Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Tasmania Trip - Day 19

Day 19 - 12/2/2014 - Strahan, Gordon River and Sir John Falls

Yet another early start! I thought we were meant to be on holidays and catching a few sleepins!!!! We had to be at the seaplane office by 8am for an 8:30am departure. On arrival at the departure point we collected our life jacket belts, worked out the seating in the plan and all climbed aboard. Just after we all buckled in the pilot asked if we were all ok to delay the departure. It was overcast with low cloud, and looking at the rain radar showed a rain band heading for the same area as we were going to fly over, so he recommended that we give it about an hour or so for the weather to clear other wise we wouldn't see anything.

So we all climbed back out of the plane. While we were waiting out the time in the local coffee shop, we were flicking through the local paper and found an interesting article. It stated that the noise and ground movement we experienced at Montezuma Falls the day before was actually a 2.2 magnitude earthquake!

Really glad I wasn't in that mine shaft at the time now!
It was closer to 10am by the time that we were ready to board the plane for the second time. Jodie generally doesn’t like small planes, but this time she had a little bit more confidence as one of the other people that was doing the tour with us was an ultralight pilot. Nobody had any objections with him riding shotgun to the pilot. It is always good to have spare, including a pilot.

It was a fantastic view over the harbour and the surrounding landscape

Looking South to Macquarie Heads
Hells Gate and Bonnet Island
Salmon Farm Pens
Sarah Island
Frenchmans Cap (the peak with the wisp of cloud on it)
Horseshoe Bend
Mist on the Mountains

It was then time for landing at Sir John Falls, 42 km up the Gordon River.

And now time for the videos :-) (Turn up the volume!)
Landing at Sir John Falls

The landing was awesome! Once everyone had their breath back the pilot explained that it sometimes gets a bit hairy when he could be coming in for a landing, (or a take off), and there is a kayaker or log floating down the river! There is not too much room to spare between the planes wing tips and the vegetation in some parts. I think it felt a lot closer than it actually was, but it still looked really close!

It was a short walk into Sir John Falls. It was quite and peaceful with just the five of us there. It was also good because the general crowds from the tourist boats aren't allowed this far up the river, they have to stop at Horseshoe Bend. It was great to have peace and quite in a place like this.

Sir John Falls is the location, or very close to the location, where the Franklin River Dam protests were held in the late 70's and early 80's. Even though the dam was eventually scrapped, a lot of the construction actually happened. Apparently a couple of the tunnels that were constructed are now sealed up and if you go exploring you can still find remnants of the construction that took place.

Sir John Falls
Sir John Falls

The area has some of the Huon Pines which are Australia’s oldest living trees, and one of the oldest living organism on earth. They can reach an age of around 3,000 years! Their pine cones are only around 3mm long.

Huon pine cones
After about 10 to 15 minutes of just taking in the peace and tranquillity it was time to board the plane and head back to Strahan.

Mist on the River
The take off from Jodies side of the plane

The take off from my side of the plane - watch out for the kayakers camp as we go screaming past at 48sec in!

On the way back we passed over the King River which has been declared biological dead due to all of the pollution from the mining upstream.
King River empting into Macquarie Harbour
More Salmon and Trout farms in Macquarie Harbour
After landing back in Strahan the weather had fined up so we decided to have a bit more of a walk around town before heading back to camp for a bit of a lazy afternoon – finally! I even had time to cook up a couple of pizzas in the Weber for lunch!

Here is a link to the flight path that we took.


  1. Looks like an amazing place guys ... put that on the bucket list of our Tassie trip