View from top of Quamby Bluff
I've always seen beautiful Quamby Bluff from my sister's backyard in Westbury, Tasmania where she has lived for over 30 years. I've seen it in the sunshine and covered in snow in winter. The mountain is an outlying part of the Great Western Tiers mountain range. It is the northernmost peak in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and provides panoramic views of Northern Tasmania, including The Central Plateau and the Great Western Tiers.
Quamby Bluff from my sister's back yard
I finally got the opportunity to climb it on a recent visit to Tassie to see my sister. I always try and do a few walks I've never done before on my regular visits from Queensland. I wrote about one of my previous walks here
My niece Rebecca from Hobart and I set off on a beautiful sunny February day. We knew roughly where the start of the track was on the Highland Lakes Road off the East Parade Road near Deloraine but we probably should have done a bit more research because it took us a while to find the car park, which was across the road from the start of the Quamby Bluff track.
On the trail
After turning into a few driveways looking for the track, we pulled over in a driveway and were just checking our map when a very friendly woman pulled over. She turned out to be one of the monks from the Bodhicitta Dakini Monastery, which is on the track to the mountain. She told us where the car park was, which was just a bit further than where we had turned around.
Red ribbon showing the way
There were a few cars already parked and they were obscuring the sign. Most of them had Interstate number plates.
Quamby Bluff is located in the Quamby Bluff Forest Reserve in Northern Tasmania, just near Golden Valley. It neighbours the Fairy Glade State reserve and the trailhead is accessed via the Highlands Lake Road. It is approximately 21 kilometres from Deloraine and 63 kilometres from Launceston. The car park is on the left-hand side of the road 12.4km after turning onto the Highland Lakes Road. The trail starts on the opposite side of the road, 40m ahead.
Into the forest
We finally set off up the road and across onto the track through a gate, leading past the pink Monastery building and prayer flags.
The lovely lady monk told us you can also park on their side of the road as long as you don't block the gate.
The walk is 7 kilometres return and takes around 4 - 5 hours. The Bluff is 1227 metres high. It was a warm day and we didn't even notice the dark clouds on top until I got home and looked at my photos.
The Quamby Bluff walk begins by gently ascending through beautiful myrtle forests. We saw and heard some beautiful yellow-tailed black cockatoos in the forest. A couple were feasting on a large log lying on the ground. They flew off as we approached and it wasn't until I got back to Brisbane and downloaded my photos onto my computer that I realized I had got a photo of the birds. We also saw a pademelon.
Yellow tailed black cockatoo
There were signs of previous logging with old cut trees showing where planks had been used to support men cutting trees by hand. Becca pointed out some native Tasmanian Deciduous beech (Nothofagus gunnii), or fagus, as it is best known, which is Australia's only cold climate winter-deciduous tree. It isn't found anywhere else in the world and has a magnificent autumn display when the leaves change from rust red through to brilliant gold during late April and May. It is a small tree that grows to two metres or less and is found in cool, damp places, and often best seen in the remote highlands. I need to go back in Autumn. The Tasmanian Waratah is endemic to the state and flowers on the mountain wilderness between November and January.
Fungi and ferns
On the way up, you need to follow red triangle signs or red ribbons. There are yellow signs to follow on the way down.
On the way up
After a while we came out of the forest onto a large boulder field, which we had to negotiate with our hands and feet. It became pretty steep and we had to keep watching out for the red track markers. It would be easy to miss them. Some parts of the track were marked with ribbons on trees.
Moss covered tree
Climbing over boulders
Once we got to the top of the boulders we re-entered the forest. There were lots of animal tracks, and we had to backtrack once to get back onto the right path. We walked through a variety of habitat with fungi, mossy trees, fagus trees, lots of ferns and native pepperberries. The ones we saw were red. When they turn black they are picked as gourmet bush pepper. Tasmannia lanceolata (Drimys lanceolata), commonly known as Tasmanian pepperberry or mountain pepper, is a shrub native to woodlands and cool temperate rainforest of south-eastern Australia. The shrub varies from 2 to 10 m high.
Into the bush
I had read there were at least two large boulder fields to cross. We were pleasantly surprised to reach the top as we thought we still had a lot more climbing to do. In fact, we were just thinking of having lunch and deciding if we would continue. I had injured my hip in a fall 5 weeks ago and it had been very painful going up hills so I wasn't sure how I would go. I was also pretty unfit because I had been resting it, but it was fine. I'm sure the walk would be much harder in winter with ice and snow to negotiate. It might also be challenging for people who hadn't done much bushwalking or rock scrambling. I loved every minute of the walk.
Walking across the top
Second rock scree
Once we got to the top, we walked about 10 minutes across the heath on the summit plateau until we reached the Trig Point where we stopped for lunch. We had fantastic 360-degree views.
Under the Trig on top
On top of Quamby Bluff
We chatted to a young couple from Western Australia who was travelling around Tassie for 6 weeks and doing a different walk every day. They weren't sure when they could get back to WA because of Covid. It took us 2 hours to reach the summit and we stayed up there for about ¾ of an hour until it started to get a bit cold so we headed down. I always prefer walking down mountains rather than going up.
Clouds rolling in
You do need good boots or shoes with good tread, as it would be easy to twist your ankle, especially on the boulders. It could be very challenging in wet, icy or snowy conditions and you would need to be prepared with warm clothing and wet weather gear in bad weather.
It was a great walk, so if you are visiting Tassie and want a nice challenge, go and climb Quamby Bluff.
Negotiating rocks going down