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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Walking and Wading in Tasmania's West Coast Rainforest

I was in our "overseas" state for 9 days last month and it rained every day! Though to give credit, the sun will sometimes break through at just the right moment for a good photo opportunity.

But as I say to tourists who complain about the weather: "You're in a cool temperate rainforest, and without the rain, you wouldn't see such an abundance of greenery!"

On the west coast, they learn to manage an umbrella very early in life!

Walking on the platform at Queenstown station

I greatly enjoy my tourist travels on the West Coast Wilderness Railway, which runs for about 35 kms between Regatta Point (Strahan station) and Queenstown. It is an Abt system rack and pinion railway, due to very steep grades in parts - 1:20 and 1:16 being extreme. (So glad that I didn't have to walk these tracks!) The system was designed by Ronald Abt (the name is sometimes written incorrectly in upper case), a Swiss locomotive engineer. The first use of this system was on the Harzbahn in Germany (opened in 1885); on the Mount Lyell railway, from 1893.

Plenty of walks along the route as the train stops at stations along the way. These photos were taken at Lower Landing. The wire netting laid on top of the wet wood makes walking a lot safer.

These are young Huon Pine trees growing along the King River view at Dubbil Barril.

Yes, that's the way to spell it!

The rain helps to keep the carriage windows very clean. I walked along the platform at Rinadeena and didn't realise that I'd also captured a wonderful reflection.

The carriages have been crafted and fitted out using Tasmanian native timbers
and are modelled on original carriages.


According to records, Abt locomotive No.1 steamed into Queenstown for the original railway's official opening on 18 March 1897. Here it is, carefully restored and well maintained, on the turntable at Queenstown in April this year, at the end of its daily commute between Strahan and Queenstown.

But the sun does shine in Queenstown at all the right times. I took this photo of the almost-deserted main street (Orr Street) on the morning of ANZAC day, while waiting for the crowds to gather for the annual march.