A Travellerspoint blog

Week 5, Roaming Tasmania, Australia

Tuesday 16th January 2024
We wake to a glorious sunny morning, so after a breakfast of champions, sourdough pancakes and then coffee on the Smeg, we set off for a walk.
Our original thought was just to do two of the Falls, a roughly 40 minutes return walk which includes a 200 step section. Off we go and soon see our neighbours, the camp hosts, who suggested doing the whole 3 falls circuit but clockwise to avoid going up the 200 and the other 239 step sections. Going clockwise you go down the steps. It does however mean it's a 3 hour walk instead. So off we went again... clockwise.
We got to see Lady Barron, Horseshoe and Russell Falls, and along the walk tracks we were surrounded and comforted by giant eucalypts, myrtles, the world's tallest flowering plant - the giant ash, and lush tree ferns and a multitude of fungi. Bonus, we spotted another Echidna. This fella looked smaller than the others, perhaps a teenager.
Lady Barron

Horseshoe Falls

Russell Falls

Completely overcast and drizzling all day. It was our planning day at home until what we thought was the Happy Turd truck arrived. We promptly closed all windows and doors but we later found out that he was just sucking out the grease trap from the bbq behind us in the camp kitchen.

Started off looking relatively fine. We thought today was the day to be dam good. So off to see the Dam we did. As we started off and we were driving further into the South Western Wilderness the weather took a turn and not for the better, but that wasn't going to dampen our spirits.

We stopped along the roadside to view a sculpture called Bitumen Bones. Its a statement & memorial about all the road kill on the roads.
As we were passing by, we thought we would drop in, have morning tea and see what all the fuss is about at Ted's beach. After driving the 80km through very windy & quite hilly roads we were glad we didn't bring Marmalade (our caravan) for a sleepover.
We headed to Strathgordon and onto the lookout at the Gordon Dam. It is a slightly controversial Dam. It was completed in 1974 and at 140 metre high Gordon Dam is the highest arched Dam in Australia. The top of the Dam wall is nearly 312metres above sea level. Lake Gordon & Lake Pedder, which it's linked too, covers more than 500 square kilometres. It's big. The Gordon power station is the largest in Tasmania and is located 183m underground. The water from the Dam is fed through 137metre vertical shaft to power 3 turbines. As a safety measure there are fine wire pendulums from crest to base in the dam wall, and any movement triggers alarms at Hydro Tasmania in Hobart.
The Gordon Dam lookout...
The Gordon Dam...and remember you can actually walk down the over 190 steps to the top of the dam wall, and then walk across the top of the wall. No thanks, said Ian.
Another lookout was across the Lake to Knob Hill Lookout with a spectacular view. Unfortunately our photos are a bit misty as by then the rain had definitely set in.
Leaving the Dam we decided to check out the Lake Pedder, Wilderness Lodge and were we glad we did. It is owned by Hydro Tasmania.
It had a lovely warm fire, which Deborah was attracted to then Ian really enjoyed the warmth also. It had leather couches to sit on, tasty hot chocolate with a white marshmallow which Ian ordered for us both. The views were spectacular. To stay here a motel room costs $144. As of March 2024 it will be closing until 2026 at this stage.
Our drive home was misty and the day reached a maximum of 9 degrees at the Dam and 11 degrees at Mt Field Campsite.
A lovely crock pot dinner tonight.
A leisurely start to the day on a cool but bright morning. We went off to pick some berries at the Westerway Raspberry Farm but along the way in the town of Westerway we spotted 2 houses. Deborah could see herself in this red cosy cottage, it has a flowing river directly behind it. Easily Deborah could see herself sitting on the balcony sipping on a cuppa listening to the river flow by.
We both picked strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, rasberries, silvanberries and josterberries. The rule of thumb for picking fruit we believe is one for the box, one for the mouth, but to round it all out we had a berry nice berry ice cream. And to top our day off what did we spy but another echidna on our drive home.

Our excursion today is off to Maydena for a Railtrack riders ride. We have booked a 2 seater peddle powered vehicle for a railtrack ride along the disused railway line through the rainforest. This train line was used for 2 main things, transporting trees and cement. The cement was railed from the huge, still operational ,cement works at Railton to be sucked up into this huge funnel which dispensed it into trucks. The trucks transported it 70 kilometres down a newly constructed road in the early 1970's for the building of the previously visited Gordon Dam. The tree movement came to and end when the lumber company, owned by the Murdoch's, thought it cheaper to send it all by road. This still happens today.
The timber industry was, of course, the reason Maydena existed and the earlier 1900's the tools and equipment was a lot different than today's automated machinery. Even the log trolleys used on the rail to transport timber had rudimentary brakes. These are just a wooden block engaged by sheer muscle power. Break your arm, as one unlucky worker did, and it's back to work or be dismissed. No workers compensation in those days.
Wouldn't this be a great tourist attraction and use of the old railway track left now unused.
We took a short walk through the secret Forrest as the carriages were turned around and found some interesting Fungi.

We took another walk in the late afternoon to Russell Falls as it is so peaceful and beautiful to watch and listen to this beautiful waterfall. It's like medicine for the soul.

Late that night, around 9.40pm, we ventured back towards Russell Falls with our torch to see the path until we reached the spot then lights off, we are totally in the dark. The days here are so light for so long. It could be 10pm before it is dark enough to venture out to see these beautiful sparks of light. On a dark night near the Falls can be seen glow worms dangling in the trees and foliage. Great sight, but no photos, just our memories to enjoy. Although we did manage to see a Possum both on our way to and on the way back.Ian thought it was the same one.

Sunday is moving day, this time onto New Norfolk, or Lawitta a 'suburb' of the town. As we leave the Park entrance we are farewelled by another friendly echidna.
Along the way we pass some of the fields the region around New Norfolk is renowned for, Hops. There are still many of the Oast houses to be seen.
We also stopped into a local hall along the way at Bushy Park built in 1911, and housing a daily market come secondhand stall. A good time for morning tea.
Our campsite at Lawitta is in a large backyard, with access to water when required. Nice spot. Happy hour with one of the owners Russell and a few other campers. We cooked up a fresh loaf of sundried tomatoes and olive sourdough loaf to share. It sure was a winner.
We took a drive into New Norfolk to refill some supplies and low and behold we found another of Ian's favourite places.
The Online resource centre was successful in obtaining a grant to obtain a 3 D printer for the community to use. What a bonus for New Norfolk!

Monday morning Blueberry sourdough pancakes.
Monday sees us venturing to Salmon Ponds, the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern hemisphere, and the birthplace of Tasmania's legendary trout and salmon industries.
After a few failed attempts from 1860, in 1864 live salmon eggs (ova) were successfully brought to Australia. In this batch were also a number of trout eggs. Being non migratory, unlike salmon, a satisfactory population of trout was established at Salmon Ponds thus forming the genetic stock for today's recreational fishing industry. The site has always been owned by the government, and currently it is operated by Tasmanian Inland Fisheries Service.
A walk around the lakes provided glimpses of the different kinds of fish they can raise including Rainbow trout, Brook trout, Atlantic salmon, Brown trout, Albino Rainbow trout and Tiger trout. A bit hard to photograph, but we tried.
It's still has the original building used by the original keeper, built in 1865, and housing a museum of trout fishing. Very interesting.
A fishing hut from 1947, built out of packing creates used to transport car parts.
Of course the piece de resistance was found in the Albino Rainbow Trout pond...a platypus feeding.

The afternoon was back in the town centre. A tasty toastie and a cup of tea or two at the amazing Quilted Teapot cafe. It's housed in an old church building 'The Close' built in 1866 and added to in 1890 and it's right next door to the actual Anglican church built in 1823. A cafe and quilt shop combined, Deborah was nearly in ecstasy.
Next stop was a look at the old mental asylum buildings. Once the largest of its kind it opened in 1829 known as 'The Barracks' for infirm prisoners, and accepted mentally ill female prisoners in 1833 and continued operating until finally closed in 2000. Currently the area of buildings is known as Willow Court, as there was a willow sapling planted at the front of The Barracks, from Napoleon Bonapartes gravesite. Unfortunately this tree was cut down in the late 1960's but the memory lives on. There are many derilict looking buildings, but many are now privately owned and are being redeveloped in sympathy with their original styles.
This was the admin building now used for accommodation.
The Barracks, used to house infirm female patients.
And before heading back to the campsite for the night we checked out the Willow Court Antique Centre. Although closed that day the owner was on-site and kindly let us wander through for half an hour. Wow, what an amazing shop, a must see for anyone in interested in nick nacks and memorabilia. They even have old cars, trucks and motorbikes for sale, some operational others requiring some TLC.
And a view of New Norfolk townsite from up on high, Pulpits Lookout.
A hitch hiker that came for the ride.
That's a wrap for this week's adventures.....,.

Posted by iandeborah 23:18

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So many beautiful places
So many fabulous memories..
My grandmothers brother worked at the Mental Asylum all his working life..
Sad place really ...depressing history..
Love love ❤️ Strathgordon..

by Rose

Great meanderings, love the picture of the pixie and the fungi. Glad to see Deb was nearly in ecstacy and NOT on ecstacy. Looks like a very berry enjoyable trip. Ian would be jealous re: the platypus. We are heading to Tassie in Feb with friends.

by Jan

Rose, such a beautiful place is Tasmania, Australia.

by iandeborah

Jan, yes we are having a ton of fun exploring and tasting the freshly picked plump produce. It was amazing to see the Platypus right at Ian's feet. So beautiful to watch. I will send you a video to show your Ian. There's plenty of room for you all over here. We are here till 12 April. You coming this year or next?

by iandeborah

Lovely pictures again. Hopefully we will see some of the sites in a few weeks.

by Mel

Love the closeup photos of the platypus but not too keen on the weather. Can you switch it back to beautiful days by the weekend for when we arrive.
I remember blackberry picking the last time we visited Tassie, so much produce on offer. Glad you found a material shop Deb so you can stack up the shelves in your back bedroom for all your next projects.

by Linda de Vries

You certainly will see some hidden treasures of Tasmania. They are around many corners. So much history too. Bring your puffer jacket to keep cool of a night.

by iandeborah

The weather is just one obstacle, you can overcome this by having fun and wearing your puffer jacket and maybe layers like Pam tells us. It will be what it will be!
Look forward to the adventures you will have ahead.
You know me and my material stash so well. It was my first material purchase in Tasmania too. Loved the shop, The Quilted Teapot at New Norfolk. Ian lived the coffee too.
Deb & Ian

by iandeborah

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