Tag Archives: outdoors

Where are we now?

A lot has happened since the last post. We are now in Darwin and plan on remaining here at least for the next 12 months. Hubby and I both have decent jobs and have moved into our own place. However, inspiration smacked me in the head this morning and told me to finish our story, so here it is.

Thankfully our journey back into civilisation (Cooktown *cough*) we relatively uneventful. The next plan was to head back down to Cairns to collect our roof rack that had snapped off the car in the roll over two week prior. However, as we have skipped Cape Trib on the way up, due to the unseasonal weather, we made the decision to stop there a couple of days on route to Cairns.

View from Cape Tribulation Camping

View from Cape Tribulation Camping

Morning sunlight pouring through the trees at Cape Tribulaiton Camping

Morning sunlight pouring through the trees at Cape Tribulation Camping

Besides the scary, bumpy, windy road into Cape Trib full of speeding cars, we had a lovely 2 full days.

The same owners that owned Punsand Bay at The Tip own Cape Tribulation Camping, which is where we stayed.

So what did we do in Cape Trib? I got up early and took some stunning photos of the sunrising over the water and through the rainforest 🙂

 

 

 

Jungle Surfing

We also went Jungle Surfing through the Rainforest.

And visited a fascinating Exotic Fruit Farm for a tasting, which I loved, and tried some really interesting fruits including:

  • Tahitian Lime
  • Pommelo
  • Yellow Sapote
  • Dragon Fruit
  • Sapodilla
  • Black Sapote
  • Jaboticaba
  • Rollinia
  • Atemoya
  • Guanabana (soursop)

Check out the weird fruits below! But seriously, this was awesome! And for around $25/pp including transport to and from the farm, great value for money!

Black Sapote ripe and green, Pommelo and yellow Sapote

Black Sapote ripe and green, Pommelo and yellow Sapote

I wish we had more time to spend at Cape Trib. The activities we could do were nearly endless. Next time we will horse ride on the beach, explore all of the other beaches and natural springs and relax.

Next stop Cairns to fix our car.

A Day Trip to The Land of The Clouds

After 6 glorious days we left Byfield and resumed our journey north to Mackay.

From this point forward we will be staying in caravan parks. I’ve never been up this far north and I want to spend some time in the larger towns. Unfortunately you don’t find free camps in bigger towns/cities so we have to stay in caravan parks for ease of access.

Anyway, the next stop was Mackay. I spent a couple of hours in Mackay CBD and while the historic building trail I was following was very interesting, the town itself was pretty average.

On one of the days we drove out to the Mackay hinterland, to Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella National park / Township.

Finch Hatton Gorge is a beautiful secluded section of Eungella National Park. We did the short 1 hour walk to the Araluen Cascade Falls. On the way back we came across our first snake, a tiny baby black. We stamped and banged the ground and it slowly slithered away.

Araluen Cascade Falls

Araluen Cascade Falls

Eungella means “Land of the Clouds” and the township definitely embodies this being 1280m at its zenith. The drive up the mountain is not for the faint hearted, thankfully we weren’t towing at the time. It is the oldest and longest stretch of subtropical rainforest in Australia and it’s been cut off from other rainforests for roughly 30,000 years. This has guaranteed that there are a number of strange critters not found anywhere else in the world.

We did a couple of very short stops at lookouts around Eungella.

View from Sky Window Lookout

View from Sky Window Lookout, Eungella

A walk around the Historic Eungella Chalet where the backyard looks out over a cliff and a number of random woodcarvings have been placed.

Wooden carvings on the lawn outside of Eungella Chalet

Wooden carvings on the lawn outside of Eungella Chalet

Then through the cane fields, with stunning mountainous backdrops, back to our campsite.

Cane fields with mountains in the background

Cane fields with mountains in the background

Exploring Five Rocks Headland

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

At about midday the tide was going out, so armed with our wet suit boots, drink bottles and a camera we traversed the rocky crop on the north side of Little Five Rocks Beach.

Yesterday during our exploratory trip to Stockyard Point Lookout we could see that there was another tiny remote beach. A quick check of the maps confirms this to be the case. So with a hop, skip and a jump were on the second beach.

From here we weren’t able to positively ascertain whether or not we would be able to reach the headland. The rocks were all different sizes and we couldn’t see if there were any obstacles that might stop us from getting across. We decided that the only way we would find out is by attempting it, then we could always turn back if we got stuck.

Climbing over the rocks

Climbing over the rocks

Over, across and through the rocky outcrop we went for about 30 minutes and finally we came to the channel separately us from the headlands. On the other side of the rocks was another perfectly remote beach.

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

As the tide was nearly at its lowest point, we were able to walk the short distance to start of the headland. It soon became apparent that the headland is actually separated by small channels. We traversed 3 channels, about half way along, before calling it a day and turning back around to our campsite.

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

The View From Up Here – Stockyard Point

The little township of Stockyard Point is named after Stockyard Point, which makes sense. Stockyard Point, the lookout, is a short 1 minute drive on the outside of the township.

One of the days we were exploring Byfield, we drove up to the Point and found that we had phone reception, everyday for the remainder of our visit we drove up there to get our technology fix. Besides the phone reception, we had the most stunning uninterrupted views of the coastline.

To the left of us was Little Five Rocks Headland and our own private beach.

Little Five Rocks Headland

Little Five Rocks Headland

To the right was Nine Mile Beach. As a side note, we drove along Nine Mile on our explorations. I really don’t rate the beach, it was scummy, full of rubbish, barren and obviously used for driving only. But, from up high it looks lovely.

View of Nine Mile Beach

View of Nine Mile Beach

In my previous posts, I mentioned that near our campground there was a corridor of butterflies, well, we found more at Stockyard Point!

More beautiful butterflies

More beautiful butterflies

Off the man made track we found a couple of memorial plaques. Both men died in 2005 in different months, one was definitely in an accident in Byfield and the other memorial plaque had no explanation.

Stockyard Point, what a great view from here!

Memorial Plaque

Memorial Plaque

Byfield National Park Stockyard Point_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer-18-2

Second memorial plaque

 

 

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.

Mount Field, The National Park of Waterfalls

On the way from Strahan to Strathgordon we decided to stay overnight in the campground section of the Mount Field National Park. Mount Field National Park is considered to be the most loved national parks in Tasmania.  Some of the activities undertaken here include walking, camping & skiing! No skiing for us this time though 🙂

We hadn’t planned on stopping here specifically; however, our drive to Strathgordon was taking longer than anticipated due to a 4WDing track diversion. This meant that we weren’t going to make Strathgordon without really pushing it so we decided to stop for the night.

Thankfully Mount Field National Park contains a number of waterfalls that I’d planned on visiting so we took the morning to go for a hike.

Mount Field National Park Russell Falls/ Horseshoe Falls/ Tall Trees Walk/ Lady Barren Falls Circuit

Mount Field National Park Russell Falls/ Horseshoe Falls/ Tall Trees Walk/ Lady Barren Falls Circuit

Waterfall 1: Russell Falls – an easy 10 minute or so stroll from the visitors centre.

Russell Falls, Mount Field National Park

Russell Falls, Mount Field National Park

Waterfall 2: Horseshoe Falls – another 10 mins or so from Russell Falls. These falls when flowing freely resemble an upside down horseshoe. Unfortunately only one side of the horseshoe was flowing for us today!

Horseshoe Falls, Mount Field National Park

Horseshoe Falls, Mount Field National Park

Giants Walk – a lovely stroll through forest that features some of the the world’s tallest and oldest trees.

Waterfall 3: Lady Barren Falls – Like Russell and Horseshoe Falls, Lady Barren Falls is composed of marine Permian siltstone, faced by retreating sandstone layers. All three falls provide a glimpse of the underlying geology in a heavily forested area where the geology is otherwise hidden beneath vegetation and soils (Tas parks and wildlife website).

Lady Barren Falls, Mount Field National Park

Lady Barren Falls, Mount Field National Park

All up about 2 hours, give or take and is a stunning, and surprisingly easy, walk. There was a set of stairs right at the end that really took it out of us.

The park and the campground was lovely, clean and well set up for day use visitors and overnight travellers, we really enjoyed it!

Hiking Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain, Dove Lake Circuit

Cradle Mountain, Dove Lake Circuit

We were disappointed that we weren’t able to four wheel drive in western Tas as we had planned; however, our next stop, Cradle Mountain, made up for it. We decided to splurge out and pay a steep $36 for an unpowered site at the Cradle Mountain Holiday Park, the only campgrounds nearby. You do get what you pay for, lovely wooden hot showers, huge wood fires in the stunning camp kitchens and even wood fire pizza ovens!

As we arrived late, we decided not to attempt any hiking, instead we sat ourselves down in front of the wood fires, made pizza and had an early night. The temperature was predicted to drop to 6 degrees, I don’t know how low it got but, nonetheless we didn’t take any chances, a hot shower, thermals and our extra sleeping bag. Thankfully we did as it rained and stormed all night.

We awoke the next morning and unfortunately the weather hadn’t abated; but, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like freezing cold rain get in the way of hiking. We donned our wet weather/ freezing cold weather gear after a nice warm breaky, decided to extend our stay by another night so we could have another hot shower and made our way to the information centre to catch the shuttle.

Cradle Mountain_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer-2

TIP: thankfully someone advised us the vehicle pass we purchased for entry into the National Parks also acts as shuttle bus tickets so we didn’t need to pay more for the shuttle.

The Boat Shed

The Boat Shed

We hopped on the shuttle and were dropped off at the Dove Lake Circuit carpark. The Dove Lake Circuit is approx 6kms long and was to take approx 2-2.5 hours. The track itself is actually more of a boardwalk, all wooden planks and chicken wire (as non slip) so the circuit is in great condition. We were warned that as Cradle Mountain is in an alpine area we should expect 4 seasons in one hour and we weren’t disappointed. In the two hours we were there it rained, hailed, sunshined and was foggy, we got the full spectrum.

Waterfall, Dove Lake Circuit

Waterfall, Dove Lake Circuit

The walk itself was stunning though. Even hubby, who isn’t a great walker, really enjoyed himself! The lake is gorgeous and the views of Cradle Mountain were fantastic. The rain was also a bit of a blessing as they haven’t had rain here since late December and so the rain got the waterfalls flowing, great for pictures.

Once we completed the Dove Lake Circuit, I really wanted to check out Waldheim Chalet. Back in 1912 – 1920 an Austrian / Australian couple Gustav and Kate Weindorfer took a shine to the area, bought some land (stopping it from getting logged completely) and built the chalet. It is due to Gustav’s vision and passion that the area became a National Park.

Waldheim Chalet - Replica

Waldheim Chalet – Replica

After we checked out the replica chalet and Gustav’s grave, we headed back to the comfort of the wood fire in the kitchen for lunch and afternoon drinks. The end to a lovely day!