Tuesday, April 6, 2010

South-west walk

Bathurst Harbour and Mt Rugby

At the start of March I was joined by a couple of friends and we did an 11-day, 155 km walk together through the South-West wilderness, departing from Scott's Peak Dam (Lake Pedder) and walking to Cockle Creek via Melaleuca. It was a great experience - beautiful country and a very satisfying achievement. The weather was pretty good to us and though we had a bit of rain here and there it didn't inconvenience us greatly.

The first section of the walk, the Port Davey track, is skipped by many walkers who instead fly in to Melaleuca and walk from there (the South Coast Track). We did the 70 km in four days so there was a fair amount of walking. It was pretty muddy despite the dry summer and I went in above my knees a couple of times. In the first couple of days the track skirts around the base of the Western Arthurs then follows the Crossing river. On the final day, Bathurst Harbour grows in the distance into the sizeable body of water that it is, then the 'Bathurst Narrows' are crossed by rowboat. Finally it's onwards to Melaleuca where the walkers' huts were offered welcome luxury.

I would heartily recommend this track - there are some really nice scenes and the final day was simply beautiful.

Astacopsis tricornis

In the evening at Melaleuca, despite the 26 km day that had just passed, we went out frogging and were stupefied when we came across the beautiful Tasmanian Treefrog, Litoria burrowsae. What a cracker!

Birdwatching in the morning we saw quite a few of the rare orange-bellied parrots that birdos fly in to see (not always successfully). We also got good looks at a few Ground Parrots here and there.

The South Coast Track was nicely varied - beach walking, a few hill climbs, a river crossing, bays, points, inlets and the notorious Ironbound range crossing. The seven days of walking was taking it fairly easy. Our plans to visit Louisa bay had to be scratched as bad weather was predicted and we wanted to get across the Ironbounds when we could.

Atop the Ironbounds

All up, a very satisfying adventure. The South-West is indeed a special part of the world. I'm keen to do some more long walks!

Prion Beach

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