12th October 2019
We had been having a good year escaping to the mountains and Crawf, Woolza and I found another opportune weekend in which to embark upon another Abel Adventure in October. I had the idea a while back that it would be nice to setup a base at the old hydro town of Tarraleah and do day trips to both Mt Hobhouse
and Wentworth Hills. Well, the time had come and we all headed down to Tarraleah on a Friday evening. After a couple of hours drive from Launceston, up over the lakes and down the Marlborough Highway, Crawf and I arrived in Tarraleah on dusk to find that Woolza had settled into our rented house and had the home fires burning. I love Tarraleah – This was my second weekend here in six months and it’s just a great place to go and stay (especially with family and kids). You can hire a really nice 3 or 4 bedroom self contained house for not much and just enjoy the serenity of the town. There’s bike riding, golf course, animals, pub – it’s a hidden gem! Anyway, after settling in we had a good meal and prepared for the next day.
We woke early on the Saturday morning, had a quick bite and drove to the starting point for todays mission. It was a cool morning but the sky was clear – it would be a beautiful spring day.
We had decided to approach both peaks this weekend from less conventional routes. Today, we were starting with Wentworth Hills and would be approaching it from the South/South East. We left Tarraleah and found our way to Butlers Gorge Road. After about 15 minutes drive, we found a spot to park on the road right near a boom gated Hydro Road turn off. We unloaded our bikes off the car (didn’t I mention this walk was multi-sport?) and we were heading down the past the boom gate by 8.30am. We followed the well formed Hydro road for a few minutes before arriving at a canal which fed into a large tunnel (heading towards the Tarraleah power station). We then took a right and headed up over the tunnel and up hill a little bit. It was nice to be on the bike enjoying a ride through the forest. After another few minutes we arrived at a big cut out section of the forest that the power transmission lines ran through. At this point the road headed in the wrong direction for us, so we hopped off the bikes and pushed them through uncharted forest for about ten minutes before popping out on another section of hydro road. This was after about 3km.
We hopped back on our bikes and then followed the road west passing through forest and then bleak, clear felled sections of forestry. The road was well maintained and was a pleasure to ride on. We had some fantastic views of surrounding peaks and we could see Wentworth Hills getting ever closer. It was about another 6 km before we arrived at another turn off. We headed up here and made the final steep climb on the bike to where the road ended. Directly above us we could see our objective. It didn’t look far away now. After putting walking boots on and readying ourselves, we followed a ploughed up section of dirt into the forest. The destruction of the area was fairly shocking and seeing such fresh devastation of the area made us wonder how much longer before this whole area would be ruined.
Once inside the forest things were much nicer. We passed through some eucalypt initially before arriving in some much nicer myrtle forest in under the shade of the peak. We made elevation quickly and made our way out of the forest to the slower slopes of the main peak. From here we each picked a line towards the main summit. I headed off up some large Dolerite slabs and navigated my way through boulders before arriving on the summit area. Crawf and Woolza ascended a slightly different route and we met for the final stroll along to the main peak (1hr 20mins from the bikes). After 3 hours from the car, we perched ourself on the summit trig and took in the awesome views from this ‘hill’. It was a great spot and we spent a while taking it all in. We had some great views every which way and it was good to take the time to enjoy it while eating our lunch.
After what felt like not long enough, we made our way back down through the forest arriving back at the bikes an hour after leaving the peak. We looked back up, admiring it before retracing the road back on the bikes, through the uncharted territory and along the hydro roads back to the car. Being novice mountain bikers, we enjoyed the cruise back and arrived back at the car only 1.5hrs after leaving the peak.
Given there was still plenty of daylight, we headed back to Tarraleah and enjoyed 9 holes of golf in the afternoon sun (I won the money!). The end to a perfect day really. It was early to bed – tomorrow it was off to Mt Hobhouse
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STATS (recorded with Suunto Spartan Ultra)
Distance 20.32 km (17.3km ride, 3km walk)
Time 5hrs 15mins
MAP OF OUR ROUTE