Keith Lancaster 

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Note: This report has been scanned in as written. I have included the height, distance and time indications where used, e.g.:
(1000'- 12m.- 4.45p.m.)
which read as follows: height in feet - miles for the day - time.

Our party was away from Launceston at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 11th. 1954, travelling via the Main Highway and encountering snow from St. Peter's Pass southwards. We camped at Sorell that evening, with all the surrounding hills coated with snow.

Saturday was a cold bleak day with frequent showers. Our plan to climb McGregor Peak in the morning had to be abandoned and we drove on to Tasman's Arch. Here we inspected the Arch and Blowhole and walked along to Waterfall Bay, enjoying some remarkable coastal scenery despite the icy conditions.

In the afternoon we drove on via Taranna, Koonya and Nubeena towards Cape Raoul, exploiting the road southwards from Nubeena to its end about 2 miles south of the Tunnel Bay turn-off. The road ended at an isolated farm which overlooks Maingon Bay and extends well down in that direction. However, we learned that Cape Raoul was not approachable from that direction owing to two deep gorges choked with dense vegetation. We camped near the farm and learned of a route to Mt. Raoul.

Sunday dawned somewhat brighter and we were off at 9.15 a.m. back along the road for about ½m. and then up a side "road" on the left. This ended abruptly after about ½m., but we were on the threshold of a swampy clearing, from which we moved around the northern base of Mt. Raoul, seeking a more attractive ascent route. At length, assailing it from the N.W., we encountered some scrub resistance to locate a survey line which ascended diagonally and led nearly to the top. A further scrub tussle followed before we were in possession of the old trig. sta. that marks the summit of Mt. Raoul (approx. 1600’ - 10.50 a.m.).

From here we had a fair view of the surroundings, noting that Cape Raoul lay at 160 deg. mag., that there was some semi-open country to the east and S.E. but obviously much scrub between us and the Cape. Resuming at 11.15 a.m., we encountered rain forest, through which progress was reasonable but, lower down, ti-tree, cutting grass, etc. made progress tedious and arduous. About 1 p.m., when upon the point of ordering an "about turn" as time seemed to be running out, a sweep of clear country was suddenly entered and we swung westward towards a small camp-fire and what looked like the best approach to the Cape.

At the fire we encountered Dave and Ian who had left later but were shown a much easier route which would make our home-going much simpler. We hastened over dinner and it was not long ere the more masculine of the females and the less feminine of the males were heading across the low scrub towards the Cape. A couple of wombats entertained us en route with their indifference, one being of a most photogenic character, posing quietly at 5' range. The wild rugged cliffs at the Cape harmonised with the inhospitable weather, but time didn't permit us the opportunity of exploring them to our full content.

Back at the fire, we lost little time in assembling for the return journey. The route led around the eastern base of Mt. Raoul, at first quite close to the sea but soon forced up-hill through a variety of scrub by the rugged terrain. In places the foot track was hardly distinguishable but it gradually improved and obviously led out to Tunnel Bay. We made a deviation to the right when amongst the farms approaching that area, and found a practicable route through to the other road from which a brisk walk brought us back to our camp (900’) at dusk.

On Monday morning we started homewards, halting at Port Arthur for about two hours to "do” the ruins. We had dinner at the junction of the main road with the Forestry track to the look-out tower on the side of McGregor Peak. The more active elements in the party set off at 12.48 p.m. along the track to reach the look-out tower (1425’ - 1.25-30 p.m.). From here six of us continued on towards McGregor Peak via a very faint track leading along the ridge-top. We lost the track in searching for the summit of the ridge but finally realised that the trig. sts. must be on a slightly higher eminence to the south. As we probed a route across the adjoining col, the track was re-discovered and I chose to mark it so as to assist our return. The vegetation on the col had a surprisingly West Coast flavour.

On the ensuing rise it was not long ere we located the trig. sta. (1943’ - 2.45-55 p.m.) and were rewarded with a good view of Tasman's Peninsula to the south, Maria Island to the N.E. and the Snowies, Wellingtons, etc. dimly in the west. Our journey back to the bus was uneventful and soon we were on our way homewards.

This area has some outstanding attractions for walkers and I suggest a further visit there with the possible intent of walking to the Lanterns and Cape Pillar.



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