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It's All About the Water in Tassie

Community Highlights Oceania It's All About the Water in Tassie

After leaving the west coast of Tasmania we ended up in the Derwent Valley, in the small hamlet of Ellendale, at the Platypus Cottage. The owner of the cottage, lives on this 4th generation farm, which has a few cows and seed crops, but It is his ingenuity that is the real story ! He designed a small, clean, hydro-generator, which he first put to use on his farm, but eventually it was approved to power the 30 or so homes in nearby Ellendale. Now he has a company that builds these small hydro generator stations...two other towns nearby are or will be using also. The key thing with this DIY hydro is that it doesn't require a dam. The water is pumped downhill through pipes and the turbine is powered by the 30 meter drop of the water (at the Platypus one).

Our final night at the cottage, we were invited for drinks that turned into dinner and we met another couple who also had retired to a nearby farm. It was such fun...we didn't want to leave. We have had a lot of "favorite" stays already...maybe surprisingly, I believe a couple of our top 5 could end up being in Tasmania!

We stayed a couple of nights at the Platypus Cottage, which is a replica of a "turn of the century" cottage. It is located near the small town of Ellendale, in the Derwent Valley.

We stayed a couple of nights at the Platypus Cottage, which is a replica of a "turn of the century" cottage. It is located near the small town of Ellendale, in the Derwent Valley.


The Platypus Power Station, built on the farm by Nigel and friends,  uses the Jones River to generate power ( it is actually a small stream).

The Platypus Power Station, built on the farm by Nigel and friends, uses the Jones River to generate power ( it is actually a small stream).

Our faithful companion "Wally" who accompanied us on all walks. He was our fierce protector from cows, pademelons, and whatever else went diving into the bush before we could identify what it was.

Our faithful companion "Wally" who accompanied us on all walks. He was our fierce protector from cows, pademelons, and whatever else went diving into the bush before we could identify what it was.

No matter how small the stick became, Wally was determined that the game must go on!!

No matter how small the stick became, Wally was determined that the game must go on!!


Dinner with Nigel and Paula.

Dinner with Nigel and Paula.

Believe it or not, I took 20 pictures and this was the best one!  A Platypus doesnt cooperate for a picture.

Believe it or not, I took 20 pictures and this was the best one! A Platypus doesnt cooperate for a picture.

This echidna looks like it should be related to a hedgehog or a porcupine, or if you see his tongue, an anteater, but his closest relative is the platypus.  They are both monotremes (egg-laying mammals).  This one was in captivity, but we have seen them several times crossing the road and in parks.  My favorite fact...the babies are called "puggles.

This echidna looks like it should be related to a hedgehog or a porcupine, or if you see his tongue, an anteater, but his closest relative is the platypus. They are both monotremes (egg-laying mammals). This one was in captivity, but we have seen them several times crossing the road and in parks. My favorite fact...the babies are called "puggles.

🔷 Mount Fields NP (along with Freycinet NP) is the oldest park in Tasmania. It is located a short distance from where we stayed at Platypus Cottage. We took a rainforest walk in the morning and in the afternoon went higher up on Mt Field to the alpine area.

These steps at Mount field NP, lined with tree palms, take you past several waterfalls and very tall sweet gum (eucalyptus) trees.

These steps at Mount field NP, lined with tree palms, take you past several waterfalls and very tall sweet gum (eucalyptus) trees.

Russell Falls is considered to be the number one attraction at Mount Fields NP.

Russell Falls is considered to be the number one attraction at Mount Fields NP.


These swamp gums (Eucalyptus Regnans) are the second tallest trees in the world and are found only in Tasmania and Victoria.

These swamp gums (Eucalyptus Regnans) are the second tallest trees in the world and are found only in Tasmania and Victoria.


Horseshoe Falls at Mt Field NP.

Horseshoe Falls at Mt Field NP.

Flowering eucalyptus along rainforest walk at Mount Field NP.

Flowering eucalyptus along rainforest walk at Mount Field NP.

Dobson Lake at Mount Field NP

Dobson Lake at Mount Field NP

The Wombat Moor at Mount Field NP...plenty of evidence of life but no sightings!

The Wombat Moor at Mount Field NP...plenty of evidence of life but no sightings!

🔷 We took a 150 km drive from Mt Field NP, as far as the road would go, into the south-western wilderness of Tasmania. The town of Strathgordon sits between the two main attractions here: Gordon River Dam (1974) and Lake Pedder (1972).

Lake Pedder, once a smaller natural lake, is now a large man-made lake created by the damming of the Serpentine and Huon Rivers for hydroelectric power. It is a beautiful but controversial area, whose potential creation was responsible for first Green Party being formed in opposition...unsuccessfully I might add. Critics call it "Fake Pedder".

A short distance from Lake Pedder, the Gordon River was also dammed to create a lake for hydroelectric power. The Gordon River Dam is several inches higher than the Sydney Harbor Bridge and holds thirty times more water than the harbor. The dam wall is advertised as the worlds largest commercial abseil (rappell) at 140 meters. The water level at the dam has been low since the spring so water from nearby Lake Pedder has been let into Lake Gordon.

The Sentinel mountain range,  on the way to Lake Pedder.

The Sentinel mountain range, on the way to Lake Pedder.

Lake Pedder with the Franklin Mtn Range in the background.

Lake Pedder with the Franklin Mtn Range in the background.

The Gordon Dam with steps leading down to the horizontal wall. Our host at the Platypus Cottage (Nigel) used to be the manager here before he returned to farming and DYI hydro-generators.

The Gordon Dam with steps leading down to the horizontal wall. Our host at the Platypus Cottage (Nigel) used to be the manager here before he returned to farming and DYI hydro-generators.

We were eating lunch in the car overlooking the Gordon Dam when this experienced moocher appeared.  He started on the the hood and before we closed the window he was heading inside the car for a snack.

We were eating lunch in the car overlooking the Gordon Dam when this experienced moocher appeared. He started on the the hood and before we closed the window he was heading inside the car for a snack.


He is a Pied Currawong distinguished by the white on his tail and his bright yellow eyes.

He is a Pied Currawong distinguished by the white on his tail and his bright yellow eyes.

This featured blog entry was written by Charedwards from the blog Edwards Abroad.
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