Monday, October 17, 2011

Walks Number 21 & 22......Devils Kitchen to Tessellated Pavement and beyond....14/10/2011

Oh my goodness, it's just on a month since my last Peninsula did that happen!! Well it's time to muster the troops and hit the trail again.  Janine, as always, was keen to come along; Andrea has also caught the bug after coming on the last walk; one of my tennis buddies, Mary had indicated that she'd like to be included on my next walk and Sue, a mutual friend of Janine, Andrea and myself had a free day so what better way to spend it. 

As there were five of us we decided to travel in two vehicles which worked out well as the walk I had chosen could be done as a one way trip of around 2 hours or as a longer return walk. This walk is a 10 klm shoreline trek from the Devil's Kitchen to the Tessellated Pavement which takes in cliff and beach walking.  After leaving Sue's car at the carpark adjacent to the Lufra Hotel we proceeded along the Arthur Highway to the turnoff onto the C338 Blowhole Road.  Follow this road for about 3km before turning right into Tasmans Arch Road. Drive along Tasmans Arch Rd to the Devil's Kitchen, a distance of approximately 1km and park here.

It is worth taking a little time and having a look at the strangely named Devils Kitchen....a remarkable natural formation in the cliff.  A narrow cavern has been carved from the pressure of the sea pounding the rock face.  Millions of years in the making, the deep crevice probably once had a roof- just like its mate Tasmans Arch which is only a 5 minute walk away.

Devils Kitchen

Tasmans Arch
After checking out the Devils Kitchen, walk back along the gravel path heading north to Tasmans Arch....on the way is a lookout with views to Cape Hauy and Tatnells Hill.

I must say this particular view always takes my breath away, it is just magnificent!  

Just before the Tasmans Arch car park is an unmarked track veering off to the right, follow this as it swings east and then north.  After about 5 minutes walking you will reach the first of several unfenced lookouts which provide wide-ranging views to Hippolyte Rock and the Forestier coast as well as extensive rock platforms below.  Take great care at these spots as the path passes very close to the crumbling cliff edges which have shear drops of over 50 metres.

After a little while the path leaves the cliff edge and descends to a track junction....ignore the tapes on the trees to the left,these don't lead anywhere.  Turn right and after 25 metres intersect Blowhole Road, it is possible to undertake a short side trip to have a look at the Blowhole.  On this particular day all was quite calm but in wilder weather the Blowhole is very spectacular.  

From this point you head north along Eggs Beach which is accessed near the Tuna Club shed, walking past the old boat sheds at the southern end of the beach.

The next part of the walk is a pleasant stroll along the beach, with some cliffs halfway problem getting past today but when the tide is high care would need to be taken.  We found a sheltered little cove which was the ideal spot for a refreshment break....Janine even braved the chilly Tassie waters and went for a quick dip.

Eventually you will reach Eaglehawk Neck, the narrow isthmus where in the days of the Port Arthur penal settlement, fierce dogs were tethered to stop the convicts escaping off the Peninsula.

Once off the beach you will be onto the Tessellated Pavement which is a geographical phenomenon.  In short, rocks fractured by the movement of the earth have since been eroded by the waves and sediment of the Tasman Sea… is fascinating stuff, and the best example of this occurrence anywhere in the world is right here at Eaglehawk Neck.  You really can’t imagine just how spectacular it is until you’re standing right there.

It took us approximately 2.75 hours to complete the 10km walk from the Devils Kitchen which included our lunch stop.  You can finish your walk at this point and take the steps leading to a clifftop path and a lookout from which you will get a magnificent view across Pirates Bay.

We decided to continue on a little further to Clydes Island, which is a perfect walk for families especially at low tide so that the kids can examine the sea life in exposed rock pools.  It's only a 15 minute stroll to the Island which, if conditions are safe can be accessed.  On this occasion though the tide was up and we weren't able to make the trip across.  

Should you be lucky enough to catch the tide at the right time you can walk up the path to the summit of the island where there are two memorial stones to Edgar Percy Carter, who died in 1931 and to Chokey Nuroo, one time owner of the old Lufra Hotel, who died in 1941.

Clydes Island
I'm sure you will enjoy this walk, we all certainly did!

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