From Stanley on Wednesday morning we made our way back along the Bass Highway to Burnie, picked up fuel and a few groceries then drove to Somerton where we accessed the Murchison Highway. After a quick lunch at Somerton, we drove the princely distance of 39km before arriving at the Hellyer Gorge State Reserve. The Hellyer Gorge itself is within the Reserve and has the Hellyer River flowing through it. If you have ever driven the Awakino Gorge on your way south to the ‘naki or the Karangahake Gorge near Waihi, the Hellyer Gorge has both their similarities.
We made our home on Wednesday night at a free camp at the base of the Gorge and directly beside the Hellyer River. We were told that Platypus is regularly seen in the river but nothing was sighted during our night there. Being what it was i.e. a spot in the middle of a forest and beside a river, temperatures dropped rapidly from 3pm. We even cranked up the diesel heater for a few hours during the evening. We woke Thursday morning to 5C in the motorhome.
On departing the Gorge onThursday morning we decided to do a small deviation and visit the village of Waratah about 5km off the Murchison Highway. Waratah is one of the wettest and coldest locations in Tasmania and was constructed to support a tin mine at Mount Bishchoff. The town was built beside the Mount and at the top of a waterfall where water was diverted from the stream to provide water for mine slucing and processing. The mine was closed in 1946. Interestingly, Waratah was the first town in Australia to have electric street lighting in 1886. After a bit of a wander around and a coffee, we continued south to our next overnight stop at Tallah.
Tullah is in the northern part of the West Coast Range and approximately 50km from Cradle Mountain, our Friday destination. The village is located on the shores of Lake Rosebery and we are parked up at a free spot in the middle of the village at the vintage steam railway yard. We were informed that the village has a population of around 200 and is known for the sightings of wombats, wallabies, the occasional tiger quoll and Tasmanian Devil. We did see a wallaby late in the afternoon but that was it. I think part of our problem is that we wander around with a glass of wine and rum and coke in hand while nattering about the day’s adventures. Any shy critter would hear us coming for miles. We must improve on our tracking skills.
The navigator took herself off for a wee walk last night but shortly into the walk came across a sign warning her of the three type of snake she may encounter on her ramble. Being ‘snake adverse’, it was onto Plan B. While returning to the motorhome she met one of the local townsfolk. On explaining her concern, the local provided the navigator a bicycle so she could carry on with her exercise programme. Many thanks Angela – we have met some wonderful people on our journey and we have added you to our list. Maybe we will catch up next year??
During our wanderings of the past few days we were told that the best day this week to visit Cradle Mountain was going to be Friday such is the mountains habit of clouding over very quick and spoiling the climbers day. Cradle Mountain is a mountain in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. At 1,545 metres above sea level, it is one of the principal tourist sites in Tasmania. The mountain has four summits – Cradle Mountain (1,545m), Smithies Peak (1,527m), Weindorfers Tower (1,459m) and Little Horn (1,355m). The mountain itself is named after its resemblance to a gold mining cradle.
Listening to the locals paid off. Today was a stunner and our visit to the mountain was perfect. We departed Tullah early this morning and retraced our steps 60km back up the Murchison Highway to Cradle Mountain. We were not disappointed. What a beautiful National Park! If you get the chance to visit Tassie, put it on a list of must-sees.
A few more shots of our Cradle Mountain visit HERE .
On leaving the mountain, we headed south again along the Murchison Highway and through Tallah, Rosebery, Zeehan and into the town of Strahan where we are parked up for the next two nights. We have made our home for the two nights at the Strahan Golf Course. Just wondering #2 if you would like to pop over and drive a couple of balls into the side of the van!!!!
Strahan is a harbour-side village with a dark and fascinating convict past set on the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area. On the shores of the Macquarie Harbour, Strahan is the gateway to the World Heritage listed Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. We have booked ourselves onto a Gordon River cruise tomorrow and are looking forward to getting into the pristine temperate rainforests of the Gordon River.
Will tell you of the adventure in our next update.