No, this isn’t a blog post about David Collins, the founding Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of Van Diemens Land and his foray into wearing lady’s headwear..It’s about a wonderful jaunt up the mountain named after him. Collins Bonnet forms part of Sleeping Beauty, which is an area of Wellington Park that from Huonville looks like…..well…..Sleeping Beauty. Collins Bonnet forms the head while Trestle Mountain across the valley forms the bosom.
Anyway, enough of weird pseudo personification of mountains, on with the adventure! There’s a few ways to get to the summit and we went with the route from near the top of Mount Wellington. The trail begins at the start of the Big Bend Trail before heading on to the main Collins Bonnet trail. Along the way you go through some really cool changes in scenery, vegetation and the ground around you. There were a few sketchy parts with a spot of snow still lying around along the trail making for a few slips and skids…..which of course only adds to the fun. My favourite part was just after we turned onto the Collins Bonnet trail. The groundwater had swelled up and there was a fair amount of rock hopping while trying not to slip and fall into the water.
The Big Bend trail is quite wide and well maintained, as is the last stretch on the E W Trail before the final path to the top. Although it’s easy to walk along these kinds of trails, they do tend to take away a bit from that sense of being out in the wilderness. Kind of like the Organ Pipes track on Mount Wellington which eventually runs out onto Pinnacle Road with cars driving to the top. “Aaaaah breathe in that nature and sereni……what the fu…….” was my feeling on first doing that trail. It’s still an awesome track though and I’m looking forward to checking out the recent repairs they made.
Anyhoodle, back to el Bonneto del Collins…..Following on from that fun bit of rock hopping, the track comes out onto a flat plain with raised duckboards offering the first special views of the hike. From here the track starts to climb up Mount Connection which is like a little speed bump in the middle of the half pipe between Wellington and Collins Cap….if that makes sense?
Reaching the summit of Mount Connection, we got our first glimpse of Collins Bonnet and boy was it a good one! We could see the snow sprinkled (at least it looked like a sprinkle from this distance) summit with another wide trail leading up towards the top. The descent from Mount Connection down into the next valley was a little bit dodgy in parts. Thankfully there’s plenty of trees to provide that extra point of contact to help you down to safety.
Before we reached that second “easier” track we had a bit of a bush bash as the trail closed in a bit and there was another spot of watery stepping stone action. The last stretch although nice and open was a bit of a slog as the snow was thick…ish on the ground and the incline was a little steeper. Finally we reached the last last final stretch (I promise) which had a warning sign to say that the climb to the top was not to be taken lightly. The way is clearly marked with lovely big sticks that have shiny orange arrows on them.
The snow was rather thick indeed heading up the summit and my decision to leave the gaiters at home seemed to be the wrong one 🙂 Oops! There were a few knee-deep moments as we climbed to the top and had to put our faith in the carpet of white below. You couldn’t tell if there was a rock below or a crevasse in between rocks. It made for a bit of a challenging last couple of hundred meters but super fun all the same.
Finally we made it the top. BOOM!!!!!! That’s what mother nature did when you reached the summit and no longer had to stare at your feet. The view……..the view the view the view!! Holy S**t it was amazing! The pictures below do it absolutely no justice whatsoever. You could see for miles in every direction, many of the peaks we’ve climbed in recent months were visible either close by or on the far horizon, it was so awesome. Awesomely cold that is! Technically we are in Spring now but Winter has not yet relinquished its icy grip on Tasmania.
We didn’t stay too long on the summit as the light was beginning to fade and we had the 7.5km return journey ahead of us. Looking back towards Mount Wellington from Collins Cap, it looked like a loooonnnng way away. When you’re with good people though, the meters just fall away and you’re back at base before you know it. This was such a good hike, really unexpectedly impressive views and a variety that just makes it that bit more fun. Collins Cap next anyone?