Circling the Tablelands
Weekend 2-3 March 2019
We started our walk at the bottom of the Bullock Track on the Cobb Reservoir Road on a beautifully sunny Saturday morning . After heading up the hill to Peat Flat, one of the party who had been jettisoned from the car at the Cobb Lookout to walk the Cobb Ridge Track caught up to us, as we traveled along Peel Ridge to the Myttons Track junction. Looking back down at the sparkling reservoir and dam, we could see how hot and dry the previous two months had been by all the ‘beaches’ now lining the shores.
After sidling across a hillside of brilliant yellow Spaniards, we timed our arrival superbly for a relaxing lunch on the shores of Lake Peel. After lunch we headed up again and on to the Tablelands proper - vast expanses of flat lemon-hued tussock land, quite magnificent under a brilliant blue sky. Balloon Hut coincided with afternoon tea, and shortly afterwards while checking out Bishops Cave (where Bishop Suter famously gave a sermon to the diggers), one of the group who'd also sneaked in a side-trip up Mt Peel caught up to us again.
We passed the junction for the Lesley-Karamea Track, and after a lovely stretch through stunted beech forest, our accommodation for the night, Salisbury Lodge, was reached. The rest of the afternoon was spent sprawled on the sun-soaked back deck with a variety of trampers who’d all come in from Flora Saddle and/or Gordon’s Pyramid, before a glowing sunset spectacularly lit up the pyramid through the front window.
On Sunday morning we sadly only had a short stretch of Tablelands, before we said goodbye to the tussock and headed into the beech forest, where we spent the majority of the day. Upper Junction was followed by Lower Junction, where the group split, with two people completing the circuit along the Bullock Track to Peat Flat, and thence back down to the Cobb Reservoir Road to shuffle the cars.
The rest of us headed along the Asbestos Track to enjoy lunch in the clearing outside the restored Asbestos Cottage, where inspirational local legends Henry & Annie Chaffey lived for 37 years. After lunch it was downwards again, passing by the bright white abandoned asbestos mine. The track then became an old 4WD track, meandering back to the Cobb Dam Road, where we had a short wait for our transport home.
A wee discussion at the end had us all in agreement that next time we would probably retrace our route out the same way as we came in, rather than doing a circuit, as beech forest is a dime a dozen, but the expansive golden Tablelands are something rather more special and rare.
We were: Diane (leader and scribe), Pete, Lesley, Sarah, Alison and David.