After reading through the Lonely Planet’s account of Hobart, I decided that my first full day out of New Zealand should be spent climbing Mt. Wellington. I figured it was the most appropriate thing. In fact, on the way to the start of the trails I saw an All Blacks flag. It was sweet (extremely bold in a land of the Wallabies).
This morning I got up bright and early and ran for the bus, barely making it. I climbed aboard and told the driver where I wanted to go – halfway up Mt Wellington in Fern Tree. She then proceeded to wind her way through small neighbourhoods and up along small roads (seriously, I couldn’t believe the bus made it up). She then dropped me off, all alone beside a tavern.
There were multiple trails to take, but being a loyal Lonely Planet follower, I chose their Fern Grove > Radford > Pinnacle > Zig Zag route.
Although I knew that I would be climbing up, up, up a mountain, I was soooooo not physically prepared to climb up, up, up a mountain. I had all the appropriate gear – hiking boots, thick jacket, plenty of food and water, but I didn’t have the right muscles.
Luckily, however, I was completely alone, so I could curse as much as I wanted, trip, talk to myself, huff and puff and most importantly – stop and sit down whenever I felt like it.
After 45 minutes of hating myself, I reached a toilet/parking area. There was one guy in a ute sitting there and all I could think was – he’s going to murder me. So I walked around the toilet, not going in until someone stopped too. Then I went in really fast and took off back up the mountain.
What I didn’t realise is that the first 45 minutes could be considered the “fun” part. The rest of it was almost completely vertical. And in the sun. And rocky. But, about 10 minutes in to this part of the track, I finally saw why I was killing myself (see below).
And it only got better…
I had originally intended on going down the way I came up, but somewhere around the 4 billionth zig zag (the track was more aptly named than you’d believe), I turned around and stared down at the way I came and decided there was no way I would make it back that way alive. After all, I almost fell down multiple times.
When I finally reached the top. I decided I would hitch-hike for the first time ever. I went to the viewing platform and while paying attention to the sights, I started sizing up candidates. Hmm, doesn’t speak English. Nope, scariest man I’ve ever seen. Oh, I could ride with them – they’re very attractive. Then I turned around and saw the Mt Wellington bus and decided instead to pay the $15 to go back down.
My walk to the top took 2 hours. I was pretty damn proud of myself, and got quite a few “Good on ya”s from the men in the shuttle bus. – Jennifer