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So, who was the pieman?
The Pieman River is believed to have got its name from convict Alexander Pearce who escaped from Sarah Island with a number of others. Having run out of food, Pearce proceeded to eat his companions!
Pearce was recaptured, but escaped again, only to revert to his canabalistic ways when the escapees again ran out of food.
And who was Macquarie?
Macquarie Harbour is named after Scottish Major General Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth Colonial Governor of New South Wales.
A very sad beaching of hundreds of pilot whales happened in Macquarie Harbour in September 2020. Authorities and volunteers managed to rescue around 100 of the whales but many perished.
If you would like to learn more about why whales beach themselves, this article will provide some information WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES
The Western Explorer road runs from the small settlement of Arthur River in Tasmania’s North West to Zeehan. The road runs through the Tarkine Wilderness area which is a temperate rain forest region.
The Western Explorer road is mainly gravel surface and travels through a variety of landscapes including the temperate rainforest, sand dunes and coastal heathland. There’s a bit of comic relief when you get to the car ferry at Corinna on the Pieman River.
Corinna is worth a stop – there are some walks into the rain forest area and you can take various river cruises including one out to the head of the Pieman River.
Next stop is Zeehan – once Tasmania’s third largest town when gold, silver and lead mining was at its peak. There’s a mining museum here to celebrate the past glory. Now, only 700 people live in the town.
Next stop was Strahan on Macquarie Harbour. The boat entry into the harbour from the Southern Ocean is treacherous – no wonder it’s called Hells Gates.
There’s an interesting huon pine display on the shore at Strahan. Huon pine is a famous boat making timber that does not degrade in water. When we were there there was a huge huon pine log on the jetty, probably reclaimed from the water upstream on the Gordon River. It’s now illegal to cut down this timber.
We enjoyed our cruise on Macquarie Harbour. Out to the heads, past the salmon cages that are now a major industry in the harbour, a visit to the old convict penal settlement on Sarah Island, and up the Gordon River.
And to top it all off – we had a feed of local crayfish that night.
Email from Ben: “I plan to climb Cradle Mountain when we visit the area in a few weeks – better start training”. So I reduced my alcohol consumption to one glass of wine a night (well, most nights) and did a bit of walking (on the flat) at weekends, so when we started our trek on a fine February day I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead.