Tag Archives: Pumphouse Point

The track to the Derwent Basin

I and the floating threads of spider web strands were the only occupants of the sometimes wider and sometimes narrower track from the Pumphouse Point locked gate onwards to the Derwent Basin.  The twists and turns of the tiny track made sure I had new vegetation and bush character to look at, on every moment of the walk.

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Native animals had passed along the path leaving evidence of their progress.  For example, the dragging of a small kangaroo tail is shown below.

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Between this track and the clear water of St Clair Lagoon, reedy wetlands extended large distances, so much so, that seeing the water was impossible.

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After winding within the bush, finally the track entered the back of the Pumphouse Point Hotel complex’s visitor carpark, with the reception building and one of the facility blocks nearby.

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No signage existed to direct me to the Derwent Basin weir from the Pumphouse Point complex, so I crossed a small bridge and took ‘pot luck’ along tracks which eventually allowed me to pass the area where the Derwent Basin meets Lake St Clair’s waters, and to continue onto the Derwent Basin Weir.

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Enjoy the crystal sharp birdsong in the bush on this short video.

Later I found a sign and followed the elevated blue metal track from which I could scan glimpses of the large expanse of Derwent Basin.

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On the southern side of the track, St Clair Lagoon filled the space. In the photos below you can see the bump on the horizon; that is Mount Charles to the north east of Lake King William which I had walked beside and around the day before I reached this idyllic spot.

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When I reached the tiny weir controlling the flow of water from the Derwent Basin into St Clair Lagoon, the sharp mid-morning sun sparkled intensely on the water. I was almost blinded by the light.

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St Clair Lagoon signage

Interpretive signage work needs to be introduced, and current signs rationalised; at least made consistent.  Within metres of each other stood the two signs below:

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The third sign focuses on the needs of anglers but not on general tourists.

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One on-site map helps people get their bearings. However, I guess because the water level is generally low, the island close to the St Clair Lagoon Dam which appeared before me as an extensive well-established vegetated outcrop, cannot be seen on the map below.  As a result, visitors may feel disoriented.

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Four signs exist at St Clair Lagoon. I am disappointed the Derwent River as a whole and the fact this is the River’s source isn’t recognised and celebrated.  The St Clair Lagoon area seems only to anticipate visitation from fishermen who do not have permission to fish here.  A short gravel road detours to the Lagoon Dam from the main gravel road that leads to Pumphouse Point, but no signs have been installed to let people know what they will find if they take the detour, nor the significance of the St Clair Lagoon dam for the Derwent River.

A 215 km river is not a small or insignificant waterway. The Derwent River, as Tasmania’s most iconic river, provides a major marker of thousands of years of social, economic and natural history. In the coming weeks, I plan to communicate with everyone who has influence over the writing and installation of signage and interpretation.

The road to Pumphouse Point

I turned right onto the road to Pumphouse Point rather than continuing on to Cynthia Bay, the main settlement at the southern end of Lake St Clair.

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The discrete sign to the hotel allowed the environment to dominate.

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I followed the quiet gravel road northwards.

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In taking this road it is important to realise you have entered a national park, and that you need to pay for the privilege.

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Before long I passed by a sewage treatment works, although one without a name or identification. A delicate odour gave notice.  I think that now I have walked passed every treatment works on the Derwent River – I am not sure if medals are given out for that sort of achievement.

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Then the bush was my only companion with the Derwent River seemingly running through the trees.

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Along the route, tracks of various qualities diverged to the River every few metres or so.

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What goes up goes down

In any landscape, every hill has its ups and downs. Having crested the hill separating me away from Lake King William but with the Derwent River on my left as I walked northwards, I was astonished that I could see Lake St Clair.  There, as a bright white beacon on the water surface, was the Pumphouse Point Hotel. You will need to enlarge the photo below to see the tiny white block in upper left centre. To its right a small portion of the Derwent Basin can be seen. The Derwent Basin empties into St Clair Lagoon, and where that Lagoon is dammed, the Derwent River starts its long run to the sea.

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Of course the source was still a long way away, but I knew seeing this vista meant I was closing in on the point where the Derwent River started.

Then I started downhill on the sharp rocky track.

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At the halfway down point, I photographed the view both up and down.

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Before long I was walking with the River to my left and a dry forest beside me.

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Award winning buildings edging or overlooking the Derwent River 2015

Recently the Master Builders of Tasmania Association announced Housing and Construction Excellence Award winners.  Here are a selection.

  • The winner of the Unique Achievement in Construction was project MONA Turrell Amarna. This massive sculptural structure was designed by artist James Turrell and titled Amarna. Its construction needed extraordinary creativity and engineering nous to build.
  • The winner of the Excellence in Heritage Listed or Period Home Restoration/Renovation – Open Value was the ‘Colonial Cottage’, Sorell Creek, New Norfolk. The original building was constructed around 1870.
  • The winner of Heritage Listed or Period Building Restoration / Renovation – Open Value was ‘Pumphouse Point’  which overlooks both Lake St Clair and Derwent Basin.
  • The winner of New Construction – $5 million to $10 million was ‘Brooke Street Pier’. This innovative floating structure almost next to Salamanca, replaced a series of tiny old ferry offices, and is now the gateway for ferrying visitors to MONA, supplying interesting locally produced Tasmanian souvenirs of quality, and providing a welcome drink or two.

Brilliant bird’s eye view

Thankyou blog follower Ju.  Recently Ju connected me with a woman with a husband who has a Private Pilot’s Licence.  Once I made contact, Michelle and Dave were delighted to fly me in their four seater plane, a Cirrus SR20 which Michelle referred to as the BMW of the skies.

Today we flew.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Clean blue sky. Hardly a breeze.  The landscape rich and varied.  The Derwent River sparkled from start to finish.

The experience was stunningly magnificent.  I love words but I find it difficult to express my excitement, my pleasure, and the sheer joy of the flight in the depth which I felt.  There below me was the river I have come to love and know a little more. There below me were the tracks, paths, roads and landscape over which I have walked – and I laughed occasionally remembering certain experiences during my walks. There below me were logging tracks, dam roads, and fading vehicular pathways.  And then we were flying over impenetrable sections which may not be walkable.

We left Hobart airport and flew to Storm Bay by rounding the Iron Pot, then we followed the river upstream to the source. Dave flew on until we reached the northern most point of Lake St Clair. The return journey was equally as beautiful and engaging. The light had changed presenting us with a ‘new’ landscape.

Of the hundreds of photos taken by Michelle, friend Chantale and myself, I include a tiny selection here.

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The photo above taken by Michelle caught me totally preoccupied by the view.

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MIchelle’s photo above shows the Derwent River snaking around the Claremont Golf course with Cadbury’s Chocolate Manufacturing buildings in white to the left.

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The photo above shows a straight section of the Derwent River before the township of New Norfolk on the upper left.

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The photo above shows the Derwent River circling part of Reid’s cherry orchards.

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Chantale’s photo of the Pumphouse Point accommodation projecting into Lake St Clair, also shows the dam across the Derwent Basin where the water enters St Clair Lagoon.  The source of the Derwent River starts to the right of the photo.

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Michelle’s photo above shows part of sprawling Hobart set against the Derwent Harbour.

Those photos taken while flying over the river westwards of Gretna will be incorporated into the stories of my walks from Gretna onwards, in future posts.  From now on, you can expect both ground-based and aerial photos to enrich the stories.
I feel like the luckiest person in the world for the opportunity to travel in a smooth flying small plane, to see the Derwent River winding through the landscape in glorious blueness, and to be reminded Tasmania is a superb place. A truly wonderful and memorable day. Thankyou to all concerned.

Lake St Clair and architectural awards

Previous posts have introduced the re-purposed Pumphouse that sits proudly in the centre of Tasmania.  When blog follower Ju alerted me to the 2015 Tasmanian Architectural Awards I was keen to follow up. I found the new buildings at Pumphouse Point on Lake St Clair won this year’s Commercial Award. You can glide over the glorious photographs at http://wp.architecture.com.au/tasawards/2015-awards/commercial-architecture/commercial-architecture-pumphouse-point/. The accompanying information includes words such as art deco, Tasmanian Wilderness, heritage, World Heritage Area – I hope these focussed your attention as they did mine.

Complete with 18 guest suites, a communal lounge area and a shared dining area, I find this development very attractive.  When I checked the website (http://www.pumphousepoint.com.au/) imagine my surprise to discover that of the 18 accommodation spaces very very few remain to be booked over the coming weeks.  Popular!!!  Yes.

I plan to stay for one or two nights as my reward for completing the walk along the Derwent River to Lake St Clair – one day when that happens (bring on the warmer weather!).  Can you blame me?