Dark clouds lingered above ashen crags, throwing shadows across steep, silvery forest as we rolled towards Mount Murchison in western Tasmania. This was wild, hauntingly beautiful country that rose and fell as we continued south along Anthony Road, past weathered hills and lakes which shimmered like mountain-fed lochs on the other side of the world.
Anthony Road is a superb drive that offers numerous vantage points to take in the striking scenery. I highly recommend it. It’s also a mountain and lake lover’s line, being the only stretch from which all major peaks of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park can be seen, while it has access to the glacial lakes in the nearby Tyndall Range – such as Lake Westwood, Lake Selina and Lake Julia.
Built by Hydro Tasmania as part of the Anthony Power Scheme, Anthony Road begins (or ends) about five kilometres south of Tullah in Tasmania’s west and reaches the Zeehan Highway just north of Queenstown. It also travels past virginal forest, ghost towns and the entry point for several “classic walks”, such as Mount Murchison, the Dora Plateau and the Tyndall Range.
Most notably, however, it skirts the edge of Lake Plimsoll – created in 1994 when the Anthony River was dammed for hydro electricity – and its glacial neighbour straddling the road’s western side, Lake Selina. Not only are these lakes a wonderful place to rest and explore, they’re a bonafide treat for fishermen, being one of the few places on the island where you can snag a brook trout – which love the lakes’ cool, well oxygenated water.
Rounding a bend on Anthony Road, our view opened onto Lake Plimsoll, its steep, rocky shorelines and age-old hills – long friends of the cold and wind. It was breathtaking country, born, it seemed, during one of Gaia’s thoughtfully tumultuous fits, and I couldn’t imagine anyone passing by this lake’s welcome vantage points.
Of course we stopped and my three friends and I naturally went our separate ways. The land had stirred something we each had to experience, even just briefly. Of the four of us, three were photographers, while the other loved walking alone (who doesn’t?). Wow, I thought, this too, was Australia. Such a diverse country – a far cry from the parched outback plains further north (another must).
Anthony Road is one of the world’s great drives that should be near the top of every road-tripper’s list.