Tasmania trip 2019
We had never been to Tasmania so though time to correct that. The trip was not a Parks and SOTA expedition but we intend to catch up with friends who had moved there and to sample the food, scenery and hopefully see the Aurora.
Went over on the ferry so could take Subie. I have HF and VHF in the car with a Outbacker Stealth setup. The VHF is a Kenwood DT710 setup for APRS and HF using a FT891 and mAT-30 auto-tuner. So from the car I can tx on 80 to 2M.
I had a list of candidates that was based on input from a couple of activators and activation stats from PnP. The idea was that those that had recent activations should have clean access. Whilst we had booked the time off and theferry months put but did not pay attention until the week before. Saw no reason to book accommodation as prepared to play it by ear.
Left Melbourne in the evening to arrive in Devonport bright and early. Had breakfast at the House of Anvers Museum of Chocolate as we headed down and around Port Sorell to access the Narawntapu National Park on the way to Launceston.
WWFF Narawntapu National Park (VKFF-0005)
Narawntapu National Park proved to have straight forward access. We drive through heading up to the on the and proceeded to gain 10 contacts and qualify for VKFF. Intersting location as very different to the summits I’m use to. Smallish rugged costal plants. Finished up and headed down to Launceston.
Spent a couple of days and a night in Launceston. Went to a restaurant called Geronimo. This was the pick of the trip. if you do nothing else in Tasmania, go to this resturant.
From Launseaton we headed down to Hobart. Tasmania is quite compact and we were slowing down and getting use to the lack of distances involved.
Hobart felt like a country town. We got a hotel in the CDB and parked the car. We are country folk so happy to stay in city and explore. You can walk all over Hobart and we did.
VK7/SC-001 – Kkunanyi / Mount Wellington
WWFF Wellington Park Other Conservation Area (VKFF-2932)
We could see Kunanyi from our hotel window. The weather was undecided. My initial plan was to go up in the late afternoon hoping to exploit the evening grey line for 20m contacts and to get a view of the city. Access is restricted due to snow so plann to activate morning.
Headed off in the morning after breakfast in the city. Setup in the carpark with the endfed running out east west. Secured the summit but not the park. It was hard going with CW coming to save the day. Once qualified headed back down as had a dinner date in the city with Michele’s friends.
VK7/SC-037 – Mt Direction
Mount Direction is on Hobart’s eastern shore. Access is but steep in parts but overall an excellent trail. The walk is worth the views of Hobart and the Derwent Valley alone. Starting at the Risdon Brook Dam this is a straight forward walk but we left to the afternoon and were not aware that the carpark had a lock out time of 4:30pm. (Gates are open from 7:30am – 4:30pm and until 8pm during Daylight Savings) Managed two contacts on 40m before had to leave. Rejoined our party and made it back with minutes to spare. The ranger was waiting in the car park. Plan to do in morning not afternoon and take a packed lunch.
Whilst in Hobart we explored the Botanical Gardens, a-good walk from the CBD and a full day in itself. Drove up to Mona, not taking the ferry which would be a better idea, and spent a full day there. I’m a heathen and had to read what some of the pieces meant but have a lot of time for artists. We need artists in society to keep us challenged and Mona achieves that.
From Hobart we headed down to Glaziers Bay in the Huon Valley.
The goal here was lunch at Fat Pig. We stayed in B&B overlooking the farm which allowed us to walk there and back, given the red a good choice.
We headed back to see the Salamanca Market but should have stayed in Cygnet and had more of fennel and pork rolls.
Returned to Hobart and continued the quest. Franklin left us wanting. The Saffron had excellent veggie options. Fish on the pier with mayonnaise was a good as anywhere. Not a big seafood person but the fish in Tasmania was excellent. I have a rule of only eating fish if I can see the ocean. The options on the pier in Hobart lived up to this criteria. We later had fish from a cafe in Devonport on the last day where they catch and cook the fish, again excellent.
We booked two days (3 nights) in Lake St. Clair so said goodbye to Hobart thanking her for the hospitality and headed into the wilderness.
Again Tasmania in nice and compact with no real traffic stress. We headed off having lunch at the Agrarian and staying overnight in New Norfolk
Lake St. Clair – Lake St Clair Lodge
Lake St. Clair is at the southern end of Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park.
There are plenty of accommodation choices in the park, ranging from high end luxury to basic camping. Our preference was to stay at Lake St Clair Lodge positioned in Heritage listed area covering Cynthia Bay and Lake St. Clair National Park.
The car park and visitors centre are at Cynthia Bay. This is also the end point for people completing the Overland Track from north to south.
From here there are a number of good day walks as well as longer walks. The information centre has walking notes for the area and we used the National Parks map.
I wanted to pickup Mt Rufus but nature had other plans.
I’m a simple country lad. Grew up in regional NSW and central Victoria. Whilst did do some X-Country skiing, snow was not a part of my existence. When we moved to Ballarat 20+ years ago it would snow but Climate change has put a stop to that. When ever I have activated SOTA peaks in the snow it has been with at least two others. We have also tuned back in harsh conditions. Should have been aware of the level of snow but was not. The snap put a stop to my extended plans but did not stop us from enjoying this area. We did take the time to walk down two the Overland track and past the lake side. Also headed off to see platypus (but they had other plans) SOTA peak or not this is beautiful area to be walking in.
WWFF Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park (VKFF-0117)
We were stating inside the National; park. Operating from the car in the car park I was able to pick up park to park contacts. Parked the car down by the ferry pier hoping for better contacts and whilst cannot write it off on poor conditions all reports were low and basically struggling.
Woke up and headed offsite a plan for SOTA peak VK7/CH-020 Mt Rufus. Great tracks but the reality was waist deep snow once above the tree line. This is where it dawned on me I was not prepared for the snow and would not get the summits on my list. Being bold and pushing limits is one thing, there was more snow that I was prepared for and also alone. I had enough safety gear but that does not justify pushing beyond limits.
Headed off the well marked track to Mt Rufus. Clear run with no real navigation going on, just follow the signs. A group of monks came up behind me as I was walking . Dressed in heavy ’skirts’ and boots they were by no means observing silence but rather enjoying themselves. They caught up to me once up on the plateau before the final push to the ridge line. By this time I had decided not to proceed but will admit considered heading off with them. They offered and I declined and proceeded back to operate from a clear position that was noted earlier and they proceeded off to the ridge line with plans to get to he summit. I could see them and noted that whilst two got up onto the ridge, the majority had decided to spend the time sliding down the snow. Sounded like a pack od school kids.
I setup in a clear position and proceeded to call WWFF. It was slow with poor reports both ways. By the time the monks had started to come back it was time to pack-up and head back down to the unit .Talking to them on the way down they described an inability to walk through the snow on the ridge and also deciding turned back. That made me feed good about my decision. This is a great walk and would recommend if in the area. Don’t get hung up on the summit, its a journey its self.
yes wombats do have rectangular poos.
WWFF Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park (VKFF-0185)
The target was SOTA peak VK7/WC-009 – Mount King William I. Following the track advice from the Lake St Clair information centre which involved following a track (old 4WD) then turning right to approach the summit from the east. There was so much water around that I would call the track a creek. Actually went off course to find a creek that the maps indicate was running in parallel to verify was on the right path. As I progressed up the track the summit would present itself through the clouds and it came clear that again (surprise) was hosting snow. Continued to walk up as the track was fun and I was not in any danger. Turned back once the track started to climb and headed back to the car. As alway the fall back plan was to activate the park.
Once back at the car I proceeded into a large cleared marsh area on the road that was noted on the way in and activated the park. I did have alerts up and wanted to come up so as to ensure no concerns as to timing. Once I had worked all callers proceeded to head back down the A10 to see what access to other lower summits was like. The bush is thick and decided not to go off track so after an hour decided to turn back and pickup Bedlam Wall. This was my fall back summit however become the only summit activated in the area.
VK7/CH-097 – Bedlam Wall
Access is off A10 down logging tracks. The tracks didn’t match my maps but was able to leave car in a safe spot in a logged clearing and headed through thickish bush for a 1.3Km to the summit. The bush was clearer then that off the road but still not to be discounted.
Deployed the doublet due to the vegitation and also hoping to shake the poor performance that was common to this trip.
Picked up Ian VK5IS on CW and went to gain a S2S with Brian VK3BCM to qualify with 40SSB. Happy to finally get a summit and a first activation in VK7.
WWFF Central Plateau Conservation Area (VKFF-1158)
To activate Central Plateau Conservation Area I will have to drive out of Lake St Clair and back down the A10. Decided to wait to dusk then headed out to a point where I noted a truck parking area within the park. Parked the car so as to exploit the ground plane (car) directed the signals to the mainland and proceeded to qualify for VKFF on 40 and 80 comfortably. Again selecting an area with marshy overlook must have helped my signals.
After two days at Lake St Clair it was the end of the trip and time to head back to Devonport and back home.
Didn’t get as many summits or parks as you could. Will acknowledge that should have spent more time planning but have no intention of pushing into the snow.
So no idea why it has taken us so long to get to Tasmania. The pace, food and scenery are spot on. We were fornatute to stay in the heritage areas and I would recommend it.
Shall return if not only for more fish but now the overland track is on the list.
Looking back to Mt Rufus,
Back to Lake St Clair
From Lake St Clair,