I've written before about how great Mount Wellington Park is, lying close to Tasmania's capital city, and with a wonderful, if somewhat overgrown in sections, labyrinth of tracks. It would take quite a few days to walk all the tracks and hike up all the little mountains. For this trip, Doug and I drove up the narrow, winding summit road to the Big Bend and parked a half kilometre on in a large parking area. The track along Thark Ridge leaves from this location and you can make a short loop with another old road to Devils Throne and back, but we were off for Collins Bonnet, a half dozen kilometres to the west and in a cluster of little peaks above Myrtle Forest Creek.
Collins Bonnet from Mount Connection
There is actually a great view from the parking lot over the River Derwent, so remember to take a gander before you walk back down the road to the start of the track. Actually, it's a shame there isn't a little bit of bush track to get from the parking lot to the start of the track as it is a narrow, busy road to walk on. Big Bend Track is an old fire-road, wide, a bit loose, but easy walking for a couple of kilometres downhill to a junction with a much older barely recognisable road that is helpfully signed "Collins Bonnet."
Doug on the heath lands
A half a kilometre along this track another old sign marks a slightly overgrown track off to the right, again signed "Collins Bonnet." This is another nice section of track across some open heathland with distant views to the Hartz Mountains and brightly coloured foliage in the foreground. The track climbs up and goes almost over the top of Mount Connection, and then heads down the west side and at a pond, joins the East West Trail. Another stony section of fire trail follows as you climb up to Collins Bonnet. The final section of track ends with a rising traverse of dolerite talus boulders and then heads due west to the trig station on Collins Bonnet.
Collins Cap from Collins Bonnet
Mount Wellington seems to be a windy place, and this day was no exception. Standing by the trig. station was like sticking your head into the jet stream with the wind blowing well over 30 knots. I tried to take some photos of Mount Field and Mount Anne, to the northwest and west respectively, but I could barely steady the camera. We managed to find a little spot by dolerite boulders just below the summit for lunch looking back over towards Mount Wellington, but it would have been nice to sit on the summit. Three young and enthusiastic lads came along and, in true Tasmanian fashion, were wearing shorts and declared it "a great day for it." At the advanced age of 52, I really enjoy seeing younger folks out enjoying the outdoors.
Cathedral Rock and Mount Montagu from Collins Bonnet
We didn't realise at the time, but you could walk back a slightly different way by staying on the East West Track until it meets the Big Bend Track but it would involve more elevation gain and loss, and more fire trail walking and the track is probably nicer. In any case, we went back the way we had come.
Mount Wellington from Collins Cap