The next day we did a few more short walks before we split and headed in different directions.
It was a short stroll on boardwalks to the replica of Austrian botanist Gustav Weindorfer's hut, built in the 1960s, I think. The link is worth checking out for the early 1900s pioneer of Cradle Mountain National Park. The start of these walks is also the start of the Overland Track - 65km, 6 days one way to Lake St Clair. I did it a couple of times when I was at Uni, but alas, I don't go anywhere where there isn't a good G&T available, these days.
the start is this open sedgeland, totally boggy underfoot
and a haven for wombats. they come out more in the afternoon, but we saw maybe a dozen in 30 mins. Wombats of course leave behind their kinky cubic faeces.
Water, water, everywhere - and gallons and gallons to drink!
Another loop walk at the 'interpretative centre' (which isn't much chop).
It wasn't me! Honest!
Pencil pines are the dominant scecies here.
and lots of celery-tops.
Pencil Pine falls. The Lodge is on the opposite side.
And that did it for me. Disappointing that the back didn't cooperate, but I was also being a bit careful so as not to wreck it on uneven ground off the boardwalks. Back at the Visitor's centre, commemorating the seven out of the ten qualifications of the World Heritage status.
Actually, they have short changed the age a bit, but who's counting.
I was on my way to Burnie to join drron and steady for dinner, but had the day so took a detour south into dam country.
Before you hit the west coast, there is the Vale of Belvoir, a conservation area. On a clear day you can see Cradle Mtn clearly.
The Mackintosh Dam is part of the Anthony-Pieman Hydro power scheme, a fantastic piece of engineering delivering clean, 'carbon-free' electricity to Tas and the mainland.
Lake Mackintosh holds nearly 100,000 megalitres of water behind 2 dams, the Mackintosh and the smaller Tallabardine.
When I was at Uni, I spent a week crawling all over this area as a field assistant to a fellow Hons student who's project was here. At that time, the dam was in the final stages of construction. There were all sorts of neat tunnels trough the mountains that we had access to, just before they were flooded, but also too many mountains to climb. Those damn leeches again ... .
You can drive over the dam, onwards to the Tullabardine dam.
Tullah was the construction camp for the Hydro and is now a small village with a number of accommodation options. The hydro lakes are stocked with trout, and popular fishing. I patronised the small coffee shop
Recently, Tullah has just got 4G coverage, after a long campaign by the locals for Telstra to supply it:
In the coffee shop then was a very Tasmanian thing
I must confess, I then kept an eye out for this monstrosity, but didn't see it. Tullah is pretty wet, but the spring flowers are excellent:
I headed north again and went into the delightful little town of Waratah, home of the Mt Bischoff tin mine. Tin was discovered here in 1871 and after a few phases, it was mined by the commonwealth govt in WW2 and then closed. That left the mine in a pretty ordinary state, by today's standards. The ore is highly sulphidic and the high rainfall resulted in quite a bit of acid mine drainage off the hill.
Waratah was the first town in Australia to have electric lights! In 1886.
The management and cost of this fell to the State government until a private company re-commenced mining and got rid of the sulphide acid production by putting the stuff through its processing plant . The mine is back on care-and-maintenance.
So Waratah today is a bit of a sleepy place, but steeped in history. It is made attractive by a series of small grass-edged ponds and small lakes:
There is a dam and reservoir upstream and feeding into these ponds owned by TasWater, the state water company. Trouble is, the dam no longer supplies the town's water supply, so is not needed, and its in need of repairs to the tune (they say) of a $million or so. As its no longer a needed asset, TasWater say they won't do it, and will de-commission the dam and drain the impoundment. Needless to say the locals aren't impressed . Don't know where this will end. This is the first thing you see when entering town:
Goodness - look, another piece of columnar dolerite.
I caught up with @Steady and @drron for dinner at the Burnie Beach Hotel.
My lamb. I think the consensus was that the meals were just OK. Only light beers, as we were all driving afterwards.
I was disappointed to hear at dinner that my planned stop at Ashgrove Cheese wasn't possible due to renovations. So it was the usual stop at Elizabeth Town and the ETC cafe, then Campbell Town and Zepps cafe, Swansea and home.
Processed my govt voucher that evening and in the bank in a few days. A nice weekend.
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