Day 26 – Monday, 29 March 2021

We turned on the heater this morning when the alarm rang at 8:00am. It was just a tad cool at 9 degrees and hasn’t got any warmer. It went down to 8 degrees along some of the very high passages of road. 

We left New Norfolk at 9:30am this morning arrived at Derwent Bridge about 11:50am. We saw another two magpies fly across the road so now we have managed to see five of them for the three weeks we have been here. Magpies in Tasmania are predominantly white backs. 

We have climbed up to 900 plus metres since leaving New Norfolk, and the temperature is hovering around 8 or 9 degrees. The road around the Tarraleah area is very winding with massive ups and downs, all of which can be seriously scary. The trip required intense concentration, and the brake pedal on the passenger side was not working. 

When possible, Russ would pull over for cars or indicate when it was safe to pass. Most cars acknowledged his help as they passed with a wave. 

Derwent Bridge, located 174 kilometres north west of Hobart, is little more than a tiny service centre for Lake St Clair, which has become such a magnet for travellers that it recently built an extensive car parking area and Visitor Information Centre. 

This is a World Heritage wilderness area noted for its dramatically beautiful lakes and excellent bush walks, and the rich native fauna which inhabits the foreshore. 

By the 1920s people were campaigning to make the area a National Park. 

In 1922 an area from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair was set aside as a “scenic reserve and wildlife sanctuary”. 

The town of Derwent Bridge was officially named in 1959. 

In 1971 a National Park of 132,000 hectares was created. 

In 1982 the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and the Franklin-Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National Park were placed on the World Heritage list in recognition of their “outstanding natural, cultural and wilderness qualities”. 

The Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel (with two roaring fires) has an area around it for vans to pull into for short free range camping stays. All they ask in payment for its use is for campers to buy a meal at the pub – much more than normal pub fare. 

The menu looks fabulous (crispy duck – yum) and if there is room for dessert so does the dessert menu. 

I think we will have to pull out the larger doona for the night as it will be a bit chill. At 2:00pm in the afternoon it is 9.6 degrees but feels like 4.2 degrees and is expected to get down to 3 degrees tomorrow morning. 

Unfortunately, I was doomed to disappointment as the duck was not on the menu for now. I went for the roast pork instead, which was delicious, but I could have given lessons on how to make decent crackling. Russ had the chicken parmi and said it was lovely. Neither of us could fit sweets in so we came back for a quite evening in the van. 

As it turned out the temperature did not get down too low so the extra bedding was not required.