Tasmania: West Coast - Day 8

Sunday, Jan 02, 2005 at 01:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Although it had been a very wet night, the moss covering the ground at our camp was mostly dry which meant we didn't have any mud to worry about. We lifted camp again, and headed towards Corrinna, finding the best camps were not far away on Savage River, one each on either side of bridge. Both sites were occupied.

It was raining as we reached Corinna but we stopped for a look around. The road leads directly to the Fatman Punt through a narrow gap in the trees.

The Punt at Corinna operates 9am - 7pm in daylight saving hours.
We weren't sure how much we'd be charged as the sign reads: " $20 per vehicle, $25 Comb. Vehicle, $25 Large Vehicle" but was pleased that our large 4WD was $20. A large vehicle must be truck!

After crossing the punt, we stopped at the head of the short 50m boardwalk through fernery to a gravesite to see 2 headstones carved from Huon Pine. The rain continued and it became quite cold and I got on the phone again to Strahan. Sure enough, the Backpackers had some vacancies that sounded just right for us and the right price although only for one night. We were then able to enjoy our day exploring at leisure knowing we had dry beds and hot showers waiting for us.

We made the short diversion to Reece Dam before continuing onto Granville Harbour. From here we headed north briefly along the first part of Pieman Heads track to just beyond camping area, but the track was badly damaged and flooded so instead we decided to do the coast run south to Trial Harbour (locals call it the Climes Track).

This ended up being one of our "Top 2" days of our Tasmania trip. The track is very much only for experienced 4WDrivers and for vehicles with decent ground clearance but is not a challenge for those that do have experience. It's just a fun track, with terrain that looks worse than it actually is - and great views the entire way. Every 4WD club in the country would wish for this in their back yard - is the perfect training track to prove to a driver how capable your vehicle is and gives a driver the opportunity to tackle visually daunting obstacles.

It is slow going, has lots of steep hill climbs, rock climbs, rotting timber bridges, waterfalls, and wonderful coast and mountain views but takes about 3 hours (more or less depending on how long you stop at lookouts, how many times you stop for photos etc). I don't know if there's anywhere you could camp along this track, we certainly didn't find anywhere but I'm sure you could find an access track to the beach somewhere. This track doesn't actually go down onto the beach at all as it traverses the cliff tops above.

Once in Trial Harbour, its a great place to stay - but all campsites were full to overflowing on our arrival. We spent quite a bit of time here however firstly stopping at the Trial Harbour "History Room". This is a fascinating room of a house that has been lovingly carefully prepared to show bits and pieces of memorabilia and relics showing the history of the area including mining and fishing. There's photos, gemstones, relics, and bits of general flotsam and jetsam that has washed up from the beach and lots more. Perched on a grassy headland to the south of town, the outside area is also full of treasures for the kids to explore. I've never seen anything quite like it!

We were told about some sperm whales that had washed up a few days earlier onto the back beach (the start of Ocean Beach) so even though it was raining and quite miserable we drove out there (past sign to Little Henty River) to beach start and walked to the right a few hundred metres to find an adult female whale and calf very dead and smelly. The adult had her lower jaw sawn off earlier in the week by National Parks people apparently for research so it was a pretty awful sight.

This is a beautiful beach and we could have stayed here much longer had the weather been good. Leah was less interested in the whales and more fascinated by the beautiful shells she collected as we walked along. We had originally hoped to drive the full stretch of Ocean Beach down to Strahan but it was currently impassable at the river crossing - and I was put off by the thought of the quicksand to even try to investigate.

Leaving Trial Harbour we headed through Zeehan in the rain and directly onto Strahan using tar roads, passing lots of lovely looking forestry tracks on the final approach to Strahan. We found the Backpackers was very friendly and helpful with nice rooms, great showers and facilities. We felt it was very good value for $50/cabin. But even though we were staying in cabins we still had to go through the routine of unpacking just as much as if we were camping.

Dinner tonight wasn't at a restaurant as we had all dreamed - it was just not practical for the kids so David and Dad went into town to buy dinner - "surprise us" was the order. They returned with 3 dozen oysters and flathead and chips from Morrissons, which went down beautifully with a cold white wine sipped on the balcony of our cabins.

It was all too much luxury for Leah who decided tonight was the night to display the worst behaviour we've ever witnessed in her 4 years with tantrums, arguments and an outright attack on her parents! Totally unexplainable and unexpected.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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