Somewhere in the midst of the COVID19 lockdown (which was a pretty mild affair here in Tasmania on the whole), I noticed a news item about the Clarence City Council having opened a new walking track along the Clarence Coastal Trail between Cremorne and Lauderdale. A little research indicated that quite a few locals had explored this route both on foot and by bike. The posts tell of partial tracks along the route, along with the Calverts Hill Nature Reserve, but also suggest that access was limited by fences and private land, requiring some occasionally hairy detours via cliffs and coves.
The Council has apparently persuaded the property owner to surrender a strip of land to allow a track to join the northern end of the nature reserve, allowing it to make a track that offers access for the full stretch of the coastline from Cremorne to Mays Beach, just south of Lauderdale.
Accessing Mays Beach
I’d noticed Mays Beach and the handfull of houses behind it from the imposing gate across the end of Bayside Drive in Lauderdale, and assumed it was there to keep the general public away, and wondered how I could get there (I obviously missed the opening at the side, but in my defence, there is nothing to indicate that anyone is at all welcome.
So, on a winter afternoon I set off to try and find my way to this secluded bay. My first attempt was to walk to the southern end of Roches (Lauderdale) beach and find a way around the point.Somewhere beyond the last boatshed, a track leads up towards some houses. There are various footpads along through the sheoaks, but it felt increasingly like I was impinging on private backyards, so I went back and tried another approach.
I drove south along the South Arm Highway and turned in at Sandford, along Forest Hill Road. Parking at the end of the paved road, a track leads towards the coast and joins the track from Cremorne before it descends to Mays Beach, which made for a pleasant afternoon stroll. Several others were also walking on Mays Beach and at its northern end a track clearly headed up towards Bayside Drive. It just seems that people are keeping it to themselves. I returned to my car via the same route as I’d come, but knew I would have to come back and walk the full route from Cremorne.
Cremorne to Lauderdale
On a hot summer Sunday I decided to try again. Not wanting a return walk I consulted the Metro timetable and timed my trip to coincide with the infrequent bus from Lauderdale to Cremorne, allowing me to park by the canal. The bus was right on time and in about ten minutes I was disembarking by the beach at Cremorne.
The walk offers panoramic views up, down and across Frederick Henry Bay, from the southern edge of the Tasman Peninsula, across to Sloping Main, Lagoon Bay, Primrose Sands and Dodges Ferry and north to Seven Mile Beach. There was a stiff sea breeze blowing on the day I walked, but I could still hear the occasional airliner taking off from Hobart Airport.
From this point, I’ll let my photos and their captions tell most of the story.
If any readers know what this flowering plant is called, please let me know. It was inside the nature reserve, but I couldn’t find it in any of my Tasmanian Flora books. It looks for all the world like a dwarf echium or Pride of Madiera, but was only a few inches tall at most.
The Clarence Council says its next stage is to develop a track around Mays Point to join with Roches Beach. At present, the options are rock-hopping around the point (something my younger self would not have hesitated to do, but older me has a sense of fallibility and a respect for the limitations of my knees and ankles), scrub bashing through the sheoaks along the top of the cliff (a continuation of what I’d tried in my first attempt, see above), or climbing all the way up to Bayside Drive, which is what I did.
One hopes the Council makes good on its promise. Bayside Drive, despite some great views, is the sort of street built in the 1970s when (presumably) planners could not imagine anyone wanting to walk along it and so they did not provide a footpath. The pedestrian, possibly in a state of mild shock after the tranquility of the coastal trail, has to keep alert lest they be mowed down by a speeding Toorak tractor. The walk to the next pedestrian access to Roches Beach is a steepish kilometre.
The final section is pleasant, along Roches Beach to the remains of the canal that was intented to remove the need for smaller vessels to cross Storm Bay, and along the edge of the canal, where a treelined walkway has been established on the southern side.
The walk can obviously be done in either direction using the Metro shuffle, but my suggestion is to do it as I have done as there are plenty of shops, cafes and even a pub at Lauderdale, should one need sustenance after the exertion. Facilities at Cremorne are limited to a play area with picnic tables and a public toilet, so a packed lunch would be the go.
Other Bloggers’ Posts
- Tasmanian Beaches
- U3A Kingborough Bushwalkers
- Dodgy Knees
- Tassie Rambler
- Tasmanian Discoveries
- Hiking South East Tasmania