Tasmania 2010-2011 Part 2 Launceston, the NE, Lakes District and Hobart

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 18:07

Navigator 1 (NSW)

We moved on to the NE and down to Hobart...

Day 20 Friday 17th December .. Bakers Beach – Gravelly Beach (on the Tamar River)
We left our campsite in Baker’s Beach around 8.35am and travelled across country to Beauty Point. It was hilly country through state forests. We had a brief stop off at Seahorse World then on the Beaconsfield where we visited the mine museum. We were impressed with overall display and with the account of the collapse on Anzac Day, 2006 which was very moving. The tribute to Larry Knight who died in the collapse and the account of the rescue of Todd Russel and Brant Webb was a credit to those concerned. The physical display of the pipe, through which you can crawl and stand to view a replica of the cage in which the two men were trapped, really let you appreciate the predicament the two men were in.

We continued down to Launceston to catch up with ExplorOz member ‘Booboo’. After coffee we headed back up the Tamar Valley to Gravelly Beach to stay with Anna and Graeme whom we had camped with at Leven Canyon.
Distance travelled: 109km

Day 21 Saturday 18th December ... Gravelley Beach – Bridestowe - Lillydale Falls

On the eastern side of Batman Bridge we checked out a free campsite before heading north up the eastern shores of the Tamar River to the historic townships of Georgetown and the precinct district and lighthouse of Low Head. Further on at Bridestowe Lavender Farm the lavender was only just starting to bloom. The season was late due to the lack of sunshine in the last month. To see the lavender in full bloom was something we were looking forward to but, it was not to be.
On our loop back to Gravelly Beach we decided to stop off for the night at Lillydale Falls. It was a relatively small road side stop but it was pleasant enough and very quiet. A short, pleasant stroll led us to the falls.
Distance travelled: 132km

Day 22 Sunday 19th December ... Lillydale Falls – Gravelly Beach
We returned to Gravelly Beach as our friends, Graeme and Anna, had invited us to join them at the local cafe with 20 of their friends. The meal was great and we were made to feel very welcome. To top off the afternoon, we all went back to the waterfront home of Lion & Susan. Wow, 180 ° views! Now this was something I could really settle into. We were invited to park the truck in their grounds for the evening.
Distance travelled: 47km ... getting serious now!

Day 23 Monday 20th December ... Gravelly Beach – Myrtle Park
After our final look at the Tamar River from Brady’s Lookout we went to the Cataract Gorge via the Cataract Gorge Reserve. This road brought us out at the parking area on the hill directly above the gorge. At the cafe we sat and enjoyed the trees, the gardens, the resident Lyre Birds and Devonshire tea. How very civilized!

We headed into the NE corner via Scottsdale and Bridport but got no further than Myrtle Park, a camping area we had visited back in 2003. It was $3 per site then and now, 7 years later, they have modern flush toilets, hot showers and the camping fee was still $3 per site. We couldn’t go past that!
Distance travelled: 67km

Day 24 Tuesday 21st December ... Myrtle Park – Waterhouse Conservation Area–Casuarina campsite
We passed through hilly forested countryside to Scottsdale then onto Bridport. The beaches in the area were beautiful and they provided the perfect spot for lunch. We continued on through the grazing lands till we entered the Waterhouse Conservation Area. The wind was blowing quite strongly from the NW so we continued around the point and found the protected little cove called Casuarina. Once again we were in our favourite camping spot, right on the water’s edge.
Distance Travelled: 93km

Day 25 Wednesday 22nd December ...The longest day of the year and our 43rd Wedding Anniversary
We had breakfast overlooking the water and took a lovely stroll along the beach and across the rocks. Away from our campsite we could feel the full fury of the wind.
We filled in the day walking and relaxing in a perfect location!

Day 26 Thursday 23rd December ... Waterhouse Con Area – Ralph Falls
We left at 7.38am and once on top of the ridge we were in the full force of the wind, very strong from the NW. We passed through the tiny towns of Gladstone, Pioneer, Herrick and Derby, an historic tin mining town. Here we stopped for coffee at their welcoming picnic area on the banks of the Ringarooma River. Signs invited travellers to stop for the evening but we carried on to Ledgerwood to see the famous tree carvings of fallen war heroes. It is certainly a fitting monument!

Our final destination for the day was Ralph Falls in Mt Victoria State Forest. It was only a short walk to the falls and a lovely way to finish the day. For dinner we tried to cook a duck in the camp oven on the fireplace. What an absolute disaster – a greasy mess!
Distance travelled 145 km

Day 27 Friday 24th December ...Ralph Falls – Arthurs Lake – Jonah Bay Camping area
I slept in while Chicka walked to the lookout, but we still managed to leave by 7.45am (unheard of in the days of the roof top tent). Today we headed for the Lakes district on the Central Plateau. At our cafe lunch, back on the 19th December, a couple invited us to join them for Christmas Day in their fishing shack, on the Great Lake. We headed south from Ringarooma to Upper Esk and Upper Blessington. Along the way we stopped off in the beautiful pine forest and picked a very small pine tree for Christmas Day. We called into Ben Lomond NP

We checked out the location of the shack and then continued 17 km further on to Jonah Bay camping area on Arthur’s Lake to spend Christmas Eve. The central lakes are very popular with the trout fishers and Christmas made this even more so.
Distance travelled 239km

Day 28 Saturday 25th December ... Arthur’s Lake – Great Lake - Christmas Day
At 11.00 am we arrived at John & Wendy’s fishing shack at Cramps Bay on the Great Lake. With us was the Christmas Tree that we had felled in the pine forest several days ago.
Before taking a big walk around the lake to take in the view and look at all the shacks we enjoyed grapes, cherries, a cheese platter and champagne. On our return we prepared a wonderful Christmas Lunch/Dinner. We talked and drank well into the evening.
Distance travelled 17 km

Day 29 Sunday 26th December ... Great Lake - Arthur’s Lake (The pumphouse Campground)
We all left the shack at 10.30, John & Wendy returned to their home in Launceston and we returned to Arthur’s Lake but to campsite a little further south – The Pumphouse. It is so named because the large pumphouse pumps water from Arthur’s Lake to the Great Lake from where it flows down hill to the Hydro power station.
The campground was far more organised than Jonah Bay with short stay campers on the lower level and the long stay fishermen on the upper level. Facilities included drop toilets and hot showers – the donkey was kept running all day by the camp hosts. We usually don’t camp in organised areas but it was fun chatting with all the travellers.
Distance travelled: 14km

Day 30 Monday 27th December ... Arthur’s Lake – Hobart Showground
WOW! We awoke to see snow all over the campground. What a thrill! I was so excited it had nearly all melted by the time I remembered the camera.

We travelled around the lake a little to the Lakes Hotel at Meina and dashed inside with the snow falling once again. The log fire was burning and the crowds were coming in. The highly recommended meal did not disappoint us!
We travelled on through Bothwell and Kempton (where there is a great free overnight stop, with power) to the Hobart Showground. After dinner we walked around the track under the flood lights. The showground is used infrequently these days and is in need of major works. We feel that it will more likely be the site of a major development. Fees were $10 per night for fully self contained vehicles.
Distance travelled: 147km

Day 31 Tuesday 28th December ... Hobart Showground – Constitution Dock (Sydney/Hobart Yacht race)
Still feeling fit, we walked around the oval before breakfast and then headed off into Hobart.Parking we thought was going to be a big problem but we pulled into a parking spot right on the dock at Sullivan Cove around 11.00am. Fortunately it was a public holiday so the security guard allow us, and several other motorhomes, to stay overnight. The only stipulation was that we had to be gone by 8.00am. We had FRONT ROW SEATS for the SydneyHobart yachts to come in!

We filled in the day walking around the dock area and at 8.30pm we were there when Wild Oates came into dock. The crowds of people were there but the celebrations were very subdued as a protest had to been lodged against the yacht. This protest was resolved in their favour the following day. The second boat was due in at 11.30pm but when this time was put back till 12.30 we settled in for the night.
WOW! Thousands of dollars could not have given a position anywhere near as good as the spot we had.
Distance travelled: 20km

Day 32 Wednesday 29th December ...Constitution Dock – Taroona
At 6.00am the water was like glass reflecting the masts of the 3 maxi yachts that had docked. We left at 8.00am after several other yachts had arrived and others were in sight. We felt very privileged indeed to have been parked in such a position.
After spending lunch time on the waterfront at Sandy Bay we moved on just a little further south to the Apex park at Taroona, in sight of the shot tower. Kayakers came and went all afternoon but we had the place to ourselves overnight. It had been a magnificent sunny day. Just love this green motorhome - a lot of people are not quite sure what the truck really is!
Distance travelled: 23km

Day 33 Thursday 30th December ... Taroona – Little Sandy Bay
We talked to all the locals walking their dogs early in the morning. One lady, Rachael, stopped for a cuppa and then took us to the local community vegetable garden where we stocked up on salad greens. Our plan for the day was to go into the Hobart CBD to browse around the shops, but where to park? Easy, we parked at the Wrest Point Casino and for $3 each, we bought a day ticket on the local bus. Specials were on but we needed nothing in the motorhome and as far as clothes go, they just don’t make for my shape. However, lunch outdoors at a cafe was great and the weather was perfect.
We could have been very cheeky and stayed at the Casino on the edge of the water but thought it was better to stay the night at Sandown Park at Little Sandy Bay. Overnighting is not quite legal but a blind eye is turned to s/c vehicles.
Distance travelled: 10km

Day 34 Friday 31st December ... NEW YEAR’S EVE Little Sandy Bay – Rosny Hill
Our aim for the day was to find a good vantage point for the New Year’s Eve fireworks. Mt Wellington, although providing a spectacular view was a little too far from the action so we went up to Mt Nelson. Here we revisited one of Tasmania’s Semaphore Stations and took time for coffee in the little cafe. What a spectacular view but unfortunately, in the wrong direction. The view of Sullivan Cove was hampered by the growth of the surrounding vegetation.
We decided to try the other side of the Derwent River but first we made a trip out to the oyster farm, opposite the airport. The oysters were as big and juicy as they were back in 2003 but the business had realised the tourism opportunity and had built an upmarket restaurant. Fortunately, over the counter sales were still available.
We worked our way back towards the Derwent Bridge and there, opposite Sullivan Cove, we came across Rosny Hill, a wonderful vantage point! It was only 4.00pm and we were alone but by 9.00pm, the parking area was packed. Once the fireworks were over, the spectators all left. At 11.30pm the carpark was again full. This time we just layed back in bed and watched out the windows. Fifteen minutes after the display, the car park was again empty so we just went off to sleep. Just love the green machine!
Distance travelled: 78km

To come ... Part 3 – SW Wilderness Area
The outback calls
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