Friday, 20 May 2016

North-East Big Day Out

20th May 2016

Mt Albert
Mt Saddleback
Ben Nevis

Gotta love a 3 Abel day! I had planned to do these 3 as an overnight trip, but as you will read, my plans changed!

I left home around 8am and drove toward Ringarooma to get to my first Abel of the day. Mt Albert sits only a stones-throw south-east of Mt Victoria, which I climbed just a week prior. According to my Abels volume 1 book, the road access was cut off at a downed bridge. But it had since been fixed and the road is lovely. The book also states that there is no real track up Albert, so I was prepared for a bit of fun scrub bashing. I was walking by 10:30am after parking my car on the side of the road with a view of the peak. Straight into thick cutting grass and tea-tree scrub for a short 50m or so, and then it opened out into less dense scrub. Within 10 minutes I was waist deep in ferns and plodding uphill in a beautiful forest. About 45 minutes after leaving the car I had gained a lot of altitude and the vegetation was turning alpine. All of a sudden I found myself on a path, standing next to a cairn... Odd... I believed there was no track; oh well! The path was a blessing and within 10 minutes I was on the summit. A great view from the top, one that I think is one of the better in the region and I much preferred it than Victoria. I sat around on the small summit for half an hour before hooning down to the car. The walk down the path only took me about 20 minutes and I emerged onto the road laughably close to where I parked my car, if only I had driven an extra 50 metres I would have seen it!

You can just make out Mt Albert behind the gums.

Beautiful fern glade.

My new scrub gloves went for their debut.

Looking to Victoria, from her husband; Albert.

Hakea shaped by the wind.

Look how close to the path my car was!!

I had thought Albert would take me longer, so I started to re-assess my plan. I might be able to get all 3 done today! I jumped in the car and drove back onto the Mathinna Plains Road, to get to the access for Mt Saddleback. 20 minutes later I had boots back on and was walking on the well defined path up Saddleback. The walk was wonderful, starting in a rocky area covered with daisy bush and native rosemary. Soon a very steep section in the path was reached that was loose underfoot, so I took a bit more care going up as I didn't want to go down just yet! After the steep push the summit ridge was abruptly obtained. The path had little pools of water from the recent rains, and they were still frozen over from the cold nights. I had fun crushing ice under my feet as I walked towards the very impressive summit cairn. Once on top I had some food and read the Abel book information about Ben Nevis. Judging by the time I was going to be able to do that one too! A lazy 30 minutes was spend in the calm weather on top of the cairn as I watched the smoke rising from a forestry burn off. Time to head back down for another adventure!

... Not the best sign, but it gets the point across.


The climb up Saddleback, looking towards Mt Albert.

This guy looks fun...

Beautiful late bloom.

Alpine ice.

Impressive summit cairn of Mt Saddleback.

The way to Ben Nevis had me driving on roads I'd never taken before. I love exploring new parts of Tassie! The road was surprisingly good and a quick way from Blessington to the north-east. I found the road to the Ben Nevis walking track, marked by a small cairn. The road was more like a stream as water poured down it and eventually I found the start of the walking track (dictated by a very old piece of yellow tape - I thought this walk would have been more popular?) The walk was very scrubby, with overgrown ferns and mountain berries across the path in many places. After 30 minutes of uphill, the path leveled out to a gentle climb through alpine vegetation as the plateau was reached. The sun was casting a golden light on the rocks making for a very beautiful experience. 20 minutes later I reached the summit and the trig point that sits on it. The view was good, but a little bright with the sun getting low on the horizon and the smoke from the nearby forestry fire. I only spent 15 minutes on top, as I wanted to make sure I still had daylight for the start of my drive home. Ben Nevis is a great mountain, and one I will happily go up many more times in the future. It had my favourite summit of the day; Albert had my favourite view; and Saddleback was my favourite walk overall. A very good day!

Ben Nevis here I come.

Pink Mountain Berry... Pretty, and prickly!

The northern tor of Ben Nevis.

Alpine Tasmania.

The trig point and the golden glow.

Trig point on Ben Nevis.

The grand Ben Lomond Plateau.

Mt Saddleback, Mt Albert, and Mt Victoria from Ben Nevis.

120 left.



  1. Hi Zane, some top photos there. Mt Albert looks inviting for me too, maybe a nice crisp winters day walk. Fantastic effort, three Abels in one day, damn awesome I say, even had time to hang around!! He he :-)

  2. Yes - great effort Zane!! I love your impersonation of a ringtail possum... I really like the photo of the 3 "just walked" mountains in the distance :)

  3. BTW..... about a quarter done, yahoo!!