White Timber Trail

Where: White Timber Trail and Jeffrey’s Track (Near Judbury, Tasmania (close to Hobart))
Permits: None
Costs: None
Difficulty: Hard (especially towing a trailer), Very Hard if there’s been a sniff of rain
Days required to do it justice: 1 day

Let’s face it, bitumen driving is boring. Everywhere we go we try our best to seek out a non-bitumen alternative and in Tasmania there are heaps of State Forest tracks which criss cross the island and provide, usually easy, back roads from A to B. After a trip to Australia’s most southern point, Cockle Creek, and being a little sick of following Grey Nomad caravans we decided to head up to New Norfolk on the back roads. We’d spotted two possible tracks, the White Timber Trail and Jeffrey’s Track. The total distance all up was 48km of forestry tracks and hey, they were named tracks so surely we’d be done in a couple of hours. We hit the trails at 10am….six hours later we were slowly rolling into New Norfolk…..

A nice easy forest drive

A nice easy forest drive

The White Timber Trail rises steeply out of Judbury to a very high 900m at the summit of White Timber Mountain. These tracks have existed since the early 1800s when they were used to link the Derwent and Huon Valleys. As we began the steady climb on the narrow gravel track we were chatting about how great it was to get off the main drag, let some air out of the tyres and have a little bit of a challenge when three Chinese backpackers on foot and with no car popped out of the bush in the middle of nowhere. Silence. WTF? Mentally trying to work out how we fit three lost Asians into our car, which has no back seats, we wound down the window: ‘have you seen bobby brown falls?’ they asked. ‘Erm, no’. We consulted our two fully comprehensive GPSs and saw nothing resembling falls big enough to attract foreigners for a multi-hour bushwalk. ‘They are here, my guide book says so’, the male of the group explained. After announcing they were a bit hungry and had been walking for 2.5 hours we suggested perhaps the best idea was to head back down the hill to their Ford Laser (left at the point the track turns to 4WD only). We checked they had enough water and waved farewell.

Getting steep

Getting steep

500m further up the hill we saw a tiny wooden sign on a tree: ‘Billy Brown Falls’. I sauntered back down the hill to let them know but they’d vanished into thin air. We ourselves paused, if the Chinese think these falls are worth a day’s walk maybe we should go and see them too? The best decision we made all day was to carry on driving. Ten minutes later we were winching the car up the side of a washed out hill and we later found out Billy Brown falls was a 3hr return walk…from the sign.

Riiight. Now how to we get a trailer up a collapsed piece of track

Riiight. Now how to we get a trailer up a collapsed piece of track

And so our adventure truly took off. It took us an hour to winch up the wash out. We then crawled up a steep, loose and slippery gravel hill which gradually flattened out and become almost driveable by a 2WD. ‘Pfft’, we thought. Easy. From round about then we spent the next five hours jumping in and out the car while negotiating deep ruts, muddy bogs, steep hills climbs with big boulders and huge descents that we’re pretty sure we wouldn’t get back up if we had to turn around. It’s a strange feeling when you’re having the 4WD adrenaline rush while hoping against hope there isn’t a showstopper of a muddy bog just around the next corner. At the top of the White Timber Trail we turned onto Jeffrey’s Track where the drama continued and the ruts got deeper until we descended into peaceful farmland on the outskirts of New Norfolk.

Winching up the hill

Winching up the hill

Winching up the hill

Winching up the hill

Keeping away from the mud

Keeping away from the mud

 

One

Deep breaths….One

Two

Two

Three....give it the berries!

Three….give it the berries!

Oh goody, more bog holes

Oh goody, more bog holes

We love tracks like these. We love the challenge. We are however also well equipped to tackle them. Without the trailer we’d have been through there in an hour but testing the trailer on this terrain was a fantastic experience.

DSC_5991

The weird thing is that it hasn’t rained here in a fair while. Can you imagine this track after a downpour! Lots of fun but maybe not with a trailer

DSC_5992

You can always tell someone has come to grief on a track when there’s random pieces of wood wedged in the boggy parts and little bits of mudflaps next to them.

DSC_5995

Easy does it

DSC_6000

This photo doesn’t show just how deep this ruts were. We had to straddle them carefully so as not to tip the van

DSC_5996

More rocky slopes

DSC_5994

Leave a Reply