Tag Archives: Stage 2

Stage 2 on 4/9/2014 Summing up Email 14 of 14

I arrived at the Opossum Bay shop at 9.10 am to start Stage 2 of the walking journey, and I caught the return bus (number 638 with a transfer onto bus number 632 at Lauderdale) across from the shop around 2.05 pm.

Between times I walked approximately 10 kilometres.  However, Stage 2 only represents around 4 kilometres of the length of the Derwent River. Adding this to the 7 kms covered in Stage 1, I have now covered 11 kms of the 249 kilometre long river.

I am persuaded that no-one could complete Stage 1 and 2 on one occasion to fit within these bus times. For someone to replicate my journeys two separate trips are required. Alternatively, one longer visit could finish with a return to Hobart on the bus which departs Opossum Bay near Shelly Beach at 5.55 pm.  Unfortunately this latter option would probably leave you with lots of time to fill in waiting for the bus; this eventuality would need to be expected and planned for.

As a post note, in 1995 the Gellibrand property was acquired by the state, on behalf of the people of Tasmania and in 2011 the area was declared a nature reserve and named Gellibrand Point Nature Recreation Area. I feel excited to have walked the trails and found my own way around, for the friendly people I met, the stunning views, the fascinating history, and the discovery of another part of Tasmania, one footstep at a time.  And all for the cost of a couple of bus fares.

 The photo below was taken from Gellibrand Point, Stage 2’s destination. It looks across the Derwent River towards Hobart city with Mount Wellington behind.

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Stage 2 on 4/9/2014 Shelly Beach Email 12 of 14

By 11.40 am (only 2½ hours since stepping off the bus) I had taken the trail around Gellibrand Point and south onto the northern end of the narrow sand-based Shelly Beach. Crunching underfoot, millions of sun-bleached shells shattered further. Large empty oyster shells everywhere. Their whites contrasted strongly with the golden dry-brown colours of the sandstone rocks.

The water hardly moved in or out.  Quiet. Calm.

Different schools of 5 inch long fishlings darted from the clear shallows into slightly deeper water.  The bank of sand beneath the Bay was very shallow and I suspect a swimmer might need to wade out quite a distance before being able to lie down and cover themselves comfortably with water. Out a little way in the bay, and like small mirrors, flashes of silver ovals lifted from the water’s surface when slightly larger fish came up for air. Or were they leaping with joy. Perhaps the fishlings that I disturbed when my feet vibrated the ground sending them scurrying for deeper and hopefully safer water, were a delicious meal for the larger fish.

The succulent Pigface with its bright pink flowers grew at the bottom of the sandy cliffs. Were the layers of shells in the cliff strata, remnants of aboriginal middens or simply an older beach level? Was I seeing the shells of the Late Pleistocene?

Sand can be dangerous because, when packed, it doesn’t usually have any structural integrity. Everywhere, I saw crumbling cliffs as a testament to a perpetually ravaging process.  Throughout my walk, on the western beaches and now on this eastern beach of the peninsula, all the sandy cliffs showed erosion and recent falls.  It was clear to me that walking close to the edges on top could lead to a mini landslide if you were unlucky. I feel confident that walking at the bottom of the sandy cliffs poses no risk if you walk nearer to the water’s edge.

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By midday, I had walked to a fence two thirds the way along this long beach.  This fence across the sand to the water of Ralph’s Bay marked one track back towards Opossum Bay.  Because a couple of new groups of older school children were now enjoying a drum playing class on the beach with their teachers near this fence, I decided to walk along the beach further.  Never let it be said that I was a distraction to their lessons!

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Five minutes’ walk past the fence, in the distance was a line of boulders across the sand from the grasses to the Bay.

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These rocks became my lunch time pit stop while rich brown hawks and protective plover birds whirled nearby.

Looking back where I had walked, the long Shelly Beach stretched into the almost unseeable distance.

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My map informed me that Icehouse Bluff marked the southern end of Shelly Beach. 

Around 12.20 pm I was packed and on my way to the Bluff following in the footsteps of a strolling couple and their dog. We met as they were returning and I asked what they knew about the history of the Icehouse or the Bluff’s name.  Unfortunately, this remains a puzzle to us all.

The advantage of meeting these lovely locals was that I learnt the Bluff was private property and that no access would be possible – so I didn’t waste time looking for tracks up the slopes. We talked about the celebrity locals who have a house at Opossum Bay. I am led to believe that these include Brian Ritchie (MONA) who I thought I saw filling his car with petrol during my Stage 1 walk, Damon Thomas the Lord Mayor of Hobart, Gordon Brown well known heritage artefact collector and television personality, and John Cook who was the last lighthouse keeper for Tasmania’s last two manned light houses (Maatsuyker, Australia’s most southerly lighthouse and later at Cape Bruny).  Quite frankly I imagine everyone who lives on this peaceful South Arm peninsula will have interesting stories to tell and will be celebrities in their own worlds.

Stage 2 on 4/9/2014 Onwards to Gellibrand Point Email 10 of 14

My journey continued up a hill where I recognised two track options; one inside a fence line, and another outside the fence at the top of the cliffs on the side of the Derwent River. I took the track outside the fence (I watched the following children and they were evenly divided between the inner and outer tracks- obviously their teachers thought the outer track to be safe), and at the top of the hill there was an opening to step through the fence and return to a 4 wheel drive track.

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The air was clear. The day was warming up. The views in every direction were sensational. One of those experiences that makes me so happy to be alive.

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The photo above looks across part of the northern end of that part of the Mary Ann Bay, and via the Derwent River, looks towards Hobart city suburbs and Mount Wellington.

Not far away I walked past a pile of broken old convict bricks.

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Gellibrand Point at the northern most point of the South Arm peninsula was the destination for Stage 2 of the walk.

I found the shape of this headland was blunt and rectangular so that there was no hint of a ‘point’. So it was a little difficult to say I had reached the exact spot representing the end of the second stage of my walk along the Derwent River edge. Across the watery opening into the large Ralph’s Bay I could see the goal for Stage 3 of the walk: Trywork Point. This headland is situated south of the suburb of Tranmere, and north of the South Arm peninsula.

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In the photo above, you are looking at Trywork Point across the water.

The photo below was taken from my lunchtime vantage point looking across Ralph’s Bay towards the mound in the distance over the water on the left hand side; this is Trywork Point.

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The Tasman Bridge, which provides the main city crossing between the eastern and western shores of Hobart, shimmered in the distance. Mt Wellington with spots in crevices of hard white ice left over from two or three weeks ago of heavy snow, was majestic.

I wandered along the headland until, between the track and a smattering of Casuarina trees near the water line, I spotted some sandstone boulders that looked perfect as resting spots; the first I had seen. By 11.15 I had rested, eaten a snack for morning tea, and set off again up to and onto the track that extends back to Opossum Bay via the eastern side of the peninsula.

Stage 2 on 4/9/2014 Clarence St Bellerive Email 1 of 14

As expected, the early morning (number 640) Metro bus arrived from Hobart at my eastern shore bus stop, and once on board I settled down ready for the new experience of Stage 2 of my walk along the Derwent River. After charging along Cambridge Road, the bus turned left at Bellerive village and commenced the long haul along Clarence St.  It occurred to me that the houses along both sides of the road represented many vintages of free-standing suburban house architecture for this part of Hobart. I was surprised to see Wunderlich panels of decorative pressed metal in the frontispieces of some houses in the gable beneath dual pitched roofs, indicating an architectural age of early in the last century. There were the flat roofs of houses that had more in common with Tasmanian shacks of the 1950s, the three fronted brick veneers, the fashionably rendered homes in tones of dark beige with their black roofs, the remnants of rural cottages from a time before the city sprawl had moved to fill the land on the eastern shore of Hobart, substantial pretty weatherboard family homes, and much much more. If your experience is of the repetitive rows in London streets, the towering repetitive apartment blocks of Moscow, or the repetitive white family group block houses of Athens, then the sight of the houses along Clarence St will be a revelation. Somewhat puzzling but fascinating nevertheless. You will not be familiar with the diversity of free standing houses with their own front and back gardens that so many Australians take for granted, and accept as their right. One family to a large block of land is a situation more prevalent and typical in Hobart perhaps than in other Australian capital cities and it is one of the features that attracts me to this beautiful and interesting city.