Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Derwent Bridge (Lake St Claire) 3 - 4 February 2008

We set off for the West Coast and were soon travelling up and down but predominantly UP! We were entering yet another different environment - the air became cooler, the plants greener and thicker, the rain and clouds came in and the feeling hint of Scotland and NZ came to mind. We stopped at a 300 acre estate that was once a Hydro development town from the 1930s/40s. It must have been a tough place then but now a big company has refurbished the 40s cottages and lodge, put in a quality restaurant and coffee shop over looking the huge pipes carrying the water for the power station at the bottom. Despite all the misgivings about the dams and the wilderness this is a very CLEAN power source! Burning coal and nuclear power for energy doesn’t compare to the use of hydro power. Future plans need lots of thought, as we have seen the damage from dams as well. The day before we arrived, the bush fires were here and the smoking bush was right beside us, as we walked by dressed in beanies and thick coats in drizzling rain and mist!
Arrived at Derwent Bridge and explored nearby Lake St Clare NP ready for a long walk the next day. We took a boat to the top of the lake early in the morning for a lovely sight-seeing cruise. We were then dropped off on the Overland track at the top of the lake to make our way back. We were fascinated with the overland hut on the track that the seven-day hikers use. The rack was a rope with plastic bottles on each end that spin around to stop the rats walking the rope to get your food hanging up in bags! The fire-place had instructions not to use it if the temperature was over 10degs (i.e. a hot summer day in Tassie!)
There was more forest than we expected with many varieties of ferns and tall trees of leatherwood, sassafras and celery top pines. We found the aroma of crushed sassafras leaves for the first time - missed a heavenly treat for much of our lives! A combination of plum pudding, vanilla custard, rum and cinnamon! Huge trees had fallen in the forest and their large size when lying on the ground amazed us. A special experience was the confetti effect of the fallen white petals from the Leatherwood trees that had dropped over the ferns and the track. The lake glistened behind the trees as we took breaks on the water’s edge and pockets of warm air abounded in fern filled gaps. We saw an echidna (who ignored our close presence), snout pushing under moss digging out the food, by standing on his hind legs and slowly dragging himself up a bank. You could see the resemblance to the platypus (for Laura’s benefit, they are both monotremes that are egg laying mammals with backward facing pouches for their young). The walk included lots of ups and downs and obstacles such as tree roots and we were happy when we finished 5 hours and 400 photos later - we enjoyed the fact that we were on our own virtually the whole time!
We spent the night at Derwent Bridge, as the hotel allowed us to park out the front in exchange for a few drinks in their comfortable premises.


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