Clarence Coastal Trail walk from Cremorne to Lauderdale

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

The gate across the end of Bayside Drive, Lauderdale and a tantalising glimpse of Mays Beach in the distance (image from dodgyknees.com)

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.

Boatshed on Roches Beach at Lauderdale, Tasmania

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 Beach is a seaside suburb on the South Arm Peninsula, east of Hobart

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 first part of the walk was along Cremorne Beach

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.

The track begins to climb from the northern end of Cremorne Beach
The track begins at the northern end of Cremorne Beach
Looking back to Cremorne from the first section of the track
For most of its length, the track is made of well-compacted gravel, which makes for easy waking
A waterhole overlooking Frederick Henry Bay
Blue swathes of short flower spikes covered the seaside flank of the Calverts Hill Conservation Area.
Near the southern end of the track, just inside the Calverts Hill Conservation Area, the area around the track was covered in a sea of these short blue flower spikes.

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.

Not sure what these are. They are only a few inches tall, but look like very small echium candicans (Pride of Madeira).
The track follows the coast along Frederick Henry Bay, past Calverts Hill
Sheoakcs or casurinas along the track
Calverts Hill
These made me think of the ‘lolipop’ trees along the Midlands Highway
Looking north towards Hobart Airport and Seven Mile Beach.
The track offers uninterupted views of Frederick Henry Bay, across to the eastern beaches and Tasman Peninsula
A classic long, low modernist home being built in an isolated spot near Calverts Hill
This is the view that will be enjoyed by the house’s residents
Looking south along the Cremorne to Lauderdale Track
Looking almost due south past the Tasman Peninsula
The track through the section of the Calverts Hill Nature Reserve is a mowed footpad, not difficult but not as even as the gravel path at either side of the reserve.
I know they are an introduced species, but I do love seeing stands of these )I think) macrocarpa widbreaks where they survive. They are a defining element of Tasmania’s rural landscape, one that is rapidly disappearing as the aging trees are removed
This marks the point where I’d previously joined the track from Forest Hill Road. The track to Cremorne is on the left.
The track arrives at the southern end of Mays Beach
The view south along Mays Beach

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.

Mays Beach from the track to Bayside Drive
Bayside Drive is an ugly return to reality after the peace of the track – the sort of suburban street built without footpaths

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.

Remains of where the old canal once cut through Lauderdale Beach, providing a short-lived shortcut from Frederick Henry Bay to Ralphs Bay and the River Derwent.

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.

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3 thoughts on “Clarence Coastal Trail walk from Cremorne to Lauderdale

  1. Tasmanian Traveller
    Tasmanian Traveller says:

    Well done on timing your walk to coincide with the bus. Lovely to see your photographs- some images I didnt cover, and then others I did but yours present them under different skies and light. Terrific job

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