We left Strahan prepared for a slow trip over the mountain towards Hobart. We had originally intended to stop at Hamilton but before we left we had a warning light appear on the dash. I had just finished a phone conversation the night before with a friend about the fact the car was travelling along with no problems when the fault light appeared. DPF alarm – “travel at 80 kph to clear the buildup in the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter)” yeah right – up hill and down dale pulling a 2.5 tonne caravan – as if we’ll get to 80 kph.
We pushed on nevertheless assuming that although we would be travelling at a low speed the fact that the motor would be putting out high revs would clear the blockage and all would return to normal in due course.
As we had travelled the road in a coach on our return from the rail journey to Queenstown, we were aware what the road was like between Queenstown and Strahan (like the road around Somerset Dam in Queensland only there is a bit more of it). The road out of Queenstown was something else again and I was pleased I was driving up not down into the town. Very steep, very windy, two narrow lanes, sheer drop on the downward side; as we went up the bends seem to become tighter anything coming behind just had to wait as it was double lines all the way up and no opportunity to pull over until you reached the top; and what a relief it was to get to the top.
Most of the way from Queenstown was winding although generally on reasonably good roads; lots of lakes (most man made) along the route. At about 11:00am we pulled into one of the National Park access sites for morning tea and when we started the car we had a further warning light – this time the engine management system warning light – “Do not travel in excess of 70kph, reduce the load you are carrying and do no travel up steep hills if possible” – lets ditch the caravan and not travel over the next range – not bloody likely.
There is a unique attraction to be seen at Derwent Bridge, “The Wall in the Wilderness” – www.thewalltasmania.com ; unfortunately one cannot take a camera inside to record the work that has been done by one Greg Duncan. From his brochure he indicates – “The WALL is a work in progress funded completely by myself. I began working on this project in 2005 and expect it to be completed towards the end of 2015. The wall will span 100 metres and depict the history of this region. It is important to me that you witness the evolution of the wall, from the drawings, the roughing out and the various stages of detailing to the point of completion. I feel that being able to watch these processes brings a greater understanding and appreciation of the sculpture.
I invite you to take your time and perhaps have a glass of wine or a nip of whiskey while you peruse what I believe is a story that should be told.”
It was a truly great experience to look at the work that Duncan has done to date and to see how far he has progressed and note the blank canvas (actually timber) remaining to be created into art. This bloke seems to have a gift – we saw workman’s aprons, caps and gloves that all look so real but were all skillfully carved from wood and polished to perfection. If you are in this part of Tasmania the WALL is well worth a look.
From Derwent Bridge we drove on up steep ranges and down the other side we went around hair pin bends and back the other way just as quickly (really slowly actually); we passed massive pipelines rushing down hills to convey water to power the hydroelectric power plants they were connected to then rush up the other side of the slope to takes the water to another site. We passed Bronte Park, Tarraleah, Wayatinah, and drove through Ouse and Hamilton before arriving at our planned destination of New Norfolk where we thought we could get mechanical assistance for our ailing motor.
Of course it was Saturday afternoon when we arrived and nothing was open until Monday so we had a quiet Sunday, explored New Norfolk, did some shopping and generally lazed around waiting for Monday. At 8:00am Monday I was waiting outside the door of an auto shop that had been recommended by the Caravan Park Manager; things start later in New Norfolk and it was not until 8:30am that anyone turned up. I told my tale of woe and entrusted my vehicle to the proprietor and walked back to the caravan park along the Derwent River. We retrieved the vehicle Monday afternoon and while the mechanic had serviced the truck he had not been successful in turning off the warning lights; he also alerted us to the fact that the differential seal needed replacement and provided the contact details for the Nissan dealer in Hobart who would replace the seal under warranty and correct the warning light situation.
This morning we moved on to Hobart and will base ourselves here for a few days while we take some day trips north and south to see various other places in the region. We are staying at the Treasure Island Caravan Park conveniently situated close to the Cameron Bay Water Treatment Plant – slightly odoriferous with the prevailing breeze but right on the banks of the Derwent. The truck is booked into the Nissan workshop at 8:00am on Thursday and we hope it will be trouble free at days end.