Mount Misery. Beautiful Tasmania
“Top Walks in Tasmania”
HOBART REGION. MOUNT MISERY
Take in a wide-angle view from Flat Rock on Mount Misery sub-alpine plateau.
|Aboriginal cultural connections and colourful geology, lush rainforest and exposed hilltops make this walk, on private property, a delight rather than the misery its name suggests.|
|Mount Misery. Walk:||8.6km loop|
|Mount Misery. Time required:||3–4 hours|
|Mount Misery. Best time:||Sunny day|
|Mount Misery. Grade:||Easy|
|Mount Misery. Environment:||Rainforest, tall eucalypt forest, sub-alpine heathland, waterfalls|
|Mount Misery. Best map:||This one|
|Mount Misery. Toilets:||Flush toilets in the car park/reserve|
|Mount Misery. Food:||None|
|Mount Misery. Tips:||Access to walking tracks is included in Huon Bush Retreats’ accommodation rates (www.huonbushretreats.com); day visitors are asked to make a donation (at the walk registration booth) to contribute to track maintenance.|
Mount Misery. About 42% of Tasmania is protected and managed as national parks and reserves, but that’s not enough for some people, who establish private conservation areas and invite the public to share their vision. Huon Bush Retreats is such an enterprise. This nature-based carbon-positive tourism village in the Huon Valley was founded by two environmentalists who also established the Huon Nature Trust. They work with other like-minded landowners to conserve Mount Misery and surrounds and walking here reveals why they bother. The four walks at Huon Bush Retreats range from a 20-minute village loop to the longer loop described here. Each has an Aboriginal theme and the longest walk is the Dreaming; you are invited to drift back in time and appreciate the Palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) people’s concepts of time and place. Interpretive signs on the walks provide alternative and even conflicting Aboriginal perspectives, early European viewpoints, and modern concepts.
Mount Misery. Huon Bush Retreats is 50 minutes’ drive south-west of Hobart. Exit the city on the A6 Southern Outlet and head for Huonville. The property is signed 2.5km south of Grove, at the C619 (North Huon Rd) turnoff to Judbury. Follow the C619 and ‘Retreat’ signs and turn right onto Browns Rd about 3km beyond Ranelagh. From here there’s 3km of narrow, winding gravel to the property gate and another kilometre to reception; the last 500m is steep so don’t stop. Take care and watch for wildlife. Drive through the property until you see the walker registration shelter on the right. There are roadside parking spots. From the shelter you enter rainforest inhabited by superb lyrebirds, Australia’s expert mimics. If you hear numerous different bird calls one after the other, it’s probably a lyrebird; look for a harp-shaped tail among the foliage. Lyrebirds aren’t native to Tasmania; 22 were introduced from Victoria between 1934 and 1949 because of fears the mainland population was at risk from predation. The Tasmanian population is now estimated at 8000 and the birds are considered a pest. This doesn’t diminish the thrill of seeing and hearing one on this walk. Mount Misery.
Mount Misery. You’ll pass a giant ash (eucalypt) about 20m in diameter that has survived losing its crown; it’s quite lumpy and covered in moss low down – and peeling to grey-and-cream striped smooth bark further up. A sign in a small clearing further on explains how to measure the height of a nearby tree (marked) using Pythagoras’ theorem and a clinometer (provided). Swing left here and step down, turning right at a track junction beyond luscious ferns. Directly behind a patch of mossy fallen trunks and branches is a monster tree, twice as big as the earlier one. Look out for fungi in this damper forest and the leeches that counter their beauty! Duck under a fallen tree and climb a track thick with leaf litter. Boardwalk (slippery when wet) traverses a treed slope to a small platform spanning a creek crammed with tree ferns, some 10m tall. (The starchy part of tree ferns was an important food for Aborigines.) Mount Misery.
Mount Misery. Stone steps continue uphill into beech forest. Then, suddenly, the fern forest is behind and below – and young, strappy trees outnumber big ones. Zigzag upwards into tea tree and giant ash (Eucalyptus regnans) to gated Regnans Lookout, for a miniature view of the Huon Valley through the treetops. The track zigs and zags some more, and runs along curved, layered stone, to a sandstone lip striped and swirled red, orange, yellow and white. A short climb and you’re on Mount Misery sub-alpine plateau. Neighbouring hills reach across the horizon as you walk through banksias, stunted tea tree and other hardy heath shrubs to Flat Rock, about 2.5km into the walk. This naturally crazed rock, imprinted with historic European engravings, presents a wide-angle view of D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island, Tasman Peninsula, and the peaks of Southwest National Park. Mount Misery.
Mount Misery. Poles mark the route beyond Flat Rock and on warm, sunny days, insect hum adds a metallic soundscape to a pleasant roof-top walk. The track swings right and down into tall eucalypts and bracken burned in a 2007 bushfire, then continues predominantly slightly uphill to another information board. The boulder pile beyond is the end of the track, and a short scramble puts you on top. Despite the 700m altitude there is no fantastic view here, just the tops of some peaks, but the geology is interesting and it’s a lovely lunch spot. A footpad on the right as you approach (left going back) leads about 75m to a better Huon Valley view but it is on a neighbouring property, whose owner forbids entry and has erected a ‘private property’ sign a short way in. Backtrack about 3km to the last junction and turn right towards the village. Continue to another junction, over one fallen tree, down another and past a tree stump – why did axemen fell this one and not others? The village is a few minutes to the left but turn right for the Lightning Tree and Hidden Falls. Mount Misery.
Mount Misery. Longer than the suggested 10 minutes but worth it, this detour descends steeply through fern forest, on boardwalk and rock steps and leaf-littered track, all slippery when damp. About 350m from the junction, you walk through a giant tree blackened and hollowed; imagine the sound when the lightning struck! Several more minutes down are the falls. Panels describe how this once reliable cascade has almost ceased flowing, due to global warming, but it’s a pretty gully. Ferns crown the opposite cliff, down which water trickles, and Christmas-bauble ferns crowd the limbs of a tree growing out of the rock. Back at the main track, turn right. You’ll shortly arrive at a gravel road; the walker registration shelter is a hundred metres up to your left, village reception to your right