13th October 2019
This is part two of a weekend trip to Tarraleah. To read about our trip to Wentworth Hills on Day 1, visit this link.
After a relaxing evening and early night at Tarraleah, we woke early and packed the car up before heading back along Butlers Gorge Road. Today we were again tackling the peak from an unconventional route. We would head towards it from the North-East through untracked territory. We were expecting a reasonably tough day.
By about 7.30am we turned off the road and crossed the Derwent River before arriving at a boom gate. As per the day before, we unloaded the bikes, got around the boom gate and started the ride up the hydro road. Things were initially slow going but after a while we were making good progress around the side of a hill before making a brief descent into a gully between two hills. The road became fairly overgrown as we rounded the shady side of the second hill and we had to hop off the bikes a few times to negotiate fallen trees and new tree growth on the road. As we came back around to the sunny side of the hill, the road opened up again and we made a final climb to a point where the road petered out. We found a spot to leave our bikes and put our boots on for the walk ahead. We had been going for about 1 hour and 7km.
We followed the final piece of road until arriving at a wall of thick forest. It stood right in the way of the direction we were heading so we forged on in. We had prepared for this and were clad in our scrub gear. The plan was to follow a ridge line to the top of a hill to the east of the main peak. From there we would head straight across to the mountain. We made our way up through the thick undergrowth of the forest and the going was slow. It was really quite scrubby and there were a lot of trees and branches to climb over. This slowed things down - a lot. I was conscious of the time and didn't want to be arriving at the peak too late. This was in the back of my mind as we finally arrived at the top of this first hill nearly 2 hours after commencing walking and after 9km since the car. From here, we had our first decent view of the peak across an open coral ferned valley. It still looked like a fairly long way off. This concerned me so I suggested we get moving. We picked a line across the valley that would dodge sections of forest, hopefully this would be quick going.
We moved down the hill into the valley and it was only 15 minutes or so and we were tip toeing through the coral fern and gradually ascending towards the forest at the base of the peak. This was nice walking and it was good to have the scrub behind us (for now anyway). After an hour after leaving our lookout spot, we were heading back into some thicker forest and making our way up the main peak. It was thick to start with but soon thinned out so that we just had ankle high scrub with intermittent rocky slabs. We made quick progress and 4.5 hours after departing the car (only 1.5hrs from our lookout), we were admiring the views from the summit of Mt Hobhouse.
The weather had clouded over a bit so things cooled off. We took a few photos, had a quick bite to eat and then left the peak after a 25 minute rest. We were all conscious of time and were keen to make a faster return trip. None of us were at all keen to head back the same way we had come so from the peak we picked a slightly different line through a section of the coral fern valley which then continued down past the hill we had ascended up on the walk in.
We made quick progress and crossed the valley in good time before heading off the end of it and down into a gully beside the hill. We arrived at a creek and followed this down beside the hill thinking it would naturally take us in the right direction around the hill. This was a good move. There were lots of open sections and we were now not worried about time. An hour or so from the peak, we headed away from the creek and started making a line towards our inwards route. Back into the scrubbier section for a bit but it was bearable this time. After a few negotiations we finally appeared out of the forest and back on the end of the road. Another 5 minutes and we were back at the bikes. From here we donned our bike shoes and then flew down the hills arriving back at the cars after another 30 minutes. It had taken us 3 hrs from the peak to the cars.
We were relieved to be back at the car in good time as we now had to head back to Launceston. It had been a great couple of days and Tarraleah had proved to be an awesome basecamp! Love that place! Overall we were pretty happy with our choice of routes although, I'm not sure I'd do the same Hobhouse route again - time will tell! Crawf and I said our farewells to Woolza, then hit the road. Mission accomplished!
STATS (recorded with Suunto Spartan Ultra)
Distance: 23.29 km (14.9km ride, 8.39km walk)
Time: 7hrs 31mins