Tag Archives: Arthur River

The Road to Strathgordon and Gordon Dam

View from Gordon Dam

View from Gordon Dam

I own a guidebook, which essentially says don’t bother going to Strathgordon unless you have the time. Having visited, I disagree wholeheartedly.

A: Strathgordon in Tasmania's wild west.

A: Strathgordon in Tasmania’s wild west.

Sentinel Range, on the way to Strathgordon

Sentinel Range, on the way to Strathgordon

The trip to Strathgordon is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The 89km road from Maydenda to Strathgordon snakes through some of the most stunning and stark scenery I’ve ever witnessed. It weaves through rainforest, mountains, cliffs of rock, shrubby trees, curls around the headlands of the lakes, flat planes wholly encircled with ranges, and all without a house insight.

The drive takes about 1-2 hours, you would think that 89 kms isn’t much, but when you’re sitting on between 30km and 60km per hour due to the condition of the roads, the weather, other drivers, steep inclines, declines and sharp turns, you would understand why it takes a couple of hours. The benefit to travelling at a slower pace is you do get to enjoy the scenery a little, as long as you don’t take your eyes off the road for too long. For such a remote area I was very surprised as the number of cars we saw along the way, probably about 10 in total and watch the ones with caravans going too fast around the corners, one came inches from taking us out.

View from the Chalet, Strathgordon

View from the Chalet, Strathgordon

We had planned on camping along the way to Strathgordon; however, once we arrived at Lake Pedder Chalet, the only accommodation in Strathgordon, and had lunch in the food hall, we became a lot less inclined to leave. On finding out that the motel style rooms were cheap, but basic, we decided to stay overnight in a room rather than a campground for the first time since we left Adelaide.

Strathgordon isn’t much, a few houses and a kick ass indoor heated pool. It was constructed in the 1960’s to house the workers building the Gordon Dam. Now, only a few families remain in the town, usually of workers maintaining the plant or working in the Chalet.

We spent the afternoon lounging and having a few beers, the life, before retiring to bed for a movie and an early night. We are very glad that we stayed in the Chalet as when we awoke in the morning there was a very heavy rain; also it was nice to be able to go to the toilet without getting cold.

Shot from the Dam to the viewing area.

Shot from the Dam to the viewing area.

Once we checked out of the Chalet we drove another 10 minutes west to the Gordon Dam. The dam was built in the 1960’s and 1970’s it is the largest dam in Tasmania and 5th largest in Australia.

Gordon Dam, Strathgordon

Gordon Dam, Strathgordon

It was cold and wet when we arrived. However, the scenery in the area was stunning, all mountains, mist and it felt oddly peaceful, I guess that’s from being so remote. In short it was breathtaking! I’m glad we decided to go out of our way to visit Strathgordon and the Gordon Dam.

Nothing is Perfect & You Can’t Win Them all

We have just stayed in Arthur River a couple of nights in the Prickly Wattle campground and had planned to take off 4wding through the Arthur Pieman Reserve. We headed into town, just to check the long range weather forecast for the area and to make sure one specific track we wanted to visit would be accessible.

Unfortunately it was bad news. The rain had started today and the forecast predicted it would continue for the rest of the week. The track we wanted to go down was filling with water and shouldn’t be attempted without a group, we only had us, and the track down to the next town we wanted to visit was closed.

What did this mean? Refund of our 4wd pass and backtracking all the way back to Burnie to be able to get to Rosebery, via Cradle Mountain.

Needless to say we are very disappointed! I guess you can’t win them all!

View from Arthur River

View from Arthur River

From Stanley to Arthur River

The next morning I went for a run, Hubby decided to stay in the nice warm bed while I headed out. Previously I’d mentioned that climbing The Nut really took it out of me so I’ve vowed to TRY and run every morning if possible. The caravan park we stayed in overnight backed onto a semi circular beach with a boardwalk, I started a light jog one way, not much there so I jogged back and headed the other way. This took me to the old wharf at the base of The Nut and to some historic buildings we hadn’t visited yesterday so I stopped jogging and went for a look around.

It was really interesting, a few more historic buildings with information points, a strange random rock carving and of course the wharf. All up I took about an hour and really enjoyed my jog / sightseeing trip. If jogging is like this everyday I might actually start to enjoy it!

Come Holy Spirit Carving

Come Holy Spirit Carving

I came back to the car, gathered hubby for breakfast, packed up the car, grrrrrr I really hate packing the car when we have so many plans for the day!!!! And we took off.

We drove through Smithton, really not much there, and headed west to another potential campground and according to the map the furthest northwestern campground there is before heading down west. When we arrived we were surprised, or shocked, whatever. People seemed to be living there, which really isn’t that odd usually; however, people had set up fences, boundaries, around huge patches of land with mesh and made semi permanent structures in these patches. It reminded me of trailer trash meets US cult camp crossed with boat people refugee camps. We politely advised the caretaker, who had come out to greet us, that we weren’t sure of what we were doing and would come back to him. We very quickly drove out.

The drive to the next campground was stunning with more rolling green hills spotted with cows and as we were coastal we kept getting quick peeks of stunning isolated and empty beaches. The free camp we were heading to was in Marrawah and was gorgeous, it was on the beach nice camp area, toilets (bonus!) and showers albeit cold ones. Hubby for some reason didn’t like it so we kept going until we reached Dismal Swamp.

View near Marrawah, stunning right?

View near Marrawah, stunning right?

I’m really not sure why its called Dismal Swamp, but basically it’s the only blackwood sinkhole in the world, quite a pretty sinkhole I might add, in the middle of a rainforest. All the land around the swamp has been cleared for farming but they managed to preserve this little area and they’ve built an information and education centre in it. $20 per person to get in, steep I know but I really wanted to check this out, and $2 each for a slide ride down into the sinkhole. We could have walked down for free, but $2 for a slide was ok.

Random Door

Random Door

We slid to the bottom and had a look around. They have built raised platform paths, you are given a map, and along the path are information points and random items that have been placed in growth. For example, apparently there are crayfish in the swamp so they made giant crayfish mounds, complete with giant crayfish statues and stuck them into the growth. There was also a giant wooden door, a couple of random chairs; bones of an extinct creature and a fake cow just to name a few.

So we walked around, got lost a couple of times and headed back up to the information centre for a massive slice of chocolate cake.

Hopping back into the car we drove some more to Arthur River. This is the point leading into the Arthur Piemen Reserve where we plan on four-wheel driving. We purchased our 4wd pass  and picked a campground where we can set up for a couple of days.

On the way to the campground we had a quick stop at the Edge of The Work Lookout, the west coast of Tasmania is apparently the longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean on the globe. I tell ya what, it’s bloody scary! I would not be hopping into that surf anytime soon! Anyway after absorbing the beauty, taking some pics, we headed off to the campground for a couple of days of R&R

The Edge of The World Arthur River

The Edge of The World Arthur River