Tag Archives: Sandy Bay Road

Nature is cheaper than therapy

A Californian fiction writer M.P. Zarrella offered the opinion ‘nature is cheaper than therapy’.  Since then, her point of view has spawned posters, cushion covers, and T shirts such as:

Nature cheaper than therapy  and tshirt nature its cheaper than therapy

The use of this comment spread until people couldn’t help themselves …

facebook cheaper than therapy and Beer is cheaper than therapy

Thinking about whether nature is cheaper (with the inference of ‘better’ than therapy), I have been inspired to trawl through my walking-the-derwent photos.

Here are a few favourite natural scenes clicked during Stages 1-6 of my walks along the eastern shore of the Derwent River.  Most of these images spent time as my computer screen background where they lifted my spirits daily.

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Iron Pot off the southern end of South Arm peninsula

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Driftwood beach shack on Pot Bay Beach, South Arm peninsula

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Mount Wellington across the Derwent River from South Arm Beach

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Looking northwards into the gigantic Derwent Harbour from Gellibrand Point at the northern end of the South Arm peninsula.

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Looking uphill from Trywork Point

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Lichen on rocks at Tranmere Point

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Little Howrah Beach

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Looking southwards along Bellerive Beach

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The suburb of Sandy Bay across the Derwent River through the casuarina trees from Rosny Point

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Tranquil Geilston Bay looking toward Mount Wellington

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Bedlam Walls Point

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Shag Bay

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Native flowers in the East Risdon State Reserve

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Tommys Bight

Whenever the weather is deteriorating outside my window, by looking at these photographs from the first 6 of 14 walking stages, I ‘revisit’ the various locations and feel most uplifted. No therapy needed here.

Water Taxi ferry stops operation

Many weeks ago I  joined a group of mad hatters (the Scarlatt O’Hatters local group all decked out in purple clothes and donning elaborate red hats) on a river journey upstream from Sandy Bay to New Norfolk on the Derwent River.

I loved the historical information which the water taxi driver provided about features as we passed the shoreline of the river. He deliberately drove the boat into particular bays with specific and interesting histories. At that time, I had walked both the eastern and western shores of the Derwent River and had researched and seen a great deal, however, during the boat ride I gained new information.  More delightfully I saw the land from a new angle and appreciated the Derwent River quite differently.  It was an experience about which I enthused to friends and encouraged them to try.

So it is not surprising that when, not so long ago and since that memorable trip by water to New Norfolk, the story of the ceasing of this water taxi business became big news, I was stunned.  You can read more at http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/hobart-water-taxi-operator-rod-howard-winds-up-after-seven-years-of-feast-or-famine/story-fnj4f7k1-1227278029630

I am very sorry that Rod Howard felt he had to pull the plug and close the service.

The Derwent River is an extraordinary resource which should be used frequently by commuters and tourists. The harbour is one of the most picturesque in the world, yet people are have not been patronising services sufficiently for someone to be gainfully employed. Alas, there are no longer any commuter services on the water, and apart from the MONA ferry, the Peppermint Bay cruise and the historic old Cartela, there are few other locals boats plying the waters to carry locals and tourists around.

From Wrest Point to New Norfolk on the Derwent River

‘Have you got a red hat?’ friend An asked me. Recently she became Princess Pollyanna, an esteemed member of Hobart’s Scarlatt O’Hatters (http://www.hobartredhats.com/), and urged me to join particular excursions that have a connection with my walking project.  The delicious carrot being wriggled before my eyes was a ferry trip from Hobart to New Norfolk on the Derwent River.  I paid my membership fee to Queen Poppi and then found a common red beach hat (although others were wearing all manner of superb creations on their heads – are these the modern day ‘mad hatters’, I wondered). I donned a range of purple clothes and, as the newly appointed Lady Walkabout, jumped on the tiny water taxi ferry with 20 colourful new friends to be.

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The wind was strong and some swell across the River kept us bobbing.  However, the ride was comfortable and no one needed to bark at the fish over the side.  Sprays of salt water marked the windows and there were few opportunities to move outside into the clear moist air.  But the day was beautiful, the wind chopped waves dramatic and the panoramic scenery majestic.

What a thrill the journey was. After we left the jetty at Wrest Point Casino in Sandy Bay, a southern suburb of Hobart, we motored with commentary from our driver.  He pointed out environmental and historical features. This was a wonderful reminder of research and findings I made while walking the edges of the Derwent between the mouth of the River and Bridgewater Bridge, and I learned a few new details.

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The surprise sighting of a white sea eagle perched in a high tree against the cliffs in Shag Bay (an inlet between the Bedlam Walls – refer to my Stage 6 report) inspired the driver to stop and allow us outside to get a privileged view of this large bird.

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One of the great treats of the day was motoring underneath the very low Bridgewater Bridge (reminded me of travelling on some flat top boats in Paris where you feel sure the boat will become wedged against the bridge metal) and passing through without a bump or grind.

During our trip, at one stage hundreds of coots flew up from the water, we were accompanied for part of the journey by a small flock of sleek long necked swans, and in a small inlet a large family of pelicans were flying around.  Our eyes focused on all these birds.

As we continued on the Derwent River against landscape which I am yet to see on foot, it was clear my earlier belief that marshlands will prevent me from walking directly next to the River for most of the way from the Bridgewater Bridge to New Norfolk, is correct.  Occasionally it will be possible to walk on paths and grass, but mostly I will be tramping the hard road verges.  I was not aware the remains of a historic Lime Kiln sits beside the water, and it was good to see that I should be able to walk pass this on my way northwards.

As a result of this one-day excursion and from many car trips up and back to New Norfolk, I have a good understanding of the route. However, I realise that at foot level the world looks completely different and I look forward to finding out more in the near future.

understanding of the route. However, I realise that at foot level the world looks completely different and I look forward to finding out more in the near future.

Mount Nelson Signal Station

Overlooking the centre of the city of Hobart and with a view sweeping across to the eastern shore of the Derwent River, Mount Nelson is host to a significant historical site, the Mount Nelson Signal Station.

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Wikipedia provides the information that originally this rise in the landscape was named ‘Nelson’s Hill’ after botanist David Nelson, who sailed on the ship ‘Bounty’ which visited Van Diemens Land on its way to Tahiti (the ship that was involved in the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty). In geological form, Mount Nelson amounts to not much more than a low foothill, however its name gives an indication that something grand awaits you if you venture to the top.

And such a visit is easy in a vehicle, or if you want to take an uphill walk from Hobart’s suburb of Sandy Bay.  In addition, the Mount Nelson via Dynnyrne and Tolmans Hill Metro bus service can deliver you to your destination.  If you like walking, you might choose to catch a bus to the top and then follow any one of a number of clearly marked tracks downhill. Yesterday I made a visit thanks to blog follower Je’s transport, accompanied by another follower Be who is visiting from Cairns.

From different vantage points, the spectacle of the Derwent River spread out below, made us breathless with delight. When I am walking at ground level along the Derwent River, the grand panoramas extending into the distance are denied me.  But yesterday it was exciting to see the bays and hills further afield.

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The photo above looks toward the mouth of the Derwent River on the eastern shore. South Arm peninsula can be seen extending along the water.  As  I stood on Mount Nelson I could clearly identify the Iron Pot, Fort Direction Hill, South Arm Beach, Opossum Bay and its beach, and  Gellibrand Point all of which I walked on during Stage 1 and 2 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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The photo above shows the eastern shore of the Derwent River with Gellibrand Point to the right on the northern tip of the South Arm peninsula. Then the great gaping space of Ralph’s Bay appeared straight ahead. To the left of the image, Trywork Point is in view; this was the starting point for Stage 3 of my walk (after I had walked there from the suburb of Tranmere).

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The photo above shows Ralphs Bay to the right, Trywork Point and then the suburb of Tranmere to the left – on the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

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The photo above shows the eastern shore from Tranmere on the right, through the suburbs of Howrah to Bellerive on the left – the River edges which I walked during Stages 4 and 5.

Across the parkland at the Mount Nelson Signal Station, native Wrens flitted around feeling safe as they hunted for insect meals on the ground.

I enjoyed looking at information panels on the site and learning more about how the place operated.  In addition, one panel showed the location of walking tracks.

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So … what is the history? Not long after Hobart was settled in the early 1800s, locals needed speedy and efficient communication between the convict settlement at Port Arthur and Hobart.  In addition, Hobart residents wanted foreknowledge of sailing ships approaching from the ocean through Storm Bay and on their way to the Derwent River in case any provided a threat to trade or security. To gather this information, in 1811 the Mount Nelson Signal Station was established and designed to use semaphore.  The method of communication was flags waving across the hills.  Details about the semaphore flag signalling system can be read at http://www.anbg.gov.au/flags/semaphore.html.  The site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_line provides further information. At the Mount Nelson Signal Station, flags were run up a pole – this seems a very cumbersome process compared to a person waving flags. I hope that someday the signal station will offer a demonstration to the public so I can understand the process.  Give me a re-enactment please.

This semaphore communication service continued in use until a more reliable system was available (what happened at the Signal Station on windy days, in wet weather and when clouds obscured the view?).   It was not until 1880 that a telephone line connected Hobart and Mount Nelson.

Walking around the area is free of charge.  Some pathways are provided. The site has various public amenities including picnic tables, public toilets, carpark, barbecues and a restaurant.

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For further information about eating in the heritage building pictured above, go to http://www.signalstation.com.au.  I recommend that you phone in advance if you are depending on eating there. Yesterday, despite permanent signs indicating the Brasserie was open, another sign on the building indicated it was closed.

During my visit, clouds loomed powerfully over the city and river. The day light was so bright and strong that when I turned northwards and photographed the land and riverscapes, the sky glowed white.  So I clicked a few images pointed at the sky and this silhouetted the landscape.  Using my simple mobile phone as camera, I was never able to control the light of the images.

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Although these looked like rain clouds, it did not rain.  These large puffs were just passing through.

Last weekend Hobart focused on the Derwent River

Last week I posted information in advance of the Royal Hobart Regatta and the Australian Wooden Boat Festival both of which celebrated Hobart’s water-based history on and in relation to the Derwent River.

On Friday afternoon, the Parade of Sails offered a flotilla of yachts and sailing ships which manoeuvred to the starting point of John Garrow Light and then headed upriver to Sullivans Cove at the wharf in Hobart. Followers may recall that, on an earlier stage of my walk along the Derwent River, I passed the John Garrow navigation light in Lower Sandy Bay when I reached Blinking Billy Point.

Last Friday I thought that a raised vantage point would give me a great view of the Parade of Sails, so I joined with neighbours from their balcony to watch.  I saw hundreds of marine craft sailing up the river on a heavenly blue sky day. The wind pushed them quickly upriver to Sandy Bay and then they seemed to stall. The sails congregated en masse close to shore between Wrest Point Hotel Casino and the suburb of Battery Point.

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This was so far away and unless you enlarge my photos you will believe there were few vessels on the Derwent River that day.  When not much forward movement happened, I realised that the finishing time for the Parade of Sails was 1.30pm but it wasn’t yet 1pm. Therefore, I presumed the ships decided to wait so the grand entrance/arrival into the Hobart docks could be on time.

On Monday I watched a swooping display from 4 synchronised planes, the Roulettes. They flew in complex formations around the city, across Mount Wellington and along the Derwent River, spewing steam behind to mark their athletic twists and turns.

It was a packed weekend and the media provided spectacular views of all the activities.  Have a look and consider being around when these events are held next time.

The Royal Hobart Regatta site is at: http://www.royalhobartregatta.com/

The Australian Wooden Boat Festival site is at: http://www.australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au/home

Colourful media coverage of this year’s events include:

Into Taroona on Stage 11 of my walk

Having plunged up through the winding tracks of a private garden (simply lovely – but probably I was doing so illegally) from the shore of the Derwent River after Cartwright Creek, I was a little relieved to be back on ‘safe’ ground on a suburban road even if not exactly at river side.  Not far along I noted a track indicating access down to the River so I wonder if I had persisted on the treacherous rocks I might have reached this track. At 11.28am I chatted to a resident while walking past Mary’s Grange/Mary Potter House (http://www.marysgrange.org.au/) a retirement home for the aged, and by 11.32am I was back up onto the main road which had now morphed into Channel Highway – it is unclear where Sandy Bay Road changed its name. The road flows continuously without obvious bends or intersections. I guess the postmen know where it changes.

The suburb is full of trees and lush bush edging houses, and the weeds flourish luxuriously with colourful flowers, so I thought residents would be at high risk should a bush fire rage around this area. But, thankfully, during my walk there was no smokey smells only the rich but delicate eucalypt smell. Very fresh.

Generally, the gardens were lush with colourful vegetation.

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At 11.52am I continued past the intersection with Karingal Court and the parkland adjacent to it.  Blackberries were overgrowing in profusion and colourfully flowering geraniums had escaped from house gardens. The Catholic Church Pius X was on my left at 11.57am, the Taroona Primary School at 11.58 (advertising its Creek Restoration Project) and I arrived at the entrance to the Taroona High School at midday.  A bus stop seat gave me the opportunity to sit and eat a bite of lunch, read my maps and consider my options. It was 12.18pm before I started down the road beside the High School, towards the Derwent River.

From Lower Sandy Bay to Cartwright Park Reserve and beyond on Stage 11

After leaving breezy Blinking Billy Point, I arrived back on the main road (Sandy Bay Road) at 10.20am, and turned left ready to continue my southward walk.

I was aware the Alexandra Battery once stood in all its glory, waiting to defend Hobart Town from invaders, on the large hill on the other side of the road. Construction on this site commenced around 1880 using stone from the dismantled Battery Point batteries. The heartfelt need of 19th century locals to defend the Derwent River and the new settlements from Russian invasion along its edges has never seemed necessary to me. When I read the following Wikipedia entry I could only think about how fear feeds off misunderstandings. “On 11 May 1870, the corvette Boyarin appeared at the Derwent River and rumours spread in Hobart that a Russian invasion was almost a certainty. The reason for the appearance of the Russian warship was humanitarian in nature; the ship’s purser was ill and Captain Serkov gained permission to hospitalise Grigory Belavin and remain in port for two weeks to replenish supplies and give the crew opportunity for some shore leave. The ship’s officers were guests at the Governor’s Ball held in honour of the birthday of Queen Victoria, and The Mercury (newspaper) noted that the officers were gallant and spoke three languages including English and French. The following day a parade was held, and the crew of the Boyarin raised the Union Jack (the colonys’ ‘national’ flag) on its mast and fired a 21-gun salute in honour to the British queen. This was reciprocated by the town garrison which raised the Russian Naval flag of Saint Andrew and fired a salute in honour of Tsar Alexander II. After the death of Belavin, permission was given to bury him on shore, and his funeral saw the attendance of thousands of Hobart residents, and the locals donated funds to provide for a headstone on his grave. In gratitude of the welcome and care given by the Hobart citizenry, Captain Serkov presented the city with two mortars from the ship, which still stand at the entrance to the Anglesea Barracks. When the Boyarin left Hobart on 12 June, a military band onshore played God Save the Tsar, and the ship’s crew replied by playing God Save the Queen (then our national anthem).”

Alexandra Battery is currently a public access park with some of the original structures embedded in the landscape.  I imagine the view along and across the Derwent River would be spectacular, but since visiting the site would have moved me away from the water, I simply walked on and made a mental note to come back another time and have a close look.  This hill would provide an easily accessible location on which to watch the dying stages of the first Sydney to Hobart Yacht race yachts surging towards the finish line.  I must remember that at the end of this year.

By 10.25am I was continuing past the junction of Sandy Bay Road with Churchill Ave a major thoroughfare wandering across the lower slopes of Mount Nelson.  All the time I was inspecting houses and gardens.  I cannot imagine why an old fashioned red telephone box is now pride of place at the top of entrance stairs to this house.

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I seriously contemplated popping over to this pub (Riverview Inn) for a glass of cold wine, but restrained myself.  I am surprised with my self-discipline that I have passed a great number of good ‘watering holes’ but have not deviated from the walk – so far.

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Twenty minutes later I reached Pearce’s Park.  I had never realised before but there are two bits of this Park located either side of the road but with quite some distance between them down the road. Rather strange.  The sign at the Park on the Derwent River side declared it was created to become ‘a window to the River Derwent’.

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An excellent idea to break the relentless strip of residences hogging the river’s edge.  I could look across the Derwent River to Trywork Point south of the suburb of Tranmere on the eastern shore.  Sulphur Crested Cockatoos screeched somewhere behind me.  The day seemed so beautiful.

Around 11am I stood at the entrance to the Cartwright Park Reserve.  This parkland swept downhill through open forest and a cleared area with flitting cheeky Wrens, before arriving on a rocky shore of the Derwent River near Cartwright Creek.  The last part of this informal track was a mix of slippery dirt and pebbles and intrusive tree roots like bad varicose veins rippling through the surface – the track was not for those with poor balance or walking limitations.  And the range of rocks on the shore were most unstable and required great care to navigate safely. I learnt this area was settled by the brothers who established the Grange Estate (around the corner in Taroona) in the 1820s. It all seems so long ago, and I can’t help thinking how isolated the area would have been. Beautiful yes, but remote from Hobart Town.  I wonder if the settlers reached the area by boats or whether it was a horse riding trip.  Did they bring in provisions with teams of bullocks.

Once I was stepping across the foreshore rocks it was clear that the track had come to an end. However, because I never like to retrace my steps unless I absolutely must, I stumbled on.  I wondered if I could get back to a road or a track if I continued. I aimed at reaching a tiny smidgin of sand and then decided I would walk up a set of weathered wooden steps next to a blue-doored boathouse.  Was this private property? There were no signs declaring restricted access. It certainly wasn’t clear at the bottom of the steps what the status of the steps was, so I felt it wasn’t unreasonable for me to climb up and find out more.  As it turned out, I walked through someone’s garden (quite lovely) and eventually let myself out through a security gate onto Grange Avenue.  Thankfully no guard dogs were in attendance. The time was 11.20am.

If I had stayed on the main road I would have seen the signs indicating I was leaving the City of Hobart and changing into the Municipality of Kingborough.  As it was, all I knew was that I was leaving Lower Sandy Bay and entering into the suburb of Taroona – and enjoying every moment.