Lake Rhona and Gordonvale

 LAKE RHONA

LAKE RHONA

Many years ago we met a National Parks ranger while we were walking in the far south west of Tasmania. Naturally we stopped to chat. She’d been a ranger for many years and had walked and worked all over the island. We asked her, ‘what is your favourite walk?’ Without hesitation she said ”Lake Rhona”. We’d never heard of Lake Rhona, so we decided to find out for ourselves what was so special about it.

Lake Rhona is in the Denison Range in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park near Lake Gordon in SW Tasmania.

Access to the track to Lake Rhona can be challenging. The shortest access is via the Tiger Range (see TASMAP 1:25,000 Tiger). For more detailed notes on access and the walk see Tas Trails http://tastrails.com/lake-rhona/ There is also a longer access point via Timbs Track on the Gordon River Rd, but it takes 2 days to get to Lake Rhona via this route.

Cars are parked at the end of Terry Walch Road in the Tiger Range. A track leads down to the Gordon River which then needs to be forded.

 Gordon River

Gordon River

 CROSSING THE GORDON

CROSSING THE GORDON

A year prior to these shots being taken we had attempted the walk only to be turned back at the river as it was far too high to cross. We’d checked the weather forecast before leaving Hobart and no rain was expected for the next few days. This was important as the river can rise rapidly if rain has fallen recently anywhere in the catchment leaving walkers stranded on the wrong side of the river.

We were lucky and the river was low so our second attempt was a success. This was in January. February and March tend to be the driest months, offering the best chance of getting across the Gordon.

 The vale of rasselas track heading to lake rhona

The vale of rasselas track heading to lake rhona

The track then headed west to meet the Vale of Rasselas Track which we then followed NW for 3 kms to Gordonvale.

 GORDONVALE

GORDONVALE

Gordonvale is a private parcel of land surrounded by the World Heritage Area. For 18 years from the 1930’s until the 1950’s it was the home of legendary Tasmanian, Ernie Bond who lived in this isolated place, but was renowned for his hospitality to bushwalkers.

 GORDONVALE

GORDONVALE

Gordonvale was purchased by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) in 2013. The TLC is a not for profit environmental organisation which raises funds from the public to protect irreplaceable sites, endangered species’ habitats, and rare ecosystems by buying and managing private land throughout Tasmania.

For more information on Gordonvale and the TLC click the link below.

http://tasland.org.au/reserves/gordonvale-reserve/

We stopped at Gordonvale for a break, checking out what remained of the site. It mostly consisted of old farm implements and some remnants of the homestead.

Much of the walk is over clumps of button grass interspersed with thick pools of mud. It’s not the easiest of going with a heavy pack.

 STARTING TO CLIMB UP TO RHONA

STARTING TO CLIMB UP TO RHONA

 LOOKING BACK AT WHERE WE'VE COME FROM

LOOKING BACK AT WHERE WE'VE COME FROM

Eventually the track ascends towards the Denison Range and soon Lake Rhona is spotted.

 LAKE RHONA IN THE DISTANCE

LAKE RHONA IN THE DISTANCE

 APPROACHING THE LAKE

APPROACHING THE LAKE

Its clear waters and beautiful pink granite sand beach surrounded by towering peaks makes for a spectacular sight. We understood why the ranger liked this place so much.

 PINK SAND BEACH

PINK SAND BEACH

After camping overnight beside the lake next morning we climbed up to Reeds Peak.

 CALLY AT THE CAMPSITE

CALLY AT THE CAMPSITE

 ON THE WAY TO REEDS PEAK

ON THE WAY TO REEDS PEAK

The mist came over in the afternoon which made visibility difficult, so to be on the safe side, we returned the way we had come. In good weather the walk to Reeds Peak can be done as a circuit which normally takes about 4 hours.

 CLASSIC LAKE RHONA

CLASSIC LAKE RHONA

 BACK AT THE BEACH

BACK AT THE BEACH

 LOOKING DOWN AT THE VALE OF RASSELAS

LOOKING DOWN AT THE VALE OF RASSELAS

The walk from the car park to Lake Rhona and back is a 28km round trip. It is best done over 3 days which allows for the Reeds Peak circuit on the second day.

 HEADING BACK - DENISON RANGE ON OUR RIGHT

HEADING BACK - DENISON RANGE ON OUR RIGHT

Just make sure you have checked out the weather report for the next few days before you cross the Gordon River.

Ken