This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2000 Travels April 11


Today we went driving. It was a pleasant, fine day.

Headed out on the Osmaston road. On a bend, not far out of Deloraine, saw a sign carved into an old stone gate pillar – Retreat. Bit of a Eureka moment that solved a big puzzle for me. It seemed obvious that grandfather had, in fact, been born here, on this property. Later research showed that Retreat was a big, original estate of the district that was broken up into smaller parcels worked by tenant farmers. There would have been quite a number of people occupying the property as tenants or farm workers.

We went via Cluan and Cressy, to Poatina, at the foot of the Western Tiers – the range that marks the edge of the Central Plateau. Poatina is the site of a big, mostly underground, hydro power station. It is driven by water from the Great Lake, which is brought down the long, steep drop by penstocks.

There was not actually a great deal to see there. Our main reason for coming here was to check out the road that climbs (or descends) between Poatina and the Great Lake.

It was certainly a long, steep climb, on a sealed road. I am very pleased that we had not been tempted to go that way – either up or down – with the van on the back! On the climb up, there were some excellent views across the farming country of the northern plains.

Once up the top, we decided to keep going and drive right around the Great Lake for a last taste of the high country.

It was an enjoyable and scenic drive, around through Miena. We came down again around the flank of Quamby Bluff and through Golden Valley – another family-associated place.

We drove 200kms today.

Tea was pasta with the tuna, caper, olive sauce I make.

This park had certainly been a pretty place to stay – although it was a pity about the train noise!

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2000 Travels February 21


It seemed very dim and still when I woke up. Upon going out to investigate, I found a really thick mist over the lake – quite eerie and beautiful. It later lifted, with the sun, of course.

02-21-2000 morning mist Lake St Clair.jpg

Morning mist – right on the water’s edge!

Just as we finished breakfast, a good site became vacant when the occupiers moved out, so we very quickly shifted some of our gear over onto it and then moved the van over. It was worth the extra hassle of hitching up. Our new site was more defined  and had views straight down to the lake. We had room to put the awning on.

After getting the new set up all done, we left about 11am, to drive around to the Great Lake via Bronte and Miena. We were high enough up, now, on the Central Plateau, for the country to be a mix of snow gum scrub with more open heathlands.

Stopped at Bronte where I was able to buy a Melbourne Sun newspaper, and some salami, before continuing on to the Great Lake.

We sat in Truck, down a little side track that took us to the edge of the Great Lake, and had our lunch.  It was the usual bleak outlook over the lake, although the water was blue – I think it was the first time I had seen it anything other than a dirty grey! I have always found the Great Lake a bleak and desolate place.

We then drove up to Liaweenie, where a canal takes water from Lake Augusta, via the Ouse River, to the Great Lake. All part of the interlocking network of hydro electric infrastructure up here.

We drove the track that follows the Liaweenie Canal, to Lake Augusta. This is another place I have long wanted to come, after hearing my cousin and his mate, in the 60’s, talk of fishing and walking expeditions, where they walked from Lake Augusta, via a whole chain of glacial lakes on the plateau, over several days, eventually travelling through the Walls of Jerusalem and down Howells Bluff, to a rendezvous point on the Fish River. Always wanted, in vain, to do that trip – not for the fishing, which they could have to themselves, but for the walking and to see such superbly named places.

Lake Augusta was really low – almost non-existent. Ironically, there was a warning sign that the lake could spill over any time, without warning.

02-21-2000 01  lk augusta tk.jpg

Not hard to see why we were not worried!


02-21-2000 03 Lake Augusta in dry.jpg

Almost dry Lake Augusta

The Liaweenie Canal was not flowing. Many years ago, I saw it at the Great Lake end, totally packed with churning trout, trying to get upstream to breed.

From Lake Augusta we followed a rough track to Lake Ada and Ada Lagoon. We could see the DuCane Range, Mt Pelion and Mt Ossa in the distance – in the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair  National Park, and Mt Jerusalem closer.

02-21-2000 02 lk ada and walls jerusalem behind

Lake Ada, with the Walls of Jerusalem in the distance

There were people fishing in the lakes up there, including fly fishermen standing thigh deep in the water.

On the return journey, we visited the National Park information centre at Liaweenie – it had an interesting display. We also stopped again at Bronte and bought the Hobart Mercury and an icecream each. There was nothing that related to John’s letter in the Mercury, but there was an interesting editorial on the problems of over-use of the Overland Track. They are so right about that!

We drove 209kms today.

The camp area was over-full – very busy.

Some cloud and mist in the sky made for a very pretty sunset of pinks and reds.

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Sunset at Cynthia Bay

Tea was pork chops, potato, onion gravy.

After dark, the moon was surrounded by a haze – I was not sure what that meant for tomorrow’s weather. The night was warmer.