Lake Pedder Adventures
Directions - Located just over two hours west of Hobart, to reach Lake Pedder take Brooker Highway north and follow the signs for New Norfolk. Pass through the town and follow the signs for Westerway and then Mount Field National Park. Pass through Maydena and continue on Gordon River Road all the way to Strathgordon.
The Hike - After a fantastic first leg to our Tasmanian road trip exploring Mount Field National Park and surrounds, it was time to move on. Next on the itinerary was a visit to Lake Pedder, a place that Candy and Hal were keen to kayak and was also a bit special to Candy as she was here protesting the hydro scheme back in the day. With a whole day to get from Mount Field to the Lake Pedder Wilderness Lodge where we were staying, I scheduled in a visit to the Tolkien Track to break up the journey. With a lovely time exploring the forest we headed out on the hilly and winding Gordon River Road, spotting a wombat along the way.
During my research and planning for the trip, Strathgordon was a bit of a black hole for trails with a lack of day hike options close to the small hamlet. This was further reduced when I spotted at the Mount Field Visitor Centre that the Eliza Plateau Track had been closed. For our three night stay here I really only had two trails planned and the Mount Sprent hike was very dependent on weather. Unfortunately the forecast wasn't good with lots of rain headed this way so it would be a wait and see approach to this leg of the trip. There was still plenty to do and sights to see around the Strathgordon/Lake Pedder region and it would be a good opportunity to bunker down in the lodge to enjoy the rain. With good weather on the day that we arrived, I was keen to get exploring while we could. After checking in and catching up with Candy and Hal who had left earlier than us due to the need to attend a board meeting via Zoom, we made plans for the afternoon. This post will essentially be a repository for our time at Lake Pedder and everything we did/saw apart from my expedition up to the summit of Mount Sprent.
Candy and Hal were keen to get out on the kayaks for a few hours while conditions were calm so we headed down to the boat ramp below the lodge to see them off. The views from the lodge are fantastic with a little lawn stretching out towards the helipad and out over the lake. There is a lower section with access to the various jetties and fishing spots on the lakes edge and over the course of our stay there I spent a lot of time photographing the views looking across to the distant mountains. Watching them get into their touring kayaks, Candy set off first and was a dot on the horizon before Hal had stopped faffing and went about paddling after her. It certainly was a scenic photo opportunity with the two of them heading off towards the various islands with the mountains in the background. With Candy and Hal now well out of sight I suggested to Caris that we go and check out the forest walk that starts and finishes opposite the entrance to the lodge car park. The best source of information I could find about it was from this website that refers to it as Jack's Track but further research revealed Jack's Track to be located further south along Gordon River Road near Ted's Beach Camping Area and a lot longer in length.
For the purposes of this post I will refer to it as the Strathgordon Forest Walk as it's located in Strathgordon (which is really just the Lake Pedder Wilderness Lodge and some other houses) and the only sings refer to it as the "Forest Trail". With fading light, I dragged Caris across the road from the lodge and set about finding the start of the trail. I believe the small loop road on the other side of Gordon River Road is called Spring Street and you want to head to the north west corner to find the entry point. It's fairly obvious and you cross a wooden bridge to enter the walk. It didn't take long for a smile to hit my face as you leave the fairly drab looking urban environment of Strathgordon behind and enter a world of closed in forest, fungi and damp smells. Immediately we were both in fungi search mode and this would begin a ritual on our hikes where Caris would be up the front and putting her keen eye for fun guys to good use while I was bringing up the rear and photographing what she pointed out. We made a good team over the course of the trip and this was the first fungi heavy hike to test out the system. All throughout the walk there is a very enclosed and overgrown feel to the trail and I am a big fan of this style of walk. Being a short walk I didn't think to change out of my casual shoes and this turned out to be a bit of an issue on the slippery sections that contained a bit of mud. Going slowly was the theme of this walk though so it wasn't really an issue as we started to come across some cool fungi finds.
One of the early ones that caught our eye was a Mauve Splitting Waxcap (hygrocybe lewelliniae) and several others that I'm having trouble locating on my FungiFlip reference guide. The walk is essentially a bit of an amble up the side of the hill and then back down to the other side where you come out onto Gordon River Road. Progress was slow as we kept finding new and more interesting fungi plus the odd patch of lichen and moss covered tree matter. We were excited when we came across our first Red Coral fungi for the trip and it would be a fun exercise to spot them on future hikes in varying conditions ranging from poor to pretty cool. Starting to descend we found the typical wooden steps replaced by minimalistic metal structures in the steeper places so we took our time negotiating their slippery surfaces. Coming across a wooden boardwalk, Caris let me know she had found a good display of shrooms with a large fomes hemitephrus clinging to the end of a cut log with what I believe was a large and bright clumping of pycnoporus coccineus just below it. This walk was turning out much better than I expected and with all the fungi hunting, it felt like a much longer trail. Heading down the hill further, Caris did make a remark about how long we had left and I was secretly hoping it would last much longer than the information I found suggested it would.