A Walk in the Park


Advertisement
Australia's flag
Oceania » Australia » Tasmania
April 21st 2014
Published: April 21st 2014
Edit Blog Post

Horseshoe FallsHorseshoe FallsHorseshoe Falls

Mt Field National Park
Thursday morning I left Strahan and headed back to Zeehan. Before heading back to the museum, I headed past the town’s golf club towards the Spray tunnel. The tunnel was built to access the Spray silver mine, and widened at the top to allow large machinery through – giving it a distinctive keyhole shape. Both of my guidebooks indicated you can drive through the tunnel, but when I reached it this was not to be. It looks like this must have changed recently because now you can only walk through.



I then headed back into Zeehan to visit the West Coast Pioneer’s Museum again. As I had already seen the outside exhibits, I spent a couple of hours looking around the galleries inside the museum. It was quite an eclectic collection. There were a lot of photos, newspaper cuttings and information about the history of the area – particularly focussing on the mines, but also including the railways and maritime history. There were also exhibits on the animals of the region and the aboriginal history. The final sections I visited were focussed on the mining school and featured lots of different minerals and crystals. I purchased a nice
On the road to Bird River BridgeOn the road to Bird River BridgeOn the road to Bird River Bridge

Franklin-Gordon World Heritage area
piece of smoky quartz from the gift shop and then left to have lunch at a nearby café.



After a lovely lunch I jumped back in the Suzuki and planned to head out of town to a medium difficulty 4wd track that leads to Montezuma Falls, apparently the largest in Tasmania. When I arrived at the track, however, the medium difficulty seemed to be an understatement. After the initial section, I reached some very deep ruts that had obviously been made by 4wds with more clearance than mine. I had my doubts about whether I could get through them. Erring on the side of caution because I was on my own and had no desire to damage the car, I turned back. That was quite disappointing, but better than being stranded.



I consulted my 4wd track guidebook for something a bit easier nearby and decided to go for the track to the Bird River Bridge on the other side of Queenstown. I drove to Queenstown, filled up on fuel and then headed out of town past the Darwin Dam which creates Lake Burbury. The road becomes the Mt McCall track and was simply a gravel road up to the turnoff to the Bird River Bridge. I turned off and while the road was still easy, it was very narrow so I had to take it slow. This was no hardship because it was an absolutely beautiful drive through the rainforest of the Franklin-Gordon World Heritage area. At Bird River Bridge begins a walking track that goes all the way to Macquarie Harbour. It was much too late for me to think about doing that, so after a few photos I headed back.



My guidebook indicated there was a campsite near Darwin Dam, but I couldn’t find it so I headed back to Queenstown and then out to the campsite on the shore of Lake Burbury. It was getting dark when I arrived but fortunately my camp doesn’t take long to set up and I was soon cooking dinner. The sausages I had brought with me smelt a bit rank, but I decided to risk them for one more meal. I didn’t get sick but threw them out the next morning because they were stinking up my fridge. My entertainment for the night wasn’t just my kindle though. Just on dark a family arrived for a night of camping nearby to me and I had a healthy dose of schadenfreude while they spent the next couple of hours setting up their tents in the dark. There was some cursing and a lot of telling the kids “we’re doing the best we can”. Fortunately, they eventually got it done.



Although there were a few drops of rain overnight, it was still dry when I woke in the morning. The dark clouds around were indicative of upcoming rain (not to mention the local kookaburras) so first thing I did was pack up the swag. This turned out to be a smart move because the rain soon arrived. This lead to a miserable breakfast because I had a campsite protected on 3 sides by trees, and I had neglected to park my car across the front so the wind came in and swirled around, negating the protection my awning gave me. Eventually the rain slackened (within minutes of my neighbours leaving) and I packed up the camp and left. With rain forecast for the next 2 days I was in no mood to continue with my plans to camp the next 2
Crocite mineralCrocite mineralCrocite mineral

Zeehan Pioneer's Museum
nights so I decided to see if I could book a hotel instead. Despite it being Easter, I did manage to find a nice hotel in Kingston with rooms available. Yet another way the internet makes travelling easier these days.



My first destination on Friday was just down the road from where I had camped - Nelson Falls. The carpark was just off the main road from Queenstown to Hobart, and the falls themselves a short walk through some nice rainforest. I remembered to take my tripod so I could take some nice shots of the waterfall, but forgot to bring my filters or remote shutter control. Fortunately the overcast weather and surrounding forest reduced the light just about enough to allow long exposures and I got some nice shots.



I headed back to the car and drove towards Hobart. Although it’s not a long distance, the road is quite a winding one so it was going to take a few hours. I had another destination on the way though, Lake St Clair. The Lake had a National Parks visitor centre so I was finally able to pick up my National Parks pass there.
A fluorescent mineral A fluorescent mineral A fluorescent mineral

Zeehan Pioneer's Museum
There were quite a lot of people there, not just because of the lake (the deepest freshwater lake in Australia at 167m). The lake was the starting point (or finishing point) of the Overland Track which goes to Cradle Mountain so there were plenty of hard-core walkers about. I opted for the shorter walks once I’d had some lunch. I went for the Watersmeet track and the Platypus Bay track. They were nice walks, but I didn’t see any Platypuses along the way – just a single wallaby.



It was getting late in the afternoon so I hit the road and headed into Hobart and on to my hotel in Kingston, just south of Hobart.



On Saturday I was planning a quick visit to Russell Falls in Mount Field National Park before heading to Gordon Dam. However, when I talked to the lady at the visitor’s centre at the National Park, the trip to Gordon Dam looked doubtful. It’s a pretty long drive, and at Mount Field there is a walking track between 3 waterfalls that is supposed to take 2.5 hours. I opted to do the walking track so I could take plenty
On the road to Bird River BridgeOn the road to Bird River BridgeOn the road to Bird River Bridge

Franklin-Gordon World Heritage area
of waterfall photos – this time remembering to bring my filters and remote. The falls were pretty, and the walk between them was very nice too, again mostly in rainforest. Although it was supposed to take 2.5 hours, all up I took 4. This wasn’t because I’m slow, but because of the time I spent taking photos – lots and lots of photos.



By the time I returned to the visitors centre, the kitchen in the café had closed so I was unable to try a wallaby burger. I had a couple of sandwiches and a cider while I decided what to do. It was too late to think about heading to Gordon Dam, so I decided to drive up through the national park to Lake Dobson. The sign on the road recommended not heading up after 3pm but I went anyway. Up at the lake it was just 4 degrees so even I felt a bit chilly in a t-shirt. I took a couple of photos on the edge of the lake before returning to my nice warm car and headed back to Kingston.



The plan on Sunday was to drive south as
On the road to Bird River BridgeOn the road to Bird River BridgeOn the road to Bird River Bridge

Franklin-Gordon World Heritage area
far as it is possible to go, stopping at a couple of interesting places along the way. As I headed south I found myself in the middle of some kind of hot-rod road trip. There were people waiting on the side of the road with cameras in hand, but for some reason none of them took photos of the Suzuki. I was planning to go to the Tahune Air Walk so expected I would lose them when I turned off the main road. Apparently not, because they turned off too. After a pleasant drive through the forest we arrived at the air walk… almost. Being a long weekend, and the fact that lots of hot-rods heading to the air walk, I soon found myself stopped on the road in a queue of cars. When it was apparent that the queue wasn’t moving much, I gave up and headed back to the main road heading south.



My next stop was Hastings Caves. I arrived at the visitors centre just too late to go to the 12:15 tour of Newdegate Cave, which meant I had to wait for the 2:15 tour. The staff suggested I could spend the time
On the road to Bird River BridgeOn the road to Bird River BridgeOn the road to Bird River Bridge

Franklin-Gordon World Heritage area
on the walking tracks from the visitors centre – the Hot Springs track and Platypus track. They were pretty short and after the great walking tracks of the last two days, I found them a bit boring. I had a bite to eat at the café and just read my kindle until it was time to go on the tour. At 2:00 I had to jump in my car to drive up to the cave.



There were a lot of people on the tour, so we had to split into 2 groups. Inside the cave was spectacular, and well worth the wait. I managed to get some great photos without using my flash, although I was pretty much at the limit of my camera’s ability to do so. Apparently it is a constant 9 degrees inside the cave, but it didn’t seem that cold to me. Perhaps the 500 steps we had to traverse had something to do with it. Apparently the temperature is why there are no bats living in the cave.





After the cave tour, I jumped in the car and headed south. The road at Cockle Creek is the
A view of QueenstownA view of QueenstownA view of Queenstown

One part of Tasmania that has been devastated by mining
most southerly road in Australia. It was quite a rough pot-holed road but I made it almost to the end. Unfortunately I arrived just as the ranger was closing the gate for the last kilometre of road. He ummed and ahhed about letting me go through, so I just told him not to worry. He said there wasn’t much to see anyway. So I took a photo of my car at a nearby spot before heading to Hobart.


Additional photos below
Photos: 39, Displayed: 29


Advertisement

WatersmeetWatersmeet
Watersmeet

Lake St Clair National Park
Lake St. ClairLake St. Clair
Lake St. Clair

On the Platypus Bay walking track.
Lake St. ClairLake St. Clair
Lake St. Clair

On the Platypus Bay walking track
The Watersmeet trackThe Watersmeet track
The Watersmeet track

Lake St Clair National Park
An interesting old buildingAn interesting old building
An interesting old building

On the road to Hobart
Russell Falls walking trackRussell Falls walking track
Russell Falls walking track

Mt Field National Park
Russell Falls walking trackRussell Falls walking track
Russell Falls walking track

Mt Field National Park
Russell FallsRussell Falls
Russell Falls

Mt Field National Park
Walking track to Horseshoe FallsWalking track to Horseshoe Falls
Walking track to Horseshoe Falls

Mt Field National Park


21st April 2014

I know we have been to Nelson Falls but when you get back would like to see on the map the route you took. Certainly we have covered some of the same territory but you have been places we haven't because we were limited to sealed roads. Lovely 'photo's.
23rd April 2014

Sure, will be interesting to compare maps and notes!

Tot: 0.035s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 7; qc: 23; dbt: 0.0063s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb