Waking to a beautiful autumn day we were eager to be off exploring. Tasmanian weather is unpredictable from day to day regardless of season so we weren’t going to let this day slip by. With Jess, Fox and Ziggy in tow we headed off to explore the Styx Valley.
The Styx Valley is home to ancient gums with some more than 500years old gums still standing. Set in a temperate forest with undergrowth of myrtle trees and ferns the sheer height and girth of these giant timbers is astounding. The boardwalk and well formed dirt path of approximately 500mts makes for an enjoyable leisurely stroll in amongst the tall timbers that create a natural skyscraper. Google the Styx Valley to be appraised of the history and other attractions in this area.
In brief to get there from Hobart travel along the Lyall Hwy veering off to New Town. Drive through Westerway, passing by Mt Field National Park continue through Maydena until the turn off to the Styx Valley. From here just follow the gravel Gorden River Road to the car park. Be mindful of logging trucks still using this road. Most importantly keep an eye out for native wildlife that may be crossing the road.
Arriving at the car park we set off with a couple of excited girls ready for an adventure. Following the defined track we weaved our way amongst the giant trees pausing to marvel at their enormity in height and width. The undergrowth displaying its own beauty was damp despite the sunlight filtering through the branches. Craning our necks back in an attempt to see the blue sky through the canopy of branches we had to be mindful not to topple backwards. All five of us linked hands but had no chance of reaching around the girth of these massive giants. Sitting for awhile in the tranquility of nature we were entertained by birds whistling and fluttering about, the tree trunks and foliage displaying varied shades of green and brown, fallen leaves rustling along the ground as the branches above swayed in the gentle breeze. The difference in temperature, the fresh air that we inhaled, the silence and at times stillness when the breeze paused all added to an appreciation of nature in that moment. Pulling ourselves away we wandered down to the river. The river bank was overgrown with lush green ferns with a narrow track leading to the water edge. With shoes off and leggins rolled up Fox and Ziggy dipped their toes in the shallow water as they enjoyed floating sticks and sinking stones. Papa was kept busy keeping the supply of sticks and stones up. Ideally we could have combined a visit to Mt Field NP but we had lingered longer than planned at the Styx Valley. After a wonderful day we headed back to Hobart with two exhausted girls snoozing all the way home.
Normally we wander far and wide for weeks on end with all we need to survive in our backpacks but to introduce children especially our grandchildren to ‘nature’s playground’ where they can learn to appreciate our natural environment brings so much pleasure to us.
Until next yarn, happy hiking
Bernadette and Ian