Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Walk number 28...........Arthur's Peak 26/1/2012

What better way to spend Australia Day than to take a hike on the Peninsula, and this is exactly how Jane and I decided to spend our National Day.  We decide to make the trek to Arthurs Peak.....6 hours return and graded hard....yeee!  The reason this grading has been given is because the latter section of the walk to the peak is not along a clearly defined track.  Two-thirds of the walk is through either open forest or buttongrass plains, with the route indicated by fairly widely spaced markers.  

The walk starts from the Fortescue Bay Camping Ground...don't forget your parks pass and to record your details in the log book.  Once you've organised these walk back along Fortescue Bay Road for around 5 minutes to a walking track marked "Cape Pillar". 

Follow this track for about 15 minutes over fairly level ground, through tall damp forest to a bridge across Agnes Creek.  Past the creek the track climbs steadily through drier forest for a further 20 minutes before it levels out into more open country.

The track now goes through some Melaleuca scrub and dry sclerophyll forest and continues on into some beautiful buttongrass plains.

Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes walk from Fortescue Bay you will reach the Arthurs Peak Track junction......not the most sophisticated signage you'll ever come across!

Turn right at the junction and follow the track which is marked by tape and the occasional venetian blind!   The track descends to a small plain.  Cross the plain and ford Denmans Creek, climbing onto another open forested bank and follow the markers as they cross the bank and descend to a larger buttongrass plain.

Follow the markers through a shallow depression and then along a series of plains at the foot of Crescent Mountain.  Eventually the tree cover increases and the going can be quite tough as the scrub is dense and the ground uneven.  Added to this it becomes apparent that the track isn't used all that often as at times you are actually pushing through thick scrub with no semblance of a track.  The route climbs gently to emerge on an open bank, where the markers change to rock cairns before terminating all together.

While Arthurs Peak can be quite clearly seen across a wide plain it is unusual to be slugging through an ill-defined path....no chance of getting lost though, thank goodness!  From the end of the plain, climb the relatively open lower slopes of Arthurs Peak.  After a little while care must be taken as the trail takes you very close to unprotected clifftops....and I mean really close.  While the view is spectacular the climb is quite hairy, at times only a metre or so away from a shear drop of a few hundred metres....scary stuff but yahoo...very exhilarating!  

 From the summit these views are expanded to include Safety Cove, Crescent Beach and Mount Brown.  Further afield Cape Raoul, Bruny Island and The Friars can be seen in the west.

Crescent Beach & Mt Brown

The return trip to Fortescue Bay is via the same track.

While this walk is quite long, a good 6 hours return, and partly unmarked it isn't so physically demanding that anyone with a reasonable level of fitness would be able to undertake it quite comfortably.  The only real incline is the scramble to the summit of the Peak.  Overall this is a very enjoyable walk which provides the added challenge of keeping to the ill-defined path.

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