15/3/14 from Glenda - Our last blog was 10/1/2014 Since then we have been travelling around East Tasmania
Early in January we spent a few days in each of the following areas: Exeter, Deloraine, Railton, Sheffield and Cooee Point. We had some time to kill while waiting to attend various Doctors appointments, and I (Glenda) even managed to get a visit to the Burnie Hospital as a Day Patient for a very minor procedure.
We camped at Evandale, the Penny Farthing Capital of Tasmania and picked up Jill our friend from Narooma NSW, from the Launceston Airport as she joined us for a few weeks holiday. We thought that she may only have been with us for a couple of weeks so we were mindful of picking up our travelling pace so she would get to see the things she wanted.
Our first trip with our newbie on board, was to Georgetown which is in the north of Tasmania on the mouth of the Tamar River. We were disappointed with Georgetown but firstly a photo of its lovely lighthouse (actually in Low Head but claimed by Georgetown as its' own):
Now, why were we less than impressed by Georgetown?
Georgetown actively discourages grey nomads as they do not want you to free camp anywhere. They charged us $12 to park in the Information Office car park overnight. There were no facilities, it was very noisy with traffic on the main road, and to top it off, a building alarm went off during the night very near to where we were.
Despite the camping disappointment, we enjoyed looking at the sculptures carved out of the dead (or doomed for removal) trees in various locations throughout the district. Following are a couple of photos of examples. Jill and I (Glenda) also had a lovely swim in the cyrstal clear water at Low Head Beach.
Next stop was Scottsdale for a few days. The Forestry building is of an ecological award winning design. At first it appears to be a building falling over (Leaning tower of Pisa?) But, it has been built to be energy efficient, using an inner and outer wall system with various heating and lighting innovations.
At the start of February we headed across to St Helens on the east coast, via Derby where we spent a couple of days. The town of Derby is very small with only a few shops and houses. It does have a tennis court with a strange notice on the clubhouse wall:
Following is a closeup of the notice:
We can understand the joy in alcohol consumption but we couldn't work out why they love throwing eggs!
Driving down through the mountains toward St Helens after leaving Derby, we got a flat tyre. After an attempt to change the tyre with the spare, we had to
give up. The spare tyre didn't want to come down from underneath the body of the motorhome (there is a winding down mechanism built into the chasis).
A Qld. couple towing a caravan stopped to help us, and also couldn't get the spare down.
As the tread had pulled away from the tyre leaving the tyre still inflated we were able to slowly continue down the mountain at 10klm per hour, until we got to the Pub in the Paddock where we were able to free camp for the night.
About half a dozen bikers tried to help get our spare tyre down from under the body of the truck. But it was stuck. The verdict was that the mechanism was stripped, and the only way to get the spare down, would be to cut the cable. We decided against this as we would have nowhere to store the spare wheel.
The couple who originally stopped to help, again offered to help by taking Robyn and the blown tyre into St Helens to have it replaced. Jill and I stayed back at the Pub in the Paddock and nervously watched as the motorhome remained perched on three wheels and a little jack.
Many thanks to the folk at the Pub in the Paddock, anonymous caravan travellers, and the bikers who all combined to get us back on the road the next day.
We travelled onto Humbug Bay and camped at Dora Point after that. Following is a photo of Robyn and Jill scampering over the rocks at Dora's Point.
General view over the bay at Dora's Point:
On the way south, toward heading toward Freycinet National Park we stopped overnight at the Lagoons Beach free camp and then the Coles Bay Iluka Caravan Park for $50. A bit expensive but we were not able to get into the National Parks camp at Coles Bay. The next day we did the walk up to the lookout over Wineglass Bay. I don't have any photos of this view over Wineglass Bay because my vertigo kicked in on the way up to the lookout. I had to turn back, but nevertheless got some nice views over Coles Bay:
Travelling back up north we free camped at Friendly Beaches which is a part of Freycinet National Park.
It was a little bit windy when we were walking along the beach at Friendly Beach or is Robyn exagerating in the following photo?
It became very hot on the day we drove down through Swansea and toward Triabunna. In fact it reached 40c degrees so we decided to go to a caravan park so that we could use the air conditioner. The caravan park at Triabunna was extremely small with very tiny sites but we managed to get in and power up. No sooner had we done this than the cool change came through. The sky threatened with a severe storm. Fortunately the worst of the storm passed Triabunna and we heard news of major storm damage in Hobart and surrounds.
The next day Jill shouted us a boat ride to Maria Island which included going into caves by boat, dolphin and seal viewing and time to walk around the ruins on the island. We had a fantastic day out, the weather being perfect for the trip although too cool for a swim.
Photo of one of the many historic buildings on the island:
Photo of the view from the island back toward Triabunna:
Our trip then took us down through Sorell and to the Tasman Peninsula with its many natural scenic features:
Photo of Robyn and Jill at the Tasman Blowhole (near Bicheno):
Other coastal treats included: Tesselated Pavement, Tasman Arch and Devils Kitchen
On our way down to Port Arthur, we had hoped to free camp at Tasman RSL Club at Numbeena but they were full with no space for us.
A patron at the RSL overheard the conversation and offered us a space on his vacant block in Numbeena.
We drove to his block, but the wheels started spinning in the long grass and we decided we had better not camp there.
We might get bogged with no way out.
This is how we stumbled across Whites Beach (perhaps my favorite beach in Tasmania). Our last camping option was to try the commercial caravan park which was a few klms off the main road at a place called Whites Beach.
We might otherwise have passed it by altogether. After setting up camp, we walked over the sand dune and discovered a most beautiful quiet bay with white sandy beach and crystal clear water. Jill and I had a quick dip in the bay (Robyn still frets over sea snakes thinking the one in Broome WA is following her around Aust. and therefore is reluctant to swim in the sea anymore).
The sunset over the bay and islands was pretty good too:
We drove to Dunalley and free camped at the Dunalley Tavern. Our next stop was at the Franklin Reserve on the Huon river where a rowing festival was in progress and it was entertaining to watch each race. We then headed west to Huonville and the Tahune Forest where Robyn fulfilled her dream to go on the Tree Top Air Walk. As you might guess, I don't have any photos of the walk - you need to ask Jill and Robyn to see their photos. The following photos are of the large trees, and swing bridges seen on other ground based walks at Tahune Forest.
Next stop - Ida Bay for a ride on the Ida Bay Railway. This is a quaint train trip through the rainforest passing Ida Bay and stopping at the Beach for just long enough to have a quiet wine, cheese and crackers on the deserted beach. then back onto the train and back to Ida Bay. The weather threatened with rain so a longer stop at the beach and catching the later train back, wasn't recommended. Following are a few photos taken on the ride:
After a visit to the Thermal Pool and Hastings Caves, we camped at Port Huon with a fantastic view over the Huon River (complimentary rainbow):
We then started on the Heritage Highway - every little town was full of heritage buildings and historical artifacts. The sandstone arches of The Richmond Bridge, Australia's oldest known large stone arch bridge have spanned Tasmania's Coal River since its completion in 1825. Following is a photo of the Richmond Bridge - originally built by convicts.
Next we camped at the Campania Flour Mill Park and then onto Oatlands, another great little heritage town.
Photos of the Oatlands Flour Mill and historic Town Hall:
We passed through the town of Ross taking a few photos of the Bridge there as well on the way to Deloraine:
Also stopped to look at the historic womens factory at Ross - the buildings have long gone but the markers provided information on what used to be:
The next few days were spent travelling around and stopping at Deloraine, Preservation Bay and Sulphur Creek now back in the north of Tasmania prior to heading into Cradle Mountain.
Photo taken at Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain - the iconic boat shed with Cradle Mountain in the background:
Following is a photo of Jill taking a photo of Robyn while balancing precariously on Glacier Rock at Cradle Mountain. Needless to say, I stayed on the safe 'land lubbers' side of the Boulder.
Look below to see a photo of Cradle Mountain taken over Dove Lake.
We went on a few short walks at Cradle Mountain. Following are photos taken on these walks.
A few more days were spent touring around before saying farewell to Jill when we dropped her back at the Launceston ariport at the end of her holiday. She ended up staying for five weeks!
We took the vehicular ferry over to Bruny Island and stayed at Julies sisters place at Adventure Bay. We had a lovely time partying as the 'Islanders' party.
Included the annual Bowling Club auction where all manner of items are available for sale as the locals clean out their no longer wanted stuff.
Kaylene's friend Stephanie nearly bought a little boat (official name a moth) for only $10 but had to onsell it when it became apparent it was not
wanted by her husband.
It would have been a bit hard to transport back to the 'mainland'.
Everyone was telling us about the white kangaroos that roam the island. We had only ever seen white kangaroos in captivity before and so were not sure if this was just another case of BIB. (Bruny Island B$%#) until we were lucky enough to catch site of some:
The following one we spotted on our walk out to Penguin Island:
Seeing that we had had the tyre trouble recently, we are a little nervous about road surfaces. The Bruny Island main highway consists of a segment which runs along the Neck,a narrow isthmus (good word !) and apparantly can't be sealed as it would interfere with the penguins (another case of BIB??? ) Following shows part of the main highway:
We wanted to avoid dirt roads but it wasn't possbible.
There is a lookout on the isthmus. The following photo is taken from the first level of the stairway up to the top. Again vertigo stopped me going all the way up.
Following is a photo taken from the lower level lookout, of the beach and looking over the south part of beautiful Bruny Island.
After everyone else had left the Island we felt a bit lost at Adventure Bay so packed up and drove to Alonnah where we found you could free camp at the Pub for only $5. While here we did a few more nature walks then headed back to the ferry to return to the little 'mainland' (Tasmania proper).
A big thankyou to Kaylene and Barry for allowing us to camp in their backyard at Adventure Bay and participate with family and friends over the weekend.
After about 6 weeks of travelling around fairly quickly (one night stopovers) we decided to stay at the Hobart showgrounds for 10 days. This way we can relax, update the blog (a bit overdue), catch up with the washing, and tour around Hobart. Hoping to go on the double decker red tour bus over the next few days. Meanwhile the weather still has us guessing from half hour to half hour. The sun is shining now, but a little wind and rain is threatening again.