Another short day with a couple of side trips to spectacular D'Alton, Fergusson and Hartnett waterfalls.
Distance: 9.6km Time: 3.5-4.5 hours Terrain: Undulating, with gradual ascent and descent over Du Cane Gap. Mainly rainforest walking. Track Surface: Almost entirely natural surface (with tree root, gravel, rock or mud base), with some small amounts of cordwood and duckboard. Today is rainforest and waterfall day. Initially the track passes through buttongrass, but soon you’ll be immersed in rainforest as you skirt the lower slopes of Castle Crag. Below you, unseen from the main track, the Mersey River crashes through chasms and plunges over cliffs. About an hour into the walk, you’ll break out of the forest into a small clearing, where you’ll find Du Cane Hut, built in 1910 by Paddy Hartnett, a snarer, miner and bushman. You’re welcome to take a look inside, but its overnight use is only permitted in emergencies. A little further on, you’ll come to the track junction marking the first side trip down to see D’Alton and Fergusson Falls – the latter named after Ranger “Fergy” – the first ranger in the south end of the park. Hartnett Falls – the tallest of the three – is a little further on, off another track junction. You can leave your pack at the track junctions to explore the falls. They’re all well worth a visit. Back on the main track, you’ll swing west and begin a gradual climb to Du Cane Gap – the saddle between the Traveller Range and the Du Cane Range. When you cross over the gap and start a steep descent, you’ll be entering the bowl-like cirque of the Du Cane Range, sculpted by glaciers thousands of years ago. Once the canopy starts to open out and eucalypts begin to appear, you’re close to camp: Windy Ridge and Bert Nichols Hut – a stunning location almost totally encircled by the spectacular Du Cane Range. OPTIONAL SIDE TRIPS D’Alton and Fergusson Falls Gradual descent through rainforest to both waterfalls. Beware of slippery tracks and sheer drop-offs at the top of the falls. Distance: 1km return Time: 1 hour return Grade: Easy Hartnett Falls Gradual descent to the top of the falls. A narrow, rough track leads along the cliff edge to the base of the falls. Beware of slippery track and sheer drop-off at top of falls. Distance: 1.5km return Time: 1 hour return Grade: Easy (to top of falls)