Day 13 Thursday 28 September Strahan

This morning we woke to a cool and rainy morning in Strahan. After breakfast, we headed off to Hogarth Falls. We parked in People’s Park and had a short walk (about 45 minutes return) in the rainforest along the track that meandered beside Botanical Creek to this lovely little waterfall. The track had some large puddles and some muddy sections that we needed to carry the boys across. The creek is apparently the home to a number of platypus but we were not lucky enough to see any today. Some of the trees in the rainforest were covered with lichen and moss and we also some fungus. Hogarth Waterfall was quite spectacular and it was difficult to get a good photo because of spray coming off the water as it gushed over the falls.
We had morning tea at Banjo’s Bakehouse across the road from the Harbour where there were two large catamarans being loaded for the Gordon River Cruise. Then we went up the hill to Water Tower Hill Lookout for lovely views over Strahan and the Harbour.
We visited Morrisons Huon Pine Sawmill, a family owned and operated sawmill, featuring older milling equipment and different types of wood. They make chopping boards, coasters, table & bar tops and lots of other items.
We also visited Tasmanian Special Timbers, who pride themselves on providing quality timbers such as Huon Pine and King Billy for longer than any other company in the world – seven generations, from prisoners and free settlers all the way through to today’s entrepreneurs. They say that they are in the unique position to have been involved in the entire Tasmanian Timber industry and that they are still salvaging timber and managing the valuable timber resource and claim to be the most responsible harvesters of Huon and other valuable Tasmanian timber species. They had a very good display of various timber products made from Blackwood, Celery Top Pine, Huon Pine, King William Pine, Leatherwood, Myrtle and Sassafras. Some of the Huon Pine logs have been carbon dated to be greater than 4,000 years old. We watched a craftsman making some salt & pepper grinders – very interesting. We wandered through the shop, looking at all the beautiful items for sale, including a lovely glass topped dining room table for $4,900.
We came back to our Villa for lunch – Patrick made Nanna’s (Sandy’s) sandwich, a ham and tomato sandwich, all by himself – and it tasted great too! Henry had a sleep, Patrick had quiet time, Sandy wasn’t feeling well, and so she had a snooze too.
After Henry woke up, we drove down to Ocean Beach where we could see the rough surf of the West Coast – Ocean Beach is 40 Kilometres long. Then we drove to Macquarie Heads through the Swan Basin State Forest, passing a big camping area to the beautiful headland and narrow passage, called Hells Gates. As it was raining, Katharine and Richard walked to Wilderness Beach to get photos of Macquarie Peninsula and Macquarie Harbour, as well as Cape Sorell Lighthouse, while the rest of us stayed in the car. Macquarie Harbour is six times the size of Sydney Harbour and is the second-largest natural harbour in Australia after Port Phillip Bay in Victoria and is surrounded by wilderness.
We returned to Strahan Village and went to Regatta Point Station to await the arrival at 5.30pom of the West Coast Wilderness Train from Queenstown to Strahan. The West Coast Wilderness Railway is a reconstruction of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, which began operations in 1897 as the only link between Queenstown and Regatta Point in Strahan. The railway used the ABT rack and pinion system to conquer the mountainous terrain through the rainforest. Some of the original locomotives are still operating on the railway today and it now operates as a tourist experience with a focus on sharing the history of the West Coast. It was windy and freezing at Regatta Point while we waited for the train to arrive. When it finally arrived, the train driver tooted the whistle and waved to Patrick and Henry as the engine went past them – it was spectacular to see it pulling into the station belching steam and looking very impressive. One of the staff members on the train organised for Patrick to stand inside the locomotive and then she took him into one of the carriages and also gave him a little gift – Patrick was delighted!!
We had dinner at the Regatta Point Tavern across the road from the station and then headed back to the villa to get the boys settled for the night.
We enjoyed our day exploring Strahan.

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