A capital city nestled below an alpine mountain – it’s a rare beauty. Wilderness on a city doorstep. A pinnacle with beach views. A 20 minute car ride that can deliver serious wilds. Our mountain Godfather is an ever-present being, keeping watch. But who knew of Wellington’s richer secrets - a 1930s skate rink, toasty hot chocolate at The Springs and hidden huts with bath tubs.
A one hour wander becomes hours of intrepid exploring. But not like 1938 when the Hobart Walking Club set about constructing Luckman’s Hut – rumour has it that women were chief rock carriers back then. Today, we choose a more relaxed option and are handed a hot latte by a pair of Bentwood smiles. Meg and Chris have perched their vintage caravan on the mountain-side and in sunshine or snow deliver warm coffees to the hands of mountain wanderers. It is here that Pepper the pup whispers secrets of where hidden huts might be. We are unsure of where the network of trails might lead, or whether Pepper truly knows being just 12 weeks old.
We head in the direction of big bends, and with only a few wrong turns arrive at the Scout Hut. Little did we know this luxury two-storey dwelling would come with pseudo hammocks, outdoor tub, toasty fire and a precariously positioned chair for absorbing the valley views.
It’s rather spectacular and has all the trimmings of a mountain mansion. Questionable visitor entries suggest of chilly nights, white-outs, limited food supplies and thoughts of tucking into fellow walkers. No doubt, the hut holds many tales of survival.
Hut number two is tricky to find, like all good treasures. Armed with marshmallows and matches though, there is added incentive to find this log-fire dwelling. We head along Panorama Track, before venturing up what is best described as a wombat trail. Following a series of signature square droppings, like a good Hansel and Gretel tale, we arrive at Luckman’s Hut. And to double our luck there is a bottle of unopened beer at the front door. What more could a bushwalker want?
Not all things come easily to explorers though. Leaving the fire warmth, we encounter drifts of snow and chilly toes in search of a 1930s built ice-skating rink. Even a wallaby tries to point us in the right direction.
We ask fellow walkers, who smile and direct us to the Glenorchy skate rink, others shake their head in fascination and doubt of its existence. But if my research is correct, an ice-skating rink was built near the pinnacle, around the time that world war two was breaking out on the other side of the world. For some reason, it becomes an intriguing mission to see it. To think that a dedicated crew prepared a slab with lip design to hold in water that would turn to ice for pirouetting enjoyment.
As luck would have it, we do find the rink. Although it’s not Torvill and Dean standard (neither could swing the other without hitting a nearby shrub) it’s a glimpse into a fun-loving Hobart past. Of course, there are more huts to find and more secrets to reveal but the mountain stories will unravel over time.
As light drops and a shroud of mist blankets the pinnacle, we arrive just in time for a Bentwood muffin and serve it with bottled water direct from the waterfall further up. You may not find a Coopers Ale when visiting Luckman’s Hut but we assure you the ice-cool mountain spring water is always on tap.
Words and images: Alice Hansen (unless otherwise captioned)
P.S. We are dedicated to keeping some local secrets up the mountain but if you’d like to know more about locations of the above just get in touch through Tailored Tasmania and we’ll point you in the right direction.
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.