Tag Archives: Tinderbox

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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Andrew Hughes has walked, rafted and canoed the Derwent over the past month

My last post introduced the Expedition Class’s  latest project.  The key man during the journey was Andrew Hughes and now his trek is complete.

The first newspaper coverage of this story was published in The Mercury last May.

The Mercury published another story recently ‘Warm welcome for adventurer Andrew Hughes as he paddles into GASP‘. His journey started north east of Lake St Clair in central Tasmania and now Andrew has crossed an imaginary finish line between the Iron Pot on the eastern side of the Derwent River and Tinderbox on the western side and this conclusion has been covered again in The Mercury.

If you go to the web,  you can read the mini ‘Live Reports’ of the 28 sections of his journey. You can peruse a collection of photos for each section. The information in the reports is limited and no information is offered with the photographs.  Unless you have travelled the  edge of or on the Derwent River, it would be difficult if not impossible to identify locations.

A comparison of some of Andrew’s photos with those I took during my walk from the mouth to the source of the Derwent River, makes for interesting viewing.

Firstly I would like to compare the rush of water over the river rocks between Wayatinah and Butlers Gorge that Andrew saw compared to the low almost absent water level that I experienced on two occasions. Since I completed my walks along the Derwent earlier this year, Tasmania has been inundated with unexpected high levels of rain which have raised the water levels in the dams and the Derwent River.

The photo below was taken by me in October 2015.

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The next photo was taken by me in January 2016

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The photo below is by Andrew as shown in his Live Report 18.

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My photo below shows the water level of the huge 15 kilometre Lake King William was so much lower in October 2015.

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My photo taken only 2 ½ months later at the beginning of January this year, showed the water level  had dropped dramatically so that the Tasmanian government was considerably worried about our electricity generation options.

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In Live Report 15 Andrew shows the Lake King William water backed up to Clark Dam at Butlers Gorge. Tasmania is no longer worrying about our water storage facilities and power generation. Again we have enough water to create clean electricity.

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These photos are wonderful reminders of the unpredictability and power of nature.   Andrew’s reports and photos are an excellent example of people getting out into our Tasmanian wilderness and experiencing it’s challenges and wonders.  I hope his trek inspires others not necessarily to cover the same territory, but to find new country to discover and enjoy.  To be refreshed by the purity of the bush.

The Suncoast Headlands Walking Track south from Blackmans Bay

A few minutes before 8am on Stage 13, I started walking on the Suncoast Headlands Walking Track.  Initially, the track ran directly next to the Blackmans Bay Beach and then began to rise up onto the headland and continue between fenced private houses and the Derwent River. The early part of the track was directly west and so I had strong sunlight straight into my eyes, temporarily blinding me from looking at the surrounding vegetation as I walked.

Just after 8am the track turned right and I looked down into a rock edged bay.

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At this point the track was fenced on the River side to prevent walkers slipping over the edge of the cliff. Later on the track was fenced intermittently. I walked up and up higher onto the headland.

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Occasionally I passed tracks leading back into suburban streets.

At 8.13 am I caught a view of some curvy hills in the Tinderbox area headlands way in the far distance.

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At 8.21 am I reached a second Suncoast Headlands Walking Track sign which indicated where the path lay.

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However there were no clearly discernible paths across large expanses of mown grass.  I did the best I could and soon found myself at the Sewage Treatment Plant on the edge of the Derwent.  For a short while I followed a track down to the rocky shore, but at a certain point it was clear that if I reached the water level (and the descent didn’t look anything but potentially dangerous), there would be no way up on the other side of the Treatment Plant.  I retraced my steps. Then I tried to walk along the fence line in front of the Plant, but I soon found this way was impassable.  Wily blackberry canes thwarted further progress. The steep drop to the shore was frightening. And more Kookaburras were laughing. Ha. Ha. Ha. H. H. H. H. Ha. Ha.  So, again I retraced my steps and decided to walk inland along and around the Sewage Treatment Plant’s fence line. There was a semblance of a track on my new route, but obviously I had missed the main ‘thoroughfare’.

I was glad to have walked this way because, for a part of it, I enjoyed moist mosses softly cushioning each footstep.  These mosses were bright lime green in colour.  Soon afterwards, I walked across an area where tall grasses had recently been slashed making it easy to continue.  Of course I did not know where I was going track-wise so, with the sun as my guide, I simply made sure I continued southwards. Once I reached a cleared open meadow with barely visible tracks, I had warmed up, my jacket was off, and I was standing opposite the South Arm township on the eastern shore.  I walked onwards and spotted a tiny yellow sign 50 metres away. From there, at 8.40am, I crossed over the bitumen road that leads to the Sewage Treatment Plant, signed as the Blackmans Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Over the road was a delightful short zig zag track down to an unnamed creek, with a small foot bridge to ensure easy access to the other side.

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I walked through a peaceful grove of gum and wattle trees and found, on the other side, a sign indicating I could walk left or right on a bush loop. I turned left towards the River.  When the loop turned inland away from the River I rechecked my maps and could see the track would never be near the River. I made the decision to retrace my steps and began to continue inland with the intention of reaching Tinderbox Road.

I walked on a gravel track next to the creek until I reached a most unexpected site: a very large area fenced in and designated as a Dog Exercise Area. This is set up with tyres for dogs to jump through, and rows of poles that dogs can practice some sort of slalom around. As I walked past, a massive mowing tractor-like piece of equipment rumbled up and down the large paddock shaving the grass.

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Blackberries galore, waiting to be picked for the pies, lined the creek side of the track next to the Dog Exercise Area.

A few minutes before 9am, I turned left onto the bitumen road that went downhill to the Sewage Treatment Plant and uphill to Tinderbox Road. On the uphill trek I walked between the dense bush and flitting bush birds while listening to their bush songs: Tweets, Chirps, Squeaks and Warbles.

The day was perfect for walking so I began to wonder whether I should aim for the mouth of the Derwent River at Pearsons Point, rather than Fossil Cove many kilometres before the final headland.  As I continued up Treatment Plant Road, and past the Blackmans Bay Scouting Camp buildings (for Joeys, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers) the temptation to head to the mouth strengthened. I reasoned that the day was young, the weather wasn’t too hot or cold and it wasn’t raining, and my feet hadn’t failed me.

At Tinderbox Road I turned left a few minutes after 9am, with the resolve to reach Pearsons Point.

A new milestone marking the 13th stage of my walk along the Derwent River: I reached the mouth on the western shore. Whoppee Doo!!

Yesterday, I completed the first part of my walk along the Derwent River: an exciting achievement.

Last August I started walking from the mouth of the River at Cape Direction on the tip of the South Arm peninsula and now, at the end of February, I have completed the distance from that mouth to the Bridgewater Bridge and back on the western shore to Pearson’s Point near the settlement of Tinderbox.

On the 8th stage mid-November, I had the first major milestone when I finished the walk from Cape Direction to the Bridgewater Bridge. This 13th stage was the culmination of walks from the Bridge back to the mouth on the western side of the River.

During yesterday’s walk, I covered about 5km of the length of the Derwent River.  By my reckoning, the total distance of the Derwent River on the western shore from the Bridgewater Bridge to the mouth is 38 3/4 km.

For Stage 13 yesterday, I needed to walk to Pearson’s Point from the bus stop where I finished on Stage 12 and then, on reaching my goal, I needed to retrace my steps back to Blackmans Bay to connect with a bus that could return me to Hobart.  This distance was approximately 17 kms. I have now walked at least 171km not counting getting to and from buses.  But when the walks are staggered over time, this number does not mean much.

The highlights of the walk to Pearson’s Point were mostly small and natural: rosehips, green rosellas, hum of bees, resting sheep, and the taste of delicious ripe blackberries along the way.

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I was surprised how close the northern part of Bruny Island was to the mainland of Tasmania (almost felt like I could swim across the D’entrecasteaux Channel) and I felt overwhelmed by the staggeringly expansive and grand views across and up and down the Derwent River.

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The fun part was singing (including mixing up the words in my excitement) Handel’s Hallelujah chorus (from The Messiah) at the top of my voice when I passed a large sign with the words SING. You can listen to a superb version performed in 2012 by the Royal Choral Society at the Royal Albert Hall in London England at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c

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Over the next few days I will write up the journey and the discoveries of Stage 13’s walk.  Then I will be looking towards a long main road walk from the Bridgewater Bridge at Granton to New Norfolk which I expect to undertake in the next couple of weeks.  Once I have reached New Norfolk I will be on the way to Lake St Clair, the source of the Derwent River.

From Hinsby Beach to Blackmans Bay accomplished on Stage 12 yesterday

The goal of my walk along the Derwent River for Stage 12 was to start at my last stopping point, Bus Stop 30 on the Channel Highway at Taroona on the western shore of the Derwent River, and continue to Blackmans Bay in the local government area of Kingborough.  I did not get as far as expected, but I was satisfied when I finished 2/3 of the way along the Blackman’s Bay Beach.

Over future posts, I will write up the stories of the walk, what I saw and what I experienced, but for now it’s enough to say that I am continuing with this massive project to walk both sides of the Derwent between the mouth and Bridgewater, and then onwards to Lake St Clair.

Yesterday I covered 5 ¾ kilometres of the length of the Derwent River on the western shore (making 35 3/4 kms in total on the western shore), and walked approximately 11 kilometres (making a total of 154 kms to date) to achieve that distance; there were a lot of steep ascents and descents.

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This distance also takes in the streets and paths on which I walked that led to dead ends so that I needed to retrace my footsteps.

The highlights of the walk include finding a way through some of the early part of the almost untracked Alum Cliffs, the delightful walk along the tracked part of the Alum Cliffs, meeting some friendly people along the way, the unusual snake sign at Tyndall Beach, stopping for a long cup of tea in Kingston with a friend, my discovery of another tucked away beach – Boronia Beach, and the Blackmans Bay Blowhole.

There are many memorable images but my favourite for today is one of my photos of mussels growing on the rocks at Boronia Beach.  I have already made it my desktop background image. When enlarged, the blues glow.

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Fundamentally the Stage 12 walk was about forest and water.

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The day started with my being roughly opposite Gellibrand Point at the northern tip of South Arm and finishing opposite the long South Arm Beach.

I intend my next walk will start from where I left off at Blackmans Bay and then continue into the Tinderbox area to Fossil Cove.  But before then I need to record the details of yesterday’s walk.  So Stage 13 will be a while away.

Reconnaissance trip to and from New Norfolk

Last Sunday, friend Me took me on a discovery drive from Bellerive to New Norfolk along the eastern shore of the Derwent River.

We were curious to see how closely I would be able to walk along the edge of the River, and the extent to which I would need to deviate or stay on main roads.  It was an eye opener giving me advance warning of the walking challenges ahead.

The main handicap will be the limited opportunities to walk directly beside the River up on banks and not be required to jump along the often rocky shoreline or get lost in tall watery grasses. Even accessing the rocky or soft shores will be problematic. For example in one area, where maps indicate public roads branch off main roads, landowners with 5 acre blocks have fenced their properties and the roads down to their houses are blocked by gates. I believe that some of these roads are those mapped for public access and as such the landowners do not have the right to restrict access for the public to connect with the River beyond.  More research required.

Clearly public bus routes travel from Hobart through eastern shore suburbs on the way to Bridgewater, however bus stops are widely dispersed and the timetables indicate less frequent services, all of which will constrain me in the length and timing of my walks between these two suburban areas.

The future walking stage between the Bridgewater Bridge and New Norfolk has been concerning me.  I doubted whether bus stops existed along the way. We found there were no public bus stops on either side of the River, and the distance whether walking the road on the eastern or western shores amounts to a day walk rather than a morning or afternoon walk to cover that length. New Norfolk is 35 kilometres from Hobart. The distance from the Bridgewater Bridge to New Norfolk along the road on the western shore is the shortest at 17 kilometres compared to around 20 kms on the eastern side.

As a result of Sunday’s research, I plan to continue on the eastern shore of the Derwent River and walk to the Bridgewater Bridge, cross it, then walk back towards Hobart and ultimately finish at the mouth of the Derwent River in the Tinderbox area. Once those stages are complete, then I will return to the Bridgewater Bridge and proceed towards New Norfolk and beyond.

Thanks Me for all the laughs we had during our discoveries. It was a fun excursion.

22 Aug 2014 Arrival at Fort Direction – Posting 4 of 8

After 20 minutes walking from the bus, I stood at a high mesh perimeter fence with a large open gate and massive signs telling me that the land beyond was the property of the Defence Services and ‘Trespassers will be prosecuted’. Cape Direction was so close, and now my access even to the beach from this location was thwarted. Using a number on one of the signs, I phoned the caretaker of Fort Direction (the cluster of buildings between me and Cape Deliverance and Cape Direction) and asked if the signs really meant what they said.  Yes they did.  This is a serious defence location and casual visitors are not permitted. When the caretaker informed me I could take my car and access the beach from Blessington Road, I let him know I was a walker.  He was surprised. So many people don’t walk these days and are surprised when they come across someone who does.  Not missing a beat, he offered to drive to the gate, collect and take me through (the militarised zone – my expression) and drop me at the Lone Pine Memorial on Cape Deliverance. From there I could walk in select places and then return to South Arm via the beach.

I do love the world. Something so good always comes out of something so problematic (and if this isn’t always true, I choose to forget any exceptions). The caretaker was friendly, amiable and chatted generously. I am so grateful for his help.

 Apparently while the wooden buildings of Fort Direction don’t get a great deal of use except by cadets, they have historic value and have been maintained as the result of very strong local community advocacy. But close by, under lock and key are stores of live ammunition.  I wouldn’t have been interested in any, but I guess others might if casual wandering around had been permitted.  Originally the ammunition was stored in the nearby tunnels beneath the old gun placements on Fort Hill (which was out of bounds) – a very secure place and if an explosion had occurred any damage would have been localised.

Yesterday, I trawled the internet to try and understand what Fort Direction was all about. If you are interested a simple google will bring up a great deal of information and photographs.

The caretaker drove me out onto the flat exposed and open expanse that is modern day Cape Deliverance. It is above sea level but is not high enough to have the handsome cliffs that I could see across the Derwent when looking at the near Pierson’s Point and surrounds in the Tinderbox area. The first thing I noticed were two tall white flag poles, without flags, standing at the end of a large area. A part of me considered that if two more poles were added, a game of one ended AFL footy could be played here. The ground was extensive and very flat. 

The poles framed a remembrance structure with the words Lest We Forget. In an arc at some distance were seven pillars. On each was the name of the seven Australian servicemen who were awarded the Victoria Cross as a result of their actions at the Battle of Lone Pine near Gallipoli. This was the significant battle fought between Australian and Ottoman Empire  forces during the First World War between 6 and 10 August 1915.  I asked my driver how this memorial came to be here considering none of the 7 were Tasmanian, or ever visited Tasmania, leave alone were locals. The question surprised him, and left him worried. Not only did he not have an answer, I sensed he wondered whether the decision to install this memorial in an isolated place without direct connection to the people of South Arm, was appropriate. 

He left me at the Lone Pine Memorial and I tried to see it clearly with the wind lancing my face.  A melancholy spot. But strikingly beautiful. The caretaker had told me that the physical nature of the location and its views had something in common with the Dardenelles, and that most RSL guys thought it was particularly appropriate site for the memorial.  Anzac Day brings 700 plus people to this windswept site for the dawn service. I can appreciate how the landscape would make the ceremony quite powerful.

The photo below looks seaward from the Lone Pine Memorial on Cape Deliverance towards the Iron Pot lighthouse.

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The photo below looks across from the Lone Pine Memorial on Cape Deliverance towards Piersons Point and the Tinderbox area – the starting point for the Derwent River on the western shore.

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The photo below shows the single pine planted as part of the Lone Pine Memorial. In a cage.

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