Tag Archives: Porter’s Bay

On the long and winding road through the Tinderbox area.

The morning had hardly begun when, a little after 9am, I started walking southwards along the Tinderbox Road, knowing that most of the way would not be and could not be directly next to the Derwent River.

In this area, with the exception of the occasional house surrounded closely by bush (I did imagine most of these households placed their trust against bushfires/wildfires in hope and household insurance), there is no way for easy access to the cliff edges, and there is no track along the top.  I did not think it worth the risk to walk alone in an isolated bush area a long way from a road or houses. I have no doubt it is possible to walk more closely to the Derwent River, but doing so would  not be a smart idea.

No track, pavement or pathway exists beside the two lane Tinderbox Road. Throughout the day I walked on the road when no traffic was in sight or within hearing and I stepped along the verges (where there were any) when traffic was approaching.  Thankfully, there were very few cars and sometimes 10 or 15 minutes would elapse without a vehicle on the road.

The most disturbing vision for the day was a fresh road kill; the glistening innards of a young native animal, a Common Ring Tailed Possum, spread across the road and barely connected to the main body. These possums normally go out for their hunting during the evening and this fellow must have been racing home to bed when struck by a car racing down the road.  The image of a ring tailed possum below was created by Greg Hughes of arrowfire.deviantart.com at http://www.deviantart.com/art/Ringtail-Possum-344619937.

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On the upside, I was delighted to have a close encounter with a group of 6 large native Green Rosella birds. My good fortune to see these grand birds at close quarters occurred because the noise of two vehicles crossing paths from the two different directions made the birds comfortable and they did not hear my scrunching sounds as I walked on the roadside gravel. I stopped mid step as soon as I saw these heavy birds. During my walk from Geilston Bay to Risdon, I had the privilege of seeing a couple of these birds close by (read the posting From Risdon to Tommy’s Bight via Porters Bay and finally to the bus stop).  Anywhere on the web, photographs of Green Rosellas can be found easily, however they all emphasise the lime green yellow throats as the main colour. In my experience, their deep green camouflaging backs defines their character.

So … what were the birds doing as I watched them (one was employed only a metre away)? They were snacking on ripe blackberries and loving every moment of it.  Inadvertently I moved a foot and the grating sound surprised them.  The small pack of large Green Rosellas rose from the bushes and, in a flash of blue edged tails, were gone. What a thrill to see them: such private birds. Later a local dismissed my excitement. ‘They are everywhere here, and they try and get my blackberries before me as I work along the canes picking them’, she said.

From Risdon to Tommy’s Bight via Porters Bay and finally to the bus stop

Once I had walked through the East Risdon State Reserve and down the hill to the edge of the Derwent River in the suburb of Risdon, despite sore feet, I felt compelled to walk south along the water’s edge towards Tommy’s Bight. Much of my walk over the previous hour or so had not been at the edge of cliffs, so for an authentic walk along the River I liked the idea of following tracks to determine how far back south I could walk (all the while knowing I would need to retrace my steps to get to the bus stop for my return home).

I turned left into Saundersons Road from Risdon St and continued walking until, opposite the No Through Road and the 50km/hour speed signs, a gravel and dirt single-foot track led down around the water’s edge. The track seemed infrequently walked, and it was delightfully soft and gentle on my feet.

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I loved listening to the lightly lapping water and my world seemed very still until three sulphur crested cockatoos screamed overhead.

At 12.50pm I arrived at a Bay, and without checking my maps, mistakenly thought I had reached Tommy’s Bight.

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I had a good look around the Bay before sitting on a sunny rock to eat my lunch.

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After munching I dragged out my map and discovered I had been enjoying the peace and quiet of Porter’s Bay.

Ignoring my aching feet, I began on the track towards Tommy’s Bight. When the track split into two directions, I walked uphill for a while before realising this would take me back to the top of the East Risdon State Reserve. I turned back until I could follow the track parallel to Porters Bay. The time was 1.20pm and the metal-saw whining noise from over the River was ever present.

Parts of this track were dappled with sunlight and the lack of direct searing sun was a relief.  However, it was difficult to read the irregular root strewn and rocky pathway and not roll my ankles. A number of splits in the track and a mess of tracks generally all led back to the one track. Usually the detours were the result of fallen trees along the way.

It was along this track that the walk’s greatest thrill materialised.

I had never seen one before and was staggered how large it was: a perfectly camouflaged Green Rosella. With deep olive green feathers and broad tail, the bird was resting on a low branch. I stood watching for the few seconds before it flew off through the trees and disappeared. Today, as I write this blog post, I have checked the internet for photos and I am sorry to say I cannot find an image showing a bird as green as the bird I saw. I realise the Green Rosella has other colours which should have flashed at me, but they didn’t and it is the overwhelming sense of the green that I remember – even on its head (although perhaps the shadows of the green surrounding foliage led me to ‘see’ green).  I feel immensely privileged to have seen this spectacular specimen.

At 1.30pm I was passing a tiny curved shell beach below and continued on to where the waters of the Derwent River and Tommy’s Bight met.

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By 1.35pm the bottom of Tommy’s Bight was in full view.

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Tracks on the other side of the bay made it obvious that it was possible to continue walking south. On the hill top in the distance I could see the electricity pylon against which I had walked earlier in the day.  Another day, I will return to discover more.

By 1.45pm I had begun the return walk north and was back at Porters Bay and by 1.50pm I was back on the bitumen at Risdon. Only then did I notice an electricity pole on the other side of the road with its own name, ‘The Leaning Pole of Risdon’!

By the way, there are no public toilets, no cafes or restaurants, and no other facilities and services during this walk or in the suburb of Risdon.  So be prepared.

The rest of my walk was undertaken on the edge of Saundersons Road as it wound around the Derwent River with Risdon’s houses on the right. I reached the bottom of Risdon St by 2pm and then continued on in full view of the Bowen Bridge further north

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before passing Cleburne Street and Cemetery/Church Point Road. I reached the intersection with the East Derwent Highway at 2.10pm.

The view below was photographed at Risdon Cove looking towards the Derwent River while waiting for the bus.  The suburb Risdon can be accessed to the left of the car that is seen travelling on the road.  Land has been reclaimed across the Cove so that the East Derwent Highway can continue uninterrupted further north. I will walk along that road in Stage 7.

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Once at the bus stop (an unnumbered bus stop) at 2.15pm, I relaxed into the wait for Metro Bus number 694 that arrived 20 minutes later. Meanwhile, I was able to take a broad view of Risdon Cove, knowing this to be the starting point for Stage 7 of my walk along the Derwent River.

On the return bus I was treated to a ride through the large and dispersed suburb of Risdon Vale located some kilometres away. This suburb sits in an open valley skirting behind Tasmania’s main prison site, the Risdon Prison Complex.  ‘The mountain’ (Mount Wellington) is ever visible.

Eventually the bus turned back onto the East Derwent Highway and travelled via some suburban detours to the Eastlands Bus mall at Rosny Park on its way to Hobart. I am excited by the rich experiences offered by Stage 6 of this walk and look forward to leading friends along these paths. I hope my stories inspire others to have a look at this area or find their own walks of discovery.

From Geilston Bay to Risdon on Stage 6 of my walk along the Derwent River yesterday

Yesterday’s walk was a sensationally wonderful experience. Over a few posts I will colour in the rich fabric of the day, much of it in clean fresh smelling bushland (such as that at Tommy’s Bight in the photo below).

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To start with, I caught Metro bus 694 destined for Risdon Vale and Glenorchy (scheduled from the Hobart city bus mall at 9.03) on the eastern shore and travelled to bus stop 14 on the East Derwent Highway at Geilston Bay. Thankfully the Clarence City Council has erected a sign marking the start of the walk.

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From the bus stop, I walked along the edge of Geilston Bay then northwards around Bedlam Walls Point to Shag Bay and onwards to the top of the Bedlam Walls, where I was rewarded with panoramas across the Derwent River. My northwards walk continued into and across the East Risdon State Reserve before descending into the suburb of Risdon. I turned south and walked on the edge of the Derwent River to Porters Bay where I took my lunch break before continuing south to Tommy’s Bight.

Eventually I retraced my steps back to Risdon and continued along the water’s edge to the junction of Saunderson’s Road with the East Derwent Highway. The return bus stop for a 694 bus, which arrived at 2.35pm (with not another one due for two hours), was on the Highway across from Risdon and adjacent to the land and water marking the Risdon Cove area.

I was away from home for approximately 6 and ¼ hours, and walked a total of around 12 kms winding over many tracks and retracing parts of my walk.

Previously I had walked 23 kms of the length of the Derwent River.  Yesterday I added 3 kms which brings the new tally to 26 kms.