Bryan Stephens

Bryan Stephens header image 1

Tasmania’s West Coast Wilderness Railway Between Queenstown and Strahan

February 8th, 2011 · 6 Comments

As mentioned in my previous post, Frank and I did manage to go on the Abt West Coast Wilderness Railway. I had heard great reports about this train, including from my sister. I must say that I thoroughly recommend the trip on this unique steam train.

Before arriving in Queenstown, I researched the Abt prices via the internet. It seemed that prices ranged between about $107 and $210, depending on what day you traveled, where you departed and whether you chose the premier carriage or the basic carriage. However, the only day that we could attend was on Australia Day, and the website suggested we ring for more details. I was concerned that we were going to miss out on the steam train journey, but as it turned out Australia day was a special event for the Abt train and there were some late cancellations that helped us get aboard. Even better than that, prices were only $25 per head and the train returned to Queenstown, rather than a train trip one way and a bus trip on return.

Abt Steam Train Departing Queenstown

This was the first Abt Steam Train departing Queenstown. The train that Frank and I went on departed after this one. Notice the rain drops on the car, this is typical for this part of the world.

The first train left just after 7.15am and we left just before 8am. The plan was that we would arrive at Strahan and catch a bus to the Regatta Grounds for a picnic, then return back via train to Queenstown around 4pm. I was later told that this was to commemorate the trip the miners took each Australia day for a picnic.

When we arrived at the station in Queenstown, we noticed that 3 of the workers dressed up for the occasion and seemed to love playing the part of old time Australian’s. We also later found out that all the workers worked this day without pay, so I appreciate their efforts. The $25 we paid basically covered the cost of the fuel.

Anyway, our luck continued when we were put in a premier carriage with a nice group of people. The premier carriage had better seating and ornate decorations, but by far the best advantage was access to a balcony at the back of the train where I could take photos. The only thing missing was cheese, wine and pastries that normally get served in the premier carriage. We did not have any official commentary, however Graham in his conductor costume gave some information at times along the way.

Premier Carriage on Abt Steam Train

This is a view of the Premier Carriage on Abt Steam Train. Graham can be seen in the background with his conductor uniform on. The seats are padded in the vertical and horizontal, unlike the normal carriages, and there was more decorations than the standard carriages.

Another Abt worker in a costume

This was another worker that dressed up for the occasion. He seemed to be having fun too 🙂

Abt Train Worker Dressed In A Costume

This was a photo taken of the 3rd person to dress up for the trip, on the journey back to Queenstown. She certainly played the part, and for the most part she seemed to have a fun time.

As the train progressed, we reached a section where there was a steep climb. The train used an Abt Rack and Pinion system (cog-rail system) to make the climb. Unfortunately, during the ascent the train engine derailed. It was a very interesting time, as there were no toilets on the train and there was a steep descent on one side and a steep ascent on the other. We were allowed to get out 1 carriage at a time to try to go to the toilet. A girl from our carriage ran a couple of corners to go…must have been tougher for the girls. I did not need to go, so I just went out to take a couple of photos of the train.

Abt Rack And Pinion

This photo shows the cog rail system that is visible in the centre of the track and devised by the Swiss Dr Roman Abt to assist the train handle the steep climbs and descents. Note the amount of work that the workers that built this track would have had to have done to cut a 35km pathway for this train. They did it all with picks and shovels too back in 1896. The motivation was so that they could transport copper from Queenstown to the port of Strahan.

Abt Derailed

This is where the Abt steam train derailed. I found out later that this was only the 3rd time in over 100 years that this happened, each time with engine number 1. One gentleman in our carriage told us that the last time he was on this train was in 1944 and that the train derailed then too. The photo also shows the balcony at the back where I took some photos. It also shows a poor man who had tripped over a blackberry bush and split his nose on the hard rocks with the fall.

When the people returned to the carriage some noticed that they had leeches on them. One girl had 6 in that 5 to 10 minutes break. The girl worker, who was outside much longer to assist others claimed that she had 9 leeches. Frank had one that attached to his leg and sucked some blood from him. I detected the bloated leech on the floor and some brave people scooped it into a takeaway coffee cup. That provided some entertainment for us, as the leech squeezed itself partly out of the hole at the top of the cup, resembling a monster in a horror film, and then transferred its fatter part (blood transfer) to the part already outside so that it could escape.

Eventually, the other train that left before us arrived in Strahan and the engine returned to help us get going again. Below are some photos I took during the rest of the journey. We arrived at Strahan after 2.30pm, which was almost 3 hours longer than it should have been, but I felt entertained by everything that happened.

King River

A view of King River that runs alongside the train track. You can also see the dense, rugged and spectacular terrain.

King River

Another shot of King River and the variety of vegetation surrounding it.

Broken Bridge King River

This photo shows a broken bridge that lays across the brown King River. The King River is brown due to it running through the old mining site near Queenstown.

Abt Railway Iron Bridge

This is the original Iron Bridge that the Abt Railway uses to cross the King River.

Train At Strahan

A picture of the train at Strahan railway station from the picnic area.

Strahan Train Departure

A photo of the train at Strahan before it departed back to Queenstown. Extra engines were added after this photo and all 9 carriages were taken at once rather than the 2 separate trains we arrived with. We arrived at Queenstown just before 9pm, so it was a long day, but certainly a trip I shall treasure and not forget.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Vacations

Trip To Queenstown Tasmania

January 31st, 2011 · 3 Comments

Frank and I discussed our plans for a short trip around Tasmania with the limited time I had left. We were going to go to Lake Pedder, which has claims for the biggest freshwater lake in Australia. However, there is only one way in and out, so we decided to skip it this time. So we decided to drive, in the car I hired, directly to Queenstown from Triabunna.

The drive was quite interesting. Of note was the relatively dry eastern side of Tasmania compared to the lush western side. New Norfolk, Hamilton, Ouse and Derwent Bridge were places we drove through on our way. We also went off track to grab a bite to eat at Bronte Park, but we we were glad that we changed our minds and had lunch further on at “The Hungry Wombat Cafe” in Derwent Bridge. They had the best hamburgers that I have tasted for a long time, if not for ever. Frank was impressed too.

After lunch we backtracked a few kms to “The Wall In The Wilderness”. Frank has seen the wall before, but it had progressed a fair deal since his last visit. Essentially, Greg Duncan has carved 3 metre high panels of wood (mostly from the rare Huon Pine) with a chisel. The wall is expected to be 100 metres in length when it is completely finished. Unfortunately, camera’s were not permitted at the wall, but if you want to see a glimpse of a portion of it you can see it at The Wall Official Page.

The last time I traveled to Queenstown was as a kid with my parents in 1978.  I remembered that the drive after passing the Iron Blow was very windy with a steep drop. It was quite a scary drive back then in the back of the car and it was again this time too. I also remember that Queenstown did not have any grass or trees due to the surrounding mines and acid rain. However, Queenstown has changed quite a bit since then. It still has the old mining town feel about it, but there are plenty of trees and green grass there now. Below are some photos of the greener Queenstown.

A photo looking at Mount Lyell

A view of Mount Lyell taken next to the Abt train station at Queenstown

A photo of the Paragon Theatre in Queenstown with Mount Owen in the background

A photo of the Paragon Theatre in Queenstown with Mount Owen in the background

A view of some bald mountains taken from the road out of Queenstown

A view of some bald mountains taken from the road out of Queenstown

One of the main attractions at Queenstown now is the Abt Railway steam train that travels to and from Strahan. We went on that trip during Australia Day, which turned out to be a bonus, but I shall post about that adventure in the next post. It was certainly a day I shall remember.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Vacations

Trip To Tasmania January 2011

January 30th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Just over 1 week ago, I left the flood affected Brisbane to go to Tasmania for a 1 week vacation. I enjoyed my time there and will write a few blog posts about it.

I must say that I was looking forward to escaping the hot and humid weather that followed the Brisbane floods to go to the relatively cooler Tasmanian Climate. I did not have any real plans at first, except for staying at my uncle’s (Frank’s) place. The last time I saw Frank and his son Matt in Tasmania was when I worked on Matt’s cray fishing boat in 1985/1986.  That was a great experience, so I had  hoped that my vacation would be half the fun and experience that I had back then.

I arrived at Frank’s place on Saturday afternoon. Frank was not home – he was at the golf club having lunch after finishing his round.  This is the note that he left for me… “Bryan, I should be home about 4.30. There’s beer in the fridge, coffee or tea in the kitchen and TV in the lounge. Make yourself at home. Frank.” So you can read that I was made to feel welcome.

Frank lives in the Orford/Triabunna region of Tasmania, which is on the east coast and just over an hour’s drive from Hobart.  I took some photos of his house and surrounds. There are some good views and you can see them below.

Franks house from the front

The front of frank's house. The Unit is on the right hand side of the house and that is where I stayed.

This is a view from Frank's backyard and shows the Jetty he has access to and the other side of Triabunna

This photo was taken from the back of Frank's house and shows the Jetty where he keeps his boat and the other side of Triabunna.

A photo of Maria Island from the backyard of Frank's place

A photo of Maria Island from the backyard of Frank's place.

Looking west from Frank's backyard

This photo shows what it looks like looking to the west from Frank's backyard.

This photo shows Frank's kitchen and dining room

This is the kitchen and dining room of Frank's place. You can see some powerful binoculars near the window to make use of the great views.

This photo shows a painting and benchtop in Frank's lounge

This photo shows a painting and benchtop in Frank's lounge.

This shows a photo of Frank in his living room looking proud with his Golf Tasmania hall of fame trophy

This shows a photo of Frank in his living room looking proud with his Golf Tasmania hall of fame trophy. Frank is a passionate golfer and has life membership at the Orford Golf club.

A photo of 2 rabbits at the back of Franks house

Every evening some rabbits come out to play outside Frank's place. I managed to take a shot at these two rabbits. I did see up to 6 rabbits at one time in his backyard from the lounge room.

I was lucky enough to catch up with my cousin Matt, his wife Jo and her son Ethan the next day. Matt is a cray fisherman and this is the time of year to catch crayfish. He often goes out for 1 to 2 weeks, so I was lucky to see him on the Sunday. Jo and Matt came over to Frank’s place for a coffee and then we drove to a farm to help drive some alpacas into a truck. When we got there we found that they were already collected and ready to get sheared.

So we went back to our respective homes and Matt prepared for his next fishing trip. Later Frank and I went over to Matt’s place for a lovely chicken roast lunch. The shorn alpacas were in one of his paddocks. They were interesting creatures, particularly when they rubbed their backsides on the grass like a ritual. We did not know whether they were doing it to mark their territory or if they were just itchy after being shorn and at a new location. Anyway, I managed to take a photo of the alpacas and also a reluctant one from Matt and Jo.

A photo of 4 alpacas at Matt;s property

4 shorn alpacas in a paddock of Matt and Jo's place.

A photo of Matt and Jo Pedler

A photo of Matt and Jo Pedler

On the same day, Frank suggested that we go on a quick tour of Tasmania. One thing that we wanted to do was to go on the Abt train trip between Queenstown and Straun. So we decided to study a possible trip for the next few days, starting Tuesday morning. The trip did eventuate and I shall tell more in the next post.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Vacations

Super Affiliate Nikhil Parekh Shares Secrets

June 24th, 2010 · No Comments

I first met Nikhil Parekh through Stephen Pierce whilst being an alpha leader at UYMG 2008. Nikhil gave a presentation at the event showing some of the methods he used to turn $1 into $15 by using PPC techniques. His presentation was well received and many at the event, including me,  decided to learn more from him afterwards.  The good news is that you can learn more about his successful strategies by downloading his free super affiliate report here.

Nikhil Parekh and Bryan Stephens at UYMG 2008
Nikhil Parekh and Bryan Stephens at UYMG 2008

So why should I care about what Nikhil says?

  • Nikhil has solid network friends with some famous Internet Marketers including Stephen Pierce, Mike Filsaime, Eban Pagan and Anik Singal.
  • Nikhil makes 7 figures a year – he’s made $20,000 in commission in 4 days and also $87,000 in about 4 days as well – the first $20,000
    was without a list! The $87,000 was earnt using Pay Per Click and a very small list that he had!
  • Nikhil uses a business model rather than short term profit systems that could fall apart in seconds due to changes beyond your control.
  • Nikhil has been online since 1996, but really got serious in 2005 when he spent a lot of time in the PPC area
  • Nikhil has obviously been successful, but loves to help other people become successful too.

If you want to learn some advanced training that no-one else is talking about, then Nikhil’s free report will make it absolutely clear for you. The report is really a quick read and you’ll immediately get a bunch of ideas you can implement straight away.

Also, find out how he continuously positions himself  differently from his competitors – this is what will put you in the top 1% of affiliate marketers.

So take some action.  Watch a short video presentation by Nikhil Parekh and download his free report by clicking here.

→ No CommentsTags: Internet Marketing

Driving Traffic To Your Website

June 4th, 2009 · 2 Comments

You can have a great product, an excellent sales letter and a good website structure, but if you do not get any traffic to your site, then you will not get sales. There are many ways to get traffic to your website, but I shall only focus on the methods Brett told us.

  • Ezyne Articles –  is regarded as the best source for articles on the Internet. It is also a great place to write your own articles and place them there. You can then write a paragraph at the end of your article to encourage visitors to your website.
  • Articlemarketer – allows you to submit your article to loads of other article sites with a simple push of the button.
  • Digg – Digg is a very popular site that rates your article/site.  It is worth Digging your articles/pages.
  • Blog – Use articles on your own blog/blogs to drive traffic to your money site.
  • Publicity – Brett has used publicity rather well lately. He appeared on “A Current Affair” and also used publicity when he had his e-book on auction.  Bret suggested Brian James (who resides in Sydney) as a great contact for publicity possibilities.
  • Giveaways – Give something away for free and multiply the effect by using This method was created by Mike Filsaime and it works very effectively. The video created by Mike Filsaime explains it very well.

Obviously there are many other methods of getting free traffic, but those listed above were what Brett McFall shared with us. Feel free to list other methods for generating traffic by making a comment.

That concludes my interpretation of the session Brett Mcfall gave us. I hope that you got something out of it.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Internet Marketing