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10/1/2014 West Tamar Valley

We woke to the sounds of sirens one morning while we were staying at Point Cooee - Burnie free camp. It was hard to tell where the fire was from our camp site, and the huge explosions had us a bit worried. It turned out to be the motorcycle shop across the road. Fortunately they managed to save a lot of the new stock of motorbikes and contained the fire to the workshop area which was at the back of the building. Also no-one was hurt.

I was particularly concerned as only a couple of days ago, I took the scooter there with a question about its handle bar grip. The desk officer very kindly had a look and fixed it with no charge, nor hesitation. It was awful to think that he might have been injured, or out of work, if the place had burnt down fully.

Photo of fire at Point Cooee

After a great Christmas spent with Russell and Julie (and other family and friends) at Sulphur Creek, we packed up and took off on our way to the Tamar Valley area of Northern Tassie. The Narawntapu National Park turned out to be quite nice with camping available for $13 a night. The camping area is next to the north east arm inlet and we were encouraged to see the following scene on the beachside:

Photo of mobility gofer and two persons fishing

The fishing persons were having a great time, despite the need for the mobility scooter.
The fields around the whole Tamar Valley are very scenic, but just don't be tempted to pick the poppies:

Photo of poppies field and warning sign

We went on a great walk at the Narawntapu National Park. The start of the walk was through a forested area and took us out to a lookout over the ocean:

Photo of view over ocean Narawntapu NP

The walk changed then, and took us out over grassed fields. It was here, that we managed to get ourselves lost. Well, we could see where the Information Centre was but couldn't get through to it due to water ways and swamps blocking the way. The walkway marker pegs seemed to disappear. After a few wrong turns we decided we would have to back track the way we had come.

Photo of being lost in NP

One good thing to going back that way, is we got to see the following wombat.

Photo of wombat

Leaving the National Park, we headed across to Exeter and the main Highway for the area. There is a roadside lookout on the West Tamar Highway:

Photo from Bradys Lookout over Tamar River

The above photo shows some of the grape vines, and the Tamar River that winds it's way through the valley.

Happily we were able to meet up with my Mum and brother Colin, staying with them at Legana Holiday Park. We drove to Grindlewald Village and viewed the golf resort which was built in the style of a Swiss village:

Photo at Grindleworld Village

Photo of Mum, Colin and Robyn at Grindlewald:

Photo of Mum, Colin and Robyn at Grindleworld Village

Mum, Colin and I had a day away from Robyn (who stayed at the van park to watch the cricket) and went to Tamar Wetlands and a few other attractions in Launceston. Following photo is of the Wetlands showing the tide out exposing the bottom of a tributary of the Tamar River.

Photo of tributories at Tamar Wetlands

After Mum and Colin left to head back to Peggs Beach and then the ferry back to Geelong, we found a few more overnight stops to stay in the West Tamar Valley. Following was taken at Paper Beach Reserve:

Photo of sunset at Paper Point

At Greens Beach there was no free camping as there is a caravan park there. It is a very 'upmarket' area with some very impressive holiday homes. The caravan park was full and would cost $22 for an unpowered site. We decided against staying there, due to the crowded conditions esp. noting the large number of families with children taking advantage of the sunny days, and the beautiful safe swimming beach of Greens Beach. (although it was about 500 metre walk out to the water). In the Tamar area the free camps are a bit restrictive with a lot having a sign saying camping OK from 5pm to 9am. This means packing up each morning and finding a suitable place to park for the day. We just can't go on long bushwalks everyday!
We did the walk to West Head - about 3 hours return walk through overgrown ferns along the bay. We reached the lookout:

Photo of Badgers Beach view from lookout

There is a place of historic importance called York Town, but the original buildings have all gone. A replica hut of one of the settlements from around 1804 has been built.

Photo of replica hut at York Town

As the last time we were in Tassie was Easter 2006 we never visited Beaconsfield. The mining disaster had occurred and they were trying to save the miners who had been trapped about 1klm underground. This visit we were able to go to Beaconsfield and camped at the Recreation Ground where they allow overnight camping. It was a steep but short walk up to the lookout over Beaconsfield:

Photo from Beaconsfield lookout

The mining museum was very interesting and reasonable cost of $12 for me and $10 for Robyn. (Finally Robyn was able to use her seniors card and get a discount). We haven't decided on how to spend the $2.

Beauty Point is a town just down the road from Beaconsfield. We were keen to see this 'sceneric' sounding place. Soon discovered that it was not called 'Beauty Point' because of its aesthetic characteristics. It reminded us of the bay areas in Brisbane where the tide goes way out and leaves mud flats. Fortunately Beauty Point was better as it didn't have the mudflats, just scary looking diving platforms that seem to invite disastrous belly flops from unsuspecting swimmers. The photo shows this:

Photo at Beauty Point overlooking diving platform

Following is a photo of the site and if you mouse over 'Beauty' you will see the real reason why it is called 'Beauty Point'.

A prize bullock called 'Beauty' died on the banks of the bay just where the Marine College has been built.

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