Walk to Bent Bluff: 3 hrs to walk & 48 hrs to DOMS (Delayed-Onset-Muscle-Soreness)!
The high altitude but gentle climb to the Ben Lomond plateau, up the forested southern slope, is currently overgrown with prickly pink mountain berry native shrubs, making the climb unsuitable for children. The track up between Bent Bluff and Broken Bluff reaches 1,300 m, rewarding climbers with magnificent valley views.Fingal Valley web reference
I’m not sure that there was anything gentle about the way I felt just under the summit of this steady two-hour climb; but the pretty alpine shrubs in flower with their heavy fruity scents and the clear views out to the Tasman Sea was certainly my reward for the effort—worth taking.
Want to see my photos of the Ben Lomond flowering plants? See them here…
From Tin Dragon Trail Cottages the start of the walk is about 97km (1.5 hrs drive). Drive out through Ringarooma to Mathinna, turn left, head to Fingal. Don’t cross the bridge to Fingal, drive straight ahead, past the Malahide golf course to Mangana. Turn left here, heading to Rossardin. Continue till you see the Rossarden Link Road on your right, approx 9 km east of Rossarden—or if you have a 4WD continue another 2km (mostly uphill, with some steep sections) to the start of the walking track. You will cross over a more recently-built road—continue straight ahead. The 4WD track would be dodgy at least, or impassable when wet. (You could also reach Rossardon from the Midlands Highway by turning onto the Fingal highway at Conara. At Avoca turn left onto the B42 road to Rossardon. From Rossardon continue towards Mathinna till you see the Rossardon link road and the Ben Lomond walking track signs.)
It takes around two hours to reach the summit and another hour to descend. Allow yourself four hours, so you can take lots of photos, have a snack and soak up the views. In my opinion it is a medium to hard walk for the average (moderately fit) bushwalking type.
Yes. Definitely wear good walking shoes, long pants and long sleeves to avoid being scratched by the bushes. You may even need to protect your hands, and watch out for your eyes. The ground is rocky and uneven and the track is steep in parts. Marked by pink tape and red markers on trees, the track is easy to follow as it zig-zags through the trees. Above the trees, you head up a small gully between the cliffs where the track is marked by stone cairns.
In the early summer heat, buzz of busy insects, shrill of small birds and rising thick sweet scent of maturing blossoms I was musing about the romantic poetry of Keats Ode to Autumn. (Perhaps I was just delirious because the blood was rushing to my toes as I walked ever upwards.)
There may be moments of, ‘Oh well. No-one can see me. This looks far enough. Why not stop now and have that promised drink and snack? No-one will know that I didn’t get to the summit…’ Firmly resist this temptation. At least avoid the temptation to turn back. Do stop to admire the changing view and to drink plenty of water. I use photography as my excuse to take multiple small breaks when I am walking up hill.
The ground is rocky & uneven
Bent Bluff appearing above the trees
When you emerge on the plateau the alpine scenery and the unique dolerite pinnacles are not to be missed. Take time to admire the sturdy alpine shrubs with their spiky, cactus-like leaves and waxy flowers—no water-losing flat leaves or fronds here! These hardy The sclerophyll forest is far below. Be aware though that you are at high altitude and the weather can be scary up here, with strong winds and ice in winter.
Those amazing split dolerite pinnacles. Some straight up and down, other pushed over at 45deg. Imagine the forces of nature at work here over the millennia. Dolerite is a common igneous rock making up many of the high peaks of the Central Plateau in Tasmania. It formed from very slow cooling of magma buried a few hundred metres below the earth‘s surface. The slow cooling resulted in uniform medium grained hard rock—its characteristic columnar jointing pattern revealed as the layers above were slowly weathered away. Read more…
Oops what was I standing on? Under foot the decomposed granite of the plateau felt soft and some of small rocks very wobbly. (obviously not a geologist…) There was lichen and mosses growing over the rocks on the track too. I think it best to avoid this walk in wet or icy conditions.
From the plateau you can see out over the mountains to glimpses of ocean. Nearby are Sphinx Bluff, Bent Bluff, Broken Bluff and Pavement Bluff. If you have time (a few more hours) and energy to spare these can be explored over the open plateau—weather permitting.
Above the trees, you head up a small gully between the cliffs where the track is marked by stone cairns.
Imagine the forces of nature at work here over the millennia.
The clear views out to the Tasman Sea was certainly my reward for the effort.