Monday, 25 May 2020

Lost World: Mount Wellington. Amazing Tasmania

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- 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.

Mount Wellington.  Rocks Trodden, Sat On, Skirted, Ducked Under

 

Come all ye rock hoppers: fun times await in a natural adventure playground high on Kunanyi/ Mount Wellington. Children shouldn’t have all the fun and the Lost World, on Kunanyi/Mount Wellington, above Hobart, is packed with physical fun for the young at heart. This walk’s not about kilometres covered; it’s about rocks trodden, sat on, skirted, slid down and ducked under.

Lost World: Mount Wellington. Amazing Tasmania - photo 1

Mount Wellington. Ferns add colour and texture to rock crevices.

Walk:

5km loop

Time required:

3–4 hours

Best time:

Clear, dry day. Can be snowbound in winter.

Grade:

Moderate–hard (predominantly clambering and rock-hopping)

Environment:

Mountain road, dolerite cliffs, boulder field, snow-gum forest

Best map:

This one

Toilets:

None

Food:

None

Tips:

How long this walk takes, depends on your prowess on rocks. If you prefer clambering downhill, walk clockwise as described here or if uphill suits you better, walk anticlockwise. Track signs are positioned for walking anticlockwise.  

Dolerite can be slippery when wet so reconsider if it rains; good-gripping, secure footwear is essential in all conditions.

Lost World: Mount Wellington. Amazing Tasmania - photo 2

Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington. The get go is a small road-side parking area below The Chalet (picnic shelter) on Pinnacle Road (C616): 1.5km below Big Bend and 4km from the top of kunanyi/ Mount Wellington, and 20 minutes’ drive from Hobart’s waterfront, via Davey St (A6), Huon Road (B64) and Pinnacle Road. The Hunters Track, which drops down the mountainside directly opposite the parking area is either the first (anticlockwise) or last (clockwise) leg of the Mount Wellington loop.

Clockwise hikers – you are happier clambering down rocks than up? Great – walk up the road, passing The Chalet on your left. Perched 1000m above sea level, this stone shelter is the perfect place for a pre-walk picnic breakfast. It’s also the trailhead for a great short walk to the Organ Pipes, visited on the kunanyi/ Mount Wellington Loop. Watching and listening for cars, continue up the road, past a couple of snow gates closed when conditions beyond make driving unsafe.

Mount Wellington. Alpine shrubs and yellow gums, shedding grey bark to reveal skin-smooth yellow, crowd the rocky slopes – those nearest the road cling with finger-like roots to a bank undermined by rock falls and water. But none of this distracts you for long from the view of Hobart (right), and the Mount Wellington’s dole rite column-cliff ahead.

Lost World: Mount Wellington. Amazing Tasmania - photo 3

Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington. Just short of Big Bend, where Pinnacle Road makes its final turn before gaining the summit, you cross a narrow boulder field running down the mountain (see point 1 on map). The Lost World track goes right about 200m further up, opposite a three-car parking space and before a gated vehicular track on the bend.

The going is immediately rocky but can be boggy too; stick to the track and get dirty rather than skirt trouble spots. To the right is a Derwent Valley vista and further right, kunanyi/ Mount Wellington towers over the spectacle. The rough track crests small boulders as it climbs through alpine heath, twisted snow gums and copper leaf snow-berry bushes, identifiable by their plump white fruit in late summer to autumn, towards a dole rite crown. Note the obelisk, to the right (see point 2 on map), which has split from the main formation; an elegant dead tree stands over it. Foot pads clamber through and around these volcanic rocks but treading the most obvious track brings you to a Lost World track sign: welcome reassurance that you’re going the right way! Mount Wellington. 

Take in the Derwent view through the trees before continuing on a less distinct route with only occasional markers. You’ll come to a natural rock sculpture that’s split from the main formation but not yet toppled. Soon after, you’ve got a big step-down (easier than it looks) immediately below an exquisite snow gum on a lean. Marginally more obvious track then disappears completely among rocks around a gorgeous multi-stemmed eucalyptus. Swing left around the tree onto a short rock slide roughly 2 km into the walk. Once safely down – some walkers find it easier on their backsides although this can rip your shorts asunder – look back up at the tree, which grows out of savagely undercut rock. Mount Wellington.

Lost World: Mount Wellington. Amazing Tasmania - photo 4

Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington  and Hobart

 

Descend steeply now through dole rite, sometimes stepping down, sometimes slowing to find a boot-and-hand route. Snow gums are everywhere, striped trunks slicing through Hobart views. Then you’re among fags (deciduous beech); their crinkle-cut leaves decorate a track that works east to an expanse of fallen and broken dole rite extending out from the base of the columnar cliff you saw from the road. kunanyi/ Mount Wellington is ahead and Hobart and the Derwent River laid out like a tableau below. As if the footing isn’t enough to slow you down, now there are photographs everywhere, just waiting to be taken!

Mount Wellington. Foot pads and then occasional orange arrows (the odd lolly wrapper too) lead across and down through boulders with micro caves between. Fern gardens and mountain-berry bushes grow in hollows underfoot. A massive dole rite column that’s fallen away from the cliff towards the view makes an excellent half-way picnic platform (see point 3 on map).

Fuel up here for more steep descents, with too many big step-downs to mark on the map. Watch for orange arrows and occasional red reflectors sited for walkers coming up the hill. Drop down and cross under balancing rocks, below which there’s a small cave; navigate a chute between lumps of mossy rock. Mere mortals unrelated to mountain goats can find it slow-going but that only increases the fun. Take your time, helping companions where needed, and enjoy this geological escapade. Mount Wellington. 

Lost World: Mount Wellington. Amazing Tasmania - photo 5

Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington. Suddenly you’ve got leaves and bark underfoot rather than rock and you’re descending through massed snow berries, spiky grass with red flower heads, fagus and eucalyptus. The track is indistinct in places, despite the addition of marker tape and yellow-and-red bullseye painted on rocks so pay close attention: employ the leap-frog method for safety, letting party members take turns going ahead to find the next marker before others follow.

Having stepped over a fallen log, ducked under another felled tree and forded a rocky creek, you’re finally on something approximating a good walking track; it crosses a slope thick with shrubs and shadow-casting eucalyptus to a junction, 750m from the end, where the Old Hobartians Track goes left.

Mount Wellington. Turn right for The Chalet (40 minutes), treading firm, metre-wide track uphill into rough-barked eucalyptus and banksias, and passing a little waterfall. Keep right and uphill on the Hunters Track at the next junction. Rock and wood steps put you on the road opposite your car.

“Top Walks in Tasmania”

Melanie Ball 

 

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