The week was drawing to a close as we packed up the car for another weekend away. We knew snow was forecast and the weather would be setting in as we approached Lake St Clair in the evening for a quick stopover on the way to the west coast. No matter how many times I travel across the state, there's always a sense of excitement about what might be in store as we explore the ever-changing Tasmanian landscape.
We arrived at Lake St Clair in the dark - our plan was to meet our friends Jack and Lauren early on Saturday before embarking on a few walks on Tasmania's west coast. There had been light snow falling as we travelled through the highlands, and although it was not enough to slow us down, we were not sure what the morning might have in store as we continued our journey.
We awoke to a light dusting of snow and a beautiful sunrise over Australia's deepest lake. It was freezing cold (-3 according to the nearest temperature gauge) but aside from the icy ground crunching beneath our feet, we barely noticed the cold as we stood awestruck by the spectacular views around the lake and Mount Olympus a few kilometres to the north.
Before long we set out on the next leg of the drive to meet Jack and Lauren at Nelson Falls. The drive is usually an hour or so from Lake St Clair, but we took our time as the higher sections of road were covered by a thin blanket of snow. The drive through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers national park is spectacular at the best of times, but it takes on a whole new character after snowfall.
We arrived at Nelson Falls and stretched our legs on the short 20 minute return walk. The waterfall was in full flow after recent rain and heavy snowfall, the wind and spray made for a very refreshing break before we continued on to Lake Burbury for a quick stopover on our way through to Strahan, a beautiful seaside village on Macquarie Harbour.
After arriving at Strahan, we spent the afternoon exploring the nearby coastline. The open landscapes really lend themselves to relaxation - it was easy to forget the passage of time as we wandered around the Henty Dunes watching storms crawl along the coastline as the daylight softened and gave way to twilight.
Before long it was time to retire to our cabin for wine and cheese before Sunday morning's walk to Tasmania's highest waterfall.
It was an early start as we set out on the drive to Montezuma Falls, around an hour north of Strahan. The walk is relatively flat along a good trail, taking around 3 hours return as it follows a contour around some deep, heavily forested valleys.
After around 90 minutes the trail opened up a little, allowing views of the surrounding mist-covered hills and rainforest. We could hear the sound of fast-moving water as we approached a long swing bridge over the valley, little did we know this would be our first glimpse of the towering waterfall cascading down into the rainforest below.
Like many trails in Tasmania, we had it all to ourselves so stopped for a while to take it all in and fill our lungs with the cold, fresh air. All in all, a fitting end to a weekend well spent.
How to get there:
The 4.5 hour drive from Hobart to Strahan is one of the best road trips in the country, with a number of incredible stops along the way. Although there's a multitude of hiking, kayaking and adventure options on the west coast, a rewarding visit can be achieved with a tight three day itinerary as we did.