Tasmania 2014  till 1st of March

Tasmania Part TWO click here.

Last updated 28 April 2014  

19 December 2013

The end of December the bus is ready to go. The boys were supposed to organise X Mas somewhere and we thought that they were going to rent a house or go to a caravan park in Bowen which is half way Mackay and Townsville. But a week before they decided to come to our place. Then we found out that Paul had to work on Boxing day. Now the whole Schimmel family and Nikaela will be in Mackay. This worked well for us because I like to experience the years end in a big city. Now we will be in Brisbane and go slowly south. We take the boat to Tasmania on the 24th of January.  One week further and we enjoyed the Christmas at the Luke and Nikaela residence in Mackay. The weather was stinking hot which meant the air-conditioning was on a fair bit. The presents were wonderful and the food was delicious. 27 December and on the way again. Stopped for the afternoon and night at Clairview. A small holiday fishing village but with a great view over the ocean. Left early the next day and after doing the washing in Rockhampton stopped at one of our favourite places, Calliope River. High on the bank overlooking the river. The view was slightly impaired by the washing hanging in front of us but it dried quickly.
         First stop Bowen and a Pie at Jochiems                              X Mas with Luke, Nikaela, Paul and Susan
On the way south visited friends on Bribie Island. We also had a look at lifestyle villages around there. We are thinking to head south again. Susan can't stand the heat and it is closer to the more interesting part of Australia when we are using the motorhome. Nothing finalised yet. In Brisbane we visited several friends and people we met on the China trip. 
2 January 2014. We visited everyone we meant to see and are driving via Lamington National Park towards New South Wales. The weather is still hot and humid, as bad as Townsville. Still heading south till we hit Murwillumba when we drive west and the southern end of the Border Ranges. Very hilly but beautiful views. Found a very nice campsite besides a waterfall. The temperature is above 40 degrees. We also had a few technical glitches. At least when I got too hot you could have a nice refreshing dip. Two nights spend here.
5 January. The temperature dropped 10 degrees. Took the scenic route to Grafton. Only 60KM unsealed road with a few bad patches. Camped for two days in Minnie Water which is a national Park on the coast near Grafton. Still cooler weather. 
                                   Natural Bridge                                                                Toloom Falls
             Hottest day on record                                               Bretti Reserve 300Km north of Sydney
8 January. Another 200 Km after stocking up in Grafton. The landscape is hilly and nice views. We follow the Thunderbolts Highway. Bretti reserve is one of the better freedom camps. Clear water in the creek which we looked at but a bit chilly for our liking. Three nights here and time to move on. We meander slowly south Armidale, Walcha, Thunderbolt Highway to Gloucester and to the sea at Forster. Camped overnight at Bulabelah. The highway used to go through here but since they build the bypass the town really suffered. That's why the Rotary club put in a really nice freedom camp besides the river. Further south to Raymond Terrace and around Newcastle and followed the coast again from Toronto. Parked the bus early Monday morning at the beach side put the awning out and watched the world go past. It is still school holidays and very busy. Pelican feeding every day and a big tourist attraction.
                                                   The Entrance.                                                            Pelican feeding
The entrance is a small inlet which is the only outlet to the sea from some big lakes which lay behind a narrow coastal strip. Next day Sydney. Not one of my favourite places because of the traffic. The roads appear narrower here than the other big cities. And over the years I have had my fill of broken mirrors. Before we hit Sydney we caught up with an old neighbour from Holland which we had not seen for 33 years. It was good to catch up with Hans and Judy von Chrismar after so many years.  We arrived in Sydney in the afternoon and just waited for a telephone contact to see where we had to be to catch up with Cees and Cinta van Bossum. I have worked with Cees in Nigeria and Cameroon. We had not seen him in nearly fourty years. You can see this was the day to catch up with old friends. Luckily there was a parking spot neat their hotel and we had a very pleasant evening catching up with old and new stories. At the bottom of where we were parked was the ferry in to the centre of Sydney. We had a short stroll through the city and took the ferry to Manly . A very popular beach and a glorious day. Parking in Sydney is a bit of a nightmare but we managed to find a nice spot near Helen Hudson who came over for dinner on Wednesday night. Wine and candlelight under the stars.


                        Susan and Helen Hudson                                              At Pia's place in Sydney
Next day Helen picked us up from where we are parked and we had coffee in her place. There was no way I would have found the place and it would have been worse to find a parking spot. The rest of the day we explored the southern beaches. We used to live in The Gap in Brisbane but The Gap here has less favourite associations. Here it is a well known suicide spot. Beautiful views because of the rugged coast line with beautiful bays in between with Bondi beach being the most famous. We wanted to visit Ria in Canberra but she happened to be with her daughter in Sydney where we had dinner under the stars.
17 January and time to leave Sydney. Beautiful everywhere where there is water but a nightmare to drive and park for a country bumpkin like me.  Before we left Sydney one more thing on the agenda and that is visiting the Dutch Shop. First a broodje kroket and Susan did the shopping. We are following the coast road and second night in Batesman Bay. Beautiful spot beside the water. The weather has changed drastically nice and cool and it is hazy from all the bushfires 1000 Km away. Whenever you are this way take the coast road from Batesmans Bay to Lakes Entrance. Most of it is the A1 but there are a few detours along the coast. All very hilly and winding roads but we are on holidays and time is not so important.
20 January. The weather certainly changed. Rain and the temperature dropped to below 20 degrees during the morning. We spend a few hours in Lakes Entrance. Still overcast during the afternoon but slowly clearing. Lakes Entrance is a real tourist town. Beautiful beach and plenty of caravan parks and apartments.
     View from the bus in Batesman Bay             Statues at Lakes Entrance                Barbara and Jim Erskine               
Before we went to Melbourne we visited Jim and Barbara Erskine in Warragul. They were just in the process of moving house and were in need of some extra help and we arrived just in time. We stayed till the house was empty and cleaned. 23 January and on the way to Melbourne. The weather is chilly at night but good during the day. But during the night it started to rain which foiled our plans to spend the day at the beach. We actually did but sat in the bus.  The boat left at night and we arrived in Davenport after a "good" night sleep. The journey was  uneventful. No rough seas. The cabin was very good all the comforts from the motorhome.
              The boat to Tasmania                               Cherries in Devonport                                  Evandale
We bought some vegetables as they are not allowed to be imported and had a quick walk around town. It did not take long to find the Cherry shed. The cherries are still in season and are beautiful. Spend the afternoon and night overlooking the Tamar River at Exeter. The oysters were large and plentiful. Susan made oysters kilpatrick  which tasted beautiful. It was after we finished them that I saw a sign advising against eating them. We are still alive. Next day Launceston. It was weekend and Australia day. Nothing organised here. Visited two museums and continued to Evandale.  We will be back here when they have the penny farthing races next month. When we were there we found out that a couple from Townsville was camping nearby. Spend two days in Old Macs Farm. A camping on the outskirts of Launceston but with the feeling of being in the bush besides a billabong. Wild plum cherries were growing here where Susan made jam from.
29 January and Scamander to pick up our mail. We spend the night in Paul Dingjan's place and next morning south. All along the coast there are freedom camps a few steps away from the beach. Fantastic ocean views as the road winds it way along the coast. The few times we have been to Tasmania we never visited Freycinet National Park. This time we did. Within the park is the Wineglass Bay surrounded by mountains. First two days camped near Coles Bay. To go to Wineglass Bay you have to walk a fair bit up and down. Susan is not too good in this so I did this by myself. From the lookout you only get a partial look of the bay. On the same track is also a detour to the top of Mount Amos. It states a 3Hr. return trip. Normally I can do this in 2 Hrs. But this time it took me over 3Hrs and it was hard work comparable to the Chinese wall from a few month before. Luckily the views were worth it. It is now two days later and I am still sore.
1 February. Slowly heading south. The weather has turned from warm to overcast with occasional showers. The heater is on at night and early morning.
                Wineglass Bay                                                    Salamanca Market                      Eaglehawk Neck
It took a few days to reach Sorell where the motorhome rally is going to be held. We had a very pleasant five days here. The vans were parked very close to the city centre which made for easy shopping. We took the bus to Salamanca markets because this is the most famous market in Australia. You can find many quirky items here. The greens are very strong here so you can expect items you see on the photo. The weather is always a topic of conversation here as it can change very quickly. In general it was perfect. Only one day the winds were blowing a gale and everybody inside the vans with the awning in and chairs and tables packed away. The Hobart showgrounds had a fair bit of damage. Next morning blue sky and perfect weather.
11 July the festivities over and time to pack up. Eaglehawk Neck has a few spectacular sights. We did not continue to Port Arthur as we have been here before. Port Arthur was the most infamous convict settlement. And Eaglehawk Neck was a very narrow stretch of land which was easily guarded so the convicts could not escape. Spend the night at Dunalley behind a hotel. Had a nice meal there. A few hotels around Australia offer free camping in the hope that you spend a few dollars there and they did very well the night we were there. Next night at the Hobart showgrounds. And explored Hobart from there. One of the things everybody told us we had to see was the Mona museum. After all we heard from we were not impressed. The building itself is very fascinating. Rusty metal on the outside and walls carved in to a sandstone outcrop. 
Next night at Niomi and John Jones.  Niomi is the daughter of Maarten Black. They live on an elevated 20 acre block overlooking the Hobart. We must have kept them up past their bed time because they did not get out of bed on time.
             Modified  Porche in Mona museum                 Woodcarving                       Whale at Cockle Creek
After filling up with water we drive south. A lot of places display chainsaw art. The photo shows one in Geeveston where they have a lot of the scattered around town.  This time as far south as is possible. Cockle Creek is the end of the line as far as the car is concerned. This is also the site of the whale statue. A lot of whales were killed here bit that practice stopped around 1935. A four hour walk to what I thought would be the most southerly point of Australia but the track did not go there. All I could do it take a photo of it in the distance. Back north again towards Ellendale where the Penny Farthing competition is over the weekend. On the way back I noticed one of the springs of the bus broken. The bus is still drivable. It probably happened on the way back from Cockle Creek as the road had a few potholes. Drove back via Richmond, Oatlands and Ross.  All old towns build by convicts. All those towns are tourist drawcards because of the old time time charm. A lot of B&Bs and antique shops. All buildings build from sandstone. Richmond has an replica of Hobart's harbour as it was around the 1830s. This was really well done.
20 February and saw the mechanics. They could fit us in the next day and after spending a day in Launceston all was fixed in the afternoon. We arrived in Evandale just in time for happy hour. 
                    Old Hobart town                               Richmond, Australia's oldest bridge    Typical church for the region
22 February and the penny farthing races. The weather was glorious and the racing went on constantly. Next day firtst the market which are pretty popular here and on to Ben Lomont national park. There is a ski resort here which obviously only operates during winter. You can drive nearly to the top of the mountain. 1575m above sea level. We camped in the national park.
              Penny farthing races in Evandale                                Susan's favourite road Ben Lomont national park
In this part of Tasmania all roads lead to Launceston. So via Launceston this time on the east side of the Taima River north to George Town. Visited some acquaintances John and Robin Moody. John had done the 240 volt work on the motorhome. We had a pleasant few hours here and drove north to Low Head. There is a penguin colony here as there are in many places in Tasmania. Only saw one chick trying to hide from me. We ended up parking in Gravelly Beach for few days. Than via Port Sorell and Devonport to Ulverstone. There are marvellous free camps all along the north west coast. We overnighted in Penguin, Burnie and Stanley before heading to Arthur River and the edge of the world.  The weather is always a bit rougher on the west side of Tasmania. We did the Arthur River cruise which was very interesting. Not a lot of wildlife but very entertaining commentary.
  A penguin in Penguin                  Famous landmark in Stanley.  The Nut                                       Arthur River

Continued in part two.