Saturday, 24 November 2018

Exploring south-west Tasmania

Dave and I had a few days off this week, so decided that we'd make the most of living in Tassie and explore a new area which we hadn't yet visited - the south-west area of Strathgordon and Lake Pedder. There isn't a lot of accommodation in the area, so after doing a small amount of research, we booked in 3 nights at Pedder Wilderness Lodge in Strathgordon, located about 2.5 hours' drive from Hobart.


After dropping Moose at Best Friends Pet Resort (his second favourite home) and meeting up with a couple of friends in North Hobart for breakfast on Wednesday morning (I had a delicious bircher muesli at Born in Brunswick), we hit the road at around 11:30am. We drove through New Norfolk towards Mount Field, then continued on until we reached Strathgordon at about 2pm. After checking into the lodge, we thought we'd go out for a drive to the Gordon Dam, one of the major highlights of the south-west (and of Tasmania). Gordon Dam is Tasmania's largest dam standing at 130m tall, and holds more water than Sydney Harbour. It is an incredible sight to see, and the walk down the steel stairs to the dam, while slightly terrifying at first, it definitely worth doing.




After wandering around the dam for a while, we headed back to the lodge before having an early-ish dinner at the Twelve Trees restaurant at the lodge (which, incidentally, is the only place to eat or get any food in the area!). I ordered the porterhouse steak with potatoes and asparagus, while Dave had the gnocchi with lamb ragu and parmesan, followed by an affogato with frangelico each.


The next day, we woke fairly early and grabbed some breakfast at the restaurant (berry and banana porridge for me, scrambled eggs on sourdough for Dave) and thought we'd head out for a hike before the rain that was forecast to hit later that afternoon arrived. About 5km from the hotel was the Twelve Trees trail, which is a steep trail leading up to a lookout overlooking Lake Pedder and the surrounding mountains. The trail was very secluded (I think it was the first time we've done a hike without seeing anyone else!) but the scenery was beautiful along the way and from the top. All in all it took us a bit over 2 hours to complete. We returned to the lodge for some lunch in our room (we had planned ahead and bought some sourdough rolls and Pyengana cheddar in Hobart the day before) so had a simple lunch and relaxing afternoon watching DVDs, before heading to the lodge restaurant again for dinner. This time, I went for the pumpkin and duck lasagne, followed by the apple and strawberry crumble for dessert.


On Friday morning, we woke up to the sun shining, despite the forecast for rain, so we thought we should make the most of it and head out for another hike. We headed to the Serpentine Dam to walk part of the Mount Sprent hike, which in total is a 6 hour steep hike. We had only planned to walk for an hour or so before turning around given the steepness of the hike, however as we kept walking, the view kept getting better and better, and the sun kept peeking out of the clouds giving an even more amazing view, so after 3 and a bit hours, we reached the peak. The 360 degree views over Lake Pedder and the vast forest of western Tasmania were stunning and definitely worth the tough climb. We ended up getting back to the car at about 5pm (with some very wet and muddy hiking boots, sunburnt necks and aching legs). We then enjoyed a well-deserved dinner of calamari rings to share, a sirloin steak each with potatoes and asparagus, and a crumble for me and an affogato for Dave.

 




We woke up on Saturday morning around 8:30am, and had a quick breakfast before hitting the road at around 10am. On the way home, we stopped off at Russell Falls at Mount Field, which is a stunning waterfall that is easy to get to, as it is only a 20 minute return walk from the car park at the visitor's centre.

All in all, it was a wonderful 3 day getaway, with a mixture of relaxation, great food and venturing out into the wilderness to get the heart rate up. A lot of visitors to Tasmania tend to head to the popular spots like Hobart, Wineglass Bay, Port Arthur, Launceston and even Devonport, but I think a lot of people overlook the south-west as an incredible option. However, I would 100% recommend exploring this area if you want to see some stunning scenery that matches that of New Zealand or Canada, without the mad rush of tourists that is often found at the more popular touristy spots. It truly is one of the most unspoiled and gorgeous parts of this wonderful state.

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