December 31, 2001 - West & South Tasmania

West and South Tasmania MapThe last day of 2001 opened ominously, as we trekked down to the opening of Macquarie Harbour to the Southern Ocean and got a little taste of what Spring must be like in Antarctica.

However, things warmed up as we moved east through the center of the island, winding around Queenstown and sliding down the River Derwent to Hobart.

Being New Years Eve, the Cadbury factory tours weren't running, and the Cascade Brewery wasn't open. But after a good meal and well-stocked fridge of beer, "we were right."

This film is dedicated to our friends back in the US - we missed spending NYE with you...

West & South Movie
[5.0 mb; 4:09]

See the wild Southern Ocean pound the
Macquarie Heads near Strahan on Tasmania's
west coast, eventually making your way
to Port Arthur and the Remarkable Cave,
which, as Kath says, "really isn't that remarkable."

First Lighthouse

This lonely lighthouse guides ships through the Macquarie Heads and toward the large, natural Macquarie Harbour and Strahan.

Heads Lighthouse

Its sister lighthouse blinks from a sandbar in between the Heads, direct ships rounding Cape Sorell to the harbour.

Larry Returns

The weather here is so bad that it must be experienced to be believed.

Those "mountains" behind Larry are cresting waves breaking 100 meters out to sea.

Imagine Mongolia (dry, blowing sand) meets a typhoon and you get some idea of it.

Rough Weather

Further up the beach, at the creatively named Ocean Beach, things aren't much calmer.

Rolling Seas

The breakers are constantly dirty from pounding the shallow beach so hard.

Dirty Breakers

I wasn't dying to get out there and surf that.

Dirty Dunes

The dunes seem weathered by the constant, relentless storm.

Wooden Roo

This is head of a 25 foot high, wooden, carved kangaroo.

Just kinda hanging out at a local gas station.

West Coast Range

A view of part of the West Coast Range on the way to Queenstown.



Outside Queenstown

This hillside is only a glimpse of the environmental destruction on display at Queenstown, where careless mining has been going on for about 150 years.

You can only rape the land so long before it looks like this.


Inside the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Wacky rainforest-like trees.

Looking South to the Pole

If we could see over the horizon in the photo and on for 2000 miles or so, you might catch a glimpse of Antarctica.

This is view south from the Remarkable Cave, over the Tasman Sea.

Maingon Bay

If you round this bend and continue to the right, you would end up at the penal colony at Port Arthur.

How would like rocks like this to welcome you to your new jail?

High Cliffs

A look to the East from the Remarkable Cave.

Remarkable Cave Entrance

The indentation on the left is the opening for the Remarkable Cave.

Blowhole Forming

The Southern Ocean pounds this coastline relentlessly, creating inlets that feed powerful blowholes and caves that burrow into the rock.

Beside the Remarkable Cave

This is a look at one of the inlets, or micro-beaches, as I call them.

You have to be careful with them, because if you come at low tide, you may be in for a shock when the water rises.

Remarkable Cave

Looking through the Remarkable Cave.

The sea pounded this inlet but never knocked down the upper portion of rock. However, when it reached a certain point, the ceiling at the point of the inlet collapses, leaving an opening to the sky.

Remarkable Cave Entrance

The roof of the Remarkable Cave.

Sinkhole Walls

The walls of the sinkhole behind the Remarkable Cave.

Wild Pheasant

A wild pheasant, just hanging out on the side of the road.

I'm telling you - the birds in Tasmania are fearless. This thing just stared at us and waited for us to drive off.

New Years Eve Toast

A toast to all of friends back in the US on New Years Eve 2001.

truk Laughs

Larry and truk sampled every Tasmanian beer they could find that night.

truk Looks

"Are you sure you are going to finish that?" -truk

truk Looks Again

"No, dude, it is like this ... " -truk

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