Melbourne-Tassie Holiday 2011 - Day 14
Boarded the Lady Jane Franklin II amongst the 89 passengers and we had a seat in the middle of the lower deck. But we were free to wander around on all decks. The captain, Rob, took us through Hell's Gates, at the entrance to Macquarie Harbour, and the entrance was only 65ft wide. Our ship was 9.5m wide, a smidgen over 31ft, so there wasn't much room for error. Met up with the Davies couple, from yesterdays train ride, and said hello.
The cruise through Macquarie Harbour, at a cracking pace, took us past some salmon/trout farms. With no natural predators the fish do quite well. As we approached the Gordon River the pace slowed considerably. This was to protect the river bank.
I wondered about the lack of birdlife on the river and it turns out that the river is too deep for normal waterbirds near the bank. All of the big Huon pines have been harvested from the area by convict labour in the 1820s and 30s, and by the piners in later years, so there wasn't a lot of big trees to see.
We stopped at Heritage Landing and The Boy was given the job of counting chimneys created by burrowing crayfish, of which we didn't spot one (probably because they are nocturnal). He reached 1,031 in the 30 minutes that we were there.
The ship turned around and lunch was served. Luckily I noticed that the pasta had pesto as The Boy had quite a bit on his plate and with his allergy that could have been very serious. New plate required. Lots of tasty salmon to eat.
Cruised back to Sarah Island which was settled by convicts in 1822. A total of 131 ships were built in 12 years (96 in the five years that Captain David Hoy was in charge). We were given a tour by Jane Flanagan, from The Round Earth Company, and that was very informative. After the play last night I wanted her to be our guide.
Once back on dry land I did some searching for decent souvenirs and went to the sawmill. There is a huge fine for cutting down the protected Huon pines so only driftwood, which doesn't rot, can be used. Therefore the wood is quite expensive. Bought a mixing bowl and spoon for the missus.
Back in the car and The Boy remembered where the road to Zeehan was. Some dumb woman stopped in front of us, in the middle of the road halfway down the highway, with no indication, just so that she could take a photo. And it was in a spot where overtaking was not allowed! Some people should just not be allowed to drive vehicles. Full stop.
Much to my disgust, and against of the guarantees I had been given, it wasn't raining when we reached Zeehan. Strahan has only 40 days a year when it doesn't rain and we enjoyed two of them consecutively. I planned to visit Montezuma Falls nearby but with a three hour return journey on foot I thought "bugger that".
Drove into Cradle Mt - Lake St Clair National Park and had another person stop in front of me in a no overtaking zone - on a bloody steep hill this time! Stupid tourists should be barred entry into Tasmania. It would seem that idiot drivers flock to Tassie.
Cradle Mountain itself was experiencing clear skies and great views. Called into the YHA to book a room and they upgraded us to a 4-bunk room at no extra charge. In fact, we had the 6-room bungalow to ourselves. Bought some very expensive groceries also.
Across the road to the Visitor Centre to buy a Parks Pass but as it was already ten past five they had shut for the day. Was fortunate enough to see an employee and asked about the pass and she showed me the after hours pass, of which there were only two left to buy, and told me how to fill it in. I put $24.75 in coins into the envelope only to discover that I couldn't put it into the box.
Drove into the park which has some 40 one lane sections until you reach Dove Lake near the mountain. Had to fill in a booklet detailing our planned walk - to Dove Lake boat shed and Glacier Rock at Dove Lake. Certainly came in a bit colder and the clouds finally came in. Beautiful walk and fantastic scenery. A terrific place to visit.
The drive back to our accommodation was about 18 minutes without traffic so we certainly picked a good time to visit. Tea time and then off to our room. The tiniest bit of rain fell at 8pm.
Melbourne-Tassie Trip 2011 Photo Album No.3 - See photos 41-104.