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Friday, June 04, 2004

Mt. Field NP, Styx Valley & on to Triabunna

This morning, I wanted to do a little shopping. I went down to Salamanca, and bought some Peter Dombrovski posters at the Wilderness Society shop, then got by photos burned to CD at a cyber-cafe. The cyber-cafe took a bit longer than I'd intended, as they had some trouble burning the CD.

I then drove to Mount Field National Park, where I'd started my trip, as I wanted to check out a few of the short walks. When I arrived, I walked out to Russell Falls. The track goes through lush rainforest, beside the creek. The water in the creek was very high and swift. I got to the falls in a few minutes, and they were incredibly powerful, the roar was loud, and spray was being blown out across the viewing platform, and well past it, making photography very difficult.
I then climbed up a steep but short track to the top of the falls, and a little further on to Horseshoe falls (they are horseshoe shaped). They were also quite pretty, but not as high as Russell Falls.

I decided to walk through the giant trees walk to Lady Barron Falls. It was an interesting walk - there were many enormous eucalypts - some around 80m high. I was feeling a little pressed for time, as I wanted to go to the Styx valley as well, and it was around 3:00. Lady Barron Falls was nice, but not as impressive as Russell or Horseshoe Falls. I returned to the car on the loop track, and set off for the Styx Valley.

The Styx Valley is an environmentally contensious area, as it has old growth rainforest, and is currently being clearfell logged to make woodchips. I wantedt to see it firsthand to get see what it was all about. The road into the valley is a gravel logging road, is very potholed, and takes about 3/4 of an hour each way. I arrived right on sunset, which gave some good views from highpoints coming in, but meant that in the actual rainforest, it was very dark.
There is a boardwalk in a very small reserve, set up by the forestry commission, which goes to the one of the tallest trees discovered so far in tasmania - 87m tall and 4.7m wide. A few hundred metres from this reserve, Greenpeace has set up a camp, in a area designated to be logged, which I visited. The area is indistinguishable from the reserve, as it also has giant trees and lush rainforest, however on the other side of the road is a demonstration of what it will be like - an area of clearfelled and burned forest - a truly depressing sight.
I didn't get to spend long at the Styx valley, as the light was fading fast, but it was enough. I drove carefully back to the main road, and then back to Hamilton, where I had a quick dinner. I was wanting to visit Maria Island over the next few days, and so after ringing a hostel in Triabunna (Near Maria Island), set off. It took a good couple of hours to reach Triabunna, and I was quite tired when I did.
The bed at the YHA there was very saggy but I hardly noticed, as I fell asleep fast.

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