Sunday, October 10, 2010
Tasmania Part 7: in which there is snow
We bid Strahan a fond farewell and headed down the road to Zeehan, a former boom mining town. We’d been to Zeehan before and thought there wasn’t much there, but since that the museum had been recommended to us.
I’m a bit of a sucker for a museum. I love history. The museum is in a beautiful old building, although like most old towns in Australia the best building in the entire place tends to be the post office. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s almost always the way.
I highly recommend the Zeehan museum. It’s got an excellent mineral collection and it’s not just about the history of Zeehan, which as a town went bust in the early part of the 20th century, but the entire area. Unsurprisingly the emphasis is on the mining. There’s an entire room devoted to the Mt Lyell mining disaster of 1912, which still remains one of the countries worst.
After the museum we got back on the road to Cradle Mountain. For some reason the GPS seemed to think it was roughly 3 hours away, yet every other indicator pointed to about half that. I’m not sure where the GPS thought it was going, but it wasn’t the same place we were.
The scenery changed to windswept plains with few trees and snow on the ground as the road climbed and the temperature dropped.
It was 3 degrees by the time we got to the Cradle Mountain Chateau. The girl on reception asked if we had had any trouble with the snow as it had snowed earlier and bugger me if the minute we walked out the door to get the bags it started to snow!
After settling in we took a look at the gallery next door. The Chateau houses this great photographic gallery. It features nature work done mostly by Australian photographers, but not all of the shots are in Australia. One of the most impressive rooms was entirely of Antarctic pictures by an Australian who specialises in that.
By the time we emerged the snow had really set in. We had planned to do at least one short walk, but we weren’t prepared for the snow. Honestly, who expects snow in the middle of spring! As the weather wasn’t cooperating I took my book and curled up in a comfortable chair in front of the fire in the library and watched it snow. Snow is a novelty for me, aside from a ski trip in school I’ve never actually seen it snow before. When I got back to the room there was a currawong outside on our little balcony, looking pathetic and eyeing the inside hopefully. We didn’t let it in and after a while it shook the snow off itself and flew away huffily.
We had dinner that night in the Grey Gums restaurant. It serves dishes largely made from local products, it also presents them wonderfully. When I can I like to try local beer. They had something called Seven Trees, it wasn’t a bad drop, but it still can’t match my beloved Yarra Valley brewed Hargreaves Hill.