The Platypus Cottage
11.22.2016 - 11.24.2016
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!
🔷 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.
🔷 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.