Tag Archives: Tinderbox Road

Fossil Cove posting 1 of 4

On the day when I walked from Blackman’s Bay to Point Pearson near Tinderbox, then retraced my steps to catch a return bus from Blackman’s Bay, I omitted to walk via Fossil Cove. The pathway to this secluded rock strewn cove required a detour of over 2 kilometres. Since my day’s walk to the mouth of the Derwent River on the western shore and return was expected to be over 20 kms, I resolved at the time to return on another occasion to walk this section.

I was delighted when I finally ‘discovered’ what locals and others have known for a long while.

A couple of kilometres along Tinderbox Road after leaving suburban Blackmans Bay, Fossil Cove Drive is clearly marked.  Around a kilometre down that road, a sign indicates the way to the beach.

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A further sign declares this area to be a public reserve and a site of national geological significance.

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The steep descent to the Cove was controlled by steps and dirt pathways.

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I was dazzled by views across to Opossum Bay and Gellibrand Point on the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

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Finally I arrived at sea/river level.

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All we like sheep …

Once again Handel’s oratorio The Messiah came to mind when I reached the top of one steep hill climb.

The initial words to the particularly delightful section are: “All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned everyone to his own way. …”  When sung, the voices start with ‘all we like sheep’ and do not continue immediately to the subsequent words.  Therefore, there is a tendency that if the words are not sung clearly, listeners think that we all like sheep, when the meaning is that we are similar to sheep and may go astray.  As for me, I like sheep and I have never been trusted not to go astray (after all, walking the Derwent isn’t what normal people do).  Nevertheless I am always happy to break out singing this marvellous song.  Have a listen to a choir (Choir of King’s College, Cambridge) which performs it well; at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixmNZQH0NjU The photos of sheep in all sorts of situations are shown while the voices sing the song. Incredibly entertaining.

Watch this video –  

Back to my walk.  Next to Tinderbox Road, I came across a couple of paddocks of resting sheep and ‘everyone had turned to his own way’.

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On my return journey they were up and about grazing independently, but ‘everyone had turned to his own way’.  How could not we all like sheep?

The land begins to open, making possible expansive views across the Derwent River.

Every so often, along Tinderbox Road, a cluster of a few properties on 5 acres or so of land each would appear after a kilometre or so of the densely bush environment.

The closer I walked to Pearsons Point the more likely that Tinderbox Road was close to the River or I could see more of the River.  Around 10.20am, while on a long and winding road (on which I considered breaking out into one of the Beatles favourite songs) which undulated so that I was walking uphill then downhill seemingly repeating this process ad nauseum, I was stopped by the beauty of a rose bush in its glorious rose hips stage. I took photographs at that point and in a number of roadside places in the following kilometres.

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In the distance after climbing one hill, I looked back northwards to Lucas Point behind the steep rock edged bay of ‘Fishermans Haul’ (see photo below).

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In the photo above, the far distant hill on the left is the Alum Cliffs between Taroona and Kingston.  It gives you an idea of the distance covered in these walks.  The other land is on the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

A little further along I was looking down on a disused farmhouse at what I believe was Passage Point.  The photo below shows (green plastic protective shelters around new plants) new trees have been planted in the paddock. I saw such revegetation practices on a number of properties throughout the day.

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Another photo looks across the Derwent River to the southern tip of the South Arm peninsula. The glistening white buildings are those of the Fort Direction defence services complex which I passed through on Stage 1 of my walk along the Derwent River.

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Pioneering efforts with found objects can be attractive

I am always looking for the quirky and unexpected. Along the early part of Tinderbox Road I noticed many property numbers were mosaiced onto rocks or were on independent panels attached to trees or posts. I wondered if someone had run a mosaic workshop in the locality and the production of these house numbers was the outcome of the learning.

But the creative piece de resistance was the letter box  at 210 Tinderbox Road, shown below. Fashioned from an old milk can and who knows what other cast aside metal items, this ‘bull’ grabbed my attention.  I loved the way the brilliant colours were gradually wearing away. Now I feel inspired to remove my own suburban letterbox and become a little more innovative.

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Does anyone have experience with designing their own ‘one-off’ letterboxes?

Fossil Cove Road T junction with the Tinderbox Road

Close to 9.30am I reached the left hand turn of Fossil Cove Road.

My final decision to proceed to Pearsons Point was made at that juncture.  My reason for wanting to walk to Fossil Cove is that it is on the Derwent River and I would be able to appreciate another part of the River’s western shoreline.  By my reckoning, and never having been down the road to check the situation, I believed the return walk would cover 3-4 kilometres and include steep hills. I thought that if my feet were holding up after I reached Pearsons Point and had returned back to this road then I could finish off the day’s Stage with a walk to see the fossils.  Alas … my feet were not ready for this on the return trip (I still had the walk from there back to a Blackmans Bay bus stop to consider) so I will visit another day to make this deviation from Tinderbox Road.

Including this future walk, I count three additional walks I have promised to do, in order to cover a little more of the Derwent River shoreline. I will return to the area between GASP (Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park) and Goodwood on the other side of the Bowen Bridge.  I will find out if I can make special arrangements to visit the industrial property of Nystar which sits against a significant length of the Derwent River.  And finally I will return to walk to the fossils at the end of a track at the end of a road off Tinderbox Road.  Most likely these walks will be undertaken on good weather days in winter when walking inland towards Lake St Clair is impossible because of extreme weather conditions.

To sing or not to sing that was the question

Imagine you are walking along a road and, ahead of you attached to a post is a large sign with one word, SING.  Would you?  Sing?

On this Stage 13 walk when I noticed the sign, I was in a location where I could neither see nor hear any vehicles, and houses and other buildings were absent.  The day was glorious and deserved a song. Without thinking, my mouth opened and I sang.  Full throttle.  (Refer to my first posting for Stage 13 for the song and a You Tube rendition: A new milestone marking the 13th stage of my walk along the Derwent River: I reached the mouth on the western shore.  Whoppee Doo!!)

Breathtakingly delightful. That was freedom at its best. I only felt a little sheepish when I stopped and realised all the birds had stopped making sounds.  The bush was silent except for the hum of bees seeking nectar from native flowers.

I continued on the road and passed another hand painted sign at the entrance of a long gravel driveway. It read: Summer Song.  The sign provided a phone number and declared ‘all welcome’.  I hadn’t needed to walk up a driveway to sing. Besides it was only 9.25am – isn’t anything and everything permissible early in the morning?

Before long I spotted a nest of white wooden bee hives near a house.  I wondered how the owners would label their honey.  Wildflower honey?  Bush honey?  My favourite honey, which is only available in Tasmania, is Leatherwood honey made from the blossom of our native Leatherwood trees. This is a comparatively rare and flavoursome honey, and comes from a different kind of bush wilderness elsewhere in Tasmania.  The website http://tasmanianbeekeepers.org.au/new-page-3/ provides more information about Leatherwood honey.  The purest honey I have yet found is packaged by http://www.miellerie.com.au/ produced by an expatriate Frenchman south of Hobart.

If you are planning to visit Tasmania, then please plan to try some Leatherwood honey on your breakfast toast while you are here.

In writing this posting I discovered five distinct types of native bees exist in Tasmania: Reed bees, Leafcutter bees, Resin bees, Masked bees, and Homalictus bees.  The site http://www.aussiebee.com.au/beesinyourarea.html#maskedbees provides further information and some pictures.  I now wonder which bees were buzzing along Tinderbox Road.

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.