Friday, 30 November 2012

Mount Amos - 25th November 2012

With a walk down the Freycinet Peninsula planned for Monday to Wednesday, I headed for Coles Bay a day early, with enough time to do Mount Amos before dinner. This walk departs from the Wineglass Bay carpark, and immediately diverges to the left. The initial part of the walk is easy and gentle, but it rapidly steepens and then starts to climb and traverse the sloping rock. Higher up there is a little easy scrambling on steep rock, but some people find it a challenge, and if wet it would be very difficult and probably dangerous.

There are some enormous boulders scattered along the flanks of the Hazards, and as you look up at the peaks, you can see more perched here and there awaiting their turn. The Mount Amos track has a good number, but probably the largest and best most people will see are on the carpark-return leg of the Wineglass Bay walk, where the track winds amongst some boulders which seem to be the size of two-storey houses.

Coles Bay seen from the lower slopes of Mount Amos - 25th November 2012
As you climb the views open up to the north, and then from the summit there is the classic view of Wineglass Bay and the rest of the peninsula. I think many tourists expect they're going to get this view from the lookout near the saddle. That view is quite good, but nothing like the one from the top of Mount Amos.

Wineglass Bay and the southern Freycinet Peninsula from Mount Amos. Mount Graham and Mount Freycinet are prominent  at top and right of centre - 25th November 2012
There are spring flowers out all over the place, including this Swamp melaleuca, Melaleuca squamea

Swamp melaleuca, Melaleuca squamea, Mount Amos, Freycinet Peninsula - 25th November 2012

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Cathedral Rock - 22nd November 2012

Cathedral Rock sits behind Neika in the south-western foothills of Mount Wellington. It has great views south of Kingston, the Channel, Snug Tiers and the Huon Valley. Close by it has spectacular and precipitous views of the deep valley of the North West Bay River, overlooked by the steep slopes of Mount Wellington and Mount Montagu. Straight up the valley is a striking view of Collins Bonnet.

From the Kingston area, Cathedral Rock is itself an arresting view, thrusting skywards from the ridge and inviting a visit. The walk is a solid climb, gaining 630m of altitude in around 4.5km of track, including a series of switchbacks out of the river valley. Closer to the summit, the track is very steep and rocky, requiring the use of all four limbs to make progress.

There is gentle and pleasant walking though along the river, and in fact for those not wanting the climb, a walk to the river can be rewarding. the river bed can actually be traversed from the bridge to beyond the section where this walk uses the river bed. It is bouldery and slow, but nice on a warm day. I don't recommend it when it is wet, as the rocks are slippery.

The walk description is available on Walk the Huon, and is being updated based on this visit.

The weather today was a little drizzly at times, but overall not too bad. on top, there was a cool and occasionally gusty breeze, but views were quite good. Signs have been updated, marking the private roads clearly, as well as indicating where you should park. I managed to completely miss this and parked where I always had before. Fortunately none of the residents decided I was being evil enough to warrant any action. It is important to understand that this walk traverses private property, and appropriate respect should be paid to the owners, their land and improvements like fencing.

There are plenty of plants making the most of spring, and I may post a selection of flowering flora when time permits.

The North West Bay River. The track passes alongside it for around 900m - 22nd November 2012

Collins Bonnet seen up the valley from Cathedral Rock - 22nd November 2012

Fern uncurling, Cathedral Rock Track - 22nd November 2012

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

South Cape Bay - 20th November 2012

South Cape Bay was a great walk today; good weather, beginning of my holidays, lots of interesting things to see. Walk description is here, and really hasn't changed much, except see below for changes to the beach itself.

The first interesting thing though is just beyond the registration shelter where you will come across this space-age de-contamination station. It's like a little adventure-playground for grown-ups. In fact, you have to pay attention to the instructions. It even sprays your boots with disinfectant.

The sea appeared quite calm as I arrived at the bay, but there were continuous, orderly ranks of large swells marching in from the Southern Ocean. The surfers were there too, catching a wave regularly.

The beach has remained storm-ravaged since my last visit. It seems to have even less sand, and the large berms of shingle remain at the western end. I think this would be dangerous to cross in a high sea. It is interesting to consider that all the rocks on the beach have been moved into their current place by the water. Some car-sized boulders have clearly moved about.

Nice to see they've spent so much building a four-lane highway to Cape Hauy, a track which was always in quite good condition, and could have done with a bit of hardening around the edges. Meanwhile, there are no steps off South Cape Bay, and no action to properly build an alternative. As a result, there are at least two ways across the steep slopes adjacent to the collapsed steps, one of which is adopting the classic southwest "bog" identity with great alacrity.

As the waves broke below the large shingle berm towards Lion Rock, you could see them flinging boulders about. I could see boulders up to at least 15cm in diameter being flung into the air. These LP-sized boulders have been delicately placed on the top of the berm by earlier storms.

The Native Pigface (Carpobrotus rossii) is out. This plant is on top of the cliffs where the track arrives at South Cape Bay.

The Christmas Bells (Blandfordia punicea) are just about to bust loose. This plant is quite close to Cockle Creek.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Driving Mount Wellington

Too many people have been claiming that there's "nothing to do" on Mount Wellington. Well, I beg to differ, and have written this guide to seeing Mount Wellington by car. I also thought that if I was going to say the mountain didn't need a cable car, then perhaps I should put my money where my mouth was and make sure visitors could actually access a guide to enjoying Mount Wellington without a cable car, restaurant, hotel, kiosk, bar or other entertainment.

It's available as a web page, and experimentally as a blog post with photos! Hopefully these are easy to use on smart phones.
Or as a PDF that you can freely print out.
Or in a Google Map.

Next steps include getting together some notes about the history and natural history of the mountain. I'd also like to make it into an App that automatically flipped from one location to the next as your smartphone sensed you nearing the various point of interest.

Constructive feedback welcome, make a comment or email me at

View Mount Wellington by Car in a larger map