Follow by Email

Friday, February 27, 2009

Burnie, Tasmania

Guide Falls

Fern Glade

Platypus etched into a large rock

A short drive from Burnie is Guide Falls, not so spectacular today but after good rain would be worth seeing.

Another short drive away is Fern Glade. We were told that you can see platypus here at any time during the day, there's no need to get here at the crack of dawn or last thing at night. At about 12.30 I asked a young German tourist if he'd seen any and he yes, about 20 minutes ago right up there by that tree. I took off to the tree and sat with eyes glued to the water until my bottom went numb. I'm beginning to think they are a myth, I am not destined to see a platypus in the wild.

Got chatting to two nice American ladies who arrived in Burnie this morning on a cruise ship, one was from New Hampshire, the other from Maine. I hate to think what they thought when they docked at Burnie, there are huge mounds of woodchips and ugly associated machinery on the docks which seems out of place on an otherwise picturesque waterfront.

Gunns is the largest woodchipper in the Southern Hemisphere. It has over 900 square kilometres of plantations, mainly eucalyptus trees. It is Tasmania’s largest private land-owner, employs over 1200 people and has a turnover in excess of AUS$600 million. Japanese paper companies buy about 80 percent of the woodchips produced by Gunns.

Woodchipping is a very sensitive political subject, the bottom line being jobs versus saving trees.