Lake Burbury to Lake St Clair – Crossing the divide (76k/1160m)

(January 8, 2021 – written by Dave)

We had a quiet night at Lake Burbury. We guessed on tent positioning yesterday, trying to insure a morning sun first thing today. We got it pretty close and had sun on the tent around 6:15. Only problem was that it only lasted for about 45 minutes then some thin clouds started to develop. We got the tent dry just before leaving and it was probably better to have some clouds for the ride as today we were heading up into the hills.

Lake Burbury last night

Today’s route took us out through the Franklin and Gordon Rivers watersheds. We had some marshy terrain, some trees and nice views out to distant mountains. We stopped at the more interesting river crossing but most of the waterways were more creek than river in this area. The bush here is really dense and around the rivers even more so. The Collingwood River was nice and looked raftable. By the time we crossed the Franklin River, we were so far upstream that it wasn’t very wide or impressive. There have been lots of battles over these to riversheds between the loggers/miners and the environmentalist. At least for us today, we were happy that the environmentalists seem to be holding their own.

Nancy and one of the 4×4 cattle dogs play ball in the morning
Trees on the drive
The famous Franklin River – where it isn’t very much of anything
Collingwood River – the biggest river we crossed today
Big tree near Franklin River – glad they saved these

We passed a bunch of pull offs today that had cables to prevent cars from pulling in. The cables had a sign on them and we thought at first it was a logging or mining company sign. Then the penny dropped. The signs said “Bees” as in honey bees and the pull off where they put the hives when the local leatherwood trees are in blossom. Most pull off had a sign saying “keep out” and a second sign stating how many hives could be placed on the site. It was all very efficient. Tasmanian honey is known worldwide so making it a proper organized operation makes sense.

Bees only!
Duckpond lot – 100 hives max here

We had three big climbs today, with nice flat sections between them. All the climbing led us to crossing the great divide. At the top, water ahead of us flows east, then south, draining into the Southern Ocean at Hobart. Water passing us while we climbed drains to the west and into the Indian Ocean. I wanted to pee at the top to see which way it would go but Nancy stopped me as there was some traffic about the lookout – next time perhaps.

Nancy conquers pass one
Slippery under snow, hmmm….
The Great Divide mountains
Wild Tassie iris for Pete

From the lookout we had cruisey downhill to flat all the way to Derwent Bridge where we stopped at the Hotel for a toastie and cool drink. For the record, the hotel is for sale and they need both wait and bar tender staff. We may go back there if NSW doesn’t get the Covid outbreak under control – not to buy, but to work.

Echidna crossing!

It was only 5k from the hotel up to Lake St Clair. It was mostly flat and we were there by 2PM. The campsites are funky but we managed to get showers and laundry done before heading over to the lake and then the lodge. Lake views are great, too bad we only get one night here. We had local pale ale and burger at the café watching all the Overland track walker finish. It is 5-7 days walk from Cradle Mountain along the Overland Track to Lake St Clair. You can only walk it one way – finishing at Lake St Clair. So everyone here is pretty happy and the beers are flowing.

Camp at Lake St Clair
Lake St Clair and Mt Olympus
Cradle Mountain from Lake St Clair

We have an easier day tomorrow with a lot more down than up and a shorter day – good, our legs are tired. In the morning we’ve booked 9AM slots at “The Wall”, a famous Huon Pine wood carving that some people say is worth coming to Tasmania just to see. I don’t think they allow photos but we’ll get the full story and report back.

4 thoughts on “Lake Burbury to Lake St Clair – Crossing the divide (76k/1160m)

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