Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Threefor: Meehan Range, Derwent River, Port Arthur

Herein lie three short trip reports in one. First off, we planned to walk along Pontos Hills to Mount Lord. This is on private farm land, but, in the not too distant past, walkers frequently strolled along this scenic ridge-line until the modern obsession with litigation over trivial matters got in the way. We were part way along the ridge when we met a local farmer who was really concerned lest we stray onto his (we were actually on his neighbours land at the time) land as his insurance company had warned him that he was in big trouble should someone have any kind of minor mishap on his land. I really do wish that individuals, corporations, and lawyers would tackle the major public health issues, that is, excessive consumption of processed food and desist from chasing minor issues that have no real consequences for our society. But, there it is, it is much easier to tackle minor issues than cure society of the deep seated carbohydrate induced malaise that is costing us all a fortune both financially and in quality of life. 

 Doug heading out past Garden Point

Well, we didn't want to go home, so we walked back to the car, and drove down to the Meehan Range which is public land, and, rambled up Stringybark Gully, along the ridgeline that encompasses Simmons Hill, in an easy under two hour loop. There are great mountain bike tracks here, but, sadly, we have no mountain bikes, so we just walked. 

A few days later, I had some errands to run near Hobart, so I stopped off at Risdon for a stroll along the Derwent River. There is a small nature reserve here and a larger area of native bushland, and, you can make up various circle walks taking in both the river shore and the hills above the river. I started from Saundersons Road near Porter Bay and followed minor tracks along the shoreline down to Bedlam Walls where I picked up a more major track that is part of the Clarence Valley track system and continued on to Geilston Bay. This was very pleasant as, for the first day in a couple of weeks, the wind had dropped and it was sunny. On the way back, I followed old vehicle tracks up onto Government Hills where you get nice views of Mount Wellington and made a loop walk back.

 Cliffs near Point Puer

Finally, yesterday, we went out sea kayaking. It has probably been a month since our last trip. Cold weather and steady winds have kept us out of the kayaks. Our initial plan was to launch from Lagoon Bay and paddle south down the Forestier Peninsula to The Sisters, thus covering completely the stretch of coastline from the northern end of the Peninsula to Pirates Bay. But, a locked and gated road barred access to Lagoon Bay so we quickly decided to drive a bit further south to Port Arthur and paddle south down the port to Standup Point. 

 Tasman Island makes a stunning backdrop

There was a two to three metre southerly swell running which gave some bumpy conditions in certain places. From a boat ramp in Stingaree Bay, we paddled straight past Garden Point to Point Puer. There are a lot of sea cliffs and caves along this section of the coast but the swell was running up from the south and hitting the cliffs with some vigour so we could not get in close to any. We then crossed the opening of Safety Cove to Briggs Point and paddled down to Standup Point where the water was confused with the swell, the falling wind, and some moderate currents. In calmer conditions you could likely land in Crescent Bay but with a southerly swell running that was not an option for us.
Back in Safety Cove we were able to easily land at the far south end, and we strolled along the beach in the sun, enjoying the view of Tasman Island. 

Safety Cove

Paddling back to Stingaree Bay, we detoured around Isle of Dead, and past the historic Port Arthur settlement. Coming back past Garden Point we saw a fairy penguin and a seal. Unfortunately, no photos of either. It was a much warmer day than our last day in the kayaks, but, winter still seems to have a relatively firm grip on Tasmania as there was a heavy frost again this morning. 

 Doug paddling past Port Arthur historic site

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