Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hells Gates & Alexandria Bay, Noosa National Park - October 2005

We had a fairly late finish to today's stroll.
I had some company on this stroll for a change.
Way back in 2005, Sam, Belinda and I were meandering our way down the Queensland coast after a walk on Hinchinbrook Island. After stops at Townsville, Airlie Beach and Bundaberg, we pulled into Noosa for a couple of nights. Noosa was a bit of a Feral favourite back in the 1990’s, Sam and I had quite a few getaways up there. Now while Sam’s favourite spot in Noosa was no doubt Hastings Street, but my best memories were of the nearby Noosa National Park. This national park was first gazetted as a national park way back in 1930 and has been added too quite a few times since. Now days Noosa National Park provides a natural antidote to the bustling shops, cafés and hotels on nearby Hastings Street.
The views down to the turquoise water from the Coastal Track are pretty sweet.
For this walk we decided to head out to Hells Gates and Alexandria Bay along the Coastal Track and then retrace our way back into town along the same path. Setting off in the late afternoon we were never going to get back before dark but with a lot of this walking track paved we weren’t too worried about walking in the dark. The Coastal Track passes behind a series of beautiful little beaches, each beach beckoning us to stop and explore for awhile. With all our collective willpower we resisted the pull of the turquoise water and eventually our path delivered us to Hells Gates, the most easterly point on our stroll.
Hells Gates
Hells Gate features some nice views along the coast but the eye is drawn waves crashing into the black rocks below. With Alexandria Bay visible above the surging water to our right we set off from Hells Gate and dropped down to the wide, sandy Alexandria Beach. This beach is one of only a couple of spots that nude bathing is tolerated in Queensland, being so late in the day now the beach was virtually deserted though, so there was no frolicking with my free balling mates this afternoon;) After a quick swim we were soon retracing our way back to Noosa.
The locals hanging out at Alexandria Bay.

The walk back was a highlight of this little stroll as it turned out, with the sun going down the soft light gave everything quite a different look to our walk out earlier in the afternoon. I’d like to regale you with all the names of the idyllic little bays and coves that the track passes, but to be honest I’d be making them up if I tried to match them with my photos, my Feral memory struggling to remember details from a walk we did 13 years ago.
Conditions were getting fairly dark on the walk back to town.
Here's my arty blogger wanker shot.
Eventually the lights of Noosa came into view and with the moon rising over the water we meandered our way the last few hundred metres back into town. After grabbing a bite to eat we headed back to our room to recover from another tough day in paradise. This is a pretty civilised way to walk I reckon, although unfortunately my beer budget doesn’t stretch to this champaign style of walking all that often.
The moon was lighting things up a little.
The Dirt.
We walked 8 kilometres and climbed around 150 metres I’m guessing, on this easy walk. Noosa National Park is a really nice spot I think, beautiful beaches, big boulders, cliffs and plenty of sub tropical coastal vegetation - what’s not to love? I’m not aware of any published notes for the walk as we did it, but John & Lyn Daly have covered it as part of a loop called the Noosa Headland Circuit in their Take A Walk in South -East Queensland book. I’m guessing the Qld Parks people would have some stuff on-line as well.

Relevant Posts.
Forest Lakes Hiking Trail, Fraser Island National Park, 2002.
Fraser Island Great Walk, Fraser Island National Park, 2010.
Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island National Park, 2005.

You would never guess that we'd spent the last three weeks bushwalking in Queensland.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Mornington Beaches - November 2018

This is definitely not a wilderness style was still a very nice stroll though.
Sometimes I do a walk that really surprises me, and this little late afternoon stroll definitely falls into that category. Mornington is just down the coast from the Feral abode and I’ve spent more than half a century living within a twenty kilometre radius of this place, so you think that I’d know all the nooks and crannies. Yep, you would think that… but you’d be wrong! Today I stumbled into a hidden little gem, this was a short walk but it turned out to be a very nice one.
It was every late in the day when we set off on this walk.
Now that I’ve built it up so much I suppose I’d better bring it down a notch, this isn’t a wild, wilderness style of walk, it’s more of an urban amble. It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision to head down to Mornington tonight, it was a Friday and we’d both been at work so it was 7pm when we finally parked the ute down at the carpark on Schnapper Point and set off along the cliff top path. Straight away we had great views up the coast in the direction that we’d be walking and also in the other direction down over the still waters of Mothers Beach to the Mornington Pier and it’s colourful collection of boats.
Straight up the views were good this afternoon.
Looking back down over Mothers Beach to the Mornington Pier.
Staying on the path on top of the cliff we slowly made our way towards the headland at the eastern end of Shire Hall Beach. This headland was a bit of a mystery to me, being almost high tide there was no chance off getting around at water level and I wasn’t keen on walking the narrow Esplanade here either, so I was hoping that there would be a walking track over the top. Ignoring the prominent sign that was pointing the wrong way to Mills Beach, we continued on another 15 metres towards the coast and did indeed find a walking track. As it turned out not only was there a good walking track over the headland but there was also three or four lookouts only a few metres off the track, which in the late afternoon sun were all worth a look today.
Shire Hall Beach
Actually.... to get over the headland to Mills Beach go left toward the water for 15 metres and there is a good walking track.
Looking up the coast towards Beleura Hil. You can just see our track dropping down the cliffs to the left of the bathing boxes.
Dropping off the headland we crossed the mouth of Tanti Creek on a substantial bridge and then climbed up onto the Esplanade. This next half a kilometre or so was probably least inspiring bit of the walk as we made our way up Beleura Hill along the Esplanade. We still had our water views but they were now a little further away, the real interest along this short section is probably the very flash real-estate lining the south side of the road. It’s not only new houses along this stretch either, there is also a few well kept older houses complete with beautiful gardens.
Tanti Creek
The walk along the Esplanade is very suburban, but there are some nice houses to check out.
Plenty of more modern houses as well.
Climbing up Beleura Hill along the Esplanade, the views made the road walk pretty pleasant.
Kalimna Drive was a hidden little nook that I'd never explored before.
Arriving at the top of Beleura Hill Sam and I headed down the quiet Kalimna Drive, if anything the houses are even swisher along here. In all my years in the area I’ve never ventured into this little nook of Mornington so I was quite surprised to find this quiet piece of urban paradise, if only I could win Tatts…..twice, then I could afford the deposit on a house along here! It wasn't just nice houses, there is also a fair bit of native bush lining the road along here and with the sun now getting very low on the horizon, everything was bathed in a beautiful golden light.
The houses were even more stunning up on Kalimna Drive I think.
The late afternoon light was beautiful.
It's a wonder they let Feral looking blokes like this into this neighbourhood!
Turning left down Caraar Creek Lane we followed it for 100 metres before arriving at the top of the Beleura Hill boardwalk. The next half a kilometre or so was the highlight of the walk I thought. The boardwalk contours along the cliffs as it slowly makes it’s way down towards the sand at Mills Beach East. With the sun now slowly slipping down below the horizon Port Phillip Bay was looking about as good as it can, I think. Below us the water lapping the rocks looked almost like grey molten metal as the sun did it’s work and in the middle distance Schnapper Point was silhouetted against the red setting sun.
The Beleura Cliffs Boardwalk starts at the end of this dead end lane.
The sun was setting into the calm water of Port Phillip Bay by now.
Beleura Cliffs Boardwalk
The photo doesn't really show it to it's best effect but the water had the appearance of molten metal as the sun went down.
Beleura Cliffs Boardwalk
After a very nice walk down the Beleura Boardwalk we arrived onto the soft sand of Mills Beach. It was now high tide so our walk along Mills Beach was a bit of a slog really, luckily there was a bit to look at and take our minds off the slow progress. The main attractions keeping me busy with the camera along here were the colourful bathing boxes. Being from around here I can sometimes take the bathing boxes for granted a bit I think, every time I bring overseas or interstate visitors to check out these spots they are always chuffed to see the colourful bathing boxes. After trudging the length of Mills Beach we reached the mouth of Tanti Creek again and rejoined our track over the headland.
Mills Beach East
Mills Beach bathing boxes.
Mills Beach
The light was going quickly now.
Looking across towards Mornington Pier.
Some more of the colourful Mills Beach bathing boxes.
It was more or less dark now as we climbed back over the headland and dropped down to the sand again at Shire Hall Beach, not that it mattered much as we now only had to follow the sand around to the Mornington Pier which was lit up like a beacon in the twilight. Shuffling along the sand we crossed over to Mothers Beach, although where the exact delineation between Shire Hall and Mothers Beaches is I’ve got no idea. Arriving at the carpark near the pier we slowly made our way past the moored boats, progress slowed down by me trying to get the occasional photo in the dark conditions.
Looking down to Schnapper Point from the last headland.
It's not easy taking photos in this light when I don't have a tripod.
Mornington Pier
Leaving the pier to the fishermen out enjoying the balmy evening, Sam and I climbed up to check out the Matthew Flinders Monument although all we could really see now was a silhouette against the purple coloured evening sky. Schnapper Point was actually another pleasant surprise, after we passed by the monument we picked up another boardwalk, this stretch of boardwalk traversing the western cliff line of Schnapper Point. I’m guessing that during the daylight hours then there would be some nice views down along the coast towards Mt Martha from this boardwalk. While we didn’t have much in the way of distant coastal views tonight we still got a few final glimpses of the last of the sunset fading to black. Our nice little walk was over now and after leaving the boardwalk we followed the footpath for 100 metres or so back to the ute and headed off on the short drive home.
We climbed onto Schnapper Point in time to witness the last of the sun setting.
Looking back down to the pier from Schnapper Point.
The Matthew Flinders Memorial on Schnapper Point.
The Dirt.
We walked 6.2 kilometres and climbed 111 metres on this easy stroll according to my somewhat optimistic GPS. As I waffled on about earlier I found this walk surprisingly enjoyable, Sam and I set off really just wanting an easy stroll to stretch the legs after finishing work for the week on a Friday night and we ended up seeing some spots that we had no idea about. The walk definitely isn’t a wilderness style of walk though, there is a bit of walking along suburban streets and the beach sections are not exactly wild, pristine and remote. Anyone who has waded through some of my blog will realise that I don’t mind a bit of variety and this walk offered a fair bit of that I think. The walk is roughly written up in Woodslane’s book Best of the Mornington Peninsula but to be honest the Melways map is enough to get you through here, I just had a look at google maps before I left home and then improvised a bit on the walk.

Relevant Posts.
Mornington to Frankston, 2014.
Balcombe Estuary Nature Park Trail, 2014.
Mount Martha, 2016.

Among the other attractions there is a nice café down at the pier.
Our walk ended with another nice boardwalk section, this time along the western cliff line of Schnapper Point.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Cobaw Forest Walk, Cobaw State Forest - August 2018

Climbing up Soil Pit Track towards Cobaw East, this is typical of the days walk, eroded tracks, open forest, big rocks and blue sky.
Cobaw Forest is a spot that I’ve never visited before so, after reading about the walk in one of Mr Tempest’s books, I decided to head up and check things out. Mr Tempest suggests visiting mid week rather than on the weekends if you want to avoid the trail bikes that infest the forest on the weekend. I’d agree with Mr Tempest on that count, my rough rule of thumb is to avoid most state parks on the weekends when their more relaxed regulations they quite often encourage my 2 and 4 wheeled bogan brothers out to play. Anyway that’s my convoluted reasoning behind visiting Cobaw State Forest after work on this Friday.
Parked on Camp Track near Ridge Road, time to set off.
After successfully locating the start of the walk (easier than it sounds on some of these less popular walks) at the corner of Ridge Road and Camp Track, I parked the ute, reset the GPS and set off on my afternoons stroll. Initially I was following the very eroded Camp Track as it climbed through the open forest, straight away I could see evidence of trail bikes and 4wd’s. The track was very badly cut up and eroded, where trees had come down bypass tracks had been pushed through the bush. While the track itself was a bit shitty the climbing was pretty easy and the surrounding bush made everything OK.
Camp Track is pretty eroded, but makes for easy walking.
I was a little surprised how much water was around today, I don't think we've had a particularly wet winter.
After climbing for awhile I turned onto the un-signposted Soil Pit Track. This track was more of the same really, if anything the climb got a little steeper and the surrounding forest got a little rockier. As it turns out a feature of Cobaw Forest is the large granite boulders that are scattered through the forest, the higher I climbed the more big rocks I started to see. Thankfully instead of two stroke noise all I had today to interrupt my revelry were bird noises…and wind. Yes, another reason that I’d decided to head north today was that the southern areas of Victoria were suffering through 100 kilometre an hour winds, although judging by the roar of the wind in the canopy above, the wind speed wasn’t much less up here.
Soil Pit Track climbs a little more steeply, although it's still pretty cruisey.
After climbing for awhile up Soil Pit Track I left the 4wd track when it started to descend and headed off track up a spur towards the high point of todays stroll, Cobaw East. The off track amble was very easy, and also very short unfortunately as the top of the mountain was more or less in view as I left Soil Pit Track. The top of the 780 metre Cobaw East is crowned by more very large granite boulders and I took a bit of time exploring the relatively flat summit area, apart from the boulders there is also one of the largest Stringybark Trees that I’ve ever seem up here, I mucked around trying to photograph it but as usual my talent doesn’t really match my ambition there I don’t think.
Climbing up a short off piste section to Cobaw East.
Cobaw East.
My dodgy photo doesn't really show it well, but this Stringybark Tree was huge.
After poking around the summit of Cobaw East for awhile I set off along the high ridge that connects it with Cobaw Middle, initially on a walking track for a few metres and then off track again. Well my notes said it was off track but my two stoke brothers had been practising a bit of ‘Toby Price off road action’ here and had pushed tracks through sections of the ridge walk. The new tracks made it easier to walk (although they didn’t all go in the direct that I wanted to go) but they took away a bit of adventure to the walk, I suppose the good news was that at least I wasn’t jumping out of the way of trail bikes this afternoon.
The ridge between Cobaw East and Cobaw Middle features a lot of these rocky outcrops.
This use to be off track along the ridge, now I had selection of trail bike tracks to choose from.
The wind was howling through the canopy this afternoon.
After one final easy climb I arrived at the 760 metre summit of Cobaw Middle. Apart from meeting another 4wd track near the summit the other notable thing about this summit was that it probably gave me my best views through the trees. In one direction I’m thinking I was looking at the distant flanks of Mt Macedon, in the other direction I was looking over to the forested hills around Castlemaine I’m guessing (both of those assumptions are Feral Facts). There is also an interesting and fairly intricate plaque near the summit which is a memorial to an early forester that use to man the fire tower up here, the plaque is definitely worth hunting out if you ever get up here.
Cobaw Middle
I'm guessing the blue smudge is Mt Macedon.
The plaque on Middle Cobaw, looks like my responsible gun owner mates took offence to it.

After snapping a few photos through the wind buffeted canopy I made the very easy descent down the 4wd track, to emerge ten minutes later onto the reasonably substantial Ridge Road. This is the road that I’d driven into the park on so I was now back in familiar territory as I headed south west along Ridge Road looking for my next track, Natives Track. Apart from the obvious use of the park by trail bikes and 4wd’s the other thing I’d noticed about the park was that the sign posting was a bit hit and miss compared to when Mr Tempest wrote up his notes, so shuffling along Ridge Road I was keeping a very close eye on my map and GPS. It turns out that it was a good idea to be concentrating as the start of Native Track wasn’t sign posted anymore (well I didn’t notice a sign anyway) and to make matters a little more navigationally challenging the tracks weren’t always named the same on my map as they were on my GPS so I was going off direction and topography a little to pick up the correct track.
I'm thinking that this is looking over towards Castlemaine.
Dropping back down to Ridge Road.
Ridge Road.
After a few hundred metres on Native Track it swung away from Ridge Road and started dropping solidly, the track is very eroded but was pretty easy for me to follow as I headed down to meet Boyers Track. Reading this is about as exciting as watching paint dry I’m thinking, unfortunately the rest of the afternoon was that kind of walking though. After meeting the sign posted Boyers Track I continued to descend, I was now walking along the a fence line at the western boundary of this section of the park, although apart from a decrepit old fence it was hard to pick the difference between the park and the private land. After reaching the low point of today’s stroll Boyers Track curved around and climbed for a few minutes to meet Boyles Road.
Natives Track wasn't signposted and was in pretty bad condition, but was easy enough to follow once I was on it.
The private land was on the left hand side of the old fence line.
Boyers Road made for a very easy climb, well when I say easy I mean I only stopped one or twice to take photos and get my breath back. Cue the harp music…I remember when I was a young bloke I could climb Mt Feathertop or Mt Bogong, probably with a pack that weighed close to 25 kilograms, without even having to stop and get my breath back, now days I need a calculator to add up the amount of times I have to stop! Anyway, like I said Boyers Road was a pretty easy climb and I was soon back up on Ridge Road and heading down to the ute. With my glass half full Feral attitude, I suppose I could say that these sections of quiet road walking made it easy to check out the surrounding scenery without worrying about going arse over or getting lost, with blue sky and a weak winters sun above I suppose today is about as good as it gets. Ten minutes or so after turning north along Ridge Road the ute emerged through the trees and the walk was over.
Taking in the scenery on my climb up Boyles Road.
Boyles Road.
Heading down Ridge Road to the ute, apart from the wind it was a magic winters day.
The Dirt.
According to my GPS I walked 10 kilometres and climbed 467 metres on what I’d rate as a medium graded walk. This is one of those walks that is OK, but probably not worth travelling too far to do, but if you are around the area it’s worth considering although I’d definitely avoid weekends and holidays. It’s a bit of a shame the trail bikes are going feral up here as the scenery is actually pretty nice and the open forest and large granite rocks make for interesting country to walk through. I used Mr Tempest’s notes out of his Victoria’s Goldfields Walks, even though the book only dates back to 2013 things have changed a bit on the ground since Mr Tempest went through I’m thinking. Some of the sign posting isn’t there any more and some of the off track sections which now have a web of trail bike tracks criss crossing them are probably the main changes from the notes. One other thing to keep  in mind with this one is that the drive in on Ridge Road could get a little sloppy after wet weather, I did the walk in a fairly dry winter and the road had a couple of spots that looked like they may be an issue to 2wd vehicles in wetter times.

Relevant Posts.

Another pleasant afternoon's walk coming to it's end.
I used Ridge Road to get to the starting point of today's walk, I'm thinking it might get a bit messy if the weather is wet for awhile.

Mushroom Rocks, Baw Baw National Park - June 2016

I mentioned in my last post that I was heading out and doing a snow walk next and indeed that's how it turned out. The weather in Me...