Walking the Wellington Creek Circuit, Blue Tier / Meenamatta

Photograph of wide pool in creek. The pool is reflecting nearby trees.

Blue Tier in north-east Tasmania was once the scene of extensive tin mining. In 1958 it was made a forest reserve, and in 1997 the reserve was extended. It contains a number of walking tracks. One of those tracks, the Wellington Creek Circuit, is described here.

Getting there

Blue Tier was not easy to drive to. The Tasman Highway was an obvious starting point, and the only route to the tier itself was Poimena Road. To get from the former to the latter, three routes were available, all unsealed. The best of these was the east end of Lottah Road. Anchor Road was steeper and windier, and the west end of Lottah Road was severely eroded. It was still possible to take a two-wheel-drive car along the west end of Lottah Road, but not recommended. It is the shortest route from Hobart or Launceston to Blue Tier, but driving to the east end on Lottah Road may be faster and was definitely safer.

All roads had also been blocked by fallen trees during severe storms in the winter of 2014. The roads had been cleared by the time of our visit, but often only by cutting gaps or by dragging the tree aside far enough to admit one car width through the gap.

Track

The track surface varied. Some parts were fresh boardwalk, while others were heavily eroded. It crossed a number of creeks by passing straight through them, and elsewhere puddles filled the width of the track. Several trees had fallen across the track, especially the western and southern segments. All of these obstacles resulted in slow travel, with frequent stops to evaluate the driest or most solid path ahead.

Signs stood at most track junctions, but did not give distances. This was especially concerning at the midway point of the Goblin Forest Walk. A sign there had arrows to the left and right, both labelled “Poimena”, with no other information. In fact, the right arrow completed the Goblin Forest Walk, leading back to Poimena in only 200 metres. The left arrow led to the Wellington Creek Circuit, taking between 2 and 7 kilometres to reach Poimena depending on the choice made at the next junction.

Other parts of the route were mostly signed with orange arrows.

Plants

Tin miners and farmers had cleared most of Blue Tier. Trees had regrown in the following decades, but they appeared to have struggled with shallow soil and strong winds. Individual tall trees had blown over in many places, while the survivors often formed dense clumps and spread out sideways instead of upwards.

Moss and Lichen

Moss and lichen covered many of the rocks and trees on Blue Tier. In a few places, lichen also stretched across expanses of ground like a curly blue lawn.

Fungi

A highlight of this walk was the bracket fungi growing on the trees. They came in many colours and sizes, including one enormous fungus over a metre wide.

Relics

Blue Tier still holds many remnants of its mining days, with old earthworks and rusting equipment. It also holds more personal items, such as cooking pots, bottles and discarded leather shoe soles. The Wellington Creek Circuit passed a mine entrance, several sample pits, the remains of the Wellington Adit and an old sawmill site.

Facilities

Road Unsealed once off the Tasman Highway.
Parking Small
Shelter Yes
Toilets Yes
Latest visit 30th August 2014

Opinions

Walking Stick

Planned on walking a bit of the circuit from the Goblin Forest entrance and returning the same way, but on that day the water was across the road in too many places.

Tried walking in from the southern end, but too wet and slippery by far.

Spent the day just wandering around near the parking area instead, and that was very pleasant.

Ambler

Walked 7.0 kilometres in 3 hours. Enjoyed the fungi, but travelled slower than intended on the inconvenient parts of the track.

Should I visit?

Blue Tier is worth a visit, but the Wellington Creek Circuit does not show it to best effect. Other tracks contain more history and less obstacles. Mountain bikers in particular may find that the fallen trees and track erosion make this an unsatisfactory experience.

While this was the state of the track in August 2014, it may be improved, with plans for extensive new mountain bike tracks around Derby and Blue Tier.

References

Tassie Trails – Mountain Bike – The Blue Tier Descent & Wellington Creek Loop

Forestry Tasmania – Visiting Our Forests – North East – Blue Tier (Archived)

Documents on Trove tagged “Blue Tier”

Map of this walk

All photographs from this walk

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