Across the Strait – Tasmania Part 2

We headed out for a night at Cape Pillar to photograph the amazing cliffs in the best light. The afternoon light lived up to expectations but the sunrise was overcast.

Off to the west coast where we found two new campsites – Trial Harbour, a delightful little site on the coast with space for a few campers and Lake Mackintosh with no facilities but a superb outlook. This is not our car and van in the picture – these people got there first and snagged the perfect viewpoint.

We took advantage of the clear weather on the notorious west to climb Mt Farrell behind Tullah with the little jewel of Lake Herbert nestled into the side. With Lakes Mackintosh and Rosebery surrounding the mountain we had wrap around scenery.

A final stop at Cradle Mountain included a day trip to Twisted Lakes via Hanson Peak, a rugged little climb where a chain is provided to help you to haul yourself up. We elected to return via Lake Hanson and not downclimb the chain.

Advertisements

Across the Strait – Tasmania

We took our annual trip to Tasmania and had our usual variety of experiences. Being summer the waterfalls were not expected to be flowing well but Tasmania seems to have had more rain and we found them impressive. We visited two falls in the Meander Valley – Shower Cave and Cleft Rock falls and Nelson and Montezuma falls on the west coast. We also walked to the falls at Cradle Mountain.

 

We crossed over the central plateau on our way to visit the Walls of Jerusalem. The fires came to the very edge of the villages up there but only one building was lost. With all the wilderness areas being closed because of the danger of fires everyone was clustered at the Walls but we didn’t feel it was overcrowded. We stayed at Wild Dog creek and visited the Pool of Bethesda, a great mirror for the West Wall. A climb up to Solomon’s Throne gave us the grand view back over the valley and the surrounding wilderness.

We settled down at Dixon’s Kingdom Hut before taking a trip out to Mt Jerusalem. An early exit from the Walls gave us time to visit Devil’s Gullet which was literally a blast. A night on the Mersey River and a visit to Honeycomb Cave, a fun place we discovered out of Mole Creek, rounded out the trip.

Winter in Tassie

Just for a change we’ve taken only our 2nd trip to Tasmania in winter. It’s the season to chase waterfalls and we found there was almost too much water as 75mm fell the night before we arrived. In the north we visited our favourite Liffey Falls which was roaring. The Honeycomb Caves we have explored in the past could not be entered due to the water flowing through. We joined with Robin, a local who chases unknown waterfalls, to visit Montana Falls and to revisit the very impressive Sensation Gorge.

A trip to Meander Falls that we had previously seen trickling over in summer had us climbing up into the snow. The falls were flowing well but we didn’t linger in the cold. We had to wade the cold Mother Cummings rivulet to visit Chasm falls but it was as always worth it.

We headed south to base ourselves in Kingston and chase more waterfalls and peaks. Snug falls were flowing well and Pelverata falls were an unexpected delight as they dropped down an impressively stepped mountainside. A glorious day had us heading south to climb Hartz Peak. The clear night had all the pools covered with ice and the snow on the peak being hard and slippery. We took it carefully and were rewarded with grand 360 degree views.

As Jessica and Nick returned home we headed to more waterfalls on Mt Wellington. Myrtle Gully falls look much better with a decent fall of water and Secret Falls are very mysterious. Dark Mofo was on so we had dinner at the midwinter feast with a great variety of food stalls to choose from.

We were booked in to stay at Government Huts on Mt Field but made a stop at Russell Falls on the way. There was a very impressive display of fungi and as usual it was Horseshoe falls that captured all out attention.

We were lucky to have a blue sky day to climb up to Tarn Shelf as the others in the huts had had days of drizzle. It meant the snow was again treacherous (at least to we cautious oldies!) but we made it safely to Rodway Hut. It was then fairly easy to head to the tarns, the first one of which had a layer of ice on top. After lots of photos we headed back down.

We were lucky enough to have a visit from a quoll who enjoyed the milk that had been left out in the cold. The possums here are very dark and have a thick coating of winter fur. The setting of the huts by a valley with tarns and pencil pines had us making numerous trips outside to capture it in various lights including a frost on the last morning.

We headed up the east coast for our trip home stopping at Swansea to enjoy sunrise and sunset over the Hazards on Freycinet Peninsula.

Our final night was at St Helens with a visit to the Bay of Fires then a couple more waterfalls on the way to Devenport.

Walking to The Labyrinth

IMG_56907 IMG_3136While we were in Tasmania we joined with two of our children to revisit the Labyrinth, a trip we had done previously with all the family in 2005. We had limited time so decided to walk into Pine Valley Hut and do day walks from there. Ray and I walked in to Echo Point Hut carrying all the food because the boat was too expensive with only two of us on the afternoon run. As usual it was harder than we remembered but that was because of heavy packs and September snow that had knocked over many trees. We had to go over, under and around them until we finally arrived at the hut in its unique setting,  hidden in the trees but opening to a lake view.

We went on to Narcissus Hut and then Pine Valley, passing a very still snake that could well have been dead except it was gone on the way out. We reminisced about our first trip in when many of the rivers were crossed on logs rather than bridges. The logs are still there but no longer used. Our children finally caught up with us after they set off a day and a half after us.

We visited Cephissus Falls and climbed to the Acropolis plateau in the afternoon. The snow detered us from climbing to the top.

The next day was a picture perfect day to climb to the Labyrinth. The track no longer went through the bog our friend was caught in years ago but it still had the same big steps near the plateau that took an effort to get up with a full pack. We wandered on to Lake Elysia and enjoyed the vistas of snow dappled mountains. We missed out on the sunset views over the mountains as seen from our camp in 2005. We revisited the falls on the way out.

We headed on out the next day, Ray and I taking the boat after Jessica and Shaun had walked all the way out the previous day.

The weather was too good to waste so Ray and I  completed the circuit walk to Mt Rufus and discovered what we’d missed out on all these years. It was well worth the big effort.

The Colours of Spring

Spring saw us in Tasmania to see the tulip display at Table Cape with the waterfalls being a bonus. We started by visiting the bathing boxes in Brighton, Victoria while we waited to board the Spirit of Tasmania. They are certainly very colourful and bring lots of people to see them.

We went straight to visit the tulips but we were too early and so spent a week chasing waterfalls before returning to an amazing display of colour and well worth taking a special trip to Tassie.

The Tasmanian coast provides lots of opportunities to create colourful photos with rocks covered with vivid orange lichen or bright green algae or just beautiful patterns. Sunsets and rises are often special when there is nothing to block your view and you can never beat blue water and coloured rocks.

Springtime brings out the blossom and unsettled weather especially on the west coast. We took some walks in the fresh, green forest and discovered the magical Japanese garden at the Hobart botanic gardens.

The Sound of Falling Water

For a change of season we headed to Tasmania in Spring instead of our usual Summer trip. This gave us the opportunity to revisit favourite waterfalls with good flows and also find some new ones. The tiers along the northern coast produce many of them. We went back to Guide Falls, an easy walk, and Champagne and Bridal Veil Falls near Lemonthyme Lodge. Upper Cam Falls are a photographers delight and the Castra circuit gave us a number of falls.

A website, Waterfalls of Tasmania, was our gateway to many new falls as well as reminding us how to get to ones we’d seen before. Sensation Gorge had only a rough track but was well worth visiting. Another new one to us was Bastion Cascades in a very pretty setting. We revisited Smoko Creek with its many lovely falls and cascades though we were disappointed that the rickety log that enabled you to see Chasm Falls had been removed (it was very dangerous!). Hopefully a bridge will replace it in future. Dip Falls were amazing as the water cascaded over the basalt columns.

Every trip to Tasmania seems to see us at Liffey Falls, possibly my favourite of all.

We also headed down the west and back to Hobart. This took us past the delightful small but colourful Nelson Bay Falls in the Tarkine, the ever reliable Nelson Falls, Tarraleah Falls near the town and the popular Russell Falls and the photographers’ favourite – Horseshoe Falls.

A wedding on a mountain

After the exhilaration of the walk we had to come down to earth and get back to the main reason we had come to Tasmania this year – our daughter’s wedding. We tried to do all we could to help as the excitement grew as the day grew closer. We even got an advance peak at their wedding outfits as they made sure they still fitted.

We headed for Launceston where the mainland relatives gathered ready for the trip up Ben Lomond. A trip to Cataract Gorge filled in the day.

The next day we all headed up the mountain where the sun was shining and the forecast winds didn’t eventuate. My job was to put together the bouquets for the bridesmaids with the help of my son and then we helped where possible. The outside ceremony was lovely and we were royally fed, put together by the groom and his mother. The folk band had the feet tapping and the dance floor full. We had to retreat outside to cool down.

The next morning we were treated to pastries and coffee for breakfast before the big clean up and retreat. We retreated to Chudleigh where we explored the nearby Honeycomb caves.

Leven Canyon is another of our favourite stops in northern Tasmania and this time we took advantage of the free camping in this delightful spot. A highlight was walking to Devil’s Elbow where the river makes an abrupt turn under towering cliffs.

We needed to fill in one last day and discovered the beautiful Guide Falls at the back of Burnie that we had not visited before. Ferndene near Ulverstone had us stretching our legs on a walk to old mines and Goat Island was accessed while the tide was out before we returned home on the Spirit.