South Coast Track conditions in Jan

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South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby ambling » Sat 23 Nov, 2019 4:28 pm

Hi folks,

I'll be doing my first long walk in Tassie in early Jan (with a fairly large group) - walking the South Coast Track from Melaleuca to Cockle Creek.

I know to expect a lot of mud but I'm wondering what is likely in terms of rain and cold. I keep reading warnings of the changeable weather and the possibility of days of persistent rain and sudden cold. Is this to be expected in January? Should I be assuming it could rain for the week?

I'm considering getting a much more heavy duty rain jacket but I don't know if this is overkill. I use an Aarn pack with front pockets so I'm wondering about the Water Wizard jacket/poncho system as a bit of 'bombproof' rainwear.

Any insight on the track would be great.
Thanks
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby Warin » Sat 23 Nov, 2019 5:58 pm

I have had snow in Hobart on Xmass day. I'll admit it did not stay on the ground, but it was snow.

Go prepared for rain and sun.

Have a read https://www.abc.net.au/science/articles ... 038604.htm
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby north-north-west » Sat 23 Nov, 2019 7:03 pm

The weather could do anything. Rain, wind, hail, cloud, sun, hot, cold, dry, humid, you name it and there's a good chance it will happen. So make sure whatever you take can cope with all that.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby vagrom » Sat 23 Nov, 2019 9:44 pm

People always mention the Ironbounds so gird your loins for them - high, miserable and often fogged out and a long way down the other side. There used to be a labrynthine bog leading to Deadman's. Don't know if that's improved.
Otherwise, a great walk. The last, South Cape Range is famously rooty in parts and so be careful. Being at sea level most of the way solves the cold bit and you'll have the wind and rain at your back.
It's Tassie's #2 long walk. I guess you've checked out Youtube - lots of good Tassie stuff.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby philm » Sun 24 Nov, 2019 9:02 am

We walked the same track in Feb 2019. It was warm and dry but even then there was mud, although nowhere near as bad as it can be. I took an AARN Natural Balance with front pockets and it went well. I would skip the poncho as on part of the track you are moving between trees, bending down etc. so a poncho would not be the best. I'd suggest just a good hardshell jacket. We did the track over 6 nights 7 days and I would say this was short as it did not really allow us a rest day or to do side trips like to Louisa Bay (which is meant to be good). We went to Osmiridium Beach camp but it was not great so pushed on to Surprise Bay which was one of the best camps we had. Go prepared for any weather.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby Joynz » Sun 24 Nov, 2019 10:42 am

If you do get the water wizard, it would be great to post a gear review.

The concept is really interesting - looks like more of a combo coat with sleeves & pack cover rather than a traditional poncho. And a perfect fit for the Aarn packs...
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby ambling » Sun 24 Nov, 2019 5:40 pm

Thanks for the replies.

north-north-west wrote:The weather could do anything. Rain, wind, hail, cloud, sun, hot, cold, dry, humid, you name it and there's a good chance it will happen. So make sure whatever you take can cope with all that.

That answers it then! I tend towards over preparing for contingency sake but it sounds like this one really does warrant preparing for all possible weather events.

philm wrote:I would skip the poncho as on part of the track you are moving between trees, bending down etc. so a poncho would not be the best. I'd suggest just a good hardshell jacket.

Joynz wrote:If you do get the water wizard, it would be great to post a gear review.

The concept is really interesting - looks like more of a combo coat with sleeves & pack cover rather than a traditional poncho. And a perfect fit for the Aarn packs...


Yeah the water wizard is rather more jacket-like than traditional poncho. I like the idea of rainwear on the outside of my pack (having both front pockets and backpack with the Aarn) as I find wearing a jacket underneath (currently a marmot precip) to be both annoying to get on and off in changeable weather and very sweaty, therefore damp.

I'll definitely post a review if I get one.
Here's a few links if anyone's interested in it: https://www.aarnpacks.com/products/wate ... mall-large
This shows it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msBYZG9mppE

We've allowed ourselves 8-9 days for the walk, including rest day, as we've got a pretty mixed-ability group and would rather have the option to take it slow. Current draft itinerary is as follows, keeping open the possibility of condensing two short days together in the second half:
1. Melaleuca to Point Eric
2. Point Eric to Louisa River
3. Louisa River to Little Deadman's Bay
4. Rest day at Little Deadman's Bay
5. Little Deadman's to Prion Boat Crossing
6. Prion to Osmiridium Beach
7. Osmeridium to Granite Beach
8. Granite Beach to South Cape Rivulet
9. South Cape Rivulet to Cockle Creek
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby north-north-west » Sun 24 Nov, 2019 6:17 pm

Prion to Osmiridium is not even a half day, even allowing for the jungle gym section east of Milford Creek. But Osmiridium itself is a lovely little place and ideal for bludging around enjoying the weather, whatever it's like.

There's really only one long hard slog in your itinerary, and that's Louisa to Little Deadman's. The Ironbounds tend to cop the worst of whatever hits the coast there and it's an unrelenting uphill bash followed by an equally unrelenting downhill slither. Makes the South Cape Range look like a stroll. If the weather's really bad at Louisa, it's best to wait there and give it a chance to ease off before going over.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby IDP » Mon 25 Nov, 2019 7:46 am

Another alternative is spending a night at Louisa Bay (i.e. Point Eric to Louisa Bay on day 2). Although this makes day 3 (Louisa Bay to Louisa River) incredibly short, Louisa Bay is a beautiful and quiet location; spending the full morning there on day 3 exploring the beach and the stunning views to the islands before moving on to Louisa River is well worthwhile.

Personally I would push on to Osmiridum Beach from Little Deadmans Bay rather than stop at Prion. You will still have the afternoon to enjoy Osmiridum Beach that afternoon and the next morning if you wish as the walk from Osmiridium to Granite is reasonably short. Note that the water source at Osmiridium can be a little stagnant if it has been dry for a while.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby philm » Mon 25 Nov, 2019 8:21 am

Yes I would recommend Louisa Bay for a day. I would give Osmiridium a miss and head to Surprise Bay. The water at Osmiridium was shocking when we were there and I don’t rate it. Others may disagree but I found this camp very average, so much so that we walked in and then left after having a look around.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby pazzar » Mon 25 Nov, 2019 10:09 am

I'd recommend staying at Surprise Bay too. It's by far my favourite campsite on the SCT.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby Orion » Mon 25 Nov, 2019 11:15 am

One time it was so hot at Little Deadman's we were just wilting, sitting there pretty much undressed, feet in a pool, out of our minds because it was just so dang hot, watching an also-too-hot Tiger snake swimming a few meters away... then the next day it was raining, windy, cold and we didn't even make it over the Ironbounds because we were concerned about hypothermia. We stopped partway up at a "dry" camp -- there was much water running that I simply collected liters of it from the trail.

The other thing to expect, I'm afraid, is crowds. But since you're bringing your own that may not be as big of a big concern. The first time I walked it there were so many people that it felt like a race to get to the next camp early enough to find a tent site. At one very crowded place I was awoken around midnight by the sound of someone taking a poo right in front of our tent.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby philm » Mon 25 Nov, 2019 11:50 am

No need for that as there are toilets at all the major camps!
We went in Feb and there was not many people on the track.
At a couple of spots along the track people had just dropped their pants and Done their business with no attempt to bury it or cover it up. You need to be careful where you collect water as some people can’t take care of the environment
On leaving Meleleuca we passed about 8 people heading in the opposite direction who had had days of rain and wind and looked the worst for it! In contrast we had a string of 25 degree days which was warm enough
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby slparker » Thu 28 Nov, 2019 10:52 am

I wore a driclime windshirt for much of the walk in January some years ago, found it ideal for the squally intermittent showers where taking a shell off an on can be a PITA; but of course you need a proper shell for incessant rain.
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby Ms_Mudd » Thu 04 Jun, 2020 1:07 pm

Out of interest, did you end up purchasing the Waterwizard Ambling?
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby ambling » Fri 05 Jun, 2020 4:17 pm

Ms_Mudd wrote:Out of interest, did you end up purchasing the Waterwizard Ambling?


Hi Ms Mudd,
I did purchase the Waterwizard. I meant to post about it but it slipped my mind post-hike :?

I haven't really put it through its paces as we only had one day of significant bad weather (which set in halfway up the ironbounds!), and otherwise for a rainy weekend hike at Gariwerd/Grampians.

I think it performed quite well in the circumstances. It's not perfect, like any piece of gear, but it suits my uses with the Aarn pack better than a regular jacket. Although it catches the wind somewhat it still stayed in place and drier than my companions on the Ironbounds who were struggling to keep their pack covers in the strong wind (a few of us ourselves got blown off the boardwalk a couple of times). It does occasionally get a bit of condensation on the inside but the full length side zips make it easy to vent. In changeable weather it's great to leave on the pack but open the jacket or take your arms out completely, the sleeves will just hang at your sides. I haven't yet got the knack of getting the pack off while keeping the jacket on, in which case if you need to access the main body of your pack in the rain you are left without jacket. But I probably just need to figure out how it works when I'm not freezing and hungry on top of a mountain :wink:

Let me know if you've got any specific questions about it.

Oh, and it certainly attracts a lot of commentary from other hikers and friends!!! And given the colour you're verrrrry easy to spot in the rain. Sort of like a fluoro green cow with udders up front! :lol:
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Re: South Coast Track conditions in Jan

Postby Ms_Mudd » Thu 11 Jun, 2020 2:49 pm

LOVE your description of looking like a fluro green cow. My husband has subbed the balance pockets 'boob bags' and I can see how a poncho fitting over it would accentuate that look. My nickname from my son is 'Big Blue Turtle' from a walk we did a few years ago where I wore my voluminous blue poncho. I may have been going verrrry slowly down some wet steep hills too which added to the names relevance.

Glad it performed well when you needed it. It is hard to really test rain gear isnt it? It gets used so infrequently.

I own ponchos, lightweight rain jacket (which I just tried to re-seal some dodgy seams today), heavier rainjacket and just have never been delighted with any of it. Everything seems to wet out eventually in heavy rain, or 'rain' on the inside from perspiration. My seam sealing was a mixed success I think today, so am in the market for another rain jacket. I found it a right royal pain in my rear taking my Aarn pack on and off for my rain shell in the snow/rain last week as I needed to take my gloves off too each time. In the end, I cracked out my six moon designs carbon umbrella even though it was windy as can be, just because I did not want to put my rain shell on and potentially off again.

Perhaps there is no one really good solution to rain, but maybe, just maybe big green cow may work.
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