Now that I’m writing about Tasmania 4 months after it happened, and I’ve left what notes I wrote about it back in Bright, some of these days’ posts might be a bit vague. It’s funny how much I can forget about what I’ve done on my travels, so quickly after the event – thankfully looking back over my photos helps fill in some of the gaps and dig some almost-forgotten events back up into consciousness.
Waking up to a beautiful morning at the idyllic and dead-silent Ted’s Beach, I wished it was warm enough to risk a dip in the dark tanin-tainted waters of Lake Peddy, since we were back to living without showers again. If it took us little time to get in to the wilderness, it took us even less time to get out again, breaking north across the Derwent River, stopping momentarily at the quaint Ellendale, dominated by a bright white-wash church overlooking a well-manicured graveyard. After another meal featuring the ever-popular indomie noodles and a side of nachos we stopped at Tarraleah – another part of Tasmania dominated by hydro-electric schemes – to witness the rows of pipeline quietly channelling the potential energy stored in nearby lakes to the generating stations tucked into the bottom of the valley.
Next stop was the end of one of the greatest walking tracks in Tasmania – the 80km Overland Track – at Lake St Clair. We walked a little bit of track as part of a much smaller circuit that took us round part of the south-west edge of the lake. On the return leg we branched off along an Aboriginal Culture walk, seeing some beautiful grass-land but not really feeling the information signs that were dotted around. Maybe that’s a testament to the lack of knowledge we have on Tasmanian Aboriginals due to wiping most of them out while trying to colonise the island.
Continuing west on the Queenstown road, we stopped at the Donaghy’s Hill carpark and did the 15 minute walk up the hill, being rewarded by a 360 degree panorama encompassing peaks from the south of Cradle Mountain National Park to the north of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, made only better by the late afternoon light. As that recommendation of the ranger at Lake St Clair had held true, we checked out Nelson Falls, further along the road, to find them flowing much better than Russel Falls yesterday. Not being totally fenced off by the board-walk, I got right up to the falls and was way happier with the shots I got.
With the sun down and the light fading it was time to scope out our sleeping spot, and with a few camping areas dotted round the nearby Lake Burbury we thought it should be quite easy. The first sight, tucked into a corner east of the lake near the bridge just north of the road, charged a fee but had loads of flat grass as well as showers, not that we were tempted by either. Next we tried a site near a boat-ramp on the west side of the lake, south of the main road, but all pitch-able spots were taken. That left us with a site marked just north of the road so we hunted it down, first driving past the access road as there was no sign. There didn’t seem to be a proper camp area as such, but we passed a number of mobile-homes dotted tucked into every slightly wider part of the road, which didn’t fill us with hope. Where the road ended, and met the bank of the lake, it widened into a rough sloping area that was just about adequate for us so we settled there.
By now it was pretty dark so we left the car lights on while we pitched the tent, then realising, as we tried to start the car afterwards, that we’d killed the battery. I had a fairly good idea how to do a rolling start so we decided not to worry about the small matter of being stuck in semi-remote west-Tasmania with a dead car until the morning. The night sky was brilliant and the landscape quite visible in the short summer darkness, letting me try some of those night shots that almost look like day-light, finishing up with a long exposure that I didn’t wait to see the result of before going to sleep. So, in the morning, I’d find out if my night photography skills were up to much as well as, crucially, those that I had in the art of starting dead cars.