Wednesday, 20 April 2016
After a good nights sleep for Jett, and a fair bit of tossing and turning for me (it takes a while to get used to a thermarest - my hips are really sore by the morning) we were up at around 7.30 and packing up. We hit the dirt roads just before 9am and navigated our way back to the upper carpark for the official Liffey Falls Walk (a longer walk up to the falls could be done right from where we camped - we checked out the start of it the previous evening and it looked really nice but we felt we had to stick to the book to be able to tick it off officially). The top carpark had bike racks and bbqs and it was a really pretty 15 minute downhill walk through ferns and past smaller cascades to the bottom of the falls. It's probably not the best year to be looking at waterfalls and rivers - it's been so dry, but it was still really nice.
It was here that we brought out the very last Kvikk Lunsj that Bjorn had brought out for us from Norway. We'd been saving it for an adventure just like this!
Then it was back to the paper maps to find the best route to Leven Canyon - which is about 45 minutes south of Ulverstone. With Ms GoogleMaps probably in rehab by now, we decided to take the easiest route on the big roads via Devonport. We stopped in for petrol and better maps at the information centre which was a relief - my new big paper map was not all that useful once we left the sealed roads. As it happened Leven Canyon was well signposted from the highway so we had no trouble - arriving at about 12. The picnic / camping site was really nice again - bbqs, toilets, grassy banks and ferns made it a place you'd linger (especially after suffering all the driving). We decided to set off on the walk, then have lunch afterwards..
I'd never been to this coastal park to the east of Devonport before - there was a nice information centre and a helpful ranger and I was expecting nice little walk with some nice vistas to the sea.
looking out the bird hide
Well - it was strange - the 3.8k walk went to a lagoon thing and bird hide, then skirted faily boringly through scrappy scrub around the back of the dunes (no views), then inland around the other side of the lagoon (which was really just felt like a long walk through a paddock - as that's what it actually used to be, before the Park was made).
It was a strange choice for a Great Walk - there were other walks in the park that were a only slightly longer which would have taken us up a hill for views, AND gone via the seabird lagoon (if seabirds are your thing). I dunno what the reasoning was for this particular walk. 1/3 of the way through the paddock our enthusiasm had well and truly run out, and obvously the enthusiasm of the trail maker too, as the trail itself (as well as the directional markers) petered out and we were pretty much left to our own devices to complete the circuit and get back to the information centre (still around 1k away). I had picked up the little map of the area so we knew which way to go but any lesser adventurers might have got themselves lost by this point.
Back at the visitor centre we celebrated our survival by splurging on an icecream (our spending had been entirely on petrol to that point) and the $13 camping fee then drove 4k out to Bakers Beach, one of the three camping areas within the park. Despite being the school holidays it was very quiet so we had no trouble finding an empty spot and setting up. Then we rode our bikes a few k back to a beach access point to get to see those veiws of the coast we'd been wanting to see earlier. That was fun.
Back at the camp it was pasta for dinner, then a walk along the inlet (the bit facing Port Sorell), then we made hot chocolates and were in bed just after 8.
Camping in autumn is tricky - it gets dark at 6 - so you don't necessarily want to be cooking in the dark, but then you don't want to be going to bed at 7pm either! We generally tried to stretch out our evenings with a torchlight walk and some idle time staring into the fire and roasting marshmallows.