Monday, March 14, 2011

Walk No 6....The one that wasn't..... 4/3/2011

Have got a newbie on board for today's hike, Janine my fellow Overlander has suggested we take our training for the Overland Track to the Peninsula...what a great idea and I don't need to be asked twice!

Now to come up with a walk that will assist with our training....something challenging with some climbs. Tatnells Hill Via Balt Spur seems to tick all the boxes....a 2 and a half hour return hike to the highest viewpoint on the Tasman Peninsula. Access to the start of the track is via the Arthur Highway and turning left into Camp Road about 500 metres south of the junction at Taranna, just past the Tasmanian Devil Park.  A drive of 2kms should get you to Balts Road.  I say should, however this was not the case on this occasion as a wayward tree had fallen across the road and blocked access.  Unfortunately it was too heavy to pull out of the way.
Janine attempting to clear the way
So, a change of plan was needed as we weren't going any further up this road.  A quick retreat to the nearest cafe to discuss our next move was in order. One latte and cappuccino later we decided to use this opportunity to knock over a couple of the shorter walks that are included in the walks book.  

First stop and walk number 6 (take 2) is Point Puer....a half hour family friendly walk.  By family friendly I mean a walk suitable for young children and elderly walkers, on a clearly marked track with easy gradients, and generally quite short. We decided not to bother with the loaded backpacks for this one!

Point Puer is part of the Port Arthur Historic Site and the site of the Boys Prison. Three thousand boys, some as young as nine years old, were sentenced to the Point Puer Boys Prison between 1834 and 1849.  Point Puer was the first reformatory built exclusively for juvenile male convicts in the British Empire. It was renowned for its regime of stern discipline and harsh punishment. 

The walk is an easy stroll leading to a pleasant grassy bank and there are excellent views to the Tasman National Park.  This is a significant archeological site and walkers should not disturb artifacts and should stay clear of dig sites.

To access this area turn left off the Arthur Highway approximately 500 metres past the entrance to the Port Arthur Historic Site onto the C347 road to Remarkable Cave.  Drive 3.2km to a gravel road on the left with a sign marked Tasman Golf Club.  Follow this road alongside the water for 1km, ignoring a turnoff to the right leading to the golf club, and park near a locked gate.

Follow the the road for 5 minutes to where it descends close to the shore near the rocky base of an old jetty.  Walk past a second gate and follow the well formed track along the coast behind Old Station Beach.  From here there are views across the bay to the shipwrights' cottages at Port Arthur, while in the west the village of Carnarvon hugs the coast beneath Palmers Lookout and Mt Arthur.

After a little way you will come across a lily pond and at this point the track rises gently as it leaves the coast.  The track crosses a grassy bank then forms again and passes through a pretty tree lined area.  

The track continues around the ruins which are now in the process of being restored, and back to the carpark.

This is a very pleasant stroll with some spectacular views to the Tasman National Park, however as at times the track passes along the cliff edge which is crumbly and unguarded care should be taken with small children.

Walk Number 7....Taranna Forest Walk

The Taranna Forest Walk enables people of all ages and fitness levels to enjoy the beauty and majesty of Tasmania's tallest tree species...Eucalyptus regnans also known as Swamp Gum.  They are truly magnificent, the tallest flowering plant in the world, and on this short walk you can see several impressive specimens, together with their rainforest understorey.

How to get there:- Turn left off the Arthur Highway approximately 3.5km west of Eaglehawk Neck into Pirates Road. Drive along this road for 4.1km to a marked car park on the left. The walking track heading into the forest is just opposite the car park. The track crosses a small creek and winds through the forest.  There are several huge Eucalyptus regnans, these magnificent trees can reach 100 metres in height and many in this area are over 60 metres.

The understorey is mainly rainforest species made up of Sassafras, Native Laurel and Musk, with Treeferns, Kangaroo Ferns and many species of mosses creating a pleasant green backdrop to the trunks of the massive trees.  The track recrosses the creek and returns to the road 50 metres from the car park.

Walk Number 8 ...Devils Kitchen to Waterfall Bay

This walk is a one & a half to two hour family friendly stroll which takes in some of the Peninsula's most impressive coastal features.

To get to the starting point turn left off the Arthur Highway at Eaglehawk Neck onto the C3338 Blowhole Rd and follow this road for approximately 3km before turning right into Tasmans Arch Road.  Drive along Tasmans Arch Road to the Devils Kitchen, a distance of about 1km and park car here.

The walk starts at the southern end of the Devils Kitchen Car Park.  Follow the wide walking track through low eucalypts, Banksia, Bull Oaks and Tea-Tree. There are several lookouts along the track which give glimpses of rock platforms eroded by thousands of years of wave action, sea caves gouged out of the base of the cliffs as well as views to the Hippolyte Rock and Cape Hauy.

The Lanterns & Cape Hauy


One of the most spectacular features along the walk is Pattersons Arch which demonstrates the power of the sea to carve out the sedimentary rock of these massive cliffs.  

As the track approaches Waterfall Bay, the cliffs get higher and the vegetation changes with trees becoming taller and the understorey now containing Musk, Dogwood and Bedfordia.  From several lookout spots there are views across the bay to the 100 metre cliffs, the waterfalls and up to the rocky crest of Clemes Peak.

Waterfall Bay
Clemes Peak

Return to the carpark via the same route.  This is a great walk for the family - a good, clear track with a little bit of elevation with the added bonus of having breathtaking scenery.

While the day didn't pan out as originally planned it was still very enjoyable, even though we didn't really get to test ourselves with loaded backpacks...there's always next time.

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