Walking in Chauncy Vale

Cave with sloping rock pillar

The Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary is a private conservation area in Tasmania. It was home to author Nan Chauncy. Her best-known book, They Found a Cave, features the cave formations of Chauncy Vale.

Getting There

Drive to Bagdad on the Midland Highway, then turn east onto Chauncy Vale Road and follow it to Chauncy Vale. Most of Chauncy Vale Road is unsealed, but it is only a few kilometres from the highway.

The Chauncy Vale – Events page warns that the vale is closed on days of total fire ban. To see if a ban is in place, check the Tasmanian Fire Service – Fire Bans & Permits page.

Tracks

There are several walking tracks, depending on your enthusiasm and fitness. The “Creek Track” along Brown’s Caves Creek is on level ground, but involves fording the creek at least once. The caves are drier, but involve a steep climb. More enthusiastic walkers may continue towards Guvy’s Lagoon and the Flat Rock Lookouts. We visited in winter (there was snow along the track to the lookouts!) and had no trouble with the creek crossings.

Caves

The “caves” are mostly indentations in the cliff face. While not deep, these allow their formations and textures to be admired in daylight.

Brown’s Caves Creek and Eve’s Bath

Halfway along the north side of Brown’s Caves Creek is a sign indicating the presence of “Eve’s Bath”. The sign is easy, to miss, so look out for it and the track south to the creek at that point. Eve’s Bath is full of smoothly eroded rocks, and is a very pleasant little spot. As always, be careful if the creek is high.

Flat Rock Lookouts

Once past the caves and creek, the track climbs towards Guvy’s Lagoon and the Flat Rock Lookouts. This track is not as flat or distinct as the earlier parts. The view from the western lookout is good but not spectacular. None of us reached the eastern lookout on this visit.

Plants

You may find wildflowers among the caves. Down by the creek there’s plenty of moss and lichen. Varieties of funnel-shaped lichen are quite common, but seeing drops of water filling the funnels is not.

Video

Video previewOpen video

The geological processes forming the caves, while fascinating, did not result in particularly compelling video. So, this one shows Brown’s Caves Creek. It begins at the east end of the caves track, then moves downstream past Eve’s Bath to the car park.

Opinions

Walking Stick

Walked out to the caves, then back along the creek. Most of the track was flat and easy to negotiate. The climb to the caves was steep but feasible. The descent at the eastern end was too steep for safety on a walking stick.

Ambler

Travelled 1.8 kilometres in 2 hours 35 minutes, walking to the caves and back along the creek. This was a pleasant walk, with plenty to photograph. The sides of the vale kept out the cold wind that was blowing that day.

Racewalker

Walked past the caves to the western of the Flat Rock Lookouts. Had some difficulty with indistinct tracks.

Should I Visit?

Chauncy Vale is a good place to visit if you’re near the south end of the Midlands Highway and can spare an hour or more. It has walks of varying length and is suitable for any time of year (except for days of total fire ban, when the sanctuary is closed).

Visit at least one out of Eve’s Bath and the caves. Only continue towards the Flat Rock Lookouts if you want a seriously long walk.

Take care crossing the creek after rain, and around the cliff edge if taking children to visit the caves.

Facilities

Road Unsealed, good condition
Parking Large, suitable for campervans
Shelter Yes
Toilets Yes
Latest visit 26th August 2012

References

Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary

Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary – Map of Sanctuary

All photographs from this walk

Map from this walk

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