In around 4 to 5 hours of driving I believe you will experience unsurpassed contrast, magical colonial history and magnificent landscapes, more so than in any other 4 hour driving experience in Australia.
I’m talking about the drive from Hobart, the Island’s capital, to Strahan on the Wild West Coast.
But before you head North West take a quick diversion up to the peak of Mount Wellington, in Winter one of the bleakest and windiest places on Earth.
The road up is an easy climb on bitumen, but when you arrive at the peak be prepared for the worst – and the best.
It’s often snow capped for much of the year, but even in mid summer it can be cold and windswept, so wrap up well.
Riverboats and Fishing boats at Strahan
As you leave your car head out to the viewing platform and look at one of the most magnificent panoramas you can imagine.
Straight down in front of you is Old Hobart town, with the Derwent winding its way past.
To the left you’ll see the Derwent Bridge connecting the Southern areas of historic Richmond (and its fascinating first settlers jail), renowned wine growing districts and then on to Port Arthur in the far distance.
Glance to the right and you’ll see Huonville , Bruny Island and the Huon River settlements, a truly breathtaking panorama to take in before your real journey begins.
Drive back to Hobart and head out on the Launceston road North, initially following the picturesque Derwent Valley, then branching off to Hamilton, which is about an hour into your trip.
It’s worth a stop for your first cuppa, as it’s like much of Tasmania, a quaint country village steeped in colonial history, and boasts one of the best craft galleries in the State.
At this stage you have been driving past lush pasture lands and flat country before you start your leisurely and non dramatic climb up to Derwent Bridge, which can also command a brief rest break.
From there you start your descent through the first of the wonderful World Heritage Areas, passing many Franklin River nature trails which are ‘must see’ destinations for the serious walker.
Queenstown is an old mining town and the stark denuded landscape gives a somber back drop to the industry of olden times as you peer down to it when you start your steep descent from the Gormaston Hill.
Stop off at Queenstown, study its history and visit the railway station ( a service operates from Queenstown to Strahan, and is well worth taking, if you have the time.)
The last 40kms is probably the most uninteresting (but still has lots of bends, so drive carefully), until you wend your way in to Strahan, on the banks of the Franklin River Estuary.
Now you can see the fishing boats off loading their catches, you can watch a re-created timber mill forming timber planks, and then enjoy some of the freshest and varied sea food, either in a waterside restaurant, or the locals favourite fish and chip shop. Again, if you have time, take a half day cruise up the Franklin River.
So when you disembark back at Strahan you will have come to the end of a one day excursion that I suggest will live with you forever.
Thanks to George Davis for sharing his experience with us. George receives a $25 gift voucher for his winning contribution.
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