Tag Archives: St Clair Lagoon

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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Yesterday I walked to the source of the Derwent River

Over the past four days I have enjoyed remote, off-the-main-track inland Tasmania from Clark Dam at Butlers Gorge, along the edge of Lake King William to the town ship of Derwent Bridge, and then further north to where the Derwent River commences out of the gates of St Clair Lagoon.  I continued further north also to the Weir which controls water into St Clair Lagoon from the Derwent Basin (which is kept filled with water flowing from Lake St Clair).  Dozens of posts with all the details of the walks, and accompanied by some grand photos, will be forthcoming over the coming days.

This latest walk means I have walked most of the length of the Derwent River from the mouth to the source.  There are only a few gaps to fill if I have the courage (or a moment perhaps of insanity because of the level of difficulty I believe is involved) in the coming weeks.

For the moment, I thought a few photos would be in order to whet your appetite for more.

The photo below shows one aspect of a view across Lake King William in the late afternoon.

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The photo below looks across Lake King William early in the morning.

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Sun passing through gum leaves.

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The Derwent River early morning near Derwent Bridge.

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The source of the Derwent River – the water as it leaves St Clair Lagoon. I was standing on the dam when I took the second photo, and watching the water run away eventually to pass New Norfolk then Hobart and finally exit into Storm Bay before dispersing into the wide ocean.  The whole experience was quite marvellous.  The river was fresh and alive!  And so was I!

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A change in plan due to the expected large volume of future information

In a blog post written a few weeks ago, I said I would not post a record for any walk on a section of the Derwent River unless it fell into the continuous sequence; that is the next post describing the walk should be from Gretna (the location of the end of the last stage of my walk- Stage 15) westwards.

From now on I will walk sections (yes blow the knee problem, I will continue)  that fit with friends dropping me off at starting points or collecting me from destinations, or that fit with the Tassie Link bus timetable.  In any given week I could be located at any point between Gretna and the source of the river as it leaves St Clair Lagoon. Therefore, in any week, my blog posts will be about where I have been walking and the experiences gained along the route.

The reason for my change of heart is that from the reconnaissance and short walking trips that I have taken in the past few weeks, I can see that there will be simply too much information to dump into the blog once I finish the walk.  Therefore, despite the chance of confusing blog followers, I will write up and post as I complete sections regardless of whether they fit into a seamless sequence.

Another advantage of this approach is that there will be less Derwent River related posts, and more actual walk related posts.

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.

Who am I?

Increasingly blog followers have questioned my enigmatic no-name status.  I have been secretive about my identity to protect myself from predators and weirdos. My surname is so rare that I wouldn’t want someone to track me to my house. When the walk was over I intended to reveal and explain more about myself so everyone could understand why I presented myself only as Tasmanian Traveller.

Despite this approach, for people who have emailed me, I have opened up a little more.  For the woman from upstate New York who visited me and asked to walk on some of the sections she had read about in my blog,  of course she got to learn so much more about me.  And she, and others, have been most respectful and careful to keep my gender and characteristics neutral and non-identifying. Thank you.

Now that the process for my walk from the mouth to the source of the Derwent River is evolving, I no longer see a need to retain my protective shell.  From now on, there will be safety in numbers as I walk with one or more friends.

So who am I?  My name is Helen Tyzack and I come from a working history in the visual arts and museology industries, plus an overlay of working in or for many different types of education institutions, government agencies and not-for-profit organisations.  All my life I have walked to get around, keep costs down, to be kinder to the climate, and to experience the beauties of the natural environment at close quarters. A few years ago I sold my car and have walked or used public transport ever since.  As a female, I have wanted to walk alone in remote and isolated country and by maintaining my anonymity this has been comfortably possible.  I am on the mature side of 60 years of age, short in stature with an overweight body, various health challenges and perpetual problems with my feet.  But I refuse to let these characteristics and impediments prevent me living; they slow me but they do not stop me. I will not let them stop me. I am energised by the possibilities of discovering new places, and my walk along the Derwent River has exceeded all my expectations. In recent years I have flown off to different countries around the world to learn and experience new adventures.  It has been one of the greatest surprises that the Derwent has offered so many revelations that the thought of overseas travel has been halted.  I guess it is always easier to think somewhere else will be more interesting yet a place right on your own doorstep can offer ‘the world’.

Helen at Otago Bay 2014

The photo of me above was taken by a passer-by as I walked past Otago Bay at the end of last year on Stage 7 of my walk along the Derwent River.

For each of the 15 walking stages completed so far, I have walked alone and independently, and have only been supported by public transport when buses deposited me at a starting point and collected me from each walk’s destination. I have realised this practice cannot continue because of the limited public transport options available in central Tasmania. As an alternative, I have decided to try a UBER-style approach to transport – friends are offering to be my chauffeur and in some cases they are offering to walk with me.

To cope with the constraints of private property restrictions, I am working with locals and others to obtain various kinds of alternative access to the Derwent River.  No project ever goes totally to plan and that is the joy of exploration: discovering new ways to meet changing personal expectations keeps my brain active and my mind vitally alive.

During my last walk, I reached the township of Gretna. From now on, as I head inland towards Lake St Clair, I expect to be accompanied by a friend who will drive me to key locations. Whenever we ‘touch’ the river I will walk north and south along the edge to the extent that the river and the landscape allow.  Gradually, I will walk past the river until I sink down with pleasure on the dam wall at the southern end of St Clair Lagoon with my goal achieved.  The next stages of my walk will represent the collection of the final pieces of a fabulous patchwork quilt – and once I have all the pieces, I will stitch them together into my blog to record a sequential and seamless walk from Gretna to Lake St Clair.  And then I will write two books: one will be a how-to-do-it publication for tourists and locals who want to understand how to use public transport to discover the river edges, and the second book will be a fictionalised account of my walk.