“We’re going straight, to, the Wild Wild West…”

… sang in the voice of Will Smith. Sorry if you aren’t familiar with the song. Jasmine (a friend of mine) and I were heading into the wilderness that is the west and north-west of Tasmania, so the lyrics seemed apt for this post.

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Jas lighting a fire at our first camp spot

 

The west differs from the east considerably: the beaches are rugged and wild; the roads narrower, steeper and more winding; the land desolate and untouched (in the most part – unless the mining industry has made it’s mark); the communities isolated and small in number, and the weather more tempestuous. Oh and cold, can’t forget the cold.

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Lake St Clair

Our road trip commenced from Hobart. So I borrowed Lance’s Subaru and made my way south to begin our adventure. But before we headed off a few things needed to be done – a new raincoat purchased for Jas, a new – much warmer – sleeping bag and some clothes for myself, a catch up with the HelpX gang in South Hobart, and a touch of socialising over a beer. Once that was complete we were all set. Well, not quite, we had to fill Jasmine’s trusty Henry (the Hilux) with all our camping gear. It is such a luxury to have a car to transport your camping equipment – weight and space are plentiful… compared to a bicycle anyway!

‘The Wall in the Wilderness’ was our first stop – a purpose-built gallery displaying a series of 3 metre high wooden panels being carved out by artist Greg Duncan, telling the story of the harsh Central Highlands region and how it’s been shaped. The sculpture is really quite impressive, but we found the whole place to take itself a bit too seriously.

Lake St Clair was just down the road, where we completed a short trail through the bush and along the edge of the lake, part of the famous ‘Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park’. That night we camped in a gorgeous spot by the Derwent River. There were no facilities as it was a free-camping area found on the ‘Wikicamps’ app. Lovely.

Next up on the scenic road out west was Queenstown… unfortunately it’s nothing like the town with the same name in New Zealand – this one was an eyesore from the road above. Mining has scarred the land. Beautiful, wild, rugged land at that.

Strahan was a prettier town but I didn’t get any photos of it. It was pouring with rain, which didn’t really cease for days. Hogarth Falls in Strahan was quite lovely. We decided to don our waterproofs and brave the elements to complete the short rainforest walk to the falls. The weather seemed to suit the walk perfectly.

A drive out to Ocean Beach meant we saw the coast of the west side of Tassie for the first time, and then on to Montezuma Falls, our next destination.

We camped at the Montezuma Falls carpark in a great little spot. The rain persisted but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits, and the next morning we set out in the drizzle on a 3 hour return walk through the rainforest to the falls. The track followed an old mining tram line, it was quite a picturesque stroll, and very atmospheric.

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Camping at the start of the Montezuma Falls track

To be continued…

Liz

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