This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels December 24

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FRIDAY 24 DECEMBER     HOBART

John went and picked up the turkey from the Glenorchy butcher, while I finished clearing up after breakfast. The turkey weighed 3.2kgs and cost $30.

For a pre-Xmas treat, I made smoked salmon and avocado sandwiches for lunch.

We went for a drive up Mt Wellington. There is no way to do this from where we are without going through part of the central city. Fortunately Hobart traffic is not too bad.

The road up the mountain is the most scenic road to drive up. There were very steep roadside drops in parts! For a road that must receive so much visitor traffic, it is extremely narrow, and has steep drops mostly unguarded. At intervals, there were signs showing where walking tracks intersected the road. There are numerous walk tracks on the mountain.

Most notable was the changing vegetation, with altitude, transitioning from forests and fern gullies at the edge of the lower suburbs, to exposed rock and sub-alpine plants at the top. There were lots of dead tree skeletons – maybe from the disastrous 1967 bushfires?

We parked in the carpark at the summit, then walked down the ZigZag walk track for a distance, until it began to get really steep. Not wanting to have to do too much of an uphill climb back, we turned around at that point.

I took some close-up photos of the alpine scrub plants, which quite intrigue me. I have a concept of a couple of good such photos, enlarged and framed in rustic wood, on a wall at home.

12-24-1999 alpine bush mt wellington.jpg

12-24-1999 mt w wildflowers.jpg

Alpine plants on Mt Wellington

We spent some time at the lookouts at the summit, and reading the explanatory information boards and signs. I noticed that whoever planned same could not do basic maths – there were a couple of glaring date discrepancies to do with the new Tasman Bridge and the accident when a ship ran into it.

The original bridge over the Derwent from the city to the eastern shore was a floating pontoon bridge that stretched around in a curve. It had an opening section to allow ships through. The new bridge, designed to take a lot more traffic, was opened in 1964. I have a photo, taken from up here in the summer of early 1964, showing both bridges crossing the river.

In 1975 a freighter collided with a bridge upright, taking out a section of the bridge roadway, sinking itself and killing some crew and some motorists who plunged over the gap in the bridge. The missing link was a major inconvenience for those who needed to travel across the river, as the next bridge was miles upstream at Bridgewater. However, it was good business for a man who built and operated little ferry boats! Repairs were done and the bridge reopened in 1977, after nearly three years. In 1984, the Bowen Bridge, near our camp, was built and opened.

12-24-1999 from mt wellington

Hobart’s northern sprawl. Bowen Bridge at right.

It was cool up on top of the mountain, at just over 1200 metres, with the occasional wisp of cloud coming over. Although it was fine down below, up here we were almost into the cloud ceiling.

12-24-1999 Hobart city from Mt Wellington

Hobart’s centre and south. Tasman Bridge at left.

We made our way back down the mountain. I found navigating through the suburbs on the lower slopes to be hard, and John was not happy with my efforts, saying I was not giving him enough advance notice when turns were coming up. When I did give him good notice about a left turn coming up, he ignored it because “it did not look right”! Tasmanian signposting could be greatly improved!

We drove 80kms today.

Back at camp, there was no one practising on the adjacent Berriedale Bowls Club rinks, so John took us both there for a practice for a couple of hours.

Then John drove off to get fish and chips for him, and chips and squid rings for me. While he was gone, I cooked the frozen fish left from last week, for me. Unfortunately, the shop was really stingy with its chips and there was not really enough for two. The squid rings were far too greasy. It was a disappointing meal.

Fairly early night for me because I would have to be up early tomorrow to cook.

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