Good morning, earth.
Back in November I visited a place called the Alum Cliffs – a 6 km track winding above wind-scorched cliffs overlooking Hobart’s Derwent River, and Storm Bay.
There are several places where one can safely clamber down the hillside and walk among the rocks at the base of these cliffs – it’s beautiful in the sun.. but the area is popular to explore, and locals walk out here to swim, so I don’t have all the shots that I’d like.
The track begins behind the Shot Tower at Taroona (a local historical landmark.) A wide dirt road descends into a steep gully, rising again to meet the first panoramic view of the Derwent River. An early resting spot offers respite as credence to the climb. The track snakes back and forth into the hillside, sometimes meandering by the cliff edge, or offering sparse views between dry trees. When the track curls inwards, following the terrain, there are some small patches of vibrant forest, hidden from the epic seascapes at the cliffside. Unfortunately, the best views are often compromised by five foot fences, though there are (dangerous) opportunities to creep out between the trees to a cliff edge and gaze upon on the sea.
At roughly the midway point, the Alum Cliffs track intersects with the Brickfields track. Brickfields is a narrow climb through dry bushland covering ground once used for brickmaking in an early colonial effort to rehabilitate convicts. All that really remains are scattered, crumbling bricks among the dry scrub and remnants of a boisterous track blasted between the trees. Large interpretative signs provide a more detailed history of the area, for those interested..
Bonnet Hill lies due west of the entrance to the Brickfields track. If you walk towards the highway (which is quite obvious, and a quiet, two-lane stretch at that), Bonnie Brae Road is visible climbing the hillside opposite. The dirt road climbs to an intermediate summit, where a farmhouse overlooks the valley below. The road veers north, and begins to climb around a final hill. The track begins at the bend, vanishing through the brush to the left. There are no clear signposts, but watch for pink ribbons and well-trod paths. The track begins with a narrow climb but levels out to a steady, sunny incline on a sheltered hillside.
Descending the cliffs isn’t on any official guide or map, but there are plenty of worn trails descending to the river below. At low tide I’m told it’s possible to go further around the base of the cliffs, but I haven’t returned yet to take any more shots. Maybe a sunny day in winter..
These photos were taken on two separate days – one overcast, another sunny. I tend to favour the brighter days, and initially just shot on the overcast day for reference, but for what it’s worth, here’s the full set.
Beyond the cliffs, the track descends to Tyndall Beach, adjacent to Kingston Beach, within a satellite town of Hobart. You could drive or bus to Kingston, Taroona, or drive to the beginning of the Brickfields Track for a quick descent to the centre.
Depending on your interest, if you wanted to see the cliffs, I would begin at Kingston Beach. If history is more your style, check out the Shot Tower at Taroona first, and then stroll to the cliffside. Personally, I would skip the Brickfields track.
Take water 🙂
For more information, check out the Greater Hobart Trails website.