Saturday, 25 May 2019

Moon Valley Rim

Moon Valley Rim

“Top Walks in Tasmania”

Melanie Ball

Moon Valley Rim

 

Moon Valley Rim – an unlikely pairing of tin mining history and sweeping views make for a lovely few hours in the state’s northeast high country.

Moon Valley Rim - photo 1

Moon Valley Rim. A wide-angle view awaits at the top of Mt Poimena

Walk.

Moon Valley Rim

4.5km loop

Time required. 

Moon Valley Rim

2–3 hours

Best time.

Moon Valley Rim

Clear day

Grade.

Moon Valley Rim

Easy

Environment.

Moon Valley Rim

Rocky hilltop, heath, old tin mine site, forest, unsealed road

Best map.

Moon Valley Rim

This one

Toilets.

Moon Valley Rim

Composting toilets in the Poimena Day Use Area

Food.

Moon Valley Rim

None

Tips.

Moon Valley Rim

Take a jacket to protect against the windy tops, even on warm days.

      Moon Valley Rim - photo 2

Moon Valley Rim

     Moon Valley Rim. A sub-alpine granite plateau crowning just over 800m above sea level, the Blue Tier was named (presumably because it looked blue) in the 1830s by government surveyor Charles Gould, who also named its surrounds Gould’s Country. Hardships awaited the English, Scottish and German settlers who came to farm the flat lands some thirty years later but the discovery of ‘grey gold’, as tin was called, in the 1870s changed their lot. Over the next 20 years, mines were dug across the range, dams constructed, water wheels erected, and the ring of picks and shovels became the soundtrack for life.  More than 11,000 tonnes of tin was won from the hills between 1875 and 1996 and north-east Tasmania gained the tag ‘Tin Province’.

     The Moon Valley Rim loop walk, one of several in Blue Tiers Forest Reserve, reveals aspects of the local mining industry and its stunning setting, which the miners may not have appreciated. It starts from Poimena Day Use Area (with composting toilets), on Sun Flat Rd, about 25kms north-west of St Helens. To get there, turn on to Lottah Rd off the Tasman Hwy (A3), 15km north-west of St Helens and north again onto gravel Poimena Rd just short of Lottah. You can also approach from Launceston and Scottsdale, turning north onto Lottah Rd about 7km south-east of Weldborough.

 

Moon Valley Rim - photo 3

Moon Valley Rim

     Moon Valley Rim. Marked with orange arrows on poles, the track heads east from Poimena car park up a grassy slope littered with marsupial scats and into tea tree forest often carpeted with frothy white coral lichen. Your first destination is Mt Poimena (816m) and the track takes the easiest route uphill, swinging left as you approach the summit. At the top (see point 1 on map), drop your daypack and explore the granite boulders and their views of the Blue Tier range and Bass Strait coast.

     When you’re done, follow orange markers across the plateau: through tough and wiry sub-alpine scrub, softened with flowers and berries at different times of year, and around boulders and weathered fallen trees. A gorgeous ocean view greets you over a slight rise. Swinging north, continue over granite and down a slope patched with thick moss and embroidered with minuscule yellow fungi. The track descends further into taller forest where delicate ferns enjoy protection not offered up top. You’re at risk of muddy feet treading ground carpeted with green lichen and moss through shapely, shaggy tea tree and native pines. When you emerge, Mt Poimena’s granite-boulder crown dominates the view to your left.

     Moon Valley Rim. The track shadows Full Moon Creek (see point 2 on map) across more exposed slope, with compact plants and only occasional taller trees. Look out for native pepper-berry bushes with elongated leaves and black berries on red stalks. Pepper berry is a popular bush tucker. Tasmania’s north coast and a sliver of beach appear briefly before you descend again, into a grove of myrtle beech.

Moon Valley Rim - photo 4

Moon Valley Rim

     Turn off the main track at the sign for Gough’s Battery (see point 3 on map) and check out the rusty mining relics tucked into the forest. Mining commenced hereabouts in 1875 but operations were at a standstill by 1932 and the lease relinquished in the 1950s. Some relics have been stolen/souvenired over the years and campers have burned timbers but you’ll find interesting and photogenic remains of a ten-head stamp battery, which was powered by a gas-converting Hornsby Rushton engine, a cylindrical boiler and a bucket head, all rusty and perished through. You can see a battery in good condition at the Anchor Mine site to the south-east.

     Moon Valley Rim. Immediately on leaving the battery you pass a man-made tailings dam now prettily trimmed with lichen. Walk on through old myrtle beech, a natural grotto having developed under trees on the right, and turn left onto gravel Sun Flat Rd, which runs through the reserve. This takes you back to the car park, via more gorgeous beech. Look for pretty purple-and-white fairies’ aprons flowers and assorted fungi on the road’s rubbly verge. The track crosses Full Moon Creek and a shared mountain-bike-walker track and passes a quarry with a central unexcavated tree-topped rock island. Soon after you come to one end of the 400m Goblin Walk, which starts in the car park. Turn right here to see how the forest is regenerating after mining or just stay on the road back to your car.

Moon Valley Rim - photo 5

Moon Valley Rim

 

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