Precipitous Bluff, Tasmania – Part 3

Day 6. Cavern Camp to Osmiridium Beach

This day I headed to join the South Coast Track. But to get there, I had to spend half the day wading in the New River Lagoon heading down to the coast as there’s no track along the shore.

It was actually probably the easiest day of walking because while I was wading up to thigh deep in places, it was flat! No up and down!

The water was cold but it didn’t bother me much.

The biggest surprise for the day was meeting a bloke who was heading up the lagoon carrying a paddle. He was the first person I’d seen since starting the walk and was on his way to climb Precipitous Bluff. The paddle was for a blow up raft he was carrying. He said he’d tried to paddle up the lagoon but the wind kept blowing him back so he had to walk. He’d be able to use it coming out.

The one tricky spot was crossing a creek that entered the lagoon and was too deep to wade so you had to walk inland a bit until you reached a tree that had fallen across. It was slippery and I straddled it and edged across. It wasn’t glamorous but I got across safely.

Joining the South Coast Track at Prion Beach it kind of felt like the walk was over as all the really hard stuff had been done. But I still had another three days of walking to go.

I passed a group of school kids who were on their way to camp at Prion Beach and I had Osmiridian Beach all to myself. The weather cleared up to a sunny afternoon and the views of Precipitous Bluff and Pindars Peak and Mt Whylly against blue sky were brilliant.

 

Day 7. Osmiridium Beach to Granite Beach

A short walk to Granite Beach so I had a bit of a lie in and didn’t set out until after 9am.The weather had turned again and it as blowy with gray cloud overhead.

It started spitting rain as I walked along the end of Granite Beach, where it’s more boulders than sand.

At the campsite I quickly put the tarp up, got the tent up under it and then the rain started and got quite heavy. So I ended up spending another afternoon in the tent cocooned in my sleeping bag warm and dry, reading.

I worried a bit for the guy I passed yesterday as if he tried to climb Precipitous Bluff in the kind of weather I was getting on the coast, he’d be having a not very pleasant time of it.

Late in the afternoon a woman walking the South Coast Track in the same direction as me showed up. Introduced ourselves and had a nice chat.

 

Day 8. Granite Beach to South Cape Rivulet

A long tough day slogging along the muddiest part of the South Coast Track and up and over the South Cape Range.

As soon as you leave the Granite Beach campsite you’re stepping into mud. The track is pretty much one long bog. There are plenty of side tracks as people have tried to step around and avoid the worst of the mud. You’re not meant to do that as it just widens the track and has a greater impact on the landscape. I’m ashamed to admit that I did try skirting the bog a fair bit as I’d discovered the sole of my left boot was splitting from the upper. I was trying to nurse it through the last few days of the walk. I didn’t fancy trying to finish it wearing my sandals. Still got muddy though.

There was a lot of up and down, which was exhausting. But it was worth it as South Cape Rivulet is a very nice flat, sheltered campsite just up from the beach and the roar of the Southern Ocean and its crashing waves.

 

Day 9. South Coast Rivulet to Cockle Creek

The last day. And happy/sad about that. Happy that I was successfully finishing such a hard walk and sad that I was leaving behind such spectacular wilderness.

Easy walking up and over Coal Bluff and then along a beach to some stairs to climb onto some cliffs and then head inland towards Cockle Creek. The walking is easy, flat, and much of it on duckboards. In fact, it becomes a bit tedious.

But the end is a great feeling. Seeing the information shelter marking the end at Cockle Creek and signing out in the trip intentions book was very satisfying.

I was surprised to see how busy Cockle Creek was. There were a few cars parked in the parking area outside the ranger’s building and quite a few car campers.

There’s little/patchy mobile phone coverage at Cockle Creek, and I had to walk around a fair bit to find enough bars to send my wife a text message letting her know I was okay (I’m with Optus). There is a public phone but I only had enough coins to call Evans Bus service to arrange for them to pick me up the next day. The phone takes Telstra cards but do they exist anymore? The bus (a mini van) generally only operates during the summer months. They take you as far as Geeveston and then you get the public bus back to Hobart.

It was nice to spend the night at Cockle Creek. It’s an interesting area with a history of Aboriginal tribes, French scientific explorers, whaling and timber milling. It’s now the “End of the Road”, the furthest south you can drive in Australia.

 

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14 thoughts on “Precipitous Bluff, Tasmania – Part 3

  1. Billy Bob

    Very nice! PB is on my list, so great to see your blog and photos. Been enjoying the updates very much.

    Reply
  2. Jane

    I agree with you about the scene being like a John Glover painting! That fungi “thing” is startling. I’ve seen some new colourful ones lately in the rain but they are tricky to identify. Loved the kelp pic on the beach and all the misty landscapes look very atmospheric. Glad you survived it and enjoyed it. You grew a beard too!

    Reply
    1. imahiker Post author

      Thanks Dayna. The sense of achievement at the end was fantastic. And despite thinking it would be a while before I thought about doing another big walk, I’ve already got Chapman’s guidebook out of the bookcase again and considering more places to go.

      Reply
  3. Dayna

    Unless someone has a better answer, I’m going to guess your fungi could be a coral fungi called Flame Fugus (Clavaria miniata also known as Clavulinopsis miniata). But I’m welcome to hear other suggestions.

    Reply
  4. twothirdswild

    Glad I finally got around to reading your saga. A great coverage of your epic adventure; I almost felt like I was there too. If you’re anything like me, you must have found it hard to integrate back into mainstream life after spending most of your journey alone? Thanks for the inspiring story of your journey 🙂

    Reply
  5. imahiker Post author

    Not sure yet. I’d still like to get to the Grampians and see more of the Alpine areas. But heading into winter will probably just be day walks and mountain bike rides until it starts warming up again. I’d like to explore more around the Mt Baw Baw area.

    Reply
    1. twothirdswild

      Yes, I’m not much of a Winter hiker either! I turn into a hiking hermit, and just focus on keeping my fitness levels up, whilst simultaneously dreaming of warm weather and the next hike destination. Bring on Spring………:) Leah

      Reply
  6. Tim Walkden-Brown

    I never cease to be fascinated
    by stories of the Southern Ranges and Precipitous Bluff. I am in my seventies now but back in 1967 I tackles Precipitous in a weekend with John de Clifford…..still pretty proud of that effort. Then again when I turned 60 I traversed the Southern Ranges and Precipitous to the South Coast. I love that country more than any other part of the world.

    Your article stirred those fond memories.

    Thanks,

    Tim Walkden-Brown

    Reply

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