Holiday Tasmania 2007 (Part 2)
We arrived a bit too early at historic Station Pier from where the ferry departs . The ferry (Spirit of Tasmania) was already there but we weren’t allowed to board yet and since we had a bit of time to spent, we walked up and down the pier and picked one of the nice restaurants in the area to have lunch.It took some time to get on board but once there, we installed ourselves in a beautiful clean cabin we had booked for the night trip. On board was everything one could or would need, and after we spent most of our budgeted and some of our NOT budgeted money in the souvenir shop, we lay our tired heads in nice soft cushions to wake up at the other end of Bass Strait.
Coming off the ferry went quicker than getting on despite the thorough inspection by custom officers. Although Tasmania, of course, is part of Australia, (the locals see it the other way around), they keep understandably an eye on the transport of fruit, vegies etc.
After about an hour’s drive into our new ‘country’ we stopped for breakfast and checked our maps.
We decided to take the shortest route to Lake St Clair and wished that we knew then what we know now.
The road was good until a couple of kilometres past Deloraine. Slowly the road went from wide to smaller to small and the surface was no longer sealed, which resulted in us driving over a road that easily could be mistaken for being clad with corrugated iron. Not recommended unless driving a four wheel drive.
Spread out along this road were small cottages, most of them badly needed a lick of paint, although we were under the impression that for most of them, it was too late.
With this experiment behind us, the first impression of Tasmania was not too good.
For the last twenty kilometres the road was good to drive on and about 5 kilometre past Derwent Bridge we arrived at the visitor’s centre of Lake St Claire, which is really the end of the Overland Track. We picked this spot to have our car at hand after we finished the walk. There are many sidetracks and we didn’t know exactly when we would be back. It all depended on the weather and how we felt, while busses were not running every day.
The visitors centre was great, souvenirs and info was at hand. We bought a National Park Pass, which is mandatory for visiting most National Parks in Tassie, and after having booked a spot in the bus for next day, we headed to the camping and set up our tent on a beautiful spot, close to the lake.
It was a cold night and after a breakfast of muesli and cornflakes we rushed into the car and with the
heater on full blast headed for Queenstown. After 30 kilometres we stopped at Donaghys Hill and climbed a path to the top of the hill to have a wonderful view over Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
Before we reached Queenstown we had a big shock. It is an old goldmining town, copper and gold was found and two mines are still operating. To win this gold, the trees surrounding the town were stripped to fire the smelters and the sulphur fumes from the smelters killed all vegetation that was left. Rain washed away the top soil and the area looks like a landscape not dissimilar to that found on the moon. There is a railway line to Strahan, underground mine tours are held and a museum as well as some nice old buildings can be visited.
On the way back we visited the Nelson Waterfalls, took some photos and followed our way to the camping where we were welcomed by new neighbours.
Two men from Perth who also planned to walk the Overland Track. In the evening we discovered on the camping ground a building which contained a kitchen with a big table to accommodate our gas heater to cook food and we could put stuff in the fridge. As it was the case around the Warrumbungle camping cooking place, it was a nice place where a lot of campers came to escape from the cold and drizzle and told stories of previous experiences.
An ear piercing, high-pitched cry, uttered in fear, woke me up. A big, pitch black beast, was attacking my lovely wife (she thought). She had woken up from some noise and looked straight into two black eyes. Very frightening. It was either a big black Possum or a Tasmanian Devil (could not make it out in the dark) that tried to get to our food. I got up and scared it away and since it did not climb in a tree I figured that it was a devil. Not a nice experience.
Tomorrow we take the bus.
More pictures of Tasmania click. works