We hadn’t been exploring anything major for a couple of weeks so decided that not only would we visit the Wall in the Wilderness at Derwent Bridge but we would also explore some of the mid west coast of Tassie.
We had done the route from Smithton to Deloraine a few times already and it was a lovely drive through the spectacular Great Western Tiers mountains. The Great Western Tiers are a collection of mountain bluffs that form the northern edge of the Central Highlands.
From Deloraine we drove south along the western side of the Great Lake. This is Tasmania’s second largest freshwater lake. Back in September when we were staying in Longford we had driven down part of the eastern side of the lake. On both sides there are small communities of holiday/fishing shacks. Some look very old and ramshackle and a few are quite new and modern. They are in very isolated areas with few if any amenities.
We continued along the Highland Lakes Rd until we reached the Lyell Highway. If you turned left you would have gone to Hobart but we turned right and went through Derwent Bridge where we stopped and visited the Wall in The Wilderness which we wrote about in our previous blog entry. After leaving the Wall we drove 85km along the highway to Queenstown. Wow, what a journey that was – totally awesome scenery and the most hair raising hair pin bend road into the town. Part of the route took us fifty six kilometres through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. It is a region of dramatic mountain peaks, beautiful rainforest, deep river valleys and spectacular gorges. The park is famous for the wild and pristine rivers that twist their way through the wilderness. The Franklin River itself has become synonymous with Australia’s largest conservation battle – the battle to save the Franklin from a proposed hydro-electric power scheme which would have flooded the river.
We spent the night in Queenstown but due to the rolling mists and steady fine rain, we didn’t explore as much as we wanted. The next day we awoke to the most beautiful sunny day and we drove up to the Iron Blow Lookout where gold was discovered in 1883. That initial discovery was followed by the detection of vast deposits of copper, which proved far more profitable for the region’s mining companies.
Ray flew the drone up and over the cantilevered lookout which gave superb views of the open cut mine and surrounding landscape of the Linda Valley, Queenstown and Lake Burbery.
We left Queenstown and headed back to Smithton via Strahan, Zeehan, Rosebery, Tulla, Waratah, Hellyer Gorge and Wynyard. More spectacular scenery and lots of interesting buildings etc that require a longer stay in the area at a later date. All in all it was a brilliant weekend full of wow, ooh, ahh!