I passed this magnificent gum tree as I retraced my steps from the Derwent Basin back to the town ship of Derwent Bridge.
Despite having driven and been driven along this patch of the Lyell Highway many times, its shape and character were not well known to me. I guess I have always looked out at the Derwent River and more or less disregarded the land.
The area jutting into the River, causing it to curve from a north west to western orientation, has been labelled Windy Point. I reached the start of this about 8.20 and it was another 15 minutes of walking before I reached its western end. There was some wind and when blowing my dribbling nose, the icy breeze flattened my handkerchief across my face. I sought visual distractions against the cold. A magnificent old gum tree amidst a range of exotic plants was a grand surprise.
On one hill to my left were half a dozen dappled sheep with twins on their teats. Sometimes their heads were black or brown but most fascinating was the dinner plate sized brown woollen shapes across their otherwise beige woollen bodies. I was too cold to take a photo of this sight.
In parts, the flowing river was a distance from the road. Between the highway and the clear water, marshy water plants grew profusely, and access to the River was impossible. The photo below looks across the Derwent River to Mt Dromedary in the distance and Mt Terra in the left foreground.
During my walk around Windy Point, at 8.30am I passed the road turn-off leading to Stefano Lubiana wines and noted there was a Derwent Valley Link bus stop on the highway – which, if you are a tourist without transport, would allow you easy access to the winery and the odd glass or two of some special liquid. I didn’t stop and visit – drinking at such an early hour didn’t seem like a good idea.
Ten minutes later at 8.40am I was passing the road turn-off to the Derwent Estate Wines.
I was surprised as I passed the estate to see what seems like late 19th century buildings nestled into the hill. While the website explains: ‘the historic Mt Nassau property has been in the current owner’s family since 1913, I can find no information about these buildings which appear to be an earlier architectural style. More research required.
Opposite, in the River and its edging long grasses, white faced herons, coots, ducks and black swans were at home.
The day was offering truly magical sights aided by the intense blue of the sky and the water.