Day 645 – 649 15/2 – 19/2 Queenstown/Strahan

On the way to Strahan we stopped in at Queenstown for a night. We were last here 14 years ago & it doesn’t look as dead as it was. Owing to a combination of tree removal (2000 tonnes/weeks) for use in the copper smelters and the sulphurous fumes (for about 40 years), and the heavy annual rainfall, the erosion of the shallow top soil back to the harder rock profile contributed to the stark state of the mountains for many decades. It seems that some growth is coming back.

This is what the smelters looked like in c. 1920.8042530285_4b25d67387

On the way into Queenstown is the remains of the Royal Hotel at Linda. It was built in 1910 (there was a previous hotel on the same spot but it burnt down in 1901) & closed in 1950’s. It was built of reinforced concrete as protection against bush fires.

Horsetail Falls is just outside of Queenstown.IMG_0603IMG_3202

The view from Iron Blow. It was the first mining venture at Mt Lyell in 1883.

Some of the old buildings at Queenstown.

Went to dinner & a movie at the Paragon. It was built in 1933 at the height of the towns boom. It finally closed in 1985 & was gutted & used for Indoor Cricket. This didn’t last long & it sat empty until 2003. A guy from Zimbabwe called Alex Stevenson purchased it & spent 4 years restoring it to a 60 seat luxury theatre. The restoration is incredible. Pasta & The Man from Snowy River was a nice St Valentines Day date night.

When we got to Strahan we went on an ATV tour of the Henty Dunes & Ocean Beach. These little machines go great & it was fun zipping around the dunes & beach. Ulrika only had one spot that slowed her down but after a bit of coaxing she drove down the 40 metre dune.


Spent a day on Macquarie Harbour & the Gordon River on the Red Boat. We even got to have a drive. Macquarie Harbour is 6 times the size of Sydney Harbour. The water in the Harbour is brown from the tannins that leach out of the peat substrate.


This is entrance to Macquarie Harbour. It is called Hells Gate, it was named by the convicts of Sarah Island.IMG_0663

Speaking of Sarah Island. It is a tiny island at the Southern end of Macquarie Harbour & was a penal colony from 1822 to 1833. It was for the worst of the worst. It was closed down when Port Arthur was built.

Main industry is now fish farming. Salmon & Rainbow Trout nets everywhere.

A stop up the Gordon River. Strahan survived for many years on the timber industry, especially Huon Pine. It was valuable because it has an oil in it than makes it impervious to wood worm. Because of this it is sought after for boat building. Even today it is worth seven times more than any other timber. It has not been able to be felled since the 1980’s but a number of saw mills still use old fallen timber. The tree grows in circumference 1mm per year. This tree fell a few years ago and is over 2000 years oldIMG_0714

A few old buildings in Strahan.

Cape Sorrell Lighthouse taken from Strahan & from Ocean Beach. Built in 1898, it is the second highest in Tasmania & was built slim to withstand the force of the roaring 40’s.

A view of Macquarie Harbour from Caravan Park.IMG_3218

West Coast Wilderness Railway runs from Queenstown to Strahan. It was originally built to move ore from the mines of Queenstown to the port of Strahan for shipment. It is built through rainforest & mountains & was an epic undertaking. Because of the mountains part of the track requires a rack system to pull it up the hill.

This is what Regatta Point looked like in 1906 & today. The only thing the same is the train station.

A couple of abandoned sunken boats in Strahan harbour.

Macquarie Heads, Hells Gate & Ocean Beach.

Ulrika in her beloved pine forestIMG_0819

Hogarth Falls at Strahan.

Lots of fungi.

Quote of the Day

“I’m like a fungus; you can’t get rid of me.”

Adam Baldwin

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