Friday, September 30, 2011

The Tasman Peninsula - Day 2

Fortescue Bay to Cape Huay*
*Pronounced Cape Hoy, in case you were wondering.
Hold on!
But First a Word about Wild Walking

So far the walks I have done in this area have been fairly tame. True the Blowhole had a sign warning about freak waves, but on the whole the tracks have been good and the cliffs have been fenced off, making them fairly safe for families. This is not the case on this walk and it’s much longer, so a few safety notes are in order. We do lose the odd visitor this way, so you there up the back, please pay attention. We don't want to lose you too.

First up you do need a National Parks Pass to do most of the walks in this area. Visitors can get these fairly cheaply on a day or eight week basis either for one person or up to 8 per vehicle from any Service Tasmania outlet, on the Ferry, at Information Centres in National Parks, on -line or even from the Ranger at the Campground. Camping fees are extra, but modest in comparison with other forms of accommodation.


No matter how beautiful the weather looks, take warm clothing, wet weather gear, hat and sunblock, water, a torch and a map and record your trip intentions in the logbooks provided. Walk with others if you can and be prepared to turn back if the weather changes. Take all your rubbish with you and don't pick or take anything along the way. Make sure your shoes and any equipment such as tent pegs are clean. One of the biggest threats to our native vegetation is a root rot fungus (phytopthora cinnomoni) carried on hikers' boots. Another imported disease is giardia, a parasite which causes bloating and diarrhoea. This is now in many of our waterways and carried by wildlife, so do not drink wild water unless it has been thoroughly boiled for at least three minutes.
For the same reason, do not bury human waste near streams. Bury it deeply and cover it firmly, so that it is not dug up by animals. Don't feed the animals either. Processed food makes them sick and they become too dependent on humans. And, as anyone knows who has ever been dive -bombed by seagulls or crows, they can also become pests.
Be careful of stepping on penguin burrows near shorelines and don't ever bring dogs or cats, which are also very destructive of our wildlife, especially small mammals and ground fowl such as native hens and penguins.
Because of the fire risk, most parks are now fuel stove only areas, though the campground still allows fires in fireplaces and also has free gas barbecues.
Oh yes, and watch out for snakes. It is in fact illegal to kill them, but they are not so restricted, so wear thick socks and strong boots and try not to annoy them. OK, got all that? Then let's get going!


The old track

Spring flowers are coming out here too.

As usual, I start off really early in the morning. I’ve been doing that since the Overland Track, when I found out that when a ranger says it takes 4 hours it is likely to take me twice as long. I don’t want to do it like a forced march either. I like to stop here and there to contemplate or take photos or just have a rest when I feel like it. There’s a long slow uphill slog  first which, while it makes me labour, gives me cheer because I know it will be downhill all the way at the end, which is often very welcome by that time. I keep expecting to see the sunrise over the next hill, but it’s high in the sky by the time I finally clear the last one and oh what a view!
New work - lovely stonework, but.....

 There is track work going on. Even as my feet are saying”Aaah! That feels good,” my brain is saying soon it will be like Freycinet – bookings only, car parks full,  or worse still, like a National Park I once visited in South Korea – walking several abreast  with hundreds of others and with coffee machines every few hundred metres.


On top of the hill at last!


Suddenly there’s a steep descent and in the distance you can see the track winding on and on over the three humps that make up the Cape. In the sheltered valley between the hummocks, there is a garden of coastal heath plants but on the seaward side, battered by strong salt -laden winds, the vegetation is sparse and harsher looking. Only the occasional bonsai tree manages to cling to the exposed boulders at the top. It is terrifying to look down to where the sea boils far below, but the vistas to the north and south are splendid. A lone charter boat looks like a gull on the wing. Two girls I met in the campground last night will be on it. It would be a wonderful way to explore all those sea caves and at $80 - $100 not that expensive either, but they wouldn’t get the bird’s eye view I am getting from here. The cliffs are so high, I can’t fit them into the frame of my camera, as the little film clip below will show. You will also hear the sound that the sea and the wind make and occasionally the crack and tumble of a rock.


View from the top of the hill, looking north. That tiny white speck is a charter boat

Looking South. That's Cape Pillar in the distance and no, I am not going there.

About halfway across this Peninsula on the Peninsula, there’s a huge sinkhole to my left and the sea churning away far down on my right. Once you could have believed that it could never break through in a lifetime, but not now, not since London Bridge. This was a similar combination of sea cliffs and geological formations on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast which fell down while two tourists were on it. Miraculously, no one was hurt and I hope they took a Tattslotto ticket afterwards, but you can never again be sure that that geological second isn’t now. By the way, unlike the lookouts on the Waterfall Bay track, none of these areas are fenced, so it is not recommended that you bring children on this walk, but if you have mistakenly brought them with you, and they are anything like mine were, now would be a good time to put them on a leash. 





It's a long way down
The Monument with Cape Pillar in the distance

The track ends at the amazing stacks called the Lanterns and there are also two pillars known as the Candlestick and the Totem Pole for obvious reasons. The island beyond  is Hippolyte Rock, where bull seals like to rest up on their way to visit female seals along the east coast. Sharks patrol the Bay. The sea below boasts unusual species, such as sea horses and sea dragons in its giant kelp forests. The diving is said to be good and there have also been plenty of shipwrecks. The wreck of the steamship Tasman which went down in 1883, lies in 70 metres of water just south of Hippolyte Rock after taking a shortcut in a race against another steamer. All passengers and crew made it safely to Fortescue Bay and the captain, despite being involved in another wreck, went on to become the Governor  of Tasmania.

End of the Track. Mitre Rock ahead and Hippolyte Rock beyond





The charter boat lends perspective
It is possible to walk on to Cape Pillar from here, those rocks you can see far to the South, but this is a two day walk and I haven’t brought a tent or food for overnight, so after having my lunch and gazing at these awesome cliffs for a while, I begin to make my way back. Just as I am crawling up that very steep hill, I’m lapped by a young couple who started much later than I did. Other walkers are invariably polite, friendly and chirpy, but the birds stop chirping and I have to resist the urge to hurry up. It reminds me of walking with my ex. or the occasional foray with walking clubs. My ex used to be a scout master, so there was the sense that you had better move along or you would be letting down the side.  Walking clubs allow you to visit unusual places that you would never find on your own, but are fraught with similar hazards. I can remember puffing up the hill with my two year old daughter on my back, only to find everyone else well rested, raring to go and looking annoyed that I had been holding them back. Much as I would like to have a walking companion from time to time and it would be much safer – one of you can go for help if you get hurt, this encounter reminds me why it’s also nice to walk alone. I am very, very careful where I put my feet and always take my time.

There are wallabies and pademelons around the ranger's house at dusk
 
And I finally manage to catch a blue wren before it flies off.
It's proper name is Superb Fairy Wren
Evening at the Piccaninny Learn -to -Swim Pool
Eventually I find myself back in the Campground where I enjoy a long hot shower, not one of those where you just get shampoo in your hair and then the water cuts out.  I do a small walk to the piccaninny swimming pool, where Aboriginal mothers taught their offspring to swim and spend some time talking with the ranger. He tells me that the sharks which patrol the outer perimeter of the Bay, keep the penguins safe from seal attacks, but the real problem here is feral cats – domestic cats that have gone wild. As we sit on his front lawn, pademelons come down to graze and even one of those elusive blue wrens. The fishermen who were out on the Bay, rush back in saying they have just seen a shark longer than their dinghy. They build a campfire nearby and I can hear a radio playing softly. It’s been a fantastic day. 












 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Tasman Peninsula - Day 1

Near Dunally. Not a castle on the Rhine, but built by a German of course, at a cost of $ 11 million.

I know I’ve been home too long when playing house gets tedious and I no longer appreciate the comforts of home. Having days and days of dreary grey or rainy weather doesn’t help either. 

As soon as the weather report promised two consecutive days of sunshine, I was out the door.
This time I headed for that other protuberance on the East Coast – the Tasman Peninsula.
There are two Peninsulas here really -the Forestier and the Tasman, but I spent most
of my time on the one further south. It’s most famous for its stunning convict relics but
also has spectacular geological features, many of which would qualify as Wonders of
the World. Though only about 100Km from Hobart the hilliness and winding
roads can make it a bit of a slog. Much better to have someone drive you, so that you
can appreciate the pleasant seascapes and rustic scenery or at least take your time so
you can call in at some of the little places in between.

Old cannery at Dunally, now a Gallery and Cafe

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gone Wild

Apologies for not answering my email for the last few days. I have been indulging in that fine Aboriginal tradition called Walkabout where you drop everything and just take off into the bush.
Forgive me. We did just have three consecutive days of good weather!

Just to prove that I have not been entirely slack, I'll post some of my adventures forthwith. However, it is not without some trepidation and ambivalence.
Does it spoil it for you if I show and tell you what you are likely to see on walks? Or does it whet your appetite?

Will it make you want to come and do it yourself? This would be good as thanks to the high Aussie dollar and general economic uncertainty, tourism here is having a bit of a hard time, so come on down. This is absolutely the perfect time. Everything is green, but not yet as busy as it gets in summer and when school holidays are on. The parking lots and campgrounds are empty and there's lots of accommodation. I can't guarantee that it will be so pleasantly relaxed later in the year. On the other hand, the autumn is lovely here as well and the weather tends to be much more stable than in spring. It is also the time when concessions on airfares and ferries begin again, rather than paying the high season rates.

My oldest son says it doesn't matter if I show the pictures, because having the experience is quite different to looking at photos and each person's experience is unique. There will also be different weather, different seasons.
For many readers though, the chances of getting here to this remote island on the far side of the world are fairly slim, so if for you alone, I will put these pictures in. You will see that despite these enormous distances between us, many things are the same - we do have supermarkets and McDonalds and home comforts like flushing loos, mostly, but you will also find strange plants and animals and absolutely astounding scenery that you won't find anywhere else.

This brings me to my second concern. If I show these places to others, will they change? Or more to the point, will I be hastening their change?  Next time I come, will it be four lane highways and admission fees and I won't even be able to get in? In some ways I feel that if I find a beautiful place, I should keep quiet about it and keep it to myself. (You are thinking, Haha). On the other hand, I hardly mentioned to anyone the beautiful place we stayed in in Bali once, and still the government confiscated it and turned it into a multi - million dollar resort for the wealthy. So on the premise that it is no use singing and dancing alone and that change is inevitable, I may as well share it with people of similar interests and values. There are not after all, that many of you, especially since the break. Let me know though, how you feel about this, whether to tell all or not?

Meanwhile, perhaps I am doing this for the sake of history. To record places and experiences at some moment in time, while they are still exotic and largely wild, but still fairly accessible for non - Gortex owning, not too fit bushwalkers like me. People in the future may be amazed that we travelled so far in just a couple of days or, conversely, that we could still walk anywhere or walk at all!
I'll bet the person who took this film of the Tasmanian Tiger at the Beaumaris Zoo in 1933, had no idea that it would be the last one ever taken. This Tiger died in 1936 and marked the extiction of a species unique to Tasmania.




Yep! Come and see it all before it disappears,
xxx Roni

PS If you are the kind of person who would rather not see the pictures and prefer to discover everything for yourself, DO NOT READ the next three posts!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Joy indeed

Creative Tasmania
I am always delighted when I find art in unexpected places. A couple of weeks ago a rash of small white crosses appeared around the city emblazoned with the words “ So it goes” as immortalised in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Slaughterhouse Five,” though nothing  was offered by way of explanation. They were embedded in little piles of dirt at strategic locations such as the Bus Mall and bedecked with dried flowers.
See the pictures and read about it here:
Curious Crosses Mystery
This follows on from a series of knitted mice embellished with the word “Joy” which were also sprinkled about the CBD recently. While a mysterious Miss Marple has owned up to these and it is rumoured an art student is responsible for the crosses, their authorship remains a mystery to date.

Anything which awakens us out of our everyday somnambulism getS my vote and brings Joy indeed.

The Quick and the Fined

Lucky I didn't get booked taking this photo


There’s a new sport in Hobart. It’s called Can You Make it Before the Lights Change? I thought it was just me and that I was slowing down because I couldn’t make it across  the traffic lights before  they turned red, but it wasn’t my imagination.
Yesterday’s paper confirms that the interval for crossing the street has been shortened to about six seconds and Police have so far booked 24 people for failing  to obey the signals.  The report included a cartoon showing the little green man running instead of walking and a picture of a lady on crutches looking distressed because she hadn’t managed to get more than halfway across before being charged by stampeding cars.That kind of thing makes the front pages of the newspapers here. See the full report and pictures Race Against Little Green Men and many other exciting stories in the online version of our daily paper.

Now this could be the attempt of a paternalistic/ nanny state to increase our fitness – we are the unhealthiest state – we top the list for obesity, diabetes and heart disease,* but pardon me if I am sceptical. Perhaps it was that enormous payout to Gunns for not being allowed to level our forests, but I’m sure it’s the latest creative strategy for raising revenue for a cash strapped government, not satisfied with current levels of extortion from Speed Cameras and the like, but where will it end? Fines for loitering too long in front of shop windows or parking meters on park benches?

They won't be able to call Hobart Slowbart anymore. That's a shame. Doesn't the government know that SLOW is in?

 * I blame the excellent food

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Once upon a fence


Boo!

"Just looking, Thanks!"

Thought for the day. Behind it are more of those bizarre band names
 Urban bush walking yesterday. I went to that slightly seedy end of town where there are very expensive outdoor shops, bicycle shops and an eclectic mix of retro clothing, antiques and specialty shops that pop up like mushrooms after rain, only to disappear as suddenly as they came. But, like spring flowers, they do provide a dazzling, if brief,  and ever -changing display that keeps the place interesting.
In between are venerable establishments such as the No appointment needed dental prothesetist, the Christian Science Reading  Room and the Map Shop. The Map Shop smells like old parchment and feels as if it's been around since Abel Tasman was a boy. The leatherwear shop is another olfactory delight.

Outdoor shops, Cafes and Antique establishments dominate the lower end of Elizabeth St





New Cafe. Looks like we are getting a bit of courtyard culture too
Don't know about the food, but the table decorations look interesting

The Map Shop. Enduring and pleasantly anachronistic in these days of GPS and Google Earth
My main mission in this area was to find shoes that I can actually walk in (fashion shoes being a complete waste of time in my case), but didn't cost the equivalent of a small sovereign nation's GDP. No luck there, but in the little shop whose blackboard I have shown above, there were two book titles that really spoke to me.

You read my mind!
This shop had any number of  other interesting items such as sardine shaped paper clips in a sardine tin, Messiah Mints and Jesus Action Figures and erasers packaged in foil to look like condoms. My personal preference would be for the other way round - i.e. condoms packaged as erasers. That way I could still pretend to be a respectable English teacher while being prepared for nights of lust and debauchery. They could also have application in deeply religious communities. On the other hand, perhaps I should get some of each. There are some people whom I want to think that I am having an outrageous sex life, when in fact all I am doing is scribbling on pieces of paper.



There were other intriguing book titles as well, such as One Hundred Cats who Changed Civilization, but I managed to resist the urge to buy here, and even The Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian at the secondhand book and record shop next door. I did at last succumb to a secondhand copy of Bill Bryson's Down Under, after it fell open at the chapter on Canberra. I love this kind of random mix and thoroughly dislike genre marketing. I mean, who goes into a book shop or library thinking, yes, today I really want biography or romance or a cookbook. You miss all the joy of discovery!

Now there's a notebook I could love, though possibly a bit small for my purposes

This suitcase of secondhand books is more my style.
A lovely innovation
 My last stop was at the Flower Room. This is a charity shop where the good women of Hobart bring their excess produce and especially their flowers. It used to be in a poky little room at the top of the stairs in an obscure building and the stock would consist of towering delphiniums, flower show -worthy irises and the most extravagant lilies.  Now that it has moved to bright new street -level premises and almost keeps business hours,  there is much less on the shelves and I was lucky to get a few lemons and some free range eggs.I hope it means that they are doing good business.


 I also noticed that we had a new collection of signal boxes which put the not inconsiderable talents of our graffiti artists to better use. Very cheerful and a much better look than the original ones.

Our colourful new signal boxes


Much better than the old ones

Meanwhile the search goes on.


Cheers all!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Mystery Object

I know this looks like a perfectly normal bagel, but it isn't. And no, it is not a fossilised dinosaur dropping. It is a vulcanised bagel which no knife can penetrate. A bad case of user error in that I put it on defrost and forgot about it.
Now the mystery is not so much what it was, but what it should become. We were never allowed to throw away food as children and it still looks so good, it must have a purpose, if only I can discover it. I have started making a list of possibilities to which you are welcome to add your suggestions.

Do you know I once wrote a long article about 101 uses for twitch which was extremely well received? My mother always said there was a reason why some things grew in abundance, though she never had much to say about the raison d'etre for mosquitoes. Anyway twitch turned out to be surprisingly useful with lots of medicinal applications, apart from giving me much needed physical and mental exercise and I came to the conclusion that it was a valuable and much underutilised resource.
Let's see if we can do the same with a dead bagel. Here are a few ideas to get you going. I'm sure you will have many more.
  1. Grave good for an Egyptian tomb
  2. Cover with seeds and berries and hang up as a bird feeder in winter
  3. Chew or throw toy for a dog or teething baby
  4. Frisbee. It bowls quite well on its side too
  5.  Hockey puck
  6. Soak for several years to make penicillin or whisky or add to hamburger mince
  7. Table decoration, with or without the addition of flowers. This would be especially nice for a harvest festival or Thanksgiving dinner. It would also make a nice display in a bakery or cafe.
  8. Door stop, paper weight
  9. Headdress. With the addition of some stick on jewels it could work as a crown or, with the attachment of some organza, as a bridal veil or medieval accessory. It would also make an interesting Race Day hat, no worse than some others I have seen.
  10. Game - Pass the Bagel - rather like hot potato. When the music stops, the bagel is yours. Table bagel anyone? This is like quoits.
  11. Spray gold and use as an award or perpetual trophy
  12. Shark bait
  13. Christmas Decoration. Sneak it in with popcorn strings and apples and no one will notice. Or use it as a base for a Christmas wreath for the front door.
  14. A very large washer...
  15. Make another one and turn them into ear muffs, hearing protection or knee pads for skateboarders.
  16. Spare wheel for scooter or pram
  17.  One of those things people with boats have to stop them banging into wharves and tugboats have to stop big ships bumping into them. In fact, I could use a line of them down the side of my car. It would stop people scraping the duco when they open their car doors in parking lots. I see that some car manufacturers have taken up the ideas I suggested when I was ten - having rubber bumpers and rubber strips up the side like dodgems, to put the fun back into driving.
  18. Speaking of cars, you could also use it as an auxilliary brake when parking on steep hills
  19. Leave it on the moon and let Extra Terrestials and future visitors think it's an alien life form
  20. .......
Now it's over to you. I am just not feeling creative this morning and was really looking forward to that bagel!

And speaking of quiet places.....

One quiet night in Deloraine.
Back in the days when I was still safely married and living in the country (OMG, I am beginning to feel like Duckie in NCIS, always recollecting the past! I promise I will try to get a life really soon) my husband brought home a Swedish hitchhiker and apologised that the place was rather quiet.
We did hear that there was going to be music down at the pub, so we thought we might take him there.

Just when things were rocking along quite nicely, the police arrived and said that they had had a report  that there was a bomb on the premises and we all had to wait outside on the street while they did a search.
The band played on valiantly out on the nature strip and every now and then some brave soul would risk life and limb to go back into the pub for another jug of beer.

Not long after we were allowed back into the pub, there was a new drama. An irate husband with a shotgun was engaged in a standoff with the police  on the bridge. Not sure how that one turned out, though we could hear shots being fired just down the road. Wearily, we walked back home. Then, just as we were going to bed, the brakes on a neighbour's  car failed and his car careened down the hill into our truck. It made a very loud bang.

Our Swedish friend was astounded and thoughtful. "This quiet Deloraine," he said. "What do you call exciting?" After that - at least until we moved to the Wild West, we had a steady stream of visitors from an obscure town in Sweden all looking for a quiet night in Deloraine. I hope they weren't too disappointed. The scenery is lovely.

Other Road Trips from Hell - A bad day in Gungahlin

The story of our adventures on the West Coast brought forth a wave of nostalgia. A friend in the US told me about a similarly ill –starred journey to San Francisco during the Summer of Love, driving back in in a ’55 Chevy that had to have its gears changed manually by having someone climb underneath it, and my son in Canberra sent some pictures about a camping trip they were about to take last Easter in their new old car.
It was to be its maiden voyage, its first off the bitumen, out of city excursion, but when they stopped at the service station to fill up, the LPG just kept leaking out. 

“I’ve never seen that happen before,” said the service station attendant. The NRMA were called and the Fire Brigade arrived as well.

NRMA and the Firemen inspect the gas leak

They take a closer look while firemen stand by with hoses

They decide it looks a bit dangerous.  
The next photo shows my son and his girlfriend running away.
The fire and emergency services personnel take over.
This service station and the one on the other side of the road are shut down and the area is evacuated.
They seem to do that a lot in Canberra.

The car is removed to an empty paddock in case it explodes
The car is towed to an empty paddock, several hundred metres away.Then it's goodbye car. Goodbye camping trip.
The last shot shows them both at the bus stop, looking very dejected as they wait for the bus home.
You'll be pleased to know that they have since acquired a new car. 

I don't know why people think our national capital is a dull place. It seems to me that there is always something going on. When the whole family gets together there at Christmas, it should be a real blast!







Disasters small and large


I just impulse -bought a new blender. Having finally saved enough money to buy a banana (they’ve also gone down to $ 9.99 per kilo), I was going to make myself a smoothie, but alas, my beautiful reproduction 50’s blender wouldn’t go any more.

A friend was about to explore a new shopping complex so I tagged along hoping to find a pair of shoes, when I noticed that blenders were on special at an electrical shop. Not as swish -looking as my old one, but probably quite OK for the amount of blending I actually do. Perhaps I should keep the old one for show and the new one for using. Too bad I have now eaten the banana.

Next up I was congratulating myself on having found and bought an Australian -made outdoor chair which cost about three times as much as a Chinese one, when it suddenly dumped me on the ground. The seat section had neatly ripped right across. I have just replaced this with a complete outdoor setting Made in China, of course –for about the same price. It can hardly do a worse job, but I do miss the Dong Feng days of Chinese industry, before they became capitalist. Those things were indestructible and the language was priceless. My friend Chris still has a torch that promises you arm and shoulder development and mental clarity. I will copy the instructions next time I visit. Hope nothing else breaks. That’s about all the consumerism I can stand for the time being.

On Friday, my Canberra son sent me a text message in the wee hours of the morning saying:
“Don’t worry Mum. We are all OK and have all been evacuated.”

 I tried to phone and couldn’t reach him. How I could I not worry when I had no idea what happened?
Frantically I trawled through the news on the internet. Ah yes. There it was. A series of explosions during the night and a huge fire with flames 200 metres high. Because of the toxic fumes, whole suburbs had been evacuated within a radius of ten kilometres and children were being kept home from school. The fire hadn’t been put out yet, but at least there had only been minor injuries and no loss of life.
When I finally heard from my son, he sounded very relaxed.

“Now I know there is a God,” he said. “I really didn’t want to go into work today and now we all have to work from home.  I’m sitting here in my PJ’s.”
I have a feeling he shouldn’t have wished quite that hard and hope he wasn’t  expecting any video calls.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Short Walks 3 - The Pipeline Track



The Pipeline Track starts again just behind this cute Bus shelter
Fern Tree
The Silver Falls are the top end of the Pipeline track which continues across the road behind the Bus shelter and descends for about 50 minutes to the reservoirs at Waterworks Road. The Pipeline was  built in 1861 to carry water from the slopes of Mt. Wellington to the burgeoning City of Hobart. Until then, Hobart had made use of the Rivulet which still flows beneath the city, but which had become little more than a moving cesspool due to its use by industry and this had resulted in outbreaks of typhoid.  

It was an enormous challenge to the engineers of the day and several changes in technology can be seen along the way. Initially water races, aqueducts and sluices were carved from the local sandstone, but gradually these were replaced with ceramic pipes, then steel and finally concrete and continue to supply water to the city today.
Bet you have never seen a Bus shelter like this! Bus goes from Franklin Square in the city

I am taking the easy way today and walking the track from the top to the bottom, but the walk can also be started from the other end at the top of the upper dam off Waterworks Road. Just drive up this road until you come to a Parking area on the right side of the road, then go through the gate and the picnic area and follow the road around the dam. Be warned though, this gate closes at 4 p.m.at this time of year.  To my shame, I am passed by what looks to be a four year old boy and what is possibly his grandma walking the other way, but the grades seem gentle enough.

The track descends through tunnels of green

Moss -covered structural features look like ancient monuments
The track can also be accessed at Hall' s Saddle, where the road turns off to Ridgeway.
After the track crosses Chimney Pot Hill Road to Ridgeway, it goes through  more open country where the wildflowers are already in bloom. Not surprisingly, the Tasmanian Branch of the Native Plant Society has a Nursery near here, though it's currently closed. This is Hall’s Saddle. As well as  providing another convenient access  point to the track with better parking, it also has a picnic table and a free barbecue. Watch out for barred bandicoots here and other small mammals such as pademelons (a small rounded marsupial) or the antichinus, which looks a lot like a mouse, but is in fact a small marsupial too. Sometimes you will see echidnas here, especially in early spring and at any time of year watch out for wallabies and their cousins which come out in droves at dusk. Drive SLOWLY if you are driving at this time to give them time to get out of the way.


The landscape changes on the other side of the Saddle
 It's sunnier on this side and there are a occasional glimpses of Mount Wellington. What you can't see is the fearful wind (unless you watch the little video).
Boronia is in bloom on this side
And all kinds of other wildflowers


And in open areas you see glimpses of Mt. Wellington
 

 
At about the halfway mark, I come upon an open clearing. This was Bill MacDermott’s farm. Bill was an eighty year old hermit who farmed here with his dog, Brandy Shamrock McShane. While he managed to survive  the 1967 bushfire and was hailed as a hero in the local paper, he succumbed a week later, after being gored by one of his fire –crazed bulls. This and other stories about the pipeline are told in interpretive panels along the way.

This is probably where Bill's fireplace used to be
Afternoon tea with Bill. That's Hobart you can see way down there.
I sit for a while where Bill’s home used to be and take  in the magnificent view. It’s no wonder that he fought as hard as he did, not just the fires, but also the City of Hobart, which lies far below. Only the daffodils remain.
Tasmanians still shudder when they talk about that terrible day on February 7, 1967, when fires ravaged 2640 square kilometres of bushland in five hours. It still ranks as one of the worst fires in Australia's fire prone history. Sixty -seven people were killed, 1293 homes were razed and 7, 000 people were made homeless. It's estimated that 62,000 farm animals were lost, not to mention those in the bush. (Coincidentally, the  equally savage Melbourne fires of 2009, which claimed 172 lives also broke out on a February 7).
It starts to rain again as I leave here and the wind develops a keener edge, so I hurry on down.

Sluice works near Gentle Annie Falls were cut by hand

Still imposing though the Falls no longer run because the water now flows underground
The sun comes out again as I near the end of the track, but I can see dark clouds banking up again on the mountain and the wind hasn't abated, so I decide to call it a day. There are lovely facilities here, including an interpretive centre and other tracks, both short and long, but I'll save these for another day.

It's a relief to be down

In more ways than one.

The People's Pipeline indeed!
Hobartians seem to know all about these places - information passed on from one generation to the next,  no doubt, but strangers rarely hear about them. Will definitely bring my next visitors here and do some more exploring.

Thanks Guys! Oh yes, and for the water supply too!

Inviting, but the wind is still raging
For now it's phone a friend time, so that I can get back up to my car.