Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Archive for March, 2011

Tassie Week 2……

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on March 20, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Cadbury means YUMMMM

Choc bits

We are staying at the Big 4 caravan park near the Hobart airport but we haven’t really noticed the noise yet.  They have sites large enough for us to fit the van on and the park itself is almost brand new so the amenities are beautiful.  We set up then met up with my sister and her kids to do a tour of the Cadbury Factory in Claremont.

View from Mt Wellington

The kids have been raving about going here for weeks!  We paid $17.50 for a family entry and upon walking through the door we were each handed a 250g block of plain Cadbury chocolate.  The kids thought that it was pretty cool.  Due to OH&S you can no longer tour the manufacturing processing plant, but they do provide a half hour talk about the origins of chocolate, how they source the ingredients, where they grow the cocoa and most importantly we all got a few Cadbury snack bars to munch on while we watched a video of the history of Cadbury.  After the history lesson, they get you to taste the different ingredients, individually, of which some were very bitter and some ooh so yummy!  There is a shop there too where you can buy all and any of the Cadbury selections…so much to choose from….ahhhhhhh!

Almost all of us

Cantilever lookout

1st swing bridge crossing

We finally managed a getaway from the shop of sin and headed up to Mt Wellington for a squiz.  Mt Wellington sits an impressive 1271m high and has the most amazing views – oh that’s when you can see them all through the clouds that keep rolling in and spoiling my photos.  It was sooo cold up here too, even with all the cloud.  It did clear a bit, in patches, so we could get a good view of Hobart and the surrounding areas.  You can see Bruny Island, the tip of the Tasman Peninsula (Port Arthur) and some of the Heritage Wilderness Area (to the west), which are all on our list of places to visit.  Harry and Wade found a red-bellied, black snake curled up trying to keep warm (lost cause I reckon) and left it well enough alone.  The kids had a ball running around and climbing up the rocks.  There are a few levels to the lookout and also an enclosed section and we listened to a lady giving an impromptu talk about Hobart and which direction things were.  Hobart is so hilly that she said “There is no excuse for not living in a house with some sort of view” and as we drove through Hobart for the next few days, we discovered she was right.  It’s built so that most places would have some sort of view – just amazing.

Dan hangliding

Wade hangliding

Tree ferns galore

We headed into the city to Constitution Dock for a feed of Fish and Chips at “Fishy Business”. It was just what we all needed, a nice, hot feed of fish and chips and they were pretty good too. Harry, Wade and Abby were looking for more starfishes that were attached to the dock and Dan and Jak were sitting together playing their iPod touches.
Next day we headed out to the Tahune Air Walk about 90 mins west of Hobart. The area is dense forest and smells beautiful. We had an overcast day but with patches of sunshine which made it just lovely for the walks. We arrived about 11:30am so we opted for a quick 20min walk, The Huon Pine Track, in which we learnt a lot about the beautiful Huon Pine Trees. Huon pine is one of the slowest-growing and longest-living plants in the world.  We headed off to the BBQs for sausages and burgers in bread. We could have sold them 10 times over to other walkers as it was a bit cool and the smell of sausages cooking when you’re hungry was making them drool. We told them they would have to fight the kids off first…….hee heee.

Big fungus

After a yummy lunch we took the Air Walk track. It is about a 600m spectacular walkway, that is elevated about 20m off the ground and takes you through the tops of the forrest.  The walk has a stunning cantilever suspended about 48m above the ground and gives amazing views.  It was pretty hairy though.

Joel hangliding

All along the walk there are pictures and signs to indicate some of the other popular trees in Tassie, like the Sassafras (I just liked saying that one all the time but with a Sylvester twang to it:)) Blackwood, Myrtle, Dogwood and Celery-top Pine. The wood from the Sassafras is just beautiful but naturally it is a pale, straw colour, like pine but sometimes it gets a fungus that grows down into the wood and discolors it so that it has swirls of chocolate and darker shades of brown throughout the wood.  The wood with the fungus growth is just gorgeous.  The kids had run on ahead of us (surprise, surprise..) so we didn’t see them freak out at the height of the cantilever.  It was hard to take photos because the thing just swayed so much but the view was magnificent.  We also took another hour-long walk along the McKay’s Track.  It involves crossing the two rivers, the Huon and the Pine Rivers,

Dan and Joel hamming it up

on two separate swinging, suspension bridges.  There were some other people on the walk with us who were petrified and occasionally the kids or Joel would sway the bridge on purpose, just to see them squirm.  It was naughty but funny to watch! Even though the rivers are clean and clear, they have a brownish tinge to them, which is due to a tannin, that is released from a

Huon river

particular grass that grows along the banks of the rivers over here.  The walks were just beautiful and the kids managed them very well.  The next stop was a treat for all of us…..the Eagle Hang Gliding.  The 400 metre cabled glide runs from the tree canopy to the forest floor, over the Huon River and was a really fun ride.

Best Thai curries eva

Best of all is that you get two runs on the Eagle Glide ride!  The boys were in from the get-go but Abby wasn’t so convinced. In the end Abby declined and all the boys had a go, even Dianna, Joel and myself and had a blast.  The trees are still ringing with Dianna’s screaming!!  It’s all very safe and the lady who runs it was just lovely.  The only pre-requisite is that the person must weigh at least 20kgs and no more than 110kgs. As we left the Tahune Area we stopped at a few other spots on the way back down the mountain, where we saw Australia’s heaviest tree, at 405 tonnes and some beautiful forest trees and tree ferns, that were enormous.

Dan and Jak with huge rope swing

It was late by the time we started back on our journey to Hobart so we stopped at a place called Franklin.  We

Joel and I in Franklin

wanted to stop for some dinner and check out a camping area here that we want to visit next week.  By chance we pulled up out the front of a great little cafe, called Little Treasure Bistro, that serves the BEST Thai curries we have ever eaten! All 8 of us (kids included) ordered a curry; either a red, green, massaman, or vego and they were all delicious.  We made sure to remember this place when we come back in the next few weeks time.

After a house-work morning, we went to the Seven Mile Beach and even though it was windy and cold, Wade and Harry both jumped in for a swim then off to explore around the bay.  On the way home Dianna took Wade and Jak to fish off the bridge on the causeway near Sorell.  Wade caught a flathead but it was just too small to keep but he was so excited that he had finally caught a fish and he had a ball.


Wade clamming it up

White Beach

Sunset White Beach

Next day we packed up and headed down to the Tasman Peninsula.  We stayed at the White Beach Tourist Park which is right on the beach.  The little bit crabby lady at the front desk managed to get us a site and it’s one of the most expensive places we have stayed anywhere in Oz, on par with Darwin. There is no scheme water any further south than Sorell so it’s tank water everywhere and showers are 40cents for 3 mins but the beach is just beautiful.

We met up with Dianna and the kids at Port Arthur.  It would be more than 20 (more like 30!) years since I have been here and it is still magnificent.  The clouds cleared up and it was quite a warm day.  We paid for a bronze pass that would allow us to come back tomorrow and see whatever we might miss today.  We walked around with the kids reading a lot about the convict past and we even took a pause at the memorial for the victims of the massacre.  Quite a sombre feeling really just at that moment. One of the things the kids did like were the plays that were on. They portrayed life through use of different characters and they weren’t too long so they held the kids attention. They had some activities for the kids in one of the old cottages and probably only because it was still school holidays.

Port Arthur penitentiary

Dee in Jail

Family snap

Kids in the fort


Port Arthur Cove

Old Church

Behind bars

Remarkable Cove

Wade Schooling

We bid farewell to Dianna and the kids from Port Arthur and headed back to camp.  We stopped at Remarkable Cove and it was very windy and freezing cold – only Wade and I got out of the car to take pictures. But it was so worth it – it is a beautiful part of the coast.  Headed back to camp and after dinner I headed down to the beach to get some nice sunset shots and Wade tagged along to see what he could find on the beach.

The weather was being kind to us today so we returned to Port Arthur again to finish the tours and the boys did an activity booklet where they had to find answers to things through out the whole place.  We thought we’d be there an hour or 2, so after 3hrs we were all convicted out.  We headed out for some 4WDriving to Fortescue Bay.  It was well past our usual lunchtime and we were starving. We picnicked at the Bay and had a walk along the beach.  I don’t know that we would have got our van down this road and the camping area is more suited for tents than big vans. On the way back out we passed an accident where a car had run off the road and down an embankment.  No-one was injured but it was proving a tricky job for the tow guys to get that car out.

Tasman Arch

Lookout view 2

boys on the beach

We stopped in for a look at the Blowhole and took a little walk to the lookout.  Some fabulous scenery and coastline here too – just gorgeous.  We also stopped to look at the Tasman Arch and also the Devils Kitchen.

Next day we were off to explore Roaring Beach – a really good surfing beach apparently.  We had to stop along the road as we spotted an echidna and Wade wanted to get a bit closer so he could have a look.  It was a little timid but soon pulled his quills back in and we got some nice shots. It’s a bit of a trek from the car park to the actual beach at Roaring Beach but WOW what a sight.  Lots of boards and people in the water and even though the sun is shinning it’s still way too cold for us to swim at the moment. Maybe with a really thick wetsuit on, yeah nah not even with that on! We continued up to the north-western part

Roaring Beach

of the Tasman Island and had a look at Saltwater Point.  We stopped at the Historic Coal Mine site and did the walk out to the ruins and learnt a bit more about the convict history of Tassie.  Stopped at a beach in Gandalay for lunch – must say we are getting quite organised now with our lunches.  We usually

Historic Coal Mine Site

Boys and me

have wraps and have either cooked chicken or ham, lettuce, grated carrot and cheese and some sweet chilli sauce.  We can keep most of these in the Engel and the rear drawer on the car houses plates, cutlery, chopping board, BBQ even paper towel.  We save a bundle and get quite a good, healthy lunch as well.

We found new neighbours back at camp and figured out that the kids had met back in Devonport on the jumping pillow.  Wade said “That looks like Lachie” and sure enough it was.  They have two daughters, Emma and Laura and Lachlan and the kids all played and we had drinks and a chat with Sharon and Andrew who are from Kojonup.  It’s always nice to meet other West Australians and they were really lovely people.  We made sure to swap contact details and keep in contact as they are travelling around Tassie for a few weeks too. It was a very late dinner tonite, about 10:30pm by the time we finished up drinks and said our goodnights. The rain is very heavy tonite and seems to be a fair bit of it but unlike northern Oz it’s very cold when it rains down here:(  I’m so thankful that we are in the van and not tent camping this trip!

Till next time



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Tassie…Week 1 of 6

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on March 5, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Spirit of Tasmania

Boys in our cabin

The weather in Tassie was unseasonably cold and wet (Hmm we haven’t heard that line much this year!) and nowhere seems to have had a ‘normal’ summertime. Having said that we were pretty fortunate as with all this rain Tassie was so green and lush.  They too have been in a drought and most caravan parks owners we talked to all agreed that they don’t usually have grassed sites as there is not enough water to waste on keeping them green.  It’s funny but I always thought of Tassie being green anyway but it certainly made the trip interesting. We also got a booklet on the boat that descibes 60 short walks throughout Tassie so we’ll see how many we do.

Me on the ferry

We had a great trip over on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry and even though the day was very overcast, it never rained and the swell was pretty small so the trip was quite pleasant. The kids found the games room and the theatre so we lost them for a few hours of the trip.  Our cabin was right in the middle of the front of the ferry so we had some awesome views.  We took the day ferry so we could see and experience the trip over. While we were waiting to board we punched in the address in Devonport and the GPS knew we had to take the ferry – it was a bit of a laugh to see it.


Port Sorell

Mersey Bluff Lighthouse

We landed safe and sound in Devonport about 6:30pm and our caravan park was only about 5 minutes from the terminal. We had an ensuite site which is a nice luxury we have found.  The next 3 days it absolutely poured down with rain and I mean poured down.  The wind was horrendous as well so we couldn’t leave the awning up and we were getting a bit of cabin fever as 25ft is a small place to be confined with 4 people. We went to the cinemas and caught up on some shopping, both food and clothing.

View of fire from caravan

Daniel has grown so much, Granmoppy and Granpoppy won’t recognise him! We drove out to Hawley beach and Port Sorell to look around – it’s a lovely little seaside town and from the looks of it, is where the locals come to holiday. We passed a lot of fields with crops with lots of white flowers.  We stopped to take a good look and found they were poppy fields with lots of KEEP OUT signs.  There were heaps of them all over the northern part of Tassie.  The rain gave us some time for the kids to catch up on schoolwork – oh and did we get complaints – it’s school holidays, no-one else is dong schoolwork, blah, blah, blah.  But schoolwork they did – I have put it in terms of them not wanting to be the dumbest kids in the class when they eventually go back to mainstream schooling – seems to be working for the time being:)


Angrove Cheese

Dickie Johnson's No 17 car

We went to a park in Devonport near the Mersey Bluff Lighthouse and it has a heap of exercise equipment, just set out in the park, free to use.  We found quite a few of these exercise areas in lots of parks throughout Tassie. One night at the caravan park we got up to see a massive fire burning in the paddock next door.  A packing warehouse was set alight and the blaze was huge and very close, but thanks to the rain and generally shitty weather, we didn’t have to worry about evacuating.

We had planned on going to Deloraine and Mole Creek to check out some caves but the torrential rain has flooded large sections of this area (and others) so we headed for Launceston and a caravan park that wasn’t along any river banks! We stayed at the Treasure Island Caravan Park, which is just out of the city. We set up site, had lunch then I realised that the key for the ensuite site at Devonport was still with us – Doh! So we did a quick 2 hour return trip to Devo but decided

1937 Cord Winchester Sedan

along the way to do some touristy things.  We stopped at the Anvers Chocolate factory (like we had a choice with Daniel the chocolate fiend!) and bought some yummy chocolate and had hot chocolates as well. Good day for it, it was freezing!  Next stop on our culinary tour was the Angrove Cheese Factory.  They have an assortment of painted cow statues throughout the front yard, like the ones in Margaret River.  They also have a large table in the centre of the shop where you can taste all different types cheeses.  They kids were really good and tasted all of them, with Wade wanting some of the extra vintage one!  We bought a few packs of different cheeses and wondered how long they would last! Mmmm yummo.  The next stop was the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm.  I love berries and raspberries are my particular favourite.  You can’t really tour the farm and as the day was so miserable anyway we decided to share some scones and crepes which were very yummy and warm!  I also bought some home-made raspberry jam too which was absolutely divine.

Shukking oysters

We also went to the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania which had an exhibition of Muscle Car Legends on.  It was really cool and the cars are just gorgeous.  They even had Dickie Johnson’s old No 17 Shell racecar there too.  The cars were in mint condition and there were some bikes there as well – an old ’74 Ducati (Josh we were thinking of ya) and even an old ’73 Laverda (Glenn, you too!).  I think the most striking car was an old 1937 Cord Winchester Sedan.  I’d never seen or heard of them before and this one was a beauty.

Low Head Lighthouse

We also played a game of indoor mini golf, with some of the holes being in the dark with lots of fluoro colours.  Just a little bit different and something to get us out of the van. We also found the local cinema for a film. This rain is starting to test us all…….

Bumble bees

The next day was a gloriously sunny day, so we took a trip up to George town and Low Point. We took all the small tracks along the Tamar and stopped at one rest area where the boys found some oysters and got Joel to show them how to shuck/open them up.  They wouldn’t eat them but Joel enjoyed a bit of a feast. We stopped at George Town for lunch (which is the 3rd oldest settlement in Australia and the oldest town in Australia)  and headed out to the lighthouse at Low Point. We stopped at the Batman Bridge where we saw the biggest bees we have ever seen.  They are real bumble bees, like the ones you see in the cartoons, fat and black with yellow stripes.  How cool! We crossed the bridge and travelled down along the Tamar back towards Launceston.



Cataract Gorge in flood

Swing bridge

The next day was another glorious day so we went to Cataract Gorge.  It was amazing.  The flood waters had burst the banks of the dam upstream of the gorge and the waters were flowing very fast and dirty.  The day before a couple had been walking across some rocks when the water came rushing down the gorge and they had to be rescued by helicopter.  We saw pictures of what the area is like normally like and the kids were amazed at how much it was flooded.  We did a few of the walks, going across and back across the swing bridge and had lunch on some of the grassed area not under water, then finished the day with a chairlift ride across the gorge and back again.

View from chairlift

Our 1st short walk


We left Launceston and headed straight down the middle of Tassie, stopping for a photo in Perth, then Campbell Town.  We almost went past this place but I wanted to stop and take a photo of the bridge.  So glad we did as there was some amazing trees that

Perth...not as we know it.

Wood- tree carvings

The Red Bridge at Campbell Town

have been carved with all sorts of heritage things.  The bridge itself is by far the most beautiful one I have seen.  It was designed and built by convict labour (what wasn’t in Tassie really!) and the bricks were made in town.  It is constructed of both bricks and stone and it truly is a work of art.

We stopped for lunch at Ross, checked out the old buildings in the town and walked across the Ross Bridge, also a magnificent bridge.  The carvings of the stones in the bridge were done by hand and are just marvellous. We spent a few hours here checking out the old church and walking down the main street where all the houses were circa early 1900’s and in mint condition.  It was like stepping back in time, like an old english village. The boys found two old red phone boxes and thought they’d found the “Tardis” – had to be there i suppose.  The boys both like Dr Who, just like their dad.


Wesleyan Chapel 1838

The Tardis

We headed on towards Oatlands, where we free camped by the wetlands at Lake Dulverton in town.  It was freezing cold, even sitting around the fire with our beanies and jackets on. The wind chill factor was -5 at least!

Ross Bridge 1836

There were heaps of black swans and ducks who came up to the boys and the van for a feed of bread.  When I finished getting dinner ready I checked on the boys, who were commando crawling/stalking the swans and ducks, trying to get close to them – it was a funny sight. They must be feed by all the campers because they were outside the van first thing in the morning waiting for brekky!  We visited the old Callington Mill in Oatlands but we were too late for the tour of the windmill. It was built in 1836 and is being restored and will be a working, wind-driven, flour mill, with a baker in residence. It is quite magnificent and you can see it for miles before you even get to

Callington Mill

Playground near the mill

Sniper Wade

the town. Only staying here one night as we are heading off towards Hobart where we will be meeting my sister and the kids to share some holiday fun.

Feeding the birds

Till next time


Soooo cold.......brrrrrrr

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