Tasmania 2010
11 February.  The boat trip was uneventful. The sea was smooth, the reclining seats comfortable. Ten hours on the boat arte still boring especially because I lost with playing cards. We were quickly of the boat and in to Devonport. The last time we were here we found a nice parking spot near the sea but this time it was occupied by the Moscow circus. A few KM down the road another nice spot overlooking the ocean. The weather has been good till we arrived here. Now it is cold and rainy. First thing we had to do was buy fruit and vegetables because they are not allowed to be taken in to Tasmania. We had a quick walk through the mall but Devonport is not a very exiting place. Spend the night in Deloraine.
 

       Spirit of Tasmania.                                        Susan reading.                                    Evandale.
 
13 February. From Deloraine through the meander valley and past Evandale to Campbell Town. Evandale was hosting a penny farting festival and we saw a few riders. On the map all the distances look enormous but in fact everything is very close together. The campsite we stayed at was flooded only a few days earlier and one motorhome got flooded.
14 February. When we woke up it was a beautiful day. By the time we finished breakfast it was raining and it practically rained all day. We drove via Cressy, Poatina and Bothwell to Hamilton. The road is mainly through the mountains and normally would surprise with beautiful views but it was so foggy that the road was sometimes difficult to see. We also passed a car towing a boat which had a long metal bar sticking out towards the middle  of the road and hit the back of the bus. More work to do when we get back. As soon as we passed Bothwell the temperature changed for the better and when we got to Hamilton it was pleasant to sit outside. The rest area  is small  but very popular.
 


 Sculptures carved from the tree. Longford.   Tall tree forest and waterfall mount      Field National Park.
 

15 February. Wanted to see more of Hamilton because it looked like a decent size village on the map. This was not so. Only a general store. Which means corner store, post office and petrol station and a few houses with the obligatory old stone church. The store is owned by a Dutchman name Johannes. Say hello whenever you get there.
Off to Mount Field National Park. The main attractions are long walks but we only did some short ones to the waterfall and tall tree forest. The snow gum is the largest flowering tree in the world growing to 97 M. The one on the photo is only 79M. On the way to Strathgordon we saw a a lot of hippies camping on the road and in the forest. They were still protesting against indiscriminate logging which they have been doing off and on for the last 3 years. The road is good but very steep at times. We found a very nice camping spot with million dollar views.
 

 

 

 

 

 

     <  Protesters blocking the road for the logging trucks.
                                                                   Camp spot towards Strathgordon.


16 February. Drove to Strathgordon which was a big disappointment. On the map you see a decent size town but when you get there it is all empty houses. The construction camp for the Franklin dam and now the town for the few people maintaining the hydro power station. A few KM further the dam itself. This was an impressive sight. Looking at the lake it created you wander what all the protests were during the early 1970s. The hydro plant produces 13% of Tasmania's electricity without burning any coal. There is only one road in so we had to drive the same one back but the views are spectacular and we had plenty of time to look at it because the road was so steep in places that only second gear would do.
 

                      Franklin dam.                                                            Hobart main street. 
   


Hobart from Mount Wellington.
 

As soon as we hit the main road everything wen a lot faster. We stopped in New Norfolk for the night. Found a beaut spot on top of the lookout but got asked to leave because they closed the gate at 4.30PM. In the meantime I had spotted a few motorhomes being parked in the recreation reserve. We were just in time for happy hour. The motorhomes were from people we had met before at rally's.
17 February. New Norfolk is very old. It has the oldest church in Tasmania and a lot of buildings from the 1820s. Which might not impress people from Europe but for here this is very old. We did the history walk. We also wanted to do a tour through a paper mill but we had to wait a few days for this which we did not wanted to do and drove to Hobart. A very good road following the Derwent river. Just before Hobart we saw a sign Cadbury. It took us to the Cadbury chocolate factory. Susan was in her element when they handed us a bag with chocolate on the way in. You are not allowed to actually see the manufacturing process but you get an informative talk and video and let loose on the shop and tasting section. After that to the information centre to pick up our bundle of brochures and a quick walk through town. Hobart is very small and no comparison to the other capital cities of Australia with the exception of Darwin. However it has a lot of majestic buildings tucked away between modern structures.
Next day shopping and a pair of warm slippers for me and after that the long and slow trip up Mount Wellington. Good weather and a fantastic view over Hobart. That was enough excitement for the day. We were invited for dinner by Naomi and John Jones. Naomi is the daughter of Martin and Norma Black. Family on Susan's side. It took a while to find them and we had a very pleasant time with them. We stayed the night in there place because the unfamiliar road is not very pleasant to drive at night.
 
19 February. Back in to Hobart and did the heritage trail. I love those old mastery crafted buildings. Had a quick look in the museum and where we had parked the bus you could take a boat trip which we did. It included a main meal which was very good and so was the boat trip. In the afternoon a drive to Richmond which is an old village with still a lot of history showing. They have very old churches and the oldest bridge in Tasmania. It is a typical tourist town. Drove back via Sorell and found a camping spot overlooking the ocean with the constant sound of crashing waves.
 

                 Lookout at Mount Wellington.                                 Salamanca market.
 
20 February. Salamanca markets. Parking is a hassle but when the markets are on it is even worse. Had to drive around for a while. As usual there were "millions" of people selling whatever you wanted or not wanted.
 


  Some of the artistic junk you could buy.    Here is where we had lunch after visiting the botanical garden.
 

Next day more markets but at the showground. If you want to buy junk this is the place to go. Salamanca had new art, this one old second-hand stuff which I like better than the new things. The showground is close to the botanical gardens. Again a difficult time finding a parking space. This was because there were 6 weddings going on. The gardens are well laid out and definitely worth a visit. Found a nice spot for lunch beside the bridge which connect central Hobart with East Hobart. This bridge got fatally damaged in 1975 when a ship ran in to one of the pylons and a section of the bridge collapsed. You can see on the photo where they reinforced the passage way.
Time to leave Hobart and head south.
 

  Richmond. Oldest bridge in Australia.                     Sea lions on Bruny Island.

21 February.  I wanted to do the boat trip to the wild side of Bruny Island. We have been here before but only explored it from the shore which in itself was spectacular. With the boat you can see the rough coastline in a better perspective. There are spectacular caves you could drive a boat in. There is one section where there is a narrow channel between the mainland and a pinnacle. The boat drives through there at full speed. The whole trip takes three hours. At the southern tip of the island is a sea lion colony. There are thousands of them. On the way back we saw heaps of albatrosses and even a glimpse of a humpback whale. Whales are not supposed to be here this time of the year. They probably knew that the Japanese were hunting them now further south.
 

    Bruny Island. The gap we drove  through.     Bruny Island seals.                    Cradle mountain and Dove Lake
 
They supplied us with water and windproof jackets which were very welcome because it was chilly and the boats are open on all sides. Camped beside the ocean in Gordon for the second time.
23 February. Heading north again. The wind is blowing a gale. Drive via Cygnet and Huon to Hobart. There are no roads around Hobart. Had a slight mishap. I got too close to another truck and my mirror hit the other trucks mirror. The other mirror only had a cracked glass but mine was completely destroyed. Tried to buy another mirror but no go.
Drove to Bridgewater to New Norfolk where we camped a week ago. The road to the West Coast is very hilly which means a slow trip but fantastic views.
25 February. In Derwent Bridge is display of woodcarvings called The Wall.  This is something not to be missed. Two big walls with carvings still in progress. Separate carvings of clothes. You are not allowed to touch it but without touching it you won't believe that the item is made from timber. Queenstown is an old mining town with a lot of history and eerie landscape. Bare mountains, the timber stripped long time ago and acid rain preventing regrowth.
 

                                             Queenstown is hidden amongst the hills in the middle.
 
27 February. Strahan. The weather is slowly deteriorating. Booked a tour on a boat trip to the rain forest via the Derwent river. It rained on and off but the tour was very worthwhile.  We spend one more day in Strahan and headed for Zeehan. This time the rain came down in buckets at times. Went to the museum in Zeehan which we would not have done if the weather was fine. The museum had a lot of old photo's and rusty bits of machinery. We spend the night on top of the Murchinson dam with good views.
1 March. The weather has cleared up but it is bitterly cold. 7C in the bus when we wake up. The gas heater has been dusted off. Arrived at Cradle mountain. They are working on the Dove Lake track and it is closed in the middle. We did the left side first. The views are very impressive from wherever you are. The next day we walked the right hand site. I walked to the Marian's lookout in the afternoon. Blue skies and a crisp temperature ideal for walking.
40% Of the 200 000 visitors visiting the park do not see the mountain because of cloud cover.
 

                                                     Cradle mountain, Dove Lake.
 
2 March. Left late Tuesday afternoon to the north. Got as far as Hellyer Gorge. This is a park with high mountains all around. No radio, telephone and worst of all no Top Gear on the TV.
3 March. Drove through a lot of planted eucalyptus forests to Burnie. They have a massive new tourist information centre which was chockeblock because there was a cruise ship in the harbour.  Last time we were here we saw a lot of platypus and hoped to see some more, but it was not to be.
The counsel has set a big area aside for self contained campers. It is a beaut spot at the beach.
4 March.  Took the scenic route to Stanley. Went in to Rocky Cape National Park. I had to climb a "mountain" to have a good look around. The coastal drive is fantastic. Stanley is a very picturesque village with their rocky outcrop (The Nut) the big attraction. There is a chairlift to the top but I walked up. The walk was a bit of a disappointment because most lookouts were closed. We camped in the harbour with The Nut as a backdrop. There were more caravans and motorhomes here than in the caravan park.
5 March. Did the scenic route with views like the photo and drove to Smithton where we visited friends from Susan. We spend a few pleasant hours there and backtracked to Burnie. Over the last few month we got a few stone chips in the windscreen and had those repaired here. Because it got close to happy hour we decided to spend the night in the same campground we were before.
 


Stanley township and The Nut. The photo is taken from the spot where the Van Diemens company started a dairy business.
 

6 March. Followed the coast to Penguin and took the scenic road to Leven Canyon. Here a spectacular view. From the viewing platform a 250 m drop. We stayed in the national park and had a late happy hour with a few other campers. Next day towards Sheffield again the most picturesque road. Tis is very mountainous country. Sheffield just happen to have a field day with a lot of old steam engines. Marvellous those more than 100 year old machines working perfectly. Before the steam tractor the bullock teams had to do the hauling. There were demonstrations with bullock teams. We just made it to the coast for the night.
8 March. Rain was predicted and they were right. It pelted down all morning. Rain means museum day. The museum in Beaconsfield was very well set up. This was an old gold mine. There is a modern mine operating beside it where they had a mine disaster in 2003. The museum devoted a lot of space to this.
 

   Leven Canyon                             Sheffield. The town of murals.                                           Sheffield Steamfest.
 
From Beaconsfield via the Bat Bridge to George Town. Drove on to Low Head. Great views with a lighthouse at the tip and a penguin rookery just below. Luckily the weather greatly improved and we even had sunshine. Spend the night in George Town. Whenever you go there make sure you go to Low Head. Good views and penguins to see.
9 March. Via Bridport to St Helens and the Bay of Fires. We stood on a dune overlooking the sea. We camped for two days here. Nothing to do but enjoy the view and read.
11 March. Scamander. Two days with Lies Schippers and Paul Dingjan. They just moved back in to Paul's house after a three year absence. I did a few little jobs around the house and from happy hour on we did finish an embarrassing amount of bottles of wine.
13 March. Slowly heading towards Launceston and the motorhome rally. Took a detour through Rossarden. Another steep and winding road. Had a quick walk through Launceston and spend the night on the showground.
 

              Low Head.                                                     Bay of Fires.
 


              Lies and Paul.                                                  Cataract Gorge bridge.
 
14 March. The major attraction in Launceston is the Cataract Gorge. Fantastic views and walk around the gorge. Another quick walk around town. They still have fantastic majestic old buildings. Drove on to Hadspen which is close to Carrick where the rally is held. A lot of motorhomes in a small area.
15 March. The que to get in to the rally was only small and were sited near the toilet and dump point. After a day we asked to be sited somewhere else which they did. This is one of the biggest rally's ever, 950 bookings. Just a sea of motorhomes. We met a lot of people we have seen before and a great atmosphere. Happy hour every day with members of our chapter and entertainment every night.
 


                    Cataract Gorge.                                 Quercus Park rally.  950 Motorhomes.                          
 

22 March. We still have a few days before we depart. Spend most of the day overlooking the harbour and watch the Spirit of Tasmania sail in. Next day to Ulverstone. This is one place we missed. It is bigger than we anticipated. Lots of antique and op shops. Susan happy. Stay here overnight overlooking the mouth of the Leven river.
24 March. Wake up late and drive towards Burnie following the scenic route. A winding road overlooking the ocean. When we were in Burnie a few weeks ago we did not see any platypus, this time when we got there I saw one as we stepped out of the bus. The photo's did not turn out very well but we had a good look at them.
Spend the night again in Devonport ready for a 9AM departure.
 

  Spirit of Tasmania sailing in.                Ulverstone war memorial.                       Burnie platypus habitat.
 

 

Platypus.