APT Royal Tasman Tour
October, 2006

Hobart to Strahan

8th October, 2006
9th October, 2006

Sunday, 8th October, 2006

Drop Cap ell, the Weatherman was right! As we motored out of Hobart we saw that Mt. Wellington and Mt. Field were sporting new caps of snow and there was quite a lot on the sides of the road. We reached Mt. Field National Park as the mostly blue sky was producing rain.

Russell Falls photograph

We Enjoy Wonderful Russell Falls

Drop Cap e went for the walk through the dripping, tulgy wood, full of ferns and fallen logs big enough to set up home in, glowing with moss and lichen, to the wonderful Russell Falls. The incredible volume of water dashed itself over three separate levels, making comparisons with our local falls in our drought-stricken area, invidious.

Lake St. Clair photograph

Snow Backed Mountains at Lake St. Clair

Drop Cap e continued on to Lake St. Clair and here the snow was quite thick on the ground.

It actually started to sleet, then snow quite heavily as we moved from there to our lunch stop at Derwent Bridge.

Lake St. Clair photograph

Snow Scene at Lake St. Clair

Lake St. Clair photograph

Another Snow Scene at Lake St. Clair

Queenstown photograph

Winding Down to Queenstown

Drop Cap he snow continued, with some spectacular mountain views, until we got below the snow line, heading into Queenstown. Unfortunately the moonscape bare, destroyed hills around Queenstown were not disguised with snow, although there is somewhat more vegetation there than there was formerly.

Abt engine photograph

Abt Train Engine

Drop Cap t Queenstown we went on board the West Coast Wilderness Line's Abt Railway, a rack and pinion line which used to be the only way in or out of Queenstown and which has been reconstructed in recent years for the tourist trade.

Abt train photograph

Inside the Abt train

Drop Cap t runs from Queenstown to Strahan in Macquarie Harbour and was a very interesting ride through fabulous scenery.

Strahan photograph

Looking Down at Strahan from our Balcony

Drop Cap hen we reached Strahan we rejoined the bus and went to our accommodation, Strahan Village. Reception is at Main Street level and the rooms and restaurant are up quite a long flight of stairs (four stories). Tony, our fearless leader, who has no people skills to speak of, could not see why this did not recommend itself to me and more or less told me that I should have notified APT that I needed disabled help. If I had realised that "seafront location" meant "up a cliff" I might have. He also could not see that going down a long staircase was almost as bad as going up. Still, having been told, he has organised shuttles for me tomorrow.

Macquarie Harbour photograph

Looking Down at Macquarie Harbour from our Balcony

Drop Cap e had another buffet meal tonight, but after a boxed lunch in lieu of afternoon tea on the train (much of which we kept for future reference) we were not very hungry. The room, however, is great - split level, bed and bath on top, three steps down to lounge, mini bar etc and a balcony overlooking the Harbour. Very nice, although I could do without the steps.

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Monday 9th October, 2006

Lady Jane Franklin photograph

"Lady Jane Franklin", our Cruise Boat

Drop Cap oday was our cruise on the Gordon River. Unfortunately the weather was rather scrappy, quite windy and rain squalls every now and then. The wind put paid to the Gordon River reflections, which we experienced back in 1991. I felt quite sorry for those, like overseas visitors who will never get the chance again. Still, the cruise was very enjoyable, out to Hell's Gate, the mouth of Macquarie Harbour and briefly into the Southern Ocean which had quite a chop up.

Heritage landing photograph

Rainforest at Heritage Landing

Drop Cap ack in and down the river, which, although not reflecting today, is still a picturesque place with thick rainforest stretching from the banks, back up into high hills. We stopped for a boardwalk at Heritage Landing to see some of the trees, in particular a Huon pine 2,500 years old. It fell in 2000, but is still living and its roots are supporting lots of fledgling plants. We saw it back in 1991 when it was still standing and the size and age of the thing is mind-blowing. It predates Jesus Christ!

Sarah Island photograph

Convict Ruins at Sarah Island

Drop Cap ack on the boat we had a very good buffet lunch, then stopped at Sarah Island for an historic guided walk around the convict ruins. This was very good, the young guides were enthusiastic and excellent entertainers. I believe they perform the play we are to see this evening, called "The Ship That Never Was". More later.


Drop Cap e had a really fun evening at the play, generally put together and improvised to a certain extent by the three guides from Sarah Island, where the play is set. It is supposed to be the longest running piece of theatre in Australia as they play it every night, after guiding cruise passengers around during the day. They got a lot of the audience up and helping and some were really very good, flinging themselves into their parts with abandon. It was great fun.

Drop Cap fterwards we had a good set (table d'hote) dinner at Hamer's Hotel. I had oysters naturel, Thai chicken curry (quite hot but very tasty) and apple crumble. Mac had carrot and sweet potato soup, the chicken curry and sticky date pudding. All good.

We had a shuttle back to the hotel, (several others had discovered bad knees as well as me) We felt having Reception on the road that runs by the waterside and the rooms etc well up the hill was pretty silly. What if your keycard didn't work - that happened to us in Hobart - and you have to go down again to Reception. My knees and those of several of the others don't like steps so we took the shuttle.

Tomorrow to Cradle Mountain!

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