Continuing Part 3 of The Top of the World Tour, where Kev and I experienced a magical journey with our guide, Sarah Lockyer, employee of Adventure Forests and Forestry Tasmania. After the wonderful times we had at the Railtrack Riders and the beautiful Big Tree Reserve in the famous Styx Valley, it was back into the four wheel drive once more, this time to climb a mountain to the magical Eagles Eyrie, a journey I will never forget.
Maydena Adventure Hub: Eagles Eyrie
Once back in the four wheel drive, we headed for Robert’s Road, a gravel Forestry Road which would take us to Abbott’s Peak, a mountain on the edge of Tasmania’s South-West World Heritage Wilderness area. Once at the beginning of Robert’s Road, a quick stop saw Sarah unlocking a boom gate (the only vehicle access to The Eagles Eyrie is with Adventure Forests) and here Sarah also made a quick check-in via UHF to let her boss know our location. Once the gate was safely locked behind us, we were off and travelling through more magical forests, with Sarah giving us a beautiful commentary including the rich history of the area, sharing her knowledge of the fauna and flora of the region and the sustainable forestry practices used today, which I must add were clearly visible in the regrowth forests we viewed along the way.
The regrowth was rich in all types of native vegetation, the beautiful myrtle trees lining the roads, ginormous towering eucalypts, dogwoods and sassafras, while the undergrowth was rich in native ferns and native low growing shrubs. We were also shown old forestry equipment, an old steam hauler used to pull logs from the bush, from days long ago, left where it was last used, the forest now swallowing it as it slowly rusts away. (Back at the Maydena Adventure Hub a 1928 steam log hauler is on display, until the invention of the steam hauler, the logs had to be transported from the bush by horse or bullock teams along timber tramways, prior to this it was done by ‘convict trains’, where convicts were chained together and the logs hauled to their shoulders and carried from the bush ).
Alpine Wonderland Appears
As we climbed higher, the magical world around us turned to that of a pristine sub-alpine wonderland, predominant is the beautiful Tasmanian snow-gum (also known as the Mt. Wellington Peppermint), though here it grows scraggly and dwarfed due to harsh weather conditions, with it’s beautiful bark a stark contrast of silver/white, with shades of pink and yellow. At this altitude the ecosystem is fragile, only the hardiest of plants survive, to be hardy these plants are slow-growing, extremely fragile and any damage takes a long time to repair. BUT they do repair. The snow gum is cold resistant and grows in the mountains and high plateau regions of Tasmania among sub-alpine dolerite rocks. The longer it is left alone, the better its survival. A wildfire through the Maydena Range back in the mid 20th Century devastated the snow gums growing here, but as we witnessed, they have come back, even though progress is slow. The shrub cover is filled with many of our natives, Cheeseberry, Bauera, Epacris and Pineapple Grass to name a few, but all have adapted to survive the harsh winters and mild summers here on Abbott’s Peak.
Views Have You Spellbound
As we came to a stop at the top of Abbott’s Peak, the sheer magnificent beauty surrounding us held me in awe. The landscape before me was of rolling mountain ranges as far as the eye could see… mountain peaks, some still dotted with snow from the early spring falls. Between the mountain ranges are magical rainforests of myrtle, sassafrass, celery-top and huon pine; eucalypt forests containing the beautiful swamp gum (eucalyptus regnans), the tallest flowering plant on the planet. My love of the forests held me here in total awe. Kev’s voice, “c’mon Carol” drew me back to the here and now, and it was a walk along a short track to the Eagles Eyrie.
Eagles Eyrie: Wow
Eyrie definition: the nest of an eagle or other bird of prey, built in a high inaccessible place
1100 metres above sea level, perched at the top edge of Abbott’s Peak, yet lying in the ‘saddle’ is the Eagles Eyrie: a large glass and timber building, a restaurant, a function centre, with large viewing platforms, environmentally eco-friendly and built over the winter months to have the least effect on the environment. This building is nothing short of a credit to both 1+2 Architecture who designed the building, and Vos Construction and Joinery who built it throughout extreme winter conditions, battling strong winds, heavy rain and snow and the difficulties of access through the mountainous terrain.
It was here I stood on the viewing platform, and truly understood why this place is called the Eagles Eyrie. As I stood entranced by the view, I knew what it felt like to the eagles. Here was I, in the eagles nest, proudly surveying the eagle’s territory high up on top of the mountain, surveying the breathtaking panoramic views over mountain peaks and forests, where in safety the eagles soar freely. I can now understand why our wedge-tailed eagles nest where they do.
Delicious Tasmanian Produce
Once more I was pulled from my reverie, this time for a delicious lunch Sarah provided to be eaten in comfort inside the Eagles Eyrie. A bento box of fresh Tasmanian produce: hot smoked chicken, hot smoked salmon, Ashgrove Cheese, fresh salad and condiments, and the choice of local wine also. All this was enjoyed as we relaxed in the fireside comfort of the Eagles Eyrie, where through the large windows, once more the views were nothing short of magnificent. Dietary requirements are considered, and Adventure Forest Tours offer gluten free/vegetarian/vegan/no seafood options if required. Large and spacious inside with kitchen facilities and bar, the Eagles Eyrie can cater to weddings and private functions.
Sadly, the time had come to leave the Eagles Eyrie. And as I walked away I took one last look at this magical wilderness, where in one direction I could see across Tasmania’s South-West peaks as far as Mt Anne; in the other I could see beyond the Styx Valley as far as Mt Wellington. Credit must be given to Forestry Tasmania, this is a truly unique tourism venture, where one can see how Forestry Tasmania care for our wilderness environments, how sustainable practices are used in forestry harvesting, and how lovingly they maintain these beautiful areas. As I left the Eagles Eyrie, a small part of my heart remained.
Kev and I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Sarah Lockyer, Adventure Forests, Forestry Tasmania and Think Tasmania for giving us the opportunity to experience this awesome venture. And to my readers, whether tourists to our beautiful state or local Tasmanians, I say this: “if you ever get the opportunity, just DO IT. Pure magic awaits you at the Eagles Eyrie, and just maybe you will get to see the wedge-tailed eagles soaring freely here through the sky!”
Adventure Forests Top of the World Tour
Bookings for the Adventure Forests Top of The World Tour can be made by phoning 1300 720 507, or visit The Maydena Adventure Hub. The Hub is open seven days a week. Operators, Kelley and Mark are long time Maydena residents and will answer your every query. Their home made muffins, lasagna & scones are just scrumptious.
Adventure Hub Opening Hours
Mon-Fri 7:30am – 4:00pm
Sat-Sun 9:00am – 4:00pm
- visitor information centre
- licenced cafe
- public toilets
- gift shop
- car park
- coach parking
Please note, the cafe and visitor centre is closed over winter.
Carol and Kevin Haberle travelled as guests of Adventure Forests (Forestry Tasmania) on behalf of Think Tasmania.
All photos strictly ©Carol Haberle, H&H Photography. You can follow Carol on Facebook at Haberle Photo Cards. Carol writes feature articles for this website about all things Tasmanian. If you’d like Carol to visit you, please contact Think Tasmania.
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