Lake St Clair to Queenstown
It was a 94 km drive from Lake St Claire to Queenstown along the way we stopped at Nelson Falls and Ironbowl Blow Lookout. We did not stop to trek to Horsetail Falls but still caught a glimpse of it from the roadside and then drove into Queenstown.
At Nelson Falls carpark the drizzle had turned heavier, rather than to abandon our visit to the waterfall we put on our raincoats and trekked toward the waterfall.
The walking trail was nicely flat and easy to walk. It was just a short 10 to 12 minutes walk through a green dense/wet forest to reach the waterfall. The falls was nice but not very spectacular.
After Nelson Falls we were back on the road and another 23km drive in the direction of Queenstown brought us to Iron Blow Lookout on the right and Horseshoe Falls on the left of Nyell Highway. We turned right into a smaller road and shortly arrived at Iron Blow Lookout carpark. At the carpark we could already see a “stretch out” metal platform overlooking into a “valley”.
Though the rain was beating down heavier we still made our way to the end the metal platform. Fortunately the platform was very sturdy and non-slippery and we felt safe walking on it.
Iron Blow was definitely not a natural landscape/phenomenon. It was a man-made landscape created out of man’s greed. This crater like lake was the result of gold and copper mining. It was so enomous and oddly beautiful.
After Iron Blow we drove over to Horsetail Falls carpark. At the carpark we saw stairs leading upslope to probably the waterfall that was out of our sight. We checked and found that it would be a 1.5 km round trip which was really not appealing in such rainy weather. We decided to skip Horsetail Falls. As we drove on we caught sight of the waterfall from the road!
Just before heading down to Queenstown we came to a high viewpoint of the town. We saw the town from a huge distance. It looked like a small town.
We found Queenstown indeed small and quiet. There were a couple of streets with shops, quaint buildings and old hotels. There was no “human vibrancy” in the air, the town was too quiet and unexciting for us. We looked around for a cafe for a coffee break but did not find any interesting placenat all. So after going into a local store to buy some grocery we left the town.
The route from Queenstown to Strahan was 41 km and the journey took 45 minutes. Along the way there was nothing interesting to stop for. At Strahan we droved into the waterfront, we thought there we would be able to see more visitors, stores and shops but the harbour front was pretty deserted. We went to check out the Gordon River Cruise but found its ticketing shop closed and it was not even 5 pm.
We wandered around the harbour and popped into a Visitor Center which surprislngly was still opened. We found that we could also buy the the Gordon River Cruise ticket at the visitor center. There was only one cruise a day and it started at 9 am the next morning, it was a six hour long cruise which included a free lunch on board.The cost of the cruise was AUD150 per person, our seats were in the center column which were cheaper than those on the upper deck or window seats which were all already sold out.
The next morning, we packed our breakfast in ziplock bags and carried them up the boat as we always ate breakfast around 10am. The cruise vehicle was huge with inhouse cafe where we bought cafe latte to go with our breakfast. Though our seating were in the center column it was good as we got six seat spaces with a table to our selves. The great thing was we were allowed moved around the entire boat including visiting the captain control room.
Our cruise started at Strahan moved to Hell Gate where which was where Macquarie Harbour met the Indian Ocean.
Along the way to Hell Gate there were two lighthouses. One at the start of the bay and the other further out facing the ocean. The water current in the open ocean was pretty rough. We expected to see sea animals like seals, dophins or penquins but there was none! Surprisingly there was also no seagulls in the air.
Our next “leg” was Sarah Island, it was a convict island long before the one in Hobart. Sarah Island was an ideal penal settlement as it was the most windswept and barren place on Tasmania (Australia). Escaping convicts would not only have to get across the harbour they would have to hack their way through the impenetrable rainforests of the west coast!
A guide took us round the island and gave us a dramatic breakdown of the historical happenings on Sarah Island two hundred years ago.
On the third leg of the cruise, our boat moved toward the mouth of Gordon River which was on the opposite end of the habour. As our boat cruised up the river we could feel a sereneness in the air. The water was calm and the “silence” was deafening.
Gordon River was 172 km long, it would be amazing to cruise deep into the length of the river. Unfortunately we sailed up to Heritage Landing which was just a few kilometer from the river mouth. Heritage Landing was created for visitors to experience ancient Huon Pines serveral thousand years old. Again oddly there was no sound from birds or forest creatures to be head.
Lunch was provided on board the cruise, the meal was included in the price of our tickets. Breakfast was not provided so we brought our and ate them with the hot beverages we bought on board.
At about 2.30pm we were back to Strahan habour. At the jetty was a couple of woodcraft shops. We strolled in but left empty handed as there was nothing that interest us.
Beside the cruise at Strahan there seemed not much to do in Strahan. There were several walks, we crossed out the long walks and picked out one short walk. It was a trekking to Hogarth Falls.
The parking for the walk to Hogarth Falls was at “Peoples Park”. The return trip to the waterfall was 40 minutes. The trail was well maintained and very pleasant.
Along the walk we saw several information “standees” detailing the plants, trees and vegetation in the forest. One standee lead us to looked up and we were amazed with the “mosaic” of leaves covering the sky.
After about 25 minutes we reached Hogarth Falls. It was a small waterfall which was not very impressive. So was it worth the walk to view it? Not so. But taking the whole process into consideration, the walk through the forest, the sighting of the tree and vegetation the viewing of the waterfall, this walk was worth the effort!
At the start of Strahan Town there was a sand dune. We heard from a local that there was a path where we could drive to the top of the dune. But when we reached carpark below the dune the only path we could see that went up the slope of the dune was accessible to only four wheel drive vehicle. Though the local told us that a four wheel drive car was not needed to go up the slope, we did not want to risk getting stuck on the slope. I was left with no choice but to make a tough trek up the dune while YT stayed back.
I had done climbing up dune before so I knew that I had to go slow and eventually I would reach a stage that every one step forward I would slip half step backward. When I reached the top all I could see was a enomously vast sand beach with no end. I thought I would be able to see a slope that dip down to the sea but none was in sight. I would need a vehicle to do any exploration! So after catching my breath I was back down again. This time I sat on my bum and glided down slowly.
Accommodation in Strahan
Our stay was Big4 Strahan Holiday Retreat. I booked a cabin for two on booking.com but upon checking in we realised it was definitely mean for 4. There was a queen bed in one room and bund beds in another room. In the center there was a kitchen, a sitting room with a televison. Just outside the door was a patio with a table and four chairs.
The cabin came with a toilet with shower and was of a good size. Overall the entire cabin was clean, bright and comfortable. Towels, toiletries, cooking utensils and crockery were all provided.
With a proper kitchen, we would not miss the chance of a whipping up home cook meals! Cooking was easy as after many years of travelling we were well co-ordinated in “who do what” in getting the meal ready and cleaning up after that.