Monday 19/3/18 – Sunday 25/3/18
As we headed out of Zeehan on Monday morning, I decided to visit the West Coast Heritage Centre while Brendyn went in search of the Spray Tunnel. If interested in the mining history and stories of the people of this region, the Heritage Centre is a treasure trove of information. An amazing collection of photographs, handwritten accounts, artefacts, a comprehensive exhibition of minerals plus access to the old theatre and other historical buildings. I easily spent 2 hours wandering through and absorbing the stories and history.
Picturesque Strahan was our next destination. Many attractions featuring the natural beauty of this area bring visitors here. Whilst a Gordon River Cruise or a trip on the West Coast Wilderness Railway would be wonderful, the budget for this years adventure did not extend that far. Nevertheless there is much to appreciate in Strahan. That afternoon we drove out to Macquarie Heads to camp for the night. It was wild and windy out on the water but our camp was sheltered. At $7 for the night it was a great option that saw us surrounded by the natural beauty of this area.
The next day our travels took us through Queenstown, another significant mining town rich in history. It still has copper and gold mines operating. After checking out the sights there we continued on to our destination for the day, Lake St Clair.
Lake St Clair was an incredibly beautiful place. We stayed right on the lake near the Lodge. Despite the temperature dropping to -3.5 deg C overnight, we remained warm and cosy in the van. The possums were quite active here! Through the night I slid open the van door and found myself nose to nose with one that had perched itself on the back of a camp chair that was leaning against the van. It had apparently been peering in through the window. Gave me quite a start to say the least. I honestly can’t say I’m a huge fan of the possum…
The following morning as Brendyn was making coffee at the back of the van he said good morning to a fellow traveller who had pulled in next to us through the night. They suddenly recognised each other. It was Jason and Leisha from back home! We spent some time chatting and comparing travel notes before heading our separate ways.
Brendyn and I did one of the beautiful shorter walks at Lake St Clair that morning. We continued on from there to visit “The Wall” at Derwent Bridge. Many travellers we’ve chatted with told us not to miss it. And it really was impressive. The artist has created panels of sculptured Huon Pine to tell stories of Australia’s pioneers and history. No photos are allowed unfortunately. The space and lighting enhances the display and you have to admire his vision.
Tarraleah was the next stop in the highlands of Tasmania. It is a village created due to the hydroelectricity development there. Brendyn found the engineering surrounding the hydro fascinating and the village itself is really pretty.
We decided to stop for the night at Hamilton. I really loved it there. This little village had many cottages and a pub built in the early to mid 1800’s with convict labour. It is really interesting to walk along the street and read the plaques attached to the buildings which explain who owned it in the past and what it had been used for. Our camp itself was only $5 for the night yet had charming cafe’s etc all within easy walking distance. We did the “Platypus Walk” which took us along a gravel path through the gates of many private properties along the Clyde River. Along the way were explanations of what the history was of the area and the industry and activities that once occurred here. We didn’t see any platypus but it certainly looked like a place they’d inhabit. For a place with so much history and charm Hamilton is remarkably quiet, laid back and “untouristy”.
The next day was about practicalities such as well overdue haircuts and other pressing business. We did this at Kingston, a busy centre south of Hobart. Near Kingston is the Lea Scout Centre which is a 400 acre property set up for Scouting events and activities. They also allow camping by the public at certain times of the year. Suited us just fine!
For our next adventure we headed for Kettering. Oyster Cove Marina is full of beautiful boats. There was one in particular we were looking for – Shaynee – owned by Peter and Coralie, friends of Brendyn’s from Raymond Island. They had kindly invited us to spend a few days with them cruising around Bruny Island. It was wonderful even though the weather was patchy at times. The first day was amazing weather wise. Warm, sunny and just enough breeze. I was able to sit out on the front of the boat (in a summery short sleeve t shirt!) and enjoy the sun and scenery as we went along. Such a beautiful part of the world and great to see the islands from the water. We were able to go onshore for walks as well. We saw penguins and dolphins and also came across seals loitering near the fish farms. Brendyn really enjoyed spending time with his longtime friends and we hope to see them again later in the year.
STRAHAN and MACQUARIE HEADS
LAKE ST CLAIR
KINGSTON and on to SHAYNEE