Strahan to Macquarie Harbour, up the Gordon River and back to Strahan
21.09.2011 12 °C
Strahan to Macquarie Harbour to the Gordon River to Strahan
Around 60 nautical miles (112km)
Cold, misty and wet 9 to 12
There is a Tasmanian Tiger in our room ... called Mo.
I have never slept in a bed so soft ... like not comfortable soft.... like sleeping in a pot hole. Weird.
8 am boarding the Lady Jane Franklin II at Strahan Harbour. (You can see our accommodation in the background overlooking the harbour. Our room lines up with the ‘J’ in Jane).
Macquarie harbour is the second largest Harbour in Australia behind Port Phillip Bay fed by the Franklin and Gordon rivers. The problem is that the heads are extremely treacherous - only 60 metres wide between rocks with a 10 knot tide flow (18km/h) then over a sand bar with only 6 metres of water.
Any swell from the Southern Ocean breaks across the bar and when the swell is up, it starts breaking 1km out to sea making the bar impassable. So the old square riggers had all kinds of trouble and many were lost trying to enter the harbour. Around 1900 they built a breakwater by hand to try and keep a channel open and protect from some of the swell.
They also built, by hand, a rock wall 7 metres down into the sand and going for 2 km across the inner sandbars so that the tide would naturally dredge a channel. Now the harbour is closed as a seaport for large ships. Our cruise took us out the heads partially into the rough Southern Ocean. On one side the rocks of the breakwater and coast and on the other, the breaking waves on the bar and ocean beach.
Re-entering, we head the length of the harbour, doing 30 knots (55km/h). On the way we observe some ocean fish farms in action – Ocean trout and Atlantic Salmon. Because there is so much fresh water in the harbour it is ideal for these fish.
Farther up the harbour we reach the pristine wilderness of the Gordon River. Beautiful gorges, watterfalls and stands of Huon Pine.
Can you spot 'The Pat'.
We stop up river and do a walk seeing a Huon Pine 2,500 years old. It takes 500 years for a tree to grow 30 cm in diameter. This area of Tasmania receives a minimum of 3 metres of rainfall a year and often receives 7 metres. It is misty with frequent showers and we are told that they only get 30 to 40 sunny days a year.
This 'young stand' of Houn Pine is around 700 years old and has the same DNA from the 2500 year old tree.
Lunch time. We have never eaten so much Tasmanian Smoked Salmon. As we are ‘ out of season’ the boat is quite empty and there is so much good food to eat.
After lunch we stop at Sarah ‘Settlement’ Island, the original Penal Colony in 1822 to 1833.
The guide was very entertaining acting her presentation of convict stories. The weather, on the windward side of the island was vicious which adds to the atmosphere and understanding of the hardship experienced by early settlers and convicts.
On our way back I thought I would take a shot out of the porthole down in the toilets!!!!!!!!
Back to our room for a little rest and then an afternoon walk to Hogarth Falls. All the fresh water going into Macquarie Harbour, including the Franklin and Gordon is stained dark brown from the tannin in Button Grass. It also makes froth - bubble bath style. It is still quite drinkable. Beautiful rainforest and Pat is busy looking for another platypus but no luck.
Cradle Mountain here we come ... and Mo the Tasmanian Tiger is back in our room again!