follow updates on
THE WILD WEST
Macquarie Harbour from the Ocean Beach road near Strahan. Looking south towards Mt Sorell. The Gordon and Franklin Rivers as well as Frenchman's Cap are beyond the peak. After a perfect, warm summers day a cloud front was moving in from the west casting a shadow over the harbour but leaving the mountains bathed in sunshine on the horizon. The picture tells the story of a wild day just past. The dingy on the left is taking water. The one on the right is actually full of water and sitting on the bottom.
The west coast of Tasmania hosts a large portion of the island's wilderness as well as large mineral deposits which have been mined since European settlement. As a result of the mining and more recently hydro electric development, there is relatively good access to much of the area.
The West Coast is serviced by two major highways. The Lyell Hwy from Hobart to Strahan via Queenstown and the Murchison Hwy from Burnie to Zeehan. The Zeehan Hwy links it's namesake and Queenstown - essentially a continuation of the Murchison and Lyell Hwys.
A new road built in recent years links Cradle Mountain with the Lyell highway about 80 kilometres south of Burnie. Another highway links the Murchison Hwy with Zeehan and on to the harbour side village of Strahan - gateway to the Gordon River. The road continues it's loop back to Queenstown.
Just a word about the roads around Queenstown. The town is surrounded by mountains on all sides. As such the roads in are very windy. The road from just north of Tullah to the south basically follows the foothills of mountain ranges and through steep gorges for over 60 kilometres. The same applies to the road from Queenstown to Hobart for 80 kms to Lake St Clair. The 40 km road to Strahan virtually has little opportunity for overtaking.
The road from Strahan to Zeehan is considerably easier. A little over 40 kms. Zeehan can be a more economical option for accommodation if wanting to take a Gordon River cruise early the next day. If traveling to Queenstown from Burnie or Cradle Mountain, there is a spectacular drive behind Mt Murchison. Turn left after crossing the lake just past Tullah. The road is a good standard and provides spectacular views of the mountains in the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park.