25 June 2016

Mount Dromedary

Wednesday 29 June
The initial bit of the walk from Braslins Road is a steady but not steep uphill past some remnant buildings and reach a junction with the one to Dromedary on the right fork in a north easterly direction to another junction. We will go right here  as it is the  shortest route to Mount Dromedary. Several parts of this track can be a little wet at times and after recent rains this is very likely. The main ascent route will be ignored and the old one from further south will be used.  Greg has wanted to go back up this way for a while now ands we do have a GPS reading for the junction and information from a very recent walker using this way.

Return will be by the main route down from the summit and then the wider old vehicle tracks via a more northerly route will be followed back to the start.

Some sections had plenty of vegetation growing in the track, but nothing too overgrown to require pushing through.  There are a few boggy stretches and the one creek crossing had a rock bridge to make crossing easy.  

The walk is moderate in difficulty with the final climb by the conventional route taking close to 50 minutes and is moderately steep.   It is expected that going by the southern route will make the climbing part a little longer and of course the walk to the ascent point is further 900 metres.

In all the walk is 16k and at least 6 hours to which a lunch break has to be added.

Track Profile which can be clicked for a larger view.

25 March 2016

Long Marsh Dam

Walk went on Wednesday 30 March 2016

Long Marsh Dam has quite a history as it was the site where local landowners were going to use convicts as free labour in 1840’s but when it was decreed in 1844 that they had to be paid the landowners refused and the convicts walked off the job and that was the end of the project.
It is estimated that it is a 2.2k walk to the site. A rough vehicle track goes to a weir on the Macquarie River the once up a hill on the west side it is reputed to be easy walking along a well marked track with rock cairns to the site. It is said there are lots of ruins, quarry's, old roads, dams, walls and paths to explore.
There is also a geocache at the site.

What is known

The original vehicle access track is not really suitable to most vehicles and several people have stopped because of conditions and potholes. All this section will most likely be walked, some 2.k each way. A Midlands Council report indicated that Honeysuckle Road was a way to gain access.

What is Unknown

This is the warning. There is no certainty that we will get there. Honeysuckle Rd is a completely unknown quantity and also it is not known if there is a barrier on it. It is a gravel road. However in 2010 the Northern Midlands Council indicated it gave access to the site, so that somewhat reduces the concern. Although the walk starting point, assuming we get to it, is most likely where an old vehicle track commences, it could well be bush to walk through.

Plan of Long Marsh Dam


Building remains

A bit of History

From the Monthly February 2008
One of Tasmania’s least-known convict sites is to be found in roughly the spot where Marcus Clarke ill-prepared generations of readers for one of the set-pieces of Australian fiction.
Follow a dirt track 23 kilometres off the Lake Leake Highway, cross a foul-smelling creek, climb a steep bank, and you emerge into a clearing reminiscent of an Inca encampment: half a dozen stone buildings, roofless, with tall gums thrusting up through the foundations. A paved path leads to a well and, further on, to a headstone of red rock carved with the name of Thomas Collins who died in 1843, aged 36, after a stone crushed his skull.
These ruins are the remains of the Long Marsh Dam, a project by local landowners to harness free convict labour and irrigate 540 acres of farmland from the Macquarie River. At one time 279 men lived here. For 18 months they toiled, often shoeless, their feet wrapped in cloth, hand-digging and transporting huge slabs of bluestone to erect a dam 18 metres high. Then in 1844 arrived an order from London that the landowners had to pay the convicts (4/8d per day for mechanics, 2/2d for labourers). The landowners refused and so, elated, the convicts downed tools, leaving concealed in the bush a remarkable and rarely observed freeze-frame of Van Diemonian history.
By unusual coincidence, it was in the vicinity of this dam where Marcus Clarke had his fugitive convict Gabbett begin to eat four of his companions, ten days after their escape from Port Arthur. Only, Clarke - a Melbourne journalist who paid a single visit to Tasmania in 1870 - betrayed an insulting ignorance of the landscape into which he packed his famished felon (Gabbett’s deterioration was based on Alexander Pearce’s journey through the very dissimilar west coast). “All round is the fruitless, shadeless, shelterless bush,” Clarke wrote in For the Term of His Natural Life, so adding the landscape itself to Gabbett’s list of victims. It’s a calumny that remains hard to shift in many a mainlander’s imagination. Far from being the “grey wilderness” of Clarke’s fictional depiction, Tasmania’s east coast was then (and still is) in the view of James Boyce, “one of the most hospitable and benign environments for human habitation anywhere in Australia”.

22 January 2016

Lake Belton Florentine Pk Circuit

Tuesday 15 March 

The walk over Wombat Moor and down to the Humboldt River is well known country and from there a bush route is taken  which is much the same time as the usual muddy way. The walk along beside Lake Belton is a delight and easy walking.  This brings you the base of narrow moraine that drops from Florentine Peak penetrating right into the lake.  It appears to be reasonable walking and I am told that is the case. 

From Florentine Pk a really nice basin is crossed to reached Clemes Tarn then it is up an over the Rodway Range and the boardwalk and tracks to Lake Dobson.

About 4 hours (6.5k)  to the base of the moraine ridge at Lake Belton and  by Lake Dobson some 15k would be clocked up. If it has to be walked there is another 1.5k along the road to the start point. It would take over an hour to get up the moraine from Lake Belton to Florentine Peak and usually it is 3:30-4 hours from there to Dobson.

So it quite a long day of walking.

Contact me if you would like to join the walk. 

Moraine is on far right arising from Lake Belton (top lake)

Lake Belton

Moraine ending in the lake

09 November 2015

Yellow Cliffs

The attempt in  September IMG_3055
on Yellow Cliffs failed to get there but a shorter an easier route has been checked out and hopefully will be done  before long.

Yellow Cliffs are a quite substantial sandstone cliff area on the western side of Glen Dhu Rivulet and can be clearly seen from Collins Cap. Some years ago it was suggested that it might be a good approach to Yellow Cliffs from Glen Dhu Rd and that is the aimed for way for this walk. Most of the land to be crossed is public and it looks like it would be about 700 metres through light forest, if Google Earth is to be believed, and through an ascent of about 300 metres. The cliffs run for something like a kilometre so there is quite a bit of exploring potential.

20 March 2015

Thark Wellington Falls NW Bay River Circuit

Date to be decided 

A different approach may now be made 
A circuit walk from Big Bend along Thark an across to Wellington Falls then upstream mostly on the rocky edges of North West Bay River.   Note the bit of trimming mentioned below
Several stages to the walk totalling 13k
Big Bend  - Thark - Montagu track =  5.7k
Montagu track - Falls  = 1.1k
MW Bay River   = 6.0k
The track for Thark Ridge now starts immediately behind the car park at the top car park after Big Bend; that is pretty much due west.  There is a snow barrier just beyond the car park.
This is a newly rerouted start to the track, put in with the assistance of the Wellington Park Bushcare Group, and goes for about 850 metres until reaching the old track. The new section is on harder ground and avoids the wet and boggy plain that was previously used. It has markers to assist in navigation.  Signs have been placed to advise people that the pads over the wet plains that have been closed for rehabilitation
Beyond the junction the old track is followed for a short distance before turning to another rerouted part then back onto the old one before a short 80 metre reroute to be below the main Thark saddle.   There is a sharp right hand turn (north west) leading up to a saddle.  Some marker poles have been placed in this section to assist.
The track then goes along the top of Thark before dropping down to meet the off Montagu fire trail, which is followed for a short distance before taking a rough bush track through to Wellington Falls.   The start of this section is a bit overgrown and we will take the opportunity to do a bit of trimming so that it is easier to follow.  Some may either go on to the falls and wait or take a break here or even climb Mount Montagu.
The walk up the North West Bay River from the falls is mostly on rocky river edges and there are numerous large pools on the way. It is slow but interesting. Eventually it becomes easier to walk away from the river as it becomes narrow and with sedgy banks, and the most likely option is to walk through the bush to pick up the inward track beside Thark.

See the last walk up NW Bay River plus photo link

Map of route
IMG_5016 North West Bay River
IMG_5015 North West Bay River
IMG_5012 North West Bay River
Top of Wellington Falls
Above photos are on walk from Wellington falls up NW Bay River
Track from Wellington Falls to old Montagu  FT. This section is quite clear and moderately wide in parts.
Track to falls that is in good order
with section below an example where it is a bit thick and needs work
Falls track with a thicker section of vegetation