This weekend my friends Allyson, Matt and I went on a road trip to northern Tasmania. We had two goals for our trip. One was to attend a charity cricket match in Launceston, the other to visit the Little Blue Lake in the far north-east of the state.
This post is about the touring part of the trip. The photos were taken by Allyson, Matt and myself as credited.
The Little Blue Lake is in the north-eastern part of the state. To reach it you travel out of Launceston on the Tasman Highway. It is not a highway in the sense that roads in the USA and Europe are highways. It is the major route through the north-east and the east coast to Hobart but it is narrow and only one lane in each direction. There are many bends, some of them quite sharp as you climb through mountainous countryside. Like the Huon Valley the main industries in this area were agriculture, mainly dairy cattle I think and forestry but this part of Tasmania was also the site of tin mining at the turn of the last century.
We travelled through areas of old growth forest and there were some spectacular views. About an hour into our journey we reached a lookout where we stopped to take a break and some photos of course. Allyson has just bought a new Canon DSLR so she was keen to see what it could do. Here are two of her photos and two of mine. Allyson’s are the unedited versions, my two have been cropped and I used a blue gradient filter from my photo editing program on the sky in my first one.
Here are a couple more, one from Allyson and one from Matt.
We continued through to Scottsdale and Derby where we asked directions to the lake. Allyson’s parents had been there a long time ago and she thought it was near the town but it turned out to be several kilometres further down the road, half way to the next town, Gladstone Tasmania’s most north-easterly township (population 46).
There is a small viewing area at the lake which is a beautiful shade of blue. This is a naturally occurring effect. The lake was an old mine hole and when it filled with water the chemicals mixed with the white clay exposed by the mining operation reflects the colour of the sky. Sadly it is not as nice as it looks as the chemical content of the water makes it unsafe for swimming or drinking. The lake is fenced off as apart from that it would be a nasty fall.
After viewing the lake we continued on to Gladstone for a late lunch and discussed our route home. We considered staying on the Tasman Highway and going down the east coast to Hobart but the staff at the pub where we ate said that it would be faster to return the way we came. Looking at a map of Tasmania in the dining room I realised we were much further north than I had thought we were. As we were driving all the way back to my place and wanted to reach it before dark we decided to take their advice and set off on the return journey at about three in the afternoon. We did make a few stops, for petrol, dinner and calls of nature but still made it home by about eight thirty in the evening while it was still light. Quite a journey, especially considering that Allyson is the only one of the three of us that can drive.
I would like to have stayed longer to take photos in Derby which looked an interesting town an is popular with mountain bikers who ride the local trails and learn a bit about the tin mining at the Tin Dragon Interpretation Centre so perhaps another visit will be in order one day.
I’ll finish up with a few of Allyson’s nature photos.