EXTREME WILDERNESS, FLOODED PEDDER & A DAM
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
322Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
LAND OF GIANTS CAMP GROUND
MONDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2010
Journey: Freycinet, Hobart, New Norfolk, Mt Field National Park
Camped: Land of Giants $20pn in the national park
Weather 10 degrees when we left and very misty through Orford but warm and sunny in Hobart at 9.30.
Returning to Hobart to check the van at Fiat.
Left Freycinet at 6.30 am and reached Hobart at 9.30; no sign of the warning message for the whole time. We stopped briefly at Triabunna for breakfast and a trip to the mulberry tree behind the pub. Sheila met an American from Taos, New Mexico at the mulberry tree; he is cycling the island. You have to admire the touring cyclists who squeeze onto the side of the narrow Tasmanian roads where the shoulders are in bad condition, steep and gravelled and motor homes and caravans grab the width of the road. Oh and not to mention the curves and hills and the forestry trucks!
After a computer analysis of the van's engine that showed there was a minor surge of diesel to compensate for a glitch in the clean air connection, the system had righted itself. Wow! it was impressive to see the computer spill out the details of the engine's performance. Monty at Fiat Hobart is great and was able to attend to us immediately.
We took the opportunity to catch up with Ulla for coffee and a chat and then headed off through New Norfolk to Mt Field National Park.
The Mount Field National Park is Tasmania’s oldest and was originally created to protect Russell Falls. Only 80 kms from Hobart, it is very popular and the waterfalls and tall trees the "eucalyptus regnans" are very accessible.
The campground is situated beside a creek, amid tall eucalypts and felt very welcoming. Met David and Marg in a Fiat van and they lent us a DVD of “Wilderness” which was the story of Olegas Truchanan and Peter Dromowski, the Baltic photographers who lost their lives in the South West wilderness of Tasmania that they worked diligently to protect. Our campsite neighbours were an interesting couple from Cairns and we spent some good time chatting with them, before retiring.
On Tuesday we completed the circuit trail to the waterfalls and the tall trees and were made to feel small beneath the tallest flowering trees in the world that can grow to 100 metres. It is always exhilarating to get back to the forest for a reality check. In the darkness of the night we searched out the glow worms around Russell Falls; it was eerie and fascinating to find your way without light. The glow was indeed impressive.
On advice from the ranger here, we drove the narrow gravel road 16 kms up the mountain to Lake Dobson at 7am on Wednesday morning to avoid on coming traffic.
At 1031 metres the freshwater lake suffers extreme weather conditions and the wizened old pencil pines and twisted snow gums bear witness to this.
We wandered around the lake marvelling at the alpine scenery and trying to imagine cross country skiing here in winter. The tall pandani with their skirts of dead leaves are everywhere and stand like sentinels around the green lake. At this time we have the lake circuit to ourselves and are happy we took the trip early.
We were surprised to see that our Fiat van friends from the Land of Giants camp ground had spent the night camped up here; perfect choice. After a tiny debrief we headed down the narrow road.
We prepared breakfast back at sea-level on one of the camp tables and headed off towards the South West wilderness but this time on the well maintained bitumen road built by the Hydro-electric people to construct the Gordon Dam.
This road touches World Heritage, Forestry and private properties and the views are spectacular. At the end of this road, where the Gordon dam is situated, the only access to the South West wilderness is on foot or by small plane. There is much land in this wilderness that no humans have stepped on!!
We took a short tricky detour at Maydena to Junee Caves where a river finds its way underground for 30 kms in these caves. Apparently the deepest caves in Australia; we had to park the van in a very narrow bay so just raced the 10 mins to the water spilling out of the cave and back. The area seemed very mystical, lush green and special.
We did notice that you could hire tri-bikes at the Hub at Maydena to reach the caves and that would have been more practical. By the way, the newly operating Hub is offering some pretty interesting adventures around the area!
Next stop Ted’s Beach and let me tell you that we had read about this place as free camping, never imaging that it would be so impressive and yes! it is part of the sad flooding of Lake Pedder that you wish had never happened! The dark brooding ranges surround the beach and on this cool grey day the white sand shone bright against the grey water. HEC has laid on some excellent facilities including an all weather campers kitchen.
By sunset we had 12+ fellow motor- homers settling in for the night at Ted's Beach and we all got together for drinks and snacks before dinner.
A stroll along the beach and a quicker walk up the empty road counted for exercise; we witnessed a colourless sunset that was mesmerizing because of the sun rays beaming through the clouds!
It was a very cold night and only 6 degrees when we set off the next morning to the Lake Pedder Lookout
and the Gordon Dam.
Politics aside the area is still very scenic and we said how smart we are to build something like the dam but at the same time stupid to destroy this amazing wilderness. There was information explaining that some of the rocks in this area were 700 million years old.
On ou way back we did the Creepy Crawly forest walk
and visited the blockade to save the Upper Florentine
Another fabulous adventure! And food for thought- man's needs competing with maintaining wilderness