Tag Archives: rivers

M- Meander River, Tasmania.

Welcome to the Meander River for Day 12 of our Alphabetical Tour of Tasmania during the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

The Meander River is true to name as it flows from its source high up in Great Western Tiers Mountain Range via towns like Meander and Deloraine, until it flows into the South Esk River at Hadspen. From source to mouth, the Meander is joined by fourteen tributaries including the Liffey River and descends 930 metres (3,050 ft) over its 112-kilometre (70 mi) course.[1]

Meander at weir

The Meander River, Deloraine.

“Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.”

Mikhail Lermontov

As you may recall, we’ve spent the past few days hiding out in Launceston with friends. So, today we only have a short drive from Launceston to Deloraine where we’ll meet up with the Meander River. After all our driving, you’ll be pleased to hear this will be a quick 41 minute trip covering 52.3km (not that I’m being precise and hanging on each and every second. I promise that you won’t need to bring a stopwatch.)

As an alternative to driving, I did consult with my in-house, Tasmanian white-water kayaking expert about the possibilities of kayaking from Launceston to Deloraine. After all, we’ve been driving everywhere and it would be good to get out there on the water, especially when we were there in January (far too cold now heading into Winter!) While he didn’t discount kayaking completely, we agreed you’ll be reported to Missing Persons long before you reach Deloraine, and even the most intrepid adventurers will be offering their rescuers profuse thanks. “You’d be exhausted!!” Not only is there the not insignificant matter of the River’s never-ending twists and turns, there are also white water rapids to overcome.

Train

Train Parked.

So, I guess that means we’ve all agreed to drive and we’ll meet up at the Train Park in West Parade, Deloraine.

Rivers intrigue me. Much of the time, they seem so benign and it’s only in times of drought or flood, that we generally stare beyond their obvious facades probing for answers to life’s imponderable questions. Rivers can run deep, and yet they’re so reflective in a purely superficial sense. I love taking photos of reflections dancing over the river’s facade, especially when there’s just the slightest ripple through the image just to remind you, that it is indeed a reflection and not the thing itself.

Indeed, reading through numerous newspaper headlines through the last 150 years or more, I’ve sandwiched together Meander’s ever-changing tides…

DELORAINE. The Meander River has overflowed its banks, causing a very heavy flood…MEANDER RIVER FROZEN OVER.DELORAINE. Wednesday. The Meander River at Deloraine was frozen over this morning from bank to bank. The frost was the severest ever known in the district…After it is taken in to the Deloraine water scheme, it is treated with chlorine to kill bacteria … to make it safe to drink. (Continued on P2) MEANDER RIVER POLLUTED Continued from Page 1. HIGH E COLI…The recent rises in the Meander River have greatly assisted anglers, and large catches have been reported. All Ash were In good condition, A number of platypuses have been seen near the Deloraine…DELORAINE FISHING STARTS – The river fishing season started yesterday, and the banks of the Meander River were lined with fishing enthusiasts, all endeavouring to catch the first fish of the season…LOBSTER IN TROUT. – Mr. L.D. Cameron, of Deloraine, caught a large brown trout weighing 2¾lbs. in the Meander river below the weir on Tuesday. Its stomach contained a 3-inch freshwater lobster. Lobsters have not been seen in the river at Deloraine for a number of years…

I guess this just confirms what Heraclitus said:

“You cannot step into the same river twice.”

Meanwhile, as we peer deep into the Meander our hopes are not dashed. Our son finally manages to spot a platypus with its bill sticking out of the water. Being a mammal, the Platypus must return to the surface to breathe but it still needs to get spotted and they’re notoriously shy.

Me being me, there is only one thing more important than seeing a platypus in the wild for the very first time in my life. That’s right. That’s taking THE photo.

Black Swan

This black swan made for a much better photograph than the elusive platypus.

 

Of course, we all know that if I was wanting to photograph a platypus, I’d be much better off going to the zoo. However, as you would appreciate, a photo taken out in the wild out trumps a zoo photo any day, even if you can’t see the subject.

Mind you, it seems that Geoff has seen quite a few platipus in the wild. Geoff’s aunt who used to live at North Scottsdale, used to have a resident No-Name platypus living in their creek. Geoff’s even seen this platypus walking across their gravel driveway around dusk heading off hunting downstream.

So, when I catch up with Mum and Dad for Easter lunch, I’ll definitely be adding: “No Platypus Encounters” to my list of childhood grievances. I’m still not sure whether not going camping as a family, counts as a minus or a plus.

kids with Ro

The kids and I crossing the Meander River at Deloraine.

What do you think? Are you a camper, glamper or up there in your ivory hotel? And…does the presence or deadly snakes and spiders in Tasmania influence your decision at all?

I look forward to hearing from you!

xx Rowena

 

Cataract Gorge…Tasmania’s Somewhat Sleepy River Ghost.

Launceston’s Cataract Gorge and Basin are renowned for their rugged, natural beauty and it’s hard to believe you’re only 10 minutes drive from the CBD.  Indeed, you could almost believe you’ve wandered into a lost wilderness…another dimension…not unlike wandering through a wardrobe into mythical Narnia.

It’s so easy to get caught up in “the bright side”. I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. As usual, I was too busy staring through my lens at heaven to even consider the destruction this river has wrought… or the heartache.

The earliest recorded visit to the Cataract Gorge was made by settler William Collins in 1804 onboard the ship: “Lady Nelson”. He was particularly impressed by the South Esk and its cataract and wrote: “Upon approaching the entrance I observed a large fall of water over rocks, nearly a quarter of a mile up a straight gully between perpendicular rocks about 150 ft high. The beauty of the scene is probably not surpassed in the world 1.”.

However, the South Esk River is like a mighty, slumbering ghost. Only last year, Launceston experienced devastating flooding when heavy rains sent the South Esk River into flood on multiple occasions. In June 2016, water per second (cumecs) reached over 2,000 cumecs 2. I don’t know how you translate that into something which makes sense. The best description I’ve found, other than photos and footage of the flooding, was a comment made by the State Emergency Service regional manager Mhairi Revie during the less devastating November floods:

“What they need to imagine is 24,000 Volkswagens worth of water passing them by every second,” she said. 3.

I sort of remembered these floods, but last year is a very long time ago for this bear of very little brain.

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At this point, I should probably clarify that while I’m what Tasmanians call “a Mainlander”, I don’t consider myself a “tourist” as we travel around Tasmania. After all, I’ve been married to a Tasmanian for 15 years… even if I haven’t “heard it all”. Yet, despite this familiarity, I was still very much viewing and experiencing the Cataract Gorge and the South Esk River as an outsider…an acquaintance with only a passing knowledge of it’s hidden depths.

So, of course, while I’ve been getting my head around the dark side of the South Esk River, I’ve been consulting my in-house, “Tasmanian Consultant”. Although Geoff was born and grew up in Scottsdale, lived and studied in Launceston and has witnessed such floods. Indeed, he was photographed by the local newspaper wading through flood waters in high school, just  around the corner from Parkside (see previous post).

While at university, the river flooded again and he noticed expert kayakers taking on the extremely dangerous floodwaters. Although Geoff used to kayak on white water rapids back then and played canoe polo, he wisely abstained from kayaking through the flood waters. However, he was watching the floods from a neighbouring rock and said he could feel that massive boulder vibrating from the sheer force of the flood waters. That’s pretty scary in itself and as I’ve looked at photos of the floods, I’ve been most amazed to see people standing so close to the edge. These flood waters are scary enough just watching the footage from the comfort of my couch.

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So, once again I’ve been reminded how easy it is to gloss over history and forget the lessons of the past. The dangers of zooming in on beauty with its inherent  dangers and forgetting to ask the questions or watch your back. This can be hard enough when you’re on your own turf. However, it is a serious consideration when you’re travelling and you lack that local knowledge.  You only need to watch the news to see the truth of that.

However, that’s not to say we shouldn’t make hay while the sun shines.

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Indeed, the day we were there, the weather was perfect…all blue skies. Hydrangeas  and agapanthus were flowering and I was struck by the enormity of towering trees, soaring rock faces reminiscent of Easter Island and the joys of catching up with old friends while returning to the pathways of the past.

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It was a beautiful day!

xx Rowena

 

 

Sources

  1. http://www.launcestoncataractgorge.com.au/history.html
  2. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-15/launceston-cataract-gorge-flood-fourth-time-this-year/8026974
  3. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-15/launceston-cataract-gorge-flood-fourth-time-this-year/8026974