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Published: December 16th 2006
The sun doesn't shine everyday in Tasmania, so we figured it would be a good idea to head straight to Cradle Mountain. At one stage, there wasn't a cloud in the sky so we were fortunate to get the almost perfect photo across Dove Lake towards the mountain.
We headed northwest, ironically across the Vale of Belvoir, towards the coast and eventually to Stanley. Rocky Cape National Park was the same scenery as you get on the East Coast at Wineglass Bay with one exception - there is nobody else there. There was some stunning scenery and pure white sand beaches.
Stanley was the original base for the Van Diemens Company operations in the north of Tasmania in the early 1850's. It is a picture perfect little town, dominated by the huge outcrop of the rock - The Nutt and surrounded by blue sea....well at least it was on our visit, although when the Roaring 40's get going it might be a bit fresh. As with most things Tasmanian at that time, the buildings were constructed by convicts and it was the service centre for the huge original sheep stations in the area.
We got right to the
very north west tip of the island at the huge wind farm at Woolnorth, before turning southwards towards Arthur River - which describes itself as the Edge of the World. If you keep going westwards you apparently won't hit land until the Falklands.
The next stops were the mining centres of the West Coast - Queenstown and Zeehan. The former is still a huge scar on the landscape and operational. It was a bit difficult to comprehend that 10,000 people used to live in Zeehan at the turn of the 20th century, even though they have some grand old buildings and a theatre that used to have a capacity of 1000 people - the whole population could now comfortably fit in there today.
Strahan - another picture perfect town and the gateway to McQuarie Harbour and the Gordon River. The harbour - apparently 6 x larger than Sydney Harbour - has a tiny entrance, which the convicts referred to as Hell's Gates. It's quite amazing that sailing ships got in there at all, but they did and established Sarah Island as the forerunner to Port Arthur and the penal system in Tasmania. We were lucky with the weather
on the Gordon River - it rains 300 days a year.
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