The Sal's Tassie Adventure

Day 12 – Wednesday, 8th October  2003

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Said farewell to Hobart Town and started our drive to Queenstown. Officially it should take 3 ½ hours but the local knowledge says 4 ½ hours, and that’s what it took us with some short stops. The first stop was a town called Ouse for a toilet break. We saw some fire brigades in front of a burnt house. Later that night we heard on the TV news that an elderly man had died in that fire. Apparently the smoke alarm did work but the man was stone deaf! 

The next stop was Tarraleah where there is a hydroelectric power station. Saw some huge pipes gravity feeding water down a steep hill to the generation halls, amazing engineering. We had to get back in the car as it started snowing. 

It was just before Tarraleah that we first saw snow on the side of the road. For the next 80klm at least we drove through varying strengths of snowfall and visibility. We took our time in the worst of it, as we did not know how the car would grip on the road. There were signs always warning of “Ice- Slippery on Road” so we watched the road like hawks. [Photo1, Photo2, Photo3

We stopped at Derwent Bridge for a refuel and break. It was here that we saw what we think was Cradle Mountain capped by huge amounts of snow, tried to take a photo but the weather changed and the scene disappeared in snowfall. The views of the snow and surrounding mountains around us added to the wonderful experiences we have all enjoyed. The kids especially loved the snow hitting the windscreen. 

Gradually the snow lessened and stopped as we neared Queenstown, the images of the surrounding hills devastated by indiscriminate mining practices decades ago act as a stark reminder that man’s unfettered greed is an evil beast and must be kept under control. 

The town and the very steep hills and snow-capped mountains nearby remind us of the fictional town of Cicily in the show Northern Exposure, though the locals aren’t as wacky as the characters in the show. The weather is freaky today with wind snow, sun rain hail low cloud you name it and that’s in just the first hour of being here. Queenstown is only about 120 years old and established as a mining town and it still is a mining town. 

We enjoyed lunch in the Miner’s Grub Café and then a quick tour around the Miners Memorial [Photo1, Photo2, Photo3, Photo4] but the weather got to us so off to our cabin to check in. Darani was not feeling well by this stage, as her right ear was giving her hell. The manager recommended a good local doctor who prescribed antibiotics while the kids kept warm in the cabin

We then went to the local IGA supermarket and bought some pasta, mince and sauce for dinner.

You had to get used to the brown water, from the run off from the surrounding hills, coming out of the taps and it is recommended that water be boiled before drinking. Off to bed and ready to visit Strahan tomorrow.

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