Winter atop Mount Wellington

Mountain light is a special kind of light that is like nothing you’ll see at lower altitudes. It has this ethereal glow and quality that’s just breathtaking and of course makes photographers very happy indeed. Having previously only nibbled on the lower slopes of kunanyi, I was super excited when our Catalan friends offered to drive us up there after we had enjoyed a lovely brunch at Mount Nelson Signal Station.

You can see Mount Wellington from almost everywhere in Hobart, it dominates the skyline and looks oh so inviting every time I gaze up at it. With the recent cold snap, Mount Wellington had been coated in snow for several days but the view from below gave little indication of the extent of that snow coverage. To us lowly ground dwellers it just looked like a light coating of icing sugar on top of a cake.

The drive up to the summit revealed the extent of it however as car after car drove past us, snow piled atop their bonnets or falling off with each bump in the road. As we drove higher and higher the air grew thinner, colder and the light started taking on that magical mountain glow. Glimpses of the summit between the trees revealed a rather heavy presence of snow, glimpses which became more frequent as we approached the top. The gum trees began to give way to hardier species adapted for colder climes, thick gorse like vegetation became the norm and then almost instantly there was snow at the sides of the road and trapped in the leaves and branches of the vegetation. The snow grew thicker and the road surface turned to ice in the little corners untouched by the wheels of cars.

It was a sunny Sunday, the final day of the Dark Mofo festival, following a few grey dreary days in Hobart. Needless to say the drive up to Mount Wellington was proving to be a popular activity that day and the car park at the summit was close to bursting point. We found a spot after a brief wait and excitedly hopped out of the car to explore our surroundings (play in the snow). Myself and Niall immediately set about finding the best angles and scenes to photograph while Sinéad and the Catalans began an impromptu snowball fight. They may well be Post-Doctoral Analytical Chemists but that doesn’t matter when you’re faced with a whole mountain full of fresh snow, it’s time to have fun!

All around us there were families and friends enjoying the snow and taking in the amazing views. Hobart looked like a tiny little village down below, the steam from the various industries further up the Derwent estuary looked like mere camp fires. The summit offers commanding views of the whole area and for those not wanting to bear the brunt of the cold alpine air there’s a nice heated viewing building with benches to sit down on and take in the view. With the heavy snowfall it was possible to walk pretty much anywhere you wanted around the summit however I can’t wait to see it in the Summer months where I’m sure it will be a very different picture and the possible routes between the rocks and foliage will be far fewer.

It was a perfect way to end an afternoon which still promised so much more with the final night of Dark Mofo ahead of us. That’s what Sundays should be all about, hanging out with friends and doing activities together. Although sitting in and having a nice cup of tea and watching your favourite shows or playing games is fun too 🙂

The signs of a thaw were already showing as we made our way back to the car.
The signs of a thaw were already showing as we made our way back to the car.
I was fascinated by these wind blown formations of icy snow on the exposed rocks following the direction of the wind.
I was fascinated by these wind blown formations of icy snow on the exposed rocks following the direction of the wind.
The top of the broadcast tower complete with lightning conductors and wind reduction accessories. A must in such harsh conditions.
The top of the broadcast tower complete with lightning conductors and wind reduction accessories. A must in such harsh conditions.
Looks good enough to eat.
Looks good enough to eat.
The snow wasn't super thick but still enough to give the area a decent covering.
The snow wasn’t super thick but still enough to give the area a decent covering.
A tough plant managed to shake off most of its snowy covering.
A tough plant managed to shake off most of its snowy covering.
It really is such a surreal landscape in the snow.
It really is such a surreal landscape in the snow.
The summit of a distant peak looms out beyond the clouds below.
The summit of a distant peak looms out beyond the clouds below.
Hohoho hearty chuckle :)
Hohoho hearty chuckle 🙂
Downtown Hobart's as seen from the summit of Mount Wellington.
Downtown Hobart’s as seen from the summit of Mount Wellington.
Wrest Point Casino juts out beyond the low lying houses of Sandy Bay.
Wrest Point Casino juts out beyond the low lying houses of Sandy Bay.
Looking SE towards South Arm and the Tasman peninsula beyond.
Looking SE towards South Arm and the Tasman peninsula beyond.
The Tasman bridge stretches across the Derwent estuary connecting the city with the eastern shore.
The Tasman bridge stretches across the Derwent estuary connecting the city with the eastern shore.
Be sure to wrap up warm when visiting Mount Wellington.
Be sure to wrap up warm when visiting Mount Wellington.
A group of visitors takes in the amazing views from one of the platforms overlooking Hobart.
A group of visitors takes in the amazing views from one of the platforms overlooking Hobart.
Snow covered foreground rocks, a hill, another hill, another hill, and another hill, and another, and.....the scenery in Tasmania just keeps going, it's phenomenal.
Snow covered foreground rocks, a hill, another hill, another hill, and another hill, and another, and…..the scenery in Tasmania just keeps going, it’s phenomenal.
With winds regularly reaching tornado levels and temperatures plunging well below zero in the Winter, only the hardiest of organisms can survive up here.
With winds regularly reaching tornado levels and temperatures plunging well below zero in the Winter, only the hardiest of organisms can survive up here.
A lady ventures back down the mountain, layer after layer of hills before her.
A lady ventures back down the mountain, layer after layer of hills before her.
That light!! That fog! That scenery! That......aaaaah!! *head explodes*
That light!! That fog! That scenery! That……aaaaah!! *head explodes*
And the award for worst snowman 2015 goes to.......
And the award for worst snowman 2015 goes to…….
A father prepares to launch a snow ball at one of his kids.
A father prepares to launch a snow ball at one of his kids.
Just magical, setting sun+mountain=happy James
Just magical, setting sun+mountain=happy James
Everywhere you looked there was another amazing scene before you.
Everywhere you looked there was another amazing scene before you.
The concrete broadcasting tower which was erected in 1995 sends out the signals for the local TV and radio stations.
The concrete broadcasting tower which was erected in 1995 sends out the signals for the local TV and radio stations.
The walkway which people would usually use to get around the summit.
The walkway which people would usually use to get around the summit.
Niall lining up his next shot.
Niall lining up his next shot.
The plants on the summit are almost completely lost in their snowy blankets.
The plants on the summit are almost completely lost in their snowy blankets.
From certain angles it could easily be Antarctica, albeit somewhat warmer.
From certain angles it could easily be Antarctica, albeit somewhat warmer.
I really liked this feature of rocks sticking out above the surrounding area.
I really liked this feature of rocks sticking out above the surrounding area.
Hobart and beyond.
Hobart and beyond.
Bless this rock in particular.
Bless this rock in particular.
Icing covered chocolate? Nope that's a snow covered mountain.
Icing covered chocolate? Nope that’s a snow covered mountain.

2 thoughts on “Winter atop Mount Wellington

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