Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tasmania: Wild West

The remote western shores of Australia's largest island contain some of the world's most precious wilderness forests and waterways.

Lashed by weather blown straight from Antarctica, this climate also ensures some of the world's cleanest air and purest rainwater. Water that falls on forests whose trees bear closer relationship to ancient Antarctic fossils than any mainland eucalyptus.

Aboriginals are known to have inhabited this harsh territory for at least 30,000 years.

After explorers like Abel Tasman, Bligh and Cook sent back reports, Europeans arrived in numbers all through the 19th century, setting up penal colonies in the east with prospectors and wood-cutters seeking fortune in the west.

The spectacular view from Fluted Cape (R Eime)
We visit the isolated settlements of Queenstown, Strahan and Corrina to explore the landscape that bears more resemblance to prehistoric times than our modern internet-connected world. We cruise the southern extremities in an ocean-going catamaran, ride the historic Abt Railway and visit former mining and logging sites deep in UNESCO World Heritage-listed temperate rainforest, one of the last expanses of its type in the world.

The writer, Roderick Eime, has both original and supplied library images.

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