Friday, August 19, 2011

Walk Number 18.....Fortescue Bay to Bivouac Bay 14/8/11

Finally the rain has stopped and the weather has shown a slight improvement so no excuses for not getting out amongst it.  Jane feels the same so we scheduled a walk for Sunday 14/8 and decided to head back to Fortescue Bay (the starting point of the Cape Hauy walk) and walk into Bivouac Bay.

This walk is graded as easy as it is suitable for all levels of fitness, is on clearly marked tracks with little in the way of natural obstacles.  You will experience some beautiful coastal scenery combined with pleasant walking through a varied range of vegetation. The walk is approximately 10 km's return and you should allow at least 3 hours return for this trip.

Accessing the track is by turning left off the Arthur Highway (A9), 3.5km south of the B37 junction at Taranna, onto Fortescue Bay road (C344).  Follow the signs for the next 12km to Fortescue Bay....the road is unsealed but suitable for 2WD vehicles, park in the Casuarina Day Use area.

Walk to the northern end of the beautiful white sanded beach where the track is signposted, passing the entrance to the lagoon, where wading maybe required if water is running out.

looking out from Fortescue Bay

The track climbs and follows the clifftop, passing through Stringybark and Blue Gum forest with an understorey including Bedfordia, Mountain Berry, She Oak and Prickly Wattle. After heading down to a small rocky cove the track climbs again back to the clifftops and heads north towards Canoe Bay.  From this vantage point there are views of Hippolyte and Cheverton Rocks and back to Fortescue Beach.  At this point you can look down into the clear waters of the bay with its magnificent beds of kelp, which can grow to the surface from depths of up to 25 metres.

After about an hours walking you will arrive at Canoe Bay which is a good spot to stop for a cuppa. This is a sheltered anchorage with a sunken dredge "William Pitt" acting as a breakwater. The "William Pitt" was originally a Dutch Trading Vessel named ANDR REBONCAS built in 1907 and was sold to the Hobart Bridge Company for 500 pounds in 1941 and renamed at that time. It was registered in Hobart as a Coal Hulk. She ended her working life to aid the war effort during the Second World War to act as an artificial breakwater.  Its new purpose was to provide shelter from high seas for a canning industry, an ice making works and a timber mill on the Peninsula.  Locals can recall how in the early 70's a storm lifted the wreck filled with chains and ballast and moved it to its present position.It is now in 6 metres of water and complete below the waterline.  It is a very popular dive site as it's in a sheltered position with good depth with an abounding marine life around it.

Canoe Bay

The 'William Pitt'

There is a camping ground on the shore and fresh water is available from Walkers Creek at the head of the bay, so if you're looking for a place for an overnight camp which has easy access then Canoe Bay would be a good choice.

After the refreshment break you now follow the track to the head of the bay.  Cross Walkers Creek by way of a suspension bridge.


The walk along the north shore enters a damp section of forest containing Treeferns and some large Blue Gums.  After about 10 minutes the track leaves the sea and climbs, quite steeply at times, before crossing a more open forested crest and descending through damp forest into a small gully. The track at this point was very sloppy and slushing through the mud was enjoyable (well I enjoyed it). The track now climbs briefly and then leads down into Bivouac Bay where there is a camping area with a toilet which is quite a luxury on a Peninsula walk. 

Bivouac Bay is a very pleasant spot and after a bit of rock hopping across a small body of water we found a nice sheltered spot to set up the cooker to enjoy lunch and have another cuppa.

Bivouac Bay

There is the opportunity to continue on past Bivouac Bay to Waterfall Bay which is another 4 hours walk, but that's one for another day.

The return to Fortescue Bay is by the same route.

One of the highlights of this walk for me was the prevalence of wildflowers and funghi along the way.  Overall this was a very enjoyable walk and I would highly recommend it as it's suitable for all fitness levels and the views from the coastline are as always quite spectacular.  So now that the weather seems to be on the improve (for the moment) why not get out and enjoy what Tassie has to offer...I know you'll love it!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, thank you for sharing. Now I know where exactly I will be going.