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Published: March 5th 2010
The route didn't look to be getting any straighter
Coming down and round the mountain into Queenstown
Day 302 - Hobart to Queenstown
It was our last chance of a shower in the fancy water tanks this morning before getting back on the road and heading for another new destination.
There’s a 90% chance of rain in Queenstown today which is where we’ve booked our caravan pitch for tonight. It’s been difficult to figure out any free camping for this section of the trip as the sites aren’t very well placed for the things we want to do.
We were right on time with everything going to plan when we hit the highway just gone 8.30am, but what’s all this traffic ahead of us?! Had we forgotten that for most it was the start of the weekly rush hour into Hobart? It looked like it but we kept on moving, albeit slowly and were soon waving goodbye to the prettiest city for miles around.
We re-visited New Norfolk as it was the easiest place to get fuel and a couple of supplies, might seem a bit odd but we wanted to avoid the centre of Hobart this morning and hadn’t managed to find a closer Woolworths-Caltex fuel station for some cheap diesel!
there we drove through to Derwent Bridge which boasts ‘The Wall in the Wilderness’ as its biggest tourist attraction. I’ve heard from other travellers that it’s definitely worth the $8.50 entry fee so we use it as our second travel stop of the day to check it out. Cameras are a big no no, I chew the cud a little when told that I can’t take it in with me but Darryl reminds me I have no self control when it comes to clicking away and I hand it over to the lady behind the desk so I can’t be tempted. Tony & Jane do the same.
I instantly see why cameras are not allowed! We’re faced with the most magnificent wood carvings that are just a snap-happy photography dream!. There are leather coats and gloves hanging in the foyer as you walk towards ‘the wall’, except they’re not leather coats and gloves, they are intricately carved master pieces of wood - amazing.
‘The Wall in the Wilderness’ is the educational and artistic idea of sculptor Greg Duncan. It is a series of panels, one metre wide by three metres high, that are placed back to back and
Darryl's new love
His new roadside pipe - much bigger than his last eye-catcher down in South Australia
depict the changing times in the Tasmanian Highlands. Having decided to stop his commissions and set about creating something monumentous (or correctly speaking ‘monumental’) for future generations to enjoy, The Wall in the Wilderness is a work in progress. Thus far it’s five years in the making with at least another five years to go. We were all quite taken aback by the brilliance of the artist and the life-like nature of his work, we had such an urge to touch it to prove it was solid wood but of course you can’t! The faces & muscles of the men depicted in the carvings are so full of life, so rugged. He has very cleverly left the panels at different stages of finish so visitors are able to see the build up from the initial creation of the artwork sketching through to the final smooth finish of the hand sanded wood. Between us we had different opinions on which finish looked the best, I loved the baby-bum smooth look that I think is the final, final finish whereas Dar loved the slightly rougher previous stage which makes elements such as the horses and the logging drays more realistic. It’s just
brilliant, pure brilliance.
With no photos allowed it’s difficult to accurately portray how worthwhile a visit here is, especially as it’s on the major tourist route between Queenstown and Hobart. So in an attempt to give you a more accurate idea we’ve included a link to their website
and included a single image, also taken from their website. If you visit Tasmania then be sure to put ‘The Wall in the Wilderness’ on your itinerary.
When we dragged ourselves away from the warm and welcoming open fire inside the ‘the wall’, the temperature outside had dropped that little bit further and we found it was positively nippy! All the months we’ve spent in the warmer parts of Australia was turning us into wimps!
We travelled on to Lake St Clair, it wasn’t far to go and here we grabbed a bit of lunch and then set off on a short walk. The weather was not looking too friendly but with a bit of extra padding and a water proof jacket each we wandered through looking at the cute Echidna we found on the way. It was misty, wet and Platypus Creek was dry with not a duck-bill
The wall in the wilderness
Images taken from the official website www.thewalltasmania.com
in sight. By the time we got to the edge of the huge lake we could hardly see across the other side and then the heavens opened! Oh well, we’ve done pretty well avoiding the rain on this trip so we can’t grumble really. Soggily we returned to the caravans!
The weather didn’t improve much for the rest of our journey to Queenstown. We passed by the entrance to Nelson Falls and then a moonscape vision loomed ahead of us, we’d nearly reached our destination. Tom Tom was having a fit with the winding road with hair pins tight enough for me to snap Tony & Jane coming down the mountain behind us! Hope their brakes keep working! The descent is steep, really steep and the edges of the road in places look like they’re falling away. What with the rain that started to pour again it was quite a fun last 20 minutes.
I’d read somewhere that when you drive through Queenstown you might notice curtains twitching and catch sight of people sneaking a peak from behind them! It just made me chuckle but on a day like today who could blame people for staying in doors,
in the dry and looking out of their windows every now and then!
Our reason for staying in the caravan park at Queenstown was simple, the free campsites at Strahan are unfortunately not suitable for us to get into and the caravan parks down there are chockers. It’s $30 a night here and although its not the funkiest of parks the owners are friendly, the facilities are clean and we were made to feel very welcome as soon as we arrived.
We were lucky that we’d booked, another couple that arrived at the same time as us were turned away as there’s just no space here. Infact there are no actual pitches that we can see, it’s more like a car park with power poles in various places. Luckily we both manage to fit the caravans in and then the heavens opened again, this time the stop valve must have been fully open! It rained so hard that we couldn’t push the roof up on the caravan because the volume of water was too heavy! That’s a first.
There we sat, waiting for the rain to stop having got a drenching from hooking the electric up and
rescuing things from the car. On and off it rained all night. We had dinner with Tony & Jane in their caravan, another delicious Tuna arrangement by Jane but then we took the opportunity of an early night, albeit watching the Olympics again! Bodie Millar was on his challenge for gold tonight, go Bodie!
The rain was entertaining through the night, the different speeds of the various drips coming off the pop top are like a little orchestra, somebody silence the conductor!
Dar and Sar
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