The Hobart

Mountain Rambling: Exploring the Organ Pipes Track

by Elizabeth Osborne
Mountain Rambling: Exploring the Organ Pipes Track

A favourite walk on kunanyi/Mount Wellington is the Organ Pipes Track to The Chalet, via the Pinnacles Track. This walk starts at The Springs. The track has a well-formed surface. Some gradual climbing is required, but this is not overly challenging. The views vary from overlooking the city centre and surrounding settlements, to spectacular long views of the Derwent Estuary. 

As we walked, we observed the varied vegetation created by the diversity of micro climates. The track took us first through eucalypt forest, then as we ascended to a higher altitude, the subalpine woodlands gave way to more exposed dolerite rocks and less dense woodlands. In sheltered places, softly trickling streams are surrounded by ferns, lichens and mosses. 

We paused on the Pinnacle Track at the memorial to Joseph Mark Richards, who died whilst competing in a race to the Pinnacle in 1903; a reminder of the dangers of rapidly changing mountain weather. 

After a reasonably steady climb for some 2km, we turned onto the Organ Pipes Track, winding through large boulders and over ancient rock falls. The red, pink, and white berries of cyathodes glaucea (cheeseberry shrub) glowed among the rocky slopes.

We felt the chill of the approaching winter when a thin mist covered the mountain. Then, the sun broke through, the clouds lifted, and the dramatic dolerite columns high above us were revealed in all their raw beauty. Far below, mist lay in the valleys of the distant river. We felt we had the world at our feet, invigorated by the fresh mountain air.

We walked on to the shelter of The Chalet to enjoy our morning tea. After a short break, we retraced our steps to The Springs, exhilarated by the mountain wilderness, high above the bustle of the city.

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July 2024

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