Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tasmania, 1 week Mar 09

Three of us had a gorgeous week in Tassy from 7 - 15 March. The weather cleared on arrival and it just never faded for the week.

The itinerary was non - existent. We were to fit in with the weather and as it happened we could have gone anywhere and done anything.

We decided to visit Pine Valley, for us a 3 hour walk from Narcissus, and from there do day walks to the Acropolis and the Labyrinth. On arrival, via ferry, at Narcissus we met groups finishing the Overland track, this their last day was the only day in 5 days that they had seen anything. Due to a long weekend in Tasmania the Pine Valley was pretty full with about 20 odd camped up on the Labyrinth for the weekend. The hut at night time was full of people talking comparing notes on interesting walks and places.

Monday we climbed the Acropolis. There was some cloud around on the summits early but by the time we were on top, about 12.30, it was a beautiful fine day with the summit much to ourselves. We spent the time identifying out the peaks to the north and south. On the way back down we met a group of 4 young ladies on the way up and later 2 young gentlemen, who were carrying no emergency gear, still with a way to go. The round trip for the day was about 8 hours for us oldies.

Tuesday was to the Labyrinth. We intended going as far up Walled Mountain as we thought we had time for. By lunch time we had archived a reasonable height and from a clear rocky spot had wonderful views out over the South West. Frenchman’s Cap stood out with a dusting of snow left over from the previous weeks weather. After lunch we headed across towards the Pool of Memories admiring the many pools and reflections along the way.

My mate wanted to have a different walking experience for the next part of our Tassy experience so on Wednesday we headed towards Tasman Peninsula. We intended to head out to Cape Pillar for a overnighter but on meeting the Ranger at Fortescue Bay we were informed there was no water available out there and the they were importing water into the campground at the Bay. We headed across for an easy over nighter to Bivouac Bay with a pleasant afternoon walk along the cliff track towards Waterfall Bay.

Friday was back to the main camp and a walk out to Cape Hauy so Lance could entertain Bruce with stories of the days when he climbed the Totem Pole. Another gorgeous day sitting at the tip watching the marine and bird life along the coast.

Saturday was a return to Hobart with a stop at a small coastal village to survey a possible walk for future trips but the wether was changing with some cool winds and overcast skies and a little drizzle.

For us that was the end of another wonderful week in Tasmania with a week of perfect weather.

For some photos of the trip visit my Flickr site

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sundown National Park

1 to 4 May 2009

The Itinerary
Friday 1 May
Drive to Sundown National Park, The Broadwater camping ground
Set up camp
Saturday 2 May
Hike up the Severn River to the junction with the Blue Gorge
Sunday 3 May
Hike up the Blue Gorge.
Climb out of the gorge, over the hill and along the fence to Ooline Creek
Follow Ooline Creek downstream to the Campsite
Monday 4 May
Descend Ooline Gorge through to Severn River
Return to The Broadwater
Late lunch at Vincenzo's, north of Stanthorp
Drive back to Brisbane

Rosemary organised the bush walk. The original plan was to go to Girraween, but there were not enough camping spots available. So Sundown was selected as the alternate destination. Ray had walked the area before and Rosemary had notes from the 1980s.

There were only six of us. The park is very dry and we had to refill our water bottles from nearly stagnant pools in the creeks. Ray was prepared with a filter - which was hard work to pump as it became clogged.

The only native animals we saw were a couple of kangaroos. But the were deer and mobs of goats, and a single fox.

On the first day the hike beside and in the Severn was warm, but the toughest part was treading over the river rocks. The cruelest part was the jumping pears. The needles of the jumping pears were sharp enough to penetrate gaters and brittle enough to break off and remain in the fleash when the rest of the pear was removed. We found pears every day we walked. When climbing or descending sometimes they were exacly where I wanted to put my hand , or foot, or bum.

On the second day we climbed up Blue Gorge. Ray lead the way. Ray and Gordon helped by hauling the others' packs where necessary. The gorge was cool which made the walk more pleasant. Some of the climbs were steep with loose rocks and jumping pears. And I learned what exposed felt like - exhilerating.

After climbing out of the gorge we climbed over fallen timber and through scrub to the top of the hill. Lunch on the bare rock of the summit was a welcome break. Then through the bush again and after some difficulty navigating through the scrub to pick up the track along the fence. Where we left the track we were again climbing over fallen timber on steep slopes. Eventually we found the Ooline and followed it down stream to a camp site.

The camp was rocky and I sought softer ground amongst the trees. About twenty bull ants inspected my tent when I was setting it up. But as they left peaceably I did not relocate.

On the last day, we followed the Ooline - a creek, a gorge and a creek again. The creek was reduced to a few pools with no flow, so when we descended the gorge we went where the water would have run. The toughest part was a chute where I had to be hauled twice by Ray and Gordon when I couldn't reach the next foot hold. And apart from that, our guides found a descent that was just challenging not impossible.

At each of the bush camps and with the ranger's permission we lit a fire. There was pleanty of dry timber available - enabling us to sit (and lie) around a fire on a cold evening. The moon was bright enough in the evening to conceal the full glory of the stars.

Vincenzo's was a great reward for a great walk. The apple pie with ice cream was very popular.

I love the afternoon drive from Vincenzo's to Brisbane. Driving through a landscape with wide skies and the sun set colouring the clouds with good company is very relaxing.

Three days later, at home, sitting at the table, a giant ant bit me on the toe - it was agony. I'm glad they didn't attack en mass in the bush.