Thursday, 24 November 2016

Manuka Hills-Kettering-Trial Bay 2016

Today it's my turn to inflict pain so I'm leading a walk in Kettering taking in Trial Bay, Kettering, Manuka Hills and a new track, the D'Meure Track.

I walk up from Woodbridge to wait for the others to drive down from Kingston. It promises to be a nice day weather wise, and shortly, the rest of the group begin to arrive.

Tas arrives in style in Carol's sports car
Early in my membership of the U3A walking group, I was taken on some of these tracks in Manuka Hills and we traveled anticlockwise. When I was asked to lead a walk for the first time, I upset the fabric of the universe by taking us clockwise. This caused all sorts of pain to some members, but it has died down over the past couple of years. The usual route was Kettering Oval, Manuka Hills, back down the road to Kettering & Morning Tea at the oval, then around the point to Trial Bay for lunch, returning to Kettering via the Channel Highway.

Today, I chanced my luck again, and we headed south on the Channel Highway, turning off into Trial Bay to walk back around the point to Kettering.

Heading south on the Channel Highway

Entering Trial Bay
This is where the universe struck back. Walking into Trial Bay to the start of the track, we noticed some men and machinery near the entrance, plus there  appeared to be a sign up past the start.

As we arrived, a gentleman approached us and said "Group leader?". I said yes. The upshot is that the track to Kettering was closed for maintenance. I asked if it had been advertised and the answer was "No, where would you expect it".

I must point out that all the discussion was quite friendly. Anyway, I suggested on the council website. They were working with heavy machinery we couldn't sneak around due to 'health & safety', so we were at a standstill.

I then remembered the old track and asked if we could use that as it was above their work site. In the end we agreed that if they didn't see us, we wouldn't see them.

So we walked up the hill until we came to the entry to the old track, which was quite apparent.

I shall write Kingborough Council and suggest they post a Track Maintenance calendar on their website.

The old track is more fun to walk anyway.

The old Trial Bay to Kettering track

Trial Bay

It being a bumper year for orchids, we soon came upon our first and I took this not so good photo to record the moment.

We've come down to the new track

This is at the Kettering end of the track

Not the first time we've been on the wrong side of a sign
We take a short detour to a viewing area

We head for Ferry Road and make our way around the track past the oval to our Morning Tea spot.

Kettering Marina

I worked with a gentleman back in the '70s in Hobart who kept his boat at Kettering as it was much cheaper than Sandy Bay. His boat must have taken the total in the bay up to six at that time.

We cross a bridge over a creek. What's that boot there for?

Artwork? It appears to be filled with cement

 Kettering mafia at work?

On we go and have Morning Tea at the end of the track around the oval.

It's a pleasant little track

Entrance to track opposite the service station

I noticed some new art work was being installed

I wonder if anyone from Kettering has read the inscription?
 Tea finished, we walk up the Channel Highway a short distance and turn off onto, what the old sign calls, Channel Lane. This is actually the old Channel Highway and I well remember following apple trucks heading for Hobart up the hill. No passing lanes in those days.

We turn up Manuka Road then left at Wilsons Road which takes us up a nice little hill.

Up Wilsons Road

Entry to the Manuka Hills Walking Track
The track winds through very dry bush and is, for the most part, easy walking.

Looking across the Channel to North Bruny Island
We turn left here to go down and across the bottom of a couple of properties. We eventually come to a corner where we have to start the steady climb up Larges Hill.

Tas is enjoying the climb

The track

Part way up, we get the feeling that someone is watching us. Suddenly, one of our group points off into the bush. Seems we were right.

The watcher...

...and she's not alone

That's got to be uncomfortable!
For the mother, not the joey. I can understand why she didn't hop away into the bush. Shortly after, another one did.

We reach the top, which is next to a house and start the steep descent on a loose track which winds down the hill.

The downhill track

Bob wanted to know why I was photographing this old fallen tree beside the track. I said it was to make our walk down look more dramatic.

Soon, we find ourselves coming back out to another section of Manuka Road, here we decide to have lunch. It's a great spot in good weather with comfortable grass to sit on and beautiful views.

Looking south from our lunch spot
Meal finished, a couple of walkers have to get back for appointments so leave us here and walk back to Kettering. We turn left and head for a new track I found on the Internet.

Little traffic around at this time of day so it's not unpleasant to walk on the road. It takes a little over five minutes to reach the start of the new track.

Turnoff into the D'Meure Track

Click Here to learn more about the development of the track.

The track is named after an adjoining property and is well marked as it leads past the house. Soon it reaches the bush at the bottom and begins to become steeper.

Still going down

We spot these growing on one corner

We reach the bottom where you can choose which direction to go. Turn right and you head back towards Kettering along cliff tops. It goes down to the bay where, if it's low tide, you can walk the shore line until you come to a marked spot that brings you up to Manuka Road, just a few minutes walk from the oval.

The other track heads north and leads to what is called Steps Cove. This is the one we will follow. If it's low tide you can continue past the cove and join Manuka Road near Oyster Cove. The tide at the moment is too high for us to do that.

Choices, choices
About the biggest barrier we'll find

You do get some views. Looks like the weather is changing

The track
We continue on, and it's easy walking, until we reach a set of stone steps leading down to a small cove.

Stone steps leading down

Steps Cove
It's a nice little place and just further on we find another set of more modern steps and a surprise.

Steps Cove at high tide
Seems that Tas had a hand in building this other set of steps, so here he is proudly showing off his handy work.

Tas and his steps
We climb the steps back to the track and continue on. We walk a short distance on an old road that used to lead down here, now there is a house just a short distance up it.

The track winds around a couple of rustic benches and leads down to a rock outcrop which gives good views.

South over Kettering Point. We were there a little while ago

Down the Channel

Myself, photo by Bob

Heading back
We retrace our steps back to the uphill junction, but just before reaching it an orchid is discovered. As soon as you see one, you realize the ground is almost covered in spots by them. Tas thinks the double headed one may be rare.

I called this the "Two Headed Tasmanian Orchid"
But I doubt that's its real name. Perhaps it should be.

 We climb back up to the road and head back to Kettering. We have to endure terrible views such as the ones below.

Road walk back to Kettering

One of the views we have to look at

Woodbridge is around the far corner


We had 14 walkers at the start and covered 11.91km in 4:23hrs. It's not for me to call it a good walk, but I enjoyed it.

If you really want to know, I walked back to Woodbridge and the round trip added a couple of hours and 10km to my total.

I was a bit tired as I took a short detour just before the pub in Woodbridge. I saw what I thought was a large black rubber stopper of some kind, about 6 inches in diameter in the old money or 15cm in the new. It was circular and lying just at the edge of the tall grass in the sun. That should give you a hint. As I approached for a closer look it straightened out into a beautiful, shiny black Tiger snake and crawled away into the grass. I took the hint and took some very rapid steps in the opposite direction!

Click here to download GPX file

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