Lake Chisholm Rd
Directions - Located just under an hours drive east of Arthur River on the Tarkine Drive, take Temma Road south until you reach Rebecca Road, then turn left. Head inland as Rebecca Road becomes Blackwater Road and take the right turn at Kununnah Bridge to keep going along Sumac Road. Drive until you see the signposted turn-off for Lake Chisholm Road, take this and follow all the way to the end where you will find a small car park.
The Hike - With a full day of exploring the Tarkine Drive on the cards, the second stop of the tour was at one of the many short walks on the loop, this one being Lake Chisholm. With a visit to the Julius River Walks already under our belt, this would be a continuation of the gentle walking but with a different flavour to it. Instead of walking through the temperature rainforest alongside a small river, we would be walk through temperate rainforest to a large sinkhole that has created a lake.
It was a short drive from the Julius River car park in the Nissan Cumquat/Qashqai hire car and with no signs of Hal joining us after he got his new tyre fitted in Smithton, we figured he might not make it out here today. Given this was only a short walk and the temperature was quite cool, we didn't bother with carrying backpacks, instead enjoying an unloaded walk through the forest. The big sign telling you this is Lake Chisholm is oddly on the other side of the car park to where you are meant to start so after finding the much smaller trail marker, we headed into the rainforest to see what this trail was all about. Immediately this was an enjoyable experience with the open car park quickly disappearing and a world of large trunks, a sea of ferns and some cool fungi immersing you in some classic Tasmanian scenes. With the sun hidden behind the overcast conditions, the lighting was perfect for capturing the stunning swathes of Hard Water Ferns that line the trail.
The layout of the trail is pretty straightforward with a gentle descent through the forest leasing you to a small loop section that takes you to the edge of Lake Chisholm. The further we ventured into the rainforest, the better it became with some truly stunning trees found right along the trail. Out of all the hikes we did outside of Mount Field National Park, these would have to be the biggest collection of thick boi trees we had seen and even then it would be a close call. With a hike called Lake Chisholm, I was expecting a fairly uneventful trail leading to the main event but most of the enjoyment from this one came from walking to the little loop section. Caris and Candy were well ahead of me at this stage because I was stopping so much to photograph pretty much every tree and fungi I saw. Things were a little quicker as the ferns were super thick and the number of fungi was nowhere near the levels of the Julius River Walks we had done before this walk.
Catching up to Caris, I could tell that she wasn't enjoying the walking as much as I was. Pressing the issue, apparently it was not communicated that this whole day would be spent doing walks and this was not what she had in mind for this leg of the holiday. With Arthur River being tiny and no other major towns in the area, there really is only walking and sightseeing to do on this part of the west coast so I let her walk it off. Continuing to enjoy the amazing forest, we came across a large, moss covered tree that was easily as tall as I was with many great examples of Tree Ferns providing a complimentary addition to the prehistoric scene. This was turning out to be one of the more photogenic hikes of the trip, although we had visited so many fantastic places that it's really hard to place one over the others. Reaching the Loop Track section of the walk, this tiny little loop takes you towards the titular lake that is a real contrast to the rest of the trail. Walking through more excellent forest filled with moss covered logs and these curtains of vegetation, you finally reach the edge of the sinkhole and are presented with a large reflective lake in the middle of the forest. While the overcast conditions were great when we were walking through the rainforest, it provided a much gloomier look to the lake.
With scores of fallen logs protruding into the lake, each covered in a variety of mosses, there was a certain spookiness about the scene. It was still beautiful in its own way and we stood on the edge admiring the view when a splashing in the distance caught our attention. The lake is home to platypus and this got us a little excited but after some careful observation, we concluded it was a bird of some variety ducking down into the water. Even zooming in with lens and then using the digital zoom didn't produce great results but it was enough to conclude it wasn't our second platypus sighting of the trip. The lake is a rare occurrence in the area as the naturally created sinkholes typically drain into the groundwater system but this one has been blocked by organic matter. Very similar to the one found at Duckhole Lake, it's nice to have the walk trails visit these areas so they can be admired (and please adhere to the Leave No Trace principles so they stay as natural as possible. With a good viewing of the lake, we decided to head back to the car, completing the loop and returning via the excellent route we had come in on. Another lovely little walk in the Tarkine over, we had one more stop for the day after taking in another water filled sinkhole that is just off Rapid River Road (see last picture in the below gallery).