Our tour of the West Coast started at Meadowbank Lake, a hydro recreation lake filled with trout. We had just spent the night at Lake Pedder and had an exciting encounter with some Eastern quolls and our road north would take us through hydropower and mining country.
This town is a lifesaver if you’re as stinky as two day old road kill. There are $1 showers available at the only reserve in town. Don’t worry – $1 goes a long way. You’ll have time to clean your pits and your bits, and wash your hair.
Tarraleah & Tungatinah Power Station
These two power stations are separated by a bridge at the bottom of the valley and are part of the huge hydro generation system in Tasmania.
On the Tarraleah side, there’s a lookout perched right above the huge pipes that deliver water to the power station. You can see the pipes that feed the Tungatinah Power Station running down the other side of the valley. Each pipe delivers 7000 litres of water per second to a turbine and generator, hitting the turbines at 270km per hour. Tarraleah Power Station has six generators, each producing 15,000 kilowatts at 11,000 volts.
At the bottom where the power stations are located is a picnic area. Stay alert because this place is swarming with European wasps. If you need to charge something, there are power points in the toilets – after all, you are next to two power stations!
Lake St Clair
If you are an avid hiker, then you may be familiar with Lake St Clair as the beginning or the end of your epic hike on the Overland Track. This hike runs all the way to Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain and can take between 6 to 8 days to complete, depending on how you want to play the game. You can take less food and go fast, or take more food but go slow.
We did not have 8 days, or 6 days to do the Overland Track so we just did the short walk from the Visitor Centre to the Platypus Bay track and back via Fergys Paddock. The walk was easy and energising, and while we didn’t see any platypuses because it was the middle of the day, we did see a pitch black Tiger Snake, who disappeared faster than Dave when it’s time to do the dishes.
We were going to spend the night at King William Lake but we had time to continue for another hour to Lake Burbury. This is a proper campground with large picnic areas, plenty of space and a BBQ kitchen shelter. However, like any proper campground, it comes with a $6 fee which is payable to the caretaker on your way in.
We didn’t go down to the lake until the morning because we were welcomed with showers when we arrived. On the shores of the lake there are fantastic views of the surrounding mountains, and the sunset was spectacularly pink.
Nestled in the moonscape of the West Coast Ranges, this little town has a copper mining history. It’s also home to the West Coast Wilderness Railway, where you can ride a steam train through the West Coast mountains.
Just outside of town is the Ironblow Lookout atop Gormie Hill. It faces east so it’s great for sunrise, or sun in your eyes. We’d recommend visiting in the afternoon.
This seaside town won the best tourist town in 1995 and it seems to still be riding that wave in 2016. Yes, it’s a pretty little town that is made up of a pub, Banjo’s bakery and IGA, a small cafe and tonnes of accommodation, including Strahan YHA, but we thought the paid parking on the main street was a bit rich.
We drove up to the water tower Lookout for breakfast before going for a short walk to Hogarth’s Falls. The 40 minute stroll through the rainforest was energising and we were treated with a nice conclusion.
On the way out of town are the Henty Dunes. Because Juz is not a fan of sand, and these dunes are essentially 30 metre tall piles of sand, she was having a bad time. In fact, by the time we got back to the Troopy, her shoes were 2 sizes too small from all the sand that had gotten in there!
Zeehan used to be the 3rd biggest town in Tasmania because of their silver mining hitory. But that hasn’t been the case since the early 1900s and while there are still lovely buildings through the main street, its heyday is long gone and the population and quality of population has declined.
Our Zeehan experienced began at the park where we made our lunch. The downstanding citizens we shared the BBQ area with gave us an insight into the current culture of the town. The other eye-opening experience was at the Laundromat, where we saw a menu for the local RSL that listed a few ‘On Tray’ items.
Be that as it may, they sell good looking cuts of sizzle steak at a good price at the IGA and the bottleshop has a few specials as well. Plus, you can do a load of laundry washed and dried for a total of $6 – that’s a pretty good deal.