Ranger’s wrap

Walking in the remote and sub-alpine or alpine areas of Wellington Park

1-Feb-2015

A walk in the remote areas of Wellington Park is a deeply rewarding and memorable experience. You will find yourself in a wild place of spectacular, rugged landscapes, inhabited by remarkable variety of interesting vegetation and wildlife.

MOST of the walks in the park are… a walk in the park e.g. all walks below the Springs, from Fern Tree etc, don’t require special preparation – just always pack warm clothes and wet weather gear. Don’t be deterred by the cautionary tales and checklists below – but do be prepared. So if you plan to walk more than 30mins, at or below the level of The Springs (700m above sea level) just take a few commonsense precautions. Always carry a charged mobile phone. Reception on the whole is very good, but there will be blackspots in more remote parts of Wellington Park.

If you’re planning a more intrepid walk, firstly, be reassured: all walks marked on maps are signposted. All commonly used walks leaving from Fern Tree, The Springs, the Chalet (1000m above sea level) and The Pinnacle (1271m above sea level) are routinely maintained by the Hobart City Council’s professional Bushland Reserves Track Management Unit. Any issues reported are followed up and rectified very quickly.

Walks in Wellington Park that start at or lead to remote, sub-alpine and alpine areas

These remote area track types vary, from fire trails to cross country routes with marker poles. There are 10 tracks from the Eastern face i.e. The Springs, The Chalet, Big Bend or The Pinnacle.

  • From The Springs: Pinnacle Track, Zig Zag Track, Milles Track (connecting to Snake Plains Track), Ice House Track.
  • From the Chalet: Organ Pipes Track, connecting to the Zig Zag Track.
  • From The Pinnacle: Panorama Track, South Wellington Track, Zig Zag Track.
  • From Big Bend: Thark Ridge Track (to Mount Montague, Devils Throne, The Thumbs and Cathedral Rock); Big Bend tail, Collins Bonnet Track.

There are also more than 10 from other starting points:

  • Betts Rd, Longley: The Cathedral Rock Track; Mount Montague, The Thumbs, Devil’s Throne and Thark Ridge.
  • Morphetts Rd and Huon Rd, Neika: Snake Plains Track, southern end, connecting to the Milles Track (nearest access point is via the Pipeline Track from the carpark at Morphetts Rd on the Huon Rd at Neika).
  • Mountain River: The Mountain River Trail, connecting to the East West Trail.
  • Myrtle Forest, Collinsvale: Myrtle Forest Track; Collins Cap Track; Collins Bonnet Track.

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst

You will need moderate experience, fitness, knowledge. Consider all members of your party:

  • Do you know what you’re getting yourself in for (steep rocky terrain, dense scrub, quick changes in weather)?
  • Are you up for it and to it?
  • Do you know what to do if you get lost?
  • Do you know how to use map and compass? GPS?
  • Does your mobile phone have GPS and a navigator and compass and can you confidently use them? (Practise before you set off.) Mobile phone GPS apps work off satellites, not mobile phone networks, so they will work even where mobile reception drops out.

How to prepare

  • Choose appropriate route
  • Get information: Wellington Park Management Trust, Greater Hobart Trails, Tassie Trails, Bushwalktasmania.com; Tasmania.bushwalk.com, Leave No Trace Australia.
  • Gain experience: start young, get base fitness; get the right gear/equipment; join a club e.g. Hobart Walking Club, Pandani Bushwalking Club.
  • Check weather the day before and on the morning of your walk; consider rescheduling as necessary
  • Tell someone your plan and estimated time of arrival/return
  • Have at least one companion, preferably 2-3
  • Use a checklist
  • Allow time to be thorough – ideally pack the day before
  • Give yourself space: put all your gear out on a big table/floor/bed and tick it off a list
  • Check each other’s preparation

BASIC gear list:

  • Comfy sturdy boots
  • Long pants or gaiters
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Spare thermal / woollen layer
  • Spray jacket
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit including compression bandages
  • Charged mobile phone
  • Map and compass, or GPS with fresh batteries
  • Sufficient food and drink
  • Personal medication (for allergies, asthma etc)
  • Matches – fires allowed in an emergency
  • Torch – in case you are caught out after dark and to signal.

ADDITIONAL gear to consider for more extended walks and poorer weather

Pitfalls

  • COTTON – don’t rely on it for warmth when wet. Pack wool/warm synthetics.
  • Complacency – assumption is the mother of all stuff-ups.
  • Constrained time – allow time to prepare, get there and get back. Go by Mountain time not city time. Consider available light.
  • Climate – check weather before and during if possible.
  • Confidence – experience can be as hazardous as inexperience.
  • Caution – Allow more time than you think you need, particularly on longer walks in more remote areas.
  • Concentrate – keep to the track. Natural forces can work to conceal signs and markers and tracks: water, animals, weather. The way ahead is not always clear on natural surfaces like rock. “Watch where you put, every little foot.”
  • Keep together – If you are walking in a group, stay together, walk at the speed of the slowest member.

More information

For help in preparing and planning feel free to contact the Wellington Park Ranger.

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