Arriving back on the mainland we parted company for a week as we headed in different directions. While Bryan and Lee-Ann and Rosco, Lynny and Penny were visiting family and friends, Kevin and I made our way to Ballarat.
Heading north Kevin and I set up camp at Haddon Lions Park for a couple of days. Taking day trips we ventured into Ballarat and the Sovereign Hill Pioneer Village where we enjoyed wandering through the open air museum depicting the region in the early gold rush years. Brilliantly done, there where people wandering the streets and manning the shops all dressed in period costume and in most cases conversing in language of yesteryear. Over two days visiting the park we watched gold being melted, a musket being fired, gold miners and visitors panning for gold. We took a tour of a replica mine with holograph depictions, one replicating the discovery of the “Welcome Nugget”. We wandered through a Chinese camp, watched candles being made and much, much more. An amazing museum and well worth the entry fee.
Rejoining Rosco, Lynny and Penny we made our way to Casterton (home of the Kelpie) to spend time with friends of old, Robin and Peter Sinclair at their recently purchased cattle farm, Yandina. Spending two days here we caught up over dinner and a drink or two at night and during the days visited the sights of Casterton and a Penola winery or two.
From here Peter and Robin, Rosco, Lynny and Penny and Kevin and I headed to Mildura meeting up again with Bryan and Lee-Ann to spend five nights on the Murray River in Mildura Houseboats, dog friendly Bushranger 1. Luxury on the water. Upstairs was a covered deck with heated spa and entertainment area, while downstairs catered more than adequately for us all, with 4 bedrooms, bathroom, toilets, laundry, spacious kitchen lounge area and outside BBQ area. Everything we needed to have a great time.
Having all met in Darwin more than 30 years ago with the four men working together and us all members of the Top End 4wd Club it wasn’t long before we were reminiscing on past adventures and catching up on what we had been doing over the intervening years as we relaxed cruising along on the houseboat.
During the day we watched the sunrise reflected on Redcliffs, tried a wine or two at Tentham Winery, visited the Cheffey Historical Irrigation Pump Station, the sleepy town of Gol Gol and wandered through the Inland Botanical Gardens where we saw a magnificent display of Sturt Desert Peas.
We also visited Orange World where we were taken on a tour of the orchard, by the colourful owner Mario who entertained us with his life story, a joke or two, history of farming in the area and were shown the many different varieties of citrus trees. A fun afternoon.
Ticking off yet another thing from my “Bucket List” it was an unforgetable week made especially amazing by sharing it wonderful friends. But it wasn’t quite over, leaving the houseboat we booked into Buronga Caravan Park where we were joined by yet another ex-pat couple from Darwin, Steve and Rose. Although, Steve never worked with the men they had been members of the 4wd club and we had enjoyed many, many trips with them. One such trip was in 1988 when Rosco, Lynny, Grandpa Max, Peter, Robin, Steve, Rose, Kevin, Charmaine (13mths) and I travelled to Cape York. Grandpa Max has since passed away and Charmaine lives overseas but it was just like yesterday as we enjoyed a lovely meal as we reminised on the adventures and dramas of our Cape York trip 30 years ago.
Arriving back on the north coast we booked into Turners Beach Van Park. Nestled behind sand dunes we waited for Bryan and Lee-Ann, whom we hadn’t seen for a while, to rejoin us for our final week in Tasmania. While here we enjoyed many walks along the sandy, sometimes pebbly coast line coming across a teepee constructed from some of the vast array of driftwood that sat just above the high tide mark.
During our stay here we we kept ourselves busy finding yet more lovely and interesting places to visit. Coinciding with my birthday we did a four hour river cruise on the Leven River. Boarding the boat at Ulverstone we first ventured out to the river mouth before cruising up the river. Our enthusiastic captain and owner (Kim) ran an interesting commentary on Ulverstones history, and the fauna and flora in the area. Taking our own morning tea and nibbles for lunch we ventured up the river to a garden established in the 1920’s.
Now abandoned, Kim guided us through the overgrown garden pointing out the many different species of plants and trees that had been introduced to the area as well as many Australian plants. In recent years the river has experienced two big floods that have devastated the area, washing away trees and opening up the canopy letting in the light which has allowed introduced vines and creepers to take over.
The following day we visited the Leven Canyon. Completing the moderate 45 minute circuit walk, stopping at Cruickshank lookout to gaze out over the spectacular view up and down the canyon. From there we walked down 697 steps to the Edge Lookout that provided further views of the canyon.
Leaving the top of the gorge we drove to the bottom where after a picnic lunch we wandered along the canyon floor beside the lovely Leven River through the dense forest of tree ferns, eucalyptus and towering trees.
Over our final days in Tasmania we revisited Chudleigh and Forth spending a couple of nights in each place. Needless to say while at Chudleigh we had to revisit Melita’s Honey Farm where I couldn’t help myself and bought a jar of chocolate orange honey. Knowing it contained cream I promised myself that I would only have a little bit at a time.
In these last few days we also visited the Tasmanian Arboretum, where we spotted a couple of platypus and Villarett Gardens enjoying a scrumptious morning tea before exploring the gardens. Both gardens were magnificent each providing they own unique plants and sculptures amongst the beautiful autumn colours.
Leaving on the evening ferry we enjoyed a quiet last day at the vans lunching at the Bridge Hotel Forth. Over yet another lovely meal we reminisced on the wonderful time we have had, all the lovely waterfalls we saw, the magnificent scenery, the walks we enjoyed, the great RV parks we’d stayed at and the warm welcome we received everywhere we went. The 11 weeks in Tasmania has “been the best” as we have travelled the length and breath of the island trying to see as much as possible. We have enjoyed local produce, bought a souvenir/present or two and have left with some wonderful memories thanks to our travel companions, Ross, Lyn and Penny Hutton and Bryan Smith and Lee-Ann Collier. Oh I can’t forget the great week we had with our daughter Charmaine.
Having only the north east of Tasmania left to explore we left George Town travelling through Bridport and on down to Scottsdale for a few nights on our way to the Bay of Fires.
Setting up camp at Scottsdale’s in their lovely free (donation) RV camp, beside a beautiful park with a gentle flowing stream and ducks and apparently platypus (which we didn’t find). Here for three nights we enjoyed a break from constantly being on the go, instead relaxing, reading, taking bush walks and doing short day trips. Only a short walk from town we wandered up to the RSL memorial garden which had been recommended by other travellers. At the entrance to the park were two beautiful carvings, one a tribute to Simpson and his Donkey from WW1 and the other a Soldier being supported by a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel from WW2. Further on in, past the playground were other tree carving depicting different aspects of our defence forces and a Lone Pine (tree), a direct descendent from the pine cones brought back after WW2. A wonderful tribute to the brave men and women who defended our country.
While here we also took the opportunity to visit local produce farms buying a selection of hazelnuts, cheeses and wines to enjoy at wine o’clock.
Continuing on to the east coast we stopped in at Legerwood, a very small town known for it’s tree carvings carved into pine trees planted in 1918 in memory of fallen soldiers. When the trees were deemed unsafe in the early 2000’s the community commissioned an chainsaw artist to carve the tree trunks commemorating the soldiers for whom the trees were planted. A very beautiful and moving tribute to those who fought for Australia.
Still heading east we stopped at Derby for the night, parking our vans at the free camp before walking up town to the Tin Dragon Discovery Centre, a small display providing an excellent overview of tin mining in the area. We also walked to the little known but very impressive tunnel dug beneath the mountain in the 1880’s for miners to take out mine tailings. Now home to glowworms, it sparkles with water drops and shimmering threads, quite beautiful and an amazing feat for the time.
Heading on to the east coast we passed through St Helens as we made our way to the Bay of Fires setting up camp at Cosy Corner South behind sand dunes sheltered from the wind. Spending four nights here we spent our days exploring the area visiting St Columbia Falls, Ralph Falls, Cashs Gorge, Anchor Stamper Battery (ruins), Goblin Forest near Poimena, Eddystone Point Lighthouse and Binalong Bay.
While here the weather was not the best with a cold front moving across the island bringing rain and very high wins. However, on our last day on the east coast the weather abated and although still cold the sun was out treating us to magnificent views as we drove along the Bay of Fires stopping regularly to take walks out onto the rocks and beaches to enjoy the wonderful scenery and colours.
As we have travelled around Tasmania we have come across many road closure signs for the TARGA car rally. Realising that we could actually be in an area as the cars passed we based ourselves at St Marys for a few days. While here we visited the South Sisters Lookout that provided panoramic views across the Fingal Valley in one direction and out over the ocean in the other. We also drove down to Bicheno on the coast where we took the short walk up yet another lookout and visited the Bicheno Blow Hole. On the way home driving through the Mt Elephant Pass we stopped off at the Mt Elephant Pancake Cafe where we all enjoyed pancakes. Even me.
While in St Mary’s the temperature plummeted with us experiencing -2 degrees at night, although the days were pleasant enough. On the afternoon that TARGA cars passed through town we made ourselves comfortable in our chairs at the side of the road for a few hours and waved as Porches, Mercedes, etc. drove by.
With just over two weeks before we were due to board the ferry for the return trip to the mainland we realised that we hadn’t visited the lakes area. So from St Marys we headed inland where knowing that we would be experiencing much colder nights we spent the next few nights at the Great Lakes Caravan Park and Quamby Corner Van Park. Just as well with the fog rolling in, in the afternoon and not lifting until mid morning we would have probably been really cold without the electric heaters and hot showers at the ready.
As we ventured along minor back roads through undulating hills the scenery was spectacular. Climbing steep hills we often found ourselves with our heads in the clouds as we drove through lush farmlands bordered by State Forest, with towering forest and fern trees. Along the way we stopped at Pine Lake, on the central plateau.
Taking the short walk along the board walk through the relatively treeless rocky terrain viewing cushion plants that looked like moss covered rocks and Pencil Pine trees only found in the higher parts of Tasmania. A wonderful walk.
Spending two nights at the Quamby Corner Van Park almost in the middle of nowhere we drove to Rosevale to watch a wood chopping competition before heading to Liffey Falls on the slopes of the Great Western Tiers. An easy walk from the carpark through a forest of eucalyptus, myrtle, leatherwood and tree ferns as it passed a number of smaller falls along the way.
Moving on to free camp in the lovely township of Chudleigh known for its rose lined main street and Melita Honey Farm. After setting up we crossed the road to the honey shop to sample yet more honey and couldn’t believe how many different varieties of honey there were to taste. From the traditional leatherwood, to strawberry to chocolate orange (my favourite but unfortunately containing cream), to chilli to name a few. They also had nougat, home made ice-cream, a huge selection of gifts to buy and a small display on honey making. A lovely shop, which needless to say we visited a number of times during our stay.
While in Chudleigh as well as frequenting the honey shop we visited King Solomon Caves, the Devils Gullet, Alum Gorge, Westmorland and Lobster Falls all within easy drive and each providing their own unique attraction. The Devils Gullet in particular is worth a mention for its spectacular rock formations and views all the way to Cradle Mountain. Just amazing.
Leaving Chudleigh heading for the warmth of the north coast we stopped in Sheffield to attend the ANZAC day parade. We joined a small but enthusiastic crowd as we lined the street honouring the service men and women both past and present as they marched to the cenotaph for the wreath laying. Continuing on our way we booked into a lovely van park at Turners Beach. Nestled behind sand dunes it was a lovely base as we continued to explore.
Leaving Waratah we drove to the north coast arriving at Boat Harbour in the early afternoon. Parking our caravans behind vegetation on a lovely grassy spot just metres from the beach with toilets within easy walk and what appeared to be clearing sky’s we were set for the next five days.
Not wanting to waste any time Lynny and I drove into Wynyard to pick up brochures on what to do and see in the region. One brochure we picked up offered free (donation) evening penguin tours. Having missed the penguins on Bruny Island we were keen to try our luck again and in the experienced hands of a Ranger we were very hopeful. With only the four of us on the tour Ranger Keith kept us entertained with an informative dialogue on the “Little Penguins” that nest here every year. With a full moon (after all it was Easter weekend) the “Little Penguins” took their time coming ashore but our patients paid off as over the next hour we were very fortunate to see about 20 penguins make their way through the surf, up the sand and to their nest. Once Keith thought all the penguins that were still nesting in the area were ashore he took us for a wander along the beach spotting the penguins in their nests. Between seeing the penguins and Keith’s commentary it proved to be an absolutely fantastic evening. As nesting season is nearly finished we counted ourselves as very lucky to see the “Little Penguins” we did.
During our stay here we visited many of the local attractions including driving out to Dip River Forest Reserve home to The Big Tree a eucalyptus tree with a base 17metres round and about 400 years old and Dip falls a two tiered water fall that was reached by walking down a thousand steps. Well it felt like a thousand when coming back up!.
We also visited the privately owned Allandale Gardens set among the forest and home to a vast number of different plants and trees, including a Huon Pine and peacocks. Lovingly created by Max and Lorraine the garden consists of thousands of trees many planted since the 1980’s when they first started the garden and numerous walks with different themes. Although in between seasons we spent a lovely couple of hours enjoying home made scones with blackberry jam and cream (well the others did) before wandering through the gardens.
Another day we completed the Tarkine Drive stopping in at Tarkine Adventures, home of Dismal Swamp at the bottom of a sink hole. The main attraction here was an exhilarating slide taking you the 110 metres from the top to the bottom of the sink hole in about 15 seconds. Really heart pumping. Once at the bottom there were well signposted trekes to take to explore the swamp and find the weird and unusual sculptures stategically located throughout the swamp.
Driving on we stopped at the Edge of the World near Arthur Point so named because of its rugged coastline where the wild westerly winds from across the Great Southern Ocean batter the shore and makes you feel like you are at the “Edge of the World”.
Further on we stopped at Trowutta Arch, an amazing formation created by the collapse of a cave roof. An easy walk from the car park it was well worth the stop.
As well as our forest adventures we also did the tourist thing taking the chair lift to the top of the Nut in Stanley, wandered the markets at Penguin before enjoying a walk along the esplanade looking at the various depictions of penguins, we visited the Makers workshop housed at the Burnie Information Centre and the Table Cape Lighthouse, just to name a few.
Leaving the north coast we travelled down the Wilmot Novelty Letterbox Trail. A 20klm stretch of road where locals have recycled materials making letterboxes from Darlks to Ned Kelly and the Red Barron. A great drive but unfortunately I was only able to snap photos of a couple of the letterboxes as the road was windy making it unsafe to stop.
Spending a couple of nights at a free camp at O’Neills Creek, Gowrie Park we back tracked into Cradle Mountain National Park. On a mostly clear but cold day we caught the shuttle bus to Dove Lake where we were thrilled to enjoy a full rainbow appearing across the lake for most of our 2 hour walk around the lake. After the lake we headed back to the rangers station where we enjoyed a warm cuppa at the cafe before completing the Enchanted Forest, Pencil Pine Falls, Kynvet Falls and King Billy walks. Along the way coming across wombats and kangaroos quite unexpected with all the tourists around.
From here we headed to Deloraine, where Kev was expecting caravan parts to be delivered and the cars were booked in to be serviced. Spending two days here we wandered the main street viewing the lovely metal sculptures depicting various aspects of community life. On the recommendation of a fellow traveller we went through the Yarns Artwork in Silk exhibition and Folk Museum based at the information centre. The Yarns Art Exhibition was well worth the small entry fee and a must see if travelling through the area. Created by hundreds of quilters using thousands of metres of silk, yarn and other mediums four, three dimensional wall hangings depict the history, landscapes and lifestyles of the community during the four seasons. My photos below do not do it justice.
Travelling up the east side of the Tamar River we spent the night at Low Head Caravan Park from where we visited George Town, the third place settled in Australia and Australia’s oldest town. We were a little confused with this title however worked out that the first two settlements, Sydney and Hobart are cities and George Town is a town. Making it the oldest town. A lovely little town steep in history and appearing proud of it. Here we visited the Pilot Station Museum, the Lighthouse and the Bass and Flinders Museum before driving down to the esplanade to see the monument and carvings depicting the first landing in the Tamar.
From here we headed east for the last month of our holiday on Tasmania.
Yarns – Silkart panels, countryside scenes in the four seasons.
Close up photos from different panels. Spot the Tassie Devils in the middle photo.
After three nights on Bruny Island we returned to mainland Tasmania making our way to Tahune Adventures in the Huon Valley. Spending the night at the lovely Geeveston (location for ABC’s comedy Rosehaven) we enjoyed a wander through the museum and town streets admiring the old buildings and lovely wood sculptures of people that have contributed to the area. Camped beside the river we enjoyed river walks spoting platypus and other animal scuptures hidden along the river banks. Costing $5 a night it was value for money. Lovely clean toilets, three BBQ areas, a dog exercise yard, a fantastic playground for the children and a short walk to town. Definitely one of the best places we have stayed on this trip.
Having received vouchers for entry to Tahune Adventures and hang gliding for Christmas from our son’s partner Simone, we were itching to use them. The rest of our party were also keen on the idea so we all headed off to Tahune where we quickly set up our caravans in the overflow carpark and headed in to have a shot at hang gliding. Only 450mtrs, the ride seemed to be over before it began but was exhilarating while it lasted. While Kevin went back to work the rest of us went our separate ways and enjoyed an afternoon walk on some of the different trails. Then after dinner we all rugged up and with torches in hand we ventured to the Airwalk to spot the wildlife. Unfortunately, the only animal we spotted was a bunny but it was great fun walking above the trees in the darkness, peering down from great heights into the forest.
In the morning after a quick breakfast Kevin and I headed back to the forest to do the two main tracks the Airwalk and the Swing Bridge trail.
In daylight the Airwalk was totally different providing panoramic views across the rainforest and Huon River as well as down into the depths of the forest over the massive tree ferns.The Swing Bridge walk was just as spectacular as we wandered among the huge trees and massive tree ferns crossing two swinging bridges along the way. It proved to be a great gift and one that we won’t forget. Thanks Simone..
After leaving Tahune we made a quick stop at Geeveston to top up with water before heading down to Cockle Creek where Bryan and Lee-Ann had been told the fishing was great. Unfortunately, for us the weather turned bad making it impossible to launch the boat and although many of us tried fishing from the beach the fish remained elusive.
Spending two nights here we celebrated the unveiling of my Christmas present to Kevin “Kev’s Barbie”. A flat pack BBQ that fits easily into a compartment of the caravan. With all the rain it was hard finding dry wood but I managed to scrounge some fallen branches and with a little effort we soon had a fire going, providing a pleasant ambiance for our evening chat, that was until the rain returned. With forecast of overnight winds gusting up to 50klms an hour we all rolled up our awnings and headed for the comfort of our diesel heated vans.
After a night of rain and wind the morning showed promises of clearing sky’s, so Rosco, Lynny and I headed off for a 2 hour walk to Fisher Point in the Cockle Creek National Park. Along the way we passed a whale sculpture commemorating the whale hunters of the 1800’s, the grave of a whaler, then the ruins of a homestead used by whalers. Between the rain and with an outgoing tide, at times the walk was hard as we clambered across rocks but easy at other times as we walked along the sandy beaches or ventured up into the forest. A great walk non the less.
Packing up in between showers we left Cockle Bay heading straight to Geeveston for a couple of nights. While here we caught up on washing and did day trips to Hastings to visit Newdegate Caves and Thermal Pools. With a water temperature of 28 degrees some of us braver soles ventured into the thermal pools only to find the water colder than expected. Needless to say our swim was short lived. Fortunately the showers were hot.
Heading for the west coast we stopped of first at the Antarctic Centre in Kingston. Having been the the Antarctic Centre in New Zealand, the Kingston Centre paled in comparison. However, what was available for the public to view was still very interesting. Rosco even partially dressed in Arctic gear for a photo shoot in front of an ice scene while Kevin and I just stood in front of the photo and posed.
On our way to the west coast we stopped off at the “The Wall” to view 100mtrs of 3mtr high wood wall of carvings depicting one man’s interpretation of our history. It was just amazing to think the sculptor is self taught. It is a credit to him and the community that supports him and well worth the visit. I would recommend though allowing time to walk around the wall at least twice to appreciate and understand the stories it tells. (photo taken from the internet)
Spending the night a Derwent Bridge, the following morning while Kevin worked Rosco, Lynny and I competed the three short walks at Lake St Claire,. I had been looking forward to completing these walks as during our visit in 1995 when we stopped here with a wind chill factor of -15 degrees we only walked to the lake edge before running back to the car and driving on.
Continuing on our way to Queenstown we made a quick stop in at Nelson Falls taking the short 20 minute walk through lovely rain forest to the base of the falls.
Spending two nights in Queenstown we kept ourselves busy taking the half day West Coast Wilderness Railway, Rack and Pinion train ride through lovely rain forests to Dubbill Barrill. Along the way we tried our hand at gold panning at Rinadeena Saddle and stopped for photos of King George Gorge. ACosting $110.00 per person we originally thought it a little pricy but after the event found it great value particularly when it came with a commentary on the history of mining and the brave men who paved the way.
Taking an afternoon drive out to Strahan we stayed to watch the two actor play “The Ship that Never Was” which has been running for 24 years. With audience participation it was a hilarious night of gags as the actors told the convicts story of their bid to escape Sarah Island in the 1800’s.
The weather continued to be inclement with strong winds and rain as we continued north up the west coast stopping in Zeehan visiting Spray Tunnel. A disused rail line tunnel that is home to thousands of glow works.
With the continueing bad weather we decided to spend a couple of nights at Waratah with power in the council van park, using this as a base to sightsee the surronding area. Waratah itself provided quite a few interesting attractions, from the waterwheels, to the falls, to museums and their lovely garden sculpture.
Once again leaving Kevin working in the van, on the recommendation of other travellers and locals Rosco, Lynny, Penny and I headed for Philosophers Falls. Although overcast the rain had abated and the sun was trying to shine through making for a very pleasant walk through all I can describe it as a “fairy like forest”.
Glistering with rain drops towering moss covered trees and huge tree ferns filled our walk searching for fungi and lichen as we ventured down to a lookout to view the waterfall.
Leaving Waratah we headed north to the north west coast where we plan to base ourselves for the Easter period
With Charmaine joining us for a week we had to rethink our itinerary to accomodate her “wish list”. So after a couple more days relaxing and exploring Oatlands we backtracked to Campbell Town where we turned east and headed for the Freycinet Peninsular. Parking our vans beside the Pondering Ponds Cafe we set up camp for two nights so we could drive into the Freycinet National Park to visit the lovely bays and lookouts. With Kevin on baby (dog) sitting duties and Bryan and Lee-Ann deciding to try their hand at fishing and golfing, Rosco, Lyn, Charmaine and I headed into the Wineglass Bay lookout and track. While we all did the lookout walk stoppingto admire the views and regain our breath Rosco and Charmaine continued on completing the 11klm Wineglass Bay Walk.
Leaving Bryan and Lee-Ann in Freycinet to play golf and fish we headed south taking our time enjoying the coastal scenery and the lovely undulating drive as we made our way to Sorell, just north east of Hobart. Basing ourselves here for four nights we visited the very busy and touristy Salamanca Markets. Although an experience it was far more commercial than what we remembered. We also went cheese tasting and fruit picking at Coal River Co before going onto Richmond to visit the award winning Miniature Hobart Village. A great little attraction that brought back many memories of our 1995 visit with the children.
From Sorell we drove down the Tamar Valley to Historical Port Arthur, a penal colony from the 1800’s and site of Australia’s worst mass killing in 1996. Again, we visited here in 1995 but we still found it well worth a revisit. There has been a lot of work done in the intervening years making it a wonderful monument to our convict heritage. It is great to see and hear the pride that is taken by locals and government to ensure that our history is not forgotten.
Leaving Port Arthur we stopped off at the blow holes, The Tamar Arch and Devils Kitchen and of course Doo Town where many of the houses have names like “This’ll Doo” “Doolittle” What’ll I Doo”.
A very busy but thoroughly enjoyable day and all must see attractions.
Having a day to spare in Sorell as we waited to put Charmaine on a plane to Melbourne before she headed to Townsville then onto Canada and after completing some much needed washing we headed into the Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart. With the sun shining we had an enjoyable time wandering through the many different gardens, in particular the Japanese and the Antartica gardens. From there we headed to the Peter Rabbit Garden, which was just adorable.
After passing through the shop full of Bettrix Potters story book characters we entered the garden depicting the first of Peter Rabbits books. It was just enchanting, a children’s wonderland.
After a wonderful week catching up with Charmaine we were up early to make sure she made her 8.00am flight. Although it was sad saying goodbye we are excited for her and her move to Canada and of course we will be seeing her in a couple of months for a white Christmas.
Leaving Bryan and Lee-Anne to head south to do some fishing Rosco, Lynny, Kevin and I followed the Derwent River as we meandered north heading to Mt Field National Park for a few days before heading to Bothwell for the National Sheepdog trials. Basing ourselves at the “Left of Field” caravan and camping grounds, a quirkie, well maintained park with a very informative host and owner Adrian we spent a couple of days exploring. Making the most of our time we visited Mt Mawson, Strathgordon, The Gordon Dam, Maydena, taking the Pandanni Lakes Walk, Tall Tree’s Walk, Junee Caves, the Styx Big Tree and River Walk and Russell Falls. On the Adrians recommendation we took a night walk to Russell Falls to see the glow worms. This was a great location with so much to do we could have done with more time.
On our way again we headed to Bothwell for the much anticipated Sheep Dog Trials. Setting up camp and completing a couple of loads of washing by lunch we then visited the Information Centre before taking the historical town walk admiring the old buildings from the mid 1800’s. Saturday morning we were down at the recreation grounds to watch the “Novice” division of the National Sheep Dog Trials.
After a couple of hours we took a break and drove to the Steppes Sculptures and the house of Marge Wilson a renowned self taught water colour artist. Restored by volunteers her home was very interesting to wander around. From there we headed to the decommissioned Waddamana Hydro plant which is now museum. Although not the sort of thing I like the boys enjoyed looking at all the machines and equipment. Back in Bothwell we ended up watching the intermediate and experienced dogs strut their stuff. We may not have understood the rules but we were very impressed with the dogs and their performances.
From Bothwell we headed south to met up with Bryan and Lee-Ann to spend a couple of days on the “little island” Bruny Island. Catching an early ferry we were on the island and set up at Bruny Island Landscape and Gardening camp ground before lunch so headed to the Cheese and Beer Company Cafe for lunch where needless to say cheese and breads were on the menu. Here Bryan ordered a sample of four of their own brewed beers, but from the look on Lee-Anns face as she tried them and the lack of comment from Bryan I don’t think they were too good. Moving on we visited the honey place sampling various honeys from the island and a winery where after one look at the prices we decided to give sampling a miss.
Driving on we arrived at Adventure Bay where this world globe is located and visited Captain Cooks Memorial. While on Bruny we saw as much as possible driving to Barnes Bay, Killora Bay and Memes Point in the north of the island to the Bruny Lighthouse and Cloudy Bay in the South.
At the lighthouse we took a half hour tour conducted by a son of a lighthouse keeper with a good sense of humour and a wealth of knowledge. For $10 the tour was value for money and a must do.
Leaving the caravan park at 5.30am we drove through the dark streets of Melbourne hoping our trusty TomTom was not leading us astray as we headed for the ferry. Arriving at Melbourne Pier we were directed into place only to be told there was a ½ hour delay. No problem, we hadn’t had breakfast so into the van to quieten the hunger pains. As dawn broke we huddled together for the mandatory group photo – Bryan Smith and Lee-Ann Collier, Rosco and Lyn Hutton and us and not to forget the most important person Miss Penny.
Once on the ferry we quickly took up residence in a lounge where we talked, ate, read, played games, took walks around the ferry as we wiled away the day. We had all booked recliners on the deck above but barely used them as it was much more fun to sit with friends, catching up on what we had all been doing since last meeting. Bryan and Lee-Ann are from Darwin but had been visiting family and friends in West Australia while Rosco, Lyn and Penny drove down from Darwin for this much anticipated holiday.
Docking in Devonport just on dusk Kevin and I were the third vehicle off the ferry so quickly made our way to the Abel Tasman Caravan Park just before the rush. Just as well the park was expecting 30 vans off the ferry. The Huttons and Smiths rolled in shortly after and before long we were settled with a drink in hand.
In the morning after a group meeting it was decided we would stay another night to get our bearings and take the opportunity to drive down to Tasmazia and Sheffield without our vans. Driving directly to Tazmazia we spent a couple of hours making our way through some of the well set out mazes, looking for “Hidden Treasure”, “The Three Little Pigs Houses”, “Jack and Jills Hill”, “Crackpot Village” and many other POI,
while along the way reading humorous signs. As seniors it cost $22 each but it was well worth the money and a must see. On the way home we stopped off in Sheffield to view the murals the town is known for.
Sheffield also holds an annual competition for people from all over the world to enter, some of the entries were on display in a central park. As well there where the murals on most walls throughout the town. Another must see.
Leaving Devonport we headed over to Garden Island Beach where we based ourselves for a couple of night driving to Green Island where we saw an Elephant Seal that wasn’t, Beauty Point for lunch and Beaconsfield to tour the Mine Museum.
Yet another place well worth the time, with great displays of mine and farm equipment from bygone days as well as a display of the Beaconsfield Mine Disaster which ultimately closed the mine.
Heading south from here we followed the lovely Tamar River to Launceston where we spent three nights at Old Mac’s Farm. At $10 a night a good central point to see the the surrounding areas and for Kevin, Rosco and Bryan to replace the alternator in our vehicle. On the banks of a lake only 4klms from the city centre with lovely walks, petting animals and paddle boats for hire it was ideal base to explore Launceston.
Visiting Cataract Gorge on an overcast drizzling day deciding to save the chairlift ride for another day Rosco and I walked up the gorge to Kings Bridge.
Afterwards Kevin visited the National Auto-mobile Museum, drooling over the many beautifully restored vintage cars. Included in the exhibits was the Green Monaro that was left dangling over the Derwent River Bridge in 1975 when a boat ran into one of the bridges pylons causing part of the bridge to collapse into the river.
Continueing south taking the Midland Highway we headed to Evandale for the National Penny Farthing Championships. Although the weather wasn’t the best it was a great day with penny farthing races, people dressed in period costume, displays of vintage cars and machinery, crazy bikes for people to try and ride, markets stalls and live music. A wonderful event and equally lovely town to wander through.
Further down the highway we made a quick stop in at Campbell Town to admire the tree art.
Then on to the lovely little township of Ross where we wandered through the remains of the Historical Female Factory, trying to imagine what life was like for the unfortunate women convicts of the time, before stopping for lunch in town where Rosco and Kevin enjoyed their first scallop pie. Not cheap but apparently delicious before we browsed through the antique and tourist shops as we made our way to the famous Ross Bridge. Built by convicts in 54 weeks.
For the next couple of days we based ourselves in Oatlands over looking Dulverton Lake. As we pulled into the free camp the towns annual Japanese fair was just finishing but we were able to enjoy a little of the atmosphere and talk to a few of the locals. From here the next day we made a quick trip into Hobart Airport to pick up our daughter Charmaine who was spending 7 days with us on her way to Canada.
Like all the other towns we have passed through Oatlands had many interesting buildings including the operational Callington Mill and museum, army barracks, goal that now houses the town swimming pool. Here for a few days we had ample opportunity to enjoy wandering through the town and an afternoon walk around Dulverton Lake. A lovely free camp (donation) and equally lovely, friendly towns people who were happy to chat about their community.