Location: Robigana Tas
Event Name:Tasmania: Cradle Mountain National Park - Grade 4 Backpack and Day Walks
Leader Sean Parker
Start Date: 27/01/2020 08:00
Finish Date:31/01/2020 17:00
Member Participants: 3
Guest Participants: 1
Rating:Grade 4 - Tracks may be long, rough and very steep
Points of Interest: Magnificent walking country in Tasmania
Mobile phone reception: Some coverage on peaks above 1300m
Event Report:

Day 1-3 Arm River to Pelion Hut and Mt Ossa Return

This was the second event held with the Nindethana Girl Guide Lodge as a base-camp for a week of walking in North Tasmania. Nindethana is a lodge with dormitory accommodation on the Tamar River and makes an excellent base for exploring the myriad of walks in North Tas.

This year Sean Parker, Jan Douglas and Steve Gulliford were joined by Cathy Hurst for a three day overnight backpack along the Arm River track to New Pelion Hut where the aim was to climb Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest peak, the next day.
Arm River track
New Pelion Hut is day 3 of the Overland Track, so accessing via the Arm River track is the cheat's way of getting to the heart of the Overland Track from a 5 hour walk from Lake Rowallen. We started this walk onMonday morning after the 2 hour drive to Lake Rowellan. The walk started with quite a climb to the plateau but once this was out of the way it was a pleasantly undulating walk alongside numerous tarns and lakes until we came to Pelion Plains which afforded stunning views to Mt Oakleigh to North.
Here Steve and Jan elected to try out their new, lightweight and very similar tents on some grassy sites whilst Sean and Cathy chose to outcompete the snorers in the modern dorm accommodation in the hut.
wet forest
The next day proved to be overcast, with the peaks obscured by cloud, and the party elected to attempt Mt Ossa in the hope of clearing weather later in the afternoon. The climb to Pelion Gap was through beautiful rainforest, and intermittent drizzle, and eventually we came out onto the pass with both Mt Ossa and Mt Pelion East covered in low cloud. We ascended Mt Ossa and, although the mist did not lift, the climb through the rocky gullies to the summit made for an atmospheric ascent as the fluted dolerite columns of the cliff-face reared above us out of the cloud.
mt ossa
The summit was a small plateau and, unexpectedly, was marked by a small survey disc and not the impressive beehive shaped cairns that top many of Tasmania's mountain summits.
cathy and stephen on mt ossa
After a small break we descended the boulder field and what was enjoyable scramble on the way up became a little more of a puzzle as we had to stop and guide ourselves down some of the trickier rocky chutes. After a couple of tricky sections, and a slight mishap, we made our way back to the Gap and a well earned dehydrated meal back at the Hut.
ascending mt ossa in fog

saddle below mt ossa


The next day was rewarded by brilliant clear weather and the return was a cheerful descent punctuated by the joys of leech-extraction as we had plenty of invertebrate guests after the rain.
perched late

Day 1 to 3 for the rest of us

Jenny, Liz and Tony visited local hot spots like the Tamar River at Swan Point - the 3km walk back to Nindethana is an absolute treat completed 3 times!
Tamar River walk
At the mouth of the Tamar River where it enters Bass Strait is Georgetown - renowned for its superb fish and chip shopt - we visited twice!
george town seafoods
The Tamar valley is full of surprises - couldnt drive past these superb flowering gum trees without stopping for a photo or two
Eucalptus ficifolia
Longford is a must go to town in norther tassie so we made a trip and checked out the superb World Heritage listed Brickendon Farm
Not to forget our favorite cafe in Longford called Sticky Beaks!

Day 4 was a rest day at Nindethana

and then Day 5 Sean, Tony and Steve ascended Quamby Bluff whilst Jan did a short walk at Holwell Gorge.

Day 5 - Quamby Bluff

Quamby Bluff is an island peak in the north of the state that dominates the skyline above the towns of Meander and Deloraine and is an outlier of the rampart of the Great Western Tiers and Central Plateau. The walk is an hour drive from Nindethana and is one of the classic easily accessible Tasmanian daywalks.
Walk start in Golden Valley Tasmania
The party headed out mid morning and the day was already turning out to be Tasmanian scorcher (so high 20s or low 30s were expected).
Olearia species
The track starts in the lee of the peak through low forest dominated by eucalypts before some rainforest species, such as myrtle, turn the walk into a cool and atmospheric ramble.
The boulder field (dolerite)
Eventually the track reaches the first of a pair of dolerite boulder fields and the party experienced a curious phenomenon of natural air-conditioning as cool air from the peak funnelled down the wet gully and a cool breeze was ejected out of the gaps in the rocks at the base of the scree slope. This would be a welcome rest stop later in the day.
The Quamby Bluff air conditioner
The scree slope was an enjoyable scramble, hopping from boulder to boulder, gaining ever increasing height and views that were starting to haze out with smoke from the Victorian and NSW fires. We climbed through another enjoyable low myrtle forest before reaching a rock chute that led to the summit plateau.

The plateau is flat and narrow with a waist high covering of flowering alpine heath species, such as scoparia, and a resident population of march flies and honeybees that kept us company as we trudged to the summit.
Alpine plateau on Quamby Bluff
The summit is crowned with a trigonometric point and we had lunch there under the beautiful warm sun. The views were expansive but, unfortunately, were obscured by smoke haze by the mainland fires and, as we discovered, a local fire in the Tamar Valley.
Quamby trig point
The return was via the same route and was an enjoyable descent on a hot afternoon. Upon reaching the low forest we stopped to relish the air-conditioning and we postulated that a beer left at the rocks would have been nice and cold upon return.
Dolerite boulder fields
We arrived at the car mid-afternoon and Sean had to admit that, despite being the fourth time on this particular walk, he had forgotten what a gem of a walk that it really was.
Smoky Quamby due to fire nearby at Winkley
Photos on Flickr: Click here for the Mt Ossa walk and you can click here for Quamby Bluff