Saturday, 21 July 2018

Charles Darwin Trail 2018

Today I'm taking the group onto the eastern shore of the River Derwent to walk the Charles Darwin Trail. This is supposed to be the track Darwin walked in February 1836 during his twelve day stay with the HMS Beagle. This was the Beagle's second survey voyage, this time around the world.

Checking the weather forecast at 6a.m. I found the same gale warnings as I did a couple of weeks ago when I took us across the Tasman Bridge - not a fun walk.

It didn't get any better when I received a phone call from home while on my way to our meeting point in Kingston. Val told me I'd left my map and list of street turnings behind!

This meant I had to rely on the GPS track I had drawn online and downloaded to my GPS unit. I was worried about the accuracy, but in the end it was accurate and the only errors were mine alone.

We meet at Kangaroo Bay, parking the cars below the college. It's been a while since I've been here, and hasn't it changed!

The start
The gales were supposed to start around lunch time. My original plans were to go clockwise which would put us on the beaches at that time. I decided to change the direction and get us out of the open areas before the wind started, so we set off with that in mind.

Passing through the marina, we pickup the start of the bike/walking track leading around the shoreline.

Hobart with Mt. Wellington behind

The Organ pipes below the summit appear a bit bare, we need some cables and cable cars running in front of them to add some interest. The 145kmh winds would add to the tourist experience.
The track
Taking us around the point, we reach steps leading up to the old fort on Kangaroo Bluff. This was completed in 1883 to support the Domain and Battery Point batteries. Supposedly, the appearance of two Russian warships in the Derwent ten years earlier hastened construction. The large Armstrong rifled guns are original and were buried in 1925 as obsolete and dug up again by the army in 1970 and put on their present mounts.

For an interesting history of the fort and the guns, CLICK HERE.

One of the arms of the fort

Most of it is under a mound of earth
After a quick look around, we make our way out and look for a track below the fort I had spotted on Google Earth.

It's alright, Mark. Just a tug of the forelock and a nod of the head will do. I don't like being too formal.
We tried going bush but the moat around the fort stopped us, so we returned and went out the main entrance.

Why do things the easy way?
Leaving the fort behind we walk down Gunning St. and back to the track. We're now heading towards Second Bluff and Howrah Beach. Morning Tea, is beckoning, so we find a good spot with ample seating on the bluff.

Bellerive Beach

Howrah Beach from Second Bluff

The casino

Morning Tea

Small inaccessible beach just below the bluff

Tea finished, we move onto the next beach.
Howrah Beach

Looking back at Second Bluff

We move off the beach onto the foot track again, just before Howrah Primary School. Reaching Howrah Road, we turn left, walking up past Shoreline Shopping Centre.

I begin looking for the, not very obvious, entry to a little park called Tilanbi Park. This is just a little short cut to Tilanbi Street. Heading right at the exit, we follow Tilanbi Street to Ninabah Street where we turn right again, pass through a metal pedestrian gate and enter another track.

This is a dirt track and takes us into the Waverly Flora Park.

Exiting Tilanbi Park

We've just entered onto the track into the flora park

It's that mountain again
Fairly level at the beginning, the track begins to climb after a while. Wood posts every so often with the picture of Darwin on each side, mark the track. It has also been topped with a gravel surface.

Ron's been collecting the fossils Darwin missed

To be fair, the gravel on the track came from somewhere else.

First real hill of the day
We come to a junction and head right, continuing the climb.

The junction. Keep that smaller track just ahead in mind
The reason I say keep it in mind is because we continue climbing the larger track until I misinterpret my GPS screen and send us heading left onto another track.

My fault!

I realize my mistake, and turn everyone around to walk back to our original route. Admit it, you all really enjoyed that short downhill section. Too bad we had to climb back up.

If you look at the map above, that track would have become the small track I had you remember from the junction. You would have really been upset if we got all the way down only to find we were back where we started!

Back on track, we head to the top of the hill where a large water tank is located. The wind is beginning to pick up now, just as the weatherman predicted.

It's lunch time, so I look for somewhere sheltered. The only place I can see that might be suitable is down next to the tank, so down we go. It has been painted, so that gives us something to look at.

Lunch at the water tank
Lunch finished, we head off, moving downhill now. The wind is picking up with some strong gusts.

Gordons Hill with new housing going in
I stood on a rock shelf overlooking a drop in the old quarry located here. Just as I pressed the camera button a gust of wind nearly knocked me over backwards. It's getting serious now.

We continue walking down, passing old workings.

Old quarry workings. Interesting rock
Soon we reach an old vehicle track heading up from below. It's all changed from the last time we were here. An old car body that was here is gone and it's apparent quite a bit of work is in progress. It's blocked off, so we walk up until we can cross it. Much has been done with a number of trees planted along the way, in bark covered, boxed in areas.

Much work is going on here to upgrade the area
We cross a lower hill now, blown about by the wind. We finally come down to Lanena Street, and begin our descent down to Eastlands Shopping Centre. Down Bayfield Street, cutting off a corner by taking Winkleigh Place to Bligh Street and back to the cars.

This used to be a little dirt track

New housing. No doubt the foreground is next
We had 13 walkers and covered 12.3km in 3:46hrs. We missed the worst of the wind and otherwise the weather was good.

I had to generate the report in a different form as my usual go to website had a problem with my GPX track

To see what Charles Darwin thought of Hobart Town when he arrived, CLICK HERE.

Click here to download GPX file

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