Tasmania is an amazing place, where around every corner there is something new to see or do. I decided to check out a unique double ached dam wall while in the area, but ended up spending a few days around the area.
An over night stopover near the little village of Maydena in the heart of Tassie started this adventure where a local told me about the Gorgon Dam wall. But before heading out there an explore through the stunning Mount Field NP was on my cards.
Mount Field was the very first national park declared in Tassie to protect its precious environment for the future. Only an hours drive from Hobart its a popular park throughout the year, as during summer the walks are a cool relief from the summer heat, yet in winter skiing is available at the peak of Mount Field along specialised trails.
The most popular spot to visit here is the short walk into Russell Falls which has been regarded as the most photographed waterfall in Tasmania due to its short 20 min walk and its constant water flow surrounded by huge tree ferns. The walk meanders through gorgeous tree fern lined paths, the tree stumps are moss lined and huge old growth timber towers over giving a canopy to the lower plant life.
Russell Falls is an easy walk, but it's worth continuing on to the other spectacular highlights on the loop trail. Further along the marked walking trail Horseshoe Falls is another example of the parks beauty and it continues along to the Tall Timber area where some of the largest trees in Australia are growing and thankfully being protected from local logging practices. If you’ve come this far its worth the extra effort to follow the trail out to Lady Barron Falls which according to some locals that I got talking to thunders down here all year round.
Looping around the easy trails, it leads you back down to the main centre of Mount Field. The area was discovered in 1856 and now attracts tourists world wide with its natural beauty. Inside the centre NPWS have set up a curiosity room for both the kids and the curious where’d you can get an understanding of the forest, the animals that call it home and local history. The walk to the falls is listed as one of Tassies 60 great short walks. The local Eucalypt trees here are estimated to be 450 years old, some of the ones that can be viewed are 100 metres tall giving them the recognition for some of the largest living things in the WORLD !.
Locally you can visit the Raspberry farms and when in season there is an array of jams, wines and festivals to showcase these tantalising sweet berries.
It wasn’t open when I visited but also nearby Maydena has some of the best mountain bike tracks in all of Australia. Regarded as world class they have an amazing 60 individual down hill tracks for different skill levels to ride. From technical to free flowing rides down the mountain you’ll drop almost 1km back to the end of the trails and back to camp.
Another local attraction and the only one in the state is the Maydena Railtrack ride where you pedal specially designed rail carts on the old narrow gauge tramway through different landscapes and past rail relics from years gone by. These are a great way to burn off a little energy and are kid friendly too.
After a couple of hours here the drive out to the Gordon dam is nothing short of spectacular. No need to rush the 80 km drive to the dam as the road out takes you through a huge array of different landscapes and the scenery is nothing short of stunning in every direction. Starting off passing through huge pine plantations where logging is controlled but a necessity in our modern day life its fascinating watching the Goliath machines harvesting the pines. The last place to grab a coffee is Florentine that is known for its old growth forests and unique animals in the area and its reported here that back in 1929 the last known Tasmanian tigers were sadly hunted.
Heading out further along the Gordon River Dam road the landscape clears to low heath and button grass plains that have been shaped by the winds that frequent this amazing area and the cold crisp winters. Glacial mountains line the road and cast huge shadows across the area and give awe inspiring views at nearly every turn along the road. The mountains shadow massive lakes out here that have are full year round from the moisture running down from the hills and from the winter snow and ice.
If you’ve got a National parks pass, there’s some great camping along the way in their designated area right on the lakes which you can fish and boat in. I camped at Teds beach where the serenity has to be experienced with crystal clear nights where the silence was beautiful and morning sunrises across the glassy lake has to be seen to be believed.
It's only a short drive to the dam from Teds Beach and from the moment when the dam comes into view, it has the wow factor. The stats don’t put this unique structure into perspective where its 200 long and 140 metres high but its actually the tallest dam on the apple isle. Its curved structure and no spillway gives it a special look and feel. Visitors can walk down the 600 steps and walk across the dams wall to experience an unusual sense where when you look down the dam wall it curves back under you.
For the technical minded the dam is actually higher that the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the wall holds back a stack more water than in the Sydney basin area. Astonishingly the power station is 185 metres below the dam wall where if you can imagine a drain pipe feeds water from the base of the dam into the power station and operates several turbines that feed produces nearly 15% of Tassies power.
I found the whole area awe inspiring and the drive out to the dam should be on everyones list when in the area, but not to be rushed with so much to see along the way.