Friday, January 2, 2009

Bay of Fires

"White beaches of hourglass-fine sand, Bombay Sapphire sea, an azure sky - and nobody," Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2009 guide (formerly The Bluelist) says. "This is the Bay of Fires: the secret edge of Tasmania, laid out like a pirate's treasure map of perfect beach after sheltered cove."

Bay of Fires, Mt William National Park, Tasmania
3 day hike, Wednesday 31 December 2008 to Friday 2 January 2009

Lonely Planet may be a defining influence on where traveller's visit, but these words published just last November had yet to reach their full impact. The beaches were still empty of people. Lonely Planet published this destination in their Top 10 Regions of 2009, the only Australian entry. View the article from Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2009 guide.

News report from ABC1's 7.30 Report, aired on 25 November 2008

Prior to commencing our hike, we camped at Binnalong Bay at Cosy Corner in a crowded car-based campsite. It was a stunning beach though.

We left our car outside the former general store in Ansons Bay, from where our pre-arranged taxi took us to the start of our walk at Top Camp, in Mt William National Park, the camp being accessed through the shack town of Musselroe Bay (taxi: East Coast Taxis, based in St Helens, 0417 513 599, 03 6376 2999, $90 on the meter). It was hot but windy, not a promising start to a long beach walk. Thankfully though, it was a tail-wind, I think it would have been miserable if we had been walking into the wind. As it was the wind would collect the sand up and throw it at your legs and face like a thousand needles.

We camped at the 4th Stumpy Bay campsite, finding it an ideal haven from the beach wind. A pleasant river setting with grassed areas beside the picnic area, it was here that we spent our New Years Eve. I was adament to spend some time on the beach late afternoon, but the wind was fierce and unrelenting.

The following day the wind had subsided somewhat, and we walked a further 15km to the Deep Creek campsite. There were many beautiful beach spots today, with stunning red boulders and rock reefs. We were treated to a special sunset and evening swim. The following morning we swam again, this time putting the snorkel and mask I had carried on my pack to use. The conditions weren't ideal for snorkelling. All the people I had seen in recent days snorkelling had been wearing full wetsuits. As it was, it wasn't the lack of a wetsuit that would be our undoing, it was the brain freezie created on the outside of our heads as we swam headfirst through the cold water.

The entire walk except the final 3km was on beach or climbing over rock headlands. At Deep Creek campsite we discovered a map of a trail that went from Mt William, at a paltry 217m above sea level, to Kangaroo Forester Drive, then to just down the road to Stumpys Bay #4 campsite and then following the coast to Cobler Rocks. It would have been good to follow the short section along the coast, although the coast there was quite good.

Just 600 metres from the car, still amidst bush and walking along a sandy track with no sign of the car yet, Kate firmly declared that she was now over walking having walked the past 3 weeks. Lucky the track emerged into Ansons Bay and the car promptly afterwards.

Download Google Earth KML file of Bay of Fires hike
Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit


Bay of Fires
Wednesday Thursday Friday
31/12/2008 01/01/2009 02/01/2009
Top Camp to Stumpys 4 Stumpys 4 to Deep Creek campsite Deep Creek campsite to Ansons Bay
Distance 7.8km 14.3km 14.4km
Moving Duration 1h47m 3h13m 3h14m
Stationary Duration 47m 1h53m 1h39m
Moving Average 4.4km/h 4.4km/h 4.5km/h
Overall Average 3.1km/h 2.8km/h 3.0km/h
Oodometer 204.7km 219.0km 233.5km

There is limited water available on the track. There are rainwater tanks at Stumpy Bay #4 and Deep Creek. Rainwater tanks may also have been available at the other Stumpy campsites.


John said...

You should try the southern part, from Eddystone down to Binalong Bay. Some interesting places there. The Gardens House is available as a base camp with facilities!


Anonymous said...

Is there water spots along the way?


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