Author Topic: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version  (Read 21043 times)

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Offline Hangman

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2015, 02:10:11 PM »
Anita and I walked out to South Cape from Cockle Creek. Yes, some great views of the mountains still had snow on top in September. The walk is every bit 2 hours out, there was a family we passed on the way out who still had not got to the South Cape beach when we were returning , they would have been another hour away so the walk for them would have been 6 hours return.
"A martini. Shaken, not stirred"........... Goldfinger(1964)

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2015, 09:10:58 PM »
Anita and I walked out to South Cape from Cockle Creek. Yes, some great views of the mountains still had snow on top in September. The walk is every bit 2 hours out, there was a family we passed on the way out who still had not got to the South Cape beach when we were returning , they would have been another hour away so the walk for them would have been 6 hours return.
glad we didn't do that walk then...lol
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2015, 09:15:10 PM »
DAY 13 - MT FIELD / GORDON DAM

We wake to a nice morning today, our plan for the day is to do a 4wd track on the way to The Gordon Dam, then drive out to the dam itself and then back to camp from there. It's approximately a 100 kilometre drive from camp out to the Gordon Dam, and then you need to come all the way back again on the same road you went there on, so we'll be doing a bit over 200 klms driving today by the time you add in the detour of the 4wd track also. Before we can leave camp though, we need to visit the Rangers Station and get a key that unlocks the gate on the 4wd track we want to drive. The track is called The Saw Back Track, it's definately 4wd only and takes you through to the old mining town of Adamsfield, oh and by the way...you need to pay a $300 refundable deposit to get a key that unlocks the gate to gain access the track. The track is one way only and they limit the number of vehicles that can drive it at anyone time.
Brekky had and vehicles stocked for the days outing, we head over to the Rangers Station to get the key. There's a bit of paperwork to fill in before we get the key, they'll want your name and vehicle details and i think they might have wanted to know who were in the vehicles also. Jeff hands over his credit card and pays the refundable deposit, they actually only process the transaction if you don't return the key we get told as they take down the cards details. The lady taking our details and giving us the key isn't very helpfull on current track conditions, she's never been on the track before and calls for another Ranger to come and speak to us to help us out better. We get the run down on the track and it doesn't sound to bad from how the Ranger speaks of it, we mention we both are driving Landcruisers and running atleast 2 inches of lift (my vehicle has a 3" lift), and the Ranger says we'll be fine then. Aswell as the lift, both vehicles are runing front and back lockers aswell as a winch on the front bar, it's just a shame my winch doesn't actually work at the moment...you might recall i mentioned that back at the start...lol.
We get the key we need and head off towards The Gordon Dam on the Gordon River Rd. The track we plan to drive is about 32 klms past the small town of Maydena, it's the last place to get food and fuel until you return back here again, so keep that in mind. The drive starts off with the surrounding bushland blocking pretty much any views as you drive along the road, occasionally the trees disappear though, and you are then greeted with some pretty nice views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

THE START OF THE DRIVE TOWARDS GORDON DAM



OCCASIONALLY YOU'LL GET A CLEARING SHOWING SOME OF THE NICE VIEWS THE AREA HAS ON OFFER



It's an uneventful run to the start of the Saw Back Track, we stop a couple of times along the way to get pics, and Jeff and Sara manage to see an echidna at one of the spots they pull over at. At about the 32klm mark past Maydena, we turn right off the main road onto a small track which is the start of the Saw Back Track, you'll immediately see the locked gate infront of you, so when you pull up here it's the perfect time to air down and lock it in 4wd. We unlock the gate and proceed through it, immediately you'll notice there's not a lot of width to the track, so prepare yourself for some bush pin striping action.

SAW BACK TRACK







The start of the track is pretty easy going for the first kilometre, though as mentioned already the trees lining the track give the paint work on your vehicle a real hammering. If you're the type of person that hates scratches on their vehicle, then don't even consider driving this track. After about a kilometre the track starts to become a bit more muddy and you lose the hard base you've been driving on, there's some bigger holes starting to appear and the track starts to become a proper 4wd track. A few kilometres into the track and Jeff who is leading the way has become stuck, he's bottomed out in the centre of the track and going nowhere fast, his front and back lockers not helping at all. It's time to run the winch out and drag him up the hill, it doesn't look like a hard hill to drive actually but he's hung up and stuck fast. We run the cable out and find a suitable tree at the top of the small hill that Jeff is stuck on, we slowly drag the vehicle to the top and then it's my turn. Engaging both front and back lockers i tell the misses we should be right here, Jeffs spare tyre under his vehicle has been dragging on the high spots of the centre of the track in various places along the way, and this is what looks like he was hung up on a minute ago. A little bit of right foot....but not to much, and we have a crack at the hill....nup, no luck. I back out and give it another try with a touch more right foot this time....nope, no luck again. I tell Jeff i'll give it one more go, and if no luck this time we'll snatch it up the hill with his vehicle. I give it a 3rd attempt but still don't make it to the top this time either, i'm getting hung up on the diff centres here and need to be running atleast 35" tyres i reckon to get the clearance i need on the centre of the track. There is no choice of line to take here either, it's 2 wheel tracks with embankments on either side of you, so you either have the clearance or you don't, it's that simple. If i really wanted to flog the guts out of my vehicle i reckon i may have made it up this incline bouncing over the holes, but we are thousands of kilometres from home at the moment and still have another 4 weeks of holidays infront of us, so i didn't want to risk breaking something just to conquor a small muddy hill. I grab my snatch strap out and we hook it up to Jeffs vehicle, it's not long and i'm then over the last little rise i was hung up on. We are only at the start of the track and already wondering what the rest of it will be like from here on in, the Ranger back at the station said it should be pretty easy going for vehicles like ours, but we are starting to wonder when was the last time he actually drove this track to know the current condition of it. The track isn't hard 4wding by any means, it's just that the wheel ruts are so deep, we really need to be running bigger tyres to get the diff clearance we require.
We push on a touch further and before long Jeff is bogged once again, like last time he's hung up in the centre of the track, and it's time to break the winch out once again. We winch it free and now it's my turn to have a try, but just like the last spot i also get hung up in the centre of the track also, so we need to snatch it free once again. With both vehicles eventually at the top of the rise, we make the call to turn back and forget about doing the rest of this track. We have no idea what lies infront of us, and at the rate we are currently making headway at, it'll likely be night time by the time we reach the other end of this track. To be honset... if we were back at home driving this with a few of our mates in the 4wd club this would be a pretty fun track to drive, but here we are with our wives and kids onboard on holidays, and we're really not in the mood for trudging through the mud like we currently are and winching vehicles up slippery hills. We find a suitable spot to do a 10 point turn in (trust me there ain't many spots to turn around in here) and start heading back the wrong way on a one way track, we just hope nobody comes the other way as there just isn't anywhere to pass each other on this track in most places. Thankfully we get back to the gate without anyone coming the other way, the hills we got stuck on going up we slide down over going the opposite way, we unlock the gate once again and exit the track. If you have a vehicle running 35" tyres i reckon you'll go much better then we did on this track, if your running 33" tyres as we are, then you'll need plenty of right foot and a zero care factor about how hard you hit the humps and bumps to bounce through the holes...something we just weren't going to do ourselves.

TRACK STARTS OUT FINE, A TOUCH WET BUT A HARD BASE



TRACK IS OVERGROWN IN PLACES (not the worst of it pictured), SO YOU'LL GET SOME BUSH PIN STRIPING ALONG THE WAY



YOU CAN SEE JEFF HAS BEEN BOTTOMING OUT IN THE CENTRE OF THE TRACK AS HE GOES







NO PICS OF THE RECOVERIES SORRY TO SAY, WE WERE A BIT BUSY TRYING NOT TO SLIP OVER IN THE MUD...LOL

We lock the gate behind us as we leave and air our tyres back up again, we turn right back onto the Gordon River Rd and head towards Strathgordon. As you drive along the road it starts to open up more, the views along the way of the surrounding mountain ranges are getting pretty spectacular, so we stop to take a few more pics.

THE SENTINEL RANGE



Just before we reach Strathgordon we turn left to go check out a lookout that overlooks Lake Pedder, we plan to have lunch here but as we are taking a few pictures of the view, it starts to shower with rain. The view out over the lake below and of the mountain ranges in the distance is pretty spectacular, make sure you stop here to check it out for yourself. Lake Pedder is apparently Australia's largest freshwater lake and water catchment system, water from here can flow into the Gordon Dam through the McPartlan's Pass canal and as such it becomes a part of the Gordon power station.

LAKE PEDDER, AUSTRALIA'S LARGEST FRESH WATER LAKE AND CATCHMENT SYSTEM...this pic does it no justice at all, that's maybe a quarter of what you'll see out infront of you.



With light rain falling we give lunch the miss for the moment and head off towards the Gordon Dam once again. Passing through Strathgordon you could be mistaken looking at a map that it's a town where fuel and the like would be available, but this doesn't appear to be the case, it's just about a ghost town. Orginally built by Hydro Tasmania as a construction township for the workers damming Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon, Strathgordon nowadays is not much more then a popular spot for fisherman and bush walkers choosing to stay in the chalet or self-contained units that are to be found here. We pass straight through the township without stopping and drive the last 12 klms to the Gordon Dam. As we reach the hydro power plant that is located at the dam here, we notice an aweful lot of dead trees about the place. Iit takes a while for us to realise what has happened here, but we think the water level must be much lower then it normally would be at the moment, and what we are seeing is the trees that would normally be under water.
We pull up at the end of the road where it over looks the dam wall and hop out of our vehicles. The rain has stopped now so we take the opportunity to make a quick lunch, before then walking down a bucket load of stairs to walk along the top of the dam wall itself. The dam wall is 140 mtrs high and apparently holds back thirty times the amount of water of Sydney Harbour. Adrenalin junkies can even abseil down the dam wall for a cost of $210 (you need to book in a tour prior to do this, it's not a turn up and do thing, there's nobody out here most of the time), it's apparently the world's highest commercial abseil, so something to tick off your bucket list maybe. We walk the wall and take a few pics before starting the climb back up to the vehicles. As i go to climb the stairs back to our vehicle i notice another old concrete set of stairs coming down the rock wall to our left, and i wonder what used to be there once upon a time (a lookout maybe?). The drop from the last step there now is a substantial one, i doubt these concrete stairs are accessible by the public nowadays?

GORDON DAM





A GOOD TESTER FOR THE KNEES



PLENTY OF DEAD TREES ABOUT THE PLACE



OLD CONCRETE STAIRS



WATCH THAT LAST STEP, IT A DOOZEY AND DROPS OVER THIS



Back at the vehicles we start our drive back towards camp, we make a quick stop to check out the power station and i am surprised to read that 183 mtrs below the switch yard is where 13% of Tasmania's hydro electricity is being produced. Looking at the power station infront of us, it's hard to believe there's so much more buillt that far underground that we aren't seeing.

GORDON DAM HYDRO STATION



With the last of the afternoon fast getting away from us we head back towards camp, we stop off a few more times along the way to grab a few more pics and end up back at camp later then originally planned. We have some dinner and a few drinks, before heading off to bed for the night after a long days driving.

STOPPING FOR PICS ON THE WAY BACK TO CAMP



THE COLOURS OF THE PLANTS IN THIS AREA WITH THE MOUNTAINS IN THE BACKGROUND ARE QUITE PRETTY TO LOOK AT

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2015, 11:29:39 PM »
DAY 14 - MT FIELD TO DERWENT BRIDGE

It was a bit of a wet night last night but nothing torrential, the rain started falling lightly after dinner yesterday, which was part of the reason for going to bed earlier then we'd normally do. This morning isn't to bad a day though, it's overcast and threatening to rain but not doing so, we have the diesel heater running in the camper and it's drying out the canvas nicely (it's just damp, not soaking wet). We have brekky and decide we'll do the walk to Russell and Horseshoe Falls this morning before coming back to camp and packing up, as we are leaving Mt Field today. It's less then 150 klms to tonights next camp which is at Derwent Bridge / Lake St Clair, so we have plenty more time to look around here before we need to head off.
The walk to Russell Falls is a pretty easy one and only takes about 20 minutes to do the return walk from the day use area, it's a circuit walk done on a bitumin pathway, and is even suitable for wheel chairs. Horseshoe Falls is a bit of a different story though, it's about another 10 - 15 minutes further on from Russell Falls (45 minutes return walk), but to get to it you need to negotiate going up a heap of stairs, so prepare your knees for a slight workout. We grab our wet weather gear to take with us on the walk just incase, we know with our small kids in our group we'll be gone for atleast an hour from camp maybe longer, so the chance of the rain starting to fall again whilst we're away is a real possibilty. Walking along the fern lined pathway to Russell Falls we stop several times to take pics of moss covered fallen trees and the like, and the kids are enjoying being outdoors and not being in the 4wd's for a change. As you walk along the pathway  here you'll come to an intersection with no signage, take either direction (straight on or turn right) it doesn't really matter as it's a loop track to Russel Falls from here, so either way will get you to there. We head straight on at the intersection and before we know it we have arrived at Russell Falls, there's not a massive amount of water coming down the falls, but it's still an impressive sight to look at none the less.

THE WALK TO RUSSELL AND HORSESHOE FALLS



FERNS LINE MUCH OF THE PATH TO THE FALLS



RUSSELL FALLS



We take a few pics at Russel Falls and continue on along the pathway. We come to an intersection and turn left off of the loop track to head up to Horseshoe Falls. Horseshoe Falls is upstream of Russel Falls, so the water cascades over this first before making it's way a few hundred metres further, and then cascades once again down over Russel Falls. Once you turn off towards Horseshoe Falls it's where the stairs start, you'll encounter a few at the start along the track as it climbs uphill, but a touch further on you'll encounter a pretty decent staircase that just keeps on climbing it's way up. The timber staircase is covered in wire due to this being an alpine region, there's a snow field located here at Mt Field a touch higher up the mountain, so ice on the timber walkways must be a regular occurance during the year i'm guessing. We reach Horseshoe Falls and agree the slight workout is worth the effort to look at these falls also, they aren't as big as Russel Falls overall, but the way it sits nestled in the surrounding forest is probably the prettier of the 2 falls to look at IMHO.

HORSESHOE FALLS



From Horseshoe Falls you can continue on walking to another waterfall called Lady Barron Falls, as much as we'd love to go check it out, with the small kids we have we decide the extra 2 hours walking isn't a great idea, so we turn around here and head back to base to pack up our camper trailers. We reach the intersection where we turned off the loop track from Russell Falls and turn left to finish that circuit walk, the track just follows the creek back to the first unsigned intersection, and there's not much to see really on this section of the walk...the first part of the loop we did was the prettier section IMHO.
As we get back to camp i snap a quick pic of the now mostly deserted campground, we are at the front entrance of it, and the powered sites disappear a fair way down the righthand side of here to the ablution block. To the left of where we are camped is a few unpowered sites, over behind that area again is a heap more unpowered sites also, it's a pretty decent sized place they have here actually.

MT FIELD CAMPGROUND.... (you can see we struggled to fit in the powered site here)...self registration hut pictured in the foreground also



With no rain whilst we were away the camper trailer is now dry thanks to the diesel heater, we pack up the trailers but don't hitch them up yet. Before we leave Mt Field we want to go for a drive up to the top of the mountain, and have a look at Lake Dobson. Between the day use area and the campground is a road going off to your right, this is the road you need to take to get to Lake Dobson. The majority of the road to the top of the mountain is dirt, it's corrugated in some places but not a concern for our 4wd's...the 2wd vehicles that drive up here would certainly feel it more though. Part of the way up the drive we stop to take a pic at a lookout / clearing in the trees, the view of the valley below is a nice one to look at.

VIEW OUT OVER THE VALLEY BELOW ON WAY TO LAKE DOBSON



DRIVING UP TO LAKE DOBSON



A bit further on up the mountain we stop to look at some National Parks huts that are available  to rent as an accomodation option whilst at Mt Field. The huts were originally used by road workers on Lake Dobson Rd back in 1949, they were later moved to there current location and have been used for public accomodation for the past 50 years. There's 5 huts located here and they are very basic... no electricity, no gas, no hot water, and no lighting for a start. There's a communal toilet for the 5 huts to share, and each hut has a fire place in it. There's bunk beds with vinyl matresses and a sink in each hut, but that's about it. You need to be totally self sufficent if you stay here, basically it's camping in a hut really. The huts are $45 a night (flat rate) to rent, and sleep 6 people according to the Nat. Parks website. They probably wouldn't be a bad option as something a bit different to stay in, and would get you away from the crowds of the main camp ground also.

MT FIELD GOVERNMENT HUTS TO RENT







A touch further on past the huts and you reach the end of the road, we park the vehicles up here and get out to have a look around. Located here is Lake Dobson and it's only metres away from the carpark area, we take a few pics of it and remark how crystal clear the water is in it. Amongst a few longer walks you can do from here, there's a 1.5 klm walk around the lake you can do called the Pandani Grove walk, we don't have time to this walk though, so give it a miss today.
There's a public use shelter located here, aswell as a toilet block aswell. Also located at the top of the mountain here is one of 2 downhill ski parks found in Tasmania, the other being in Ben Lomund National Park. Being we are in Summer right now there's no snow for us to see today though, but this is Tasmania and you never know your luck, it can snow at random times throughout the year in this state.


NO SNOW PLOUGHS TO WATCH FOR TODAY



SOME OF THE FLOWERS BESIDE THE WALKING TRACK LOCATED HERE







LAKE DOBSON



Time is getting away from us now, so we jump back in the vehicles and head back down the mountain. We make a quick stop on the way down the mountain to have a look at Lake Fenton, 20% of the water consumed by Southern Tasmanian communities comes from this lake. A tunnel carries water from Lake Fenton into Lady Barron Creek, it drops 300 mtrs into and intake weir and is then distributed through pipelines to 8 different Southern Councils.

LAKE FENTON



Back in the vehicles once again and it's not long and we are back at camp. We make a quick lunch then hook the campers up to the vehicles and depart Mt Field, just as we do this the rain starts to fall once again. Leaving Mt Field we take a righthand turn and head towards the Gordon Dam on Gordon River Rd, we are taking the scenic route to Derwent Bridge this afternoon and trying to keep off of the bitumin as much as we can. We pass through the township of Maydena once again and not far past there we take a righthand turn onto Florentine Rd. The road turns to gravel from here on until we join onto the Lyell Hwy, it's roughly 65klms of dirt road we'll be driving. This route we are taking passes through logging country and climbs over a couple of mountain ranges along the way. It's an easy forestry drive to do, just watch for logging trucks coming towards you on some of the blind corners.

WHERE WE ARE DRIVING



IT'S A TOUCH WET OUTSIDE AT THE MOMENT



WE SEE SIGNS OF LOGGING HAPPENING IN THE AREA AS WE DRIVE ALONG



THERE'S SOME SIGNAGE ALONG THE WAY...though there's heaps of unsigned side tracks along the way you could get lost on also



STOPPED TO GRAB A DRINK FROM THE FRIDGE IN THE BACK ALONG THE WAY



As we are almost at the end of the track where it hooks up onto the Lyell Highway, we pass by a fish farm. Fish farming is a massive industry in Tasmania as i've mentioned previously, we stop for a quick pic before continuing on our way once again.

FISH FARM ON FLORENTINE ROAD



At the end of the track we take a lefthand turn onto the Lyell Highway, it's an uphill climb straight away here and i crawl along up the range in 3rd gear for an eternity before i reach the top of it. Seriously speaking here... this climb up the range was probably the longest climb i had to do in our entire 6 weeks in Tasmania, from a standing start it was one long contiunous climb uphill where i never got out of 3rd gear for ages. I was watching my temperature gauge on my vehicle the entire time we climbed that range, a combination of taking it easy on the climb and the colder local climate seems to have worked a treat, the temperature gauge doesn't rise at all.
Cruising along the Lyell Highway we soon see some large water pipelines running along the side of the road. Tasmania has a 100 year plus history of running hydro electricity power in this state, and what are seeing is one of the many pipelines that help feed water across the state to that industry. A touch further on from here we decend down a steep decline and then pull over at a roadside rest area to take a few more pics of a hydro station and it's pipelines. The rest area is called Nive River, it has a large hut here complete with a large fireplace built inside of it also, something we definately aren't used to seeing back home in Queensland where we live. Pics taken we jump back in the vehicles for the final run to tonights camp, we just aren't sure exactly where that'll be yet.

WATER PIPELINES BESIDE LYELL HIGHWAY



THE TUNGATINHA POWER STATION



SOME LOVELY ARCHITECTURE ON THE OLD POWERHOUSE BUILDING



It's not to much longer and we are arriving at tonights destination which is the township of Derwent Bridge, there's not a lot here really, a small cafe / service station, a hotel and a few houses, and that's about it really. We drive straight to the hotel as we have read they do free camping here, we pull up in the carpark out front of the hotel and walk inside to enquire about staying here the night. The pub itself is a nice old building, a big fire place inside seperates the public bar area from the dining / lounge area, and it has a heap of character to it, it looks like a great place to spend the evening tonight. We enquire at the front bar about camping here the night and are informed the camp area is the gravel carpark out the front of the hotel, we don't really like the sound of this option so decide we'll go for a drive 5 minutes up the road to lake St Clair, and see what the camping is like there instead. It's well after 5.00 p.m by now and we walk into the main reception building at Lake St Clair, the place is pretty busy and we stand in line for about 10 minutes waiting to ask about their camping options. Whilst standing in line here going nowhere fast, i start to think to myself how little atmosphere this place has about it even though it's super busy, it's right about then that Jeff mentiones the exact same thing to me, and sick of waiting in a line that's not going anywhere, we walk outside to our vehicles and head back to the Derwent Bridge Hotel to camp the night.
We set up camp in the carpark area and quickly make some hot dogs for dinner. Dinner eaten we walk inside the hotel and spend the rest of the evening sitting by the fire having a drink or two...or maybe 3 or 4 or more as was the case with our wives. Speaking to a few other people here tonight, the hotel apparently does really nice meals, but prepare yourself for the price of them as they don't exactly come cheap. Sitting in the lounge area drinking we get to talking to a couple of ladies who we find out were staying the night in accomodation at Lake St Clair. Funnily enough, these 2 ladies mention to us that they decided to come to the hotel for dinner tonight, as the place they were staying at had no atmosphere to it...so that's 4 people that thought the very same thing now (Jeff, myself and these 2 ladies). We have a few laughs with these 2 ladies and the barmaid also, before Jeff and myself take the kids back to the campers and off to bed. Our wives decide to have a couple more glasses of wine before eventually being kicked out of the hotel, as it's closing time and the lovely barmaid who runs the joint wants to go to bed.
Our concerns about camping in the hotel carpark  turn out to be a non issue, the hotel itself is pretty quite (especially when you go to bed around closing time), and the main highway the hotel is located on gets very little traffic travelling along it at night time (it's not exactly busy during the day either i might add). It's a pretty cool night tonight and the heater in the camper is getting another run once again. There ends up being a couple of other vans camping in the car park area with us tonight, i think including us 2 it was 4 or 5 vehicles camping here.

TONIGHTS CAMPING DESTINATION...THE DERWENT BRIDGE HOTEL



WALKING DISTANCE TO THE PUB...LOL
GRAVEL CARPARK CAMPSITE... HOTEL ONE SIDE AND HIGHWAY THE OTHER....but it ended up being a nice quiet location to stay at.



A CRAPPY PHONE PIC OF DUAL SIDED FIRE PLACE INSIDE THE HOTEL

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2015, 12:11:23 AM »
DAY 15 - DERWENT BRIDGE TO MACQUARIE HEADS

We had the heater running over time last night due to it being pretty cool, but we wake to a nice morning. Last night we'd enquired in the hotel if a breakfast was available or not, and whilst yes they do have a brekky available, we are told it's a continental one and that we'd be better off going to the cafe down the road to get something as it'd work out much cheaper for our family....you have to love their honesty...lol.
We packed the campers up and headed the short distance down the road to The Hungry Wombat Cafe to have someone else make breakfast for us for a change. The cafe is located at the service station and is decked out in all sorts of wombat paraphernalia inside, we even notice there's a motorhome out in the backyard here with wombat motiffs on it also. We order some toasted bacon, egg and cheese sangas for brekky, and whilst waiting for the food to be cooked have a look around inside the cafe. Whilst looking around i find an amusing poem in a picture frame on a shelf, it read like this....
Quote
WOMBAT POEM
As you strolled along the track
Eyes alert and ears pinned back,
You may have seen these queer square turds
And thought, if not expressed in words
The stress of such a defecation
Baffles the imagination
It's not done to entertain us
For the Wombat has an oblung anus

So, if your slumber is disturbed
By cries and screams, don't be perturbed
Eyes shut, teeth clenched, racked with pain

THE WOMBATS GONE AND CRAPPED AGAIN


The feed here at the cafe was nice enough (it's pretty hard to bugger up a toasted bacon, egg and cheese sanga though), Jeff tops up his fuel and we grab a few souveniers also, before heading off for our first destination of the day.

THE HUNGRY WOMBAT CAFE





THE WOMBAT MOTORHOME IN THEIR BACKYARD



On the way into Derwent Bridge yesterday afternoon we passed by our first stop of today, it's only a very short drive back up the highway and we are turning left into the driveway of The Wall. I'll state right now that i have no photos of inside this place at all, as you are not allowed to take cameras of any sort inside here. It's a touch disappointing that this is the case, but don't let this put you off coming here, because if you miss this place whilst you are visiting Tasmania you've honestly missed one of the most amazing things you are likely to see in your lifetime. Ok it's not life changing what you'll see here, but it is some of the most amazing timber sculpture work you'll likely see anywhere in the world IMHO. I can't describe what you'll see here any better then the artist himself Greg Duncan does, so here's his description (taken from his website) of what he is creating here....
Quote
“The idea for The Wall is quite a simple one,” Greg says. “I’m carving a series of 100 panels. Each panel is one metre wide and three metres high. The panels will be placed back-to-back. So, by the time I finish, I’ll have created a wall 50 metres long with carvings on both sides - 100 metres all up.”

More information on what you'll find at the wall can be found here
http://www.thewalltasmania.com/ & pics showing what you'll see are here https://www.google.com/search?q=the+wall+tasmania&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=fFRgVaGYNpWE8gXxkoK4Ag&ved=0CDMQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=969 ...to be honest, those pics in the link do not show the detail that is in these carvings, it has to be seen to be believed. I can't talk this place up enough, it really was a highlight of our 6 week holiday in Tasmania...do not miss going to check this out!!!
We spend quite some time here walking through the gallery marvelling at Gregs creation, as we go to leave the premises we have a quick chat with the artist himself and ask when it is he does his carving these days? Greg explains that he used to do the carvings whilst people walked around the gallery around him, but their constant questions and chatting to him meant he acheived little progress each day, so these days he does most of his art work here after business hours.

ENTRANCE  DRIVEWAY TO THE WALL





THE GALLERY WHERE GREG DUNCAN'S WORK IS HOUSED



A "SIMPLE" TIMBER SCULPTURE OUTSIDE THE GALLERY BUILDING...i only say the word "simple", as the detail on the carvings inside is so much more then this sculpture has in it.



We head back to our vehicles and from here we drive back out towards Lake St Clair which we ever so briefly visited yesterday afternoon whilst looking for a campsite. Before reaching where we visited yesterday afternoon though, we take a righthand turn down a dirt track to Pumphouse Point. Located here is as expected a pump house, built as part of the states hydro electricity scheme back in the late 1930's (completed in 1940), turbines were housed inside a 5 story building which was built about 275 metres (900 feet) from the shoreline out in Lake St Clair itself. The pumphouse is accessed via a long jetty that runs from the shoreline out to the building in the the lake, but before we reach this location we take another small detour and turn off the main track to have a look at a weir. The wier is really nothing spectacular to look at itself, a fairly standard looking set of 8 gates that can be closed to hold back the waters of Lake St Clair from emptying into the river system. What we are looking at here though, is the head waters of the mighty Derwent River, the river flows South from here to New Norfolk, a distance of 187 klms. From New Norfolk the estuary system of the Derwent River runs a further 52 klms out to the sea, all up a distance of just under 240 klms from where we are standing at the moment.
A quick look had at the weir and we continue on to the pumphouse, much to my surprise not long after turning back onto the main track, we have a large body truck coming towards us. There's no room to pass each other on this small track, so i have to start reversing back down the track to find a spot to pass each other. The driver of the truck is quite rude and impatient, as i slowly reverse back with the trailer onboard he is edging right up to the front bullbar of my vehicle trying to rush me faster, i feel like parking the vehicle up in the middle of the road and giving him a mouthful of abuse actually, but i couldn't be bothered. I find a spot to pull off the side of the track and the truck passes us by, i'd radioed Jeff earlier not to come out onto the track to allow the truck to come past first, so he doesn't have to worry about passing him luckily. From here we continue on the short distance to the end of the track, we park the vehicles up in a small turn around bay and hop out to go have a look at the pumphouse. Walking up to the front gate we see a sign stating the pumphouse is closed and currently a construction site, as it is now being turned into luxury accomodation. We walk out onto the beach of the lake and take a few pics, before hopping back in our vehicles and driving a few hundred metres back up the track we came in on. We hop out of the vehicles once again to take a few more pics here, as it has better views of the lake and pumphouse and jetty.

LAKE ST CLAIR WEIR...HEAD WATERS OF THE DERWENT RIVER



THE PUMPHOUSE




VIEW OVER LAKE ST CLAIR FROM PUMPHOUSE POINT



From Pumphouse Point we drive back to the main road and turn right to head out to the Lake St Clair lodge where we'd stopped at the day previous. This area of Lake St Clair is very popular with the bush walking fraternity due to it's accomodation that is available here, it's the destination point (you must walk from North to South apparently) for people choosing to do The Overland Track. The Overland Track is a 65klm long, 6 day trek through the centre of Cradle Mountain / Lake St Clair National Park, it starts near Ronny Creek in Cradle Mountain, and ends here at Australia's deepest lake, Lake St Clair. The lake apparently reaches a depth of 200 metres in some places, and just like every other place we have been to in Tasmania so far, the water is crystal clear. We walk along a small section of the shoreline of the lake here, taking note of the National Parks sign warning to watch out for snakes that have been sighted regularly here, the kids have a run around and we take a few more pics of the lake. We head back to the main lodge area and look around the souvenier store, almost buying a recipe book dedicated to the cooking up of road kill...Skippy the Bush Vindaloo sounded oh so yummy and almost had me sold on buying the book...lol... (for those who aren't Australian, "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo" was a very popular kids show here back in the late 70's early 80's)

LAKE ST CLAIR FROM NEAR THE LODGE



WATER IS CRYSTAL CLEAR AS USUAL HERE IN TASSIE



Back at our vehicles and our next port of call is Nelson Falls on the way towards Queenstown, we were told to stop in and have a look at it by the barmaid at the hotel last night, we thought she said it was only about 15 klms out of Derwent Bridge, but it turned out to be something like 60 odd kilomteres away from memory. As we go to leave Jeff needs to do something with his kids, we think we only have a short drive to do to get to Nelson Falls, so he says go ahead and he'll meet back up with us there. Driving along the highway towards Queenstown we pass the mark where we think the falls should be but find nothing, we continue on many more kilometers and still can't find what we are looking for, eventually we think we must have missed the turn off somehow, even though we knew we'd not seen one. We are driving through some pretty hilly and windy terrain now, we've tried calling Jeff up on the uhf radio several times, but get no answer from him. A long long way past where we thought the falls should be i pull off the highway and try to find the place in my HEMA, i eventually locate it and note it's still a bit further up the road from where we currently are. Still no answer from Jeff on the uhf radio we decide to drive to the falls and wait for them there, eventually along the way though we get them on the radio, and confirm the falls location as our meet up point.
We arrive at the falls and knowing Jeff is still a short while away, we head off to go look at them. It's another easy rated track along a pathway to the falls, which should only take about 20 minutes at the most for the return journey. Reaching the falls we agree they are worth the stop to look at, we take a few pics and head back towards the carpark area to have some lunch. As we head back to there we meet up with Jeff and family coming in the opposite way, Jeff tells us of how they were stopped on a small boardwalk section back near the start of the track, and how a snake came up through the boardwalk right at the feet of his youngest boy Lucas. Jeff said he had to quickly grab his son and stop him from walking on it, we later find out going on the description of the snake Jeff gave us, that it was likely a tiger snake which are quite venonmous. Their scare for the day out of the way, Jeff and family also check out the falls before joining us back at our vehicles, where we all have a quick bite to eat on the side of the road here.

NELSON FALLS





From Nelson Falls we push on towards Queenstown once again, the mountainous scenery along the way is pretty spectacular in places, and in a spot somewhere after crossing a long bridge across Lake Burbury, we pull over on the side of the highway to take some pics of what we are seeing. Way off in the distance looking back towards the bridge we'd crossed moments earlier, we are sure we see snow on a mountain peak, it truely is a pretty location around these parts of Tasmania

SCENERY ON ROUTE TO QUEENSTOWN



LOOKING BACK OVER LAKE BURBURY TO THE MOUNTAINS



We push on once again, and a short distance further up the highway we see an old ruin on the side of the road that catches our attention. We make a quick sharp righthand turn off of the highway to stop and have a look at it. There's a fair bit of signage located here at the old Royal Hotel warning people to keep out and that it's private property, i'm guessing they get a fair share of curious people like ourselves stopping here to have a look at this place. These old hotel ruins in the town (if you can call it that) of Linda are a replacement for another old hotel that was involved in a fire in 1910 so i've been informed, i have no idea what the story is with how this replacement hotel came to be how it is now though.

ROYAL HOTEL RUINS IN LINDA







From the hotel ruins we push on again and start to climb the range as we edge closer to Queenstown, we soon see a sign saying there's a lookout to the right, so we quickly take the turn off to go check it out. Turning off the highway the road continues to climb and a short distance on we are parking the vehicles up at the end of the road to check out the newish cantilever lookout platform that is located here. Back in 1883 three gold diggers pegged out 50 acres of land in the valley below which we are currently looking over (now known as Linda Valley). Originally they mined the area for 10 years looking for gold, but instead they found a huge amount of copper here. The area that they had pegged became know as "The Iron Blow", this is where it all began for Mt Lyell as far as it's mining boom went.

IRON BLOW LOOKOUT





I DON'T THINK I'D BE SWIMMING IN THAT WATER



We rejoin the highway once again and it's not far before we are stopping once again, we are at a small lookout which over looks the township of Queenstown down below. We take a pic of the sign here and a few more pics of the barren surrounding hillsides that surround this town. Old mining practices has taken a huge toll on the hillsides of this area, the landscape almost looks moon likely with it's lack of vegetation in many areas, but there are signs that mother nature is ever so slowly starting to reclaim the odd area back again here and there.

WELCOME TO.....



THE LANDSCAPE AROUND HERE CAN BE PRETTY BARREN, THOUGH THE ODD BIT OF FLORA IS STARTING TO MAKE A COME BACK ALSO



We drive into town here and do a restock of grocery supplies, it's Xmas eve today and we know we won't be able to get anything where we are headed for the next few days. Whilst here in town i search for a shop to grab some large pop riverts and a cheap riveter to fix something that has come loose on Jeffs camper trailer, i eventually find what i am looking for and after purchasing what he needs, we all meet back at the vehicles ready to head out of town. The last thing we need to do before leaving is to grab some fuel for the vehicles, i find a servo around the corner and whilst paying for my fuel i ask the attendant if by chance there is a car wash of sorts in town, as our vehicles are filtyh diirty from the rain we encountered whilst driving Florentine Rd the other day, and we can't go near the vehicles without getting crap all over us. Much to my surprise the fella says he has a car wash bay on the side of his building, the machine takes $2 coins and it's basially a gernie type of set up with soapy water and even hot water functions. You need to work quickly with this machine as it gobbles $2 coins like a slot machine at a casino, i put $6 worth into the machine and end up with a vehicle and camper that's not quite clean, but good enough to get near without attracting dirt all over your clothes. Jeff takes his turn giving the vehicle and camper a quick wash over, and with this job done we head off out of town towards Strahan.

WE CAN'T NEAR THE VEHICLE OR CAMPER WITHOUT GETTING DIRTY



HE AIN'T NO JESSICA SIMPSON WASHING HIS VEHICLE THAT'S FOR SURE...LOL



The road from Queenstown to Strahan is a pretty windy one, it takes a fair bit longer to drive then you'd expect it to do going by the distance alone. With the afternoon starting to get away from us, we push on as quickly as we can along this road, though the campers on the back don't help us out to much. We reach Strahan and pass on through it without stopping, we are headed for Macquarie Heads campground which is located at the Northern end of Macquarie Harbour, roughly about 15 - 20 kliometres out of Strahan. Arriving at the campground we stop in at the care takers house to see about making payment to stay here, when we mention we are here for a few days he tells us just to go find a spot to set up in, and to come back tomorrow sometime and fix him up for the payment. We do as he suggests and find a nice grassey spot in a flat area to make camp for the next few days, there's a few people set up here at the moment which limits our choice of where to go, but overall it's not to busy currently.
With camp set up Jeff and i go for a walk out onto the beach, it's only about 30 metres away to the beach from our camp site, and we cut through a small vacant site behind our camp area to do this. As we cut through this site we are pretty disgusted with how the previous camper has left the site, a fire is still smouldering away unattended, there's broken glass from beer bottles about the place, and a pile of cigarette butts like you wouldn't believe laying here on the ground also. We walk back to our camp and grab a bucket to get some water to put the fire out properly, it takes atleast 4 bucket loads of water to this, the first bucket load of which bubbling back up out of the sand with how hot it was in there.
The sun is now starting to set, so i grab the camera and head out onto the beach to try and grab a sunset shot. There's some colour in the sky which is nice to see, i snap a few pics of it and head back to camp to join the others. Unfortunately we didn't get around to grabbing firewood today for a fire tonight, so it's not to late of a night had by us all, we have dinner and a few drinks, then head off to bed eager to see if Santa can find usl tonight or not.

TONIGHTS CAMP LOCATION IS....



GEEZ SOME PEOPLE ARE GRUBS



SOME NICE COLOUR IN THE SKY AT SUNSET TONIGHT

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2015, 11:40:47 AM »
DAY 16 MACQUARIE HEADS

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.....Well we are camped roughly 2500klms (1550 miles)  away from home at the moment, and appears the Bearded Jolly Fat Man in the red outfit has managed to find our location overnight. The kids wake to find their Christmas stockings with some small easy to transport presents in them, it seems Santa didn't have much room in his Landcruiser... errr i mean sleigh, to transport big presents big this year, so he went with slim profiled presents he could easily hide...errr i mean pack for transport. It appears Santa didn't have any room left for the adults to get presents this year, or maybe they were just too naughty to get some....oh well, their 6 week holiday in Tasmania wil have to do instead it seems...lol.
Unwrapping their presents, Ipad minis seem to be the order of the year for our 2 girls, aswell as some small monster trucks also. Going by the big smiles on both our daughters faces, it appears Santa brought them just what they wanted, and luckily for them Mrs Claus has been busy pre present delivery, charging them up and downloading games and other stuff on them to use...nice work Mrs Claus.
It's a bit overcast and gloomy outside today, so we have a lie in bed whilst the kids set about taking their new Ipads for a test run.

SANTA FOUND US OVERNIGHT



SANTA MANAGED TO FIND US LAST NIGHT IT APPEARS



LOOKS LIKE HE GOT THE GIRLS JUST WHAT THEY WANTED



LUCKILY MRS CLAUS HAD ALREADY CHARGED THEM, AND DOWNLOADED STUFF ONTO THEM ALSO



MAYBE IT WAS OUR XMAS TREE WE ERECTED YESTERDAY AFTERNOON THAT ALERTED SANTA TO OUR LOCATION?....complete with star on top, glow sticks to light it up at night, and ornaments cut out from the side of a coke can box we noticed in the back of the fourby.



Eventually we drag ourselves out of bed and cook up a nice feed of bacon and egg crosionts for breakfast, the kids have all gotten new monster trucks (including the Tassie Devil one each, so they have the same ones), so they spend some time playing with them whilst we sit back and do not much at all but relax....it is Xmas morning after all.

KIDS PLAYING WITH THEIR NEW MONSTER TRUCKS



CHILLAXING AT CAMP ON XMAS MORNING



As we sit around camp i spot a small wren flying back and forth about the place, these birds are like fighter planes zipping around all over the place from one spot to another, and the fact they don't stand still for long makes it hard to get a decent picture of them. I eventually get a few pics taken, and then Jeff and myself head down to the caretakers house to pay for our stay and grab some water in the empty 20ltr buckets that Jeff is carrying with him so we can have some showers. The caretaker here is a real character, he's rough as around the edges and doesn't put up with any crap from anyone. The guy must think he's 10ft tall and can fight like a world champion cage fighter the way he talks, but in reality he's not real big, as skinny as a rake and getting on in years... a pretty nice guy really, but a real character that's for sure.
Going to pay for our stay we don't really know how many nights we'll be here for, our original rough trip plan had us arriving here tonight instead of last night, so we think we might stay here longer then we originally thought now. Not knowing how many nights to pay for, the caretaker tells us not to worry about it, just come see him in the next day or so when we know what to pay for....he trusts us to do the right thing it appears. We grab the drums of water and head back to camp and everyone has a shower for the first time in a few days. The park itself only has composting toilets here, no showers at all, we are using the diesel heater of our camper trailer to have a hot shower with, which is definately nice on a cool overcast day like today is.

A WREN THAT WAS FLYING ABOUT CAMP



Showers had an everyone smelling nice once again, we jump in the fourby's and head out onto the beach for a look around. The tide is coming in at the moment it looks like and it's pretty windy out on the ocean side of the beach, so we only travel a short distance around to the headland near Hells Gate before turning back around and coming back much closer to camp to park the vehicles up. We let the kids run around on the beach here for a while and take a few more pics to remember our holiday. We have a bit of fun with the pano mode of my phone camera here, having my eldest daughter stand still as i slowly pan around, then once out of screen shot we get her to run around behind me and hop back in the picture again at a different location as i continue the pano shot...the pic turns out ok in the end we reckon...lol

A PIC OF THE CRUISER ON THE BEACH



NOT SURE, BUT THE LIGHTHOUSE IN THE BACKGROUND APPEARS TO BE ABLE TO BE VISITED BY TOURISTS IF YOU HAVE A BOAT?



A BIT OF FUN WITH PANO MODE ON MY PHONE



With no fire had last night, Jeff and myself decide we are going back to camp to grab my chainsaw i've brought on the trip, and go for a drive to find some firewood. We leave Jeffs vehicle with the wives and kids as they play on the beach whilst we go do this. Heading back towards Strahan you pass through a fair bit of bushland, there's also a heap of pine forest here also. We serach around the area for some decent timber but don't really find anything we think is suitable to cut up. Locals seem to chop up in big chunks the felled left overs of the pine trees, but you need a heap of this stuff to burn as it burns pretty quickly, and to be honest, it's pretty wet in the middle and not the best for fires IMHO. Anyhow, the small chainsaw i have onboard with us isn't really big enough to cut up the pine trees like the locals do, so we drive all the way back to Strahan looking for something decent. We arrive in Strahan with no firewood found, there's not much more then pine forests and saltbush seen along the way, we drive about the town looking for somewhere that's a one in a million long shot to be selling firewood on Xmas day, knowing this is highly unlikely to be happening.... and as expected we are correct. Strahan on xmas day is alot like a ghost town, we hardly see anyone at all, and we are just about the only vehicle driving on the roads at the moment. We drive out of town headed back towards Queenstown where we came from yesterday, we'd noticed better forests more suitable for getting firewood from back here on the drive in yesterday, and this is where we've ended up. Not to far out of town we turn up a dirt track running into the bush, we climb to the top of a hill on the gravel track and find a spot that has exactly what we are looking for. There's some sort of level pad that's been cut up here by an earth moving machine for some reason, at the edge of it we see there's a nice log sitting there perfect for what we want, so we set about cutting it up and then splitting it with the log splitter. We spend an hour or so cutting the timber with my chainsaw and splitting it, the chainsaw's a bit small for the job we are using it for, but eventually we get the job done. Timber loaded onto the roofrack of my fourby and tied down securely, we head back towards camp where our wives must be wondering where we've gotten to the past few hours. Passing back through Strahan i pull the vehicle over to the side of the road and make a quick phone call back home to my family, to wish them all a merry xmas. Today we are wearing jumpers and jackets to keep warm down here in Tassie, but back home in Brisbane they are having a heat wave and sweating it out big time on xmas day...i think i'm glad we're down here at the moment. Where we are currently camped there is no phone reception at all, i tell the family i'll get the kids to ring them tomorrow to wish them a merry xmas, when we come back to town with some phone reception.
We head back to camp and unload the firewood from my vehicle, and get a fire going. The wives are busy preparing a ham for tonights dinner, it'll be baked in the gas oven of Jeffs camper, and has a yummy plum sauce, dijon mustard, apple sauce,brown sugar and macadamia nut glaze going on it. Dinner is cooked and as expected it's delicious, the skies cleared nicely from the slight drizzles of rain we were getting just in time to eat dinner around the fire, we have some pudding for dessert that Sara cooked also, and spend the evening sitting around the fire. The odd drizzle of rain falls as we sit around the fire tonight, but it's falling so light, that we don't even bother getting out of it. A nice Xmas day had here in Tasmania, we eventually call it a night and head off to bed.

A MANS WORK IS NEVER DONE...LOL...we had to cover the firewood with a tarp due to some light rain falling this afternoon



FAMILY PIC ON XMAS DAY IN TASSIE....a heat wave back home, ski jackets for us down here though...lol

« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 11:44:44 AM by Rumpig »
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2015, 09:54:58 PM »
DAY 17 MACQUARIE HEADS

It's another lazy start to the morning for us, as we don't actually have a lot planned to do today. The sky is overcast and threatening to rain in places, but the wind up high in the sky is pushing the clouds along pretty quickly, so one minute the sky might be ok, then next minute you aren't sure if it'll rain or not. Most of the showers pass by around us, but we do get one torrential down pour that lasts about 5 minutes only, then before we know it the sky is looking fine again. We need to head into Strahan today to look into booking a few tours we want to do whilst in this area, which is just what we do after we eventually have our breakfast. First stop of the day though is to drop some rubbish bags off at the industrial bins across from the care takers house. The facilities here at Macquarie Heads are pretty good really for the low cost they charge to camp here, there's the big industrial rubbish bins we've just stopped off at now, drinking water available at the care takers house, 2 pit toilets and even a decent boat ramp and jetty for the avid fisherman...off which there appears to be a few of them around these parts here. On top of all that there's nice grassey areas to set up camp on also, it really is quite a nice place to camp at.
Throwing the rubbish into the bins i notice a few birds sitting on the end of the jetty, so i grab the camera and snap a few pics of them, before jumping back in the fourby and heading off to Strahan.

BIRDS ON THE JETTY AT MACQUARIE HEADS



Arriving in downtown Strahan (population about 630 people), we find the place a touch busy this morning and struggle to get a carpark in the main street...it's a big change to the ghost town Jeff and i found here yesterday. The town itself thrives on it's tourist trade, once the tourist season is over though, many businesses apparently close up shop until the tourist season starts back up again. Located infront of the hotel in the main street is 4 metered parking bays, the rest of the entire surrounding area is free to park in though, just not these 4 particular parking spaces for some reason. Low and behold the only vacant car park in the entire street is located in the pay to park spot, i pull into the space and jump out of my vehicle to see what the damage will be to park here. Much to my surprise it was only something like 20 cents to pay to park here, i wonder why they even bother to have the meters here at all actually. With the meter fed, we walk across the road to the tourism shops located on the wharf, to book our tours.
The first tour we book to do is  the Gordon River Cruise on "The Big Red Cat", this is an all day cruise which departs at 9.00 a.m and returns at 3.00 p.m, and it includes a buffet lunch also. The cruise costs us $260 for our family to go on it, and the description of the days outing is listed below.....
Quote
- See some of Australia’s oldest convict ruins on Sarah Island, a settlement which pre-dates Port Arthur by decades. Created to put the 'fear of God' into the convicts of Van Diemen’s Land, this tiny outpost of 18th Century British penal history hides a fascinating tale of human triumph over adversity, brought vividly to life by expert guides;
- Hear the intriguing story of Macquarie Harbour and its settlement;
- Passage through Hells Gates the narrow entrance to Macquarie Harbour named by the convicts on their way to Sarah Island;
- See high-tech aquaculture where hundreds of thousands of Tasmania’s famous Atlantic Salmon and Ocean Trout are farmed;
- Cruise past the majesty of the rugged mountain ranges in Tasmania’s World  Heritage-listed South West Wilderness National Park;
- Spend two hours in the serenity of the imposing Gordon River, complete with a stroll into the rainforest, which reclaimed the land after the last Great Ice Age.
- Listen to our narrative, which brings the river and its rich history to life complete what is an unforgettable experience.
- Enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch freshly prepared on board - includes smoked salmon, cold meats, a selection of salads, fresh fruit, Tasmanian cheeses and local bakery bread.


Full details of the trips the company runs, can be viewed here http://worldheritagecruises.com.au/index.php?page=the-cruises

With our cruise now booked we head next door and look into booking a ride on The West Coast Wilderness Railway. We had hoped to do this steam train ride from Strahan the following day after our river cruise, but as we enquire about doing so, we find that the train only runs out of Queenstown on Sundays. It's not quite what we'd hoped to do, but we decide to book the train ride on Sunday morning out of Queenstown instead, and we'll just have to get up early in the morning and drive the 60 odd klms to take the train ride. The train ride costs us $220 for our family to go on it, so in the space of about 15 minutes we've spent almost $500 booking these 2 outings...oh well, easy come easy go as they say...lol.
With the tours booked, we jump back in our vehicles and head up to the IGA store to grab a few supplies. The IGA stores down here in Tassie are much bigger stores then we are used to seeing back home, i guess the lack of Coles and Woolworths stores in many of the towns down here means these stores still have a chance of surviving here.
Supplies grabbed we then head back towards camp, but decide we'll go check out some of the Henty Dunes area of Ocean Beach. We arrive at the carpark area near the track that heads down onto Ocean Beach and deflate our tyres to 18psi, we have no idea what the sand is like to drive on where we are about to go, but hopefully it won't be to soft.

THE SIGN AT THE ENTRANCE TRACK ONTO OCEAN BEACH



We drop down onto the beach and make a righthand turn to head towards the Henty Dunes, the sand at the start here is pretty firm and easy to drive on. The beach is just about deserted as we drive along it, we see one other vehicle near where the entrance track is located, but other then that there's nobody at all out driving on the beach. A short distance from the entrance track we pull up to take a photo of a vehicle half submerged in the sand that must have gotten bogged here long ago. It's a strange choice of vehicle to take onto the beach, and we wonder if maybe it wasn't stolen and bought down here as a joke, or was someone just plain crazy in thinking their Commodore could actually drive down here and they got stuck?....we'll never know i guess. Either way, there's a car wreck sitting submerged in the sand here, i'm very surprised the local council leaves it here and hasn't removed it actually.

COMMODORE WRECK SUBMERGED ON OCEAN BEACH



Continuing on our way and Jeff is up front with me following a safe distance behind, we've heard of how trecherous some of the West Coast beaches are in Tasmania can be to drive on, so i hang back a touch just incase Jeff runs into trouble, so atleast i have a chance to stop beforehand and maybe be able to rescue his vehicle if need be. As we crooze along the beach we find ourselves hitting some pretty soft sections of sand as we go, one minute the sand is nice and firm and easy going, then suddenly without warning you sink about 3 or 4 inches down into it, and i'm shifting down gears and giving the right pedal what for to keep momentum going. We strike a heap of these real soft patches along the way as we make our way to the mouth of the Henty River, we eventually get to a point where we can drive no further without crossing the river, but it looks to deep and wide to do this for our likings, even though we can see wheel tracks from ATV's that look to have done the crossing at some stage in the past. We hang around at the river mouth here for a short while taking photos and letting the kids run around some, before turning around and heading back towards camp. Before we leave here we deflate our tyres to 16 psi to see if it makes any differance in the soft patches.

HEADING TOWARDS HENTY DUNES....you can see where Jeff has sunk into the sand a touch here...it gets much worse further up



END OF THE ROAD....AT THE HENTY RIVER MOUTH ON OCEAN BEACH



IT'S TO WIDE AND TO DEEP FOR ARE LIKINGS TO TRY AND CROSS THIS





We drive all the way back along Ocean Beach past the entrance track that we came down onto the beach on, we continue past it and follow the beach all the way back to camp. The slightly lowered tyre pressures don't seem to have made a differance at all in the soft sand either, i'm guessing we'd need to have been much lower then that to drive that area easier. I can't recall how many kilometers of beach we drove all up, suffice to say it's a decent distance of beach driving you can do here. The beach between the entrance track and our camp is much easier to drive on then the beach area back towards Henty River end, there's no real soft patches when you drive along this other section of beach, it's a pretty easy drive at this end really. We round the headland at Hells Gate and notice quite a few quad bikes zipping around on the beach here, back home in Queensland quad bikes aren't allowed to be riden on our beaches, but down here in Tasmania it's allowed, if you have the right licence for doing so that is.
We stop on the beach for a short period of time and watch a few fisherman to see how their luck is going, they reel in a couple of salmon whilst we watch, so it appears they are doing ok today. We then head back to camp and have a bite to eat for lunch, toasted sangas are on the menu to help try and warm us up abit in this cooler weather.

DRIVING BACK TO CAMP PAST THE ORIGINAL ENTRANCE TRACK...you can see Jeff has barely left a mark on the harder sand down this end of the beach



We don't do much else the rest of the day except relax (as best we can) back at camp, the hoards of campers have arrived today to do their Xmas / Newyears camping thing, and there's quite a few quad bikes getting about the place at the moment... with several riders not being very considerate of the other campers about the place. With all the kilometers of beach to ride on down here, it appears the bike riders only want to hoon around on the section of beach that is near camp, we can't understand the novelty of it ourselves, and wish they bugger off further down the beach with their noisey machines.
The past few days have been quite overcast and our 80W solar panel hasn't been putting enough charge back into the camper, so i drag the genny out this arvo and fire it up to recharge the battery bank. We get the fire going earlyish today as we have a heap of wood to burn now, a few drinks are had around the fire and i try and grab some more sunset pics out on the beach also, but the cloud cover puts an end to any hope of that happening. As the night rolls on a few drunken clowns decide to start setting fireworks off close by, the serenity we'd had here the previous 2 days andnights is long gone, we'd hoped it wouldn't get like this once the Xmas crowds arrived, but sadly it has. To be truthful here, i'm probably exaggerating how bad it is here with the crowds, they most certainly could be a lot worse and a lot more noisey then they currently are, but when you've been camped the past few weeks at times in places that have practically nobody about the place, this here feels noisey and busy at the moment.

GETTING THE FIRE GOING IN THE AFTERNOON...that's only a shower tent you see to the left  by the way



NO LUCK WITH SUNSET PICS TONIGHT....the best i could do looking in the other direction

« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 10:02:14 PM by Rumpig »
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2015, 10:35:52 PM »
DAY 18 - STRAHAN

We wake to a wet miserable morning, it's not a big deal though, as today we'll be on a boat and undercover most of the day anyhow. We have a quick brekky then head on into Strahan for our day out on the water. There's 2 different main companies who run Gordon River cruises here in Strahan, we are heading out today with World Heritage Cruises, who operate "The Big Red Cat". Both companies run out of the same location in the centre of town, we arrive about 40 minutes before departure time to try and ensure we get a carpark nearby, which we manage to do. Much of todays boat cruise will be done on Macquarie Harbour, it's the 2nd largest natrual harbour in Australia behind Port Philip Bay, which we sailed out of Melbourne on when we caught the ferry over here to Tasmania. I am surprised to learn that Macquarie Harbour is actually 6 times larger then Sydney Harbour. The boat sets sail pretty much on time and as we leave Strahan i grab a few pics of the town from the water. Fishing boats, sea planes, unit complexes and a steam train pretty much sums this town up really. Like i mentioned previously already, Strahan thrives on the tourist trade, there's a heap of unit complexes and other rooms to rent for accomodation here in town, and things like the Wilderness Railway and River Cruises provide much needed employment opportunities for the town. If you're not envolved in tourism then fishing is another major industry for the town, there's a few small saw mills about the area also, but other then the usual small businesses providing essential services in any town, there doesn't appear to be much else to do as a job around these parts.

THE BIG RED CAT



FISHING BOATS AND UNIT COMPLEXES, THAT PRETTY MUCH SUMS MUCH OF STRAHAN UP REALLY



THERE'S A FEW SEA PLANES AVAILABLE FOR CHARTER HERE IN TOWN



WEST COAST WILDERNESS RAILWAY TRAIN...we'd hoped to go on this tomorrow, but it doesn't run out of Strahan on weekends



The first location the cruise heads for today is out front of where we are currently camped at the moment, it rains on and off as we head to this location, but as we near Hells Gate the rain pretty much disappears and the rest of the day whilst overcast, stays pretty dry.
Hells Gate is the name given to the entrance where Maquarie Harbour and the Southern Ocean meet, it's a very shallow harbour entrance and only 120 metres wide, so you don't have much room for error when it comes to navigation here. Back in the early 1800's prisoners on the newly established penal settlement of Sarah Island named this spot Hells Gate, as conditions were so bad at this settlement, that entering the harbour to go here was like entering through hells gates.
As we crooze out through Hells Gate into the Southern Ocean and then turn back around to head into the harbour again, we are given a running commentary by the ships captain on the history of this area. Cruising back into the harbour we note the break water wall to our right that is built here, it was built back in 1900 to help make the harbour entrance a safer place to navigate through. Also to our right is a house on what appears to be an island at first glance, but is in actual fact still part of the mainland, and is Macquarie Heads. The locals that live here have a routine where they show off to the tourists their daily catch of crayfish, and it appears they done alright for themselves by the looks of it.

PART OF THE BREAK WATER WALL AT HELLS GATE



HEADING OUT THROUGH HELLS GATE...you need to go to the left of Entrance Island, it's to shallow to the right for boats to pass through



ENTRANCE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE



LOCALS AT MACQUAIRE HEADS HOLDING UP TODAYS CATCH OF CRAYFISH (the adults held some up also, but i missed that in my pic taking)



From Hells Gate we head towards Sarah Island where we will disembark the boat for a short while for a guided tour of the island. As we crooze through the harbour though, we are free to explore the boats different floor levels, and you can even join the captain up top and be his co-pilot for a while you want. I grab a few pics of my girls sitting beside the captain in the co-pilots seat, he's a nice easy going type of a guy, happy to answer any questions you might throw at him.

MY 2 GIRLS....TODAYS CO-PILOTS OF THE BOAT





Heading for Sarah Island we get to witness firsthand just how huge the fish farming industry is here in Tasmania. I've already mentioned this fact a few times previously in my report, but here in Macquarie Harbour we see it on a grand scale, everywhere we look there's pens floating on top of the water, it's quite the unexpected sight to see in such a prestine location. The captain pulls the boat up beside one of the pens and gives us a close up look, a few of the fish suddenly leap up out of the water into the air, they must think it's feeding time i reckon. It's a quick stop at the fish farming pen and we are back on our way onroute to Sarah Island once again.

ONE OF THE MANY FISH FARMING SET UPS IN MACQUARIE HARBOUR





It's not long and Sarah Island comes into view, this island operated as a penal settlement from 1822 - 1833. The colony had a reputation as one of the harshest penal settlements in the Australian, It took the worst convicts and those who had escaped from other settlements. The chances of escape from Sarah Island were thought to be next to impossible, but many people did manage to escape, the most infamous of these being a prisoner by the name of Alexander Pearce. Alexander managed to escape the island twice, but this alone is not what makes him infamous. What makes him infamous is the fact that, both times he escaped he cannibalized his fellow escapees that escaped with him. Alexander was eventually captured and hanged and dissected in Hobart for murder.
Sarah Island is not a very big island at all, surprisingly though at one stage it became Australia's largest shipbuilding yard, using it's convict labour to do the work.
We disembark the boat and do the guided walk around the island, you're free to explore the place at your leisure if you like also, just make sure your back not long after the boat sounds it's horn, or they'll go without you. The people leading the tours give a great account of the islands past,  to say the guy who is leading our tour is enthusiastic would actually be an understatement i reckon. There's quite a few ruins located around the island, but unlike Port Arthur that we visited previously where large buildings are still standing, most of the stuff here is much smaller in size and fallen down or just not a lot of it left....it's still good to see none the less.
The boats horn sounds and we make our way back to it, we jump back onboard ready to head up the Gordon River from here.

SARAH ISLAND....IT'S NOT REAL BIG IN SIZE
IT'S THIS BIG.....



BY THIS BIG.....



PENITENTIARY RUINS YOU SEE AS YOU ARRIVE AT THE ISLAND



WHAT'S LEFT OF THE WIND BREAK FENCE THAT ONCE PROTECTED THE ISLAND



SOME RUINS WE SEE ON THE ISLAND





THE BAKEHOUSE



THE PENITENTIARY FROM THE LAND THIS TIME





TO BE CONT.....
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2015, 07:31:47 AM »
DAY 18 CONT....

The boat pulls away from Sarah Island and we soon are having a buffet lunch as we cruise the harbour headed for the Gordon River. It's a nice spread of lunch they put on, they even put out a call for seconds for anyone who didn't get enough the first time around....so there's no going hungry today.
From Sarah Island it's not that far and we reach the mouth of the Gordon River, once in the river the boat is limited to a slower speed at which it can travel so as not to produce too much wash, and thus look after the surrounding environment. As well as being speed limited, the larger boats are only allowed to travel a certain distance upstream also, if you have your own smaller craft then this distance you can travel upstream won't apply to you. If you are reading this report and thinking why does the Gordon River name sound familiar?...it's likely because of the huge environmental campaign that happen here in the early 1980's, which in turn ended up stopping the building of the proposed Franklin Dam. The Gordon-below-Franklin Dam project was originally proposed to provide more hydroelectricity to the state, but in December of 1982 the dam site was occupied by a large number of protestors, and this campaign eventually lead to the stopping of the dam being built. For anyone not familiar with the Gordon-below-Franklin Dam story, check out this link to get a better understanding of what went on here back in the early 80's......the number of people arrested at the blockade was pretty huge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Dam_controversy

THE MOUTH OF THE GORDON RIVER



It's a slow cruise up the Gordon River and there's plenty of time to take in the beautiful surrounding scenery, it's not hard to understand why so many people were so passionate about not wanting the Franklin River dam built at all, as this would have likely changed the eco system we are seeing here. The boat reaches the point it can't travel upstream past and pulls up at a small jetty on the bank of the river, we disembark the boat here for a short circuit boardwalk through the forest. The walk is done on a elevated timber boardwalk, there's some signboards to look at along the way, and a few staff from the ship are about to answer any questions you may have of the surrounding flora and fauna.
The first thing i really notice as we do the walk, is some strange mini volcano looking type mounds in the mud of the forest floor. I was thinking maybe it's something the crabs have made here for some reason, but as we continue along the walk i read a signboard that explains the "chimney's of mud" are actually made by crayfish

THE CRAYFISH MADE CHIMNEYS ON THE FOREST FLOOR



THE ELEVATED BOARDWALK



As we continue along the walk we spot all sorts of strange looking flora along the way, the moss growing on the trees is everywhere and is testament to how much rain must fall around these parts each year. There's strange looking fungus things growing on the sides of trees, aswell as on the ground also. We reach an area where a guide is giving a talk about the local Huon Pine trees, they are a slow growing tree (averaging only 1mm per year) that was heavily logged throughout the 1800’s and into the mid-1900’s, prized by boat builders and the like for the timbers resitance to rot and borers. Logging of Huon Pine trees is no longer allowed, though saw mills can salvage logs they find washed down rivers by flood events and the like. There is a display in a glass case located here showing the age cycle of a large Huon Pine tree, this particular tree was nearly 700 years old, and it gives a better understanding of just how slowly these trees grow....it's not hard to understand why the practice of logging these trees was unsustainable.
As we walk back to the boat we pass by a small Huon Pine tree and are told by the guide that this one would be roughly about 50 years old, any other tree of this size you'd think would be a couple of years old normally. We are back on the boat again, and it's time to head downstream and back to Strahan.

THE MOSS GROWS ON EVERYTHING HERE





THERE'S PLENTY OF FUNGUS GROWING ABOUT THE PLACE ALSO





THIS WAS A NEAR 700 YEAR OLD HUON PINE TREE



AND THIS HUON PINE TREE IS ABOUT 50 YEARS OLD



With no more stops to be made along the way, the run back to Strahan doesn't take that long really, before we know we are departing the boat and our cruise is over. There's one last thing to do before we leave here though, Morrisons' Huon Pine Sawmill is located on the wharf here where the boat drops you off,  and Snowy an old timer who works here shows us the mill in operation as he cuts up a Huon Pine log. With the log cutting display completed it's time to buy some Huon Pine souveniers if you like, Jeff and Sara buy a lovely timber platter to take home with them, i would have bought one the same if there'd been another one just like it, though sadly there wasn't. We leave here and checkout another timber shop next door, before heading back to our vehicles.

MORRISONS' SAWMILL



OLD SNOWY SHOWING HOW THEY CUT THE HUON PINE LOGS HERE



JOB DONE, IT'S TIME FOR A BREAK



OLD RELICS THAT ARE ON DISPLAY ON A WALL INSIDE THE MILL



JEFF AND SARA'S TIMBER PLATTER THEY PURCHASED



Back at the vehicles and Jeff and Sara are headed to the laundromat down the road next to the caravan park to do some washing. We don't need to do that today, so decide we'll go visit Peoples Park which is just up the road a short distance, and do the walk to check out Hogarth Falls. The walk to the falls is another easy one, there's one small uphill section as you reach the falls, but it's nothing to worry about at all. It should take you roughly about 40 minutes to do the return journey, the track you head out to the falls on you return back on also. We do the walk and take some pics here before hopping back in the fourby and heading up the road a touch further to where the West Coast Railway train is located. Located here also is some old wharf ruins, aswell as an old railway crane of some some description, i take some more pics of these before we then head back to the laundromat to see how Jeff and Sara are getting on.

THE ENTRANCE TO PEOPLES PARK



HOGARTH FALLS



OLD WHARF RUINS NEAR THE WEST COAST RAILWAY YARD



AN OLD RAILWAYS CRANE LOCATED NEAR HERE ALSO



Meeting up with Jeff and Sara again, we find they are still waiting on the clothes driers to do their thing. We tell them we'll meet them back at camp, and we head back there to go and start getting dinner ready. I don't think i've mentioned this previously, but on this trip we are taking it in turns for each family to cook dinner for everyone. We've done this previously on a trip when we crossed The Simpson Desert, where one family cooks for everyone who is on the trip, it worked quite well for giving the others a break from cooking dinner each night, so we are doing the same thing on this trip once again. Leanne gets dinner organised and i get the fire started as we listen to and watch the quad bike riders hoon about the place...i can't say i've missed them at all today whilst we've been out. We get a bit of a shower of rain come through not long after Jeff and Sara get back to camp, but it passes quickly and the sky clears allowing another night to be spent watching the bush telly and enjoying a few beverages of choice to be consumed. We head off to bed not to late in the evening, as we need to be up early tomorrow morning to drive to Queenstown for our train ride.
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2015, 12:30:54 AM »
DAY 19 - QUEENSTOWN

It's an early start to the morning for us today, we need to drive to Queenstown which is about an hour away so that we can take a ride on The West Coast Wilderness Railway train. As i mentioned previously, we wanted to do this tour out of Strahan where we are staying near but it doesn't operate that service on weekends, so we need to drive to Queenstown where the train departs from and returns back to on it's weekend run. We've made the call to buy our breakfast when we get to Queenstown, we'll get something from the local bakery or whatever shop we find open, so it's fingers crossed we find something open there early on a Sunday morning.
We try not to make to much noise as we leave camp this morning, pretty much everyone camped here is still asleep. We pass back through Strahan without stopping and then hit the very windy road that runs between Strahan and Queenstown. Both our daughters have never been great travellers when it comes to the windy roads, they get that from their mother who used to get car sick all the time when we first started going out many many moons ago. Our eldest daughter has pretty much grown out of it now, but our youngest is starting to feel sick in the back seat as we drive the windy road, so she's handed a sick bag that we keep in the side pockets of the vehicles door for just such an occasion. Eventually the windy road takes it toll and our youngest ends up vomiting, luckily though it's all in the sick bag, so there's not really any mess to clean up. I radio to Jeff that i need to pull over, so as to let our youngest get out of the vehicle and walk around a touch. Right at that moment there's a turn off to a lookout on our righthand side, so i wheel the vehicle into there and we take a short break from the driving. What starts out as a bit of a pain with the car sickness thing, turns out to be a minor blessing really. Looking down into the valley below from the lookout we are stopped at, we see a lovely sight of fog blanketting the entire valley below. We take a few pics of this, and with our youngest feeling a touch better, we jump back in the vehicle and head off again for Queenstown.

THE VIEW FROM THE LOOKOUT WE STOPPED AT



The rest of the drive into Queenstown from here is uneventful, we meet up with Jeff and Sara in town after telling them to continue on when we stopped earlier at the lookout. Jeff and Sara inform us the bakery is closed, and the only place open this morning is the takeaway shop, so we head inside there and try and order something for brekky. Inside the shop is one guy running the place on his own, there's a couple infront of us who are also placing an order for something to eat, so the shop owner takes the order and starts to cook it for them. I would have thought the shop owner would have then taken our orders also as he cooked the food for the other couple, but he's obviously not used to doing multiple orders at once, and we need to wait quite sometime until he comes and takes our orders. Eventually the shop owner has ours and Jeff and Sara's orders taken also, there's only us 2 families and the previous couple i already mentioned to cook for at the moment, but the guy is pretty overwhelmed with this lot and takes forever to get it all cooked (it was mostly just toasted bacon and egg sangas he had to make). The guy running the takeaway shop was quite a nice person, but he's obviously not used to cooking more then one or 2 things at a time from what we've seen this morning, so if you're looking to get a feed before jumping on the train, i'd suggest you get here early or maybe make your own before coming.
Brekky eaten we drive the vehicles down to the carpark area at the train station. Hopping out of the vehicles i am surprise to see it's a metered carpark they have here, we pay the fee and put the paperwork on our vehicles dashboard so as not to incurr a parking fine. Now i'm not 100% on this fact so don't quote me on it, but i'm pretty sure there's no other parking meters in Queenstown other then at this particular train station (which is only a tourist train ride, no other trains run from here). It would appear as though the local council sees the tourists trade solely as a money making venture at any opportunity then can get, something that doesn't wash well with me. We've already shelled out a couple of hundred dollars to go on this train ride today, not to mention the groceries we bought in town here the other day and the breakfast we purchased here this morning also. The parking fee isn't a huge sum to have to pay, but it irks me they have put this one and only metered carpark in the town here, as they know it's where the tourists park to catch the train from. My whinge now done...lol...we walk over to the station and grab our pre-booked tickets, and then board the train just in time for it to depart

THE TRAIN WE ARE GOING ON TODAY



The train track we are travelling on today is a reconstruction of the original Mount Lyell Mining Company railway route that operated here back in the late 1890's, originally when it was opened, it was the only link between Queenstown and Strahan. The track operated right up until 1963, but rising maitenance costs and improved alternate road routes brought about an end to the lines usage. The last train to ever run this line before it's closure in 1963, was actually the first train to ever run it back in 1897. Of the original 5 steam locomotives that ran on this line, 3 are still used today in the running of the tourism venture, one is on display in the Tasmanian Transport Museum, and the other one was scrapped and used as parts for the other 4 locos.
Due to the steep gradients the train line runs on in places along the route (the steepest being a 1 in 15 gradient or 6.67%), the railway utilises what is called the Abt rack and pinion system. Basically this system is a toothed rail line that runs between the outer running rails, the trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels or pinions that mesh with this rack rail and give a constant drive to the train with no loss of traction as it climbs the steep hills.

THE TRAINS RUN ON A RACK AND PINION RAILWAY SYSTEM



There's a couple of different options you can take as far as where the train runs to when doing this trip. During the week the trains run from Queenstown right through to Strahan or vice a versa Strahan to Queenstown also, but on weekends like todays trip is, it only does a half distance trip running out of Queenstown only. Todays train ride departs from Queenstown and stops off at Lynchford and Rinadeena stations for  the train to take on water to run the steam engine and for us to have a look around also, before then reaching the station of Dubbil Barril where it takes on more water once again and then turns around (literally), before heading all the way back to Queenstown where the train ride ends. On the run back to Queenstown from Dubbil Barril station we'll stop off at Rinadeena station one more time to take on even more water once again, but that is the last time the train stops before reaching it's final destination back where it departs from in Queenstown.
To be honest.... i'd have loved to have done the entire trip all the way through to Strahan on the train, i have a feeling the most scenic part of the trip we miss out on seeing today, which is likely where the train runs beside Macquarie Harbour as it nears Strahan.... but not having done this part of the ride, i am only speculating here.

THE WEST COAST RAILWAY LINE ROUTE



Departing Queenstown the train slowly trundles out of town tooting it's horn as it crosses over several local suburban streets, there's a few onlookers at each crossing standing by the line giving the train a friendly wave as it goes by...i mean who doesn't love the sound of a steam train after all. The locomotives that run on this track today no longer run on coal as their fuel source, the engines were converted back in 1953 to run on waste oil instead, a much cheaper fuel to purchase to help with keeping down the costs of running these trains..
As the train makes it's way to each station, a running commentary is given by staff members along on the ride, they rope in a few passengers to help tell the story of how the Mt Lyell Mine came to operate and the history of the train line also, it's all light hearted and entertaining stuff. Before we know it we are pulling up at our first stop of the day at Lynchford Station, we get off the train here and have a look around the place, and take a few photos as usual. Out the back of the station here they have also set up a mining sleuth like set up, where you try your hand at a bit of gold panning.

LYNCHFORD TRAIN STATION



FAMILY PIC INFRONT OF THE TRAIN



THE TRAIN READY TO DEPART LYNCHFORD STAION...ALL ABOARD!!!



Pics taken and water taken onboard the train, it's time to head off for Rinadeena station. Along this section of track we start to climb a few of the steeper slopes the rack and pinion set up was designed to help with, it doesn't feel that steep sitting in the train, but as my phone shows, we are definately climbing at the moment. We soon reach Rinadeena and hop off the train once again, some morning tea is able to be purchased here if you're quick enough, the old cash register they have here on the counter is something straight out of a museum.

PHONE SHOWING THE CURRENT GRADIENT WE ARE CLIMBING



RINADEENA STATION



Back in the train once again and the views along the way in some areas are quite spectacular, as we cross the King River it's hard to imagine this spot was once a popular weekend get away destination for people of this area, hundreds of people would make the trip here together to spend a day out at the river....the train ride home in the afternoons could apparently get quite rowdy with many intoxicated people aboard the train.

CROSSING OVER KING RIVER



LOOKING UP KING RIVER GORGE



Before long we have reached our turn around point at the station of Dubbil Barril (it's pronounced double barrel). The loco takes on more water once again, before unhitching from the carraiges and backing up down another line to a turn around point, where the train drivers then have to hop out of the loco and physically turn around the turn table the train sits on, so that the train can then back up and rehitch to the other end of the carraiages for the return journey back to Queenstown. Whilst here at Dubbil Barril station there is also a short walk you can do to check out the trestle bridge you just crossed over as you come into the station. We do the walk to check out the trestle bridge, and arrive back at the turn table just in time to watch the guys spin the loco around.

TRESTLE BRIDGE AT DUBBIL BARRIL STATION



TRAIN TURN TABLE AT DUBBIL BARRIL STATION



LOCO DRIVERS SPINNING THE TRAIN AROUND...MUSH GUYS...MUSH!!!



OUR GIRLS GET TO STAND IN THE LOCO FOR A PIC



INSIDE THE LOCO...I'VE GOT NO IDEA HOW THIS STUFF WORKS MYSELF...well i know the basic principle of how the steam engine works, but that's about all.



THE ENGINES NO LONGER RUN ON COAL, BUT WASTE OIL INSTEAD..SO NO CONSTANT SHOVELLING REQUIRED



As we arrived at Dubill Barril station earlier, i noticed a passenger had been lucky enough to get a ride up front in the loco with the drivers, so after the train reconnects to the carriages for the journey back to Queenstown, i approach a driver and ask how one goes about being lucky enough to get a ride upfront with them. The driver looks at me and replies, all you have to do is ask, which is what i then do. Much to my disappointment though, because i am wearing shorts i am told i am not allowed upfront due to the possibilty of radiating heat from the furnace burning my legs, had i have been wearing long pants however, i could have jumped in there with them....so make sure if you take this train ride, you wear long pants if you want to ask about a ride upfront with the drivers.
We depart Dubbil Barril and have an uneventful run back to Rinadeena station where the train stops to take on more water, we hop off the train here once again, but it's not long and you get the trains whistle telling you get back aboard, as it's about to leave.
From Rinadeena station there's no more getting off the train until we get back to Queenstown, the train will make a very quick stop at Lynchford station to pick someone up, but it will only be stopped a few minutes before it gets going again. As we head to Lynchford station, one of the lady staff members on the train comes up to me and asks if i was the guy who asked about riding upfront with the drivers back at Dubbil Barril, it appears the drivers have had a change of heart about me coming upfront with them, and when the train next stops at Lynchford station, i'm to come with her and she'll take me upfront for the final run into Queenstown. The train stops at Lynchford station and i make a quick trip with the female staff member from the back of the train to upfont in the loco. We then depart Lynchford station staright away for the final run back to base. Riding up front i don't find it hot in there at all, i'm sure there is a possibilty of you getting burnt if you did something wrong, but in general it's not that hot  that my legs could burn i find. It's interesting listening to the 2 drivers talk to each other about the loco as we drive along, "i don't like the sound of that" one says to other as they listen to a knock coming from the engine. For this afternoons customers going on the same journey we have taken today, it means disappointment for them that this loco needs to go in for repair work,  they won't have a steam engine pulling their carriages along the track this afternoon, but they will have another loco to do the job, just not an original steam powered one.
We finish our journey back at Queenstown where i thank both the drivers for letting me ride upfront with them, we pay the gift shop a quick visit whilst here also, but don't purchase anything. It's now lunch time, and we decide why not walk across the road to the Empire Hotel located here and have a counter meal..which is exactly what we do. The Empire Hotel is a grand building indeed, we order our lunch and whilst waiting for it to be cooked, we have a look around inside. Located inside the pub is one of the most amazing staircases you'll likely see, it is a National Trust listed staircase made from Tasmanian Blackwood, and it takes you up several flights and landings to access the accomodation that is available here on the upper floor. The pub itself is showing it's + 100 year old age a touch, the architecture is stunning none the less, and we enjoy our lunch whilst watching the Aussie cricket team on the telly dominate India once again.

NATIONAL TRUST LISTED BLACKBUTT STAIRCASE AT THE EMPIRE HOTEL





With lunch eaten Leanne wants to restock our food supplies some more before we head off to our next destination, i drop her at the grocery store and go for a drive around town to do some sight seeing. I head back to beside the train station to start with, as located here is a big monument that shows just how poud Queenstown is of it's mining past. Sadly for me there wasn't any water running in the fountain that is located here, the sculpture work done in the statues is quite nice, but it would have looked so much better had the fountain been in operation. I take a few pics here and then head off to take some photos of a house we passed by on our train ride earlier today...i'll let the pics talk for themself on this one

MONUMENT BESIDE TRAIN STATION, DEDICATED TO QUEENSTOWNS MINING PAST



THIS STATUE IS AT THE FAR END OF THE NON WORKING WATER FEATURE



IT WOULD HAVE LOOKED MUCH NICER IF THE WATER HAD OF BEEN RUNNING



THE DETAIL IN ALL THESE LITTLE "LILLY PAD" TYPE CASTINGS WAS AMAZING..EVERYONE WAS DIFFERENT AND DEPICTED MINING SCENES



THE HOUSE WE SAW FROM THE TRAIN EARLIER TODAY



COMPLETE WITH BEER CAN TREE



Pics taken of the house i start to head out of town towards Strahan direction,  we'd passed by here several times now previously and i'd noticed some old relic on display, so i thought i'd come have a look at what it was. Located here on the edge of town is an old electric underground loco, it's defiantely seen better days, and is slowly rusting away outside here in the elements. I take a few pics as usual and head back into town to go pick my wife and groceries up.

OLD ELECTRIC UNDERGROUND LOCO



Meeting back up with Jeff and Sara once again, we have decided that on the way back to camp we'll try and stop off just outside of Queenstown to have a look at a wood stave water pipeline that is supposed to be located here. We'd spoken to the artist Greg Duncan at the Wall of Wilderness about this wooden pipeline, and when he asked where we were headed to next, he mentioned that located at the Lake Margaret Power Station was a section of the pipeline we were asking about. Greg mentioned the possibility of a gate being locked and this stopping us from accessing this locaction, but we thought we'd go for a look anyhow and see what we'd find.
We head out of town towards Strahan direction and drive past the turnoff we'd normally take to head to Strahan itself. Not far past this turn off we turn right off of the highway at a sign mentioning Lake Margaret and end up on a dirt road, we drive through an open gate here and eventually we end up a few kilometres down the road at a locked gate that stops us driving any further. We know we must be relatively close by to seeing what we want to see going on our GPS's, but we know we aren't allowed past this spot so turn around and head back out onto the highway. As we reach the highway i notice a sign on the first gate we went through saying we weren't even supposed to proceed past that point. It appears from my further research since returning home, that if you want to view this power station and wood stave pieline here, you need to do a tour, and it costs $60 and adult and $30 a child.
Not giving up on seeing the wooden pipeline, we turn right onto the highway and drive down the highway for some distance, before we turn right onto Anthony Main Rd. We can see on our GPS's that this road skirts around the edge of some of the surrounding lakes, and hope that maybe we might manage to see what we want to see from somewhere along this road. It turns out to be a complete waste of time as we drive some distance down this road, we turn around at Lake Plimsoll and head back towards Strahan. On the side of the road where we turn around Sara notices a red flower she'd seen earlier elsewhere, we stop to grab a pic of it before continuing on our way back towards camp.

THE RED FLOWER WE STOPPED TO PHOTOGRAPH



We make good time back to Strahan and then split from Sara and Jeff, they head back to camp to start getting dinner ready whilst we stop in at the laundromat to do a few loads of washing. With that job done we head back to camp ourselves to rest up after a big day out. Back at camp and the quad bike riders are hooning about the place once again, we can't wait for the sun to start going down, because as soon as this happens they all disappear back to their campsites. I'll say it once again... they have many tens of kilometers of beach to ride on around here, yet for some reason they don't stray more then a few hundred metres away from where everyone is camped to hoon around on the beach...wtf is with that?
The sun sets and we finally have our peace and quiet back, dinner had and a few drinks consumed around the fire once again and it's time for bed. As my head hits the pillow some drunken yobbos nearby decide it's time to set off a few fireworks, i hope this doesn't go on all night i think to myself, and thankfully it doesn't last long at all, before the quiet of the night returns once again. An uninterrupted nights sleep is had from then on which is a good thing, tomorrow we are packing up camp and heading for our next destination.
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2015, 08:45:13 PM »
DAY 20 - MACQUARIE HEADS TO ZEEHAN

It's a slow start to the morning today, as we lay in bed we hear a small thunder storm rolling through the campground, there's some thunder action happening but we don't get much in the way of rain out of it thankfully, so the canvas on the camper stays fairly dry. We eventually have brekky and pack the campers up ready to head to our next destination which is the town of Zeehan. As we are about to leave our campsite, i notice the campers across from us have finished their packing up and are about to leave also. Their vehicle is chock a block full of camping stuff and kids, and i wonder just where it is they are going to put their large garbage bag of rubbish that they have. As i start to drive off i see the fella is about to start walking with the rubbish bag as if he's going to carry it all the way to the industrial bins up at the caretakers house which is several hundred metres away atleast, and looking at the bulging rubbish bag i reckon it'll split open long before he ever gets the bag there. I pull up beside old mate and tell him i'll chuck it on the top of our camper to take it to the bins for him, but we need to double bag it first. Seriously, the bag was pretty heavy and i doubt this guy would have gotten 50 metres down the track before the bag split open, my main concern was he might have then just thrown the rubbish into the bush instead of doing the right thing, so i though best be safe just take it up there for him.
With the rubbish now double bagged and on the back of my camper we drive up to the caretakers house, we haven't paid for our camping stay yet, so we fix him up for the cost of that and throw the bags of rubbish we have in the large bins that area located across from here also. As we walk back to our vehicles we notice a fisherman at the boat ramp cleaning his catch, we go over to have a look at what he's caught, and he seems pleased with his mornings effort.

A RANDOM FISHERMAN CLEANING HIS CATCH AT THE BOAT RAMP



Jumping back into our vehicles we head off towards Zeehan, we drive back into Strahan but don't stop there and make a turn onto Zeehan - Strahan Rd. Cruising along this road we stop off at a lookout on our righthand side somewhere, the views aren't to bad up here, but the overcast conditions mean no decent pics were taken. Somewhere along this same road we hit what we joked over the uhf radios to each other was, "The Longest Stretch of Straight road in Tasmania".....lol...geez it made a pleasent change from all the twisty roads we'd drive on of late. The run from Strahan to Zeehan is only a short drive of about 50 kilometers, it's not long before we reach the town, and we find the local caravan park and set up the campers for an overnight stay. With the camper trailers set up, it's now time for lunch.
We have our lunch and then jump in the 4wd's and head off to do a 4wd track about 10klms out of town that takes us to view Montezuma Falls. This 4wd only track is approximately 14 klms long and follows the old North East Dundas Tramway that was closed back in about 1930. Opened back in 1898, the old tramway route we drive on today originally comprised of a 2ft gauge line, it carried steam trains hauling ore between Williamsford and the smelters South of Zeehan. The track takes us pretty much all the way up to the falls themself, though there is a very short walk to do at the end to get to where you view it. At 104 metre drop, Montezuma Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Tasmania.
We reach the start of the 4wd track and stop to air down our tyres, it's been raining abit of late and we aren't sure what we will be in for as we drive in here. The track itself isn't what you'd call difficult 4wding at all, it's really just a rough wombat holed muddy track with the odd small creek crossing along the way, but constant concentration and care should still be paid at all times, something that i learnt the hard way...we'll get to that in a minute though.
We drive through the track and after a while start to hear uhf radio chatter from some other vehicles already in the forest here somewhere,. We originally think they are headed to the falls just like we are, but eventually we meet up with them as they come towards us just after we've crossed one of the creeks i mentioned earlier. The track in most places is only one vehicle wide, just like right here where we currently are now, there's nowhere to pass each other. The other vehicles say there's nowhere to back up to where they've just come from, so we start to reverse back down the track to try and get out of their way. I find a spot on the side of the track and manouvre into it, it's deep mud where i've ended up in, so hopefully i'll be able to drive out once the others have gotten past us. Jeff however has to reverse back past me and down into the creek we just crossed over, if he takes the wrong line here it could end up badly, so i run back down the track and guide him down into the creek slowly. As we are doing this 2 more vehicles come up behind us headed for the falls, eventually the 3 vehicles going the other way get past us all, and we can continue on forward.

THE START OF THE MONTEZUMA FALLS TRACK



FOR THE MOST PART IT'S JUST AN EASY WOMBAT HOLED MUDDY TRACK





Now remember how i'd just written earlier that "constant concentration and care should still be paid at all times"?...well this has just come to bite me big time as we negotiate our way up out of one of the small creek crossings. Leading the way, i was looking at my watch and then looking at my GPS to see exactly where we were, thinking this trip to the falls is going take longer then the one hour time frame the sign at the start of the track says it will. I then come to a small creek crossing that has a bit of a tight lefthand turn in it, and an off camber muddy hill to climb out of the creek on. Not really concentrating to much on what i was doing, i start my climb out of the creek about 200mm to far to the left then what i should have done. All of a sudden the vehicle starts to slide left where i don't want to going, and instead of hitting the brakes i foolish turn the steering wheel hard right and give it boot full of accelerator thinking i'll just pop up to where i want to be. Well lets just say things didn't go anywhere near what i'd hoped they would do here, i managed to make it up out of the creek, but i ran off the track and slammed the front end of the vehicle into a fallen tree, the loud crack sound the vehicle made didn't sound good at all, but thankfully we'd now stopped moving and currently weren't going anywhere. I was just about to hit the lockers and try and reverse back when i decided no that's not a good idea, lets get out of the vehicle fist and see just what's happened here, and it's oh so very lucky that i made this decision. I radio up to Jeff and say i need some help up here, he can tell by the sound in my voice it's not good news.
Jumping out of the fourby it's raining quiet nicely now, i walk around the front of my vehicle and note the steering and front end still seem to be ok from what i could see of them, there's some minor panel damage been done for sure when the bullbar has smashed into the tree we hit, but as i peer my head further around the side of the vehicle i note things are much worse then i first thought, and i need to get the family out of the vehicle ASAP. Where i have ended up is right on the edge of a massive drop into the valley below where the creek we just crossed over drops into, my front passenger tyre is sitting in a massive hole with absolute no ground beneath it, and the only thing that has stopped us from going over the edge here to what most likely would have been a fatal accident, is the fact the vehicle is resting on it's side step / door sill on a mound of small fern trees. I get the family out of the vehicle straight away and then Jeff arrives at the creek to come help assess the situation. We eventually come up with a solution of how we are going to get the vehicle out of this predicament, and right about now would be a perfect time for the winch to be working on the front of my fourby, but as i have already mentioned several times previous in the report...IT"S NOT!!!!
Jeff engages his lockers and slowly drives up past my vehicle taking the line i should have taken, he turns his vehicle around infront of mine and we run the winch out to hook up to the front drivers side recovery point. Now remember the 2 vehicles that had caught up to us early...the vehicle behind Jeff has a winch on the front of his vehicle also, we park him up down in the creek we'd just crossed over, and run his winch out via a pulley off of a tree up a huge embankment behind the drivers side of my vehicle. Getting the pulley anchored up to the tree here was an effort in itself, the embankment was pretty much vertical and about 4 metres high, but thankfully the guy in the fourth vehicle was pretty athletic, and he managed to scale it so we could throw him the recovery gear to hook up. Now the plan we came up with here was to anchor the rear of my vehicle to the tree so it can't slide down over the hill, at the same time Jeff is going to pull the front of my vehicle back around onto the track, and whilst all this happens, i'll have front and back lockers engaged and slowly trying to give some help by driving out as required. This whole process wasn't a quick thing, we spent probably 20 - 30 minutes assessing just what we were going to do to recover the vehicle and running the gear out, add to that another 20 minutes atleast of one vehicle winching in whilst the other vehicle winched out at the same time, and eventually we manage to get my Cruiser back onto the track where it should be. Everyone is pretty wet by now with the rain that has been falling as we recovered the vehicle, we pack the gear up and i thank the 2 complete strangers who helped us with the recovery, before we all continue onto the falls.
NOTE...there's no pics of this recovery sadly, we were way to busy trying to get the vehicle out, and the rain falling at the same time meant nobody took any photos. Jeff did have his GOPRO running, but the battery went flat on it, so i think he's missed recording the recovery sadly.
I make sure the vehicle still drives ok at the start as i slowly make my way along the track, all appears to be good except some cosmetic damage, and before long we reach the end of the track where we park the vehicles up for the final walk to the falls. The walk to the falls is only a short one of a few hundred metres, you'll then reach a footbridge you need to cross over, if you're scared of heights i suggest you don't look down...lol. We cross the bridge and then turn right and walk up to the falls, we try and get some decent pics of the falls, but the rain that is now falling again is making this difficult. We eventually get some pics taken and then turn around and head back to the vehicles. With all that is going on today with the rain and the recovery, we clean forget to go have a look at the old trestles that once formed part of the rail line here. Where we turned right to go look at the falls you can turn left and walk down to see the old trestles, i'm not sure how far away they actually are, but we clean forgot all about them.

END OF THE 4WD TRACK... IT'S TIME TO WALK



THE FOOT BRIDGE YOU NEED TO CROSS OVER



DON'T LOOK DOWN IF YOU'RE SCARED OF HEIGHTS...SERIOUSLY, IT'S A LONG WAY DOWN



THE BRIDGE IS ONLY BUILT TO TAKE 2 ADULTS AT A TIME



WET FAMILY PIC AT THE FALLS



MONTEZUMA FALLS...IT DROPS 104 METRES



We head back to our vehicles and start the return drive back to the highway, we reach an intersection we passed by earlier on the way in, and toy ever so briefly with the idea of taking a different route back to camp. Being it's been raining quite a bit already and the afternoon is fast getting away from us, we decide that us not knowing what this route is like is a bad option to take, so we continue back along the same track we came in on. The drive back to the highway is an uneventful one, we reach the same spot where we deflated our tyres, and we reinflate them back up to road pressures once again. I walk  up to the guy who had the winch hooked to the back of my vehicle earlier and offer him $50 to say thanks for helping us out today, he'd run a heap of his gear out in the recovery process, and i just wanted to thank him for doing so. As is the case with many 4wd'ers, he says no thanks to money, he was happy he could help out, which is exactly what i likely would have said had the shoe have been on the other foot. I thank him one more time and other guy also who had helped us out, then they head off. It's only here that i really start to assess the damage that i did to my vehicle when i ran off of the track. The drivers side guard needs replacing now and doesn't line up with the bonnet at all, the drivers side head light has popped out of position and my guess is something that locates it is likely broken, and the bullbar appears to bent back / twisted slightly out of shape, and the panel that runs above the bullbar across the front of the vehicle needs replacing also. I don't know it now, but in a few days time when i go to open the bonnet on my vehicle, i'll have to bend the uhf aerial out of the way to be able to do this.... so that passenger side corner of the bullbar is pushed back quite substantially actually. At the end of the day it's all cosmetic damage to a vehicle that can always be replaced, had we have gone over the edge there however, i am certain several members of my family if not all of us could have been fatally injured, a pretty scary thought i think each time i stop and think about it.

AN ALTERNATE ROUTE BACK TO CAMP...WE'LL PASS ON THAT TODAY THANKS





SOME MUSHROOMS WE SAW GROWING ON THE SIDE OF THE TRACK



THE DAMAGE DOESN'T LOOK THAT BAD, UNTIL YOU START LOOKING REAL CLOSE AT IT, THEN YOU NOTICE ALL THAT'S WRONG



Arriving back at camp we find the grass at out site is several inches deep with water. At first glance it doesn't look that bad to look at, but the minute you walk on the grass, it has water coming up out of it big time and your feet get absolutely saturated. I open the back of my 4wd to get a drink from the fridge and notice there's been more damage sustained today then i though, 4 cans of coke have also been lost, several of them exploding due to the vehicle bouncing around on the very bumpy track. I then clean the mess up in the back of the vehicle. It's a cold wet and miserable night, the grass all around our site is soaking wet also, so we don't have a very late night at all before heading off to bed where our nice warm heaters are running.

4 COKE CANS WERE LOST TO TODAYS BUMPY TRACK
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2015, 11:14:13 PM »
DAY 21 - ZEEHAN TO ARTHUR RIVER

It was a wet and windy night last night, we wake to a miserable morning and yet another small thunder storm rolls through our camp site just like it did yesterday morning as we lay in bed thinking about getting up. Unlike yesterday though, much to our surprise we get some small hail falling amongst the rain this time, thankfully it's bugger all though. We've got the diesel heater cranking away in the camper once again, and even though we've had rain overnight and early this morning, it's doing a pretty good job of stopping the canvas on the camper from being soaking wet....the canvas is slightly damp but not to bad. Eventually in between the passing showers we manage to pack our campers up, we've been watching the weather radar on our phones the past hour or so, and we knew a small break in the rain was coming, so timed it to perfection to get both our campers packed away before the rain starts up again. With the campers packed up we make our way over to the caravan parks camp kitchen where we have some brekky indoors, out of the cold wet conditions going on outside. Breakfast had, we then use the water tap on the side of the park owners house to fill our water tanks on the campers back up, where we are headed for to camp the next few days has no facilities at all, so we'll need to be fully self sufficent, stocked up on water and food etc.
Yesterday when we checked into the caravan park, Sara was told about some discount vouchers they can give you if you plan to visit the local museum that is located here in the centre of town, so we head over to reception and pick these up before departing the van park to go there. Originally we hadn't really planned on visiting the museum at all, but this morning we had a change of heart about doing that, and let me say now after having visited there, it is well worth stopping in at for a look around. The West Coast Heritage Centre which the museum is actually called... " incorporates the West Coast Pioneers' Museum. Attractions include photo galleries, locomotives, mining machinery, blacksmith shop, marine display, Masonic Display, crocite cavern, pioneer womens gallery, the historic Gaiety Theatre (Edwardian films playing daily) and a world class mineral collection. "
We spend a few hours looking around here, but if we didn't have young kids to try and keep amused we could easily spend twice that amount of time if not much longer, checking the place out. The heritage centre is absolutely huge, from the entrance on the main road it doesn't really look anywhere near as big as what it is, but once you enter the place, you soon realise there's many buildings here to walk through and look around in. As we walk around the outdoors area located at the rear of the centre, the rain starts to bucket down in yet another heavy shower, we seek cover inside one of the many buildings located here and continue on looking around. You may recall 2 days ago, we'd gone for a drive on the way back to camp from Queenstown to try and find the old wood stave pipeline at Lake Margaret, well as if to rub salt into the wound of us not being able to view what we wanted to see, when the rain does stop, we find a section of the old pipeline on display here in the heritage centre. It's only a small section of pipeline they have on display, but atleast you'll get an idea of what it was we were trying to go view yesterday. Aswell as the pipeline we find outside, inside the main building we find an old photo hanging on the wall of Montezuma Falls which we had visited yesterday. This old photo shows the trestle bridge complete with a train crossing over it, running right infront of the falls, pretty much were the pedestrian bridge is located that we walked over yesterday. It's amazing to actually see a train running so close to that massive waterfall, not something i'd visualised at all on our visit there the day previous. Time is getting away from us as usual, so we call an end to looking around the museum and head back to our vehicles once again.
Hopping back into our vehicles, we drive down the main street to go to the grocery store and local bottle shop, to make sure we are fully stocked for the next few days of camping. As you drive down the main street of modern day Zeehan, it's hard to believe that this town once had approximately 10 000 people living here and also had 20 hotels located here aswell. Once know as The Silver City, this small town is a shadow of it's former self, it now has a population of less then 800 people, and there really doesn't appear to be very much at all going on around town at all these days.

SOME OF THE BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURED BUILDINGS IN THE MAIN STREET OF ZEEHAN

 







THE ENTRANCE TO THE WEST COAST HERITAGE CENTRE



WHAT IT NORMALLY COST FOR ENTRY TO THE MUSEUM IF YOU DON'T GET A DISCOUNT VOUCHER



AN OLD PHOTO SHOWING A TRAIN CROSSING INFRONT OF MONTEZUMA FALLS



SOME OF THE TRAINS ON DISPLAY HERE



KRAUSS LOCOMOTIVE.... this loco sat in a local park in the town of Devenport for 18 years before it was donated to this museum, it is believed to be the loco that travelled up and down the main street of Zeehan back in 1907



A SECTION OF THE WOODEN STAVE PIPELINE FROM LAKE MARGARET



A SECTION OF HUON PINE TREE ON DISPLAY HERE.... the tree this section belonged to was estimated to be 2190 years of age, it's diameter at the base of the tree was 2.7 mtrs, and the tree was estimated to be 33.5 mtrs in height
 


Heading down to the local convenience store i need to fuel up before we leave town also, i pull into the servo and am surprised to see that it doesn't have anyone working here at all, it's fully automated and you just need to swipe your card to use it and select which fuel pump you are located at. We don't have this type of set up back home, we do have fuel bowsers you can use your card at if you want to, but i don't ever recall there being an entire service station that doesn't have anyone working at a console inside the station atleast....well none that i've been to anyway. Vehicle refueled we head down to the convenience store and restock on the food supplies, before ducking next door to the hotel and restocking alcohol supplies aswell. It's now lunch time and the weather being what it is, we can't be bothered making lunch in a park anywhere, so stop into the local snack bar and grab some hot food to go. We jump back in our vehicles and head off, eating our lunch as we go. As we reach the end of town, my wife suddenly exclaims that she didn't pay for our food before we left the store, so i spin the vehicle back around in the opposite direction, and we go back to pay for what we had "purchased". Back at the store and the people running the shop were oblivious to the oversight of not paying, i'm sure some people might have just kept driving and not gone back to pay like we have, but i'm a firm believer in what goes around comes around...so i can only hope the good karma bus will stop by my place one day in the future sometime.
Back in the fourby once again we leave Zeehan for a second time, we head North on Heemskirk Rd for about 35 klms before taking a left turn to head towards Corrina. About another 12klms further on down this road and we come to the Pieman River. Located here at the river is the Fatman Ferry, we need to cross the river on this ferry service, and we need to pay a fee for doing so aswell. Now here's something you need to be aware of if you plan to ever visit this area, the ferry is not very big and has a size limit for what it can carry, it has a 6.5 T weight limit which shouldn't be a problem for most people, but the main thing you need to know is, that it has a wheel base limit of 9.0 mtrs...so if you're towing a trailer like we both are doing, then you need to make sure from the front of your vehicles front wheels to the back of trailers tyres, is under 9.0 mtrs in length. We'd already checked these measurements before we left home for this trip, as we knew we were coming this route to get to our next destination. We both just fit on the ferry with the wheel bases that we have, Jeff is pretty close to the maximum limit they allow, but the main thing is he's under the 9.0 mtr mark. Jeff being in the lead goes on the ferry first, it's one at a time for the crossing, you pay the operator when you're on it and crossing over to the other side. The cost for our vehicles with the trailers onboard is $25 for a one way trip. The cost may seem expensive for the short distance the cable ferry travels across the Pieman River, but let me tell you this now after having done the part of the drive we are just about to embark on now.... the scenery along the Western Explorer Road is absolutely beautiful and well worth paying $25 to be able to get to here.

CROSSING THE PIEMAN ON THE FATMAN



I ACTUALLY TOOK THIS PIC AT THE OTHER END OF THE WESTERN EXPLORER ROAD, BUT TAKE NOTE OF THE LIMITS FOR THE FATMAN
FERRY



Once you cross the Pieman River you land in the township of Corrina, we make a quick stop here for Jeff to try and get a "I Rode the Fatman" ferry sticker, because he didn't see them for sale on the ferry like i did, and thus missed out on purchasing one. With no luck in getting what he wanted in the tiny store that is located here, we push on for the next 100 klms of driving we have to do along The Western Explorer Road.

A RANDOM OLD FUEL BOWSER I STOPPED BESIDE, WHILE JEFF RAN INSIDE THE SHOP TRYING TO BUY A STICKER



Leaving Corrina behind us, we embark on what i reckon was one of many major highlights of our Tasmanian trip. Driving The Western Explorer Road is spectatcular as far as the surrounding scenery you drive through goes, it's a mostly gravel road that at the time we drove on it was in very good condition. The road twists and turns it's way through the Arthur-Pieman conservation area for nearly 100klms, and it climbs up and down some pretty steep sections of road in places also. I have never had to shift back to 1st gear to climb a hill whilst towing my camper trailer on a decent road ever before, but the steepness of some of the hills we encounter along this route had me shifting back to first gear on several occasions. Thankfully though, the climbs are only short and before you know it you are over the top and on your merry way once again. As we drive this route i mention to Jeff over the uhf radio about how much this area reminds me of the Victorian High Country, i'll say now though that i haven't actually ever been there myself, i'm just going off of all the photos i'd seen of the area in peoples trip reports previously. Jeff who has been to the Vic High Country himself agrees with me back over the uhf, the twisty roads that wind their way through the alpine landscape here are very much like some of that area indeed. The weather isn't the best as we drive this road and it showers on off a few times along the way, it's not heavy rain mind you, just enough to be annoying really.

THE WESTERN EXPLORER ROAD...SOME OF IT'S BITUMIN AT THE START



BUT MOST OF IT ON THE WAY TO ARTHUR RIVER IS GRAVEL



THERE'S SOME SHORT STEEP HILLS TO CLIMB ALONG THE WAY



AND THE WEATHER WAS A TOUCH ORDINARY IN PLACES FOR US TODAY



BUT THE SCENRY ALONG THE WAY WAS SPECTACULAR AND WELL WORTH DOING THIS DRIVE FOR



About 9 klms from the end of the Western Explorer Rd we pass the turn offs for the iconic Balfour Track, we are thinking about driving it in the coming days, though we're not sure if we will do it or not just yet. We jump out of the vehicles here and take a quick pic of the track before continuing on our way.

THE BALFOUR TRACK



Reaching the end of the Western Explorer Road we stop to take a few more quick pics once again, before turning left for the final run to Couta Rocks which is where we'll be staying the next few nights. Before leaving on our trip, Jeff has been in regular contact with a member of the Bradden 4wd club, they are a local 4wd club to this area, and they have kindly offered to show us around these parts whilst we are here. The main reason for getting in contact with this club was due to our planned drive to Sandy Cape in the coming days, the beaches around these parts are known for having quick sand in them, so we were after some local knowledge of the area to ensure we don't fall victim to it.
The remaining drive to Couta Rocks is pretty uneventful, we stop one more time as we near the ocean to get a pic of the view that is infront us, before then managing to find fairly easily where the Bradden 4wd club is camped for the New Years break. We say a few quick hello's and introduce ourselves to various members of the club, and we then find a suitable spot to set up the campers. With the campers set up we join the Bradden club around their fire for a few drinks as we get to know each other, they all seem like nice down to earth people, so hopefully we'll have a good time hanging out with them in the coming days.
Dinner is had and then a few more drinks consumed around the fire that night, before we all eventually head off to our beds

ONE LAST STOP FOR A PIC OF THE VIEW



CAMPED WITH THE BRADDEN 4WD CLUB

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2015, 10:46:28 PM »
DAY 22 - COUTA ROCKS

It's a lazy day we have planned for today, so being we've got nowhere to be, we fire up the stove and cook a lovely hot breakfast of bacon and eggs for a change. After breakfast Jeff and myself then go for a drive to the nearest township which is Arthur River to get some camping and 4wd permits. As we leave our campsite we make a quick stop off to look at a couple of buildings we passed by on the way into camp yesterday arvo, located here we surprisingly find a toilet block with a flushing toilet inside of it in one building, it's not the cleanest most modern toilet block you'll ever find, but it'd be fine for using by the looks of it. We take a few pics of the surrounds here and then head off into Arthur River, which is only about a 10 - 15 minute drive down the road. Arthur River is a tiny township with a population of a touch over a 100 people, and there's not a lot here in this town. The town consists of holiday houses, a National Parks office (which we are headed for now) and a tiny take away / convience store that doesn't have a lot in the way of supplies...so don't come here expecting to able to buy whatever you need in the way of groceries etc, because they likely won't have what you want. Basically the store sold loaves of frozen bread and had a few small shelves of tinned food in it from memory, so not much there at all. The town itself is split into 2 halves, this is because the Arthur River flows out to the sea at this location, and the town has been built either side of this river. Connecting the both sides of the town together is a longish single laned bridge that spans the river, you need to make sure nobody is coming in the opposite direction before you enter onto the bridge to cross the river, or you'll soon be reversing your vehicle backwards as it's only the one lane wide.
Besides the river and the ocean that are located here, the township of Arthur River has one little tourist attraction located in it, and it's called The Edge of the World. We'll be visiting this spot in the coming days when we have our families with us, but basically it's a plaque by the oceans edge, informing us that we are now looking out over the longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean on the globe. I'll explain more about it when we visit here in the coming days though.

OUR HOSTS FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS ARE...



A RANDOM BUILDING NEAR OUR CAMP AREA



Arriving at the National Parks office we need to obtain a couple of permits, first of all we need to get our camping permits and pay the fee for them, it's $6 a night for 2 adults and the kids are free, or $30 for a weekly camping permit. Whilst here we also need to obtain a vehicle permit for our drive to Sandy Cape in the coming days, it's $30 for a monthly permit, so we purchase this one also. When we first caught the ferry over to Tasmania, whilst on the ship we purchased our National Parks Vehicle Holiday Pass, which allows us access into Tasmania's National Parks. These passes cover your entrance into the parks for an 8 week period and can be purchased online, or on the ferry at the information room (like we did), or in Tasmania itself from a large variety of info centres and National Parks offices....the cost of the holiday pass is $60. I mention this other pass now, as it doesn't cover you for when you drive to Sandy Cape, you need to purchase a seperate permit which we have just done now at this National Parks office.
The female Ranger serving us at the office here is very friendly and chatty... and when i say chatty, i mean chatty!!!. We were inside this office for about an hour and a half whilst getting these 2 permits, the lady kept grabbing information stuff for our kids to colour in and getting them stickers etc etc, and then she kept asking us questions about this and that, and we just couldn't get away from her...a lovely lady non the less, but very hard to get away from.
Whilst inside the office here, it's not hard to notice some of the great taxidermy that they have on display of the local wildlife. Mentioning this to the Ranger, she informs us that the eagle and the quoll that they have on display here, were sadly killed in car strike accidents. The eagle is hanging from the ceiling and is absolutely massive in it's wing span, my photo does the bird no justice at all, it's a truely beautiful looking creature they have on display here. The quoll is sitting on display on the front counter, it's an animal we don't have back home where we live, so to see one in the wild here would be an awesome experience, but i don't like our chances of that actually happening on this trip.
We eventually get the permits we require and thank the Ranger for her time, before heading back to camp.

EAGLE HANGING FROM THE CEILING AT NATIONAL PARKS OFFICE



HERE'S A SIGN YOU'LL ONLY FIND IN TASMANIA



Arriving back at camp and find the Braddon 4wd club have been the perfect hosts whilst we were away, some of their club members have been taking our kids on quad bike rides. I know i went on about these vehicles back at Macquarie Heads and how annoying they were, but the 4wd club members here aren't like the crowds we encountered back there. The club members here aren't about hooning around the campsites or anywhere nearby, they respect the campers (currently the only people camped around here are club members anyhow) and they ride very slowly about the place so as not to annoy anyone, it's a nice change to see actually. They don't have a helmet small enough to fit our youngest daughter, so she just gets a short trip around the camp site basically, but our eldest daughter is lucky enough to be lent a helmet from one of the club members wives, so she gets to be a passenger as they go for a spin down onto the beach and back, something she really enjoyed a lot apparently.

OUR KIDS WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET A RIDE ON THE QUAD BIKES





Being we were at the National Parks office for so long, it's now lunch time already. We make some lunch and then get ready to head down to the beach for the afternoon. Where we are camped doesn't have any water views, we are set back behind the dunes with protection from any wind that may spring up, which is what this area is renowned for, and it's something we'll experience in the coming days actually. After lunch i deflate the tyres on my 4wd to 15 psi, as the sand on the beach South of camp is quite soft apparently, so hopefully this pressure will keep us out of any trouble. We head out with the Braddon club onto the beach, the first section of sand is fairly firm and pretty deceptive off what is about to come, as we head South along the beach we soon hit the soft sand we'd been warned about. Running the lowered pressure that i am we crooze through fairly easily though, the side slope of the sand was more of an issue IMHO, and had the rear of the vehicle slipping downhill as we drove along. We don't travel far from camp and soon park up at a headland to enjoy the next couple of hours doing not much at all, we enjoy a few quiet drinks whilst watching some members from the Braddon club try their luck fishing, but with no success. As the afternoon rolls on we eventually call time on our lazing by the ocean, and then head back to camp.

NOT A BAD SPOT TO SPEND AN AFTERNOON



THE HEADLAND WE STOPPED AT ON THE BEACH



SOMETHING THE WIVES WERE DRINKING ON THE BEACH



Back at camp and we soon have a fire going in the large fire ring the club has here, we are enjoying a few laughs when a mayday call is heard over the uhf radio from some other club members, to come rescue some bogged vehicles in the soft sand i'd mentioned earlier. I jump in Paul's 4wd with him and Jeff jumps in Michaels 4wd also,  we head down to the beach to help rescue the vehicles before the ocean soon claims them. As we are recovering the 2 vehicles that are bogged here, Michaels 4wd also gets bogged aswell, we've managed to free the 2 originally bogged vehicles using a snatch strap, and now it's just Michaels vehicle that is left in the soft sand. We end up lowering Michaels tyres down to 5 psi and he eventually drives out of the soft sand, we head back up to camp once again, and spend the reast of the evening around the fire, seeing in the New Year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR...IT'S NOW THE YEAR 2015
We don't have too late of a night ourselves tonight, tomorrow Rodney from the Braddon club has graciously volunteered to be our guide and take us to Sandy Cape, so around 1.00 a.m we call it a night and head off to bed.
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2015, 09:33:25 PM »
DAY 23 - SANDY CAPE

We sleep in a touch this morning after staying up last night to see the New Year in, and are woken by Jeff banging on the canvas of our camper telling us we are leaving in half an hour to go on our drive to Sandy Cape. Rodney from the Braddon 4wd club has kindly agreed to spend the day showing us around an area he is very familiar with, a gesture we very much appreciate.
We quickly get dressed and stepping outside note it's a miserable day weather wise, there's showers of rain all about the place currently, so spending the day inside a nice warm vehicle probably isn't a bad option for today. We grab some brekky on the run and it's time to hit the road for the day, it's just 3 vehicles going on the drive (us, Jeff and Rodney), the rest of the people back at camp are opting for a lazy day after a pretty late night had by some of them last night.
We head back to the main road at the entrance to camp and turn right to head for the tinny coastal township of Temma, the rain starts to fall heavy for a short period of time as we drive along, and then eases up and clears a touch as we reach the town itself. To call this place a town is probably a bit misleading, it's basically about a dozen houses only, located around Temma Bay. The bay is a sanctuary for the fisherman from the at times wild ocean out front of the bay, there's a couple of impressive sized boats we see here sitting up on large slipways that are used to pull the boats up on in bad weather. We park our vehicles on a vacant land area looking over the bay and hop out for a quick look around, and to take some pics. It's hard to imagine this tiny hamlet was once home to 700 people who worked in the tin mine township of Balfour, it even had a horse-drawn wooden tramway that connected Balfour to this port.
We take some pics and hop back in our vehilces to continue on our drive.

WELCOME TO TEMMA...pic taken on the way home that arvo when the weather was better



A FISHING BOAT PULLED UP OUT OF THE WATER ON A SLIPWAY



Leaving Temma and we soon reach the end of the good graded road and start on the 4wd track to Sandy Cape, from here on you need the vehicle permit we purchased from the Rangers station at Arthur River the other day to allow access to this area. The track itself is pretty easy 4wding, though having Rodneys local knowledge is invaluable, and he knows which water and mud holes to avoid as we drive along, some of them are much deper then they first appear to be (sometimes there's muliple short tracks to choose from that end in the same location).

SANDY CAPE ACCESS TRACK



PLENTY OF THESE SORTS OF WATER HOLES TO NEGOTIATE ALONG THE INLAND TRACK AT THE START OF THE JOURNEY...they have a hard base but some are much deeper then others



I am surprised at just how much inland track driving we do as we head to Sandy Cape, i've never looked at a map to see where we are going today and just assumed we'd be doing a heap of beach driving on the way to there, but this isn't the case first up. Eventually we end the inland part of the start of the trip and pop out onto a headland looking out over the ocean, we park the vehicles up on one headland and Rodney proceeds to point out different landmarks to us. It's only a short stop here and we are back on the go once again. From here on it's the beach driving i was expecting the majority of this trip would be, the rain is falling on and off as we drive along, the day is pretty miserable at times. Heading down onto the main beach run we pass by a sign warning of the dangers this beach can pose, the quicksand we know this area is infamous for is mentioned in the warning, and hopefully with Rodneys local knowledge we'll avoid that completely.

WE EVENTUALLY POP OUT AT THE OCEAN FROM THE INLAND TRACK DRIVNG



HEED THE WARNINGS, THIS BEACH HAS CLAIMED MANY A 4WD OVER THE YEARS



A BIT OF A MISERABLE DAY AS WE DRIVE THE BEACH TO SANDY CAPE



We drive along the beach for a while and circle right around a bay until we can go no further driving on the beach, we pull up for another look around and the weather is finally starting to improve a touch. A few more pics taken here, and we jump back in the vehicles once again for the short drive from here to the Sandy Cape Lighthouse. We head up off the beach along a sandy track that takes you through the dunes, it's not far and before we know it we have reached the lighthouse. We park the vehicles up and do a short walk to it for another look around and more photos once again. This lighthouse located here is not what i expected to see by any means, i was thinking it would be the old style grand looking type of lighthouse similar to what we visited earlier on our trip at Bruney Island, but this lighthouse is nothing at all like that. This lighthouse is more of a small ugly looking beacon then a grand old building IMHO, i'm sure it does just as good a job as the the type of lighthouse i expected to see here would do, but it's a touch disappointing to see such a simple structure located here when i expected to see something so much nicer looking. Ugly looking or not, the location of this lighthouse is certainly not disappointing, the 270 degree views out over the water from this location are worth the effort alone to come visit here. The combined colours of the local flaura, red rocks and ocean all combine to paint a beautiful scenic picture, and best of all the weather is improving by the minute aswell. We spend a short while here looking around and taking more pics before moving on once again.

FAMILY PIC AT THE SANDY CAPE LIGHTHOUSE



A NICE VIEW HAD FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE



I WOULDN'T WANT TO BE HERE ON A WINDY DAY THOUGH, AS BEAUTIFUL AS THE AREA IS



Continuing on from the lighthouse we pop down onto one last beach before we once again end up on a bit of inland track driving. Having Rodneys local knowledge of the area here is invaluable, none of the tracks we are driving on show up on my GPS, so if we didn't have him leading the way we'd have no idea where we are headed at the moment. There's various tracks running off in all different directions, to where we don't know (i'm sure Rodney knows though), the track we are driving is a touch overgrown in places and the old bush pin stripe action starts to happen. It's not to far and we are soon stopping off at our lunch stop location for the day. The Sandy Cape Cattlemans Hut is our lunch stop, a hut the local 4wd club people have built here to act as a safe haven, should you get caught out stuck in this area and need to get out of the weather. Inside is a fireplace to help keep you warm and a couple of simple beds to lie on and a kitchen bench of sorts... it's a very basic set up, but one that may well save peoples lives if they need to use it, with the extreme weather conditions this West Coast area often encounters.

POPPING BACK DOWN ONTO THE BEACH FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE



WHERE WE ARE AT THE MOMENT



HEADING BACK INLAND ONCE AGAIN



TODAYS LUNCH DESTINATION



SANDY CAPE CATTLEMANS HUT



We spend a bit of time having lunch at the hut and then head off for the run home, Rodney takes us on a few other tracks on the run back towards the lighthouse, and even points out one particular location where he recently wrote a vehicle off at. The location is nothing special and there's no sign at all of the deep water that Rodney and another friend encountered here, in fact there's no sign of any water at all here. 2 vehicles were lost at this particular point, both victims of a large deep waterhole that normally doesn't exist here at all....so even the locals get caught out here at times it seems.
We push on and soon are stopping to check out what's left of the wreckage of a small plane that crashed here many years ago. I believe the plane was trying to take off from this area but was overloaded with it's catch of seafood, it never got into the air properly and promptly crashed. I'm not sure if anyone was killed in the crash or not, there's no signage here to tell the story of the crash, and i can't remeber what Rodney told us of the accident now.

THERE'S NOT A LOT LEFT OF THE PLANE WRECKAGE HERE



We push on from the plane wreckage and soon find ourselves dropping back onto the main beach we'd previously travelled earlier today as we headed to the lighthouse. I stop for a few pics along the way as we drive back towards camp, and Rodney takes us down a few side tracks to checkout various headlands we'd passed by on the run to the lighthouse.
Turning down one track called the Gannet Track, we end up on a headland overlooking the ocean once again. The water here like so many other places we've visited in Tasmania is crystal clear, so i grab a few pics of it to add to the holiday memory collection.

A RANDOM PIC ON THE RUN BACK TOWARDS CAMP ALONG THE BEACH



ANOTHER RANDOM PIC AS WE START TO EXIT OFF THE BEACH



HEADLAND AT THE END OF THE GANNET TRACK



THE WATER FROM THE OCEAN IS CRYSTAL CLEAR



We head back to the main track we drove in on and continue our drive back towards camp. We pass a few vehicles heading towards the lighthouse direction along the way, but all up we'd have been lucky to have seen about a dozen other vehicles all day today.
As we near the end of the 4wd track we pass by a memorial that is located here, dedicated to a young 18 year old boy who tragically lost his life in a vehicle recovery gone wrong. I remember reading about this particular tragic event several years ago on various 4wd forums but had no real idea of where the incident occurred, it's a lesson to learn regarding how dangerous a snatch strap can be when things go wrong. Details of this sad event can be viewed here for those interested in learning more about it http://test.justice.tas.gov.au/magistratescourt/decisions/coronial_findings/s/stein,_joshua_phillip_-_2010_tascd_418?SQ_DESIGN_NAME=printer_friendly

HEADING BACK TOWARDS CAMP



MEMORIAL TO JOSHUA



We stop a few more times to take pics on the run back to camp, and when we do get back there i go for a walk to take a few more pics of the trees that surround our camp area. Looking at the vegetation that grows around these parts, you can tell the weather gets pretty extreme here regularly, strong winds are pretty common for this area which is why we aren't seeing big tall trees around these parts, the vegetation is more of low shrubs or these types of trees we have around our camp area. Pics taken, i return back to camp where we spend the rest of the afternoon / evening sitting around the fire having a few more drinks and laughs, before calling it a night and heading off to bed.

THE TYPES OF TREES THAT SURROUND OUR CAMP AREA

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2015, 10:03:43 PM »
DAY 24 - ARTHUR RIVER

It was a very windy night last night, where we are set up has us sheltered from the worst of the wind, but Jeff and Sara are a touch more exposed where their camper is located, and the buffeting they copped last night meant they didn't get a lot of sleep. We have another lazy morning and then our 2 families jump back into our vehicles once again and head back towards the Western Explorer Road. Right now we are headed to the old township of Balfour, there's not a lot to see here apparently, but we're keen to go for a look none the less. We turn right onto the Western Explorer Rd and then head back to the turn off i've mentioned previously for the Balfour Track. The photo i posted from the other day of the Balfour Track, is the section of track that runs from the Western Explorer Rd to Temma (where we visited yesterday going to Sandy Cape). We however aren't driving that section of the Balfour Track today, we are turning left instead and heading in the other directing, which is where the old township was located. Speaking to the guys from Braddon 4wd club yesterday arvo, they say the section of the Balfour track we are giving a miss is just a heap of deep water holes to drive through, and that one particular hole was halfway up the windscreen of a 200 series Landcruiser last time they drove it. They mention that if you stick to the main track the base is usually fairly hard in the waterholes, but whatever you do don't venture off of the main track, or you'll get seriously bogged. We thought about doing that drive but decided against it, we just couldn't see the sense in risking possibly flooding a vehicle when we still have over 3 weeks of holidays to spend touring around in Tasmania. We are a touch disappointed we don't decide to do the drive being it's one of those tracks you tick off of your list as having done, but we prefer to play it safe these days, knowing we still have a long way to tow our trailers whilst on our holiday.
We turn left onto the Balfour Track and head towards the old township of Balfour, immediately there's several waterholes to drive through, though nothing that appears at first glance to be deep. Not knowing what is coming up on the track, i jump out and lock the front hubs back in on my 4wd, it turns out to be a good move actually, not because of any waterholes, but there's a nice little hill we need to climb up over along the way, and it's not something i'd try and drive in 2wd. Before reaching that hill we come across a convoy of 7 vehicles coming in the opposite direction towards us, we've met them on a single laned section of track with a big drop off down a hill beside us, so there's nowhere to pass each other. Jeff and myself have to reverse a short distance back up the track to find a spot for these other vehicles to get by us, the lead vehicle in their group is driven by a complete knob who can hardly wait for us to get out of his way before he goes around us, and doesn't even say thank you or give as a wave to say thanks, but the rest of the group all show their appreciation and atleast smile and wave to us to say thanks.

DRIVING THE BALFOUR TRACK HEADING TO BALFOUR ITSELF





We don't really know where we are going as we drive along, and we eventually find ourselves at what looks like someones house / shack, half the place is open to the elements and there's a lone lady who seems to be living here. We don't realise it at the time, but we have just reached the old Imperial Hotel site that was in the township of Balfour. We say a quick hello to the lady living here and ask what's about the area to see, she tells us there's not much here, there's a cemetry up the track a touch further with not much to look at, and just some scattered mining stuff here and there also. We end up turning around here as the lady didn't really talk the place up at all, but after getting home i've done some reading up on the area, and i wish we'd of visited the cemtery instead of giving it a miss. I also beleive that across the road from this lady's house / old hotel site is a shrine to her son who died in a motorbike accident somewhere about the area, we saw the shrine but didn't really know what it's all about at the time, we actually felt like we were intruding in the lady's house so wanted to leave her alone. The old hotel was quite an interesting looking building, we didn't take any pics due to thinking it's someones house at the time and she was home, but i found a trip report someone else has done on the area, so will post the link to that as it has some pics of the building i am talking about aswell as the cemetry we didn't go to.
http://fourwheelsoffroad.com/?p=1816
We turn back on the track we came in on and go have an explore down an off shoot track, we manage to find an old mine entrance of some description as we look around but don't find much else. It would have been nice to have someone with local knowledge here to show us more of the area and what's about the place. We call it quits looking around here and decide to head back to Arthur River, as we drive back out along the main track we came in on, i see a snake slither under Jeffs vehicle and pop out the other side behind his rear wheels as it crosses the track infront of me. I note it's description and mention the snake sighting to the Braddon guys when we get back to camp later in the day. Mentioning the snake sighting to Mick from the Braddon club back at camp later on, i don't get to describe it before he says... "if you had of seen a yellow belly on it, then it would have been a tiger snake".... which turned out to be exactly what i saw, as i had seen the yellow on it's under side as it crossed the track right infront of me. That's now made it 2 close calls Jeff has had with tiger snakes on the trip so far, it seems like he and his family attract the snakes to them....lol.

AN OLD MINE ENTRANCE AT BALFOUR



From the Balfour Track it's an uneventful run into the township of Arthur River, we arrive outside the Rangers Station and notice the camp sites located across from here have been absolutely smashed by the howling wind that is currently smashing this area. Tents are flattened and camp chairs and tables over turned, the sight i see before me makes me appreciate just how well sheltered our campsite is from this wind, and shows how exposed the campground here is to it. It's a cool day outside so we decide to stop in at the tiny store across the road to grab some hot chips to have for lunch, we grab some to go and head for the lighthouse that is located a touch North of town at Bluff Hill Point. Arriving at the lighthouse the view from here out over the ocean is quite nice, though the wind is absolutely howling right now and we need to hide in behind the back of my 4wd to seek some shelter from it. Sheltering from the wind as best we can, we manage to make some ham and chip sandwiches and eat these whilst looking out over the ocean, the view certainly makes up for the current weather conditions we are encountering. The lighthouse located here isn't all that old really, it was built back in 1982 and replaced the 1916 built West Point Lighthouse that was located a touch further North from where we currently are.

BLUFF HILL POINT LIGHTHOUSE



Lunch eaten and we jump back in the vehicles and have a small explore of the area around here, we head down to some beach houses we can see off in the distance and then make our way back to Arthur River Township once again. As we reach the river we turn right down a track that takes you down to the river itself, we follow the "beach" that is located here out to the ocean and notice the sand being blown about the place like you are in a sand blasting cabinet. I try and capture the sand getting blown about the place on my camera as best i can, hopefully you'l see what i mean in the pic below. The power of the wind is probably more evident as you look at the water where the ocean and river meet, the waves are crashing in from the ocean from the West, but the wind howling from the East is blowing the top half of the waves back in the opposite direction. Looking across the river you can see the water sort of "erupting" from the wind that is hitting it. We drive around the corner a touch further and tuck in behind a headland that shelters us quite a bit from the wind, we let the kids have a play on the beach here for a while, letting them burn some energy off.

THE HOWLING WIND BLASTING THE SAND ABOUT EVERYWHERE, YOU CAN SEE THE WAVES GETTING BLOWN BACKWARDS IN THE BACKGROUND ALSO



LOOKING ACROSS ARTHUR RIVER ITSELF, YOU CAN SEE HOW BAD THE WIND WAS TODAY



TUCKED AROUND THE CORNER FROM THE RIVER, WE MANGED TO GET OUT OF THE WIND



After a while we call time and load the kids back into the vehicles, our next stop is just across the other side of the river from where we are right now, it's at Gardiner Point and called "The Edge of the World"...basically it's just a plaque situated beside the ocean though.
The Edge of the World is so called this due to the fact that standing here and looking out West across the ocean infront of you, it's the longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean on the globe. From Argentina the currents sweep unimpeded more than halfway around the planet until they hit this particular point of Tasmania. Sadly though if you didn't know this fact already like we did, there's no signage here to explain it to you. It appears as though there may have been signage here once upon a time, but now there is nothing more then the plaque located here for you to take a picture of of, and a timber walkway.

FAMILY PIC AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD



THE PLAQUE ITSELF...on it are the words of Brian Inder, who was a "tourism pioneer" of  North Western Tasmania. On his property at Staverton near Lake Barrington he has established one of the world's largest maze complexes, called Tasmazia.

Quote
I cast my pebble onto the shore of Eternity.
To be washed by the Ocean of time.
It has shape, form, and substance.
It is me.
One day I will be no more.
But my pebble will remain here.
On the shore of eternity.
Mute witness from the aeons.
That today I came and stood
At the edge of the world.




From here we head back to camp and just chill the rest of the afternoon, the guys get a fire going in the fire ring much to my surprise with the wind that is still about at the moment, but it ends up being a pretty early night for most people as the wind is quite unpleasent still. I end up staying up atleast an hour and a half longer then everyone else does, as i want to make sure the fire is our properly before going to bed. Eventually i am satisfied there's no danger from the fire pit any longer, so call it a night and head off to bed.
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!