Tasmania: West Coast - Day 11

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 01:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Thankfully, Chardae slept through until 6am then after a feed went down again for more sleep until 8am. When Chardae sleeps in, we all sleep in! Lots of rain last night but we slept under a tarp (unfortunately, our double swag does not fit inside the OzTent with the kids). We only got the tent a week before we left home and didn't actually realise how much we could have done with the zip on annexe options that are also available. We saw some other OzTents with the annexe room added and realise we could have done this and saved ourselves a fair bit of hassle on wet nights. The locals are saying it is very unseasonal but we've had 10 days of weather that is nothing like summer should be, even by Tasmania's standards.

Waking to a wet camp and really hoping for sunshine to dry things off a little, we took our time and made a leisurely cooked breakfast of eggs and bacon and toast and plunger coffee. David has decided that we should try to cover our "waterproof" canvas bags and swags so he struggled to wrap a tarp around the fully packed roof rack adding more packup time to what is already a big task. Our getaway time today - 11.15am.

Drove to Zeehan but on the way heard a strange tapping sound from under our car, which we deducted was a broken shock rubber. In Zeehan we got a handful of second-hand rubbers for free from the BP and used their undercover workshop for the 15 min task of replacement (they were the upper shock rubbers so just under the bonnet). The Museum costs $9 per adult $8 seniors, $20 family and appeared to us to be an outing you would make a day of.

We just weren't in the mood for passive activities and I think we all feel like some action after being on tour for the last 2 days so we headed off to the Spray Tunnel just out of town and then towards Roseberry to pick up the 4WD track to Montezuma Falls.

It was still raining when we started the Montezuma Falls track at 1.45pm and it took 1hr 10mins to reach the falls at the end of the track (with numerous photo stops, plus tricky passing of 2 oncoming vehicles at the 2nd creek crossing). We expected to catch up with these vehicles again as we all planned on taking the Ring River Track on the way out.

The drive into Montezuma Falls is fantastic and one we highly recommend. To get to the bottom of the falls you need to walk across a suspension bridge and it sways a bit! I am not great with heights and wobbly things, but I cannot let myself miss out on doing something when I've come so far so even I managed to get across. I hadn't realised what a daredevil Leah was, until I saw her run across the suspension bridge 4 times on her own. She obviously takes after David with these things. On the other side of the bridge you can turn left and see a mine shaft or turn right to get to the base of falls and read some signs.

Behind the wheel and about to drive out, Dad realised he had lost his glasses. We all looked about in the rain and mud but we couldn't find them. For the rest of the trip he had to make do with his backup pair - prescription sunglasses so night driving was out of the question, and I believe that driving in cloudy, raining conditions with sunglasses is also like driving blind.

Regardless of this limited vision, we managed to make it back along the Montezuma track to the junction of the Ring River track (sign posted). This track actually leads out to the highway towards Roseberry. Taking this track turned out day into the best driving day of our time in Tasmania. The drive was very exciting - steep descents in thick muddy ruts filled with water and long stretches of water across track. The uphill ascents were all rocky so no trouble with traction. Chris Boden's trek book gave a good description of what to do when crossing Ring river - drive upstream to right 50m and take second exit to left. The River was in full flow and driving against it seemed visibly challenging but I was only a passenger and the drivers tell me it was no trouble. The crossing was deep - with water over the bonnet even with the bow wave. This was a definitely a moment for video footage, hence I have more video tape than photos but here's a few snaps...

From here to the highway the track eased and pretty soon we popped out of the wilderness back onto a highway. We turned right to head into Roseberry where we stopped for hot coffee, and bought more red wine before driving on towards Tullah to find a bush camp. We find our camps by viewing 1: 250,000 scale map sheets on the laptop looking for features such as rivers, camps, and small tracks for wherever we happen to be at "that" time of day. Tonight, we found a lovely camp on a river bank of Lake Roseberry. There were other camper nearby but they had a couple of kids so Leah made some friends and when she's happy - we're happy!. The only thing not in our favour was the heavy rain. It really was pouring, and we had to put up our big tarp again. Unfortunately, our swags did not get any drier today with my side now very wet too. Tolerance is growing thin.

Although the rain started to fall quite heavily, we managed to gather dry firewood from the inside a fallen tree and once we got the fire going it could overcome the rain just enough to cook our meals. We cooked beef fillet for no more than a couple of minutes and made wraps with lettuce, tomato, capsicum and a fiery red chilli chutney given to us by the friends we had stayed with earlier in Peterborough (seems such a long time ago). Leah ate baked beans heated in the tin on the fire.

David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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