Southwest National Park
Directions - Located two hours south of Hobart, take the Southern Outlet and then Huon Hwy until you reach the signs for Darcy Link turnoff (watch for blue Duckhole Lake sign). Follow this until you reach Creekton Rd and turn left. The car park is about 1km down the road with the trail head on the opposite side to the car park.
The Hike - With a full day exploring Mount Misery and Hartz Peak, it was a relaxing night at my AirBnB before another day of exploring. For this day I had my sights set on the fringes of Southwest National Park and a couple of relatively gentle hikes through the beautiful temperate rainforest. First up on the agenda was one of the 60 Great Short Walks that Parks Tasmania has designated to certain hikes around the state. Carrying the special W symbol, these are usually a good indication of a pleasurable hiking experience so I was looking forward to Duckhole Lake given some of the pictures I'd found online.
Getting out to the start is a pleasant drive along the Huon River and through the towns that sit on its banks. Unfortunately this area has been devastated by the widespread bushfires of early 2019 that at the time of writing were still causing havoc in the surrounding forest. It is such a shame because the area around here is very beautiful and the forest is one of the biggest attractions to draw tourists here. After spotting the familiar blue signs from Huon Hwy for Duckhole Lake and Adamsons Falls, I turned off the tarmac and began the winding journey towards the start of Duckhole Lake. Parking the Outlander at the very unassuming start point I packed everything up and headed towards the information board. Most of the walk follows the route of an old 19th century sawmill tramway so there is little in the way of undulation, highlighted even more when you pass into the thick forest and catch sight of Creekton Rivulet flowing next to the track. The difference from the car park to the shroud of the forest is remarkable and opens you up into a world that you wouldn't think exists driving along the gravel forestry roads that weave through this area. A smattering of ferns line the path and with a very healthy canopy overhead, this feels exactly how a lush Tasmanian hike should feel.
The babbling of the rivulet running close by along with the rainforest scene instantly transports you from dull gravel road into a world of magic, greenery and wonder. I defy anyone to step into this walk and think "no, this is terrible and I don't want to be here". Knowing I was in for a very enjoyable walk from the very beginning I sauntered along the single track, taking many photos as I came across a new scene, bigger tree or larger series of impressive Man Ferns. Following the water course for the first section you are introduced to a few large examples of the Stringbark tree and a set of rapids that I made a mental note of for later as I had packed my tripod on this hike. Leaving the main creek, the track diverts off and travels deeper into the forest. Remnants of this place's history are on show as an old moss covered boiler plate does its best to blend into the undergrowth. Coming across a small bridge to make your way over another tributary, there is a sign saying that the load is one person only, odd considering how large the bridge is. Moving on I started my way on the gentle boardwalk section that will become home for the next kilometre.