Cuvier Valley update

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Cuvier Valley update

Postby farefam » Sat 21 May, 2011 1:18 pm

I hiked through the valley at the start of March 2011 just after the dump of snow. The track over Byron Gap to the south end of Lake Petrarch is still in reasonable condition and only takes a little care to follow around the northeast side of the lake. However, the old track (now a poorly marked route) from Lake Petrarch to Cynthia Bay has become very overgrown in the last few years. Although an experienced hiker (and having been in here several times in the past), I still lost the old track several times. The long stretch of very hummocky buttongrass plain is also as tedious as ever and several of the marker poles have fallen over (the marking is also poor in the forest north of there as well). Although Lake Petrarch remains a superb spot to visit (I've not seen a soul there during my 3 visits) I'd recommend prospective visitors to go in and out via Byron Gap instead. Some photos of the last trip (along with many other hikes in Tasmania) can be found at http://picasaweb.google.com/farefam
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Sat 21 May, 2011 1:27 pm

Yes it's now an "unrecognized" track. In other words it's been put in the too hard basket by PWS.

We went through there last week in a bit of snow, and yes we lost the track on the way in. Only once though, and managed to follow it all the way back. Once your on it it wasnt too bad and if lost can be found again with minimal searching about.
I do however agree it's now best left for experienced walkers only.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Son of a Beach » Sat 21 May, 2011 2:18 pm

ILUVSWTAS wrote:Yes it's now an "unrecognized" track. In other words it's been put in the too hard basket by PWS.

We went through there last week in a bit of snow, and yes we lost the track on the way in. Only once though, and managed to follow it all the way back. Once your on it it wasnt too bad and if lost can be found again with minimal searching about.
I do however agree it's now best left for experienced walkers only.


Experienced or competent? ;-)
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Sat 21 May, 2011 3:10 pm

Hahaha, dont bring that up again.... Either or would probably suffice.

I didnt think the track was TOO bad, if there hadnt been as much snow about as there was I doubt we would have (temporarily) lost the track.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Azza » Sat 21 May, 2011 5:30 pm

ILUVSWTAS wrote:Hahaha, dont bring that up again.... Either or would probably suffice.

I didnt think the track was TOO bad, if there hadnt been as much snow about as there was I doubt we would have (temporarily) lost the track.


In this case it was definitely experience, I'm not sure we excelled ourselves in the competency department.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Sat 21 May, 2011 5:44 pm

Azza wrote:
ILUVSWTAS wrote:Hahaha, dont bring that up again.... Either or would probably suffice.

I didnt think the track was TOO bad, if there hadnt been as much snow about as there was I doubt we would have (temporarily) lost the track.


In this case it was definitely experience, I'm not sure we excelled ourselves in the competency department.



No your quite right there, although we did find that track about 10mins after losing it, and we did manage to follow it all the way back.....
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Paul » Sat 21 May, 2011 9:15 pm

Walked the Cuvier Valley track late 2010, on way to High Dome, then out to the Lyell Highway via Collingwood River.

Found the track was somewhat indistinct in patches.

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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Nuts » Sun 22 May, 2011 10:50 am

What?... Its an easy, well defined track..isn't it :?

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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby JamesMc » Sun 22 May, 2011 12:18 pm

Walked the Cuvier Valley track in early 2011, on the way from High Dome, having walked in from Lake St Clair via Mt Manfred.

Amazed at the number of leeches, in spite of the dry sunny weather. Perhaps because the valley is so grassy in spots, supporting a large marsupial population?

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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby gatesy » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 10:08 am

I just walked the Cuvier Valley track from via Mt Byron in a North-South direction, finishing yesterday.
It's not impossible, obviously as I did it. But I wouldn't recommend it, because I found it took time to relocate the track south of Lake Petrarch when the markers kept disappearing. The buttongrass plains weren't hard to navigate I found, a number of stakes have fallen but it is fairly straight-forward walking. There were a number of leeches but not as many as I expected there to be. The buttongrass was a relief, because it was much easier to walk through.
The 3 highlights, climbing Mt Byron, camping at Lake Petrarch and completing the track :lol:
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 1:14 pm

Gatesy, welcome to the forum. It's good that you are alive after the trip as this means that we have your trip report. I gather that from Byron Gap south to Petrarch the track or route was reasonably straightforward. Is this the case? Can you please give some times for the two parts of the walk, Byron Gap to Petrarch (presumably the south end with the nice beach) and from there to the OLT junction? Was it very wet underfoot? Were there any significant creek crossings? Thanks for taking out some leeches, much appreciated.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby gatesy » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 4:50 pm

Hi Lophophaps.
Correct, from Byron Gap towards the south of Lake Petrarch the track is very easy to follow, mind that there is a fair chunk of mud while going down Byron Gap, one section had me almost up to my hips (I'm 5ft 7) mind a sudden change in terrain and scrub when you come across the plains towards Lake Petrarch.
I camped near the beach of Lake Petrarch which was great. I arrived there just before sunset as I didn't start descending Mt Byron until about 1730 hrs. I spent most of the morning trying to dry out my gear and didn't set off until about 0930 directly into scrub and didn't finish until about 1830 hrs with a few stops and many times renavigating a way onto the track. I had walked to Byron Gap from Pine Valley along the OLT. From memory it took a little over 2 hours to get to Byron Gap from the turn off including a break as I had walked from Pine Valley. The walk up to Byron Gap is really nice and has some nice creeks and cascades along the way.
Coming out of Lake Petrarch there are a few places of wet underfoot, mind that I we had about 20mm of rain 2 days before (when I climbed The Acropolis)
As for creek crossings, there weren't any major ones and the creeks there had some stepping rocks in place. You do cross a number of creeks but it isn't anything major.
As for taking out the leeches, I had a count of 6 all on my right foot, as we never know quite how they get there!
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 5:23 pm

Thanks. Yikes, hip-deep mud. Was this boots first? Let's see if I have the times right:
OLT to Byron Gap about 2 hours
To the south end of Petrarch with deep mud in places maybe 2.5 hours
Petrarch to the OLT 9 hours.
Plenty of potable water in most places.
Wow, that last bit is a long day for about 8 kilometres. I walked from Petrarch to Cynthia Bay on the track in a morning. Leeches are insidious. Fortunately they just make one bleed, and unlike ticks will not kill.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby gatesy » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 6:53 pm

Pretty much with the times. I will say that I wouldn't be surprised if others were to be quicker, especially if they're more experienced at that walking than me, plus in total I was off track for a while trying to find the track as there are a few dull bits!
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 7:34 pm

Sometimes it's quicker to just keep going and not search for a track. I'll be making an early start from Petrarch. your comments are most useful.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby pazzar » Thu 30 Nov, 2017 11:18 am

How was the bottom end (Closer to Cynthia Bay)? I was in there last summer and regretted wearing short sleeves and shorts. Is it still very overgrown in there, or has a bit of traffic cleared it out?
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby gatesy » Thu 30 Nov, 2017 4:36 pm

Pazzar,
It was very much overgrown, and yes it is a bad idea to have so much skin exposed. It was fairly overgrown but not as bad as south of Lake Petrarch.

Hope this helps
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby pazzar » Thu 30 Nov, 2017 6:34 pm

Thanks - I might head in for a weekend over summer if I can free some time up. I'd like to climb Coal Hill and beyond from Petrarch, just to go up there a different way.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby headwerkn » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 11:32 pm

We attempted to run the Cuvier Valley 'track' yesterday... figured it would make a more interesting loop than just running out to Narcissus and back.

My mate had done the track 20-odd years ago and said it would be rough in places, but should be doable. Not to be. Interestingly for an unmaintained, not recommended route, it appears to have been recently cleared and pruned for the first half-kay or so heading out from the Watersmeet end. Unfortunately the track completely disappears suddenly and we were unable to pick up anything resembling a pad or course.

The track entry point heading into Byron Gap isn't much better... just a couple of red markers heading into scrub. The fact that someone's scratched 'No Track' into PWS's little sign is perhaps telling. Would still like to do it one day, probably not in trail shoes and long socks though ;-)

Cheers, Ben.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Tortoise » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 8:42 am

headwerkn wrote: Interestingly for an unmaintained, not recommended route, it appears to have been recently cleared and pruned for the first half-kay or so heading out from the Watersmeet end.

There's a Bushwalking Tasmania working bee planned for the Cuvier Valley on 17th-18th Feb. Maybe somebody has had a head start on that. I guess a sign at the beginning letting people know that it doesn't keep going yet would be handy.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Nuts » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 10:02 am

Tortoise wrote: There's a Bushwalking Tasmania working bee planned for the Cuvier Valley


Why?
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby headwerkn » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 11:05 am

Well that would explain that then. Yes, the first few hundred metres were rather misleading, as the bush had been cut well back off the path... pretty much the opposite of an 'abandoned, unmaintained' track.

That's great news about the working bee, wouldn't mind getting involved in that if I'm free that weekend. Is there a longer term plan to 'resurrect' the route back to 'track' status, or simply make it a little easier to get through to the buttongrass plain?

Cheers, Ben.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Tortoise » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 11:17 am

headwerkn wrote:Well that would explain that then. Yes, the first few hundred metres were rather misleading, as the bush had been cut well back off the path... pretty much the opposite of an 'abandoned, unmaintained' track.

That's great news about the working bee, wouldn't mind getting involved in that if I'm free that weekend. Is there a longer term plan to 'resurrect' the route back to 'track' status, or simply make it a little easier to get through to the buttongrass plain?

Cheers, Ben.

I don't expect the plans are to get back to an officially maintained track, as PWS have the ongoing issue of not enough $$ to manage what they have. But I'm assuming volunteer power has been approved to regain reasonable access to a number of excellent walks.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby eggs » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 11:37 am

Last Feb [2017], we came down off Coal Hill onto the track from Byron Gap when it is just coming onto the more open plains.
Someone had cleared significant sections [but not all] of the scrub on the track alongside Lake Petrarch heading towards the southern end.

I could not remember any difficulty coming off the plains onto the Cuvier River and then over the ridge down to the Overland Track.
It is curious that headwkn lost it going the other way?
I suspect that once you lose a track it can be quite hard to find it again.

Note that heading south from Lake Petrarch we did lose it as some tapes led us into a significant area of tall tea tree and then died out.
We eventually gave up trying to push through and I fired up my GPS which had the old Topo map loaded on it.
This indicated to us that we needed to climb out of the low ground up onto the forest covered rise and at its crest we found markers for the proper track again.
So we suspect that these taped trees were a false lead and the true track had probably avoided that Tea Tree altogether by heading more directly onto the rise.

We also "loved" how we would follow a pad until it led straight under some very thick scrub. Bemused, we suspect we had been following wombat pads on those occassions.

PS - In case I gave the wrong idea -
there were some quite thick and overgrown sections to push through - particularly nearing the northern end of Lake Petrarch,
escrub_9218.jpg
heading towards Lake Petrarch from the north - track marker is on my left and the "track" is through that band of scrub.


leaving Petrarch to the south - which is where we lost it,
and ok - so photos are better than memory -
This was nearing the junction with Overland Track - so yes - a few "overgrown" spots there as well.
exit_9273.jpg
Pushing through nearing the junction with Overland Track
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby headwerkn » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 3:30 pm

eggs wrote:I could not remember any difficulty coming off the plains onto the Cuvier River and then over the ridge down to the Overland Track.
It is curious that headwkn lost it going the other way?
I suspect that once you lose a track it can be quite hard to find it again.


I don't have any photos of the spot unfortunately but yes, it went from a narrow but distinct pad to absolutely nothing in literally a couple of metres. The area had several fallen trees so naturally we figured the track went underneath and could be picked up again on the other side somewhere, but after 15 minutes of searching around in every direction we couldn't pick up anything vaguely resembling a track or pad. As I said though, we were in trail running gear, so we didn't bush-bash far into the scrub.

Cheers, Ben.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Paul » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 9:32 pm

Went through the Cuvier Valley on way the way to High Dome in 2010 - the track was easy to follow back then.
Sounds like it is very different now.

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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby waif » Wed 17 Jan, 2018 4:36 pm

Hi all, also re-iterating previous comments. Came down off Olympus / Orthyrs to Cuvier valley just south of the lake late last year (maybe November). Across the plains on a nice sunny day the track was relatively observable, does peter out in some button grass sections, especially where a bit more boggy, and tape marking is inconsistent.

But as eggs alluded to, in the region further south in the forested land near the river (see purple lined area in image) there is significant overgrowth of scrub. I can happily recall screaming in frustration, "Damn thing must be somewhere around here" after the track (wombat trail) petered off in various directions past head high bush. Would recommend gaiters in the area.

17-01-2018 17-27-47.jpg
17-01-2018 17-27-47.jpg (94.97 KiB) Viewed 3378 times


I really don't understand why Parks don't just commit to this track and repair it to a decent condition. It would make a much appealing circuit walk with regards to the Overland Track around lake St Clair. Heck even cutting another link track to join the Hugel area/Shadow Lake would be ideal to take some strain away from labyrinth and pine valley region as it would give some more small overnight tracked walk availability in the area. Thoughts?
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Nuts » Thu 18 Jan, 2018 5:17 am

Sure. A wilderness zone under the WHA management plan without any designated recreational corridor. Any re-routes or new tracks for 'environmental management'... not that this level of protection seems set in stone :?

But i'm sure the ideal is to limit tracks built to satisfy commercial purposes (increase visitor/person days) or ease access eg. make it an easier run? I was under the impression, over the years, the idea was to let this particular track revert to what it will.

If indeed PV and The Labyrinth are overused their use should be regulated.
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Re: Cuvier Valley update

Postby Doonish » Fri 19 Jan, 2018 9:08 pm

Interestingly for an unmaintained, not recommended route, it appears to have been recently cleared and pruned for the first half-kay or so heading out from the Watersmeet end.


By coincidence, was chatting to the folks who did this the other day, and yep, volunteers. Going to be a lot more of this needed, I suspect....
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