We selected Mount Wellington the World Heritage as our dream destination for the third day of our stay in Tasmania. From our base at Launceston it was about three hours’ drive. We had to prepare for the entire day with required clothing, dry food and drinks for driving to the top of the mount which we were told as very windy and cold. No tourist will like to miss the adventure of driving to the top of Australia while they are on a tour to Tasmania. I can assure all that once you are there you will remember it for the rest of your life. It has spectacular views and is one of Hobart's biggest tourist destinations
Morning hot and cold shower and good breakfast prepared by Rozy were delicious. We filled our stomach as much as we could as drive along Tasmainan roads through country side mostly hills and rain forests or along the coast will not give any feeling for breaking journey for lunch. We bought rain coats as contingency precautions for rain as we were to climb high above the usual rain cloud over the Hobart city. We travelled through Campbell Town where we stopped for a while in the park. Every brick of the pavement bears the name of War Heroes of Tasmania or Aussie War Heroes of World Wars one and two. This is how Australians remembers heroes at sun down and sun rise.
We reached Hobart city in about and half hours and were amazed to view the scenic beauties around. It appeared to us as a heavenly city .Everything appeared like picture postcards. Rozy bought few small gifts from a China town. We also took some guidance from a Chinese Australian about Mount Wellington.
The City of Hobart is mostly built at the foothills of the Mount Wellington (Indigenous names: Unghbanyahletta, Poorawetter, or kunanyi) It rises to 1,271 meters (4,170 ft) AHD over the city. It is frequently snow-covered, sometimes even in summer, and the lower slopes are thickly forested, but crisscrossed by many walking tracks and a few fire trails. There is also a sealed but narrow road to the summit, about 22 kilometres (14 mi) travel from the city. An enclosed lookout near the summit provides spectacular views of the city below and to the east, the Derwent estuary, and also glimpses of the World Heritage Area nearly 100 kilometers (62 mi) to the west.
The low-lying areas and foothills of Mount Wellington were formed by slow geological upsurge when the whole Hobart area was a low-lying cold shallow seabed. The upper reaches of the mountain were formed more violently, as a Sill with a tabular mass of igneous rock that has been intruded laterally between layers of older rock pushing upwards by upsurges of molten rock as the Australian continental shelf tore away from Antarctica, and separated from Gondwana over 40 million years ago. It is often incorrectly considered to be a dormant volcano.
The first recorded European in the area Abel Tasman probably did not see the mountain in 1642, as his ship was quite a distance out to sea as he sailed up the South East coast of the island - coming closer in near present day North and Marion Bays.
In 1798 Matthew Flinders and George Bass circumnavigated the island. Whilst they were resting in the area Flinders named the river the Derwent River (the name John Hayes had given only to the upper part of the river), Flinders referred to the mountain as ‘Table Mountain’ (the name given to it by Bond and Bligh - young Matthew Flinders was with them in 1791) for its similarity in appearance to Table Mountain in South Africa. However, the British first settled in the Hobart area in 1804, resulting in Flinders’ name of ‘Table Mountain’ becoming more popular. Table Mountain remained its common name until in 1832 it was decided to rename the mountain in honour of the Duke of Wellington who, with Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher finally defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in present-day Belgium on 18 June 1815.
Our Drive to the Top of Australia:
Shvro was the lone driver and it was a challenging drive along a very steep and zig zag road. He was excited to drive as very often we had to cut through clouds. Looking around we could see ocean and blue mountain tops. We had to keep Shuvro pumped up all the time as a trail of more than 100 cars were following us and we had no scope to stop on this 25 minutes most difficult drive I am sure Shuvro will ever experience.
The road to the summit was constructed in the early 1930s as a relief scheme for the unemployed, an idea initiated by Albert Ogilvie, the Premier of Tasmania of the day. While the road is officially known as the Pinnacle Drive, it was, for some time, also widely known among residents of Hobart as 'Ogilvie's Scar' because at the time it was constructed 'the Mountain' was heavily logged and almost bare, and the road was an all-too-obvious scar across the already denuded mountain. Today the trees have grown again but the 'scar' most people see today is not actually the road but a line of large rocks with no trees 50–100 m above the road, provided as an easement for power lines. The road itself was opened in August 1937, after nearly two years of work, by Governor Sir Ernest Clark.
As soon as we parked and got out a very strong wind and spell of rain greeted us. It took as a while to realize that we were at the highest point of not only Australia but the entire Southern Hemisphere. The first weather station was set up on Mount Wellington in 1895 by Clement Lindley Wragge.
Mount Wellington was selected by many broadcasters as the site of broadcast radio and television transmitters because it provides line-of-sight transmission to a much larger area of Hobart and surrounding districts than any other point in the region. The first television stations to transmit from there were TVT-6 (now WIN Television) and ABT-2 (the ABC) in 1960. The mountain has two main transmission towers located at its pinnacle. One is the concrete and steel constructed Broadcast Australia Tower (sometimes referred to as the NTA Tower) and one owned by WIN television which is of steel construction. The NTA tower broadcasts all of Hobart's high power FM radio stations plus the digital TV services for ABC and SBS. The NTA tower also has a small accommodation area at its base with kitchen and workshop area. The WIN TV tower broadcasts the digital TV services from Southern Cross, Win TV, and Tasmanian Digital Television. The site also contains a small kitchen area and contains some data links from local Hobart businesses.
We could see right across the Tasman Sea and all around Hobart City with strong bianocolours .Took several photographs. After spending almost two hours I had to almost drag Rozy, Shuvro and Mahbub as they were so thrilled that they almost forgot we have to drive down and drive back for almost four hours to get back to Launceston.
I have traveled to many beautiful cities of the world in all continents excepting Antarctica .But the experience of driving to the top of Mount Wellington, heavenly views around , challenging stay at the top braving the strong wind and chill are among never to be forgotten a very special memory .
To be continued.