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number of native animal And the R-S-P-C-A says the fold following a spike in road orphans has increased four kills. Details in WIN News Late that rival this one for adventure There are few places in Australia and few as blessed with so much beauty above and below the surface. I'm Sorrel Wilby. of the Tasmanian wilderness, And welcome to the heart spectacular natural landscapes undoubtedly one of the most on earth. over sweeping mountain vistas You'll soar with the eagles of Tolkienesque delights. and linger in a forest endemic and endangered creatures... You'll meet a variety of unique, (SQUAWKS) who champion their survival. ..and share the triumphs of those And this little girl, some of our released birds. she's a daughter of So it's a start of a new population. the deepest lake in Australia... We'll venture overland to adorned with natural jewels. ..and underground to lavish caves your sense of wonder, It's a journey that will awaken a walk on the wild side the best of Australia. that truly represents is rugged and remote. South-west Tasmania the most precious resource Its formidable mountains fortress our generation holds in trust - wilderness. This World Heritage area Australia's Island State. protects a fifth of It's a place of wonder... not only with the season ..a landscape that changes but with the weather from one moment to the next. (THUNDER RUMBLES) It's so moody, isn't it? (CHUCKLES) Moody and broody. of magnetic mystery. Gives it the right air Ooh, yeah! and see what's hidden up there. Makes you want to go out of an overnight storm, Veiled by the ethereal remnants famous Cradle Mountain, it is of course the face of Tassie's on this journey of discovery. our first port of call To put it in perspective, on the shores of Dove Lake. I'm joined by zoologist Nick Mooney destination It's easily the most popular National Park, in Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair which envelopes the northern end of the vast Tasmanian wilderness. you find yourself in now This landscape three major influences. is the result of of Gondwanaland, You had that original break-up the great southern continent. recently - about 10,000 years ago. Then you had glaciation much more from the glaciation till now, And then right through that period, of fire. you have a very heavy influence The Cradle Mountain plateau several hundred metres thick. was once covered by an icecap in ice here 10,000 years ago. We would have been standing and the ice began to retreat, As the temperature warmed

and deepened the valleys. its glaciers gouged the mountainsides the glacier in fact retreated to So we have tarns high up where and melted. at the end of that period these deep gullies But you have this shelving, and these big piles of rubble here all the rocks down. where the glacier bulldozed this landscape The glacial forces that shaped ideal for many unusual plant forms. helped to create conditions that were that sweep down from this mountain, But hidden in the gullies

the moisture rarely wanes, tucked away in places where of temperate rainforest endure - extraordinary pockets living reminders of our ancient past. Gondwana 45 million years ago, When Australia broke away from would have looked like this. a great swathe of it into warmer, drier latitudes, But as the continent drifted north the forest struggled to survive. Only in Tasmania, was wetter and cooler, where the climate did they have a chance to thrive. sweep through a landscape like this, When a succession of fires the effect is devastating, into button grass moors. transforming rainforest They are very quick to colonise. this will turn into scrub And eventually, and this eucalypt edge will come in. after several hundred years. And it'll return to forest can start again. And then that whole cycle is a remarkable showplace, The area around Dove Lake and incredibly diverse. easily accessible into a world of wilderness But it's really just a gateway like no other on earth. Beginning in the Cradle Valley, multi-day walk in Australia. this is arguably the best-known Bearing south, its way across it snakes highlands windswept the wild and often Lake St Clair. to Cynthia Bay on have done the track over the years? How many times do you think you might Whoa! MAN: Probably 150 times. Oh, yeah. (LAUGHS) A sucker for punishment. Yeah, done a few hard ones. during the warmer weather Most first-timers take on the track from November to April, and Jenny Cook but rangers Eddie Firth are passionate winter walkers. Yeah, I don't really like the heat the weather's really adverse so to get out there when yes, it's much better. and challenging, the track is 80km long, From end to end

things about it but one of the greatest are the optional side trips. less than a kilometre The first, presenting itself is Waldheim forest. from the start of the boardwalk, stands of pandani in the park Here you'll find one of the finest and one of its cutest residents, the Bennett's wallaby. You can get so close to them without... ..disturbing them at all. The pandani looks like an exotic palm, but it's actually a giant heath. Oh, it'll be good to get the tent up. You've got to love a trail like this. The vegetation changes as you lose and gain altitude so you're constantly moving through this patchwork of rainforest, woodland and tussock grass habitat. Above 1,000 metres, the trees disappear and there's no mistaking you're well and truly in the alpine zone. Look at this. Oh, I love these plants so, so much. I like my King Billys and I like the rainforest plants, but this is my absolute favourite - the cushion plant. These are amazing - whole communities of tiny plants clustered together like coral. They're almost hard to touch, like a boulder. But they're incredibly fragile. EDDIE: Yeah, they actually feel quite robust when you touch them, but with a footprint from a boot they're very easily damaged, that outside layer. And once that outside layer's damaged, it exposes it to the elements of the weather and then that's what destroys the plant. You look into it and you start seeing, like, little gardens within the garden, don't you? It's incredible. And then when you're above them, walking past them, they look like...almost like maps of the world. When you walk the Overland Track, you find yourself moving between the intimate and the infinite... ..with every scene etching itself indelibly into your memory. (THUNDER ROLLS) The Overland Track finishes at Lake St Clair, headwaters of the River Derwent, which flows south-east through to the coastal city of Hobart.

MAN: Mt Ida used to be a part of the Traveller Range and then ice coming off the plateau has formed two glaciers either side and...gouged away all that rock and met the ice coming from the northern part of the lake and dug out the really deep valley that Lake St Clair's in now. At 15 kilometres north to south and roughly three kilometres wide, it's the largest glacial lake in Australia. It's also the deepest, at 167 metres. And it just so happens to be the place interpretive ranger, Richard Hale, feels most at home.

So, yeah, you can see Mt Rufus over this way with a cloud on the summit. And the valley on the other side

is the headwaters of the Franklin River. So Aboriginal people were living in caves further down the Franklin 25,000 years ago. This was 300 metres of ice then. So, you know, to think that Aboriginal people living today in Tasmania are descended from those same people that saw mountains carved away by ice - it's an incredible thing. It's extraordinary. Yeah. The Aboriginal name for Lake St Clair is 'Leeawuleena' - 'sleeping water'. Sometimes I wonder whether that's from frozen water... Because it was ice, yeah. Still frozen, yeah. It's completely solid. But we do get, you know, really lovely, still weather as well where every tree and every mountain's reflected perfectly. I believe you. (LAUGHS) Thousands wouldn't. Sometimes it's even warm enough to swim. Yeah, right! (BOTH LAUGH) It's a bit of a stretch on a cold and blustery day like today, but the freshwater sand dunes and golden beaches

add a hint of credibility. Well, you can get waves 1-2 metres high.

I've been bodysurfing here. (LAUGHS) I've actually bodysurfed with a platypus. With a platypus? Yeah. (LAUGHS) It looked pretty surprised. (LAUGHS) The platypus is a monotreme, and together with the echidna, the only living members of this ancient mammal order.

(BIRD TWEETS) They kind of look like a bit of a burnt spinifex clump. Something like that. A little brown, mossy rock. Are they the same as echidnas that you'd see on the mainland or are they slightly different? They're slightly different because it's colder down here and so they've got more fur and fewer spines. They've actually also got two long toes on their back foot for grooming in amongst the spines 'cause they've got more fur and they have to groom it more. Oh. And they also hibernate in the winter months so you don't really see them for nearly half the year. But right in the middle of winter, they wake up to mate. So sometimes in the coldest weather, you'll actually see echidnas out. Any number of males from 2 to 11 will queue behind a female nose to tail, forming something the experts call a 'love train'. They kind of barge each other out of the way to breed, so the strongest, bushiest one gets to be the mate.

Oh, that's too funny. (LAUGHS) What do they say - never work with kids or animals? At 740 metres, the altitude around the edge of Lake St Clair is consistent and yet the vegetation varies considerably, a consequence of fire history and geographical aspect. And, needless to say, Richard loves it all. It's very beautiful. You never get tired of it. Over time you develop a connection with the place. If we lose it, we kind of lose ourselves and we lose the planet in the process as well. I say to people that if I had an hour left to live, I'd go around to Platypus Bay, maybe with some friends and family, and just watch the platypus. You're in touch with something real here. It's very beautiful and it's the real stuff, all around you. (BANG!) (COUGHS) The answers you seek? Well, actually, I was just... Silence, fool!

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who toiled on behalf of the hydro-electric scheme... ..Greg Duncan is slowly but surely sculpting his own place in history. What these men did is absolutely fantastic. The hardship they had to endure. It might not have been right, but it was right for the time and no-one can argue with that. It was just get in there, cut down what you can and just try and make a living - that was it. And, yeah, no, they were honourable men as far as I'm concerned.

The 'Wall in the Wilderness' will ultimately be 100m long, a fitting tribute in timber to human endeavour through the ages. One panel that particularly caught my eye is dedicated to the bounty hunters who some believe wiped out the last of the wild thylacines during the '20s and '30s. But Greg's got an each-way bet on the tiger having survived. My heart would like to believe it is. Something in the head says, "Maybe not." But I wouldn't wipe it out altogether. The thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, was officially declared extinct in 1986. But there have been so many sightings reported since then that many people believe it still exists. It was a strange beast, a marsupial carnivore, kind of wolf-like in attitude and appearance, yet related to the kangaroo. It even had a pouch to protect its young. Now, just say you were thinking of tracking one down. My suggestion would be to begin your search at the quirky Mole Creek pub. It's in Mole Creek, funnily enough, a quaint little village on the edge of the Great Western Tiers. It's a bit of a shrine to all things thylacine and with any luck, you'll run into Trudy Richards. Thylacines, the one that I actually sighted myself - fairly exciting - it would've been 18 inches to 20 inches high, probably border collie, kelpie size. And the colour is indescribable. Trudy comes from a long line of thylacine stalkers.

Her father's seen one and his father had the good fortune of seeing a mother with several cubs. But Trudy's encounter was recent - the year 2000. She was camped on the edge of a plain, her back to the bush, listening to the possums and owls, when, all of a sudden, everything went quiet. And little Bess, my dog, she actually come under the chair that I was sitting on. You instantly know that there's something strange out there. I grabbed the torch and just in the torchlight, a thylacine. You know how people say the hair stands on the back of your neck?

It does. Trudy set up a research centre for thylacine enthusiasts right next door to the pub. It's a little research centre. Is that the real deal? That is the real deal. Can I hold him? If you're really careful. I'll be really careful. Good girl. Mmm. This is one set of jaws you wouldn't wanna mess with if living flesh was still attached. Incredible bite power with a gape that could span 120 degrees. (GROWLS) Put your whole head in there. Fantastic. That's unreal. What else have you got? We've got some genuine tiger poo.


What are you laughing about? That's not it, is it? That's it. That is gross! Fair dinkum. (GASPS) Wow! Now, how do you know it's tiger poo? Basically by the size. Which is pretty big in any species' language. Another creature that's almost as elusive as the thylacine in the wild is its closest relative, the Tasmanian devil. If you want a close-up encounter guaranteed, then this is your place - Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary. It's not far down the road from the Mole Creek pub and was set up by Androo Kelly, a tireless crusader for a devil of a cause... She's very relaxed, isn't she? change the public perception of this much-maligned fur ball. Mmm. Aww! She loves a cuddle and a kiss, old Dolly. Oh, look at you!

I think once you've actually had experience with Tasmanian devils and you see every one of them has their own individual personality and character, and you can't help but fall... Hopelessly in love with them. ..hopelessly in love with them.

They are like no other Australian animal, in that way. Now, Androo knows everything there is to know about devils, up to a point, for there are still many mysteries surrounding this marsupial - particularly when it comes to breeding. There's a question whether the devil can diapause, which means she mates with one male, holds the sperm, goes and mates with another male and then has young from two different sires. So when they give birth, how many babies do they have in a litter?

They can give birth to up to 30 young. 30?! 30 young.

But they don't look like baby animals, not even like a little joey kangaroo. The baby devil, like their whole family group, the dasyurids, their babies are only about 3mm in total length. The first four babies that find their way into the pouch and manage to attach to a nipple have a shot at survival,

unless, of course, the mother devil chooses to further limit her litter by stopping the flow of milk to one or more teats. Mum might say, "Well, I'm only gonna have three this season." These are the mysteries of the marsupial. The control of reproduction is like no other animal on earth in the mammal world. There is concern that populations are plummeting due to an infectious facial tumour disease. But the good news is there's a lot of healthy animals still out there in the environment. The numbers are fluctuating all the time up and down. Cancer is naturally a part of the Tasmanian devil's system.

This disease affects them in the face, it kills them very quickly - within three months. To me, that looks like a disease that's aiming to bring a population back to a balance. While each and every devil has its own personality, many behaviours are consistent. Now, that's pretty relaxed. That's basking.

Great Australians - they like to swim, bask and swear. (LAUGHS) Getting a bit red around the ears there too. I love the Aboriginal story, the way those ears had been moulded round and red using a native cherry because from then on, all the creatures of the bush talk about them in an unfriendly way, their ears are forever burning. (GRUNTS) The sound of devils cussing is really something else, especially in stereo. (BOTH GROWL) And here's something for the next trivia night - they actually used a recording of devil speak to create the cry of Shelob the giant spider in 'The Lord of the Rings'. They represent the wild, they represent the ancient animals of this land. And I think we are just so lucky in Tasmania to have this high-sensed top carnivore.

I think they're so unique and so uniquely Tasmanian. They almost reflect the spirit of the wild of Tasmania, the mystery.

Almost the image that what they put across isn't what they really are. If you've enjoyed our documentaries, why not continue to be amazed and inspired by Australia by subscribing to the Australian Geographic magazine. Join us as we venture to places that surprise even us. Subscribe now by phoning:

Or log on to: For just $59.95, you'll receive a year's subscription to the magazine, plus this great little explorer's kit, which includes a backpack and a map. Subscribe to Australian Geographic today and your life tomorrow could be one big adventure. eleven forty. Good evening, Partly cloudy on the Coast tomorrow. Gusty winds. Twenty nine degrees for Bega and Nowra. Isolated showers for the Southern Tablelands. Yass twenty five. Scattered showers, becoming partly cloudy on the Mountains. Cooma twenty four degrees. Early rain clearing to a few showers about the western ranges. Gusty winds. Canberra Right, class, so picking up on yesterday's exercises with the addition and subtraction of fractions. 6/9... (Voice becomes muffled) VOICEOVER: When kids don't have breakfast in the morning, things can get a bit fuzzy in the classroom. But research shows that a nutritious breakfast like great-tasting Sultana Bran with filling fibre and wholegrains can help kids stay focused. We add or subtract... Kellogg's Sultana Bran: VOICEOVER: To defeat the enemy, Raid has developed a revolutionary weapon of insect destruction. The power of nature is allied to the intelligence of an electronic timer that automatically releases advanced MicroMist technology. The multi-bug secret weapon exclusive to Raid Automatic. Only Raid Automatic's micro-particles give the flying enemy no way out and target the crawling foe in every corner. Another creature you may just chance to meet Mole Creek Karst National Park in the wilds of is the endemic Tasmanian cave spider, on earth. one of the most primitive arachnids Marakoopa Cave The World Heritage-listed to their environment. provides the easiest form of access will be drawn elsewhere. But honestly, your attentions It's just so rich in features. One cavern after the other. in these ornate cathedrals There's so much else to see you'll get completely distracted. in the region - Fortunately, there are other caves more than 300, in fact. and very wet and dirty But you're gonna have to get down the best of them. if you want to explore This is Deb Hunter, given half a chance - and this is where you'll find her, halfway down an unlit shaft, the subterranean world with others. sharing her passion for Like a crab. Now, a lot of these formations are created by the dissolving of the limestone, of course. I can see why they call it Honeycomb Cave. God, there are passages everywhere. But of course, you don't just come here for the adventure, do you? No, not at all.

This is one of the caves that's been recognised fauna refuge. as being a very high quality called Wild Cave Tours. Deb runs a small business And that's exactly what she delivers.

of science. Adventure with a side serve a troglophile. The correct term would be to the cave environment They are very well adapted living in hollow logs but they can sometimes be found nearby to the caves. the size of a golf ball. Their egg sacs are about that one egg sac, do you reckon? So, how many spiders will come out of

I've counted 100 on hatching. that anything could live down here. Gosh, it's hard to imagine It seems so hostile. Hostile to us, but it's fine for them. They're perfectly adapted. These living fossils have been here for millions of years. This is the only place in the world where you find anaspides. The most remarkable thing about them is that science thought they died out millions of years ago. So do they have eyes and they just can't see with them or do they have no eyes at all? Yes, they do have eyes, but they have atrophied.

They can no longer use them. The same species can be found in Tassie's highland lakes, but they've evolved back into something

more closely resembling their ancestors. Central Plateau from the caves So they've migrated to the when the ice sheets melted and have gradually shrunk in size of the Great Western Tiers, as they climbed the waterfalls and regained their brown pigment. relearned the use of their eyes It's like emerging into a lost world. an ecological island. Well, it's what we call a world that's an open woodland. Remnant rainforest exists below And here we are in the rainforest. no doubt in my mind There's absolutely bushwalking or adventure caving that hands-on pursuits like of wilderness. provide the most profound experience

from the higher realm of the skies. But there's a lot to glean There is no way I would ever give up my trekking boots and my caving helmets, but this is one totally cool way to get your head around the big picture. It's incredible to go from being underground - caving - in that really intimate setting to suddenly being above the entire wilderness and seeing it in all its splendour. It's just incredible. You really get a sense of just how vast an area it is, don't you? So vast, I'm told, it's even visible from space. It's almost as if the world hasn't quite woken up yet

and it's just lying under this incredibly comfortable doona of cloud. My pilot, Ward Bremmers, in the world. quite possibly has the best job I'm really lucky, you know? Fantastic, yeah. a beautiful little city I live in Hobart, which is and I get to work in the wilderness. It's just great. sweep of the Southwest Our flight today takes in a broad National Park and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers of the World Heritage area. which dominates the central section to the 1,425m summit of Mount Anne, And first up, an effortless climb in Southwest National Park. the highest peak are truly extraordinary. These dolerite columns are typical of dolerite, The formations near the summit an igneous form of rock you don't find on mainland Australia. It's like a castle - turrets on a castle, kind of spiralling around.

While nature is wholly responsible for crafting this marvel, the same cannot be said of Lake Pedder. It was flooded during the first stage of the controversial Gordon River hydro scheme in 1972. There's a whole generation of people that believe this is Lake Pedder. Whereas in actual fact, it was, what, just this little bit right here in front of us now.

That's right. Just in front of us, off to the left. The beach was over towards that area there. was really small This little bit down here Lake Pedder. in comparison to the modern-day but absolutely exquisite. Really small, With its famous quartz-sand beach, most beautiful lake in Australia. it was widely acknowledged as the your Christmas presents, If you haven't bought don't panic, come to Bunnings. We've just got the lowest prices.

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on the planet. Next stop - the wildest river isn't it? It's the most magnificent river, Yes, it's absolutely beautiful. when you just see It's incredible, though, these big glassy sections like that, what the river's like to raft. that it really belies Oh, that's right. 'Cause it's so turbulent.

after a decent rainfall, When you see it you know, very...quite rugged. the river's up metres and it's, the Franklin and Gordon Rivers, Deep gorges are a feature in are particularly narrow. but the splits on the latter The water thunders through them, all but drowning out the sound of the chopper. Every climber has their favourite mountain and mine has always been Frenchmans Cap. The view from its imposing quartzite summit is hard-won, but breathtaking - a panorama of nothing but wilderness. Now, if you're scared of heights or terrified of flying, the other way to approach this World Heritage wonderland is by boat from the gorgeous little village of Strahan.

It's an ideal way to explore the wild rivers that flow into Macquarie Harbour on the western boundary of the World Heritage wilderness. and silver and Huon pine from here, They used to export a lot of gold a sleepy little fishing village but these days it's for World Heritage Cruises. that doubles as a port a simple matter of going from A to B. Travelling in Tasmania is rarely It's all about the side trips.

on course for East Pillinger. And the first on this cruise finds us main road into East Pillinger, MAN: This is the main road, into the sawmills, brick kilns. Not much traffic today, though. Had we been here a hundred years ago, of a bustling town. we would've been in the middle loaded with timber... Imagine - railway carriages Airconditioned freighter. All aboard. (BOTH LAUGH) It sure is now. working round the clock... ..brick kilns ablaze, Little fires going in each of these, slid off the top and the roof actually how much air was flowing through so they could regulate the temperature right. and they could keep ..hundreds of men crushing ore, running the mills. working the wharves, Copper Company's grand plan It was all part of the Mount Lyell mining industry. to service the west coast in the wilderness every day. You don't see one of these the space shuttle, this one. No. It's a booster off (LAUGHS) That's what it looks like. Could be, hey? Old-looking thing. Doesn't it?

Steam boiler over the old... for the sawmills to cut the timber. Used to make the steam for a while, It was a prosperous place but ultimately failed, leaving in 1943. the last permanent resident to cover it up again, does it? Doesn't take long for nature No.

to cross the harbour It takes a good five hours of the Gordon. and slip into the lower reaches travelling at night. But you won't miss a thing It adds another dimension

to the eerie unspoken mysteries of the wilderness. Daybreak on day two. Of course, I could be sleeping in, but then I'd be missing all this. As if the scenery isn't enough reward, we chance upon one of the rarest birds in Tasmania - the endangered azure kingfisher. World Heritage Cruises have special permission

to take visitors off course to some pretty wild places, but this is the one I was most excited about - Birch's Inlet. Gee, it's kind of creepy poking along here, isn't it? It is, isn't it? Now, this particular part of the Tasmanian wilderness is also a breeding ground for one of the rarest birds on earth - the orange-bellied parrot. Scientist Mark Holdsworth is on site, so I get a chance to not only observe the birds he's slowly but surely bringing back from the brink, but assist with his project's research. It's our little hut. We've got a couple of birds in the box over here. Take a seat. Beautiful. These are some birds that fledged before we could get to the nest boxes, and I wanna put some colour bands on them so we can track their movements over time. OK. We'll grab one of these out now. Here's one of the little babies. These guys are...just fledged the last month or so. And they've been coming to the feed table. We managed to trap them at the feed table. So colourful. They're no bigger than a budgie, really, are they? No. Just a tad bigger. About 45g.

Oh, OK. Yeah. Mark puts their rather tenuous grip on survival down to habitat destruction, particularly on mainland Australia. But their breeding grounds down here are pretty safe, aren't they?

Yep, and the entire known breeding range is in either national park or conservation areas, so it's pretty well protected.

Yeah. Yeah. There's a chance for you yet.

So, what are we down to, numbers in the wild? We believe somewhere between 150 and 200 individuals, so it's pretty critical. But we've got about the same amount in captivity as an insurance population and we use some of those birds to reintroduce in the wild. And this little girl, she's a daughter of some of our released birds, so it's the start of a new population. Orange-bellied parrots can live up to 10 years, but the average life span is only three. It's quite low, but still enough for them to reproduce. And if this one thrives, she could well have up to a dozen offspring of her own. Gee, this is not a bad spot to be released into the wild. Yeah, perfect spot. How gorgeous is this? If the firm grip she's got on my finger counts for anything, I doubt she'll have any trouble fending for herself at all. There's button grass for you to eat out there. If you actually let go, I'll let you go. OK, are you ready? Oh! (LAUGHS) Well done. That's great. Off she goes! How beautiful is that? Fantastic. Button grass plains are ideal foraging grounds for orange-bellied parrots. But Mark's got a feed table set up for observation purposes. He spends about two months of the year here, assisted by a roster of volunteers. Using high-powered scopes, concealed in a rather cosy hide, they record the behaviour of any number of OBPs. So why is that little one bobbing his head up and down like that?

He's begging for food from the adults. So, for the first week or two after fledging, they're really keen to be fed by the adults. But they'll eventually start to ignore him, but eventually he learns to take the feed off the table and also forage on the natural foods in the environment. Edition. Updating WIN News, I'm Jessica Good... The South Coast has been been rocked by yet another family drowning tragedy. This time, a father died while trying to save his two teenage sons who got into difficulties in surf at Mollymook. Minister has cleared the way for the controversial Tralee housing development to go ahead.

While council, State and Federal Governments have all welcomed the move, the Chief Minister says the plan will eventually push aircraft noise over Tuggeranong. Foundation says more needs to be done to make drink drivers accountable for their actions. The group wants its 'Sober Driver' course to be made compulsory for drivers caught over the limit. And Aussie wicket keeper Brad Haddin has been named the

Raiders' number one ticket holder for next year's N-R-L season. Details in the Late Edition at so I'm relied upon to maintain the ship's engines. But I do more than that. from a surveillance dive. So, yeah, the pressure was on but that's all part of our training. (BOAT HORN BLARES)

It's day three and the 'Discovery's got one more scheduled stopover, a visit to Sarah Island, site of yet another intriguing human chapter in the story of this wilderness. Tassie secured its World Heritage status for this area because of its high-calibre natural and cultural values. Many significant Aboriginal sites exist within the vastness of the wilderness, but here on tiny Sarah Island, the World Heritage inscription protects a European chapter in the time-worn story of our settlement. On a gorgeous day like today,

it's hard to imagine that anything terrible happened here at all. It doesn't quite look like the Devil's Island on a day like this, but that's the reputation it did have for a long, long time. From 1822 to 1833 this was a penal settlement, a place of unspeakable horror,

brought to life today by historian Richard Davey.

They came here to mine Huon pine and it was set up as a slave-labour camp. So how many convicts were you talking about? Top muster, about 380. Average around about 250. But what stopped them from escaping? Nothing much at all. Really, the only thing that stopped them was the fear of the forests and also lack of food. If you misbehaved, you were sent here to the cell block. And the cells are 3ft wide, 7ft long and 5'9" high. Which reminds you of a grave. You're joking. It's grave size. that's basically what they're doing. They buried them alive, in silence and darkness. Contemplate your mortality for stealing parsley from the garden One bloke here got 10 days solitary and the equivalent of 50 lashes. There was no light, no sound, to drive them insane. but just enough ventilation Oh, that would be torture. Over there is a bakery. they weren't that cruel That's cruel, but no, they put a tannery. because between the two, of the bakery and the tannery. So they had a mixture is an extraordinary structure The Suffolk Parish oven and Richard believes it may be the only one from its era still intact. At full tilt, it turned out around 400 loaves of bread a day. And the bread was not too bad at all. They ground their own wheat here. Lots of vitamin B from the weevils. Vegemite on legs. They had potatoes to keep scurvy at bay and meat which gave them the strength to labour all day, cutting timbers for ships from sites around Macquarie Harbour. But each night, the convicts returned here the Devil's Island Penitentiary. to the cold consul of And the curiosity is a great deal of trouble - that they've gone through to construct a dormitory a GREAT deal of trouble - on the Devil's Island that the men here thank you very much. describe as very comfortable, (LAUGHS) never far from their minds. Nonetheless, escape was was closing down the facility, And even as the military they were building here 10 convicts stole the ship and sailed it off to Chile. wilderness would really be complete Now, no adventure in the Tasmanian exploration along the coastline. without at least a bit of an as wild as this one. And there are few in Australia from the Southern Ocean It cops a beating the legendary roaring forties. and an absolute hammering from walking along here sometimes. I bet you get sandblasted Absolutely. is subject to such rapid change And not surprisingly, this area

being moved in an evening. with literally tonnes of sand from Tasmanian Expeditions I've teamed up with Sam Thompson to tackle a short section long walk on the wild side, of what amounts to an awfully the South Coast Track. on the edge of Bathurst Harbour It starts at Melaleuca

and ends up at Cockle Creek. It's a bit of an epic of 10 days to complete. which takes the better part of what you're in for. And you can never be sure they say about Tassie - So it's true what come back in five minutes." "If you don't like the weather,

sandblasting from the knee down Times I've been here, it's just Absolutely.

had our lunch in the pouring rain and other times where we've ready to set off, it's sunny again. and by the time you're longest beach on the southern coast. And here would be Prion Bay, with the at the end of the Ice Age, Before the glaciers melted

just off from the coast all of the islands that you see were actually part of the mainland. And until the sea rose, through to more valleys. these would've been hills and peaks See the fronts come in. I love the sky. Man, it's dark! might get hammered tonight ourselves. It's a bit foreboding. I think we

(BOTH LAUGH) Over its 85km course, the South Coast Track takes in some truly spectacular scenery. It winds its way across windswept beaches and button grass plains, over headlands and secluded bays... dolerite columns ..past capes of closely packed

on the Central Plateau. reminiscent of the mountains of surprisingly dense forest It weaves through pockets by the buffer of the dunes, and even though they're protected at the mercy of the elements. they exist taken this tree out? Wow. What do you reckon's victim of your roaring forties. I reckon he's probably another

through forest like this, When you're trekking that catch your eye. it's all the little details and you have to catch your breath. But every now and then, you look up some of the trees are in here. I'm amazed by how big so close to the coast You'd think being support such massive giants. that the soils wouldn't It's surprising to know that they're amongst some of the tallest flowering plants of the world. It would certainly seem that everything about this small part of the wilderness is larger than life itself... ..with no shortage of reminders as to its ancient origins. (GASPS) Ooh! That's cold. (GIGGLES) (BOTH LAUGH) Now I believe the Gondwana theory. There's icicles in that water. Yeah, you bet. It's a walk through a bygone era. This is the best trail in Tasmania. It will leave you

of feelings and memories, with an extraordinary mix a sense of accomplishment only nature can evoke. tempered by the kind of humility As unique as this environment is, people that unite us to the track. it's really the stories from the Yeah, being able to help people of the trail and move on, overcome the adversities get them through, give them that sense of achievement, to be able to be part of that. that's a lovely feeling that really is worth so much more A privilege indeed to be in a place of all its glorious parts. than the sum This is a place of moods and textures and endless change, of landscapes that speak to you from prehistoric times and creatures that no longer exist anywhere else in the world. It will draw you back time and time again, slowly yielding its secrets and filling your soul with the spirit of the wild. Supertext Captions by Red Bee Media Australia a sword. They say Japan was made by a coral blade into the ocean They say the old gods dipped and when they pulled it out, the sea four perfect drops fell back into

the islands of Japan. and those drops became a handful of brave men. I say Japan was made by Warriors willing to give their lives a forgotten word. for what seems to have become Honour.