Long Drive North to Stanley

11 February 2014

Looking down on picturesque Stanley from the chairlift on the Nut


Up and ready for an 8am start, road much better than we anticipated and not as many bends as the road into Strahan.

First stop was the mining town of Zeehan.  Tasmania was sighted by its namesake Abel Tasman in 1642. The small brig bearing Abel and his crew was called the Zeehean after which this historic town is named.  Abel would be proud to know that Zeehan was once Tasmania’s third largest town and in its glory years was known as the “Silver City” due to the silver and lead discovered by Frank Long in the late nineteenth century.

We had breakfast at The Pitstop (toast and jam) where they had an old juke box, and an ancient TV showing videos of “Happy Days” – what a great start to the day!

We  wandered along main street to admire a number of heritage buildings, including the old Gaiety Theatre. Built in 1898 by the Hon. Edward Mulcahy M.H.A., the Gaiety Theatre Grand Hotel remains one of Zeehan’s grandest buildings.

Next door I met a man just opening his Studio, he is an artist and musician born in Poland, but had lived in Australia for 30 years.  Janusz Nesterowicz explained that he had lived in a number of country towns, but the climate in Zeehan makes him feel like home – especially in the cold winter when it snows.  He gives art and music lessons to the locals, and obviously loves life in Zeehan.

The West Coast Pioneer Museum is also in Zeehan, we heard stories that fellow travellers had spent up to 3 hours there!  We didn’t have quite that amount of spare time, so decided to press on, but did take some photographs of some old train engines.

Our next stop was the pretty town of Rosebery, surrounded by the mountains.  It’s history is rich in mining of copper, gold, lead, zinc and silver.  I took a photograph of a mural depicting the mining history, and the statue of Tom McDonald who discovered the Rosebery ore field in 1893.  A short drive took us past one of the mines on the edge of town, then out to the very steep Stitt Falls.

The lakeside town of Tullah was our next stop.  Located on the edge of Lake Rosebery with Mt Farrell and Mt Murchison in the background, Tullah is a former mining and “hydro” town.  It is also home to the Wee Georgie Wood Steam Railway.

Accidentally we discovered Tullah Lakeside, providing accommodation and a café on the edge of Lake Rosebery.  We ordered a Devonshire tea and Waffles with maple syrup, eaten while we sat in the sun overlooking the lake – bliss!

The peaceful Rosebery River at Tullah  provided a scenic background to have lunch 

As we drove away from Tullah on our way north there were lots of roadworks to slow us down a little.   After driving slowly through the last section and coming to the end, we saw a tiny dot on the roadway, that we soon recognised as an echidna waddling its way slowly across, so we slowed down to let it safely reach the other side – wonderful to see the native animals on our travels.  There is so much roadkill….the lazy black birds patrol the roads knowing it is an easy way to find a meal.

The next long haul was to our destination of Stanley, although passing through Burnie we stopped at the Information Centre to collect more information about the area.  We will probably stop at the Centre again in a few day’s time when we are heading to Devonport, to see the Makers’ Museum.  I saw a wonderful papier mache statue (right) that I just had to photograph!

Our final drive for the day was at the seaside town of Stanley, famous for its volcanic rock, The Nut.  After settling in to our accommodation we decided to walk to the chairlift and be lifted to the top of The Nut, and walk the (alleged) 2 kms walk (felt more like 10kms!) around the top.  It was quite a hot afternoon and although we were tired when we finished the walk and climbing a number of stairs, we loved being up so high (143 metres above sea level) overlooking the ocean and the town and seeing people looking like ants beneath us.  The Nut has sheer cliffs all around it, and the views from all angles are spectacular – the camera was clicking madly!

As we were coming to the end of the track we heard a rustle in the bush and discovered a family of pademelons – they were very shy of course and it was impossible to photograph them from where they were hiding.  A real “back to nature” day!

Dinner tonight was at the Stanley Inn (recommended as a great place to eat).  Although it was too hot to sit out on the western facing balcony, we managed to get a table looking westward and were able to watch the sun set over Stanley as we enjoyed our Ocean Trout (for me) and a steak (for Pete), not to mention the Berry Parfait and Pavlova – eating dessert every night has got to stop!

Tomorrow is Arthur River cruise day – we are really looking forward to this.

The famous Gaiety Theatre built in Zeehan in 1898 

Mural depicting the rich mining history of the heritage town of Rosebery


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