Monday, August 13, 2018

Mount Misery, Tasmania – much better than it sounds


On the way to the summit of Mt. Misery



We – walking buddy and I, walked to Mt. Misery last week.  Although it was a bit of a dreary day, this three hour walk was much more interesting and attractive than it sounds.

Access is via Huon Bush Retreats an eco - resort at Ranelagh which is a private Habitat Reserve, an interesting concept in itself. Sixty –eight landowners in the area have banded together to create a haven for flora and fauna, protected by covenants over the land, the first to have been issued in Tasmania. You don't have to stay at the resort to do the walk, nor is there any charge, but donations are welcome. Learn more about private reserves at the end of this post*. 

After negotiating the gravel road of which the last 500 metres is especially challenging to 2WD cars - the secret is not to stop or slow down, you arrive at what appears to be a bushland campground. There was no one else here when we came though we had contacted the managers beforehand. Cabins and teepees are tucked away unobtrusively among the trees and there is even an outdoor bath. The resort uses solar power, natural water and composting toilets and doesn't have television or wifi, though there are board games if you like.

Wallabies hop about freely and the air is filled with birdsong. The tracks have all been built by the managers and there are a number of interpretive panels. Unusually, these also include information about the Aboriginal heritage of the area and the geology, things you don't often see. 
 
Science and Dreamtime stories come together here

Even though I am a card carrying member of the Slothbagger's club  the walk to the top of the mountain wasn’t too difficult. Along the way,  there is a great variety of vegetation in a smallish area -enormous eucalypts, a bit of rainforest, heathlands, fungi and ferns, including epiphytes – the type of ferns that make their home on other plants, rather than putting roots down themselves. 

Commonly called a kangaroo paw fern  (Microsorum Pustulatum) this prefers to grow on other plants


If you didn't want to do the whole walk you could just walk up to the lookout where you can look down the valley and see the bend in the Huon River which was the staging point for all that came and went until the road was built, or you could walk a little further to the plateau and get a bird's eye view of the surrounding mountains. After that, it’s only a gentle climb to the top.  

On the way back we do a detour to a pretty little waterfall that drops way, way down into a narrow gorge. We were lucky to see it in flow because apparently it hasn’t run for a couple of years due to lower rainfall. This year despite the  crippling drought on on the mainland - the second worst since 1902, Tasmania has had its share.  All in all a thoroughly pleasant day. 

A few cheery fungi


* About Private Habitat Reserves
Until 2009 the State Government managed conservation efforts on private land, including that on Mt. Misery, but since then they have been managed by The Tasmanian Land Conservancy, a non -profit foundation, which buys land with high conservation values or endangered species on it, puts a covenant over it to protect them in perpetuity, and then resells it to a suitable buyer who will protect it. It is an interesting idea which is especially useful in places where the Government is unable or unwilling to fund reserves itself.





No comments: