Just a short day trip, to the edge of the wilderness.

Not many people know this about me, but I love power stations and dams. I have no idea what it is, but they fascinate me in ways I can’t fathom. Back in the days before kids, and probably before marriage, hubby and I took a camping trip and visited a whole slew of them around Tasmania.
There is something about the size, how they’re constructed,and the look of them that just amazes me.  
There are lots of links today, as there is so much to include, and I could post them til the cows come home. If you are interested (take a few hours and) by all means look further.

Yesterday we went for a ride to check out one of my favourites. The Gordon River Dam, at Strathgordon or Lake Pedder. See here.<

Route: Middleton to Strathgordon.

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And a look at where we were, and a map of the lake area. More links.

Weather: typical late summer weather. forecast to be hot, 29C. Cool, cloudy, humid, some showers.

Distance and Time: 200 km and 3.5 hours. Each way. Left home 8 am, arrived 11.30.  Arrive home at 4.30 pm.

Stops: Petrol at New Norfolk both ways. Gordon Dam, snack, drink, walk the wall. Return to Maydena for lunch.

Leaving early the clouds were out, looking ominous, and I had the waterproof pants on just in case. By the time we stopped at New Norfolk, 40 mins out of Hobart, the weather had cleared and I was feeling the heat. Neck warmers came off and we continued on our way.
The drive from here on in is really nice, winding roads, beautiful scenery – rolling hills and animals, beautiful old buildings.
Just near New Norfolk are the hop farms. What are Hops? They are the parts that make beer, Beer. along with yeast and other things of course. They grow like a vine. Here’s a link to the Google images page so you can see for yourself.

From here you head past Mt Field to a place called Maydena. The last township before the long road ahead. Eighty to one hundred kilometres of road with not much to see until the last 30 or so k’s.  That’s when the mountain ranges come into view and they are spectacular. You enter a whole other world out there.  As I’ve said on other posts, when you are on the bike your senses are heightened. You feel, see and smell so much more than being encased in a car.  There are of course the vehicle fumes and dead animal smells, but the flowers, wet ground post rain, rain forest and … was that Huon Pine I smelled? Hubby seemed to think so as well. Now that is something to enjoy. Riding through the rain forest and smelling that sweet sweet Huon Pine fragrance. Just perfect.  Ten k’s out from the Lake Pedder lodge and information centre we had to stop. I know it’s time to stop when hubby stands on the pegs to stretch his legs, so while we were had that break I got rid of the water proof pants, which resulted in my jeans feeling damp from the not-breathing sweaty material.
Back on the way and we headed straight to the Dam. The tourist centre and accommodation is pretty bland and simple, a base for workers or bush walkers.  Maybe even those travellers who want to really rest and get away from it all.
There is something about this place that gets me all excited. At the first corner where I could see the dam and how low the water level was I had this silly grin on my face. Again, I have no idea why, but it’s just amazing. The landscape is beautiful, even in its destruction.  The absolute desolation of the area, the mountains that just go on and on, the ravines. The construction of something that divided the community like nothing else since, and the sheer size of the construction and the intrinsic beauty just floors me. Every time.

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Back in 1972 when they first started talking about this there were protests everywhere, this was the most popular place in the state. Flooding a lake to make a dam for Hydro Electricity in one of the most pristine wildernesses in the world was sacreledge.    link to Lake Pedder and here and here and a brief history of Lake Pedder.
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We have come to this place numerous times over the yeas, the last one was 15 years ago when our eldest was about 2. It was at that time my fear of heights and vertigo kicked in. I was frozen at the top of the stairs and could not go down. I think it was before this, or maybe at the same time, we were able to do a tour through the workings of the power station. A little buggy took us underground where we checked out the turbines and how it all worked. Like I said before. Fascinating stuff.
I’m not sure if you can still do this. Probably not due to ridiculous OH&S laws.

Even yesterday, when I went down, I could feel my heart rate rising the further down I got, but it settled as I walked the dam wall (keeping the solid side close by initially).
Taking plenty of pictures, which really don’t do it justice, we climbed the stairs back to the car park.
Hubby’s picture looking over the edge…

Don't look down! - all 140 m of it.

Don’t look down! – all 140 m of it.

Back on the bike and we hustled back to Maydena where we stopped for lunch and a cold drink. The weather by this stage was getting close to its forecast, and we were feeling the humidity under jackets and helmets.

We watched as rain clouds came over mountains and dropped their loads, had a sprinkle while we rested, and then donned our gear again to start the trip home.
Sunny days like this are perfect for being out on the bike, feeling the wind but you can’t really dress for the weather, needing to over dress, which almost defeats the purpose. Riding through the cooler shadowed parts were a welcome relief from the sun and heat, and the rain shower we got caught in closer to home was more than welcomed also.
There is nothing like going away, but coming home is so much nicer. Seeing that familiar Mountain (Mt Wellington) in the distance and you know you’re nearly there. And the further from civilisation the more you feel it, especially when there is only one road in and one road out.

Now, if you’re not already bored from tiresome links everywhere here are some of my photos.

Lake Pedder from near the ‘township’

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And last but certainly not least, one of my all time favourite shots of the dam.

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And unless the weather is unseasonably warm next time round, this will be the last bike trip til around October.
Jennifer 🙂

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12 responses to “Just a short day trip, to the edge of the wilderness.

  1. I’ve never seen dams looking so beautiful.

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  2. I know what you mean actually. I found Hoover Dam fascinating when I lived in Las Vegas. And last year when we spent a week on a Greek island, we took a day trip across to Albania, and while we were on a tour around there, we passed a water-powered power station, and I was excitedly taking pictures much to the confusion of my kids as to why I would find that interesting!

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    • I loved watching a series called Mega Constructions, and the new Hoover Bridge was one of them. I have to go and visit that place now! Looks way cooler than ours. It’s as much what goes into building them as the thing itself I found. Could you share a picture of the Albanian one? And our kids are the same, wondering why we find some things interesting.

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      • Unfortunately my pictures of it didn’t come out very well because I was taking them from inside the bus, they don’t really do it justice. I’m not very good with Flickr and I couldn’t figure out how to just share one or two pictures here, so I’m having to share the whole set from that trip to Albania and Corfu! If you look at the 7th picture along, that’s the general power bit of it, and then on the following picture, you can see the three big tunnels on the hill that the water gushed down to create the power, they were much bigger than they look in the picture! Anyway, here’s the link, hope it works! http://flickr.com/gp/100740173@N05/U6560R/

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      • Your pictures of the hilidt are awesome, and yeah, out of bus windows doesn’t exactly make for good pictures. Thank you.

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  3. That lost shot is spectacular. I must admit I like lines of pylons and adore wind farms. It’s good to be different.

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