Travelling Australia - Journal 2015b
|24 April 2015
Strahan to Stanley
Today began with solid cloud, no sun, low temperature and a threat of rain. We left Strahan on the road for Zeehan with Stanley on the north coast as our destination. This was a good standard bitumen road running through thick temperate rainforest on a comfortable route; the numerous sharp bends and hills of the Strahan-Queenstown Road were mostly lacking on this road which was much more comfortable to drive. We turned off the highway to have a brief look at Zeehan then continued on to the A10 (called the Murchison Highway starting at Zeehan).
Travelling north on the Murchison Highway we passed through the villages of Roseberry and Tullah; we also passed one or two mining ventures. The road had a good bitumen surface but was very winding and twisting, nearly continuously going up or down. Progress was slow, traffic was nearly non-existent. The weather was not particularly good with the cloud base often below nearby hill tops; once or twice the road climbed up to the level of the cloud base but this was not a common event and visibility remained adequate. Sometimes we saw a few drops of rain on the windscreen.
Vegetation on the hills around the highway was very thick temperate rainforest comprising fairly thin (but tall) trees growing close together with thick secondary shrubs around them making moving through the rainforest off prepared tracks almost impossible. Very little sunlight penetrated the tree tops making the forest dark and dank. The highway often seemed to be confined in a dark, greenish coloured, tunnel.
North of Tullah the rain forest began opening out and the road became less winding; now running in long, straight, but not level, sections. Much of the road around here had been rebuilt and was excellent to drive on. Many hills still had to be negotiated; conventional overtaking lanes were not used but there were well-signed "Slow Vehicle Turn-outs" comprising an additional lane on the left of the main lane up the longer hills where slower vehicles could turn out of the main lane allowing other vehicles to pass.
As the road went north the nature of the forest changed with tall, fully-grown, eucalyptus trees becoming common rising well above the rainforest layer. By the time we reached the turn-off to Waratah, and the intersection where the B18 left the A10, the forest was primarily eucalyptus. This forest soon gave way to extensive tree plantations, mostly eucalyptus but with a few softwood (pine) plantations.
Eventually tree plantations were replaced by agricultural land with sheep and cattle grazing. The agricultural land continued to the edge of Burnie.
From Burnie we drove along the Bass Highway through, or past, a variety of villages along the coast. The land was agricultural (sheep, cattle and vegetables).
We turned off the Bass Highway to Stanley where we planned to stay for a couple of nights. Shortly after we arrived cloud increased and rain fell for an hour or so; this was not unwelcome rain since it washed off a lot of the white dust settled on the car while driving on dirt tracks around Strahan (especially to the Ocean Beach).
24 April 2015 - page 2