Hobart has a wide network of walking tracks. Here are a few of the coastal paths, with views of the River Derwent heading out to the Southern Ocean.
Saturday was a sunny winter day so we went for a drive and a stroll on the east coast.
The steps and decking from the car park to this lookout at Marion Bay, were new since our last visit. Then it was a windy day and kite surfers were taking advantage of the air currents and waves. Now the beach was desserted.
Although this weekend was calm, there was evidence of recent storms.
The sand dunes have been eroded by the ocean and the gales.
Branches and shells continue to be covered by wind blow sand.
Even amongst the natural debris, someone had created a piece of art.
The waves were relatively small but still made a good sound as they crashed to the shore.
Now that I spend my weekdays in an office, weekend walks out in the natural world are essential and refreshing.
It’s been a few months since we went for a bush walk. We have been enjoying the beach and coastal paths during the summer months.
The shade of the bush called us on a still hot day recently, when there was no cooling breeze off the water. A walk on Mount Wellington from Fern Tree to Spring Falls sounded appealing.
Fern Tree is well named with an abundance of tree ferns in the area. We chose the steeper path and walked a longer circular route to the waterfalls.
There was no sign of water in the gullies or below the bridges that we navigated.
At a junction of bush tracks we saw this memorial. A little further on, this marker provided more information about the 1903 race.
The waterfalls were well worth the effort even after a long dry spring and summer. We must revisit after some winter rains.
I’m joining Jo’s Monday Walk this week.
My contribution to Jo’s walk this week is a gentle stroll.
Every fortnight there is a twilight market nearby. There are craft stalls, food and drink booths, musical entertainment and games for the kids.
After a delicious seafood pastry and bottle of local cider, we strolled home. It was low tide so we took the scenic route along the beach rather than up the road.
Photos were taken looking back the way we came, looking away from the setting sun.
The walk took us along the sand, under the boat jetty, past the steps leading nowhere, around the boats, over some rocks, home to mussels and oysters, over a rusty boat ramp, more rocks, past the ducks and cormorants, eventually along the section of beach below our balcony.
A very pleasant December evening in Hobart.
This coastal path on the River Derwent, just south of Hobart, is one of our favourite places.
The well maintained footpath hugs the coastline as it passes through a range of vegetation.
The rocks are not far below, with some people choosing to walk that route. As the tide is coming in, there is a constant sound of waves breaking on the rocks. There are glimpses of yachts out on the river.
There are information signs along the track, identifying trees, flowers or sharing a little of the history of the area.
The path skirts the edge of homes that have boundaries to the high water mark. Most home owners are happy for the path to cross their land. A few are not. In some sections there are steps to negotiate a gully.
Then the path opens to this view. The cove is full of pebbles but a closer look shows a high ratio of shells amongst the stones.
We continue around the point to another little beach. Sand this time with a boat shed and dinghies upturned on the grass. It is good to see kids playing on the beach and on the rocks, exploring and enjoying nature.
As we back track we pass a lone grave, a historic site of the oldest known European grave in Tasmania. James Batchelor was buried here on 28th January 1810. He was a young sailor who died on his ship, Venus, that had brought much needed wheat from Calcutta, to the new colony in Van Diemen’s Land. A perfect last resting place, with views of the estuary and the beach below.
Hidden behind the trees, the University of Tasmania has a research campus.
We’ve walked here at various times of the day and in different tide and wind conditions. When a southerly wind blows in, the waves pick up and we have seen surfers having fun on boards or in kayaks.
On a calm evening at low tide, the long shadows enhance the peacefulness of the beach.
Taroona Beach is also a perfect spot for observing the night sky and because it is south facing with minimal light pollution, we have been fortunate to see the Aurura Australis from here – The Southern Lights. As I said, it’s a favourite place.
“Salmon Ponds” is a heritage hatchery set in beautiful grounds. It is the oldest hatchery in the southern hemisphere. We enjoyed a walk around on a sunny spring day.
“From it’s inception in the mid 1800’s, Salmon Ponds was designed with visitors in mind. The grounds were landscaped with exotic trees reflecting a Victorian era garden setting. The hatchery with it’s network of display ponds was open to the public.”
The gardens contain over fifty varieties of native and European trees. They are all clearly labelled and are noted on an information sheet map, along with pictures and leaf shapes of each tree type. Original buildings are dotted around the grounds.
Several heritage buildings explain the challenge of bringing salmon and trout from Britain to Tasmania, the life cycle of the fish and history of trout fishing.
The grounds run along side the River Plenty, home to trout and platypus. They grounds are all accessible to wheelchairs and it was interesting to see ramps for disabled fishermen.
There are various ponds, each stocked with a different variety of salmon or trout. Visitors are encouraged to buy food and to feed the fish. This was a lot of fun. There was a lot of splashing going on, with some fish jumping out of the water. Atlantic Salmon, Brown Trout, Tiger Trout and Rainbow Trout were difficult to photograph. Whereas the Albino Rainbow Trout were easily visible in the water.
Although it is called “Salmon Ponds” and salmon were released into the rivers from here, these migratory fish never returned. Trout became the success story and over the years ova from here were used to establish hatcheries throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Victorian challenge to bring the fish reminded me of the movie “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”.
This is my contribution to Jo’s Weekly Walk. Click on the link to enjoy a variety of walks from around the world.
There is so much I could write about Port Arthur, but I’ll keep it to bullet points, let my photos give you a taste of the place and share a link to the official website.
~ Established in 1830 to obtain timber for various government projects.
~ Soon became punishment settlement for repeat offenders and hardened convicts.
~ By 1840’s it was a thriving industrial settlement using convict labour. 2000 people lived here, including soldiers and civilian staff.
~ Produced bricks, stonework, clothing, boats and ships. Convicts also trained and worked as carpenters, shoe makers, wood turners and blacksmiths.
~ A few officer’s wives lived here, who washed, sewed and provided nursing care for the soldier’s in their husband’s company.
~ “Point Puer” boys prison was the first purpose built juvenile reformatory in the British Empire, where boys as young as nine, received an education and learnt a trade through apprenticeship.
~ When transportation ended in 1853, it became an institution for aging and physically or mentally ill convicts.
~ Finally closed in 1877. Many buildings were demolished or destroyed by bush fire.
~ Some convict period buildings became museums in the 1920’s with the site now World Heritage listed.
~ In April 1996 a lone gunman killed 35 people and physically injured 19 others here. Australia reviewed and restricted the gun laws as a result.
A walk around the site today
~ Visitor centre is an interactive and informative introduction to the settlement.
~ Each visitor is given a card, which is linked to a particular convict. As you walk through the visitor centre, you follow your convict, his crime, sentence, the job he was assigned to in the settlement, whether he improved his life, to not.
~ As you step outside, you appreciate the vast size of the settlement. The four storey Penitentiary building is the iconic image that appears on postcards. There are thirty other historic buildings as well as ruins and gardens.
~ A short boat tour on the harbor explains the shipbuilding history, passing the Point Puer boys section and the Isle of the Dead, the cemetery for the settlement, convicts, soldiers and civilians.
~ A walking tour points out the key buildings and history of the site. Everyone is then free to explore the grounds, ruins, gardens and looks inside the various buildings that are open as period examples of life on the settlement.
~ Port Arthur was a complete community, so as well as convict buildings, there was a military district, with a guard tower and officer’s quarters. There were government cottages and gardens. There was a hospital, law courts and the Commandant’s house.
♣ Built as a flour mill and granary, but soon became home to the convicts.
♣ Lower floors contained solitary cells, with upper floors being bunk rooms for better behaved convicts.
♣ Building has been renovated in the past two years with modern metal design now supporting the original brick ruins.
The Commandants House
♣ An intriguing house, fitting for the most senior resident of settlement.
♣ Later converted into a hotel, the rooms display different periods of it’s history.
♣ Rooms show the construction and restoration of the building in an insightful way. Small sections are peeled away – the lintel over a doorway, the plaster and wooden framework under the wallpaper, floor to the boards and cellar beneath.
Guard Tower in Military District
♣ View over penitentiary and harbor.
♣ Rough cut and uneven stone work, believed to be a sample of stone mason workmanship of the young apprentices.
The Separate Prison
♣ A silent prison, with convicts locked in solitary cells for 23 hours a day.
♣ The hour exercise was also in isolation and in silence.
♣ The only time they could use their voice was singing during the weekly service within the prison.
♣ Unique chapel where each prisoner entered a row then pulled door closed behind him. Each prisoner stood, with only a view forward to the pulpit. They could not see or communicate with their neighbours.
♣ Over a thousand people attended compulsory services each Sunday.
♣ It is not consecrated as it was a unique multi faith building.
♣ Names of the three staff members and thirty two visitor victims are displayed.
♣ The shell of the café building has been incorporated into the garden of remembrance and reflection.
Grounds and gardens
♣ It is hard to imagine convict life here whilst walking the quiet, spacious grounds.
♣ Hard to imagine the isolation as today we drive in and drive out again. For the convicts, there were no roads, only access by sea, many hours sailing to the nearest community.
♣ Steps around the settlement indicate the number of people who lived and worked here, year on year with no future in sight.
More information at http://www.portarthur.org.au
This is my contribution to Jo’s Walk, where you can join a variety of walks from around the world.
Mount Field is one of Tasmania’s oldest and most popular national parks, with a mix of tall forests and waterfalls in the lowlands rising to ski field, moors and lakes of the highlands.
Russell Falls are stunning.
Above Russell Falls are the Horseshoe Falls, not as tall but just as spectacular.
We continued along another track to Lady Barron Falls. Three beautiful waterfalls, through bush and forest, along rivers, over bridges and up some wooden step pathways. The easy stroll extended into a delightful two hour circular walk.
Along the way to the third waterfall we entered the Tall Trees Walk, where some of the world’s tallest flowering trees grow. Swamp Gums are huge, with bark stripped and hanging in ribbons half way up the trunk. As we looked up, they formed a second canopy, way above the rest of the trees.
As we left the National Park Visitor Centre there was a warning sign about falling trees and branches. We didn’t take much notice until we ducked under obstacles on the track, clambered over fallen trunks. We had never walked through woods with so many fallen trees. Luckily it was a very still day, no wind, no sound of leaves rustling or branches swaying in the breeze. No sound of cracking branches above our heads. However, it was easy to imagine the chaos on a stormy day with strong winds.
The Tahune Airwalk is a unique stroll amongst the tree tops, located deep within the forests of southern Tasmania. The area has a long history of forestry and logging back to the early settlers and convicts.
The metal walkway is twenty metres above the forest floor, linked by platforms. The final section is a cantilever, balancing over forty metres above the Huon River. The views are stunning, both looking out and looking directly down.
I’ll let the photos do the talking.
For someone who doesn’t like walking on piers, open stairs or boardwalks, this was not too scary.
The swing bridges were worse, especially when kids jumped and rocked the bridges on purpose. I didn’t dare stop in the middle to take photos, I was too worried about dropping my iPhone.
The guys in our group experienced the hang glider. A four hundred long zip wire ride over the river. I wimped out and just watched.
It was a lovely day, with other walks alongside the river and through the huon pine forest. We took rolls and salads along with steak and burgers which we cooked on the public barbecue. Our first barbecue of spring. There was a fixed bridge over the river, where it was safe to take photos.
This is my contribution to Jo’s Monday Walk Have a look at the mix of walks, locations and lovely photo’s that other bloggers have shared for this challenge.