Bush Walking/ Hiking – Collins Bonnet via Mount Connection

Yesterday I trudged to Collins Bonnet.

 

Why did I do that? Good question.

Possibly more important questions though; who is Collins and why does he have a Bonnet?

Short answer: Buggered if I know.

 

But anyway, that’s where I went.

 

I revisited Hartz Peak on Sunday, and sadly the weather was the same as last time; sleet, howling wind and about 2 degrees. I was lucky today. The weather was cool and clear, and the views were uninterrupted in every direction.

Collins Bonnet and the nearby Trestle Mountain form a feature called ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

I bet you’re wondering how you get there.

 

There are a number of ways, actually. You can go the same way I went to Collins Cap back in November. Or you can do the walk from Mountain River, to the south.

Today I went from the Mount Wellington side. To get there from Hobart, head up Davey Street. Keep in the right hand lane, and continue upwards along Huon Road to Fern Tree. Make the sharp right hand turn to Pinnacle Road and drive another 10 or so kilometres until you get to a spot called ‘The Big Bend’. I know, it sounds like it’s got something to do with plumbing.

There are a couple of car parks nearby. The only time you may not be able to get a car park is if it’s been snowing. Then, half of Hobart will be on the mountain. My ute probably won’t be there when you go. If it is, then please find me and say hello.

 

Ute

Ute

For ease of reference, here’s where you go:

Trudge this way

Trudge this way

Follow the Big Bend Fire Trail for just under 2km. It’s not exactly a red carpet through the bush, so be prepared for a slow trip. I found it challenging to keep my footing a few times on the loose rocks.

Fire Trail

Fire Trail

Very soon, you will see this sign.

Sign

Sign

You now have a choice; to follow the route across Mount Connection, or keep following the fire trail. I went across Mount Connection. So basically you climb two mountains today. Fun, yeah? The fire trail route is a lot further.

Trail

Trail

Mount Connection is about three and a half kilometres of trudging. The trail is fairly rugged and slow going. The best bit is an outcrop called ‘The Pulpit’, which is on the western side. You get a very good view from the top.

Rocks of the Pulpit

Rocks of the Pulpit

Eventually you descend from Mount Connection and re-join the fire trail. Now you trudge up the hill toward the summit of Collins Bonnet. The fire trail ascends for about a kilometre before you arrive at the branch of the trail that will take you to the summit.

Rejoin Fire trail

Rejoin Fire trail

Insert trudging here

Insert trudging here

This next section is even more rugged than before. Lots of clambering over boulders to make your way to the top.

Boulders

Boulders

Once at the top, the views are fantastic. Apologies these pictures are not in any sort of order…

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East and south toward Kingston with Cathedral Rock showing

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North west toward New Norfolk

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South toward Huonville

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West

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East toward Hobart

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East and north

20160329_125841

North

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Down

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West and Trestle Mountain

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South West

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South to Mountain River

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North

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East to Mount Connection and Mount Wellington

Now turn around and walk back. I retraced my steps. I figured at least the rocks on the Mount Connection trail were embedded in the earth, which was better than the loose rocks of the fire trail.

Oh, when you do rejoin the fire trail and make that last ascent back to the Big Bend, it is quite challenging after a long hike. Maybe I was just tired? Three walks in seven days…

The walk was 14.23km and took me a touch over five hours to complete. Here is a link to my Endomondo workout.

Thanks for reading!

 

Pete 

Bushwalking/ Hiking – Cape Pillar

Yesterday I trudged out to Cape Pillar.

Cape Pillar is on the Tasman Peninsula, about 120 km from Hobart.

I showed you on my write up of the Cape Hauy walk how to get to the peninsula, and also info on National Park fees, entry, etc.

There’s some really good information here about the area, and on the changing weather conditions.

Mobile Phone Coverage

The Cape Pillar walk was the only time I’d been on the Tasman Peninsula where I had no phone reception for about 95% of the trek. Both mine and my work mobile phones are with Telstra, and they generally cover most of the peninsula. Not so for this walk. Fortescue Bay the reception is fine, then I had very intermittent coverage on the old Cape Pillar track, and then again only at the end on the summit of The Blade did I get reception again.

The Trudge

Cape Pillar is a 30-odd kilometre trudge that you can do as a day walk (for idiots like me), or an overnight or longer walk for normal people.

Cape Pillar

If you’re looking for a first class trudging experience, you can do Cape Pillar as part of the Three Capes Track.

It’s possible to do the three capes by yourself for nothing more than the cost of park entry fees and petrol. However, I have to say (after seeing how well the participants are treated on these treks) the Three Capes Track is certainly something worth looking at if you’re not in the business of trudging so far in a day.

So once you’ve braved the dirt road into Fortescue Bay, where do you go?

I’m glad you asked.

About 100 metres before the ranger’s office at the Fortescue Bay camp ground, the old Cape Pillar Track starts and plunges into the forest.

Go in here.

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Start here

And take note of the sign. It basically says don’t go in here unless you’re stupid and willing to admit it.

Don't go here; too dangerous

Don’t go here; too dangerous

The old trail is not as well-maintained as it could be. The track is well-marked; you can’t possibly get lost. Well, unless you leave the trail. But that would be pretty dumb, yeah?

I found that I had to get my gaiters out of my pack while walking the old trail. The mixture of traditional hiking trail (tree roots and rocks), duck-boarding and overgrown areas was about even.

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Old trail

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Old trail again

Apologies for the blurry pictures… I must have been shaking in my excitement of trudging out here.

Follow this trail until you get to an intersection a touch over 7km in.

Intersection

Intersection

This is where the old meets the new. Put away your gaiters and walking poles, break out your comfy slippers… the new track is a red carpet ride through the bush. In fact, it’s so good it’s difficult for me to call it a bush walk…

Follow the trail to Cape Pillar.

And that’s it, the end.

 

 

 

Okay, so I can go into a bit more detail if you like.

At the intersection and just afterwards there are a couple of side treks for either the Three Capes walkers, or the folks who are looking for a freebie camp site. The track to Wughalee Falls camp area is the only camp site available for the trudgers who are not part of the Three Capes Walk.

About 2km past the intersection you will come across what is basically a hotel in the bush. It’s the Munro Campsite, for the Three Capes Trudging crew. It’s pretty nice. Here is the view from the deck back toward Cape Hauy.

to Cape Hauy and beyond

to Cape Hauy and beyond

You will need to pass through the hotel grounds to continue on your trudge.

Bush hotel

Bush hotel

Keep walking, and you will see more and more of the amazing coastline as you go.

Keep walking

Keep walking

And a frog pond. The frogs were noisy, but not immediately visible.

Frogs in a pond

Frogs in a pond

There are lots of seats on the trail that you can use. But most are just pretty chairs. This one was a bit too weird, so I had to take a photo.

Weird chair

Weird chair

This sign is wonderful… if you approach to within 2 metres of a cliff’s edge, you will fall to your doom.

Fall down here

Fall down here

So don’t stand on the edges and take pictures looking straight down, or of your feet dangling over the edge.

Don't do this

Don’t do this

or this...

or this…

Like all the walks out this way, the further you go, the better the views become. The coastline is slowly revealed as you get closer to the end of the trail.

cliffs

cliffs

Tasman Island starting to peek through...

Tasman Island starting to peek through…

Serious note about this walk. These cliffs are the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere (according to Wikipedia). There are no fences, or any other protections to stop you from falling over the edge. It gets quite windy here, and even on a reasonably calm day the wind can gust suddenly and unexpectedly. Be careful.

the view down

the view down

and down

and down

Cliffs

Cliffs

The cliffs here are over 300m high (nearly a thousand feet for those using Imperial measurements).

sea, rocks... and cliffs

sea, rocks… and cliffs

Here’s what it looks like from the water. I took these pictures a few years ago.

Cape Pillar. The Blade is on the top right

Cape Pillar. The Blade is on the top right

And Tasman Island from the eastern side.

Tasman Island

Tasman Island

Back on dry land, my walk continued…

The Trident

The Trident

Cliffs

Cliffs

Once you’re over the awe of seeing these cliffs, keep going to the end. You can climb a formation called The Blade for even better views, especially of Tasman Island.  This climb is harder than the rest of the trek. And be careful at the top; sudden wind gust abound, even on a reasonably calm day.

The Blade. This way...

The Blade. This way…

Don't go up here, it's very dangerous

Don’t go up here, it’s very dangerous

The view back (from The Blade). Yes, I went up regardless of the signs. And I ate lunch on the top.

The view back (from The Blade). Yes, I went up regardless of the signs. And I ate lunch on the top. In the background to the top left you can see Cape Raoul.

 

Tasman Island again

Tasman Island again

If you feel adventurous, you can follow a side trail to a spot called The Chasm, further along the cape. I didn’t feel that adventurous (and was conscious of time and incoming weather), so I trudged back.

The Chasm can be reached via a small side trail below The Blade. From all reports it is quite a difficult trek. You can get right to the end and look down upon the formation of Cathedral Rock. Here’s what it looks like from the sea.

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock

… Not the same Cathedral Rock that sits just off Mount Wellington…

 

Now, you can walk back to your car (like I did), or to your campsite.

My GPS says I walked 32km.  A very enjoyable trudge. I started at about 8.30 am and got back to my car at 5.30pm. The hike itself took just under 8 and a half hours, but I turned the tracker off while I ate lunch on The Blade.

Here is a link to my Endomondo workout

You should be able to scroll down into the map for a better idea of the trail.

Thanks for reading!

 

Pete

Bushwalking/ Hiking – Organ Pipes Circuit

Today I trudged around the Organ Pipes Circuit on Mt Wellington. The Organ Pipes Circuit comprises of three trails, and can be done as a much shorter trudge if you just want to see the impressive walls of rock.

If you’re in Hobart and haven’t noticed Mt Wellington, here it is…

Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington

(From Wikipedia)

Go on, take a closer look. That mountain in the background…? Yeah, that’s it.

The pinnacle of the mountain is a touch under 1,300 metres above sea level.

The Organ Pipes are the distinctive rocky feature just underneath the big white transmission tower.

Here’s a picture I took from the Sphinx Rock lookout that should eliminate any confusion about what we’re talking about.

Organ Pipes

Organ Pipes

I must thank Erin who hosts Bush Treks Tasmania who planted the seed of an idea for me to do this walk.

So, right… now that you can see where it is, I bet you’re wondering how to get there? Best way is by helicopter. But if you’re like me and don’t have one, you will have to make your own way up to a place called The Springs, a little over halfway up the mountain. (In case you’ve forgotten which mountain, please see the first few paragraphs again).

From Hobart, head up Davey Street. Keep in the right hand lane, and continue upwards along Huon Road to Fern Tree. Make the sharp right hand turn to Pinnacle Road and drive another 6 or so kilometres until you get to The Springs.

Both Huon Road and Pinnacle Road are windy (as in, there are lots of curves), and frequented by cyclists, so please drive with care. Pinnacle Road is a little narrow, and is full of touristy-type people who don’t know where they are going, and locals who don’t know how to keep left.

Once at The Springs, park your car and head off. There is a small side road that leads to the old Springs Hotel (and another car park). Head up that way. Or, if you’re like me and the car park is full when you get there, drive up and park here.

The Old Springs Hotel burned down in 1967, and is now a popular picnic spot.

Here it is; viewed from my ute.

The Old Springs Hotel

The Old Springs Hotel

I did the track in a clockwise direction. If you wish to go the opposite way, turn the page upside down, and read from the bottom…

Follow the signs to the Zig Zag Track, and you’re on your way.

Signs

Signs

I did this trudge on a warm summer’s day. The weather up here is quite variable, even in summer. In winter, it is regularly covered in snow.

The start of the trail is pretty easy. A very gradual incline heading north and west toward the Organ Pipes.

To your right throughout this part of the trek are fantastic views of Hobart and surrounds.

View

View

Like a lot of tracks, the further you go in, the rougher they become. So you will need to keep your eyes on your feet as the trail grows its obligatory rocks and tree roots.

I found this rock. Well, stumbled across it.

Rock. And Roll

Rock. And Roll

It seems it used to be up here somewhere.

Whence it came

Whence it came

You will get to a junction in the trail where we abandon the Zig Zag/ Pinnacle track and take the right hand fork toward the Organ Pipes. I’ll probably come back another day to do the Pinnacle one.

Junction

Junction

The trail gets a fair bit rockier past this point, and soon you will trudge past the bottom of the magnificent Organ Pipes.

Organ Pipes

Organ Pipes

The trail does not go right underneath the bottom of the Organ Pipes; but if you’re feeling really adventurous (like I was), there are little side treks where you can climb up to the Organ Pipes, and climb halfway (or more) up them.

A word of warning: The signs are not making fun of the fact that climbers wear funny hats and need ropes to climb. It’s dangerous to go past unless you are a moron, or reasonably comfortable with climbing. As a mixture of both, I felt safe enough. Otherwise, do not leave the main trail.

Don't go, unless you're really careful...

Don’t go, unless you’re really careful…

So anyway, I think I ended up somewhere called ‘Great Tier’ (according to the signs).

I did come across a couple of abseiling people, who looked at me as if I was a bit strange.

I got a bit over halfway up, where it became simply impossible to go further without experience, climbing gear, and a climbing mate. As I had none of those, I stopped to take a few pictures.

The climb

The climb

 

Up here

Up here

 

Whence I came...

Whence I came…

Organ Pipes

Organ Pipes

Organ Pipes again

Organ Pipes again

And here’s what Hobart looks like from afar.

Hobart

Hobart

So carefully make your way back to the main trail and then keep going roughly north.

Again some rocky terrain, but you will come out at The Chalet, which is really just a stone shelter on Pinnacle Road. If you want to do the entire circuit, proceed (with care – remember, cars, traffic…) downwards on Pinnacle Rod for a short way until you come to Hunters Track.

Walk this way...

Walk this way…

Head downward on this track for a way. It’s quite steep-ish. When you get to this junction, make sure you keep following Hunters Track (turn right). Otherwise you will end up in Lenah Valley. This is cool, because I’m sure Lenah Valley is a nice suburb… but you left your car at The Springs, remember…?

 

Turn right

Turn right

Hunters Track is a bit rougher in places, with a couple of rock scree crossings. They’re not unsafe, but you do have to pay attention.

Rocky. Not Balboa

Rocky. Not Balboa

You will (hopefully) arrive at Junction Cabin, which is a good place to rest if needs be. I think I covered it in my North South Track post.

From here, follow the Lenah Valley Track back to The Springs. This trail is relatively easy. Some bumpy and rocky bits, including going past Rock Cabin.

I sadly never saw Metal Cabin or Hard Rock Cabin. Oh well…

Sphinx Rock lookout is worth the visit. It’s about a 1 minute side trudge off the main trail. It is a sheer drop though, so be careful.

Lookout!

Lookout!

Keep walking along Lenah Valley Trail until you re-join the world at The Springs. If you parked at the old Springs Hotel, you can take a little shortcut back onto Pinnacle Road a little before the end. Remember, road/ be careful…

All up my GPS said the trudge was 12.12km, and took me a touch over three and a half hours. But that does include some fairly slow climbing, and stopping for a chat with a nice family at Sphinx Rock for a while.

Here’s a link to my Endomondo workout.

Thanks for reading!

Pete