo below. I loved the yellow/orange/burnt red coloured gazania flowers which grew wildly along many parts of this route.

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Not long afterwards, I reached Murtons Rd and turned left to walk towards the river edge. To my left was the small inlet Woodville Bay. In the photo of the Bay below, I believe the yellow flowers in the foreground are probably part of wild wind-sown canola plants.

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This area seemed very rural and I enjoyed the tufts of wild fennel growing near the edge of the road, the green grassy paddocks and the screaming plovers making it clear I was encroaching on their territory. I was delighted when two black lambs raced down their paddock to greet me, obviously hand-reared and very comfortable with humans.  If I had picked them up over the fence it would probably have been a case of ‘Mary had a little lamb … and everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to follow’.  Very cute. Very vocal.

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Further on, a couple of rough looking shetland ponies appeared on the hill above and in a later paddock, horses nibbled slim pastures.

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On my left I had clear views across the Derwent River to the suburb of Old Beach.

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I surprised a pair of native hens scratching in the undergrowth.  My arrival disturbed them so they skittered away.  If you look closely in the photo below you will see one running across the roadway leading to a private property.

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Soon afterwards, the road on which I was walking came to an end.  Ahead of me through the bushes was the barely visible remains of pathways that others, and perhaps animals, had walked very occasionally. I had the choice to step down onto the narrow easy rocky shore or work my way through these paths which were only a little above water level.  You may recall from an earlier blog, that friend Me and I did some advance research on the possibilities for my future walks. This was one cul de sac we reached. Back then the paths were much clearer.  In the few weeks since we investigated, spring rains and rising temperatures have encouraged the plant life to flourish. I was fine clambering over and under fallen trees and branches and avoiding abandoned car tyres and other rubbish, but then the track disappeared under a thicket. Not to be beaten, and never to retreat, I decided to drop down onto the rocks and continue walking along the foreshore.

Around one corner I was surprised to find a pair of duck parents and their totally camouflaged teenager sleeping on the rocks amidst the flotsam and jetsam of human kind. Their retreat to the water was slow and cumbersome. It was almost as if a human being had never passed this way before.

This was okay for a while until I met with a barrier of tree branches cascading into and across the water.  I realised there would be no easy way over or through. Spotting the makings of a rough pathway on the bank, I clambered up. Before long I was practising something like one does with that ‘pick up sticks’ children’s game: I was lifting one spiky branch and pieces of barbed wire off another and standing on others in order to move my way through an ever more tricky brambling landscape. Vaguely in the distance, through the vegetation, I could glimpse a hill which looked like soft grass. A very attractive vista considering my circumstances.  Between me and that escape route was a tangle of wild freely sown long waving branches of thorny roses, and a forest of healthy but spiky blackberry canes, all intertwined. Going back to Murtons Road was not an option I would consider.  So, rather like a snorting pig, and sometimes down on my knees, I edged my way through. It took quite a while. Surprisingly no clothes were ripped and I received only a few slight scratches. Climbing the small hill of weedy and native grasses was comparatively heavenly by comparison. Then I found myself back on the East Derwent Highway and strode off happily a few minutes after 12 noon.

Yesterday I completed Stage 7 of my walk along the Derwent River

I will write details at length in later posts, however these few words record the walk between Risdon Cove and half way into Old Beach happened amidst spitting rain, strong breezes, gloomy clouds across the northern suburbs, beautiful vistas across the Derwent River, rich native bushlands and bird wandering wetlands, the sunken remains of historic boats, interesting people met along the way, new angles on the mountain (Mt Wellington), and reliable bus services.

I was away from home for around 6 and a half hours, walked about 14 or so kilometres, and covered an extra 8 kms of the Derwent River as it snaked around the suburbs (different from its straight run out to sea on previous walks). All up, I have now covered approximately 34 kilometres of the Derwent River, and the walking experience continues to inspire me.

The photo below shows the sunken remains of the ship Otago.  Notice the calm waters of the Derwent River.  Sensationally beautiful. Through the branches on the top right of the photo is the blue shape of Mount Wellington.  Only when I looked at this photo and registered the relatively small size of our mountain, did I truly understand the distances I have walked from the mouth of the river to this spot on Otago Bay. In the beginning, I was south of the mountain and now I am north. There will come a time when I can no longer see the mountain as I walk along the Derwent River.

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Old Beach

Slightly to the north of Otago Bay is the Greater Hobart Area suburb of Old Beach. This suburb must have been settled early in Tasmania’s history because wonderful Wikipedia quotes an old postal record: Old Beach Post Office opened on 11 January 1866 and closed in 1975.” I can find no other records indicating the background to this suburb.

According to http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/top-suburbs/tas-7017-old-beach.aspx, Old Beach has a population of 3169, the median household weekly income is $1489, the median age of residents is 39 years, almost 60% are married, 45% work full-time and a further 21% work part-time, 59% are buying their own home, and the median monthly house loan repayment is $1517. 97% are living in separate houses as distinct from units or apartments, and semi-detached townhouses etc.

Old Beach is located in the local government area of Brighton Council, which means I will leave the Clarence City Council area for the first time in my walk along the Derwent River (hopefully tomorrow if the weather is suitable).  Throughout my walk along the Derwent I will pass through the territories of different municipalities – I will count them up once the walk is over.