April 13, 2006

Bluff River Gorge. Winter 2003

Marian Harradine Posted on 2006-04-13

The start of the walk to Bluff River Gorge is about a one hour drive from Hobart. We drove to Buckland and turned left opposite the church and continued on for another 11.56km. We parked the car beside the road and followed a bush track that ran parallel to a large paddock on the right of the road. It was the last paddock before the State Forest sign entering bush.
We walked along the track for about 5 minutes and then turned left along a more minor track which had a few ribbons on it here and there, not very well marked really and little trails headed off here and there where 4WDs had driven around the bush. After nearly half an hour from leaving the car we hit what looked like the original track again (see notes further on) and a few minutes later two ribbons tied around two trees marked the place to walk to the gorge, which was now visible through the trees ahead. A sign saying "Gorge" and an arrow pointing ahead was just below there. This marked the beginning of the gorge walk and was first and only sign we saw.

We followed the narrow track following the upper contours of the Gorge, with the Bluff River below us and the other side of the Gorge across from that. There were lovely designs and colours on the sandstone cliffs beside and above us. At times it looked like 3D fretsaw carvings on the canopy above us where the cliffs had hollowed out. The track was fairly level most of the way, rising and descending minimally. After about half an hour we descended a bit deeper so that we were in more damp and ferny bush and I thought that we were getting to the end of the gorge but it continued on.
Ten minutes later we came to an area close to a large pool of water, in the bottom of the Gorge. There was a large quantity of black netting draped around on the rock and some sticks. It looked like it had been there for years. There was also a shovel without a handle, a white plastic bucket and a roll of thin wire there. I walked down to the water and stood on a flat rock and admired the lovely reflection. I took out my camera and took a photo. While there I saw a large trout jump up to eat a fly on the surface of the water so someone must have stocked it with trout at some time.
We continued on from there, climbing up out of the gorge and eventually came to a small grassy area above the Gorge which looked like it might be a nice camping spot. It had a rough stone fireplace there and some branches next to it. The track continued on back down further along into the gorge from there. It was an hour and thirty five minutes since we left the car, about 4.30.
By this time it was really time for us to retrace our steps as we did not want to walk back in the dark and it was an hour since we started the gorge walk. I was not keen to retrace our steps as that would made us rather late. We thought that if people camped there they must be able to get to it by 4WD, so we looked for and found a vague track for a couple of minutes and then came across a track, which we thought was maybe the same track as the one that led us to the beginning of the Gorge walk.
We took note of where we were in case we wanted to come back that way one day to continue our walk where we left off or maybe even to camp there ourselves one day.
We walked along the track, following roughly the Gorge, and, sure enough, after about 12 minutes we came to the two trees with the ribbons to mark where the Gorge track started.
Continuing on along the track, rather that leaving it and following the odd pink ribbon, we eventually came to where we had turned off on the way in. Soon after that we got to the car. It had taken us 7 minutes less time coming back from the Gorge than going in, staying along the main track. And it had taken only 40 minutes to get back to the car from when we decided to return to the car.

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