Day 12 Wednesday 27 September Cradle Mountain to Strahan

We woke this morning to a cold frosty but clear morning, so after another lovely buffet breakfast at the Main Lodge, we packed the car, checked out and headed straight down to Dove Lake. This time we walked around the Lake in the other direction around to Glacier Rock where we had great views across the Lake to the Boatshed. Cradle Mountain had a band of cloud around it but it did lift for a short period of time so that we could get some photos.
After a wonderful time at Cradle Mountain, we headed back down the mountain at 10.10. We stopped at the Tullabardine Dam on Lake Mackintosh and also saw the Mackintosh Power Station. We drove over the Dam Wall – the crest is 877m long. By this time it was raining and it continued to rain for the rest of the day.
We stopped at Tullah, a former mining town, which is located on the edge of Lake Rosebery and beneath Mt Farrell, a 712 metre high mountain, which, like today is often shrouded in mist. Mining ceased in 1974 but two years later, the Hydro Electric Commission built over 250 houses for local workers on the Hydro Electric Power Schemes. Until the early 1960s the only access to Tullah (other than by foot or horse) was by a siding off the Emu Bay Railway. The “Wee Georgie Wood” steam locomotive re-enacts this journey in 1.6km train ride that departed from the middle of town. The train wasn’t working today, but we did manage to see some of the old trains and the boys pretended they were engines as they “chuffed” around the track. We drove to the Murchison Dam and the Mackintosh Power Scheme on the Murchison River.
We continued through the mountains and stopped at Rosebery, which is at the foot of Mount Black and is an active zinc-mining town with an estimated yield of $8billion since mining began over a century ago. Rosebery is in a valley with beautiful dense forest and the volcanic mountains of the West Coast Range. We saw the Bluestone Mine Operation and had lunch at the Rosebery Bakehouse. As we were driving out of Rosebery, we saw the old Hercules to Rosebery aerial ore bucket ropeway constructed to move ore from the Hercules mine to Rosebery.
We drove through Zeehan, which is hidden in a valley of hills and rainforest and was established in the late 1800s when tin, silver and lead discoveries started the largest mining boom in the west. Zeehan, Silver City, attracts geologists from around the world because of the unique geological structure of the region. On the outskirts of Zeehan, we saw the Bluestone Mining Camp and the Old Miners Cottages in town. We saw the West Coast Heritage Centre, but it was pouring with rain and both boys were asleep, so we didn’t stop.
We booked into our accommodation at the Sharonlee Strahan Villas, which are built on the original Tasmanian Government Railway Yards of West Strahan. The original turntable housed on the railway yards and built in 1892 was donated to the West Coast Wilderness Railway, since being restored and now in regular use at Regatta Point Station. Strahan is the port town of the West coast of Tasmania and is located on the northern end of Macquarie Harbour, which is 6 times the size of Sydney Harbour, and the 2nd largest natural harbour in Australia, only 2nd in size to Port Phillip Bay. Strahan was established in the late 1870’s at Smith Cove to service the early mining and pining industries.
We got settled into our two bedroom Villa and then Katharine, Richard and Sandy went to the IGA for some fruit and something to cook for dinner. It is quite cold here – at 4.00pm it was 9° but because of the wind, it felt like 4°.
We enjoyed a home-cooked meal and then looked at some of our photos on the television together before the boys went off to bed. The four adults enjoyed sitting around chatting.

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