A Travellerspoint blog

Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park surrounds

Travelling back from Cradle Mountain, we made a point to stop at any points of interest and going just that little bit further to see the nearby towns.
Even the little things that make me smile
First stop was Stahan, a small town and former port on the west coast of Tasmania. Although this is a significant tourist draw, offering scenic flights and boat rides across Macquarie Harbour into the relatively inaccessible Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. We were most taken by the local saw mill, producing beautiful pieces of furniture and trinkets from all the local type of wood including Huon Pine, Myrtle, Sassafras and Blackwood.
Heading back on our way, we drove through Queenstown, in a valley on the western slopes of Mount Owen on the West Coast Range. Queenstown's history has long been tied to the mining industry. This mountainous area was first explored in 1862. It was long after that when alluvial gold was discovered at Mount Lyell, prompting the formation of the Mount Lyell Gold Mining Company in 1881. In 1892, the mine began searching for copper. The final name of the Mount Lyell company was the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company. Some of the originals buildings are still prominent in the town centre, including the Empire Hotel
and Railway Station, complete with turntable at the end of the track

Throughout the town are some great statues, and reminders of it's mining past
Miners Sunday – the transition from a prospectors camp to a settled community commissioned by the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Co. Ltd, to commemorate the Lyell district centenary, 15th October 1983. Ten decades of man and mining.
21 facets of life and mining in the Lyell District from 1883 to 1983.
Even the Empire Hotel is recognisable

Looking down on Queenstown, it is easy to see the impact it's history has had on the town
The smoke produced however was a toxic gas – sulphur dioxide. It clogged the air and left the surrounding landscape covered with a poisonous yellow dust. Within a few years the surrounding hills were void of any vegetation.

The Iron Blow – In January 1883, while following mountain creeks upstream in the search for reef gold, the McDonough brothers noticed a large outcrop of gossan – the kind of oxidised rock formation prospectors look for as an indication of rich mineralisation below the surface. Through the mid 1880’s the mine struggled, despite the rich potential of The blow, in 1890 the directors decided to wind up the company. By 1896, the investment climate had recovered and the company was able to raise enough finance to complete it’s ambition building program. In June that year the first two smelters were lit. Four months later it was reported in the London press that ten furnaces would product an annual profit of nearly £800,000. Mt Lyell was touted as the greatest copper mine in the world.

Moving on along the Lyell Highway, with Cradle Mountain-Lake St.Clair National Park on one side, and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park on the other, we stopped for lunch at Nelson Falls, tucked away in the rainforest

Further on, at Donaghys Hill we got a great view of the World Heritage Area
The Franklin River is famous throughout Australia and overseas and about 500 people travel down along it each year. It takes up to three weeks to complete the 93 km trip, from Collingwood River bridge to Butler Island on the Gordon River. Inflatable rafts are generally used and many choose to do the trip with a professional guiding company.
In the distance you can make out Frenchmans Cap, standing proud on the horizon.

Further down the valley we stopped to investigate a rather long swing bridge.
This is the beginning of the 3-5 day trek to Fenchman’s Cap (1446m) – the dazzling white monarch of Tasmania’s western wilderness. It’s distinctive white quartzite peak, ice-sheared on its south-east face, rises abruptly from rugged rainforest-clad ranges and jewelled mountain lakes, with the entire region almost totally encircled by the great Franklin River. This is one of Tasmania’s most challenging, most spectacular, and most rewarding bush walks.
Starting here with this impressive swing bridge

Posted by charlystyles 12:49 Archived in Australia Tagged queenstown nelson_falls franklin_gordon Comments (0)

Hansons Peak & Front Face

semi-overcast 19 °C


Hansons peak rises to 1185m and stands over Dove Lake

Setting off around Dove Lake
we stopped on Glacial Rock, to look across to Crater Peak
and travelled along Lake Rodway Track
before there was quite a climb up the hill
to reach the summit

From here, you could see Hansons Lake
and hiding around the peak are the Twisted Lakes

Continuing on, the path led us passed an emergency hut
towards Weindorfers Tower at, which is the far left of Cradle Mountain

This was the beginning of the Face Track, which runs immediately below Cradle Mountain

The Mountain ridge is made up of Jurassic dolerite about 175 million years old. This once-molton rock was intruded close to the contact between a soft upper layer of Carboniferous and Permian sedimentary rocks and a harder base layer of Proterozoic rocks.
Since that intrusion, the softer top layers have eroded significantly, but the tougher dolerite has resisted and stands atop the landscape .
Although tough, dolerite tends to fracture along lines of weakness formed during cooling. from its molton state. You may see such lines showing up as polygonal columns in the cliffs.

The path leads up through a section of this rock
During glacial periods, Cradle Mountain is thought to have been a nunatak, a mountain above the upper limit if the ice, but surrounded by it. Ice bulldozed and scraped the steep side slopes we see now, but left Cradle Mountain standing above most of the action.
The steep terrain and the weakened joints in the columnar rock make the mountain prone to weathering. Rock falls, including one that crashed across the Face Track in early 2007, are part of on-going geological processes.
In places, you can clearly see in the layers of the rock, how this movement has affected it

The path continued up a very interesting steep section of tree roots
where we stopped to look back over to Hansons Peak and where we had just walked

The hard work was worth it for the spectacular views, back down to Dove Lake where we started, and the ridge we had walked up

After this we began to ascend down the Overland Track,
with some interesting plants - this moss was on very firm ground
and Mr Spider didn't seem to concerned by our presence
as we stopped to admire the views over Lake Wilks
stopping to have lunch over-looking Kathleen's Pool
Before continuing past Lake Lilla
and on to Wombat PooL
We didn't find any wombats here, but we did spot this Echidna


Posted by charlystyles 12:33 Archived in Australia Tagged hansons_peak face-track twisted_lakes Comments (0)

Horse Riding Cradle Mountain

overcast 11 °C

Among other activities at Cradle Mountain-St Clair National Park, one great way to explore the area is on horse.
One of my favourite hobbies, but a first time for Eric - but what better place to sit in the saddle.
This is Eric on Hoover.

Compared to the glorious sunshine of the previous day, we had more typical Cradle Mountain weather - cold and windy with a little rain. Not that it matters when all you're doing is sitting, and it was probably more wet and windy on the other groups' quad bikes...

Meanwhile, we serenely rode up the path
and through the trees
to get a different view of Cradle Mountain
My horse Super Tramp stood patiently as a photography model
however, Hoover couldn't wait to get back for his lunch

Eric & Hoover
Charly & Super Tramp

Posted by charlystyles 12:44 Archived in Australia Tagged cradle_mountain horse_riding Comments (0)

Wombling Wombats

semi-overcast 10 °C

In the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, wild life is abundant.
The park’s two wallaby species – Bennetts and pandemelons – can be seen grazing in grassy areas.
This is a Bennetts Wallaby

Bushed-tailed possums are nocturnal and abundant around accommodation areas. Two of the worlds three surviving monotremes – the platypus and the echidna – are often seen in the area. Echidnas amble beside the road or the walking tracks, while platypus can be spotted by quiet observers in the many lakes and rivers.
Despite efforts, we weren't fortunate enough to see a Platypus, but we did spot a few Echidna's

The world’s largest carnivorous marsupials – the endangered Tasmanian Devil, the spotted-tailed quoll and the eastern quoll – are also found here.
We didn't spot either of these, but were aware there were baby Devil's living under the veranda of the lodge - a good sign as numbers have seriously declined since they have suffered from facial tumours.
No visit to Cradle Mountain will go by without being acquainted with the black currawongs. They are excellent scavengers and can open zips on backpacks to search for food.

Around 6pm, along the Overland Track at Ronny Creek, there's a high chance of spotting wombats.
Wombats are short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials that are native to Australia and are approximately 1 metre (40 in) in length, with short, stubby tails.
They are described as littls bull-dozers and nothing stops them! As we found out when we visited Bonorong Wildlife Park, they have hard body armour on their lower back, which they use in defence if threatened and can crush a dogs skull by slamming upwards in the entrance to their burrows as the predator tries to get past. You can make out the shape on this water loving wombat below.
We were lucky enough to spot at least 10 different wombats whilst on this particular walkway, each one has their own territory, so it was interesting when they came to cross paths. One in fact ran right under my feet, below the walkway, which they use as a quick route around the area, rather than wading through the grass.

We also had a good view of the common wild hen - funny little things...

Photos above taken by Eric :)

Posted by charlystyles 12:15 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Cradle Mountain Summit

sunny 22 °C

At 1545m, Cradle Mountain is renowned internationally as one of Australia's most photographed and visited mountain peaks.
The national park surrounding the rugged peak is the focus of the Overland Track, which leads right past the mountain. This area, in the northern part of the park is higher and more exposed than further south but still contains fine examples of trees such as myrtle, tanglefoot, King Billy and pencil pines. In winter it is mostly covered with snow.
In summer, you get the feeling these grass monsters are trying to creep up on you when you're not looking...
A walk to the summit was the focus of our time in this area, and as the weather was good due to be unusually good for the first day, we set off to conquer the mountain!
The start of the suggested route begins at Ronny Creek, along the beginning of the Overland Track and ascending past Crater Lake
Looking across to Crater Peak, which we'll come to late...
and heading up a steep section to look down on Crater Lake
and across to Crater Peak
before heading up to Marion's Lookout at 1223m
where you can look across to Mount Campbell
down to Dove Lake
back towards Lake Lilla and Dove Lake
and get a good view of Cradle Mountain

From here, the path stretches out across some moorland
with Barns Bluff in the distance, the next stop for those doing the Overland Trail
before reaching the Kitchen Hut, which can be seen as a tiny spot in the above photo and shown below
You may notice that there are two doors to the hut, and that there is a shovel at the top door.
this shows how much snow the mountain can get in winter. Question is, how do you reach the shovel...
ah yes... that's better...

If you look closely from here you get a good idea of the jagged edges of the summit ridge, see how carefully this rock is balanced...
From the kitchen hut, the path up to the summit is quite visible
Thankfully, we discovered the the path doesn't actually go straight up, but bend to the right, which you may just be able to work out.
Still, that's not to say it was any easier that we thought!
The final summit approach is very jagged dolerite rock!
We stopped to investigate this platform rock
before climbing up to the summit

As with every good mountain, we found one of these
The panorama from the top on a clear day ranks as one of the best in Tasmania, with much of the north-west of the state in view.
View to the West
View to the South
View to the North

Unfortunately, this is where I pointed out to Eric that we weren't up the highest mountain in Tasmania, in fact, it's only the 5th highest Mountain, and that Barns Bluff is the second highest, by only 14m more that where we were standing...
Mount Ossa is the highest mountain in Tasmania, at 1,617m - another 72m higher than where we stood.

Still, we were pleased to get to the top
and took some time to take some photos

Before heading back down. Unfortunately, climbing up, meant climbing down, and it was just as rocky!!

As we walked further away, it was nice to look back and see what we had accomplished. Here you can see Cradle Mountain, with Barns Bluff

We had time to stop and admire the alpine daisies
before continuing on to Crater Peak - which could be seen earlier from the other side of Crater Lake.
It was great to look across and see most of the path we had walked up earlier in the day, up to the summit of Cradle Mountain.


Posted by charlystyles 12:05 Archived in Australia Tagged cradle_mountain Comments (0)

Pencil Pine Rainforest & Dove Gorge

semi-overcast 20 °C

A lovely walk through mature pencil pine / myrtle rainforest, overlooking several waterfalls and on to Dove Gorge.
The walk began through Pencil Pine rainforest
through open plains of buttongrass
and on along the Cradle Valley Boardwalk
The 5.5km boardwalk meanders beside Dove River.
Cables and pipes beneath the timber decking deliver power and phone services into Cradle Valley and pump sewage and wastewater out of the valley.
The path steepens in sections to rise up to the top of Dove Gorge
The gorge is a 50 metre deep quartzite canyon.
Beyond the gorge are several waterfalls, including Kenyet Falls and Pencil Pine Falls
Some of the details of the walk were just as impressive
The toadstalls:
The Lichen
The local Pandemelon
and a beautiful Dragonfly
The walk back gave us a good chance to view the wombats

Later that evening we enjoyed another beautiful sunset over Dove Lake

Posted by charlystyles 12:00 Archived in Australia Tagged dove_gorge pencil-pine Comments (0)

King Solomons Cave

sunny 24 °C

On our way up to Cradle Mountain, we passed by Mole Creek Caves - a collection of caves open to the public.
King Solomons Cave is small but compact and offered lavish colours and formations.
It was an amazing sight from the moment you stepped in through the door
The ceiling was covered in stalactites
and straws
These grow at an average rate of 1cm every 100years! So it's hard to imagine how old the formation in this cave are.

It is regarded as a relatively ‘dry’ cave as it has no stream flowing through it. A stream has previously flowed through the cave but this has long since cut deeper into the limestone and abandoned King Solomons. While the stream was important in the corrosion of the limestone and the formation of the cave, it’s abandonment has mean the development of a stable environment that has allowed spectacular stalagmites and other formations to form.

These formations below are called draperies, or nick-named bacon rashes!

This shows the cross-section of one of these formation, sadly damaged in the past when vandals broke into the cave.

Other interesting formation are 'popcorn'

and 'cave coral'

The cave sparkled with calcite decorating the chambers.

We even met the local resident, the Tasmanian Cave Spider though as my photos didn't come out, here's one on a poster..

The cave was guarded by this wonderful sculpture...

Posted by charlystyles 12:53 Archived in Australia Tagged king_solomons_cave Comments (0)

Great Western Tiers to Cradle Mountain

sunny 18 °C

Heading north towards Cradle Mountain, we took our time to stop and see some of the beautiful sights of North West Tasmania.

Doleraine 50's Diner
Where better for a mid-journey lunch than a room FULL of everything 50's!
Even the door handles were made from large spanners!
The tables used crank shafts for legs...

Every now and again along a journey, we'd see a blue 'tourist' sign and pull over to see what it was. below are some of the highlights..

View over Great Lake

The Steppes Stones
Dedicated to those who share in the love and care of the Highlands of Tasmania from the past to the future. Concept and sculptures by Stephen Walker A.M. As a gift to Tasmania in 1992.

Devils Gullet
Plunging 220 metre below is the Devils Gullet. It was carved out by ice and water moving off the plateau and down the valley. Previously the valley would have been gently sloping and U-shaped. The huge rock columns are formed of Dolerite and the joints between then have been gradually notched out by the on going activity of water freezing and thawing.
The dolerite-topped mountains to the west are those of the world-renowned Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. During the ice age these peaks were left exposed above the ice. At 1617 metres Mt Ossa is Tasmania’s highest peak.
Not that it stops the locals living up here...

Alum Cliffs
Also known as Tulampanga, is a sacred celebration place. Many tribes from ancient times met here for biggest corroboree. Tulampagna translated means ‘red ochre hill’. The ochre was held in high regard and the Pallittorree People traded much of it with other tribes.

Central Plateau
Covering over 100,000 hectares, the plateau has been fromed over about 200 million years by different processes that include the intrusion of hard dolerite rocks from deep within the earth into sedimentary rocks above, uplift of the Central Plateau along various faultlines and finally, glaciations. The plateau has been glaciated (covered by ice) at least five or six times over the last two million years. There are more than 4,000 lakes up to 4km long, that lie on the undulating surface.

Final destination - Cradle Mountain.
Our first view of Cradle Mountain was spectacular. driving down through the park, at the end of the road is Dove Lake, with quite an impressive backdrop...
The road stops at a beach...
and the boat house is one of the most photographedlarge_Cradle_Mou.._Boat_House.jpg scenes in Tasmania

On our way to find the accommodation, we had our first Wombat encounter ... first of many!

The weather was on our side, so later that evening, we took our dinner (tuna pasta bake) down in the car to see the stars over the mountain.

Posted by charlystyles 12:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Australia Day

Kingston Beach

sunny 21 °C

January 26th is not only my brother's birthday, but also... Australia Day!

Australia Day is the official national day of Australia, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip.
In present-day Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation, and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.
We headed down to a local event at Kingston Beach, south Hobart, where the day started with a Triathlon and in between sailing events and other beach activities, we watched the childrens' 'Thong Race' - I should point out that in Australia, 'flip-flops' are called 'thongs'! Obviously you can't really stay afloat on a fli-flop, but there were inflatable ones sold for $10!
There was a good selection of food stalls, but we chose to try the Tornado Potato... a twist-cut potato fried and coated in a flavouring of your choice!

The day was topped off by chilling out in the sun at a local pub listening to live music

Posted by charlystyles 12:21 Archived in Australia Tagged australia_day kingston_beach Comments (0)

Running Labillardiere Peninsula on Bruny Island

semi-overcast 20 °C

This track circuits the Labillardiere Peninsula, within the South Bruny National Park, one of the more remote corners of Bruny Island where there are great views of the Southern Ranges.

The walk takes you through some lovely examples of coastal heathland and dry sclerophyll forests. Unfortunately some if with rather high...

The peininsula takes its name from Labillardiere, a naturalist with the French expedition led by Brune' D'Entrecasteaux.
The French party spent a month exploring Recherche Bay and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel between 21 April and 28 May 1792 and again from 21 January to 1 May 1793
The remains of the jetty at the western end of the Jetty Beach are a reminder of the early days when supplies to the Cape Bruny lighthouse were bought in by ship. From the corner of the beach evidence of the track that ran to the lighthouse can be seen.

The route was a great mix of bush and track
and popping out every so often to run along a secluded beach

Some of the locals were friendly, such as this bleach-blond looking Echidna
and some harmless fungus
but because of the bushland, we also saw six venomous Tiger Snakes, so we tried to run as loudly as possible!

Another 18km done...


Posted by charlystyles 12:39 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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