BLINKING BILLY TO HINSBY BEACH: PART 6: GRANGE BEACH

I Thought I Recognised You!

I had to boulder hop around Cartwright’s point because between cliff and river the rocks grow larger (I wondered why) and for a moment I was stopped by (and confused by) a fallen eucalypt, aged and bleached, that I had to navigate. These are boulders seabirds retire to when they want to simply relax and stare out across the river. I saw two or three, but it was clear from the guano on their favourite boulders that this area is a regular haunt.

Approaching Grange Beach -eucalypt
The waves reclaim: Unsupported by the cliffs, great trees fall

There was one more enormous boulder I had to walk around, a boulder that protects its secret from the northerly winds – and then I was there, in the tiny cove that I remembered.

First glimpse of Grange Beach

You would have no idea that at the bottom of leafy Grange Avenue below the Channel Highway (down past Mary’s Grange retirement village and just past the little grassy island in the road between the two cul de sacs) there is a path to a beach – except that a sign, seemingly disconnected to anything around it, says No Dogs. That’s when you notice that what you assumed was a garden path actually provides access to a beach.

The northern path to Grange Beach
The northern way

For most Hobartians there’s no real reason to wander down this road and the locals seem to keep the presence of the beach a secret. I hadn’t heard of it before but it had been an exhilarating discovery the previous week when I was sniffing around the streets of Taroona looking for access points to the shoreline.

That day I had walked a little tentatively down that path that leads to a numbered garden gate and was relieved to discover that another path diverged to the right. It was picturesque and I was taking photos of its loveliness and the surprise of being surrounded by garden when my iPhone died. I could hear the crash of waves but they were hidden by a hedge as I walked down the short, steep steps and I was literally on the beach before I could see what I thought was the cove’s full extent. The northern view was hidden behind huge boulders but to the south about midway along the ribbon of pebbles between the water and the bush I could make out a waypoint, also a recent discovery, further to the south.

Looking north up Grange Beach
Looking north up Grange Beach

The waves that day had been surprisingly large and vigorous. I had stood on the sand and laughed. How amazing! Another beach discovered, perfect for a beach umbrella and a good book in the summertime, within 20 minutes of home.

Arriving on the beach again I saw that it had changed with the tide and was a little longer than I’d originally taken it to be because it extended south to two boatsheds I hadn’t taken much notice of on my previous visit. I walked the small beach and paused to regard them. A rivulet, no doubt called Grange Rivulet, entered the beach beside them and I walked up it a little way to clarify my location. I was at the bottom of the southern cul de sac off Grange Road and I saw that a path diverted up to the top of the cliffs behind the beach. I would be coming back!

Grange Rivulet
It’s a short distance from the source to the river but the rivulet wears a concrete corset
Looking down the south path to Grange Beach
The southern way: the path over Grange Rivulet, down to the beach

In front of me was another long, narrow pebble strip. I could see two men a little further along and at the far end I had a clear view of Taroona High School and so I set off again wondering what my next surprise would be but also quite disappointed that I was nearing the end of my route – I had arranged to be picked up at the High School.

South from Grange Beach
The long view south

The two men on the rock turned out to be fishers. From their accents I could tell that they were new arrivals to the country, perhaps refugees. The fishing was not good, but they said they came here quite often to fish, and just a little further on I was surprised to see their family group – the mothers and the children, sitting and playing on the rocks. Perhaps they are the people who have so beautifully decorated an old dead tree with bleached shells.

The shell tree and fisher
Tree of Shells
The geology of the Grange cliffs
Friable cliff face near Grange Beach

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