March 16 2019: It was quiet at home in Branxholm, so Graham and I went exploring. We had two objectives in mind, firstly to find the Mount Victoria entrance to the Rattler’s Hill walk and secondly to visit the Rock Shelf. We have been completing some reconnaissance for the North East Highlands Walk. But here I describe the Rock Shelf Walk.
Location of the Mount Victoria Rock Shelf
Take the route through Legerwood and Ringarooma (A3 highway, C423, New River Rd and Mount Victoria Rd). This road is suitable for average sedan cars. In contrast, Google’s preferred route from St Columba Falls is longer, narrow and rough.
Ten Minutes from Ralphs Falls
Pack yourself a tasty picnic lunch, prepare the thermos of tea and head out from Tin Dragon Cottages. It will take you about 40 minutes to drive to Ralph Falls. This is one of Tasmania’s Great Short Walks. You can complete the easy 4 km walk in time for your lunch in the Ralphs Falls picnic area.
Now set your car’s odometer to zero and start driving back to Ringarooma. At the 1.1 km pull over into a small parking area on your left.
After parking your car, walk directly over the road and into the forest. You should see pink and blue ribbons tied to a sapling. From this point you can either walk clockwise or anti-clockwise following the pink ribbons. The circuit trail takes you down the hill to the rock shelf, follows under the shelf then returns. I guess the walk is an easy 2 km return.
A Short Easy Walk with Photo Opportunities
Although it was really dry when we did this walk, it was still a delightful walk. At other times of year the rock-shelf drips water through the masses of mosses and ferns clinging to it’s surface. The forest floor is alive with beautiful fungi, leaches (ugh!) and other invertebrates and small birds chatter in the tree canopy. I saw some awesome bracket fungi and a bright red velvet fungus on this trip. On a previous visit here I saw iridescent yellow snake’s vomit – AKA slime mould.
Then, of course there is the dark mysterious depths of the cave under the rock shelf…
Take a Camera and a Tripod
If you have followed the Blog on my other site, you may recall that my Canon DSLR camera “died” on a walk into the Labyrinth in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park last year. The snow, rain and hail was too much for it. Well, I now have a Canon point-and-click G7x-markII. It’s a lot of fun and very light to carry, but it wasn’t so good for the shady conditions of the rock-shelf walk. Furthermore I didn’t take a tripod… This is my way of explaining why you should at least take a tripod to get the best out of your photography on this walk!