We awoke to the sounds of rain on the roof, normally that would be very peaceful, but when sleeping under canvas and said canvas needs to be packed up not sooo much! It was also tashs birthday so we were kinda hoping for a half decent day. Fortunately the rain eased off and we were able to pack the wet tent up with being wet ourselves, which really was a bonus.
Then it was back on the road and up through the winding passes to Queenstown, where the hillsides look more like mars than planet earth, due to the horrendous damage mining has done out there. The rain continued to come down so we didn’t get out it was one of those days where effort out ranked outcome. We did stop at iron blow to see the remains of one the open cut mines just outside of Queenstown.
Queenstown is located in a valley on the western slopes of Mount Owen on the West Coast Range. Queenstown’s history has long been tied to the mining industry. Alluvial gold was discovered at Mount Lyell, prompting the formation of the Mount Lyell Gold Mining Company in 1881. In 1892, the mine began searching for copper and would become the dominant copper mining company of the West Coast from 1893 to 1994. The mountains surrounding Queenstown have unusual pink and grey hues that come from the conglomerate rocks on the two most adjacent mountains – Mount Lyell and Mount Owen.
The environmental impacts of mining in and around Queenstown are evident from the moment it comes into sight. Now to be taken somewhat with caution, but as an indication Wiki lists the following environmental impacts:
- Pollution of the Queen and King Rivers, and Macquarie Harbour was caused by the release of mine waste and effluent into the rivers. It is estimated that 100 million tonnes of tailings were disposed of into the Queen River.
- tailings, slag and acid drainage into rivers and a delta of tailings the size of a city suburb in Macquarie Harbour;
- all aquatic life in the Queen River and lower King River has been killed;
- waterways contaminated with toxic metals, particularly copper, representing a potential hazard to the fishing industry and other harbour uses;
- vegetation on Queenstown hills destroyed by felling, fire, erosion and toxic fumes from smelting.
The weather held off as we got to Nelson Falls, and they were flowing quite nicely, and hopefully I got some lovely rainforest photos. Probably the most interesting or notable part of the day was finding a handbag in the loo’s, and it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that its owner was not at the falls, so we stowed it away in charlie and figured we would drop it at the next police station … hmm well that would be Hobart a good 100+ km away .. oh well better than it being stolen I guess.
After the falls we stopped at The Donaghys Hill lookout, which for the walk and climb was a waste of time, cold wet, cloudy and foggy and not view because of the weather, guess we got our dose of fresh air and exercise for the day.
From here we headed to mount field national park about 70km north westish of Hobart, with a quick stop off at Tarraleah hydro power station lookout.The park campgrounds are awesome, powered, unpowered, drive in, tent, amenities are wonderful, far better than our past two nights and all for the bargain price of $20 per night.
As we were setting up I attempted to contact our lost bag owner, bit with no contact details in the bag it was a little difficult, so figured they would try and cancel cards and if like us wouldn’t have headphone service most of the day, so rang their bank and left message with my number to call. Turned out they attempts d to call the phone in the bag so I answered it we figured out where we both were – near Hobart – so we organised to meet them about 30km down the road, as they had a flight out of Hobart tomorrow morning ! Good deed done, and two very happy tourists to have everything back in their possession and even gave us a thank you donation which whilst not expected was nice, so we treated ourselves to a schnitzel dinna at the pub and caught up with my very dear mate Nic as well 🙂
So aside from the weather and looong drive (which distance wise isn’t far but wet windy roads with trailer made for a longer drive) probably not too bad a day, but as I right this the darn rain is still coming down on the tent as I go to bed 🙁 … c’mon weather g-ds don’t we deserve a break !!!!!