Saturday, August 7, 2010

Up and down the Tamar

The proportions on the maps of Tasmania are a little different than on the mainland. We had a look at the map today as we planned to go up and down the Tamar Valley. Up the eastern side to Low Head and then across the river up to Beauty Point and then back to Launceston via a pretend Swiss Village called Grindelwald. We thought that it would take longer to get to Low Head. It took us just on an hour.

Low Head has the longest running pilot station in Australia. Sydney has had a pilot service longer but has not been at the same place. The pilot service at Low Head has been there since the 1830's. There is a really good museum there with some interesting stuff. There are some things on display outside like the wooden buoy, made from Huon Pine, that was used from the 1930's to the 1960's.

We headed down the east side of the Tamar through George Town which is the town servicing Bell Bay which is a port and where the aluminium smelter is located. After George Town we headed over the Tamar using a bridge called Batman Bridge. When they were building the bridge the foundations on the eastern side could not support the weight of the bridge. A tower 100 mts high was constructed on the western side and the bridge was supported by cables from this. The bridge is sufficiently high to allow sea going vessels to pass underneath.

Beaconsfield was the next town that was to the north. We stopped there to get a lotto for tonight. Hopefully we will get something from it to allow us to come back sooner rather than later. We went up the west side as far as Beauty Point then retraced our steps as far as the turn off to the Batman Bridge. Coming down the western side wasn't as scenic as the eastern side although there was a lot to see. After Exeter there is a turn off to a village called Grindenwald. This is a tourist attraction which is modelled on a Swiss village. It has a genuine imitation Swiss mini golf course and a genuine imitation challenging 9 hole Swiss golf course. It also has gift shops and accommodation there.

Another local attraction is Cataract Gorge. Cataract Gorge is virtually in the centre of Launceston and has been there since Victorian times. The South Esk River flows through the gorge and goes over cataracts. There is a chair lift that has the longest single span of any chairlift in the world. It was a really nice place which had a large number of peacocks and peahens there. The peacocks were putting on a display for the peahens while we were there.

The chairlift ride was really good. I've never been on one before and for $12 return it was well worth it. I'd do it again if given the opportunity.

Tomorrow we are going to a place called Natone where we have a three bedroom farmhouse booked for four nights. Tell you all about it in the next episode.


No comments:

Post a Comment