Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

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.

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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:)

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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.

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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.

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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

Ciao`

Soooo cold.......brrrrrrr

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