Although we had clear, starry skies as we fell asleep, by the time we awoke it was overcast with high grey clouds. Today, beside this lake, it really felt like we were back in Hokkaido. With dark skies and our tired bodies (we’re not very fit) it was all too easy to sleep in until 9AM.
We continued south, making a tourist loop out towards Strahan, which is the mouth of the mighty Franklin and Gordon rivers, but more on that later.
An hour or so after we’d left Mackintosh Dam, and after driving through some rather serious pine plantations (and some rather barren hills) we saw a turn off for Henty Dunes. It caught my attention, so we went to investigate. I could see from our satellite navigation that we were near the shore, but I was still surprised to see such large, yellow sand dunes in what felt like the middle of a forest. It was odd looking around – in one direction all you could see were the sand dunes, the other way forests and mountains.
Lots and lots of small mountain passes, with narrow winding roads, which in fair weather would be a blast in a sports car (or motorbike). You’d be hard pressed to find more than 100m of straight road. It’s not to say they’re not enjoyable in Deli-chan, it’s just that she’s not the most manoeuvrable vehicle.
We passed through numerous small towns before reaching Strahan. I couldn’t remember why, but there was something I’d read about Macquarie Heads, so we took the 12km road out of town. I wasn’t sure what we were expecting, but there wasn’t much out there, just an extremely windy river mouth, complete with seabirds that were struggling to walk forwards into the wind. I remembered later that it was also known by the name of Hells Gate, which I can imagine would be appropriate in weather like this on old wind powered ships.
Strahan looked like a nice little town, but other than the free hot shower that we found (score!) we didn’t venture out of the car due to the rain that had been threatening all day and had now finally begun. We sat in the car trying to wait it out for a while, but it only seemed to be getting heavier.
It was a hard decision to make, to stay and wait for improved weather, or to push on and accept that we’ll be passing through places that we will basically miss due to the weather.
We pushed on through, and as soon as Queenstown came in to view, I was shocked. It instantly reminded me of Mount Isa in Queensland, with a small town built right at the foot of an enormous mine site. The area was almost completely barren, with huge rocky hills all around the town. It turns out that the lack of trees is partially due to the contamination from mining, and partially due to the minerals just existing in these rocks. There was widespread leeching of acid into the river system, which then caused acid rain, killing much of the trees in the area.
There is still a copper mine site operating in the area. A lookout at Iron Blow (which funnily enough was originally a gold mine, and now a copper mine, but never an iron mine) gave a rather dizzying view down into one of the deep open cut pits.
The rains didn’t cease, and we had another discussion on whether we stay or go. This time we decided we’d stay and hope that the weather forecast for tomorrow was true – cloudy/showers, instead of todays ‘rain’ forecast. There are some beautiful mountains in this area that I’m very keen to see. Fingers are crossed, and in the mean time, it’s time to catch up on Arrested Development.
１４９日目 １０月 ９日（水）
他には、マーキューリヘッドという岬へ。 風がものすんごくて、カモメ達が前進しようとするも、風の勢いでマイケルジャクソンのようにムーンウォーク状態に後ろに飛ばされているのがかわいそうだけど、おもしろすぎてしばらく眺めていました。 木のように巨大な昆布も流されていた。。 タスマニアで昆布業始めるか、、