Monday, 15 December 2008

Week of Monday 8 December 2008 - Tasmania

Monday 8 December 2008 – Really early in the morning – 5.30am – Darryl coaxed me out of bed to ride the bike a few kilometres to the rocks. The ocean was quite pretty, and you could just see the Bass Strait Islands in the distance. 

Once again we took our time getting going, but eventually packed up and drove to the bottom end of the park to see the historic lighthouse, built in 1887 from local granite, and to wander around the huge rocks and rockpools. 

St Columba Falls were our next stop – the highest in Tasmania. These were spectacular falls, only a short, but pretty walk through rainforest, from the carpark. A narrow winding road led up to the next set of falls – 

Ralph’s Falls. Here there was a loop track which took us past Cashs Gorge, and through several different habitats. Coming back down the mountain, we had a near miss, as a red landcruiser lost it on the gravel coming around a corner towards us, forcing us off the road to avoid a collision. Darryl’s defensive driving skills are certainly good, as we stopped centimetres from the guide post, and suffered no damage, except jangled nerves. St Helens, a touristy fishing town was our stopping place for the night.

Tuesday 9 December 2008 – We took it easy driving South, and drove through St Marys rather than follow the coast, more due to roadworks than planning. This route took us through Mt Elephant pass, and we were looking forward to a lookout and view (especially as the signs seemed to indicate that there was one). Lunch was at Bicheno, and then we
checked out the beachfront campsites at The Friendly Beaches before continuing to Coles Bay

On the way we stopped for a tasty snack of garlic scallops at an oyster farm. We just got some photos of the impressive jagged granite Hazard Mountains before the rain started. The Freycinet National Park is just south of Coles Bay, so we set up early. There was just time for a quick walk along Richardson's Beach before the rain pelted down again.

Wednesday 10 December 2008
– We woke to an absolutely perfect day – the rain had
cleared during the night – and we rode our bikes the 3km to Parsons Bay carpark. Darryl walked to the top of Mt Amos, and we walked separately the lookout for Wineglass Bay.
On returning to camp I had swim in the crystal clear and beautiful waters of Coles Bay. Darryl followed suit when he also returned. It was just the most perfect day, with a cool breeze and lovely and warm in the sun. 

We watched the sun set over the bay – it was a lovely tranquil evening. Darryl cooked some more Chinese Sesame balls for supper – these are crispy glutinous rice balls, filled with sweet red bean paste, rolled in sesame seeds and deep fried – very yummy!
Thursday 11 December 2008
– Another perfect day, so we thought we would stay another day at Freycinet. Darryl rode to Cape Tourville to see the lighthouse and lookout. I followed part of the way, riding my bike to Sleepy Bay and walking down to the beach. 
There were plenty of interesting rock formations and huge kelp in the shallow waters. As I returned to the carpark, where I had left the bike, Darryl arrived back from the lighthouse, and we rode back together. If there was any downside to this lovely spot, it was that there were only cold showers available, and at around 2 in the afternoon, when the air temperature was at its warmest, I decided to brave it. I am glad that I did it then, as later the clouds came over, and it got very cold.

Friday 12 December 2008 – Well, at some stage we had to leave this lovely place – if we were  any more relaxed we would have melted into the sand, so we packed up, and drove, firstly on a 4x4 track to Bluestone Beach, and then to the Cape Tourville lighthouse, so I could see the view. We ten followed the Tasman Highway south, through Swansea and Triabuuna, where we enjoyed fresh flake and chips for lunch. 

At Orford we detoured down a gravel road from Wielangta Forest Drive. I would not really recommend this to anyone, as it was very dry, but the Three Thumbs Lookout gave good views of Maria Island, and the   
Rainforest Walk at Robertson’s Bridge was really special. The bridge itself is built from huge logs put together in the manner of a log cabin. The walk consisted of a boardwalk through the treeferns, and across the creek hen under a rock shelf. Although it was fairly dry, for a rainforest, it was still very lovely to experience. Further south we came onto the Tasman Peninsular. 
At Pirates Bay is the Tessellated Pavement, an amazing natural rock formation on the shore, which looks for all the world like someone laid a courtyard. There were starfish, and red anemone in the rockpools, and I found one of he pavement stones which had fossil shells in it. 

We were unable to go in to see the Blowhole (due to roadworks), but saw the Tasman Arch and Devil's Kitchen where the sea is eroding under the cliffs. 

We enjoyed delicious Berry Delights which were mixed local berries with cream and icecream. It was then on to Tasman National Park, where we camped at Mill Creek Camping ground, and enjoyed an entree of freshly cooked mussels. We then watched 2 seals frolicking in the clear waters of the bay before settling into the grass behind the sanddunes to wait for fairy penguins to come up on the beach. We sat quiet and still until around 10pm, but none came up. We thought we had a good spot as there was a rookery near, but it mustn't be in use at present.

Saturday 13 December 2008 – We woke to rain, but decided to stay another day as it was reasonably warm and sheltered here. Darryl had already been out walking, and looking for a spot to cast his line, for two hours, but after a hot cooked breakfast we walked the hour to Canoe Bay. The rain got heavier so we just went to bed and slept for the afternoon. At night Darryl baked bread but it took hours to cook as the wood did not make good coals.

Sunday 14 December 2008 – We drove north to the Coalmines. This is a historic site with ruins of the barracks, chapel, military barracks etc. The buildings were built of sandstone quarried from a nearby cliff. 

The main shaft of the mine was over 300 foot deep and was a honeycomb of tunnels, with an amazing air vent reinforced with sandstone blocks. The solitary confinement cells were tiny and dark and not at all attractive. Mining was finally abandoned here by convicts labour in 1848, but private concerns continued until 1877. We were a little sceptical about driving and then walking to the ‘air shaft’ as this really doesn’t sound impressive at all, but we were pleased that we did, as this was a monumental piece of work, being lined with large curved sandstone blocks. 

This road continued up to Lime Bay Conservation Park, and we camped the night. Darryl found more fresh mussels and we had them with rice for dinner. We also met a very nice couple, who had just done the west coast, Sal and Paul, and we swapped notes, and had a lovely evening around the fire.

No comments:

Post a Comment