A trip to South West Tasmania-the airstrip and beyond at Melaleuca-14 of 26

From the home we wandered back past the Museum and down to the gravel airstrip where I’d watched a couple of tiny planes land and take off earlier.

From there a few of us trundled across the glaringly white gravel ‘tarmac’ expecting to see remnants of the area’s historical tin mining operations on the other side. “We marvelled at the depth of the road below the ‘soil’ surface level and we realised how deep the peat layer was that needed to be removed before tin could be extracted/mined. Further o,  there were bits of rusty metal including a water cannon indicating the past.”

Back at the Nissan huts and then near the Museum I had seen the breeding boxes which had been installed high up in a spread of eucalypt trees. As I walked past the airstrip I noted more such boxes in the distance and edged quietly and slowly towards them. I was alone as others took other tracks across the peat. I was rewarded. In silhouette, I watched an Orange Bellied Parrot sitting on the resting platform of a breeding box. I watched and watched. Then nearby the exuberant voices of others rose unaware of the treat above. Eventually their noise prompted the bird to flit away in an instant. So tiny. “Almost slicing through the air in such a way as to be almost invisible.” When I look at the photo below, I can see the miniature outline shape of the bird before departure – I know what I am looking for on the breeding box attached to the pole, however I am unsure whether you will be able to pick it.

I was reminded of the prevalence of button grass.

Reminders of the tin mining history included this shed.

When I was walking back, I spotted two of my fellow passengers on the South Coast track (the walking track which generally takes five days to reach Cockle Creek a tiny settlement on the south-east coast of Tasmania). They had stopped to watch (maybe admire) a slithering tiger snake crossing their path and heading towards the water, presumably ready for a drink. The second photo below was taken by Ralph, and the third and different tiger snake by Rob.

After returning over the airstrip I joined others in in the undercover ‘waiting room’. An adjacent room was used for storage. Bushwalkers could have food packages and any gear brought in by air and then left here for collection.

While waiting, we heard the tale of another tiger snake event. That day, two of our men wore shorts and no gaiters which means minimal protection. Therefore, when a tiger snake slivered between the legs of one, the other apparently did a hopping dance to the amusement of many. I was surprised that one snake leave alone four had been seen in one day, and in November. Generally, if I have seen these snakes in the wild (and that has been a situation almost as rare as hen’s teeth) it has been in February or March so, from now on when I am walking in the bush, I will be open to expecting them at any time.

Eventually we moseyed off along the boardwalk. On the way we passed the Port Davey Track exit, a many-day walking track that continues north to Lake Pedder near the settlement of Strathgordon.

Once at the pontoon we loaded ourselves into the zodiacs, and motored along Melaleuca Creek and out into Bathurst Harbour expecting to jump aboard our ship, the Windeward Bound. Sun in a blue sky tufted occasionally with the whitest puffs of clouds, minimal wind, the wash of water, bird song, and grand vistas had been our lot for a day of rich experiences and learning.

But, little did we know, more surprises were yet to come.

This entry was posted in Port Davey/Bathurst Harbour, south west Tasmania, Tasmania, Windeward Bound and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A trip to South West Tasmania-the airstrip and beyond at Melaleuca-14 of 26

  1. TasView says:

    What a grand day out! I was able to see the silhouette of the rare parrot after I zoomed in on the photo – what a special and lucky experience for you 🙂


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