Tasmania 2011 Part 4 Zeehan – Cradle Mountain – Lake Mactintosh

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 17:34

Navigator 1 (NSW)

Day 49 Saturday 15th January ...StrahanZeehan (Spray Tunnel)
Enroute to Zeehan, from Strahan, we drove out to Macquarie Heads. Four km from Ocean Beach we took the track south to the heads. It was drizzling with rain and the wind was howling! We had a long talk with the camp caretaker and then he climbed up on our bull bar to trim an overhanging tree so we could get further along the track. We walked out onto the beach looking directly at Bonnet Island and its lighthouse and then up the beach towards Hell’s Gate and Entrance Island. The weather got the better of us so we headed back.
We took the track out from the heads and then east to Ocean Beach. There was nothing between us and South Africa. The rain stopped, the sun came out and we enjoyed a cup of coffee at Hugo’s Cafe.
Next stop on our way to Zeehan was the Henty Dunes. A short track in led us to the picnic area. The only vehicular access onto the dunes was via hired dune buggies. We were happy enough to stagger to the top of the dune by foot and look out over to the coast. These dunes are active and thus continually moving inland. In years to come the picnic area will be swallowed up.
We travelled further north to Zeehan – its once very active silver mines have now closed down. The town centre was impressive but dead. The attraction in the area for us was the Spray Tunnel. In 1901, the tramway used in the Argent Mine was extended to the Spray Mine by digging out a tunnel. In 1904 a small locomotive was purchased to use on the line and it was called ‘Spray’. At one stage the Spray Mine was one of the most important in the Zeehan area.
Until recently, there was a one way loop road that took traffic through the tunnel however, today there is only one way in and out via a single lane track. The tunnel is now walk through only and a very pleasant picnic area has been established.
What better place to spend the evening!
Distance Travelled: 83 km
Day 50 Sunday 16th January ...Zeehan and the Spray Tunnel – Granville Harbour
A return to Granville Harbour was a must. On our visit back in 2003 we continued up the coastal track from the little settlement of Granville Harbour almost to the mouth of the Pieman River. Our intention this time was to do the same. However, once reminded of the very rough, lumpy track we decided to camp on the northern edge of the harbour and just soak up the view. The day was glorious with just a slight breeze, perfect for a walk into the fishing village and back again. It was a very relaxing day apart from the continuous traffic along this track – bikes, quad bikes and cars.
Distance travelled: 42km
Day 51 Monday 17th January ...Granville Harbour – Lake Mackintosh
Light drizzle in Granville Harbour today. Left at 9.00am. First stop today was the impressive Reece Dam where the foreshore provided a great spot for morning tea. An impressive log was still in the position we last saw it.
Next dam on the way to Tullah was Bastyan Dam where the sirens from the generators were screaming out. We met the technicians up on the dam wall and they assured us that all was under control. The spill way was impressive!
We stopped off in Tullah at the Wee Georgie Train station. Wee Georgie was in the shed undergoing maintenance. After logging onto to the internet we proceeded out to Mackintosh Dam for the evening.
Distance travelled: 92 km



Day 52 Tuesday 18th January ... Lake Mackintosh – Rosebery (Stitt Park)
Before heading off to Montezuma Falls, south of Rosebery, we stopped off at a cafe in the town to relax with a cup of coffee and wait for the rain to stop.
The Montezuma Falls walking track followed the path of the North East Dundas Tramway, constructed in the 1890’s. The narrow 2 foot, 610mm track was chosen to suit the winding route. As well as ore, the tramway carried passengers and timber. Sections of the track were narrow where cuttings had been made, others had steep drop offs on one side while others just passed through magnificent rain forest with Leatherwood, Maple and Sasafras trees. Although the track had been removed many years ago there were sections where the timber sleepers still lay.
This old tramway linked the mines in Williamstown to the smelters at Zeehan, 15 kilometres away. Much of the finished product was shipped to Germany for use in machinery and weapons. With the outbreak of the war in 1914, the smelters in Zeehan closed. The track was used infrequently until its closure in 1932.
The trestle bridge, which carried the tramway across in front of the falls, is long gone but tourists can get a real thrill by walking across a steel suspension bridge. With a drop of 104m, Montezuma is one of Tasmania’s highest falls. On the bridge we stopped to chat to tourists who had driven in via the 4WD track from Melba. They said it was a 2 hour rough, uncomfortable trip and they wished they had walked in via the tramway.
We returned to Stitt Park at Rosebery which offered overnight parking for fully self contained vehicles. We had a lovely spot right alongside the picnic table and the garden full of blooming dahlias.
Distance travelled: 36 km
Day 53 Wednesday 19th January ... Rosebery – Vale of Belvoir Conservation Park
We were quite relaxed in our garden setting so we took time to prepare our evening meal which would cook slowly in the Eco Pot. This meant that dinner would cook while we travelled and it would be ready for us when we arrived in camp. We finally hit the road at 1.50pm – it’s just as well we are not on a tight schedule!
En route to Cradle Mountain we detoured to Murchison Dam and before turning off to the park we stopped off to admire the view towards the mountain from Bluff Lookout. We overlooked a vast flat area with a lake little knowing that it would later become our camp site for the evening.
We arrived at the Cradle Mountain Information Centre and shuttle bus terminus at 4.00 and decided that this would not give us enough time to enjoy the walk around Dove Lake. The camping ground wanted $32 for an unpowered site so we went looking for a free campsite. We ended up at Lake Lea in the Vale of Belvoir Conservation Park – the lake we overlooked from Bluff Lookout about an hour earlier. A gentle, but very cold wind was blowing across the ‘moors’ so we admired the view from inside Hugo.
Distance Travelled: 89 km

]Day 54 Thursday 20th January ... Vale of Belvoir Conservation Park – Cradle Mountain - Lake Gairdner
Motorhomes, caravans, trucks and other large vehicles were not permitted up to the Cradle Mountain car park so with our Annual Tasmanian Parks Pass we were able to take a free shuttle bus from the Information Centre. The 13km long road was narrow and windy but enjoyable from our front row seats. Time had certainly dimmed our memory of this road.
Dove Lake, with its backdrop of Cradle Mountain, looked as beautiful as it did back in 2003. Without hesitation we set off on the 6 km/2 hour walk around the lake. We took time out at the boat shed, the many seats provided along the way, the little beaches and finally the towering Glacier Rock. The path was a mixture of gravel, formed gravel steps, formed rock steps, rocky steps and boardwalks. Sometimes there were open views of the lake, other times we walked through rainforests. We were lucky enough to have a tourist take a picture of us on Glacier Rock with the lake and Cradle Mountain in the background. A great shot! Soon we were back on the shuttle bus and heading back to the Information Centre and our Hugo.
At Moina we turned off and headed to Lake Gairdner. The track led us to the boat ramp but we decided to camp about 10m back up the track overlooking the lake. It was a perfect afternoon and as there was plenty of wood around for a fire. When the coals were ready we put a damper on to cook. Just at the right moment an elderly resident of the area just happened by and joined us for tea and damper. He was a wealth of knowledge. When darkness fell he went home and we went inside.
Distance travelled: 34km
Day 55 Friday 21st January ... Lake Gairdner – Lake Barrington
Once again, rain! The roads in the area were very windy and steep. We made a short detour to Lake Cethana and its dam. Our intentions today were to reach Sheffield then Deloraine but as usual, we got side tracked and ended up on the deep, calm waters of Lake Barrington where Hydro Tasmania has developed an International Rowing Course. The mirror smooth waters of the lake eventually reach Devils Gate Dam where it passes through the power station to generate electricity. There was a lot of action on the lake ... final practice was underway for the regatta to be held over the next two days. An excellent vantage point were we could camp the night was pointed out to us by one of the trainers. That was it, by 11.00am the day’s travel was over.
It was a magnificent day parked right on the lake’s shore. We took the opportunity to do some washing and then later in the afternoon, to cooked a roast dinner. All this while the rowers practised up and down the course.
Distance travelled: 39 km
Total distance travelled in Tasmania 3228 km
The outback calls
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