Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walk Number 16.......Mount Stewart

It's the Queen's Birthday long weekend holiday and all my usual walking partner's are away enjoying the extra day off.  I've packed up and headed to the shack with my son Riley to enjoy a bit of R & R, and to do a little walk (his idea, not mine). After having looked through the walks book we decided on a walk that was graded as a family walk, which we thought was quite appropriate for a mother and son team.

Mount Stewart is our chosen destination, it's situated not far from the Coal Mines Historic Site at Saltwater River. Turn off the Arthur Highway onto the B37 road just south of the Tasmanian Devil Park at Taranna.  Travel for approximately 9km and turn right onto the C341 Saltwater River Road near The Old Trading General Store at Premaydena.  Follow this road for 9.7km to an intersection, turn right into Coalmines Road and drive 3.3km into the Coalmines Reserve, to a road on the left marked 'Air Shaft'. Follow this road for 200 metres to a car park near the start of a fire trail marked 'Vehicular Access Prohibited'. The walk starts here.

Follow the fire trail through the low headland which has a wide variety of plants many of which were out in flower at this time of year.

The track intersects with a firebreak after about 5 minutes walking. Turn right and follow a fenceline for a further 200 metres to another junction and turn left.  Walk for only 40 metres to where a set of wheel tracks lead off to the right....this is not clearly obvious so be on the lookout.

Follow the wheel tracks through dry sclerophyll forest in a general northerly direction onto the slopes of Mount Stewart, eventually climbing more steeply through young Silver Wattles onto the summit.  Along the way there are some fantastic examples of the funghi which surprisingly Riley found very interesting....a boy after my own heart.

At the summit there are some remains of the old signal station used as part of a chain to send semaphore messages between Port Arthur and Hobart in the convict period.  This is just one of the things i love about the can just stumble across these little patches of history without any fanfare or's just sitting there waiting for you to find it.

Now another fact which Riley (and I) found so interesting is that the bare rocky summit of Mount Stewart is the tube of an ancient volcano, the cone having been eroded long ago.....this fact provided quite an in depth conversation about volcanoes in Tasmania, the chances of them re-erupting and so on.  Fabulous when a 14 year old's imagination goes riot!

From this vantage point there are views over the Reserve to Lime Bay, Sloping Lagoon, Lagoon Beach and Sloping Island.  Further west, South Arm and Bruny Island can be seen whilst Mt Wellington and the Southern Mountains dominate the horizon. When you've finished admiring the views return to  your car by the same route.

Really enjoyed this walk as it was the first one I'd done with one of the kids....and i didn't have to frog march him into it.  The good thing was he really got involved with the surroundings and was even pointing things out to me...and even suggested we do another one together sometime.

This walk is a good one to introduce kids to the experience of bush walking....a little challenging without being too hard to scare them off.

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