Blackboy-Mathinna circuit.

Having once climbed Mt Blackboy by the easy route, I was not all that interested in a repeat, but today we took it head on and did a traverse along the high rocks, and that made it a totally different and really fun experience.

Fingal Valley

Not only did we attack the boulders from their most challenging angle, we also began way, way down at Mathinna Falls, giving us a climb of over 500 ms in the process, and not from the nearest road access as is normally done if you only have bagging in mind.

Hypholoma australe – these were near the carpark, before the real fun began.

The actual climby bit was probably only about 2kms horizontally. Do your maths: that’s STEEP. People from our small group were falling and slipping the whole time. It only counted as a fall if you landed on your bum or worse. I was relatively unscathed with only three falls. Several of my friends got into double figures. One specialised in quite spectacular landings.

Delvin Ck track to falls

Even just standing talking waiting for the rear to catch up, you kind of slid down the slope unless you grabbed a sapling to prevent the descent. I was sure I spotted a flat bit of ground somewhere down below (and John backed me up); this became a source of many jokes as we tumbled our way downwards.

Russula viridis – very pleased to find this one! You don’t see them often.

Sorry for the lack of photos of rocks and forest: when you are above your head in ferns, it’s hard to get a shot, and the rocks were reached in midday glare, which I don’t find conducive to pleasing photography. I leave the massive and alluring boulders to your imagination. Meanwhile, if you know me, you know I love fungi.

Dermocybe canaria. I have also not seen very many of these in my hunting.

I was quite proud of how clean my pants still were at the finish – ripped and muddy pants were the norm by the end of the day – until I got home and discovered a huge red patch base right, courtesy of a hitchhiking leech.

Blackboy Falls from above. We could see them, even if you can’t. This was as good as it got today. Work in progress!

We also visited the top of a waterfall en route, which, given its location and in order to be able to talk about it, I have dubbed Blackboy Falls. (It is an unnamed blue line on the map). We lacked time to visit the base, but at least we have now seen it, and have also (of course?) plotted our route for a more extensive, close-and-personal visit some other time. As it was, we didn’t get back to the cars before 5 pm, and it was more than dinner hour by the time we returned to Launceston. It’s worth being hungry to have had such a fun day. Very little beats real bushbashing, with its engagement with nature, and its total workout value. Keep Tassie Wild.

Traversing the ferns back near the bottom. Thanks for the photo Phil Andrew, who, being taller than I am, had a little less trouble taking a shot in the jumble.

Angel Falls Mt Sarah Jane

Angel Falls, near Mt Sarah Jane, are best seen after good rain. I decided last Wednesday was my day. The weather map predicted that Tuesday would be cloudy with maybe a little rain, Wednesday perfect, and Thursday and Friday back to rain.

Getting near the top the clouds started getting quite dark

Living in the north, there is no way I can drive down on the day I want to see the waterfall. And, if I am driving down the day before, then, it makes sense to lug my tent up the mountain and sleep there, all ready in position for the morning’s splendour, and enjoy sunset and sunrise from on high. Maybe I can even get in some astro photography too. That would be great.
Tuesday was, as predicted, cloudy, but it wasn’t raining. I drove my dog to Hobart, gave her a walk, had lunch and then continued on to the South West. I was carrying a tripod and three days’ worth of food and gear, just in case it was so lovely that I wanted two sunsets up there. This made my pack rather heavy, so I was thrilled to only take 3 hrs 15 to be breasting the top of the climb.

Dark clouds brought out the colours

Bam. The wind punched me in the face. Hey; this wasn’t predicted! The clouds got darker. The wind was gale force up there so I dumped my pack and spent an hour searching for the perfect spot, which had shelter from the blast and a view. It didn’t exist. In fact, I couldn’t find anything particularly tolerable, so chose a spot that had access to water and a tiny bit of shelter by being in a bit of a hollow. Anyway, as there was no view to be had, that didn’t matter any more. So much for the sunset and astro photography.

Mt Sarah Jane from “behind”

I tried to pitch the tent, but the wind kept ripping out the parts I had attempted to secure. I finally got it up, tightened the guys and crawled in to get out of the battering. It was such a relief. I wondered if I was going to get a match lit to cook with, but in between gusts I grabbed my chance. Whew. I was hungry.

A pretty tarn along the way

That night I did not get much sleep. The gusts were loud and destructive. They ripped a peg out so my tent started flapping badly. I went out to re-place it, and added my snow pegs that I’d also brought up for extra stability and anchorage. I started making plans for what I would do should the tent blow down. I know I am not capable of repairing a tent in a gale without help. Plan B was to abandon the collapsed, bucking tent and begin back down the mountain by torchlight, leaving everything else behind. I also know from experience that you can’t find anything if the wind collapses your tent, as each gust just throws everything around. So, I donned what I would need to wear if escaping down the mountain. I even wore my torch to bed so I could find it with no searching.

I love her pointy backside

The gusts became less damaging at about 2 a.m., and I was able to get in a few hours sleep before waking at first light, which had very little light to offer. I could not even see my mountain, the mist was so thick and the clouds so grey. Where was this perfect sunshine I had been offered? The wind was still uninvitingly strong. Time to doze some more. At 7 a.m., I decided I might as well eat breakfast, but I was not going out in that. It started raining. I ate. By 8 a.m, I decided I might as well get out and do what I had come to do. The day was not in any hurry to be nice to me.

More love

So, off I set into the wind and clouds. Some photo this would be. It was hard to even hold the camera steady. Lucky I had my tripod. The light did make the colours very beautiful, and I got used to the wind. Although this is my third time up there, this is the first time I have had the liberty to properly gaze at Sarah Jane. She is actually very beautiful. When I climbed her in 2015, I neither saw her nor the view. When I passed by in 2016, my focus was on our goal of Lots Wife. This time I gave her the attention she deserves.

Angel Falls where I popped out, nice and close, but I was too scared to look over the edge in case the wind gusted. I sat down to take this photo, keeping myself very low.

I had all day and was in no hurry. I just ambled along, enjoying myself now I was getting used to the wind and the gusts were not so bad. Navigation to my goal was not challenging. I popped out of the scrub just above the spout. The spot does not give a brilliant view of the whole waterfall, however, and I could see where I needed to be to get the angle I wanted. It was maybe 80 metres away.
I took over half an hour to reach this spot, as the slope is severe and the penalty for slipping over the edge, infinite. The bush was excessively thick. I couldn’t even see where the edge was and was not in a mood for experimenting. I have seen people fall many metres by taking an extra step that they thought was onto ground but it was just greenery that looked like ground and gave way beneath them. I would fall a great deal more than “many metres”.

The whole falls seen by climbing a tree.

So, what did I do? How did I get a view, especially considering my big height disadvantage? I climbed a tree, of course. The photos you see are taken by me up a tree, hanging on by one hand and attempting to hold the camera still in the continuing gale with the other.  I was many metres above the ground, so my tripod was to no avail.
Back at the tent, I had an early lunch, still waiting for the day to improve. I packed up, still waiting. There was no point in staying an extra night, and, besides, the wind meant the next night might be just as sleepless as the previous, so down I went, back to the car, real food, my dog and my Hobart family. Gussy and I had a lovely night reading together and doing wordle and square word. It was so soothing to have warmth, shelter and loving company. I seemed to eat rather a lot of ice cream.
Please note: The bucking tent I have experienced is not my Hilleberg. It was an Exped Extrem. I ordered my Hilleberg the next day, but the memory of that bucking tent will never leave me.

Hidden Falls Orford

Hidden Falls Orford

Tasmania boasts three Hidden Falls, but the Hidden Falls at Orford are the first and the real Hidden Falls, being on the map, for a start. Today I was lucky enough to visit the Hidden Falls Orford for the first time, being invited to join my Waterfall Friends. It is such fun to visit waterfalls with people who not only love being there, but who understand when you want to get out your tripod and camera because this scene looks worth that kind of effort.

Hidden Falls Orford

Of course we got out the gear for the main ones, Hidden Falls, but we also paid Drizzle Falls , seen on the way home, the courtesy of a proper shot. A different small waterfall on a tributary of Griffiths Rivulet east of the main Griffiths Rivulet that harbours the Falls of our mission, was only permitted a few handheld shots, so I guess it can consider itself the ugly duckling of the day. I was going to let you judge for yourselves, but really, this blog is about beauty, and I decided that Ugly Duckling Falls, as I am going to call them here, are just not worthy of an appearance. This is probably my fault for not getting out the tripod, but that’s just how it goes. It’s a harsh world.

Adrian and Caedence show their style skipping stones. Rob watches on. Caedence is an ace cricketer, so he is no doubt using some of that technique here.

For our directions and basic information, we consulted the blog of Denis at
and liked his advice, so used his route for our way out, parking just short of Three Thumbs Lookout, and then following an old road, made all the nicer for the fact that no vehicle could get to use it. It was, however, a road, and roads will be roads, even if no cars can come along. It was wide and stony, so I was very glad when the time came to leave it and start bushbashing. On the trip to Orford, there had been lots of beautiful frost everywhere, but it seems that this translated to a large amount of dew in this bush, as I got pretty saturated leading us down, and was very grateful when Adrian took over to lead us up the other side. I was a tiny bit miffed that his section was open and dry, but, well, such is life, and I was not so miffed that I couldn’t enjoy walking through such open forest.

Boys being boys

The saddle and ridge on top reminded me of fun orienteering days, and we followed the open ridge along to the left a bit before dropping steeply to our goal. The best views of the falls involved our crossing the creek, but I found a spot that didn’t involve my getting wet, so all was good.  I don’t like wet shoes when I still have over 6.5 kms left to go.

It was quite steep in places. Rob climbing

After the obligatory photos from a few different perspectives were taken, and lunch enjoyed, the guys got into stone skimming. Some great shots skipped right up the first level of the waterfall. I smiled to myself about bushwalking with boys: Gussy threw snow on Tuesday; these guys were throwing stones today. I joined in, but not with the same success. At least my stones bounced, but not as well or convincingly as theirs.

Rob climbing

Adrian mooted the idea of a different route back, and we all approved. A circle is much more fun than out and back, so we followed the ridge once we’d climbed it, and rejoined the Griffiths Rivulet via a tributary to the east, which kindly offered us two more waterfalls, albeit small ones. After that came a long slog up the steep hill. Either the bush had dried out a bit as the day progressed, or Adrian soaked up all the moisture ahead of me, but I didn’t seem to get wet at all on the rebound.

Drizzle Falls. They may be smaller, but I found them to be the most picturesque falls of the day. They are not on the map.

After we levelled out at the top, we expected a long flat road walk to the car. That is what we appeared to have had on the way out. To our surprise, someone had lifted the ground while we were at the falls, and we just kept having to go up … and up … and up, seemingly forever, until about 50 metres before the car, when we were given a crumb of easy downhill.

Drizzle Falls with a 5 second exposure to play around with the fun currents of water. I wonder which you prefer.

Stats: Vertical 645 ms climb; horizontal 13.18 kms, which yields 19.63 km equivalents. This involved 1 hr 43 moving for the 6.68 kms out, and 1 hr 49 moving for the steeper but shorter 6.5 kms return. When you include stops for photos, clothing changes, etc, we spent 2 hrs 10 on the outward journey, and 2 hrs 35 on the homeward one.

HIdden Falls route

Robbies Falls

Robbies Falls are situated on the beautiful Falls Rivulet, which issues out of Lake Skinner, nestling under Mt Snowy South (an Abel). From the lake, the picturesque rivulet tumbles down over cliffs and skirts obstacles until it loses its identity as it merges with the Little Denison River further east.

Robbies Falls

Because the closest access is McDougalls Rd, we early visitors called it McDougalls Falls, but were later informed that another person (“Robbie”) had discovered it, and used to frequent it, and it was known by his friends as Robbies Falls.
Visiting it now (as opposed to when “Robbie” visited, yesteryear), there is a daunting palisade of cutting grass that has opportunistically used the available light following logging. It mounts a mighty defence to ward off visitors. A different Rob, who had worked out it should be there, plus Caedence and I, bashed through this dreadful stuff for a long time, and then gave up. I vowed I would never return. Rob was more persistent, however, and went back using a better – in his words, smarter – route, and he and two other friends got there. I couldn’t go that weekend, but once I saw the shots, I had terrible FOMO. (Do I confess, envy?) Grr. Why had I not cancelled other obligations and gone too?

Falls Rivulet, below Robbies Falls

This weekend, Adrian said he’d show me the new route, so I got to finish the unfinished business. Using Rob’s improved route, it was pretty easy. Warning: it is still very possible to get enmeshed in cutting grass if you are not careful! Standard contour maps don’t tell you where the cutting grass lies, so you need more than just a traditional map.

Lower Robbies Falls

Pictured above are Lower Robbie Falls, which are not as high as the main falls, but, in my opinion,  are more photogenic.
The other – also magnificent – waterfall that also lies on this rivulet, although higher up, and accessed from the northern side rather than the southern, is Compton Falls, which have their own blog. If you are a competent and experienced bushwalker, then both falls are a total delight.

Further directional information: Falls Rivulet lies under the Snowy Range, west of Judbury (which, in turn, is west of Huonville). when exiting Judbury, take the Lonnavale Rd, then Denison Rd, and finally, McDougalls Rd. From it, you head north to the falls.

Compton Falls 2021

Because Compton Falls happen to be one of my favourite waterfalls, I find it sad that the waterfall bears a name that describes neither the creek it is on, nor its shape or emotions. It does, however, describe its more general area, so I guess that will have to do.
So, like Smoko Falls, which lie on Mother Cummings Rivulet rather than on Smoko Creek, Compton Falls do not lie on Compton Creek, but on neighbouring Falls Rivulet. Obviously, they can’t be called Falls Falls, so they got called Compton. I wonder who this Compton was to have a hill, a creek (albeit a different one) and now a waterfall named after him. Google was no help. A friend thought Twin Falls would be a fitting name, but Compton has already been nomenclatured, so that is that.
Both small watercourses issue from Compton Hill above, although they flow in different directions, thanks to the mini watershed provided by Denison Ridge, which begins to take shape about half was down the hill. Whatever; Falls Rivulet is an utterly charming stream from any of its vantage points, but particularly from the area of this shapely twin waterfall.

Compton Falls from afar

Denison Ridge is where we parked the car, on a road that is not on my map, which dates back to the early 90s. Although the falls were pretty much due west of where we parked, the easiest line of travel was to proceed northish for a short while, and then slightly south of west, roughly on contour, until dropping very steeply to our goal. As there are many cliffs protecting the falls, this avoided them, and gave fairly easy access (if you count bushbashing through thick forest without a track “easy”). Don’t be fooled by my nonchalance: this is not an area for tourists or even average club people. It is for pretty serious and experienced bushwalkers.

Compton Falls

Seen from afar, it was a glorious sight. Seen from up close, it was utterly magnificent. Its shape is positively alluring, with wonderful lines of flow and benches for the water to trip over on its way down.

Compton Falls from further back
Compton Falls from further back

This is another waterfall that I tried to photograph from the side, about midway up, hoping thereby to avoid the spray, but once more, the bush pulled me down until I found the vantage point used for the major images above. It was relatively spray free and the movement in the foreground created by the waterfall wind wasn’t too bad. I shot and was happy enough. Caedence and Rob went for a more front-on shot, but I enjoy foreground and a bit of context, (and I like to be different), so was happy with where I was. At first their path to their vantage point looked dangerous, but on closer examination, I was comfortable with it, as there were things to hold along the steep descent (forty five degrees) of mossy log to get across the creek. However, I didn’t want to fight spray, so stayed where I was.

Psathyrella asperosporia

Rob was making videos of himself sliding, and Caedence was shooting from many angles. I got cold, so started slowly back, knowing they would catch up with me eventually if I went slowly enough. They did, and we met up in the forest near to where our routes met the road. My gps had failed to record properly in either direction, but I remembered features of the bush – in particular, fungi we had met on the way out, so like Little Red Riding Hood with her crumbs in the forest, I followed the fungi and headed for the bit of route that I did have, and soon enough, heard the other two. It was nice to be able to loiter for a bit and admire the fungi. Moving like that kept me from freezing.

Philiota aurivella

The next falls on our agenda were ones that Rob had worked out (he had worked out Compton as well). We parked and headed into the forest. The distance was not that great, but we walked and walked through endless cutting grass, being constantly pushed to the side of our goal. Unofficially (of course) I have in my mind christened these Ouch Falls, or maybe just Cutting Grass Falls. Yuk Falls would do. In the end we decided we had no great lust to see whatever was at the end of the cutting grass quest and gave up for better things to do.

Tricholoma eucalyptorum

I drove a long way around to the nearest parking spot to Lonnavale Falls. To reach them, however, we had to cross a small creek, but one which was in mini-flood right now. The other two got across without any problems, but I became very nervous about slipping in and doing over $7,000 worth of damage, by the time you count my full-frame camera, my expensive lens, my iPhone and my Samsung gps phone. I also have athletic goals at present, and didn’t want them jeopardised by slipping and breaking a bone. Whatever these falls were, I could come back another time, when I would be less likely to slip or fall in. I also didn’t dare take my dog who would have been clumsy and frightened crossing. If she slipped and fell in, she might be carried downstream to a small fall and drown. Thus I opted to go fungi hunting with her while the other two explored the falls. I really didn’t mind. The forest was wonderful, and Tess enjoyed being there with me.