This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2000 Travels February 21

MONDAY 21 FEBRUARY     CYNTHIA BAY

It seemed very dim and still when I woke up. Upon going out to investigate, I found a really thick mist over the lake – quite eerie and beautiful. It later lifted, with the sun, of course.

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Morning mist – right on the water’s edge!

Just as we finished breakfast, a good site became vacant when the occupiers moved out, so we very quickly shifted some of our gear over onto it and then moved the van over. It was worth the extra hassle of hitching up. Our new site was more defined  and had views straight down to the lake. We had room to put the awning on.

After getting the new set up all done, we left about 11am, to drive around to the Great Lake via Bronte and Miena. We were high enough up, now, on the Central Plateau, for the country to be a mix of snow gum scrub with more open heathlands.

Stopped at Bronte where I was able to buy a Melbourne Sun newspaper, and some salami, before continuing on to the Great Lake.

We sat in Truck, down a little side track that took us to the edge of the Great Lake, and had our lunch.  It was the usual bleak outlook over the lake, although the water was blue – I think it was the first time I had seen it anything other than a dirty grey! I have always found the Great Lake a bleak and desolate place.

We then drove up to Liaweenie, where a canal takes water from Lake Augusta, via the Ouse River, to the Great Lake. All part of the interlocking network of hydro electric infrastructure up here.

We drove the track that follows the Liaweenie Canal, to Lake Augusta. This is another place I have long wanted to come, after hearing my cousin and his mate, in the 60’s, talk of fishing and walking expeditions, where they walked from Lake Augusta, via a whole chain of glacial lakes on the plateau, over several days, eventually travelling through the Walls of Jerusalem and down Howells Bluff, to a rendezvous point on the Fish River. Always wanted, in vain, to do that trip – not for the fishing, which they could have to themselves, but for the walking and to see such superbly named places.

Lake Augusta was really low – almost non-existent. Ironically, there was a warning sign that the lake could spill over any time, without warning.

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Not hard to see why we were not worried!

 

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Almost dry Lake Augusta

The Liaweenie Canal was not flowing. Many years ago, I saw it at the Great Lake end, totally packed with churning trout, trying to get upstream to breed.

From Lake Augusta we followed a rough track to Lake Ada and Ada Lagoon. We could see the DuCane Range, Mt Pelion and Mt Ossa in the distance – in the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair  National Park, and Mt Jerusalem closer.

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Lake Ada, with the Walls of Jerusalem in the distance

There were people fishing in the lakes up there, including fly fishermen standing thigh deep in the water.

On the return journey, we visited the National Park information centre at Liaweenie – it had an interesting display. We also stopped again at Bronte and bought the Hobart Mercury and an icecream each. There was nothing that related to John’s letter in the Mercury, but there was an interesting editorial on the problems of over-use of the Overland Track. They are so right about that!

We drove 209kms today.

The camp area was over-full – very busy.

Some cloud and mist in the sky made for a very pretty sunset of pinks and reds.

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Sunset at Cynthia Bay

Tea was pork chops, potato, onion gravy.

After dark, the moon was surrounded by a haze – I was not sure what that meant for tomorrow’s weather. The night was warmer.


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2000 Travels February 20

SUNDAY 20 FEBRUARY   NATIONAL PARK TO LAKE ST CLAIR   137kms

When we got up in the morning, there was the lovely smell of rained-on bush.

I phoned the Visitor Centre at Lake St Clair to book us a powered site. Knowing we had a place for tonight, we had a leisurely pack up and departure.

We stopped at Westerway for fuel – 88cpl.

Took the minor road through Ellendale, to the Lyell Highway. There were some very steep hills. We stopped at the bottom of a particularly long downhill section, so that John could check that the repaired van brake was not too hot. It was fine, but there was smoke coming from the front passenger side of Truck, which caused us some consternation. John checked the obvious engine things – water, oil, etc. All were ok. We concluded that maybe the wheel or brake drum was hot and had gotten some water or mud on it when we pulled off the road.

So we continued on.

The country around Tarraleah was hilly again. There was a really long, sustained, steep downhill, winding road going down into the Nive Gorge, to Tarraleah. It went on for kms. We pulled over again at the parking area by the Tarraleah power station. Smoke came out of Truck’s brakes! They had obviously been working too hard, although the wheels themselves did not feel too hot.

With superbly bad timing, there were some tour buses parked there too, as audience to our entry. One self-important old twat came rushing over to tell John that he really should use the gears coming downhill! Duh! The only gear John hadn’t used on that downhill run was reverse!

Actually it occurred to me that it would help, on such gradients in the future, to have Truck in low range. That might make the engine into more of a brake. I decided I would suggest that, at an opportune time. This wasn’t it!

We wandered about, and had a look at the power station and the penstocks that come down the hill to it, bringing water from the storages up top, like Tungatinah Lagoon. We had an interesting discussion about what the results of a broken penstock might be!

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Tarraleah – penstocks bringing water to the power station

When John thought the brakes were cool enough, we continued on, up the long, steep climb from the Nive Gorge, and amidst the tourist bus traffic.

It had turned into a pleasant, sunny day.

We reached Lake St Clair about 1pm, turning off the Lyell Highway at Derwent Bridge (which is basically just a hotel) for the 5km or so to get to Cynthia Bay, where the settlement is. Derwent Bridge is, as the name suggests, where the highway crosses the upper reaches of the Derwent River, which originates  from Lake St Clair.

Lake St Clair is another glacier formed lake – long, narrow and the deepest lake in Australia. It is in a beautiful setting, with mountain backdrops. It is at the southern end of the Overland Track – the walk track from Cradle Mountain, some 80kms to the north. The track emerges at the northern end of the lake and most hikers choose to avoid the extra day’s walk, and night in a tent, by catching the boat service down the lake to Cynthia Bay. This is what I have done, the times I’ve walked the Track!

So the settlement at Cynthia Bay – Rangers Station, visitor information centre and shop, campground and accommodation huts – caters both for hikers and tourists like us, this time, who come in by road.

We went to the slick new Visitors Centre and paid our camp fees of $12 a night, for five nights. We were told that ours would be the only empty site in their small powered camp area. They do not bother to allocate numbers or really demarcate sites! There were 9 power points, in pairs, on the trees around the roughly circular area. That’s it!

The only seemingly empty place for us was a small spot between trees and very close to a Kombi van there. We occupied  it. Were pretty dissatisfied as there was no room to put the awning out to the side! The people in the Kombi were rather strange. It turned out that they had decided to stay on an extra night, but had no bothered to tell the office, hence the squash.

After dark, a motorhome came in; the people hunted around for a power outlet but of course there was none. We did not know whether they had been misinformed at the office, or had simply decided to try their luck without checking in.

When we booked in, the cafe/shop was doing a roaring trade, with two big coaches pulled in, plus walkers in off the Overland Track. Lakeside St Clair is now a slick operation geared to extracting maximum cash from tourists and walkers – but not overly concerned to give value for money. That was my impression anyway.

After our very basic set up, which didn’t take long  – there was no room to put out table, chairs and the like – we walked up to the National Park Information Centre, which was of excellent quality. We studied the information there for over an hour, which is a measure of its quality, considering our previous visits to Cynthia Bay and thus already knowing a lot about the area. In the 60’s I had camped there with friends for a few days at a time, after walking the Overland Track. When John, my son and I finished the track in 1992, we didn’t stay because there was a bus conveniently leaving for Devonport, and we were on a fairly tight schedule.

Then went to the shop, where I bought magnets, postcards and a Sunday paper.

The amenities block for this campground is abysmal. It also services a backpacker bunkhouse. There are two toilets and three showers in the Ladies, which is not enough. One of the toilets has a leak – only fresh water, one hopes! The floor is thus awash most of the time. The showers cost 50 cents in the slot – but the water does then run for a good seven minutes. However, there is no temperature control – you take it as it comes, which was a bit hot for me. The shower design has the water washing over the floor into the next cubicle, so the end one gets the wash from both the others. Most unhygienic. The whole pace was grotty and dirty. There was much backpacker washing of dishes in the handbasins, too, which always creates more mess.

We took beers down to the lake shore, downhill from our van site and sat, watching fish jump. It was very beautiful, with Mt Ida and the Traveller Range opposite, and big cumulus clouds building along the top of the Range.

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The Traveller Range, across Lake St Clair

Tea was fettucine with olives, capers, tuna, tomato. John really likes this recipe, and I like it because it is quick and easy to make.

There was a really pretty sunset over the lake. Then, later, the full moon shone on the lake, making a reflected beam. We took some photos of this, using the camera tripod. Later, as the moon got higher, little light speckles appeared on the water, like a few fish wearing tiny lights. These grew into a big shimmering patch. There must have been some ripples on the surface, catching the moonlight. It was most unusual, and lovely.

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Moon over Lake St Clair, with multiple reflections

It was also a cold night. I needed my woolly bedsocks.

John phoned his sister and had a chat, then K to leave a message for him to send mail to Strahan.

We booked in here for five nights, intending to do some sightseeing in the broader area, and walking. Had we inspected the site first, might not have done so!

Seeing the walkers coming in off the Overland Track today was real nostalgia stuff, for me. Forty six years ago that was me, the first time!

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2000 Travels February 19

SATURDAY 19 FEBRUARY     NATIONAL PARK

Today was very hot, and a total fire ban day.

We drove back towards Lake Pedder, thinking to go to the old town ruins at Adamsfield, once a very remote, early 20th century, osmiridium mining area, then accessible only by pack trail. But the Ranger at the entry gate said we needed a key to get there – obtainable from back at the Mt Field Base! We did not want to drive back there. The Ranger also said that where there were open gates on the tracks around here, Forestry people may come along later in the day and lock them, because of the fire ban. This seemed rather counter-intuitive to me – to lock gates and perhaps close people into areas where there may be fire!

I had a look at my map and found the Clear Hill Track, a bit further on, which went north to within a few kms of Adamsfield. When we got to it, though, it was a gated track, which I hadn’t realized. John decided to follow it anyway, as the gate was open, and chance it being closed later. Hmmm….

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Lake Gordon from the Clear Hill Track

The unsealed track took us generally north, through the forests and in parts, close to Lake Gordon. The lake looked well down in level, because of the drought.

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Drought level – Lake Gordon

Unlike Lake Pedder that we saw yesterday, where what was drowned was  scrub country, there is much dead timber evident in Lake Gordon. From the 1960’s, into the 70’s, there was intensive logging of the area that was due to be flooded by the damming – but, obviously, a lot of trees were left behind.

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Information board about tree removal before the dam flooding

After maybe about 15kms, we came to the other end of the Adamsfield track, which had a locked gate across it, so we had no choice but to turn back the way we’d come. It was only about a 4km walk from this corner, to the old mining area, but this was not the right day to go exploring on foot in the forest!

On the track back, for the sake of exploring, John took a side track towards the lake. It ended at the lake edge, or where the edge would have been if it were not so low. At one point, the track was badly undermined by previous high water levels, so much that I considered it risky to drive over, but John made it over and then back. I stayed out of Truck on the excuse of photography!

02-19-2000 04 undercut track edge Lk Gordon

Under cut track. When Lake Gordon is full, the water level is up to the track.

Whilst wandering about by the edge area, and taking photos, we disturbed a very large tiger snake, which – luckily – decided to go the other way from us.

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A large and well fed tiger snake!

I became increasingly concerned, as we dallied in this area, and the day got hotter, that we might get locked in, but the gate was still open when we got back to it. Whew! This concern, for me, rather detracted from the enjoyment of exploring.

We saw lots of apiary sites along Clear Hill Track. The bees were very busy around some sets of hives. On some hives, there were great clusters of bees on the outside of the boxes – we were not sure why. The heat? Or were they full of honey? We could certainly smell the honey as we went past. I think this area may be a prime one for leatherwood honey gathering.

Back on the main Strathgordon road, we continued on in that direction, to find a picnic spot. Just over the bridge across the McPartlans Canal a side track took us to a parking area overlooking Lake Pedder and we ate lunch there.

02-19-2000 06 lk pedder near mcpartlan pass

Lake Pedder near McPartlans Canal

Then we back tracked and went up a side track to a boat ramp on Lake Gordon. John tried to fish there, but lost his lure – then found one. It was quite an eerie area – all dead trees and desolation.

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Lake Gordon – a desolate place

But after a short time of that, we decided to head back to the van. At the entry station, dropped off a pair of motor cycle trousers that we’d earlier found lying by the side of the road. We did wonder what the story was, there!

On the way back through Maydena, I was able to buy a Saturday Mercury newspaper. The letter that John had written, about enabling better access to the southern most point of the island, was in the paper. We wondered if it would stir up any response.

We topped up the fuel at Maydena, with $20 worth of fuel. It was 91cpl there!

We drove 189kms today.

Tea was left over chow mein and rice for John, stir fried veggies for me.

We had some spots of rain around dusk, then proper rain during the night. That should help to ease the quite serious bushfire problems in some parts of the state, we thought. It was very pleasant, hearing the rain on the roof during the night.

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Our explorations whilst based at National Park


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2000 Travels February 18

FRIDAY 18 FEBRUARY     NATIONAL PARK

This was to be a driving day, not one for walking – theoretically, at least! We set out to drive to Scotts Peak Dam, at the southern end of Lake Pedder.

The original Lake Pedder – a small one by comparison with the present lake – was the subject of a significant environmental protest movement, before its damming in 1972. At that time, The Hydro Electric Commission of Tasmania had enormous influence in the State, to the point where it was seen as controlling governments – both Labor and Liberal. Many Tasmanians believed that the ongoing welfare of the state was dependent on HEC activity. The HEC in the late 60’s wanted to expand electricity generation by creating more and larger dams.

Lake Pedder was a glacially formed lake, with a beautiful quartzite sand beach. It was inaccessible, except by foot, and was a half way point on the challenging extended walk from Port Davey to Maydena – which took, on average, three weeks to complete. The lake was the focal point of a National Park.

The HEC proposed building three dams that would create a huge impoundment of water, drowning Lake Pedder in the process. Despite protests and the rapid growth of a movement to Save Lake Pedder, and the attempted intervention of the new ALP Whitlam Government in Canberra, the Tasmanian Premier revoked Lake Pedder’s National Park status and the dams were built, creating Lake Gordon and a huge “new” Lake Pedder, linked by the McPartlan Canal.

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Lake Pedder as it is after the dams were built. The original lake was around the corner of the narrow channel

Although Lake Pedder was lost,  awareness of the values of the Tasmanian wilderness was well and truly raised. The Lake Pedder protest groups evolved into the Tasmanian Wilderness Society and eventually Green political parties. By the time, a decade later,  that the HEC proposed damming the Lower Gordon and Franklin Rivers, the environmental movement was able to prevent this happening.

The dams construction and the building of the hydro electricity generating plant meant that a road was built from Maydena – previously the end of the road – to the generating plant at Strathgordon, and another – unsealed  though – south to Scotts Peak Dam, creating access by vehicle to parts of the south west wilderness where none had been.

The scenery on the way to Scotts Peak Dam was magnificent, particularly the views of the Frankland Range and the Arthurs. The road ran beside Lake Pedder at times; reflections of surrounding peaks, in the water, were great.

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Mt Anne from the Scotts Peak Dam road

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Lake Pedder and the Frankland Range

We stopped briefly at Edgar Dam, where there was a pleasant bush campground which we later decided was nicer than the Huon campground at the end of the road south.

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Reflections in Lake Pedder at Edgar Dam

We also stopped at Scotts Peak Dam lookout.

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Lake Pedder at Scotts Peak Dam Lookout

 

The road ended at the Red Knoll Lookout. We ate lunch there, soaking in the view across Lake Pedder to the valley that led to where the original lake was.

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Hard to beat this for a scenic lunch spot

After lunch, the temptation of the distant vista of the Arthurs was too great to resist, and we decided to go for a walk towards them, along the track to Port Davey.

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The Western Arthurs and the Port Davey Track

We walked south for about 80 minutes, probably getting some 5kms along the track. I think we almost reached Junction Creek, before we turned around and backtracked. It was easy walking, in plain and marsh country, with a lot of board walked track. It was quite hot. Ahead of us there was an absolutely superb panorama across to the Arthurs. looming not that far away. We met a couple of groups of walkers coming in from walks in the Arthurs.

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Boardwalks prevent track deterioration – and wet feet!

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As far as we went – last creek before Junction Creek

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Interesting fungi by the walking track

The walking activity got rid of most of the stiffness from yesterday, without being too strenuous.

We got back to the van at a reasonable time, having driven 179 kms today, and sat outside having a couple of beers and watching the campground activity. There were four Dutch people camped next door and they were very intrusive, sitting right under our open van window and talking loudly. Despite the people, this was a pleasant place to be.

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Camp and wild life

The resident pademelons were not shy, quite happily browsing round our camp, despite the noisy neighbours. We discovered that some species of wildlife left its calling card on the camp seat we were using. Not sure that pademelons jump up on such things – it may have been a possum.

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Something was marking out its territory!

Tea was fried potato slices with fish; John had fish from the freezer that he caught at Nubeena. I had a piece of frozen oven-bake fish, cooked in the frypan too.

John had found that he got better TV here by bringing the aerial in through the roof vent – along with any bug that wants to come in that way! However, there was only SBS and Southern Cross available here. So we played cd’s instead of watching TV – lovely! It is a too rare treat for me to be able to have music in the van.

It was a hot night.


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2000 Travels February 17

THURSDAY 17 FEBRUARY     NATIONAL PARK

Today was big walk day!

We managed to get a reasonably early start, for once, drove the 15kms or so up to the Lake Dobson car park, and started walking at 10.25am.

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Setting out to walk the K Col-Tarn Shelf circuit

Our route started out along the Pandani walk, that we’d done before, but soon branched onto the Urquharts Track – a link track that cuts between large bends in the (closed) road up to the ski huts, and so saves some distance. This track was an easy, gradual gradient. By contrast, the road section that we had to walk next, was quite steep.

From the ski hut complex and the road’s end, we set out on the Snowgums Track and on to the tops, proper. The track was rocky in places, in other sections it was marshy enough to need board walk sections.

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On the Snowgums Track

Took a short side track to Seal Lookout, which gave a great view over Lake Seal, now well below us, and some of the area we’d walked on one of the day trips up here from Hobart. This added about half a km to the walk.

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Lake Seal from Lookout

We were passing, and being passed by, a young Swiss couple who were doing an overnight walk to Mt Field West. They were more heavily loaded than us, but were faster walkers!

At a track intersection, further along, was the junction of the track to Tarn Shelf with that along the Rodway Range – the way we were going. Later on, all going well, we would arrive back at this junction, via Tarn Shelf, to complete a circuit.

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Tarn Shelf – perched high above the neighbouring valley

From here, we ascended into a massive boulder field, through the Lions Den – a narrow route through, over and around, huge boulders. John managed these very well.

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The track through the Rodway Range boulder field

At the top of the ridge, we could see ahead to K Col below us, with the track descending through the boulder moraine field, to the col, with Mt Field West, Lake Gordon, and some of the high peaks of the south west, in the distance. The panoramas were worth the effort to get here, but we would be going higher still.

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K Col from Rodway Range. Lake Gordon in far distance

Our lunch stop was not long after the Lions Den, atop the boulders of the Rodway Range. We sat, admiring the incredible outlook and looking down on the hut at K Col, which looked really tiny in the distance. Spectacular country!

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Lunch place – overlooking K Col

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Mount Field West from out lunch place on the Rodway Range

We clambered down through the boulder field to K Col. A col is a saddle between ridges and peaks – a feature formed by glaciers; this area, like much of central Tasmania, has been shaped during past glaciation. The valleys leading down from the col would have had glaciers in them – like rivers of ice. The boulder fields we had been walking through are moraines, where the rocks being ground along by ice were dropped when the ice melted.

02-17-2000 13 at K Col looking back way we came down

Looking back up the boulder field to where we had lunch, on the ridge

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Signpost at K Col

We clambered down through the boulder field to K Col. A col is a saddle between ridges and peaks – a feature formed by glaciers; this area, like much of central Tasmania, has been shaped during past glaciation. The valleys leading down from the col would have had glaciers in them – like rivers of ice. The boulder fields we had been walking through are moraines, where the rocks being ground along by ice were dropped when the ice melted.

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View from K col down the Lawrence River valley

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Heading up to Newdegate Pass, in centre, with The Watcher to its left

After a short swampy section, we came to our turn off to Newdegate Pass. The main track continued on to Mt Field West. Our track skirted just below the boulder and scree fields of the Rodway Range, and was wet and muddy in parts.

Then, we commenced a steady climb up to Newdegate Pass. This area was wonderful – lots of little tarns at different levels, with The Watcher peak at the back. There were great colour contrasts – lots of vivid green cushion plants and browny tarns.

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Wildflowers in Newdegate Pass

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Looking back to K Col

We could not linger at the Newdegate Pass area. It was after 2pm by then, and John was getting concerned about how far we still had to go. The boulder work had been really hard on him and we did not know how challenging the rest of the way would be.

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Newdegate Pass and The Watcher

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Mount Field West from Newdegate Pass

The track down from the Pass to Lake Newdegate and Tarn Shelf was steep and rocky and very hard on the legs – and knees, in particular.

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Boggy track to Tarn Shelf

We had a brief stop at the Lake – it was one of the larger ones in this section, and very pretty, in rather a basin amongst the hills. One could see how it had been scooped out by ice action.

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Lake Newdegate

Then we had to plod along the Tarn Shelf, both getting very weary. My knees were hurting – unusual for me. There were, as the name suggests, lots of little lakes and tarns, but we really did not have time to dwell and admire many of these. Tarn Shelf is another of the places whose name has long intrigued me – finally I was there!

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Dead snow gum shape amongst the cushion plants on Tarn Shelf

I’d expected Tarn Shelf to be rather flat – like a shelf! But there were quite a few short and sharp ups and downs, which added to our tiredness.

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Tarn Shelf scene

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Beside Johnston Tarn

I ran out of the second film I’d taken, and had no more, which was a great pity. There was a lovely orange-y coloured lake that John wanted a photo of – I think it was Tarn Lake – but I had no film! Using a 24 exposure film is a pain, but often that is all one can get.

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King Billy Pine on Tarn Shelf

There was a steep climb up to the Rodway Day Hut – a real sting in the tail of this walk – then up again, to the track junction we’d passed this morning. Then the walking was easier – across the top, then down to the huts and the road. The walk down the steep road was unpleasant and treacherous, with feet sliding out on the small gravel. We were glad to reach the Urquharts Track and an easier final leg to Truck, which we reached at 6.45pm.

So the walk had taken us about eight and a quarter hours! The distance was almost 12kms. It felt like about 25kms! We’d taken our normal water bottles, plus the two smaller ones – and drank the lot along the way. Although there was plenty of water in the lakes and tarns, we did not want to resort to drinking that, without boiling it.

It was a tough walk, but one with absolutely magic scenery and it gave us a real sense of something special achieved.

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We shared a can of coke between us, in the car park, and chatted with a couple from the camp ground; they’d walked up Mt Field West and returned back the same way they’d gone, getting back to the car park the same time as us. They’d opted to return via the Rodway Range track, because they knew how rough the K Col – Newdegate track was!

It had been a hot day down below, and was pretty warm walking, too, but up top was a bit cooler, even with a bit of a breeze.

On the drive back to camp, we rehashed the walk. I think we were both a bit euphoric from the experience.

It was to be chow mein for our late tea. We alternated the cooking of it between us both – one cooking and the other going off for a very welcome hot shower.

The Hi-tec boots, that I’d acquired from John, in exchange for the ones that had been dad’s, died an honourable death on today’s walk! A big hole appeared in the side; the tread was already very thin in parts of the sole. Definitely no longer usable. I photographed them, for posterity, and consigned them to a rubbish bin in the camp ground. Between the two of us, we had walked them a few hundred kms. I would now need to use my heavier Hi-tec walk boots until we get back to Melbourne where I may be able to get another lighter weight pair. My cheap Dunlop sneakers are also showing much wear – they will not last much longer, either.

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One dead pair of hiking boots!

After tea, checking the walk notes and books, we were a bit miffed to read that the Tarn Shelf circuit was rated “moderate”.

John had a blister under his big toe. My legs were stiff and aching. Bed was most welcome!


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2000 Travels February 16

WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY   DOVER TO MOUNT FIELD NATIONAL PARK   167kms

Today was quite hot and got more so as we moved away from the coast.

We were rather slow getting away this morning, after discovering that our “new” neighbours – in an older style van – live just around the corner from us, at home. There was much swapping of stories, especially as they metal detect and he does woodwork.

We also had to go an wish M well – he has been good to us during our stay here. He is trying to get a petition going to open vehicle access to South Cape – to attract more tourists to these parts. Personally, I think there is ample to do, especially for people who walk.

It was 11 am when we left Dover.

John was very pleased that the van brakes seem to be working well, and that a couple of checks showed that the wheel was no longer getting unduly hot.

John had been somewhat concerned about some of the big hills we’d face on the drive back to Hobart, but managed them quite well, with a combination of gears and brakes. Having the van brakes working well makes a big difference!

We had a hassle-free run through Hobart, then did a shop stop at Claremont.

When we’d gotten into phone range, there were a couple of messages from J’s brother C, so we phoned him. No dramas – he was just keeping tabs on us! Seems he has kind of appointed himself as the watcher over our welfare! John promised to try to phone him once a fortnight.

We then had a straightforward run to Mount Field, along the Derwent valley on the Lyell Highway, through New Norfolk. Decided to stay on the highway as far as Rosegarland, then take the Gordon River Road to Bushy Park and on to National Park. It was faster and easier than the road through Plenty.

We found an acceptable powered site – it was a matter of pay and then go hunt for oneself. The powered site cost $14 a night, so not cheap, despite it being National Park. They were not large sites, either!

02-16-2000 camp mt field.jpg

Our site at National Park

We didn’t intend to stay more than a few days, so did not put up the awning roof, but did put out the chairs, tables and fridge.

There were a number of other campers about the place, but it did not feel too crowded. There were also lots of little pademelons – little critters that are like a miniature wallaby, or a cross between a wallaby and a possum.

Went for a walk around the campground and car park area, then along the Tyenna River that borders the campground, for a way. Saw smoke begin to rise from the next ridge, that was obviously bush burning. We were told that it was the Westerway brigade, burning off, which we thought was rather chancy on such a hot, dry day, and when the bush around here seems so dry.

We have mobile phone coverage here! That was not expected. Phoned K and left message where we are.

Tea was soup, and crumpets – with eggs for John and golden syrup for me.

02-16-2000 from dover


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2000 Travels February 15

TUESDAY 15 FEBRUARY     DOVER

We left for Kingston at 9.30am and got there at 10.45, half an hour before John’s dentist appointment.

I read the paper whilst waiting for him and spotted a small item about a share I’d bought a little while ago. I felt, from this, that it was a good time to sell, so phoned the broker to sell now, thus cementing a 97% profit, made in just a month. I felt very pleased with myself! Later in the day, John decided to use the profit to buy shares he’d selected – about which I am rather dubious, but we shall see.

John’s dentistry was a straightforward filling, that cost $90. More than our caravan park fees for a week!

Did some shopping a a Kingston supermarket. Got diesel – 84cpl.

Back at camp, packed up the awning and some of the other camp things.

I took a photo of a bumble bee on a bush. We have seen a few of these around this area. They are not native, and have only recently been seen in Tasmania. They are much bigger than the standard bee and I’m not sure I’d like to be stung by one!

02-10-2000 big bumble bee.jpg

Bumble bee

Tea was frankfurts and bread. John’s choice!

Today’s round trip was 163kms.

02-15-2000 around dover.JPG

Our travels whilst based at Dover