Yes, this is a big call, but we have both come to the conclusion that Mount Rufus has been our favourite walk so far. The walk is about 19 km, and rises 680 metres above the visitor centre at Lake St Clair, to a height of 1416m. There are a range of forest types, from fairly dry sclerophyll, to mossy wet gullies, to snow gums, to alpine heath above the tree line. On the way back down are pandani (like ‘bromeliad trees’) and scoparia plants, which are another variety of heath. There was still quite a bit of snow around with a few drifts across the path. That only added to the walk as well as the views. A combination of the great variety of landscapes, and the magnificent views from the top (and on the way up and down) made this an excellent walk.
Since our last blog we also did a walk to Kelly Basin, at the north western end of Macquarie Harbour. It involved a drive along the old train line, which was often cut through rock or clung to the side of a hill, with a steep drop to the valley below. It was only wide enough for one car, and there weren’t many turnouts for passing, so we’re glad we didn’t meet anyone coming the other way! The track itself was mostly level, and was a very pleasant walk through wet forest along the Bird River. In a few places there had been landslip, and it looked like it wouldn’t take much for the track to slip further, into the river. At the end of the walk were the remains of an old township. We were amazed at how the forest had regenerated so much in less than 100 years.
We haven’t had many fine and sunny days over the last six weeks, but we have used them well. Mt Rufus was one, and the day we drove between Queenstown and Derwent Bridge was another. We did a number of short walks along the way, including one that looked out over Frenchmans Cap.