Friday, 22 Nov 2019

Dove Gorge

How to grow Dick
Dove Gorge
- A man with a seven-inch (18 cm) penis may proudly compare his organ to the average man’s five to six inches (12-15 cm) but be intimidated when learning another wields an eight-inch (20 cm) rod.

Dove Gorge. Lower your gaze from the above-ground wonders for a few hours and gorge yourself on this off-the-beaten-track walk. Cradle Mountain and the glaciated landscape over which the famous peak stands sentinel are the deserved stars of the show at the northern end of Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park. But not all the walks here involve rounding lakes and climbing mountains; you can delve into a different aspect of this dramatic country at Dove Gorge.

 Dove Gorge - photo 1

Dove Gorge. Pencil Pine Falls drop into a wide pool.

Walk:

6.5km loop

Time required:

3 hours

Best time:

Any time except winter, when the park can be under snow

Grade:

Easy–moderate (the track becomes narrow and steep in places)

Environment:

Button-grass plains, rocky gorge, fern gullies

Best map:

This one

Toilets:

Flush toilets at the ranger station at beginning/end of the walk

Food:

Kick-start with a coffee and something to eat at the café at Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, 2km outside the park boundary; Cradle Mountain Lodge, near the ranger station and interpretive centre, dishes up delicious bistro and restaurant fare.

Tips:

Wear footwear with good grip and ankle support.

For a full-on Dove Gorge canyoning experience, book a place on a Dove Gorge adventure with Cradle Mountain Canyons

Dove Gorge - photo 2

Dove Gorge

The Dove Gorge walk starts from the interpretive centre – well worth a visit – about 1.5km beyond the main car park and visitor centre. Head to the right of the buildings and pick up the Valley Boardwalk, following it right. You’ll almost immediately enter lush myrtle forest strewn with mossy logs, emerging from that into drier eucalypts.

Dove Gorge. Having pushed through verdant button grass and tangled coral fern to a creek and climbed the other side, boardwalk approaches and then skirts left around rocky Quailes Hill, stepping up to a saddle; with the hill now on your right you come to a junction. Step off the boarding here onto a narrower unformed track signed for Dove Canyon (three hours) and marked with faded arrows on posts; keep an eye on the track markers ahead as you cross a rocky, scrubby patch.

(At the time of treading and writing, this walk was marked with a mix of arrows on posts, arrows on trees, and posts topped with orange paint. There were, though, more boards going in and the signage may also be upgraded.)

Dove Gorge - photo 3

Dove Gorge

Dove Gorge. Walk on between button-grass plain and dense eucalypt scrub, passing elegant mature alpine gums with rough collars and smoother upper trunks striped grey, yellow and pink. The track can be boggy in places through here and there’s parallel boarding in the open and rocky, rooty track through islands of trees. You may encounter canyoners along the way, adventurers headed for or returning from a more intense Dove Gorge experience. You enter taller, lusher forest where a track littered with tiny, papery beech leaves passes a lichen-covered rock wrapped in the roots of a tree growing atop it.

About 700m from the track junction you step from forest onto the rocky lip of a 50m-deep quartzite gorge cut by the Dove River, which is fed by Dove Lake. You can’t see the bottom but can hear the water below. A steep, rocky descent lands you on narrow track even closer to the edge with a wire strung across between you and danger (see point 1 on map). Dove Gorge. Staying this side of the wire but leaning out, you can see down the canyon’s sheer walls, almost to the bottom. The water is loud but still hidden in shadow below.

Dove Gorge. The track continues along that wired lip before retreating from the brink and making a rough but reasonably flat passage through a patch of pretty rainforest, where the opposite gorge wall is barely visible through the trees. This part of the walk is a good sampler for the rougher forest sections of the Overland Track.

Dove Gorge - photo 4

Dove Gorge

Dove Gorge. Descending again, the track narrows across a steep slope, runs along a huge slab of damp rock fringed with dead foliage and traverses a rainforest-clad slope running down to the Dove River, now visible below. Climbing again, away from the water, the track disgorges you into light-flushed tea tree, and here the going flattens out for half an hour or so. Having worked through the edge of a patch of fagus (deciduous beech) forest, you find yourself on a hillside covered in tea tree, with rainforest below and button grass nodding its head against the skyline. Watch for skinks darting across the boardwalk.

Where the boarding swings left, about 200m out of the forest, look for a faint footpad on the right and a couple of old marker posts. This is an unmaintained and in-places overgrown 300m-return detour down to the confluence of the Dove River and Pencil Pine Creek (see point 2 on map). Dove Gorge. You’ll need to push through coarse scrub but there’s a small waterfall at the junction and it’s a lovely place to soak your feet, paddle or just rest on the rocks.

Dove Gorge. After the detour, tread boardwalk and rocky track through scrubby heath to the sound of Pencil Pine Creek. Dropping downhill again, you’ll see a small waterfall and a cliff through the trees to your right, with native pines bristling on the edge. The creek is heard more than seen as you wander through tea tree and occasional patches of rainforest, but then the track descends to a footbridge fording the creek between pretty rapids and a tranquil pool.

Dove Gorge - photo 5

Dove Gorge

Dove Gorge. Clear of the bridge, stone-inlaid gravel track passes a monster wombat hole (left), steps up to boardwalk and follows the contours of a coral fern-covered hill tipping down to Pencil Pine Creek. Across the water there’s a great slab of exposed rock (see point 3 on map) and above it an expanse of button grass edged with eucalypts.

Further on, rainforest closes around you again but beautiful Knyvet Falls shows through the trees, left, and soon after, you reach a lookout atop the cascade. Knyvet Falls is a popular short walk from the interpretation centre and boardwalk runs most of the way back to the car park from here, upstream through rainforest, past infant rapids and shallows where you can cool your feet or just sit and contemplate the leaf patterns. Dove Gorge.

Dove Gorge - photo 6

Dove Gorge

Dove Gorge. Ignore stairs climbing right and follow the boardwalk to its end at Pencil Pine Falls, which drops six or seven metres into a wide plunge pool. Retreat, climb the stairs and tread boardwalk cutting through button grass towards Cradle Mountain Lodge.

At the main park road, cross and walk down the other side to the bridge. Across the bridge, which presents a full-frontal view of a set of cascades immediately upstream, re-cross the road at the pedestrian crossing to the interpretive centre car park to finish. Dove Gorge.

“Top Walks in Tasmania”

Melanie Ball 

 

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