This was time I did not expect to have. I had gone to Hobart to prepare for my pear picking job after five week of Tasmania travels. Then I get a message from my boss and I am informed that pears won’t begin for another 10-12days.
Well instantly my mind went into chaos; as it does for me. I am running low on funds. I finished all the places on the list for this trip. I am ready to work. Where should I go? How far should I travel? Should I start on next year’s itinerary? What is the weather going to be like??? And it went on.
Eventually I came up with an idea. I feel within me that this extra time was given to me as a gift; a present. I don’t want to work off next year’s itinerary and I really feel like more hiking but also quality Dexter time. I decided I would go on an adventure a bit off the traditional touring route and seek out some areas to hike with Dexter, explore more of the forests, reserves and conservation areas; and pick up a few small things I have missed on the way. And so we set off.
Day 1 I wanted to clean up the Huon Trail and one thing I missed was the Duckhole Lake walk. It was a bit of a drive from Hobart but it also meant a bit of time to listen to some of my new music.
Once I got down to the Hastings Caves area I turned into some single laned forestry tracks that were muddy and very winding. I did not have much of clue where I was heading but I was hoping a sign would eventually appear. And one did; for Adamson Falls. The road up to the trail head was muddy and so was the small parking area. The sign said 2hrs return. The trail was hardly trodden with sections of moss covered stepping stones. I saw more new fungi purple ones. There were several steep climbs and slippery sections. A few times I had to yank Dexter by the collar to get her up but mostly she did well bounding a few steps ahead of me. She is so sweet how she runs ahead stops and looks back, waits then continues on. Finally we arrived at the falls; roughly in the middle section. I was not overly concerned in going to the top or finding a way to the bottom so we turned back after a lengthily break.
Adamson Falls in Southern Tasmania
Stepping stones on the trail to Adamson Falls, Tasmania
Back at the car and following the forest track I spotted a sign for Duckhole Lake and eventually came to the trail head over a bridge and beside a graceful stream.
The Duckhole Lake walk (Tasmania’s 60 short walks) is mostly along boardwalks beside the creek. The lake was still and a mirror of the backdrop spread across it. While sitting at the picnic table I saw a pink tag, so I followed it to another. I thought there must be a loop around the lake but once I started ascending after ten minutes I thought otherwise; however curiosity got the better of me and we followed this track for an hour to another waterfall. I was wearing my Birkenstocks, a singlet and only carrying my cup to collect water and even though I spotted more pink tags I opted to turn around as the sun was beginning to dip. Later I discovered this tagged trail leads to Creekton Falls and joins at Adamson Falls, luckily I stopped when I did.
Duckhole Lake, Tasmania
I was unsure where to camp and tempted to camp at Franklin to have a sup on the Huon River but although it was late Gordon called me again. I wanted to share it with Dexter. It was a late night set up just on sunset but we got a great water‘s edge camp at Gordon.
Day 2 I felt like a rest day; I know we only hiked for a day but Dexter is 11. We had swim & stroll and relaxed reading in the tent at Gordon. The wind picked up at 1100 so I decided to move on. I took some of the back roads cutting up and then down the mountains- with magnificent views. I was headed for the Pelverata Falls located in Snug Tiers Nature Reserve but on the opposite side to Snug and the Snug Falls Track. It is an easy 3 hour return walk. There was no water gushing over the top when we reached the lookout but it was a neat little place and we went rock hopping and cool of n small rock pools. The lookout is mid-way so the view extends up the exposed cliff face and then down into the valley. On the return walk I was startled to meet a guy and a girl out here. We ended up sitting together and chatting for almost two hours.
Pelvarata Falls within the Snug Nature Reserve, Tasmania
That night I drove out to South Arm, back through Hobart over the Tasman Bridge and then onto the little arm of land that extends just over the bay across from Hobart. There is a free camping in the car park at the South Arms RSL and I pitched my tent just after dark in a secluded corner amongst some trees beside the road.
Day 3 Once again I felt like having a rest day but we set off to explore the South Arm area anyway. I think it is a well-kept secret. I started at Opossum Bay for a morning walk looking across to Hobart, Mt Wellington and the cream coloured cliffs grabbing the first rays of sun lining the bay. This narrow stretch of white sand had unique beach houses built along the edge.
Early morning beach stroll at Opossum Bay on the South Arm region of Tasmania
We drove until the road ended at South Arm then continued back along the neck between South Arm Conservation Area where the tide was very far out and a lot of bird life nest on the shores. Dogs are not permitted on this western side. But on the opposite side the South Arm Nature Reserve dogs are permitted and we parked at the first car park (southern end) and went down to the beach. As we came up the sand dune from the car park we were greeted with a long stretch of clean beach, a view over to an island and further south under its own halo of light was Cape Direction Lighthouse.
Walking along the South Arm Nature Reserve Beach towards Cape Direction Lighthouse, Tasmania
I set off with the intention to let Dexter have a swim but it was so peaceful and isolated and that lighthouse was drawing me in. We wound up walking for two hours as far as we could to the base of the cliffs and then back.
I pulled in Calverts Lagoon and then drove along the thin stretch of road that separates Ralph Bay Conservation Area, which was also at low tide and full of birdlife. From here I drove to Seven Mile Beach and got on the highway heading along the East Coast Touring route.
On the way we stopped at Orford, went out to Shelly Beach then to Rasplins Beach and Triabunna and finally secured the last patch of mud at Mayfield Bay Conservation Area Camp. Mud she said?? Yes mud, it was very muddy so tonight I car camped. It was not so bad because I was parked up on the second tier and had a beach view from the back door.
View from my camp site where I car camped at Mayfield Bay Conservation Area, Tasmania
Day 4 was a rest day at Mayfield Bay Conservation Area. We walked the full length of the beach at sunrise and then I did the same route on my paddle board and the rest of the day I lay in the back of my car reading with my feet hanging out the rear door. I also took a swim in the warm beach water and did a little more reading down on the nice grass in the day use area.
Day 5 we walked Mayfield Beach at sunrise again and I went for the same paddleboard and then we hit the road. The first stop was at Swansea to do the short Loontitetermairrelehoiner Walk. (Tasmania’s 60 short walks) Yes I know what a name; but it was the name of an Aboriginal Band that once settled in the area. The walk is a short stroll from the town jetty along Waterloo Beach around the head to Schouten Beach and then past the old cemetery and back through the town. The coastal section had a thick aroma of old fish wafting through my nostrils. At this time of year- between September to April the smell is strong because the shearwater birds nest along the coast and along the walk I could see all the burrows in the dirt/sand and they bring the fish home for their chicks. The day was clear so the views across Great Oyster Bay and along the Freycinet were just marvellous.
Today was spent exploring and seeking out the hidden waterfalls in the East Coast Forest Reserve. This hidden gem is located east of Lake Leake on the B34 and east of Fingal on the A4 highways. The first waterfall was The Lost Falls and although there was no waterfall flowing there was water in the rock pools for Dexter to cool off and we did the lap around to the lookout points. The view extended across the valley over the Wye Forest and out to the coast and I could see the Freycinet Peninsula, the full length of it. It is hard to believe it was only 12months ago that I walked that stretch with Mr America.
Rock Pools at The Lost Falls on East Coast Tasmania
The next waterfall was the highlight of my day. The Meetus Falls had water gushing over the top and into the pool below. Oh how much I wanted to be swimming in there. Dexter and I took the trail down to the Cygnet River. It was fascinating how quickly the flora changed from tall, thick trunked eucalypts to ferns and moss covered logs.
At the base we came to rock pools and a smaller waterfall, not exactly the same pool we saw from above but still private and all ours. After cooling off under the flow of water we lay in the sun like lizards on hot stones. It was so peaceful and isolated.
Swimming and sun bathing at Meetus Falls, Tasmania
When a cloud covered the sun I got dressed and returned to the car. I continued along the harsh, unused forestry tracks- this road is mostly smooth but some sections are like beds of a rocky river bed with big chunks of stones.
The Hardings Falls were just as spectacular as the Meetus Falls. Dexter and I rocked hopped at the base of the falls and I savoured every view from different angles. We followed the river loop track to another exquisite rock pool at the top of the falls, and I appreciated the views all around me again. I was really on top of the world today.
Hardings Falls, Tasmania
It was now 1600 but I had a plan to see one more waterfall if I could and if not I would continue to my intended camp for the night. The coastal sunrises have become an addiction and I wanted more beach camping.
I continued on the forestry road and it was getting a bit wild the odd tree lightly scrapped the side of my car. I hit the brakes at a hazard- a big steel pipe in a gully lay ahead. Bummer now I will have to go back- this was not on the map. But I saw a side trail more suited to high clearance four wheel drives but if I could avoid one large boulder I knew I could make it. And I did- phew because going back was not an option my fuel was budgeted exactly for this day out and the needle was in the final quarter.
The road got worse and then smoothed out but I went with each section as it presented itself including going under fallen trees and dodging others until after about ten more kilometres I came to another gully. This one I could not get around; not in my ravy. As I walked around I thought to myself Shit! I will have to go back, and cross that river and my fuel eek!!!
Then I hear a hissing noise…. Air surging out of my back tyre. I was in no stable position to change it here so I had to get to even ground and quickly. I backed up in a hundred point turn (well it felt like it) and roared up the hill to a flat spot- just in time.
It is not always smooth sailing when your road trippin’ about the country. With the great times comes the hard times; flat tyre on an unused forestry track in Tasmania
Fuel was my concern but right now I had to get this tyre changed. Twenty two minutes and we were driving again and the fuel light came on. My theory has always been forty kilometres once the light comes on- I have never lost yet- but today after calculating I had to do at least 60kms.
My heart pounded a bit; I think doubt is normal in a situation like this. The forest tracks were deserted and then I came to a junction took another dirt road and made it to the highway. My thought was pull up, hitch to the servo for fuel or call them ask if someone could bring some it was only 20kms- but I pushed on calling the next service station which according to google closed at 1600 and it was now 1844. I guess I would be sleeping on the side of the road or at a petrol bowser tonight.
As luck would have it none of the above occurred. The fuel station was closed but they had a credit card option for 24hr fuel.
The day had extended to be bigger than I had expected and now I just wanted to cook and relax. I knew there was a free camp just north of Swansea at Nine Mile Beach- but it was horrid. Well I guess I just knew what I wanted and it did not meet my desires. I decided I would go to where I wanted to go today another hour up the highway to Lagoon Bay Conservation Area.
I arrived just upon dark at 2033. It was perfect and also ideal for another rest day-we need it too. There are a lot of sites, each secluded from the other with fire pits, trees and toilets. The thud of waves crashing the shore beyond the trees was just faultless. I decided to car camp because I am loving it now- so simple and quick. Finally I was eating pasta on top of my swag in the car with Dexter asleep just outside at 2055.
Today was my favourite day of the Tasmania trip this year (on par with the sup at Lake Pedder and Mount Anne Hike). The waterfalls were just heavenly. And the isolation out there was blissful. Although I could look back and say well I should have got more fuel before I left, I should have checked the maps and road conditions, I should have turned back when the road got rough. But I am here now telling the story. I believe sometimes things just happen that are beyond our control. I have 100% confidence in myself and my abilities, I know I can change my tyre, I knew I had plenty of food and water before going out and I have a bicycle if needed to get some help. These minor hurdles are what make the day an adventure; a fantastic story; a life-long memory and they are what shape me. It put me in a position where I was faced with a struggle and I had the strength to say- oh shit well I better get this fixed and get on with it. Today was definitely one of the best days ever!
Day 6 was certainly a rest day at Lagoon Beach Conservation Area. The lagoon just beyond the coastal scrub that runs alongside the camp road is very appealing to swim in. I thought it would be warmer than the ocean but it was not so. Just beyond the lagoon is the beach and a long stretch of white sand in both directions. I got my sunrise, my beach walks and a relaxed day reading in my private campsite.
Lagoon Beach Conservation Area, Tasmania
Day 7 was difficult to leave Lagoon Beach because my camp was ideal and the beach was just divine. But I wanted to seek out one more waterfall and get that tyre patched.
We took the road to St Marys over Mount Elephant. It is a sealed road that climbs the mountain winding around and around but it is so narrow and a tad daunting because caravans and trucks also use this road. From St Marys we went out to Fingal and dropped my tyre into a small garage where a very sweet elderly gentlemen worked. I left my tyre and set off without the spare- a bit risky- to explore the Evercreech Forest (Tasmania’s 60 Short Walks).
It was a nice drive down into the Evercreech Forest. There are two walks here and to do both it takes just over an hour. The first walk follows a trail through the rainforest floor and passes the colossal trunks of the white gums. These are some of the tallest trees of their type in Australia and the tallest one in the Evercreech is 91m. The walk is nice because you get to take in the trees from below then the path takes a gradual climb up and you can look down at these majestic trees- just so tranquil in there. The ground was so soft and lightly damp I walked barefoot amongst the giants.
The biggest white gum in the Evercreech Forest, Tasmania standing at 91m tall
The second walk is a loop to the Evercreech Falls with more rainforest, barefoot walking, flowing streams, fresh drinking water and a dip in a rock pool.
I returned to Fingal to collect my tyre and headed back to St Marys and found a little wholefoods café with a quiet lavender garden at the rear and treated myself to an iced chocolate and Turkish Delight. Dexter slept peacefully at my feet- a little tired from the morning walks.
That night we camped at Dianes Basin. This free camp is just north of Scamander and Beaumaris and just south of St Helens. I found a private campsite to car camp. The book said waterfront view but there were only a few of these sites which were taken and the waterfront sites had little shade or privacy. After driving in circles and running down little tracks I finally found our perfect camp and managed a water view.
Cooking my dinner overlooking the bay from my camp site at Dianes Basin, Tasmania
Day 8 we went for a walk along the beach behind Dianes Basin Camp. The sky was dark and grey and the beach was wild. I went for a swim further south just before Scamander in a pull off and it was just delightful. There was no one around, the sky was blue, the wind was only a light breeze and the ocean was not to rough.
That afternoon I set up camp in the same site I had a few days ago at Lagoon Beach. I really liked this place and Mayfields Bay but here at Lagoon Campsite there is a bit more privacy from other campers. We had a relaxed reading afternoon and a late afternoon beach swim and stroll.
Day 9 my favourite sunrise beach walk and today I went for the early morning swim. The water is just so warm and so is the weather. I had another relaxed rest day.
Day 10 was finally the end of our travels. We did the big drive down to the Tasman Peninsula stopping to cook the final side of the road breakfast out of the rear of the car for this trip. I look forward to settling into one place for a few weeks but at the same time I miss the unknown of not knowing where I will be eating my breakfast next.
We arrived at Nubeena mid-afternoon and I set up my room and got prepared to begin work in a few days. The time to save some dollars for the next journey has begun.
Pelverata Falls, Tasmania. So many beautiful places to explore with my best friend Dexter