Failed attempt at reaching the Devil’s Gullet

Can I play in the snow?

Playing in snow. That was the simple request from Ronin on this cold and wet June Tasmanian day.

While the temperature was chilly that morning, we didn’t know if it was cold enough for snow to be found. But we headed out for a road trip anyway to see what we could discover.

We had been exploring the north west of Tasmania for the last few weeks. Checking out places like the Edge of the World and Trowutta Arch.

So today we decided to head east instead and see what new destinations Tasmania had to reveal.

Hand holding ice
Ice

Heading East

We headed east on the Bass Highway until we reached Devonport where we turned south towards the beautiful town of Sheffield.

Passing Mount Roland, we continued on our way to the town of Chudleigh. We had a brief stop in Chudleigh to investigate the Melita Honey Farm. Then continued towards Mole Creek to walk the Alum Cliff track.

We see snow!

It was getting late in the day and the weather was turning worse. But we could see snow capping the Great Western Tiers mountains off in the distance as we drove through Chudleigh. We just had to work out how to reach it.

Knowing the Devil’s Gullet was high up on the Great Western Tiers plateau and would be our best chance to see snow that day. We headed in that direction.

Waterfall halfway up the Great Western Tiers in Tasmania
Waterfall halfway up the Great Western Tiers

We need a 4WD

We love our tiny Suzuki Alto. It’s perfect for long road trips. So cheap and economical on fuel. We had certainly put it through its paces over the years. But the road up to the Devil’s Gullet put it to the test.

The road ends with 14 kilometres of steep bumpy snow covered unsealed road with plenty of potholes. Not the best conditions for a tiny 998cc 3-cylinder front wheel drive vehicle to tackle, but she’s never let us down before.

Dirty Suzuki Alto
One very dirty Suzuki Alto

Our ascent up the mountain was long and slow. Stuck in second gear doing 20 kilometres an hour the whole way. The snow and ice slush was so high it was scraping the underside of the car and traction was becoming an issue.

The higher we got, the thicker the snow, ice and mud covering the road became. But after what seemed like forever, our nail biting mountain climb was over. We had made it to the top!

Mud and ice covered road
Slippery muddy icy road

Dangerous footings

The sunlight was fading and the weather was becoming worse. Dark clouds were heading our way and with them, the possibility of more rain.

After a quick debate, and considering how far we had come, we decided to attempt the walk to the Devil’s Gullet.

We headed out across the walkway over the snow covered plateau and began the climb up the rock staircase.

The rock stairs were coated in about an inch of ice and the walk was dangerously slippery and slow.

Ice coated stairs
Ice coated stairs

After one to many close calls and some expensive camera equipment at risk, we decided that we wouldn’t be conquering the Devil’s Gullet that day and abandoned the walk.

We turned back and began the painfully slow walk back down. Heading down was even harder than heading up.

Everyone had a few slips and close calls. Trying to stay upright on icy stone while also trying to keep a 4 year old safe was tough. Reaching the bottom took twice as long as our initial climb but eventually we reached the safety of the car park.

Snow covered car park
Snow covered car park

Next time

We began our way back home down the steep road, and with gravity on our side, the trip down was much quicker.

Our decision to leave turned out to be a wise move. The clouds rolled in, the rain began pounding down and darkness came in fast. Glad we got off the muddy icy road before it got any worse.

While we failed to complete our adventure, we did have a fun day in the snow and made Ronin very happy.

And we’ll be back to tackle the Devil’s Gullet another day.

Boy standing in snow
A very happy Ronin
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2 thoughts on “Failed attempt at reaching the Devil’s Gullet”

  1. What a champion that little Alto is. It never lets you down.
    Suzuki should totally get behind you and your adventures and upgrade you to something a bit bigger with a 4X4 option. Or set up a crowd funding website.
    Great story and pictures.

    • The Alto has certainly gone to some places it probably shouldn’t have gone. A little Suzuki 4X4 would be lovely! We could go to even crazier destinations.

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