We are losing track of time here.
Mavis and I have come to a joint decision that we will return to Tassie in November of 2012 and stay for six months. This two months has just gone too fast and Tassie does need to be experienced at a much slower relaxed pace.
Monday the 28th we crossed the Pieman River on the “Fatman ferry”. This is the only way across the Pieman at Corinna unless you want to swim it and the snorkel on the tug is not quite long enough.
The previous day we had asked the ferry man if we could fit on. There was a 9 meter length limit and a 6 ton weight limit.
Rod had run a tape over the rig and come up with just a tad over 9 meters and of course the weight would be under 6 tons (wouldn’t it ???). The ferryman took out his calibrated rope on which 9 meters was technically indicated by two knots at the precise distance, he then proceeded to check the distance between the front hub on the tug and the front hub on the van. This was a little beyond Rod’s reasoning but he said nothing at the time about there being an axle further back, just happy that we had the all clear.
Mavis was dispatched to the other side of the river on the first run of the day with the camera to record the crossing and to keep the camera safe if the ferry car and van went to the bottom. Oh and to ensure her safety as well!!!
Rod drove onto the ferry and the driver was not happy Jan as the rear wheels of the van were up on the loading ramp after it was raised, Well Hellooooo maybe the rope was out of calibration or someone had stuck an extra set of wheels on the van over night. Sh.t happens and we did the crossing without mishap.
After the crossing we travelled through more beautiful winding hill country to Rosbery via Tullah, where we camped for the night at a free camp just out of town. There was a great little walk to a waterfall near by so we managed to do it before dinner and bed.
Next morning was a relaxing start and we headed off towards Zeehan, where we did the tourist thing and looked around before striking out for Strahan. More great country covered on this run.
Strahan was absolutely over run with tourists when we got there. Plan “A” had us thinking that we would go to a caravan park for a few days to push some volts into the batteries with a powered site WRONG! The whole town was booked out. We then decided to have a look at Macquarie Heads camp which was about 15 kms south of Strahan. We decided to pay the princely sum of $6 per night on a beautiful grassy camp site. We also picked up some tank water from the caretaker before setting up. Thank goodness Strahan was booked out this was a great spot and Mavis collected enough sweet blackberries to make several bottles of yummy jam.
We went back into town after setting up and booked a couple of seats on the Gordon River Cruise the next day (Wednesday 2nd Feb)
The cruise was great. It was on a large catamaran which was presented superbly. We travelled out through “HELLS GATE” which is the ocean entrance to Macquarie Harbor turning right and sat in a small bay to the left of the gate while the captain gave commentary on the early days of the harbor. It is hard to believe that square riggers could negotiate this entrance, it is not very wide at all while the harbor itself is massive.
From Hells Gate we travelled back down the harbor and stopped at some fish farms where Atlantic Salmon and Ocean Trout are raised. These farms were extensive with dozens of pens anchored to the harbor floor. we were lucky enough to watch some being fed before actually feeding on them during the supplied smorgasbord.
Perhaps it is a good time to bring to your attention the hardships of being a cruise boat Captain in Macquarie Harbor. This poor devil had to not only give commentary (and a great one at that) but wrestle this massive machine through the shallows of the harbor and the Gordon River and still get us all home safely. See below the stress in his eyes as he man handles the controls. The joy stick on the left arm rest is the tiller for steering and the mouse at his right hand controlled the display on the 22’ computer screen with the GPS map of the harbor and the course to be taken. Poor devil we did feel sorry for him.
Next on the cruise we stopped at Sarah Island and had a guided tour of same. Dam shame that most of the relics had been destroyed, but the history was fascinating.
On from Sarah Island we ventures a short distance into the Gordon River where we stopped and docked for a short board walk through the rain forest.
Dick Smith was also on the river with one of his smaller vessels (the one without the helipad) and was just loading his inflatable in preparation to leave as we docked.
As mentioned before there was a smorgasbord supplied that was great. Cold cuts including the Salmon and salads with cheese and fruit platters and bread rolls made for a great meal.
After getting back to dock we were treated to a tour of a very old working Huon pine saw mill. It was a real treat. We headed back to camp to relax after a great day out again.
Next day was a rest day so we just toured around the area including a run up the beach near Hells Gate. It is a very pretty area, shame about the weather.
Friday the 4th we headed off towards Derwent Bridge via a lunch stop and look around at Queenstown. Not much has changed in Queenstown except the surrounding hills had just a faint touch of green showing. When we lived in Tassie about 100 years ago the Township was spraying all vegetation to maintain the moon scape look created by the mining in the area. That has apparently been now stopped as evidenced by the sprigs of green stuff showing on the hills.
We intended to camp at the free camp beside the Derwent River at Derwent Bridge. We did stop but there was an awful lot of water rushing down the river and heaps of people camped in some not so safe places. As it was blowing a gale and sleeting we decided to head to the pub for a cleansing ale in front of their beautiful fire place.
We got talking to the barmaid and some of her friends, telling them about the free camp being full. The barmaid offered a night in their car park which we thought about over a few more charges,deciding to take up the offer. The diesel heater performed beautifully in the minus overnight temp.
After rising at the crack of noon we headed just down the road to “the WALL in the wilderness” , this has to be seen to be believed. Artist Greg Duncan has a work in progress that when finished will result in a 100 meter long hand carved mural 3 meters high in mostly Huon pine and depicting the history of the central highlands from Indigenous habitation to pioneering timber harvesting pastoralists and hydro workers. The detail of his work is superb. Check it out