Tasmania February 2007

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2008 at 21:51

Member - Min (NSW)

Account of Tasmanian Trip (Feb-Mar 2007)

We are seniors and like some comforts (like toilets and power in bad weather or after a week without it) so don't do much bush camping although we have done it in the past and loved it. We do like NPs and simple campgrounds with clean amenities. We don't like cities or large towns and travel to see scenic beauty (mostly). These preferences are reflected in these notes.

We enjoyed out time in Tasmania very much. We keep saying we needed more time but a month was long enough especially as we have been worried about illness in the family. It will be good to come back another time and we will be more prepared to concentrate on fly-fishing and paddling with our inflatable 'sit-on-top' and will target those areas. Hopefully we will also find time to spend on the east coast. But no matter what plans are made it all depends on the weather.
Our home is near Canberra.

Tip: book ahead for Devonport and Melbourne on both arrivals and departures unless you are travelling in mid-winter.

Friday 9 February - Melbourne
Ashleigh Gardens C'van Pk very good facilities. Someone in our site and we were dumped near the road. Ate at Ashleigh Hotel close by - very good (bistro closed Sunday and Monday). Supermarket etc... next door to c'van park. Bus to city outside the gate.

Saturday 10 February - Melbourne
Sightseeing around Melbourne - Queen Victoria Market, Federation Square incl. Ian Potter gallery. Travelled by bus and tram.

Sunday 11 February - Devonport
Left c'van park at 7.10 am for Spirit of Tasmania dock, following the map the c'van park had given us. Ship left about 9.30 (1/2 hour late). Our cabin was comfortable (4 berth). Had a light breakfast. After clearing Port Phillip Bay it was very rough and we retired to the cabin. Feeling a bit queasy despite Kwells and slept for a while. Had hearty lunch, went back to the cabin and lost it but felt much better. Slept until around 6, had a shower and then we were docked (6.30).
Cleared quarantine by just before 8.00 and went to Abel Tasman C'van park ($23) close by. Rather shabby but clean and adequate and there is a fast food place attached to the park. Pizzas are good but ask for ½ cheese.
We would probably choose a night sailing in future although there are pros and cons such as the time and day (weekend or week day) of departure/arrival in Melbourne/Devonport. We would highly recommend getting a cabin whatever time you go, especially with small children or poor sailors. Bass Straight is notoriously rough.

Monday 12 February - Devonport
Shopped for fruit, veg and meat.Devonport has all services including supermarkets and auto and camping shops.
Visited Tiagarra Aboriginal museum near the lighthouse and looked at Aboriginal engravings around the area - moderately interesting. Nice walk around the headland near the lighthouse.
Visited some of the beaches and Don Head.
After dinner went to Lilico Beach to see the penguins return from sea. There is no need to pay for a tour because Rangers and assistants were in attendance with information and large red torches. It would be impossible to see the penguins on a dark night without the torches. Very cold but had a wonderful view as they preened themselves before making their way slowly up the beach and some came across in front of the viewing platform to their burrows where hungry chicks were making a fuss. There is no point getting there much before dark and they won't come out of the water until then. DO NOT USE WHITE TORCHES OR HEADLIGHTS.
Burnie info centre also has details about when and where to see penguins.

Tuesday 13 February - Ulverstone
Drove to Ulverstone and Penguin along the ocean road and checked both places out before opting for the Big 4 at Ulverstone ($25 pn + 20 cents for a shower). On the beachfront and a well kept park with excellent facilities but no gardens or shrubs to relieve the vista of caravans, motorhomes, annexes, etc..
Drove to Leven Canyon via Gunn's Plains. A beautiful drive and spectacular canyon.

Wednesday 14 February - Ulverstone
Took the fridge to Burnie for repairs. Made a round trip (much of it very scenic and much through logged country) starting on the B18 through Ridgley, Highclere, Hampshire, then on the A10 for 17km, East on the road going past the entrance to Cradle Mountain, North from Daisy Dell, crossed the Forth R. near Wilmot, North via very minor road to Sheffield (bought very stale muffins from Julian's Bakery and Cafe), lovely drive through Melrose to Forth and to Ulverstone where we are staying again tonight and tomorrow night. For much of the return leg we could see Mt Roland looking rugged and stark and at times so close.

Thursday 15 February - Ulverstone
Picked up the fridge from Ben at BRM Refrigeration who explained the problem and how he fixed it.
Had a look around Burnie - not a particularly interesting or attractive town although the Information Centre people are very helpful. (Woolworths, Coles, Kmart and everything else necessary to a large thriving town).
Visited the Lactos cheese factory (turn off Bass Hwy east of the city into Old Surrey Road just past the old Australian Paper Mill, then take the Fern Glade Road to the left) which distributes several brands including Heidi, Heritage, Tasmanian Gold (?). We bought Heidi raclette, gruyere and tilsit to take home and some brie and cheddar to eat along the way.
On the way back down the hill we went for a walk in Fern Glade looking for platypus. Saw all the splashes but not the actual creature. A very pleasant, peaceful patch of rainforest so close to factories and a busy road.
Took the coast road through Penguin and once again admired the delightful town and surrounding scenery. The gardens of homes and all along the railway/road was a colourful delight.
Walked a long way up the beach after returning to Ulverstone. The sea was not as cold as I had imagined and people were swimming. The tide was a long way out and many rocks and patches of stones were exposed, making it an interesting and relaxing hour or two.

Friday 16 February - Wynyard
Drove directly to Wynyard first checking out the Leisure C'van Park. We were not impressed despite the indoor heated pool. We came to Beach Retreat ($22 pn) and are very happy here. It is small, well managed and improvements are proceeding apace. The beach is only about 20 metres behind the trailer and it is grassy with concrete pads for the vans. There is a shelter a few metres away with sinks and bbqs. The water is good.
Wynyard is larger than we anticipated. It has a Woolworths (and Woolies servo) and all other services and shops.
Went to Hellyer Gorge and Waratah. The drive was not very scenic due to all the logging but the Gorge was lovely and we did two walks there. The museum at Waratah was closed. Went to the Post Office for key but no luck there (we could also have tried the roadhouse for the key). At least we saw the old tin stamper and the waterfall. Waratah (Mt Bischoff) was once the richest tin mine in the world.
After returning to Wynyard we went out to see the shell fossils in the cliffs at Fossil Bluff at low tide. There were also some wonderfully sculptured sandstone rocks there.

Saturday 17 February - Wynyard
Went out to Table Cape where there are sensational views back to Wynyard and up the coast to the East. We went on to Boat Harbour, Sisters Beach which are both pretty little hamlets on the coast, a few km off the Bass Hwy, and Rocky Cape NP which was indeed very rocky all around the Cape. The rocks were covered with the red lichen common in Tasmania. There are a number of caves with evidence of Aboriginal occupation. We climbed up to one which seemed to go back quite a way but we didn't go in because the sign requested visitors not to do so. There were some sandy beaches and some very rocky ones.
It was then on to Stanley, quite a small town with well maintained timber cottages and a fishing fleet. Stanley's claim to fame is the Nut, a volcanic plug set in the ocean at the end of a short isthmus. The Nut appears to be very flat on top but we discovered it to be quite hilly on our walk around it after taking the chairlift up ($9 snrs). Very enjoyable.
We then headed for Dipp Falls and Big Tree via the back roads. Dipp Falls is in two sections and is made of fascinating rock which looks like hexagonal columns on the face and tiles on the bottom. Big Tree involved a short walk through rain forest with huge Man Ferns (Dicksonia Antarctica) some of which are three metres high. The Big Tree (Eucalyptus Obliqua - Stringy Bark) is quite impressive - +- 400 years old.
We had intended taking the Rabalga Track a route described in the 4WD book I bought on the ship (Off-road Tasmania by Chris Boden) but there was a locked gate across the road. Hope all the tracks in the book are not such a disappointment.
The weather has been very good so far with some cloud, usually clearing in the afternoons. Temperatures have been around 23-28 max.

Sunday 18 February - Arthur River Campground (Manuka)
Went straight to Allendale Gardens which were impressive considering all the work has been carried out by a husband and wife. (It would be better if they did have some help.) The dahlias, fuchsias and roses were particularly colourful and some huge white heads of flowers. The long rainforest walk was good with some huge Eucalyptus Qbliqua (Stringbark).
Had a look at Smithton - A service centre for the North West - Woolworths and an IGA and most services.
It was then on to Dismal Swamp. Ate lunch in the car park then paid our $36 (concession, otherwise $40). There was a very long wait to go down the slide (you get 3 slides) so it was suggested that we might like to walk down to the bottom and look around, which we did. There were no explanatory signs only some very dubious 'works of art'. There were too many people waiting for the golf carts to get back up the hill so we walked all the way up. Still a queue for the slide so I made a loud comment about life being too short and is this what we paid our money for and was offered a refund which we took and got out of the place. Some people think it's wonderful but we thought it was a rip off. It's just a slippery slide for God's sake! Good fun if there was no wait but still poor value. There are very good picnic grounds incl. bbqs between the carpark and the entrance.
We then headed for Arthur River and decided to stay in the NP campsite (Manuka). We had new flushing toilets including a disabled one which had a pulley (byo rope) shower set up, we just had to provide the solar shower bag - excellent. There is also a mop and bucket to mop up after your shower. (Not the first part of the campground on the left after you come in, go on a bit and you'll see the loos.)
Cooked roast lamb and spuds in the Cobb - delicious.
The rain which was expected started about 7pm and we got several buckets full from the roof and threw them over the car for a clean! Rain had cleared by midnight - beautiful stars.
Lots of wildlife here: pademelons, tiger cats (a small black quoll) and lots of birds.
There are three campgrounds at Arthur River: Near the ranger station, Manuka on the opposite side of the road and a bit before the ranger station, and Prickly Pear (?) on the other side of the bridge, and it has about three sections.

Monday 19 February - Arthur River Campground (Manuka)
Drove out to Green Cape from Marrawah. It is a favourite surfing beach (free camping). Looking north we could see the wind farm at Woolnorth quite clearly.
Visited Premingahna Aboriginal land where we were requested to sign in and were given information on the area and its people when it was obvious that we were interested. We were able to drive to the beach car park but we didn't make it to the beach as the track was very windy and much further than it looked and I got worried about snakes as I was only wearing thongs. It's a beautiful area and it was good to make the acquaintance of the caretaker who was quite welcoming.
Went to West Cape and walked a little. There was a midden. The bull kelp was seething in the water of one of the rocky inlets and some was dry on the beach. It is extremely hard when dry - quite thick and harder than shoe leather and tougher looking. Aborigines used it to make carriers.
Did the South Arthur Forests Loop which was enjoyable, especially the walk to Lake Chisholm and some of the lookouts, but not as spectacular as we had hoped for so much driving (50km).

Tuesday 20 February - Arthur River Campground (Manuka)
Arthur River Cruise - excellent, peaceful, informative, bbq lunch, pleasant people running it. We saw a pair of big white breasted sea eagles and their two chicks (as big as the parents). The adults were thrown a couple of small fish which they caught and flew off with in their claws. We also saw their nest which is 41 years old.
We were given lots of information about plants, the river, animal, fish and bird life and the history of the area. There was also some discussion about the forestry industry - many people in the wood chip industry feel it is no longer an honourable occupation and are trying to get out. Careful selective logging is sustainable but clear felling old growth forests ensures that the only thing that will grow is one type of Eucalypt - the myrtle is lost forever.
We did it with Arthur River Cruises, the red boat that looks like a small Sydney ferry, not Reflections.

Wednesday 21 February - Zeehan
Had a look at Couta Rocks on the way out of Arthur River as we headed to Corinna where we crossed the Pieman River on the Fatman Ferry (check size - front-wheel base of car to rear-wheel base of trailer/c'van must not exceed 9 metres or 2.5 metres in width) (our Prado plus ct cost $25) then on to Zeehan with a detour for a lunch stop at Granville Harbour on the way. It was a beautiful drive with a very remote feel about it. No sign of habitation until we reached Corinna and then none again until Granville Harbour, which has a dozen or so houses. The road was quite windy and hilly with lots of button grass plains and some mountain vistas. The road was good gravel, very dusty, and a bit loose - take care on ascents and descents, especially after Corinna. Loved it.
Zeehan is not a particularly attractive town and is spread out. There are two banks, council offices, Post Office, Library (with internet which didn't work very well for us), two supermarkets (Food Works and another). The c'van park is basic but okay although there is an awful smell coming from the creek behind us. There is a laundry and powered sites.

Thursday 22 February - Zeehan
Tried to go to Montezuma Falls but found the going too wet and with big ruts and deep holes as wide as the track. We are not very experienced in these conditions and only got 3 or 4 km in. Very disappointing but will certainly try again next time. The walk in is only 3hrs return from Williamsford, 8km south of Rosebery so would be quite happy to do that if necessary.
Went in to Rosebery and Tullah then to Queenstown via a minor road passing Lake Plimsol. Queenstown has two supermarkets but not much else. There are attempts to smarten the place up probably because of the drawcard of the Forest Railway which goes to Strahan.
We decided to suss out Lake Burbury campground because there are no vacancies in Strahan and the Queenstown caravan park is not inviting. We followed directions from Lonely Planet but ended up driving 26km in the wrong direction (LP's mistake). However the drive was spectacular with rugged mountains all around and the beautiful lake and only one or two cars on the road. Had we continued on this road we would have come to the walk to the Gordon River.
We went to Strahan to see what had changed since out last visit 35 years ago. The road is as windy as we remembered it but the town has become very touristy and the old pub we stayed in is now a car park. The old Customs building is still there thank goodness although it could do with some tlc. Macquarie Harbour is very beautiful and tranquil looking despite all the tourists and float planes taking off. There is a very good gallery selling timber products and there was a Huon Pine dinghy for sale - a beautiful piece of work.
We drove out to Macquarie Heads and walked up the beach to Hells Gate, the narrow opening that ships have to negotiate into the harbour. It is quite picturesque with its lighthouse on the rocks in the middle of the heads, but deadly for all but the most skilled sailors. There is bush camping at Macquarie Heads (fee).
We made our way back to Zeehan via the Zeehan Highway which was not there when we were here last.

Friday 23 February - Lake Burbury Campground
We visited the Zeehan Mining Museum before leaving for Lake Burbery. It is a very well organised museum with large displays of minerals and photographs. There is also much mining machinery and a couple of steam engines.
Called in to a supermarket in Queenstown for a few items before finding the campground. It costs $5 per night per vehicle. We found a site a very long walk to the. The views are lovely with high craggy mountains across the lake. We went for a paddle on our inflatable'sit-on-top' (like a large surfboard with clip-on seats - great fun) for a while but the wind started to make things a bit uncomfortable so we came in but enjoyed ourselves very much. I went for a swim which was lovely - not cold.
We were watching the weather form over the mountains and all around us and eventually we got a shower of rain just after I finished cooking.

Saturday 24 February - Lake Burbery Campground
Awoke to mist so moved quickly to get into Queenstown before 9.30 to catch the ABT Wilderness train to Strahan. We made it in plenty of time and wandered around the station and shop. Everything about the station is nicely appointed and boded well for the trip.
We set off on the dot with a very cheerful hostess who gave plenty of information about the railway and places along the way. We stopped at a couple of stations and did some gold panning at one and at another we tasted various honeys and went for a walk and saw King Billy, Celery Top and Huon pines.
The ride was through rainforest nearly all the way and we really knew about it when the rack and pinion was engaged and we struggled up the hill. There were many wooden trestle bridges and one steel bridge (the only original bridge). For much of the trip we travelled above the King River which flows into Macquarie Harbour leaving a brown stain for a large area when it enters.
At Dubbil Barril station we met the diesel train coming up from Strahan and we all had a very acceptable box lunch together. Then we changed trains and completed the trip with the diesel engine while the Strahan people went with our steam engine.
ABT is the surname of the Swiss inventor of the design of that type of rack and pinion track. He was an engineer and clockmaker.
The engine that took us from Queenstown was the original that came from Scotland packed in a crate with no instructions for putting it together. It obviously got done correctly and it was over a hundred years ago.
When we reached Strahan we decided to walk into town as we had around and hour and a half to put in before we were taken back to Queenstown by bus.
The trip cost $114 each and we thought it was well worth the money. A great day.

Sunday 25 February - Mt Field NP
We headed for Lake St Clair NP stopping for walks at Nelson Falls (more beautiful rainforest) and Donaghys Lookout (with view of Franklin River and Frenchmans Cap - excellent). We were disappointed with the campsites available at Lake St Clair so decided to try Bronte Park - no good, and Tarraleah - no good (pipelines and powerlines everywhere) so ended up at Mt Field which we are quite happy with. We have a powered site and the amenities are shabby but clean. I think $25pn is steep but Tasmanian caravan parks in general are expensive and old. At least this place has a laundry and a camp kitchen with free bbqs.
After leaving Lake St Clair we visited 'The Wall in the Wilderness', and amazing work in progress of wood carving. The main pieces are two walls, one about the demise of the Tasmanian Tiger. This work is complete. The second wall is the artist Greg Duncan's commemoration of those who helped shape the past and present of the Central Highlands of Tasmania. The wall is carved from three metre high panels of timber, most of which are of Huon Pine. Together the carved panels will tell the history of the harsh Central Highlands region, beginning with the indigenous people, to the pioneering timber harvesters, pastoralists, to Hydro workers and miners. The main wall is incomplete but it's interesting to see how the work emerges from the panels.
There were also some amazing sculptures of coats, hats, gloves, a workman's leather bag, and animals all exquisitely carved mostly in Huon Pine. Some of the animals were in bronze.
$7.50 seemed a lot to see incomplete work but it was really something and it is one way to assist the sculptor to continue his work.

Monday 26 February - Mt Field NP
We are feeling tired so only did a couple of walks (Tall Trees, Russell Falls and Horseshoe Falls) and then drove up to Lake Dobson to see the different flora.
Also drove as far as Maydena to see what was there - nothing much in the town but saw the turnoff to Junee Karst Reserve which proved to be very interesting. It is only 4km but slow narrow drive to the start of the 10 minute walk to the cave. The Junee River flows out of fissures in the limestone, through the cave system and is clear after rain or whitish green during dry times. The caves are an extensive system with one of the caves reputed to be 375 metres deep, the deepest in Australia.

Tuesday 27 February - Snug
Drove to Snug but the c'van park only had one night on powered site then one night on another site. Beggars can't be choosers - in this weather we want power. It started to rain on and off from New Norfolk. This is a nice place, especially if it was fine, and the park is right on the beach. It has a huge camp kitchen completely enclosed, with two new covered bbqs, fridge, microwave, etc. The amenities are new and very clean. The closest place for provisions and other services would be Kingston.
Checked out Kettering for the ferry to Bruny Island but there's not much point in going even for a day if the weather doesn't improve. Continued on to Woodgate and found a sheep's milk dairy where we tried and bought some excellent cheese and wine. It was very expensive.
Decided to eat out at the pub - quite good.

Wednesday 28 February - Snug
Went to Huonville (a pleasant, growing town with all services) then Franklin where we visited the Wooden Boat Centre where we could watch students building boats. It is the only such place to offer diploma accreditation in traditional wooden boat building in the world. The smell of timber greets you as you open the door.
Continued to Geeveston to see the woodwork museum and the life size sculptures of local citizens in the street around town.
On the way back, at Margate, I went to the Inverawe native garden and was amazed at the size and scope of this private garden owned by Bill and Margaret Chestnut. It is 22 acres and on a steep site that goes right down to the water and is terraced with paths and steps. A huge amount has been accomplished since the start in 2001 although there is much more to be done and hopefully some will be left wild (but without the broom, blackberry, hawthorn, etc. and rabbits). www.inverawe.com.au. The entrance is behind Margate Train which is carriages filled with junk for sale.
Ate at the pub again - perfect fillet steak.

Thursday 1 March - Richmond
The weather was still rainy and we packed up in pouring rain with water pooling on the canvas as we did. It was to be the first time in six years that water had got in, but not too badly.
We called ahead to Orford to book the c'van park thinking we could go to Maria Island from there. It was 80+km away. The traffic from Margate to the City was unbelievable, far worse than Sydney. We called in to Cambridge Airport to talk to Par Avion about taking the one day trip to Melaleuca/Bathurst Harbour/Port Davey. The earliest we could get a booking was Tuesday, and who knows what the weather will be like then. However we booked, they didn't want any money.
We continued on the not very pleasant drive to Orford only to find the c'van park most unsuitable. The sites are poor. They seem to be converting to cabins and trying to go upmarket. We left and phoned Richmond c'van park and booked in there with ensuite for six nights. So back we went.
We have a huge site with a bathroom/toilet unit plonked up one end and even have our own clothes line! Chilled out for the rest of the day - still raining.

Friday 2 March - Richmond
Still raining. Went up the town to look around. Lots of touristy shops with nice things but it really doesn't grab either of us. Went for a drive out to Seven Mile Beach - very pleasant (in fine weather), did some shopping at Sorrel, a bustling place with all services then called in to a couple of wineries. Palmara vineyard is possibly the smallest commercial vineyard and winemaking operation in Tasmania. We had a pleasant time there with the winemaker and tasted some very different but very nice wines. Next was Puddleduck where we chatted with the owner whilst trying, once again, some good wine - more expensive than Palmara and the style we are more used to.
It fined up this afternoon.

Saturday 3 March - Richmond
Went to Salamanca Market where we thoroughly enjoyed pottering amongst the huge number of stalls, including fruit and veges and everything else you could imagine. Had lunch there from a stall then felt like a glass of wine so went to one of the permanent places and enjoyed more good wine before walking through the beautiful St David's Park, with headstones made into walls, back to the car and drove to the Botanic Gardens.
Wandered around for a while, enjoyed the small but interesting reconstruction of Macquarie Island display where plants from the region were shown in a realistic setting compete with painted backdrop of sea and sky, and where we cooled off beautifully! Then headed for Peter Cundall's garden and were amazed at the fruit and veges growing there. Called into the conservatory with its lovely ferns, coleus and tuberous begonias and headed home exhausted.
Had a bit of rain and very threatening skies but all clear again by 5.30.

Sunday 4 March - Richmond
Made a late start for Bruny Island and caught the 11.00 ferry then headed for the lighthouse via Alonnah and Lunawanna. There were some good views along the road. What a wonderful, rugged coastline it overlooks! Then took the Coolangatta Road across to Adventure Bay. I found this road a bit disappointing as there was only one lookout.
Stopped above a lovely long white beach for lunch before going into 'town' and visiting the Bligh Museum which has a quite extensive collection of documents and some artefacts relating to various navigators who had used the bay as a source of water and for repair of ships from Abel Tasman on. There is also information on early inhabitants of the Island.
It was time to head back to the ferry and it was disappointing that we had not driven to Cloudy Bay but at least we had seen it from Mabel Bay lookout - something nice to look forward to next time.
We did have time to climb the 230-something stairs to the excellent lookout above the Neck where the penguin and shearwater rookeries are.
When we return we will also take the boat trip from Adventure Bay (or Kettering, or Hobart) so see the cliffs and visit seals. It has been recommended by several people as very worthwhile.

Monday 5 March - Richmond
Today we set off for Hobart. It was easy to park in town (pay and display) along the waterfront and only a short walk to the Museum and Art Gallery of Tasmania which was our main goal. It is fairly small as museums go but the Antarctic display is very impressive and comprehensive with stuffed albatross in mating dance with wings outstretched, minerals, a detailed model of Mawson's hut, Antarctic attire both old and modern, etc. - wonderful.
Drove to Sandy Bay for lunch then found the Narryna Heritage Museum (103 Hampden Road, Battery Point) which was very pleasant and you could walk around the rooms have a close look at everything rather than be roped off at doorways. It has the feel of a lived in home. There was a temporary display of old sewing machines and clothes and early paper patterns which especially interested me. Surprisingly I also found the laundry amusing, reading the instructions for doing the washing, which was to be on Tuesdays (!) for complex reasons I won't go into. No wonder even my mother loathed washing, without a machine and using messy starches and making up recipes for the treatments of various fabrics - then came the ironing …
John's attention was drawn to a barometer inside the front door. It appeared to be a similar pattern to the one he repaired a few years ago. He will follow it up and write to Shirley Russell, the attendant if something can be done to repair this one. It belonged to Governor Arthur and was used on his yacht, Eliza.
Home then to fire up the Cobb for a long awaited roast and home baked bread.

Tuesday 6 March - Richmond
At last! Fine weather for our much anticipated flight to Melaleuca and boat trip on Bathurst Harbour. We left from Cambridge Aerodrome with Par Avion Wilderness Tours at 9.00 in a 9+pilot-seater twin engine Cessna with high wings. There were only 7 passengers because two seats don't have windows.
We flew south over D'Entrecasteaux Channel with good views of Bruny Island, then west along the wild south coast to Melaleuca. There we disembarked and boarded a 10-seater boat, had morning tea, and travelled slowly down a channel that runs into Bathurst Harbour, stopping to look at the former home of one of the identities of the region, now sometimes used by walkers, before climbing a hill to look down into part of Bathurst Harbour and the surrounding mountains. Well worth the climb.
On returning to the boat Stuart, our pilot and guide for the day, opened the throttle and we explored the Harbour before coming to a beautiful beach where we nudged onto the fine white pebbles and went ashore for a wander while Stuart prepared an excellent salad lunch which we enjoyed on the beach. We were overawed by the beauty and stillness of the place and talked in hushed voices and couldn't take our eyes off the surrounding mountains, some rounded and green, others craggy with exposed white quartz and rows of others fading into the distant haze.
All aboard again for the dash out to the entrance to Port Davey with its line of islands guarding the entrance. The sea was more rough here but it didn't bother me because I was so taken with the surrounding scenery.
We made out way back to Melaleuca where we visited the spacious bird hide which is manned by volunteers who monitor the population of the seriously endangered Orange Bellied Parrot. A short distance away we visited the home once owned by the late Deny King and still frequently used by his family.
On the flight home we went slightly north west, passing Federation Peak immediately to the east and the end of Lake Pedder far to the west, before following the Huon River towards Hobart and home. A day never to be forgotten. Great value at $275 per person.

We are now running out of time have to abandon the East Coast, which we saw about 12 years ago, as head for the Tamar region.

Wednesday 7 March - Greens Beach
We took the road through Compania to pick up the Midland Highway and passed through historical old towns with their lovely stone colonial buildings to Launceston (didn't stop) and up the western side of the Tamar to Greens Beach on Bass Strait. We were surprised that some of the towns along the way from Launceston were so small and had so few services. Greens Beach has a small supermarket/takeaway shop.
The c'van park is directly opposite the beach and is well managed by a caretaker. There are many permanent holiday vans and our powered site is some distance from the amenities. The site is grassy but is also covered with animal droppings - this may account for the flies. The day is overcast, contrary to the forecast. This place really is quite nice and is not overcrowded and backs all the way along onto a golf course.

Thursday 8 March - Greens Beach
We decided to check out the other side of the Tamar so drove down as far as Batman Bridge then north to George Town (fairly large with all services) and out to Low Head to see the lighthouse and the mouth of the Tamar. At the lighthouse there is also a foghorn, fully restored and activated every Sunday at midday, and is believed to be the only functioning foghorn in the world.
We then headed for Pipers Brook winery for lunch and a tasting of wines. It was a lovely place and we enjoyed our lunch. The wines are very good and we couldn't resist buying a few bottles to take home.
We had been interested to see Nanawartapu National Park and would like to have camped there so headed for Badgers Head then Bakers Beach where there are three camping areas #1 is near the entrance some distance from the beach, #2 is for tents only and #3 is for vans, cts and tents. We thought #3 looked good and would be good for canoes etc.
When we got back to Greens Beach we took the road out to West Head which is another part of the park but with no camping. The cliffs there are formed by columns of Dolerite and the lookout gives a good view of them. From there we could look across to Badgers Head and could also see George Town on the other side of the Tamar.

Friday 9 March - Deloraine
Travelled to Deloraine directly and stayed at a campground by the River in town ($21). It was very pleasant there, clean amenities and ducks and people enjoying the sunshine and the river.
Decided to go to Mole Creek to see the countryside around there - we didn't really want to look at the caves. It is a nice village with a couple of craft shops, only one of which is of some interest. The tearoom seems to be a favourite place. The campground by the river looks good.
Stopped for honey ice cream at Chudleigh which was very good.
Went to Elizabeth Town for more cheese at the Ashgrove factory. It was well set up and you could watch the cheese making. Some of the cheeses are quite interesting, including one with wasabi.

Saturday 10 March - Devonport
Went to Port Sorrell and Hawley Beach which were quite nice. Port Sorrell was opposite Bakers Beach where we had been a couple of days before. It was so close we could have paddled across on the sit-on-top. Hawley Beach is booming with many new houses being built and some very nice places along the long beachfront road. Both places were busy as it is a long-weekend.
We called in at Latrobe, a substantial town The drive there was quite scenic. We drove past the Axemans' Hall of Fame and along the estuary all the way to Devonport where we are staying again at the Abel Tasman c'van park.
After setting up we finally succumbed went to Anvers chocolate factory and restaurant and had afternoon tea. I had the best hot chocolate ever. Bought chocolates to top off our 'taste of Tasmania dinner' with the family when we get home.

A wonderful holiday despite some rainy weather. Look forward to returning.
John 'n' Min
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