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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

VC Falls via Lake Belton

Quite some time ago someone mentioned about visiting VC Falls but going there was never high on my list of walks to do. Then after thinking about places I hadn’t been to much at Mount Field and looking at the satellite view of the park, I noticed some interesting features at Lake Belton. In particular there was a valley beside it with four tarns, a long narrow isthmus as well as the outlet creek dropping sharply down to Lake Belcher. Suddenly a visit became quite an interesting idea and hence this walk.

It was pleasant weather, although a front was due late in the day with showers. Wombat Moor was quite wet as usual but the track down to the Humboldt River was in good order after recent track work by the Friends of Mount Field. Rather than follow the regular soggy ascent to Lake Belton, a route through the bush was chosen and after some 50 minutes we were at the lake shore. Although a bit of light scrub was met it is a nicer way to get to this attractive lake perched as it is up on a wide shelf.

Island in Lake Belton

Island in Lake Belton

What came as most pleasant was the easy walking along the ridge top bedside the lake. Virtually for the whole length there were open areas that could be walked through and allowing viewpoints to the tarns, Lake Belton, down to the valley 100 metres below and to the surrounding peaks. The outlet creek was reached after 65 minutes and had pencil pines at the edge and we were also able to gain access to a good view of the narrow isthmus jutting into the lake. One particular Pencil Pine was bright with masses of fresh fruiting and the cones were very noticeable; I learnt after returning home that it was one of those rare seasons for fruiting in the highlands.

Pencil pine in fruit

From our lunch spot it was a short walk down through the first real scrub for the day to VC Falls. There are quite a number of small drops, reportedly 10, and we managed to get to Creekside at several of these. The descent was steep and we at the shore of Lake Belcher in quick time. The lake is probably the at this point, with numerous large pines along the shore with quite an extensive forest of them visible on the opposite side of the lake.

After a brief stop at the hut we commenced the notoriously wet and muddy walk along the valley to the crossing point on the Humboldt. We have seen it worse and that made it seem less laborious, nevertheless it was good to be back on the track up to the saddle. Wombat Moor is nice country, but crossing it is not.

Since returning from the walk I discovered that place names held by the Nomenclature Board are now made available online at this site. Details on the naming of features visited are:

VC Falls looking down to Lake Belcher

VC Falls was a little hard to discover, but eventually by just clicking the map in the region it brought up a host of names and VC Falls was one of them. It was in honour of the Tasmanian VC winners of the First World War, the number equalling the ten steps of the Falls. Some details are also in the Tasmanian Tramp Number 11 Page 42. The decision resulted from the 1952 examination of the nomenclature and there was also a proposal to rename as Statton Falls (after Sergeant Statton VC), but obviously this was not accepted.


Lake Belcher, not surprisingly was named after Bill Belcher the first Park Ranger.

And Lake Belton is recorded as a lake, 1200 yards long and averaging 250 yards wide, in the Mount Field National Park at the foot of the eastern slope of the Florentine Peak -- Tyenna Peak Ridge, about 3250 feet above sea level. Probably named after the Hon James Belton, a former Minister for Lands and Works. See Tasmanian Tramp page 41 Number 11. From J E Calders Diary it appears that he originally applied the name Lake Fenton to either this or lake Belcher.

The total time taken was  8:50 but actual walking time 7:30

Distance 14k

To view the photo album from the walk, click the image below

Lake Belton and VC Falls

Lake Belton and VC Falls



Friday, March 13, 2015

South Wellington Plateau

Friday 13 March 2015

Drizzle and mist caused abandonment of this walk recently, but today was ideal with mostly sunny and calm conditions. 
The route was up the Ice house track and a short distance along the track to smiths Monument we turned off and ascended  a rise of mixed scrub and rock to reach Hutchisons Fireplace. This rock structure has been sanding in this spot for over 100 years and was built by surveyor H. R. Hutchison.  He was commissioned by Hobart City  to survey watersheds of the streams west and south of Collins Bonnet and the survey was completed in May 1903.  The area was also known as Camp Rock and described as being at Wellington Gap. 

Click image below to view the photo album

South Wellington 2015

South Wellington 2015


Tarn on South Wellington
Tran on South Wellington plateau

The central part of the plateau is open and with several small tarns and pools, whereas the edges and the drier rockier areas have low snow gum coverage.  Both these quite varied parts are interesting in such nice weather were a pleasure to walk through. Two rocky prominences at the far end of the plateau were visited and then a descent made to the lower shelf.  Getting down proved harder to navigate than it is when picking a route up when walking in in the reverse direction and resulted in a couple of quite short boulder fields having to be crossed. With the help of a GPS waypoint the track back to the Ice House was located but was diverted from to use the Smiths Monument track in order to shorten the journey.

Rock split into three parts


Route for walk

South Wellington March


The walk including breaks took 6 hours and was approximately 9.6k

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thark Ridge Circuit

Friday 13 February 2015

This walk had a secondary purpose which was to do some geocache maintenance.  Out on the plains that are the headwaters of Mountain River there is an absolutely lovely copse of trees and bush with an open area in the middle. It is a spot we have enjoyed stopping at so many times over the years and we put in a geocache there in 2014, but is was reported as missing. A replacement one was in the pack as we headed down the fire trail from big Bend. 
Open area in copse on the plain a lovely spot.


On the way we noticed a Tiger snake curled up in the sun which had only just come as the clouds cleared away.   Although close to it, the snake did not seem to be aware of our presence and remained curled up. This was the first seen for this summer but this was the first of four for the day; two tigers and two whipsnakes.  In this area a flock of about 20 green rosella flew over and landed in the trees making a cacophony of chatter.
The old overgrown fire trail running south west below Thark was used to bring us to the junction with a track ascending to the saddle on Thark Ridge. At the bottom on the other side a new section of track cuts off a muddy area and as we had placed a geocache beside the old track it needed to be moved to the new one. It was then a pleasant walk all the way back this very good quality bush track. 
Baeckea gunniana Mountain Heath-myrtle, Alpine Baeckea on plainCreeping Tea-tree Leptospermum rupestre saddle Thark RidgeCreeping Tea-tree Leptospermum rupestre saddle Thark RidgeMountain Rocket seed heads Bellendena montanaMountain Rocket seed heads Bellendena montana 

Walk distance 7.5k

A photo album is on the web, click the image below to view.

Thark Circuit

Thark Circuit

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hidden Tarn

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Many years ago I went over Mount Mawson and down to Hidden Tarn.  On that walk we continued down to Lake Belcher, but after looking at the map and satellite images I thought it might be interesting to walk to the tarn then along the shelf as far as it is practical to go.  The shelf is reasonably level and generally about 100m wide and 700m long.

Tyenna and Florentine Peaks above Lake Belton with Lake Belcher bottom right.

Tyenna and Florentine Peaks above Lake Belton with Lake Belcher bottom right.

Although the day was predicted to be in the high twenties in the nearby valleys, the alpine area at Mount Field was expected to reach a maximum of 21⁰ and this is what eventuated.  As we started out from Lake Dobson it was a very pleasant temperature but by the time the jeep track was reached it was warming up.  However crossing Mawson Plateau was both a pleasant temperature and delightful scenery.  The Snowy and Anne Ranges came into view then soon after good views of Lakes Belton and Belcher below Tyenna and Florentine Peaks.

After a short rock screen a long slope of low alpine vegetation followed then a Eucalypt woodland before reaching Hidden Tarn. The tarn was a great site and in effect had an almost sandy shore.  From the distance it looked like a beach and once on it you realise it is fine grains from centuries of eroding dolerite. Hidden Tarn is about 5,500 sq. metres a bit over 100m long and 50m at the widest and doesn’t have an outlet. At times it must get quite full, but there is every indication that it holds water all year.  In the deeper spots there are lots of small aquatic ferns and we noticed plenty of Mountain Shrimps (Anaspides).

Hidden Tarn view west

Hidden Tarn view west

The tarn is at the northern end of the shelf and we walked along it for about 650 metres before it gave the appearance of becoming quite thickly scrubby.  To that point we had a few sections of prickly scoparia to but also some easier walking including one open area of small herbs and grasses.

It was a steep 200 metre ascent back to Mawson Plateau and quite warm with the slope facing the sun, then as a variation we went down the old Golden Stairs, which in fact is 500 metres shorter than by the jeep track.

As is often the case nowadays after a bit of strenuous exercise, by about 9 pm I was yawning and tired, especially after a quite warm walking day.

Total distance 7.2k.     Under 2 hours actual walking to get to Hidden Tarn   and the return route was 2:15.  The distance both ways was very close to the same due in part to using the Golden Stairs on the return, which is a 500 metre shorter journey.

Click on the image below for the photo album

Hidden Tarn

Hidden Tarn



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mount Lord and Lanes Peak

Thursday 5 February 2015


Rodway Range and  Mount Field West

Rodway Range and Mount Field West from Mount Lord

When Nigel suggested a walk to Mount Lord and Lanes Peak I said it was a hell of long walk, but when he mentioned starting in the Florentine Valley I remembered reading an account of a walk from there.   I recalled it was written by Dan on the Bushwalk forum  (Dan is stepbystep) and worked out from his description the best approach.

Now Dan moves fast and starts early but had to time to also climb Tim Shea, get a coffee at the possum Shed and be back in Hobart by 3PM; so it seemed that we should be able to do the walk in reasonable time.
Mount Lord from a prominent rock tor  just after leaving the forest

Thursday was consistently predicted to be sunny but fairly mild making for ideal weather and in fact it was quite cool when we started out.  It didn’t take long, however, before jumpers were removed during the reasonably open forest ascent.  The higher part of the forest became even easier underfoot but then a prominent rock tor was reached and with it scrubbier conditions. From here views of Mount Lord allowed us to pick the easiest route to the top, although it did mean weaving past rocky areas and what was 580 metres in a straight line was 1 kilometre to walk to the summit and took 60 minutes.  

Mount Lord  from the rocky tor just after coming out of the forest   

With the new version of Oziexplorer you can replay the track and it amazing how much extra distance is walked when measured against a straight line projection.

Just as the top was about to be reached Neville spotted an eagle close overhead and we were treated to the awesome sight of two eagles soaring about for a good 10 minutes with one going on several downward swoops at speed; Quite something to watch.

Getting down to the tarn at the end of broader ridge off Mount Lord was easy enough then after filling up from the tarn we headed to Lanes Peak some 1.6 k off over lumpy ground that made for tedious walking; up on a pineapple grass mound, down it then up another with scoparia and other heathy scrub all closely packed around them. It was a relief to finally arrive at the summit and after a break we took a direct line initially through scrubby country then under tall and open forest to the car.

Distance 7.3k.   Elapsed time 6:45.   Walking time 5 hours.

Mount Lord and Lanes Peak

Mount Lord and Lanes Peak – click image above for photo album

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fenton Webster Track

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Pleasant section of track besdie lake Fenton

The track between Lakes Fenton and Webster is one of our favourites. Although in the high country it is a fairly protected from the elements and takes you along the side of Lake Fenton where initially there is Fagus then a variety of plant communities including Cheeseberry in flower and the Fagus relative, the evergreen Myrtle at the far end. Beyond is Kangaroo Moor where a lot of Boronia was in flower and also Baeckea.  Up until the end of the moor it is almost level walking, but after crossing a creek it is downhill through shadier forest where the ground level vegetation is dominated by dense Bauera.

Pine-leafed Daisy-bush.Baeckea leptocaulis Slender BaeckeaLemon-scented Boronia,Cheesberry Cyathodes glauca
At the bottom of the track Boronia returns and there is the crossing of the Dobson outflow which soon after joins that from Lake Webster to become the Broad River.
The river was flowing strongly and we took the option of not crossing and picked a lovely Boronia dominated mound to have lunch before returning. 

Lake Fenton from Kangaroo Moor

The 5k walk took   2 ½ hrs which included a pleasant 30 minute stop on Boronia Moor.  The return took close to 2 hours.


To view a photo album click the image below.


Fenton Webster Track

Fenton Webster Track

Friday, January 16, 2015

Nevada Peak

Monday 15 December 2014

This was a delightful early summer day without much wind at all and cloud free, but also quite a mild temperature. On top of that bugs were minimal and the flowers great.

Nevada Peak

During the drive in we arrived at an unsigned road junction and fortunately took the left one to successfully get to the start of the track. A fresh parks sign was met a couple of hundred metres in and then a short boggy bit of track, but once past that it was good underfoot. Some years ago I helped Dave T and PWS cut the new Woolleys Tarn track and got a surprise how long that section went for. It was still in good order and nice a firm and dry whereas the old start was wet and degraded. Things deteriorated at the other end well beyond the junction on the old track.


Woolleys Tarn was really a nice sight and we took a break there in the shade of the old myrtle trees before climbing up to the plateau.

Woolleys Tarn


On the way we went past a number of Waratah at peak flowering and a welcome stream running down slope giving easy access for a drink.


At the foot of Nevada Peak a moraine took us to the slope leading to the summit.

Nevada Peak and moraine till

It was calm on top and ideal lunch conditions after which it was down to Snowdrift Tarns with some flowering cushion plants. Further out on the plateau hosts of snow daisies were evident and it would have been a great if they had been out.

Pterygopappus lawrencei Sage cushion plantScleranthus brockiei Mountain Knawel  CARYOPHYLLACEAEEuphrasiaDracophyllum minimum

We did make a minor error by heading a little too far north and had to drop down to cross rocks missing the easier route. Next came the downhill bit through woodland to the rainforest. It was warm enough to really appreciate the cool water when a creek was reached. A really good walk in ideal weather.

The walk took 6:15 hours of actual walking for the 12.5k circuit

Click the image below for the photo album

Nevada Peak

Nevada Peak