Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Directions - Located over two and a half hours north west of Hobart, take the Brooker Hwy north and follow the signs for New Norfolk. Cross the River Derwent at New Norfolk and then follow the Lyell Highway north west all the way to Derwent Bridge. Donaghys Hill is located a further 30 minutes along the highway with ample parking available.
The Hike - Stop number two on our journey along the Lyell Highway from Lake St Clair to Strahan and this one would provide a bit of a different experience. After a lovely walk around the Franklin Nature Trail, it was a brief ten minute drive along the twisty roads before we came across Donaghys Hill. With all the time in the world to explore these little trails along the way, we parked up and gathered our packs to tackle this small climb up to the lookout at the top.
I was a bit worried at the start after spotting what looked like a track closure sign at the start but closer examination revealed this to be a notice about future maintenance works that would have well and truly finished by the time you are reading this. Happy we would be getting this one completed, we started up the fairly innocuous vehicle track that serves as the trail for the first little bit. While this wasn't the most scenic of ways to begin proceedings, I still enjoyed scanning the edge of the track for little details like the drooping white flowers, lichen and various fungi that enjoyed the moist undergrowth. While not the most interesting of walking trails, the others used this as an opportunity to zoom up the hill while I hung back and photographed what I could find. Rounding the final section of the track, it comes to a dead end near some well hidden rocky formations and Caris was there waiting for me by the wooden walkers sign. This marks the start of some very enjoyable walking with the trail now switching onto single track as it continues up the hill.
Immediately there were some dark fungi camouflaged just off the track with Caris and I forming a team once again to seek out all the different varieties we could spot. With cloudy conditions overhead, the lighting was perfect for a stroll in the forest and with a bit of moisture hanging around from the previous few days of bad weather, I was loving the damp forest feels. The lush feeling was multiplied by the different types of ferns lining the trail with all kinds of deep greens adding to an already rich colour palette. One of my favourite ferns through here was the Hard Water-Fern, a thick leaved variety with little nodules all over it, giving a wonderful texture that I loved photographing. We had some more fungi finds along the wet edge of the trail with plenty of Clavulinopsis sulcata (Red Coral variety) and a black and white variety that is perhaps in the Coltricia family. Rising up a series of wooden planks that serve as the occasional step, I think this is the area that was going to receive some maintenance as some of the wooden planks were a bit slippery and mud had started to take over some parts.