Alum Cliffs

Traversing Alum Cliffs
Alum Cliffs
Alum Cliffs © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There are two Alum Cliffs in Tasmania: one in the south and one in the north. I visited the latter, which is located near Mole Creek and Chudleigh on the way from Launceston to Cradle Mountain. Listed as one of Tasmania’s “60 Great Short Walks”, the walk to tulampanga (Alum Cliffs) was indeed short and great!

Views
Views © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Located in a farming region, the views from between the trees, out over nearby pastures, are rather lovely. I caught a glimpse of the mountains in the distance at one point too. Look around you: A friend saw a falcon in the sky and I spied two gorgeous pink orchids in the bush. There are several interpretive signs to help you better understand the history and significance of the area.

Alum Cliffs Lookout
Alum Cliffs Lookout © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

After 20 minutes, including stops for photos, you’ll find yourself at a small staircase. This leads to the Alum Cliffs Lookout. The view that awaits is at once understated and spectacular. It’s a humble view, of the river below and the cliffs opposite, but it’s impressive because of the sharp angles of the Alum Cliffs, especially in contrast with the surrounding bush. Sit a while and enjoy the view.

What to Bring

Alum Cliffs Track
Alum Cliffs Track © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

It really is a short walk to the Alum Cliffs Lookout so you won’t need to bring much with you. That said, weather in Tassie is unpredictable and we have some critters (snakes, ants, spiders) that can make life unpleasant at times so bringing basic first aid supplies and wearing appropriate clothing is a must on any walk in Tasmania.

Getting There

Alum Cliffs
Alum Cliffs © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Take the Bass Highway north from Launceston (or south from Devonport), turning onto the B12. Head towards Mole Creek. Shortly after you have passed through the township of Chudleigh, turn right onto Mersey Hills Road. My husband thought that we were lost at this point as the road is narrow and winding. Don’t worry! You will eventually come across a well-signposted carpark on the right-hand side of the road as it takes a sharp bend. You can’t miss it.

Cost

Dusk
Dusk © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Free, free, free! As this is a reserve, entry to the Alum Cliffs Track is completely free, that is, you don’t need a Parks Pass. Thank you, Parks and Wildlife Tasmania, for providing yet another well-made track, complete with interpretive signs.

While you’re in the area, make sure that you look at the truly gorgeous Mole Creek Caves. Staying a while? Read about my adventures in the surrounding north and north-west areas.

Freycinet Adventures

Traversing Freycinet Adventures
The Hazards
The Hazards © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Recently, we celebrated our wedding anniversary by kayaking into Freycinet National Park with Freycinet Adventures. It was remarkable, bobbing around in the bay and staring up at the Hazards. A lunch stop at a hidden waterfall sealed the deal: I’d do this again!

Kayaks
Kayaks © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Our guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. At the start of your journey, you’ll receive tips for paddling well as well as the usual safety drills. Traveling in a double-kayak, you’ll depart from Muirs Beach (Coles Bay) and paddle past Picnic Island to Freycinet National Park. In the right season, whales and seals may surface. Your guide will stop the group at several points to discuss the history of the area, including the pink granite quarry.

Waterfall
Waterfall © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll alight at a hidden cove for a cup of tea and a snack (provided by Freycinet Adventures). The cove houses a gorgeous waterfall. From here, you’ll paddle past Freycinet Lodge and Richardsons Beach. Here, your guide will take a photo of you with the marvellous Hazards in the background. Finally, you’ll sail through the boats moored off Coles Bay on your trip back to Muirs Beach.

What to Bring

View of Picnic Island
View of Picnic Island © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

We did the half-day kayak trip. Wear bathers. While Freycinet Adventures have a policy of “on the water, not in the water”, your bottom will get wet at some point and bathers are much more comfortable! On cooler days, wear polypro or merino thermals for warmth, remembering that it is colder on the water. You’ll be provided with a fleece jacket and a wetsuit skirt. Bring your camera as there’ll be lots of chances for taking photos! Dry bags are provided for storing your electronics. A cuppa and biscuit is also provided for morning tea.

Getting There

Muirs Beach
Muirs Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Your trip departs from Muirs Beach at the western end of Coles Bay. We booked online but you could also book via Freycinet Adventures’s office, which is located near Muirs Beach. There is no need to head to the office if you have already booked your trip. Just turn up at the beach! Coles Bay is just over two hours’ drive from Launceston via the Midlands and Lake Leake Highways. From Hobart, it’s about a two and a half hour drive via the Tasman Highway. Give yourself plenty of extra time for stops along the way.

Cost

Freycinet National Park
Freycinet National Park © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

In 2017, you’ll pay $98 per adult and $88 per child for the half day tour, which last for approximately three hours. Two and three day tours are also available. Booking online is very straightforward. Payment is processed after your trip in case the trip needs to be cancelled due to poor weather conditions. I’m sure that many a local will scoff at paying for the privilege of kayaking but the staff at Freycinet Adventures make your trip memorable (and not too much hard work!). Included in the cost is your outer layer (fleece jacket and wetsuit skirt), morning or afternoon tea and entry into Freycinet National Park. Of course, use of the kayaks and paddles is included. We had a fabulous time!

For tips on what to do nearby, read my posts about Tasmania’s east coast. If you’re happy to take a longer journey to your destination, I’ve had many an adventure in Tasmania’s south, midlands and north. Happy travels!

Leven Canyon

Traversing Leven Canyon
Leven Canyon
Leven Canyon © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Today, it snowed at Leven Canyon in Tasmania’s north west. I know this because I was there. By there, I mean at Cruikshanks Lookout, high above the thundering rapids, being blasted with snow. It was awesome!

 

Picnic Area
Picnic Area © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

We arrived to a scene from a fairy-tale. Trees towered above us. Ferns surrounded the picnic area. The ground was covered in snow. If we had wanted to, we could have made a fire in the barbeque hut and cooked lunch but I’m glad that we continued to the lookout instead. It was perfect timing.

Track
Track © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Access to the lookouts is via the Fern Walk (from the lower picnic area) or via the path to Cruikshanks Lookout. The walk can be done as a circuit. I recommend visiting Cruikshanks Lookout first as you can then descend the almost-600 steps to the track below instead of ascending them.

Cruikshanks Lookout
Cruikshanks Lookout © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

When we reached Cruikshanks Lookout, it had just started snowing. The lookout juts out from the hill and is very exposed. Hold on to your hat! The Leven River roared below us and limestone cliffs stood around us at a commanding 300 metres. The wind whipped snow into our faces. It was an incredible sight: Leven Canyon seen through a veil of snow.

Forest Steps
Forest Steps © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Descend the (many!) Forest Steps to the Edge Lookout below for another spectacular view. This time, you’re much closer to the rapids but still at quite a height above them. As always with Tasmania, the weather can change at any moment. When we stepped out onto the Edge Lookout, we were greeted with the warmth of the sun (and a small pocket of phone reception!).

Leven River
Leven River © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

From the Edge Lookout, it’s an easy walk back to the carpark. Well, almost! There might not be any steps but the uphill trudge was hard-going! The track is well-maintained. There are benches at regular intervals along the circuit’s tracks. These are essentially horizontal signposts, showing you how far you are from the nearest location (car park, bridge, lookout) in either direction and are a great motivation to keep going!

Getting There

Roadside View
Roadside View © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The Leven Canyon Lookout is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Ulverstone via the B15 or the B17 (the latter goes past the turnoff to Wings Wildlife Park). The drive there was very picturesque, with snow beside the road and on the distant mountain tops. As always with Tasmania’s country roads, take care on corners, particularly on icy days like today. When you arrive at Leven Canyon, there is ample car parking. Watch out for our native animals.

Cost

Leven Canyon
Leven Canyon © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There are no entry fees at Leven Canyon. Toilet and wood-fired barbeque facilities are available for public use. Do not light the barbeques during a total fire ban! There are also plenty of picnic tables for public use. It’s a great spot to visit.

You can read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s beautiful north west here.