Thursday, June 9, 2011

Walk Number 15....Crescent Beach and Mount Brown 29/5/2011

Wow, how things change....have gone from not doing a walk in almost 6 weeks to doing 3 in 9 days! Jane & I set out bright and early (7.00am) on a very brisk but clear Sunday morning to head to the Peninsula to walk into Crescent Bay....a perfect white crescent of sand backed by high dunes, only accessible by boat or on foot.  The first time I walked into this bay was back in late December and it was the walk that provided the catalyst for me to undertake this little project I have set for myself.  On that occasion I walked in via the short route, through private property and over the sand dunes....check out walk number 1 for details.

Today I have chosen to do the much longer route (10km return), which is more spectacular, taking in Maingon Blowhole, a beautiful rocky shoreline and Mount Brown along with the sand dunes of the bay and the blowholes of Standup Point.

Access to the track is via the Arthur Highway, past the entrance to the Port Arthur Historic Site, onto the C347 road to Remarkable Cave.  Drive the 5km to the Cave carpark and the walk back along the road about 100 metres to a sign on the right, giving walking times.

Take a few minutes before setting off on the track to take in the sensational scenery of this has a real wow factor.

Initially the track climbs uphill then crosses a series of low ridges. An interesting fact is that these ridges are actually vegetated sand dunes which were formed during the last ice age, when sea levels were much lower and strong southwesterlies deposited sand from what is now the sea bed into these about that!

The vegetation on the track at this point is low coastal heath and is very exposed to the elements, however we were very fortunate to pick a day of next to no wind so the conditions were very pleasant but I can imagine that it would get very harsh at times.

After 30 minutes walking the track approaches Maingon Blowhole which has a warning sign just before you get to it, and is very justified. It is a narrow slit in the earth which drops a rather large distance into a sliver of white water below. Care should be taken when inspecting the blowhole as the edges are steep and crumbling.

The track now swings inland towards Mt Brown and crosses a shallow valley before climbing onto the lower slopes where you get the first views of Crescent Beach. About 20 minutes on from Maingon Blowhole there is a rock cairn which marks the start of the side trip to the summit of Mt Brown.  Jane & I decided to continue on to the beach & do the walk up the mountain on our return.

The descent down to the bay affords you some of the most magnificent views to Tasman Island and Cape Pillar.

Once down onto the beach the steep dunes are too tempting to ignore and a very arduous climb up is rewarded with a fun slide down!

At the far end of the beach is Standup Point, which has its own blowholes. In heavy seas they apparently blow quite spectacularly, but access would be more difficult and dangerous.

On the return trip we ventured up Mt Brown which although a steep climb wasn't too difficult. The views from the top are great; Crescent Bay, Port Arthur, Cape Pillar, Tasman Island and Cape Raoul make a dramatic 360 degree vista.

The walk in total, taking into account refreshment & photo breaks, took us close to 6 hours to complete.  If you want to undertake a longer walk which isn't too hard but takes in some fantastic scenery this is the one for you.  If you're lucky enough to chose a great day weather wise like us, you will not be disappointed.....highly recommend this one.

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