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Tassie Tracks: Mt Field to the Blue Tier #2 May 2021

Tasmania holds an almost mythical status to ‘big island’ folk. It is a place of ancient glacial landscapes and wild rivers; the tallest flowering trees on Earth and mysterious Gondwana forests; a place of deep historic miseries and resilient spirits; home to fierce environmental warriors, miners and timber barons; a place for wild adventures in some of the world’s most rugged landscapes; home to MONA and creative people of all kinds who value where they live and revel in their unique home.

Tasmania is a very special and wildly contrasting place. Our journey meanders through many threads of the Tasmanian story to delve into history, pique curiosity and nurture the soul.

We trust you will come away with a deeper understanding of Tasmania, refreshed from walking and with a yearning to return.

Part 1 – Mt Field National Park (Tasmania’s first Nature Reserve) & Lake Pedder Gazetted as a National Park in 1916 Mt Field is one of Tasmania's oldest and most loved national parks. The park has a wide variety of scenic features including glacial lakes and tarns, moraines and limestone kaarst features. Few other national parks in Australia offer such diversity in vegetation, ranging from tall swamp gum forests and massive tree ferns at the base of the mountain, through rainforest along the Lake Dobson Road and to snow gums and alpine vegetation in the mountains.

DAY 1 Monday 10 May 2021

Walks:    - Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls Loop Walk. Moderate with some steep sections 6.7km (can be shortened) - Junee Cave Nature Walk. Easy 30mins return

Trans:   Pick-up at Hobart Airport/Hobart hotel.

Accom:  Giant’s Table Cottages (Self contained, shared bathrooms), Maydena Meals:   LD (Licenced on site restaurant)

Once we are all together in Hobart we’ll head west to Maydena - about 100km from Hobart. The road winds along the Derwent River before taking up with the Tyenna River.

At the entrance to Mt Field is a beautiful walk to some of the best-known waterfalls in Tasmania – a perfect place to stretch the legs on our first walk. Further on are the town of Maydena and the road to Junee Cave. A short nature walk takes us to the cave entrance where the Junee River rises to the surface. Interpretive panels describe the kaarst system, which includes Australia’s deepest known cave. Back in Maydena we settle into the cottages for our three-night stay.

DAY 2 Tuesday 11 May

Walks:  Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster 13.4km. 6 Hrs Moderate (Actual route – weather dependent.)

Accom: Giant’s Table Cottages (Self contained, shared bathrooms) Meals:   BLD

Today we set out for Mt Field National Park. The drive up into the alpine is about 20km and our walks will take in tarns, lakes, forests and meadows. If the weather forecast is with us then we can set out for the full day hike via Tarn Shelf, Twilight Tarn and Lake Webster. The total climb on this circuit is 470m and the highest elevation gained is 1260m. The highlight of the Tarn Shelf is the golden hues of the deciduous Fagus (Beech) – along with many other unique Tasmanian plants.

DAY 3 Wednesday 12 May

Activity: Kayaking on Lake Pedder           

Trans:   Transfer to Lake Pedder Lodge at Strathgordon

Accom:             Giant’s Table Cottages (Self Contained, share bathrooms) Meals: BLD

Today will be special indeed as we join up with Tassie Bound Adventures … “Our Lake Pedder Kayak Adventure can be best described as purchasing a VIP backstage pass to our local region. This is a must do day trip which combines adventure kayaking, world-class produce with jaw dropping rugged Tasmanian mountain views. Be immersed in Tasmania’s UNESCO World Heritage Listed Wilderness. Explore Lake Pedder’s amber waters and secret quartzite beaches while untangling the region’s compelling history from a local guide. The Lake Pedder Kayak Tour is perfect for the first-timers as well as families and guests wanting to explore our spectacular Tasmanian wilderness. Tour includes morning tea, lunch and refreshments, prepared locally and featuring in season, world famous Tasmanian produce. Participants can also take a bracing swim! No prior kayaking experience is necessary.”

Part 2 – Tasman Peninsula ~ Convicts and Sea Cliffs Known to most as the infamous location for the penal settlement of Port Arthur, the coastline that surrounds the Tasman Peninsula is some of the most dramatic in Australia. Cliffs ranging up to 400m in height must have provided a fearsome sight for the convicts arriving by ship. Most visitors never see the wildest coast sections however constructed tracks along the top of many of the cliff lines providing spectacular walking.

DAY 4 Thursday 13 May

Walk:    Coal Mines Historic Reserve convict ruins. Trans:   Transfer to Tasman Peninsula
Accom:  Lufra Apartments (En suite Water View Rooms) Meals:   B D (lunch: own in Richmond)

After our final breakfast at Giant’s Table Cottages we pack up and retrace our route as far as Granton before crossing the Derwent to Bridgewater and taking the byways to historic Richmond. You will have time to explore here and enjoy lunch before we drive down to the rugged and spectacularly beautiful Tasman Peninsula. Skirting all the way around Norfolk Bay we arrive at the Coal Mines Historic Reserve. This collection of tumbled down sandstone buildings and cells are a haunting reminder of the sort of life that was experienced by the unfortunate early European inhabitants. Later in the afternoon we return to Eaglehawk Neck and settle into our home for three nights - the Lufra Hotel and Apartments, situated overlooking the Tessellated Pavement. This fascinating piece of geology is a delightful place to wander at low tide. Our meals are enjoyed on-site at the Pavement Restaurant and the Whale Watchers Café is a great place to relax after walking.

DAY 5 Friday 14 May

Walk:    Fortescue Bay to Waterfall Bay 14.5km 8 hrs Moderate - Challenging

Accom: Lufra Apartments (en suite rooms) Meals:   BLD

Today begins with a half hour drive to Fortescue Bay where our walk begins. A short walk on the beach takes us the start of the track proper. Lush forest and quiet bays give way to hill walking where the track eventually reveals the spectacular coastal cliffs. There are many places to pause and enjoy the extensive views before the track begins ascending towards Tatnells Hill through a variety of forest types. From here the track descends to the cliff tops once again, ending at Waterfall Bay where our bus is waiting for us. From here it’s just a short trip back to the Lufra.

DAY 6 Saturday 15 May

Walk:    Cape Raoul 13.6km return 5 – 6 hrs Moderate.

Accom: Lufra Apartments (en suite rooms) Meals:   BLD

This walk is one of the highlights of the Tasman Peninsula! A 45-minute scenic drive brings us to the trailhead. The well-defined track passes through mixed forest and coastal heath then accesses a number of excellent lookouts. The fluted columnar dolerite cliffs of the Cape plunge dramatically into the ocean and on a clear day there are sweeping views of Tasmania’s southern coastline and east to the Cape Pillar area. The track is a return one so expect a steady climb back up to the trailhead in the afternoon.

DAY 7 Sunday 16 May

Walk:    Explore the historic town of Oatlands

Accom: Bayside Inn, St Helen’s (en suite rooms) Meals:   BD

After two great days of walking it’s time to farewell the Tasman Peninsula and make our way northeast to Sorell then north to join the Midland (Heritage) Highway, which is the main route between Hobart and Launceston. Just off the highway is the historic Georgian village of Oatlands featuring over 150 sandstone buildings, many built by skilled convicts. Though our time is brief here you will feel the resonance of Oatlands’ layers of history. Many of these buildings now house local businesses, shops and cafes. Callington Flour Mill built in 1836 is perhaps the most famous landmark.

Back on the road we next take the Esk Highway, hugging the South Esk River valley to Fingal then across to St Mary’s and finally to the coastal town of St Helen’s, nestled around Georges Bay – the mouth of the Georges River. Once a whaling port St Helen’s is a game-fishing hub and is renowned for the quality of its oysters.

Here we stay for one night in newly refurbished Ocean-view rooms at the Bayside Inn.

Part 3 – Bay of Fires, The Blue Tier and The Trail of the Tin Dragon  The Bay of Fires is one of the most renowned beaches in Tasmania – and indeed the World! Its pristine white quartz beaches contrast spectacularly with tumbled granite boulders splashed with red lichen. Reputedly Furneaux named it for the myriad campfires of the local Aboriginal families living along the bay in what must have been a true paradise. Today it draws walkers from around Australia and the world to delight in escaping the everyday on a four-day walk. This can be done in luxury as a guided walk or by carrying all your gear and camping. Known in the 1870’s as the ‘Mountain of Tin’ the Blue Tier and its hills and valleys were filled with mining industry – both European and Chinese. The gold rush at Mathinna in 1870 soon gave way to tin mining and by 1891 around a 1000 Chinese lived and worked in the area. By 1934 the last remaining Chinese temple in the North East was gone – relocated to Launceston for safekeeping. All along the 80km Trail of the Tin Dragon between Pyengana and Derby relics of this history can be found enveloped by lush forest and massive tree (man) ferns. This period was also marked by social unrest and discontent around the involvement of the Chinese in the mines – though they worked in places the Europeans were uninterested in, and for little reward. This came to a head in the spring of 1877 with a confrontation in Branxholm. Generally though, the Chinese were welcomed and contributed in many ways to the communities in which they settled. This was in stark contrast to the terrible conflicts and racism that the Chinese miners experienced in the mainland gold rush camps.

Over the next few days we thread our way through the land encountering the ancient, the historic and the wild in this beautiful and little-known part of Tasmania. This is the home country of our local guide Lesley Nicklason and her passion for the Blue Tier will lead you to fall in love with it too.

DAY 8 Monday 17 May

Walk:    Bay of Fires Walk/Explore Easy Approx 3 - 4 hours

Accom: Tin Dragon Trail Cottages (Self contained en suite cottages) Meals:   BLD

After enjoying a buffet breakfast at our hotel and collecting lunch we pack up and drive a short distance north to encounter the Bay of Fires boulders and beaches. We can wander and explore as far as we like, lunching along the beach – and maybe having a dip – before returning to The Gardens. This place is a paradise for photographers, artists and naturalists so the time will be yours to enjoy at you own pace.

Returning to St Helens we’ll make a stop in town to visit the History Room with many relics and stories of bygone times as well as offering an introduction to The Trail of the Tin Dragon. From St Helens we take the Tasman Highway to our home for the next three nights at the Tin Dragon Trail Cottages nestled beside the Ringarooma River just five minutes from the village of Branxholm. Dinner tonight is at the Cottages.

DAY 9 Tuesday 18 May

Walks: - Goblin Forest Walk 10 mins Very easy stroll.

- Moon Valley Rim Loop 3.4km Approx 2 hours Easy / Moderate.

- Mt Michael Loop 3km Approx 2 hours Moderate – some steep grades Ascent approx. 200m

Accom: Tin Dragon Trail Cottages (Self contained en suite cottages) Meals:   BLD

Today we head up to the Blue Tier for a day of easy/moderate walks that showcase the best of this plateau. Our first stroll around the Goblin Forest Walk features a delightful ground cover of lichens. Interpretive points along the path introduce the area. Our two main loop walks are north and south of Sun Creek and lead through rainforest with myrtle, celery top pine and pepper berry and by sphagnum bogs and on to the summits of Mt Poimena (815m) and Mt Michael (800m). With sweeping views across the NE of Tasmania these walks are quite magical, each in their own way. The walks traverse old mining country which is now well covered with native regrowth –the occasional relic pointing to a much more industrious past.

DAY 10 Wednesday 19 May

Walks:  Halls Falls and the Anchor Stamper. Easy. Approx 1 hour return.

            Blue Tier / Big Tree Giant Walk. Easy. 3.2 km Approx 2hrs

            St Columba Falls Easy. 1.2km return.

Accom: Tin Dragon Trail Cottages (Self contained en suite cottages) Meals:   BLD

Our final day around the Blue Tier is a gentle wind down with short walks to beautiful places including to the remarkable Blue Tier Giant – a massive ancient swamp gum upwards of 60m tall with a hollowed out base and a girth at chest height of 19.2m. It is the widest tree in Australia and a truly awesome living ‘presence’. The hand built track that leads us to the tree sidles unobtrusively through the forest making for a very special journey. The Pyengana Dairy and Café are next for a sampling of award-winning cheeses that have been traditionally crafted here for 130 years. Before making our way home - and if we have the energy, we’ll stroll out to the 90m tall St Columba Falls in the headwaters of the George River. Back at our cabins there’s time for a little unwind before we share a final dinner at Casa Pinocchio in Branxholm – a popular restaurant specialising in Italian and local fare.

DAY 11 Thursday 20 May

Travel:  Approx 1 ½ hour drive to the airport.

Meals:   B

Our final morning takes us back towards Launceston and the Airport near Evandale. If you plan to stay on we will drop you at your hotel in Launceston and continue to the airport. If you are flying out today the best flight is Qantas at 1.35pm - QF 2284 to Melbourne (more details in the reservation details). Before flying, there will be time to enjoy your last historic Tassie town with plenty of great quality antique and craft stores and places to savour delicious food!

GUIDES

Based in Boonah (Queensland) Teresa Cause set up Horizon Guides in 2007 to offer a specialised bushwalking guide service. She has extensive experience in guiding tours in Australia and overseas with a particular emphasis on natural history. Providing experiences that connect people to places and to each other is especially rewarding! Teresa also owns and runs Far Outdoors outdoor equipment business in Boonah.

There will be a second guide to accompany the tour - to be advised!

GENERAL TOUR NOTES

Accommodations

Giant’s Table Cottages https://www.giantstable.com.au (coin operated laundry)

Lufra Apartments http://www.lufrahotel.com (laundry on site)

St Helen’s Bayside Inn https://www.baysidehotel.com.au

Tin Dragon Trail Cottages (Branxholm) https://tindragontrailcottages.com.au (laundry facility in each cottage)

Meals Refer to the daily notes for meal inclusions. You will be asked to supply details on your booking information of special dietary requirements that you have. Please be specific especially if there are foods that trigger allergies. Every effort will be made to cater for special dietary needs as long as we have the correct information in advance.

Alcohol No BYO is allowed at the restaurants. There will be a chance to purchase supplies at various points along the way for consumption at the accommodations.

Daily briefings Each evening there will be a briefing on the walks and options for the following day.

Mobile phone coverage There is adequate mobile phone coverage in many places however coverage on the walks is patchy.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES (Pre/Post tour or alternatives to hikes):

Arriving early – staying after? There are myriad reasons to arrive early for this tour – and to stay longer!

Hobart: If you arrive before the tour Hobart has much of historical and contemporary interest. Here are a few links to get you started …

Salamanca Market – Saturday mornings.

Cascade Brewery – can be reached by walking along the Rivulet

Female Factory (highly recommended – and best experienced by taking the guided tour and experiential theatre tour)

Historic Houses - Markree and Narryna – these have links to the experience of female convicts in Hobart.

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Mawson’s Hut replica museum – excellent!

Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) (requires a full day)

Port Arthur – if you don’t feel up to walking there are some thoroughly great experiences to take in on the Tasman Peninsula

Port Arthur Historic Site

Osbourne Heli Tours

Tasman Island Cruises - Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

Tasmanian Devil Unzoo

Launceston

The Cataract Gorge

Design Tasmania wood and craft centre – fine craft gallery and store.

Clarendon House near Evandale


We look forward to walking with you all and sharing these magnificent Tassie tracks!

Questions?

To receive a comprehensive information and reservation package, or if you have any further questions or would like to discuss the suitability of these walks for you, call 0417 760 966 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

 
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Tassie Tracks: Mt Field to the Blue Tier April / May 2021

Please note this tour is FULLY BOOKED! A second departure of the same itinerary is now available for reservation. The new dates are 10 - 20 May 2021.

Tasmania holds an almost mythical status to ‘big island’ folk. It is a place of ancient glacial landscapes and wild rivers; the tallest flowering trees on Earth and mysterious Gondwana forests; a place of deep historic miseries and resilient spirits; home to fierce environmental warriors, miners and timber barons; a place for wild adventures in some of the world’s most rugged landscapes; home to MONA and creative people of all kinds who value where they live and revel in their unique home.

Tasmania is a very special and wildly contrasting place. Our journey meanders through many threads of the Tasmanian story to delve into history, pique curiosity and nurture the soul.

We trust you will come away with a deeper understanding of Tasmania, refreshed from walking and with a yearning to return.

Part 1 – Mt Field National Park (Tasmania’s first Nature Reserve) & Lake Pedder Gazetted as a National Park in 1916 Mt Field is one of Tasmania's oldest and most loved national parks. The park has a wide variety of scenic features including glacial lakes and tarns, moraines and limestone kaarst features. Few other national parks in Australia offer such diversity in vegetation, ranging from tall swamp gum forests and massive tree ferns at the base of the mountain, through rainforest along the Lake Dobson Road and to snow gums and alpine vegetation in the mountains.

DAY 1 Monday 26 April 2021

Walks:    - Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls Loop Walk. Moderate with some steep sections 6.7km (can be shortened) - Junee Cave Nature Walk. Easy 30mins return

Trans:   Pick-up at Hobart Airport/Hobart hotel.

Accom:  Giant’s Table Cottages (Self contained, shared bathrooms), Maydena Meals:   LD (Licenced on site restaurant)

Once we are all together in Hobart we’ll head west to Maydena - about 100km from Hobart. The road winds along the Derwent River before taking up with the Tyenna River.

At the entrance to Mt Field is a beautiful walk to some of the best-known waterfalls in Tasmania – a perfect place to stretch the legs on our first walk. Further on are the town of Maydena and the road to Junee Cave. A short nature walk takes us to the cave entrance where the Junee River rises to the surface. Interpretive panels describe the kaarst system, which includes Australia’s deepest known cave. Back in Maydena we settle into the cottages for our three-night stay.

DAY 2 Tuesday 27 April

Walks:  Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster 13.4km. 6 Hrs Moderate (Actual route – weather dependent.)

Accom: Giant’s Table Cottages (Self contained, shared bathrooms) Meals:   BLD

Today we set out for Mt Field National Park. The drive up into the alpine is about 20km and our walks will take in tarns, lakes, forests and meadows. If the weather forecast is with us then we can set out for the full day hike via Tarn Shelf, Twilight Tarn and Lake Webster. The total climb on this circuit is 470m and the highest elevation gained is 1260m. The highlight of the Tarn Shelf is the golden hues of the deciduous Fagus (Beech) – along with many other unique Tasmanian plants.

DAY 3 Wednesday 28 April

Activity: Kayaking on Lake Pedder           

Trans:   Transfer to Lake Pedder Lodge at Strathgordon

Accom:             Giant’s Table Cottages (Self Contained, share bathrooms) Meals: BLD

Today will be special indeed as we join up with Tassie Bound Adventures … “Our Lake Pedder Kayak Adventure can be best described as purchasing a VIP backstage pass to our local region. This is a must do day trip which combines adventure kayaking, world-class produce with jaw dropping rugged Tasmanian mountain views. Be immersed in Tasmania’s UNESCO World Heritage Listed Wilderness. Explore Lake Pedder’s amber waters and secret quartzite beaches while untangling the region’s compelling history from a local guide. The Lake Pedder Kayak Tour is perfect for the first-timers as well as families and guests wanting to explore our spectacular Tasmanian wilderness. Tour includes morning tea, lunch and refreshments, prepared locally and featuring in season, world famous Tasmanian produce. Participants can also take a bracing swim! No prior kayaking experience is necessary.”

Part 2 – Tasman Peninsula ~ Convicts and Sea Cliffs Known to most as the infamous location for the penal settlement of Port Arthur, the coastline that surrounds the Tasman Peninsula is some of the most dramatic in Australia. Cliffs ranging up to 400m in height must have provided a fearsome sight for the convicts arriving by ship. Most visitors never see the wildest coast sections however constructed tracks along the top of many of the cliff lines providing spectacular walking.

DAY 4 Thursday 29 April

Walk:    Coal Mines Historic Reserve convict ruins. Trans:   Transfer to Tasman Peninsula
Accom:  Lufra Apartments (En suite Water View Rooms) Meals:   B D (lunch: own in Richmond)

After our final breakfast at Giant’s Table Cottages we pack up and retrace our route as far as Granton before crossing the Derwent to Bridgewater and taking the byways to historic Richmond. You will have time to explore here and enjoy lunch before we drive down to the rugged and spectacularly beautiful Tasman Peninsula. Skirting all the way around Norfolk Bay we arrive at the Coal Mines Historic Reserve. This collection of tumbled down sandstone buildings and cells are a haunting reminder of the sort of life that was experienced by the unfortunate early European inhabitants. Later in the afternoon we return to Eaglehawk Neck and settle into our home for three nights - the Lufra Hotel and Apartments, situated overlooking the Tessellated Pavement. This fascinating piece of geology is a delightful place to wander at low tide. Our meals are enjoyed on-site at the Pavement Restaurant and the Whale Watchers Café is a great place to relax after walking.

DAY 5 Friday 30 April

Walk:    Fortescue Bay to Waterfall Bay 14.5km 8 hrs Moderate - Challenging

Accom: Lufra Apartments (en suite rooms) Meals:   BLD

Today begins with a half hour drive to Fortescue Bay where our walk begins. A short walk on the beach takes us the start of the track proper. Lush forest and quiet bays give way to hill walking where the track eventually reveals the spectacular coastal cliffs. There are many places to pause and enjoy the extensive views before the track begins ascending towards Tatnells Hill through a variety of forest types. From here the track descends to the cliff tops once again, ending at Waterfall Bay where our bus is waiting for us. From here it’s just a short trip back to the Lufra.

DAY 6 Saturday 1 May

Walk:    Cape Raoul 13.6km return 5 – 6 hrs Moderate.

Accom: Lufra Apartments (en suite rooms) Meals:   BLD

This walk is one of the highlights of the Tasman Peninsula! A 45-minute scenic drive brings us to the trailhead. The well-defined track passes through mixed forest and coastal heath then accesses a number of excellent lookouts. The fluted columnar dolerite cliffs of the Cape plunge dramatically into the ocean and on a clear day there are sweeping views of Tasmania’s southern coastline and east to the Cape Pillar area. The track is a return one so expect a steady climb back up to the trailhead in the afternoon.

DAY 7 Sunday 2 May

Walk:    Explore the historic town of Oatlands

Accom: Bayside Inn, St Helen’s (en suite rooms) Meals:   BD

After two great days of walking it’s time to farewell the Tasman Peninsula and make our way northeast to Sorell then north to join the Midland (Heritage) Highway, which is the main route between Hobart and Launceston. Just off the highway is the historic Georgian village of Oatlands featuring over 150 sandstone buildings, many built by skilled convicts. Though our time is brief here you will feel the resonance of Oatlands’ layers of history. Many of these buildings now house local businesses, shops and cafes. Callington Flour Mill built in 1836 is perhaps the most famous landmark.

Back on the road we next take the Esk Highway, hugging the South Esk River valley to Fingal then across to St Mary’s and finally to the coastal town of St Helen’s, nestled around Georges Bay – the mouth of the Georges River. Once a whaling port St Helen’s is a game-fishing hub and is renowned for the quality of its oysters.

Here we stay for one night in newly refurbished Ocean-view rooms at the Bayside Inn.

Part 3 – Bay of Fires, The Blue Tier and The Trail of the Tin Dragon  The Bay of Fires is one of the most renowned beaches in Tasmania – and indeed the World! Its pristine white quartz beaches contrast spectacularly with tumbled granite boulders splashed with red lichen. Reputedly Furneaux named it for the myriad campfires of the local Aboriginal families living along the bay in what must have been a true paradise. Today it draws walkers from around Australia and the world to delight in escaping the everyday on a four-day walk. This can be done in luxury as a guided walk or by carrying all your gear and camping. Known in the 1870’s as the ‘Mountain of Tin’ the Blue Tier and its hills and valleys were filled with mining industry – both European and Chinese. The gold rush at Mathinna in 1870 soon gave way to tin mining and by 1891 around a 1000 Chinese lived and worked in the area. By 1934 the last remaining Chinese temple in the North East was gone – relocated to Launceston for safekeeping. All along the 80km Trail of the Tin Dragon between Pyengana and Derby relics of this history can be found enveloped by lush forest and massive tree (man) ferns. This period was also marked by social unrest and discontent around the involvement of the Chinese in the mines – though they worked in places the Europeans were uninterested in, and for little reward. This came to a head in the spring of 1877 with a confrontation in Branxholm. Generally though, the Chinese were welcomed and contributed in many ways to the communities in which they settled. This was in stark contrast to the terrible conflicts and racism that the Chinese miners experienced in the mainland gold rush camps.

Over the next few days we thread our way through the land encountering the ancient, the historic and the wild in this beautiful and little-known part of Tasmania. This is the home country of our local guide Lesley Nicklason and her passion for the Blue Tier will lead you to fall in love with it too.

DAY 8 Monday 3 May

Walk:    Bay of Fires Walk/Explore Easy Approx 3 - 4 hours

Accom: Tin Dragon Trail Cottages (Self contained en suite cottages) Meals:   BLD

After enjoying a buffet breakfast at our hotel and collecting lunch we pack up and drive a short distance north to encounter the Bay of Fires boulders and beaches. We can wander and explore as far as we like, lunching along the beach – and maybe having a dip – before returning to The Gardens. This place is a paradise for photographers, artists and naturalists so the time will be yours to enjoy at you own pace.

Returning to St Helens we’ll make a stop in town to visit the History Room with many relics and stories of bygone times as well as offering an introduction to The Trail of the Tin Dragon. From St Helens we take the Tasman Highway to our home for the next three nights at the Tin Dragon Trail Cottages nestled beside the Ringarooma River just five minutes from the village of Branxholm. Dinner tonight is at the Cottages.

DAY 9 Tuesday 4 May

Walks: - Goblin Forest Walk 10 mins Very easy stroll.

- Moon Valley Rim Loop 3.4km Approx 2 hours Easy / Moderate.

- Mt Michael Loop 3km Approx 2 hours Moderate – some steep grades Ascent approx. 200m

Accom: Tin Dragon Trail Cottages (Self contained en suite cottages) Meals:   BLD

Today we head up to the Blue Tier for a day of easy/moderate walks that showcase the best of this plateau. Our first stroll around the Goblin Forest Walk features a delightful ground cover of lichens. Interpretive points along the path introduce the area. Our two main loop walks are north and south of Sun Creek and lead through rainforest with myrtle, celery top pine and pepper berry and by sphagnum bogs and on to the summits of Mt Poimena (815m) and Mt Michael (800m). With sweeping views across the NE of Tasmania these walks are quite magical, each in their own way. The walks traverse old mining country which is now well covered with native regrowth –the occasional relic pointing to a much more industrious past.

DAY 10 Wednesday 5 May

Walks:  Halls Falls and the Anchor Stamper. Easy. Approx 1 hour return.

            Blue Tier / Big Tree Giant Walk. Easy. 3.2 km Approx 2hrs

            St Columba Falls Easy. 1.2km return.

Accom: Tin Dragon Trail Cottages (Self contained en suite cottages) Meals:   BLD

Our final day around the Blue Tier is a gentle wind down with short walks to beautiful places including to the remarkable Blue Tier Giant – a massive ancient swamp gum upwards of 60m tall with a hollowed out base and a girth at chest height of 19.2m. It is the widest tree in Australia and a truly awesome living ‘presence’. The hand built track that leads us to the tree sidles unobtrusively through the forest making for a very special journey. The Pyengana Dairy and Café are next for a sampling of award-winning cheeses that have been traditionally crafted here for 130 years. Before making our way home - and if we have the energy, we’ll stroll out to the 90m tall St Columba Falls in the headwaters of the George River. Back at our cabins there’s time for a little unwind before we share a final dinner at Casa Pinocchio in Branxholm – a popular restaurant specialising in Italian and local fare.

DAY 11 Thursday 6 May

Travel:  Approx 1 ½ hour drive to the airport.

Meals:   B

Our final morning takes us back towards Launceston and the Airport near Evandale. If you plan to stay on we will drop you at your hotel in Launceston and continue to the airport. If you are flying out today the best flight is Qantas at 1.35pm - QF 2284 to Melbourne (more details in the reservation details). Before flying, there will be time to enjoy your last historic Tassie town with plenty of great quality antique and craft stores and places to savour delicious food!

GUIDES

Based in Boonah (Queensland) Teresa Cause set up Horizon Guides in 2007 to offer a specialised bushwalking guide service. She has extensive experience in guiding tours in Australia and overseas with a particular emphasis on natural history. Providing experiences that connect people to places and to each other is especially rewarding! Teresa also owns and runs Far Outdoors outdoor equipment business in Boonah.

Born and raised in Pyengana Lesley Nicklason describes herself as … “a 4th generation local, Blue Tier protection campaigner for 25 years, wilderness lover, big tree hunter, mother, grandmother, nurse and inveterate bushwalker “ Lesley is all this and more and it is a delight to have her co-guide this Tasmania journey

GENERAL TOUR NOTES

Accommodations

Giant’s Table Cottages https://www.giantstable.com.au (coin operated laundry)

Lufra Apartments http://www.lufrahotel.com (laundry on site)

St Helen’s Bayside Inn https://www.baysidehotel.com.au

Tin Dragon Trail Cottages (Branxholm) https://tindragontrailcottages.com.au (laundry facility in each cottage)

Meals Refer to the daily notes for meal inclusions. You will be asked to supply details on your booking information of special dietary requirements that you have. Please be specific especially if there are foods that trigger allergies. Every effort will be made to cater for special dietary needs as long as we have the correct information in advance.

Alcohol No BYO is allowed at the restaurants. There will be a chance to purchase supplies at various points along the way for consumption at the accommodations.

Daily briefings Each evening there will be a briefing on the walks and options for the following day.

Mobile phone coverage There is adequate mobile phone coverage in many places however coverage on the walks is patchy.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES (Pre/Post tour or alternatives to hikes):

Arriving early – staying after? There are myriad reasons to arrive early for this tour – and to stay longer!

Hobart: If you arrive before the tour Hobart has much of historical and contemporary interest. Here are a few links to get you started …

Salamanca Market – Saturday mornings.

Cascade Brewery – can be reached by walking along the Rivulet

Female Factory (highly recommended – and best experienced by taking the guided tour and experiential theatre tour)

Historic Houses - Markree and Narryna – these have links to the experience of female convicts in Hobart.

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Mawson’s Hut replica museum – excellent!

Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) (requires a full day)

Port Arthur – if you don’t feel up to walking there are some thoroughly great experiences to take in on the Tasman Peninsula

Port Arthur Historic Site

Osbourne Heli Tours

Tasman Island Cruises - Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

Tasmanian Devil Unzoo

Launceston

The Cataract Gorge

Design Tasmania wood and craft centre – fine craft gallery and store.

Clarendon House near Evandale


We look forward to walking with you all and sharing these magnificent Tassie tracks!

Questions?

To receive a comprehensive information and reservation package, or if you have any further questions or would like to discuss the suitability of these walks for you, call 0417 760 966 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

 
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Great Ocean Walk

HORIZON GUIDES invites you to experience Victoria's Great Ocean Walk - a truly spectacular spring journey through some of the most wild landscapes in Australia.

Driving along the iconic Great Ocean Road is just the start of our week-long exploration of the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks. Known as the ‘Shipwreck Coast’ this part of Australia’s coastline is ruggedly beautiful and in the era of sail formed the extremely hazardous approach to Melbourne. Today we can enjoy the coastline and tall forests on the Great Ocean Walk. Opened in 2005 the track takes us to places that are invisible from the highway. On foot you can feel and breathe the ocean and adjacent forests in all their wildness.

Starting at the eastern end of the GOW at the seaside town of Apollo Bay we walk a new section of track each day until we complete the 104km walk at the 12 Apostles. This eco-guided, and vehicle-supported walking holiday allows you to become immersed in the history and natural beauty of the region. 

Here are the planned tour highlights ... but expect some serendipity too ....

  • 104km of spectacular scenery and wonderful walking!
  • Diverse environments: rocky shores, towering cliffs, pristine beaches, mountain ash and myrtle beech forest, coastal heath and still river inlets. 
  • Historic beaches and places: Wreck Beach, Melanesia Beach, the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
  • Abundant wildlife including Koalas, Little Penguins, prolific birdlife and unique creatures like the Otway Snail

DAY 1 

Walk:     Apollo Bay to Shelly Beach 8.5km Medium/Hard

Trans:    Bus from Melbourne Airport

Accom:   Sea Eagle Retreat (Shared facilities)

Meals:     L (own in Apollo Bay) D

Pickup at Melbourne Airport is around 10am. Once we arrive in Apollo Bay there will be a chance for a bite to eat and a bit of a stretch before we take the first step on the Great Ocean Walk. The track first takes the Great Ocean Road to cross the Barham River then from Marengo Beach the GOW is a diverse mixture of beach and bush walking. Depending on the time and the tide/sea conditions we will take the track or walk the intricately patterned rocky shelves. The bus will meet us at Shelly Beach then we continue to Sea Eagle Retreat and settle in to our private retreat.

DAY 2 

Walk:      Full day Shelly Beach to Parker Hill 20.5km Medium/hard (6 – 7 hrs of walking)

Trans:     Shuttle to walk start (approx 30 mins)

Accom:    Sea Eagle Retreat (Shared facilities)

Meals:     BLD

Shelly Beach to Blanket Bay (13.5km: Medium/hard) From Shelly Beach the track climbs steeply up to the Elliot Ridge GOW campsite in the heart of the forest. The tall wet forests of Mountain Ash dominate this walk along old forestry tracks. Keep an eye out for koalas, black cockatoos and other wildlife.

To Parker River Inlet 7.4 km: The track winds through dry coastal forests with views over Parker Inlet. There is a river crossing here to finish – generally it requires shallow wading. It was near here that the wooden ship ‘Eric the Red’ was smashed to pieces in 15 minutes in the early foggy hours of 4 September 1880.

Note: The Parker River crossing is dependent on tides and river levels. If the river is impassable the walk section will end at Blanket Bay. 

DAY 3 

Walk:     Parker Hill to Aire River 16.5km Medium

Trans:    Shuttle return to accommodation (approx 35 mins)

Accom:   Sea Eagle Retreat

Meals:    BLD

Today we return to Parker Hill and take the escarpment track above the cliffs to Cape Otway. If conditions are right we can take the short side trip to beautiful Crayfish Bay. From the Cape Otway Light Station entrance, the sandy track crosses Paynters Hill and passes by the historic Cape Otway cemetery. From here the track meanders through dense wind-sculpted vegetation hugging the slopes and cliff tops above Station Beach. If the tides are in our favour today we can take the return side trip to Rainbow Falls, an unusual seepage over limestone cliffs where algae creates colourful features above the beach rock platforms. The next couple of kilometres are along the wild expanse of Station Beach. Keep an eye out for the endangered Hooded Plovers and interesting flotsam and jetsam before rejoining the escarpment track. From the Escarpment Lookout over the Aire River mouth the track drops down through dense vegetation before emerging beside the Aire River estuary

DAY 4 

Walk:      Rest and Travel Day

Trans:     Transfer to 12 Apostles accommodation.

Accom:    Apostles Motel & Country Retreat (All rooms have private facilities)

Meals:      BLD

After a few days of long walking today is a chance to recover - but we will still be active! Starting with a couple of hours at the historic Cape Otway Light Station precinct. Once through the entry you are free to explore at your leisure – there is a great deal to see here as well as enjoying a cuppa the Café.

Continuing west on the Great Ocean Road we travel across to Loch Ard Gorge – scene of the tragic loss of the Loch Ard and the remarkable survival story of two young people. We will spend about 1 ½ hrs to take in all the walks, viewpoints and stories.

Time permitting, other features on our itinerary are London Bridge, the Arch and the Bay of Islands and the sleepy fishing village of Peterborough pop. 178 - the site of the infamous shipwreck of the Schomberg in 1885. Said to be the “most perfect clipper ever built” it ran aground on a sand spit in controversial circumstances. There was no loss of life apart from the drowning of two men who planned to salvage the cargo. Eventually it was all lost to the sea. The surf and fishing village of Port Campbell has a lovely foreshore and jetty area. Here you have some free time to browse the shops or sit by the bay. Our accommodation for the next four nights is the Apostles Motel.

For those who are keen there is an opportunity to take a helicopter flight along this spectacular section of coastline. www.12apostleshelicopters.com.au The experience isn’t cheap but it is worth every second! This can be arranged on the day (at your cost).

DAY 5 

Walk:       Aire River to Johanna Beach 12.4km

Trans:      Shuttle to Aire River

Accom:    Apostles Motel & Country Retreat (All rooms have private facilities)

Meals:      BLD

Returning to Aire River this morning our walk continues with an initial climb back up to the escarpment via the GOW campsite. From here the track traverses coastal heathland for the next 5.5km sneaking beneath the sculpted cliffs with fabulous views along the coast before we arrive at Castle Cove, a beautiful beach rimmed by spectacular cliffs. Not far from here some of Australia’s most important dinosaur finds were made between 1984 and 1994 under very challenging conditions as the excavations were made off rock platforms frequently subject to wild sea conditions. From Castle Cove we continue the westward journey traversing heathland with wildflowers, grass trees and cliff top views. The last part of this 6.9km section is along Johanna Beach. There is no inland route so if the day is pleasant we can take our time beachcombing. Though this is famous as a surfing location; swimming is not recommended at Johanna Beach.

DAY 6 

Walk:       Melanesia Gate / Moonlight Head / Gables 16.5km Medium / Hard

Trans:      Shuttle to Melanesia Gate (Approx. 50 mins) / from Gable (approx. 30 mins)

Accom:    Apostles Motel and Country Retreat

Meals:      BLD

This is arguably the most spectacular section of the whole GOW and it is also one of the most challenging sections of terrain. We first walk the old 4WD fishing track and meet the beach at the eastern end. The geology here is truly remarkable and quite unique. We’ll spend time appreciating the features before turning inland to climb above the beach with great views.

Between Melanesia Beach and Moonlight Head (9.6km) the walking is hard though the track is well constructed (with steps in steep parts) through the rough terrain and the last section to Moonlight Head is along an old fishing track. Moonlight Head is a magic spot with extensive views east and west. The last section of today’s walk starts along a country road then takes a trail inland to arrive the Gables Lookout where the walk ends for the day.

DAY 7 

Walk:      The Gables to the 12 Apostles 19km Easy / Medium

Trans:     Shuttle to The Gables

Accom:    Apostles Motel and Country Retreat

Meals:      BLD

This is the last section of our Great Ocean Walk. We need to be mindful of the tides as the famous Wreck Beach is part of today’s walk and here the ocean crashes straight into the massive cliff-line at high tide. There is a high tide route if we cannot make the low tide.

Today’s walk takes off from the spectacular Gables Lookout. There is a steep descent to Wreck Beach where high cliffs of sedimentary limestone tower over the narrow beach. The anchors of the wreck of the Fiji (1891) are stuck fast in the beach rock at the western end of the beach. From the end of the beach the track skirts steeply around the Devil’s Kitchen with great views of the beach. The next 7.7km parallels the Old Coach Road to Princetown. Crossing the Gellibrand River the track heads back into the low-growing coastal heath of Port Campbell NP. The views are extensive and as we approach walk finale, the rock stacks of the Apostles dominate the landscape. The Great Ocean Walk passes near historic Glenample Homestead, once home to the farmers who played an important role in caring for survivors of the Loch Ard disaster of 1878, and ends at the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre. Tonight we enjoy a final dinner together.

DAY 8 

Trans:      Bus return to Melbourne Airport

Meals:      B

Today we farewell the Great Ocean Walk and the Shipwreck Coast, returning to Melbourne via The Princes Highway. Arrival at Melbourne Airport is expected to be by 12 noon.

GUIDES

Teresa Cause based in Boonah, founded Horizon Guides Pty Ltd in 2007. Offering a specialised bushwalking guide service, Teresa has a background in outdoor and environmental education, with a particular emphasis on natural history.  Teresa's extensive guiding experience includes tours in Australia and overseas. She is also the proprietor of Far Outdoors in Boonah.

Jenny Lambert Based in Ocean Grove, Jenny is an educator, adventurer and outdoorswoman of great experience. She will provide logistical support and back-up on walks.

GENERAL TOUR NOTES:

Accommodations

Sea Eagle Retreat www.seaeagleretreat.com.au

Private retreat with shared bathrooms, full kitchen, laundry and indoor pool.

Apostle Motel and Country Retreat. (RACV 3 Star Rating) Twin share rooms with private facilities. Bar and restaurant.

Meals All meals and snacks are provided except lunch on the first and last days. Every effort has been made to cater for special dietary needs.

Laundry There is a laundry at Sea Eagle but none at Apostles Motel. However there is a Laundromat in Port Campbell and if necessary we can go there mid-tour. It is recommended to pack a small amount of washing detergent for hand washing.

Alcohol at Sea Eagle Retreat we will provide wine/beer/non-alcoholic beverages for happy hours before dinner. If you prefer spirits (or more than a glass or two of your favourite tipple) then you may purchase this prior to the tour in Apollo Bay. There is a bar at 12 Apostles Motel where you may purchase drinks.

Daily briefings Each evening there will be a briefing on the walk or options for the following day.

Mobile Phone Coverage There is adequate mobile phone coverage at some places along the walk. Emergency access via 112 is more available.

TRACK NOTES:

Distances and track section times Officially the track is 104km in length. We are covering pretty much all this on foot – all except for a section that we drive. Where indicated the time taken for each section is approximate.

Grading Most of the Great Ocean Walk is graded Easy – Medium. There are some Hard sections. Refer to daily notes for grading on each section. Being a coastal walk, elevation gain and loss is moderate over short distances.

Shortening walks On some sections of the walk there is vehicle access to certain points. For those who don’t feel up to hiking the entire daily section, there may be the opportunity to walk part of the way a have a pick-up arranged - one of the best aspects of a vehicle supported walking holiday!

Toilets Each of the walk-in sites has composting toilets and in several places we will also walk through public access areas with toilet facilities.

Track direction The GOW is designed to be walked East to West. This gives all walkers a better opportunity to walk ‘alone’ as there will be less chance of passing walkers.

Tides Inland vs. beach walks. In places there are decision points for safely walking sections. This will be strictly weather and tide-dependent. The track walking is generally easier going, as the beach sands may be soft and therefore harder walking.

Weather Spring weather can be quite changeable in the region so you may expect to encounter all sorts of conditions from sunshine to wild squalls. Please take note of the detailed packing list.

Steps There is quite a lot of ‘up and down’ on this walk with steps of stone or timber construction in steep sections. It is not recommended for anyone with knee conditions.

Swimming There are no patrolled beaches on the walk and many beaches have strong currents and rough water. Swimming is not recommended.

Hydration / Water There is usually rainwater at the GOW campsites and water treatment will be available. It is recommended to carry 2 litres of water in 1litre containers per day.

Phytophthora fungus Boot cleaning is encouraged in the effort to help prevent spread of Phytophthora fungus that causes ‘die-back’ of a variety of plant species.

European Wasps In summer European wasps may be a problem around water sources. Keep water containers capped when not drinking from them.

Snakes Along the track there are ample snake warnings. In places the narrow track and scrubby bush close on either side makes spotting snakes difficult.

 

 

 

 

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Contact info

7 Church St, Boonah QLD 4310

Phone +61 07 54634 114
Mobile +61 0417 760 966

teresa@horizonguides.com.au

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