Thursday, September 15, 2011

Three Short Walks - 1. The Cascades

Spring Flowers in the Cascade Gardens


I always wanted to be an explorer when I grew up, or at the very least a sort of Margaret Mead, but without the bugs and exotic diseases. Imagine my disappointment then later in life, to discover that most of world had already been explored and mapped.  In consequence I always feel a bit of a thrill when I come across some little corner of the universe that hasn't yet been done to death, especially when it is very close to home.

The Council has just announced the opening of a new walking track only three kilometres from the city at the end of the linear park that runs along the Hobart Rivulet. No survival skills are required for this one and it's just one of those little walks you might do after a big Sunday dinner or on a a very hot afternoon in summer when you just want a cool green break from the city without going too far. It's only another 45 minutes if you want to walk all the way. 

The Cascades Walk takes about an hour each way and starts  just behind Hobart’s Cascade Brewery. In fact, it largely follows the  Creek that supplies the water that makes Tasmania’s famous beer.



The brewery itself is a wonder. Built by Peter Degraves in 1824, it is the oldest in Australia and has splendidly Gothic flourishes -curlicues, arched windows and bells. It looks more like a place of worship than a  place of business  dedicated to the pursuit of profit, good times and moral decline.  They just don’t make industrial buildings like that anymore. So much character! There are lovely gardens too and brewery tours if you happen to like beer.


It's a pity I' m not a beer drinker - believe me I have tried, because  the warm, yeasty smell of fermentation fills the air as I start on the walk. Just inhaling the fumes makes me I feel quite bubbly and jaunty.

The track meanders gently uphill through dry sclerophyll forest at first. Not much happening there yet – not many wildflowers, but soon enters the moist gullies with ferns and mosses that always remind me why I love Tasmania.





Then the track ends abruptly and somewhat inconclusively at an open clearing where several tracks meet and Mt. Wellington looks down from above. Because it’s late afternoon and not a good time  to be wandering off into the unknown without a torch and a map, I turn right into the Old Farm Road instead.


This is a narrow, winding and pleasantly rustic road, where sheep, goats and horses turn their heads as you pass and a willow -lined creek rushes alongside. There’s a splendid crop of wild daffodils at a place where it looks like a house has once stood. It’s quite a way from any other houses, so I pick myself a bunch and slowly stroll back to the Brewery. Thank Goodness it's all downhill. Then I finish off with a bit of a picnic in the gardens. 








Footnote:While the formal gardens are beautifully maintained, the one surrounding the Brewery looks a bit sad. It doesn't speak well for using recycled water if you want to have flourishing plants. Bet there aren't any snails though.  





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