WESTERN BLUFF MON. 28TH DECEMBER 2020

Late December is high season for alpine wildflowers, with the scoparia in particular showing many hues of red and yellow, along with white, sometimes in masses across hundreds of metres. While much of the route to Western Bluff was burnt in the bushfires of early 2016, there will hopefully be plenty of un-burnt vegetation, as well as areas that are bursting with new growth. The relatively level terrain for much of the route will hopefully make this a special day out to walk off those Christmas excesses! A clear day will provide panoramic views of the nearby Walls of Jerusalem, further south and west to the peaks of the DuCane and Ossa areas, west to Cradle Mountain, and north to Mt. Roland and the coast. The walk is mostly over low alpine vegetation, with some areas of boulder field to be traversed towards the summit.
The walk is about 14 km in total, and should take 6-7 hours depending on the group and the weather on the day. There is about 250 m of climbing altogether although it is mostly gentle and spread over some distance and so is not very noticeable. Energetic older children and teenagers should be able to cope with this walk. The walk is graded medium. 
Walk route:
The walk starts at the Lake Mackenzie road (alt. 1150m), close to the Devilís Gullet carpark, heading north, then northwest to skirt around rocky spots, and rising fairly steeply over the first km to reach 1280 m. Continuing northwest then north, but now relatively flat, the route keeps to the high ground for another 3 km before traversing a ravine and reaching the high ground of Western Bluff. A further km west brings you to the summit, with a dramatic drop to the Mersey Valley to the west, and expansive views to the south and west. Return by the same route.
Meeting Times and Places:
If you are interested in going on this walk, please contact Phil Dawson,  email  pidasms@gmail.com or ph.   6382 3561 after 6:30 pm. The departure time is 7:30  am  from Door of Hope car park. Meeting points along the way could be 8.00 at the Mole Creek Road roundabout at the western end of Deloraine, 8.20 at Mole Creek or 8:35 at the Lake Mackenzie (Devilís Gullet) Road junction with the Mersey Forest Road.  If you would like to arrange to meet there or elsewhere, please arrange with the leader, and please be at any meeting place 5 minutes ahead of the listed time. The leader must be notified of any other people you intend to bring along.

To reach the area from Launceston, proceed along the Bass Highway to Deloraine (about 51 km), but do not turn off at the eastern exit into Deloraine. Instead, continue across Meander R. and uphill to the western exit, and to the roundabout at start of Mole Creek Rd. A further 24km will bring you to Mole Creek. Continue west past Mole Creek, on what is now Liena Rd, making sure you turn south at the caravan park 4 km from the town. The road continues west until about 14 km from Mole Creek, it branches south, now called Mersey Forest Road. A little over 6 km south, you will pass a turnoff to Cradle Mountain and Sheffield, and about 300 metres further, take the turn on left to Devilís Gullet/Lake Mackenzie. Follow this road for 13 km to where the ground on the left becomes more level with open leads between the vegetation, which is where the walk starts.

Warnings:
  The following codes [from our 2020 walks calendar] apply:
    M    Marshy or muddy sections be prepared to walk with wet feet.
    E     Exposed alpine conditions ; can be dangerous in poor weather if not adequately equipped. 
Make sure you have a good supply of drinking water Ė suggest 1 litre per person. Walkers are advised to wear strong shoes or boots. Gaiters recommended due to off-track walking. You should always carry wet weather gear as well as warm clothing in case of sudden weather changes. Click this link for a more detailed discussion of Preparation, Food and Safetyguidelines for Boots Ní All walks, and especially preparation for exposed alpine conditions.

Map details:

Western Bluff general area: 1:100000 map is Tasmap 8114 (Mersey) and 1:25000 map is 4439 (Mole Creek)
Map references:
Short ref. 401923
Zone      Easting        Northing       Latitude        Longitude
55G      4 43 920    53 82 490
55G 4 40 220 53 92 480 -41.61716 146.28246

Western Bluff is worth 2 peakbagger points! For listing of peakbagger points, see the Hobart Walking Club Peakbaggerís Guide (2000 revision) which can be downloaded (Excel) from http://tastracks.webs.com/peakbaggers.htm  The same web page contains several other listings of Tasmanian peaks.
For GPX (.gpx) and Google Earth (.kml) versions of the track: Click here to browse our collection.
Direct links: GPX for this walk KML for this walk
Right-click on the file and save target as to a location of your choice. (Suggest you click the Last modified at top to sort by date to get the most recent at top to find the file for the next walk).