MONDAY 6 MARCH QUEENSTOWN
Early on, the day looked like there would be high cloud, maybe even some sun.
It was a public holiday in Tasmania – the 8 Hour day; perhaps a bit like our Labour Day.
After breakfast, and completing some odds and ends, we drove out along the unsealed track that follows the old ABT rail alignment. There is a 4WD track that follows this for some of the old route. At Halls Creek, behind the Bradshaw sawmills, there was a sign saying the bridges were unsafe for driving on, any further. To this point, the track had been rather rough, with a number of big, wide, puddles and a ford or weir to cross that was not too deep, but running. Guessed there would have been a bridge there in the rail times.
We ate our packed lunch by the Queen River, at that point, then left Truck parked and started walking.
A few hundred metres from the start, we passed a parked ute, and then a broken bridge. We were able to cross this on a couple of laid planks, but vehicles had made a little side track that forded the creek, below.
Then we encountered a man picking blackberries. He said his dog had wandered off. Further along, we were passed by a man and a couple of kids on a 4 wheeler buggy.
The track narrowed to normal railway width. We could hear the sound of the rushing waters of Halls Creek to our right, but the valley by then was too deep and forested to see it.
We crossed several bridges that had planks laid over them – obviously for the use by 4WD vehicles. We would never have attempted to take Truck over some of them, though! In one place, a landslip had been used to fill in a gully where a bridge had been, but it looked to be slipping away again.
We plodded steadily up the rising track. This was the 1:16 gradient that had used the ABT cog system – though the rails had long gone, of course.
Eventually we reached the Rinadeena site, that was the highest point on the old railway. There were a few traces of buildings here, if one looked closely, but the area was largely overgrown. It is less than forty years since all was abandoned, but the vegetation grows quickly it seemed.
A work site for the railway restoration had been cleared – with a bulldozer there – and an access track coming in from the Strahan road. That was never there before!
There was a little brown mouse-like creature coming out from the bushes to feed on the ground, and then going back in again. There had been quite a lot of bird life along the track – thrushes and the like.
We walked back to Truck. The blackberry man was gone, but his dog was there. Was nothing we could do about it, except to hope it knew its way home! Or that he would come back, looking.
I thought that, overall, we’d walked about 7 kms.
Drove the Anthony Road again, now that the cloud had lifted. This time, could see big vistas across lakes, to huge mountains. It was obviously a previously glaciated area and was quite awe inspiring, though not as spectacular as John had expected. At the junction with the Murchison Highway, turned around and went back to Queenstown on the same road.
Back in Queenstown, John parked outside a shop, while I went in to get milk. A lady driving a red people mover pulled in, to the No Standing area right in front of him, and in doing so drove too close and grazed the corner of our bull bar – which is solid steel. He was astounded. She actually denied hitting Truck and raced off to the shops. Unbelievable. No damage to us, but John reckoned that, in better light, she’d see the evidence down the side of her van. Her problem!
Drove 130kms today.
We packed up the awning and outside furniture. The lone traveller came over for a chat.
Tea was macaroni cheese.
The stay in Queenstown has been very pleasurable, because we have been able to access so much wonderful, wild, country.