We were on the road a bit earlier Wednesday morning as there was a big drive ahead. The first section of the drive, from Richmond to Hamilton wasn't too bad and the weather, although overcast, wasn't rainy. From then on it changed.
The roads became increasingly winding and the weather increasingly nasty. We got drenched every time we got out of the car - for a really average takeaway coffee at Ouse, for a very quick bite of lunch at Derwent Bridge, and for a look at "The Wall" which is an amazing double wall mural carved into sheets of Huon Pine. The figures of people and animals are incredibly detailed and realistic.
We drove on along the twisting roads high into the mountains and then down again. The views were incredible. The region is World Heritage listed.
Then we reached Queenstown which is is a mining town (silver, gold and copper) and the surrounding hills are stripped bare. It's not a nice environment for people to live in but was interesting to see.
Finally, our destination. Strahan. What a pretty little place. We have motel room style accomodation in a row of very cute little cottages overlooking the wharf area. We had a bit of a wander around town and then met up with Carol for a lovely dinner at Risby Cove. We didn't muck around. It was the final episode of The Block!
This morning, Thursday, we were up early for our Gordon River cruise. I had been watching the weather forecast all week and it looked like it would be a very rainy day. It was ok at 8am when we walked across the road from our cottage to the wharf so that was a promising start. We cruised first across Macquarie Harbour to Hells Gates, the entrance to the harbour. We were allowed onto the front deck of the boat and it was so windy as we neared the Southern Ocean that it felt like we would be blown off the boat. Everyone was clinging to the rails and to their belongings.
Then we turned back, past fish farms in the middle of the harbour and into the Gordon River. It was rather gloomy weather which was a shame for taking photos. We got off the boat at Heritage Landing for a stroll along the boardwalk through the beautiful, ancient forest. There was a Huon Pine still living, although fallen over, and it was 2000 years old. They are very slow growers and only reach maturity after 500 years.
We had a buffet lunch back onboard the boat with a good selection of salads and bread, ham and smoked salmon. Delish. Meanwhile we had rain, we had sunshine, we had hailstones and we had wind. The sky changed from blue to almost black in just moments What a crazy day! They say Strahan has 300 days a year of rain.
The last stop was Sarah Island where we would have a one hour guided tour of this old convict settlement. Within about five minutes of the tour beginning the hail pelted down again. We joined the folk darting back to the boat but some continued on their way. The hailstones stung our legs and faces. We dried off a bit and the skies cleared so we headed back out again and caught up the tour. I managed to snap two blue sky photos before we returned to the boat. No sooner did we head off and the sky turned black and it rained again. The wind buffeted the boat about as we made a beeline back to Strahan.
We had time to have a better look at the shops, especially the timber mill. We watched a huge slab of Huon Pine being sawn from a trunk. We discussed maybe making our kitchen island bench top from Huon Pine. We will see what the timber yard can come up with.