Sorry I’ve been a bit slack updating the blog, but it has been summer – and there’s always loads to do away from the computer. Speaking of which, a lot of time has been taken up learning new songs to play with a bunch of blokes I’ve been jamming with – tremendous fun!
I must get back to finishing that second book one day soon too…
Anyways, as promised a while back, I’m going to cover another part of the Pipeline Track today. I’ve walked it (and ridden a bike along many parts of it) several times. It’s generally a nice, easy track, with a few challenging bits here & there. Not too many encounters with orcs, ogres or goblins; I think the majority of the ‘wild’ creatures I’ve seen up there are pademelons (a small furry creature; kind of a cross between a wallaby and a possum).
Waterworks Reserve is about 10 km’s south of Hobart’s CBD, and it is slightly elevated, so come prepared for Tasmania’s unpredictable weather.
I usually start in the Waterworks Reserve Car Park, just outside the front gate. That way, if you want to start before the gates open, you don’t have to worry about waiting. I like to start there because it’s more of a bush walk; otherwise if you want to make the trip shorter you can drive the length of the Waterworks Reserve, park your car and walk up the steep hill to the start (or end) of the actual Pipeline Track. This will cut a couple of kilometres (km’s) off your walk.
Here’s a link to the one of the Endomondo workouts I saved; it’s just over 10km, and took just over 2 hours. Mind you, this particular day I parked just inside the gates…
There’s a small, really old turnstile you can walk through, past a boom gate & then trek north a hundred metres across the open ground below the bottom reservoir to the first ‘track’.
The Waterworks Part
The Waterworks reservoirs capture water from creeks and rivers flowing from the slopes of Mt Wellington. It’s a drinking water catchment; so dogs are not allowed. There are loads of informative signs along the length of the whole track (Waterworks & Pipeline).
The first km is a narrow bush trail, which follows the length of the bottom reservoir. You move roughly south-west until you break out into the open just before the top reservoir. There are some slight rises and dips, which can be quite slippery when wet.
Keep in mind there are quite a few fire trails and offshoots, but the main track is fairly well marked. Watch out for pademelons, they will appear suddenly and amaze you with their cuteness.
After 2 km’s, past the reservoirs, continue along the bush track and steadily climb up and then turn more southerly you will arrive at Gentle Annie Falls. Gentle Annie Falls is not an actual waterfall but a hand-cut channel in natural sandstone that was used to direct water into the Waterworks reservoirs.
Gentle Annie Falls
This is arguably the most challenging part of the track; because you do need to climb to the top of the falls to get to the start of the Pipeline Track. There are stairs and it’s all pretty clearly marked. But some parts are quite steep, as hopefully you can see from the pictures.
Once you climb the first stairs, you need to clamber over a giant boulder & then continue up the trail to the actual ‘falls’. From the northern side you can ascend, but again up some steep stairs. The railings are quite solid, but be careful when wet.
The actual falls…
The Pipeline Track
Finally, you’re here! If you start from Fern Tree & don’t want to walk around Waterworks Reserve, this will be the end of your walk… turn around & go back! But from the walk I did, it’s about 2 & a half km’s into the trek. The easier bit is now in front of you; you can walk just under 3 km’s along the slightly uphill trail (which is quite wide) to Fern Tree.
Again, signs abound. Old pump houses, an old farm, bits of local history are outlined. It’s a nice easy trail.
The best bits for me are the views of Mount Wellington (known to us Taswegians as ‘the mountain’. Not to be confused with the big bloke in Game of Thrones).
Eventually you’ll cross Chimney Pot Hill Road and continue towards Fern Tree, shadowing Huon Road for about a km. This part of the track has some most awesome sights; the old pipes (which do show through the track from time to time) are completely exposed and on display on two separate sections of this part of the track with some really cool sandstone bits. Again, there are plenty of signs to tell you the history of the pipes, the track, and all sorts of other interesting stuff.
This part of the track ascending to Fern Tree does have some steps – so you’ll need to climb a little up into Fern Tree.
From there, you can stay at the tavern, find a wench and carouse; or walk back to your car. The walk back is always much better, because you’re walking slightly downhill! Plus you get the added benefit of seeing the trail from a different perspective on the way down.
Keep an eye out for mountain bike riders, it is a shared track.
Thanks for reading