Raglan Range and Flat Bluff: 18-21 April 2019

Raglan Range and Flat Bluff GPS route

In doing some research for a trip out to Mary, Maude and Madge, I went in search of some photos I’d taken from the area during a trip to the Raglan Range and Flat Bluff. But I couldn’t find them here, and eventually realised I’d never written up the trip. So this is one very short post that should give you a rough idea of what the terrain was like, but I’m afraid there won’t be much fat around the bones because I can’t remember the little details (I imagine many of you are sighing with relief about now!). 

It seems we went in late on Easter Thursday, probably because we spent the morning packing and driving up. We parked at the Nelson River Falls carpark (thankfully, and you’ll find out why at the end of the post!), and hit the track at about 3pm. We picked our way across the River, taking time to keep our feet dry, and then wove through the very overgrown road. As we gained height the road was much less overgrown, but increasingly steep. I remember travelling slowly enough, finding our walking legs and lungs. 

Start of the track, just after the river crossing, looking back towards the road. Needless to say, there is no bridge. Apparently that makes it dangerous!
Heading up we start to get views, it had been a rainy morning but the sun was trying and it was quite nice!
Part of the road. At times it was much more open and gravelly underfoot. It was only really overgrown down low.

We didn’t have too much of a plan, and ended up deciding to camp at a flat spot by an old ruin because we weren’t going to make the summit of Raglan range before it got dark and we weren’t in any rush. This also gave us time to explore the ruins and take a few photos. 

Some of the ruins near where we camped.
An old drum
More ruins
Random machinery, no longer workable
It was clear that lots of drinking had been done here!

The next morning we had a lazy start, setting off at about 9:30. We still had a fair bit of climbing to do to get to the summit, but it seemed easier, still on the road. We didn’t stay long, keen to get further along the ridge to set up a high camp, and then duck over to Flat Bluff. We did just this, choosing to camp bang in the middle of the road at the intersection between the ridges to Flat Bluff and Wards Bluff. We then had all afternoon to eat lunch and wander over to Flat Bluff, which was a lovely walk with amazing views towards Frenchmans Cap. I don’t remember any nasty surprises in regards to the terrain

It was nice to have the views start to open up as we gained more height!
There were lots of stags, this one looking north-east towards Lake St Clair.
And then Frenchmans appears!
The view from the summit of Raglan Range, looking west. You can see how obvious the road is here.
High camp at the intersection between the ridges to Flat Bluff, Wards Bluff and Raglan Range. Not a bad view west!
Heading out to Flat Bluff, Graham weaves between low scrub. That’s the bluff to the left, pretty open going.

On the rather flat summit we had a bit of a look at routes towards Mount Mary and shared a chocolate Easter Bunny I’d been given – I figured we should have a little bit of Easter seeing it was that time of year ;). We wandered on back to the tent, and enjoyed dinner as the sun set. Nothing speccy, but nice all the same.

In the saddle leading to Flat Bluff there’s a lot of dead stags. Imagine what it would have been like!
Flat Bluff is exactly that…FLAT. There’s Frenchman’s from the cairned high point. We ate a chocolate Easter bunny and decided to wander out to the edge…
Checking out Frenchman’s Cap from the southern edge of Flat Bluff. Nice view. Mt Mary to the right… another day for her.
Frenchman’s Cap and a work colleague in the sky!
Mount Mary. Looks like you should be able to find an ok route through there.

The following day we had our eyes set on Wards Bluff, but it wasn’t to be. After a bit of a pad and then some old roads, we hit the scrub and the going was just awkward along the broken ridge. We realised we weren’t going to get there and I vaguely remember just not feeling it. I think we were both pretty tired from accumulated work and not enough rest, and so it was no surprise we only got 10km in 8 hours. We decided we’d come back again better prepared (it’s still on the list too!). On the return Graham made a new friend with a lone pandani. He reckoned it was a good dance partner, and it certainly wouldn’t take much to be better than me in that respect!

Not a great photo, but you get the gist of the ridge to Ward’s Bluff. A little broken and scrubby.
Fascinating the stuff you find in the bush! This was on the way to Wards Bluff.
Walking home from Wards Bluff, Graham with his new found friend!

Our final day was an easy 3.5 hours back down the road and out to the car, which wouldn’t start. This was, however, one of the rare occasions we were parked in a tourist carpark, and we found someone who was kind enough to spend 10-15mins to charge up the battery with jump leads. There were plenty of very remote places we could have been, that would have meant a very long walk out!!

All up:

Day 1: 5.4km, 4hrs, 506m ascent

Day 2: 12.1km, 8hrs, 684m ascent

Day 3: 10.1km, 8:11hrs, 581m ascent

Day 4: 9.8km, 3:38hrs, 115m ascent