Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Tassie……week 3

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on April 4, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Camp at Gordon

Sunset at Gordon

Dan the fire builder

We left White Beach and headed for Hobart as we needed to have the wheel studs replaced on one wheel of the van.  After much stuffing around we finally headed on down towards Gordon, where we were hoping to free camp for a few nights.  Gordon is a magnificent place.  The toilet block is very new and the camping area is right alongside the river.  Daniel got to work building us a fantastic fireplace (thanks for the inspiration Dave!) and we needed it as the weather is still very cold! We arrived quite late in the afternoon but still managed to get a nice spot right down near the water.

The next day Wade convinced Joel to tag along while he fished

Wade in cave

Joel & Dan in cave

Amazing formations

off the jetty just down the road in the morning but nothing was biting. Dan did some school work and I worked on the blog. We took a drive around the peninsula to Cygnet and found a butcher there so it was a yummy roast beef dinner for tea tonight.  Dan and Wade built a cracking fire and we chatted to our neighbours who were from Sorrell, up near Hobart, where we had just come through.  Lovely people who gave us lots of tips on places to go and things to see and do.

Flowstone floor

The next day we moved camp around to Franklin, a lovely little township, just south of Huonville. You can stay for up to four weeks here and it’s only $8 a nite.  There is a toilet block and you can also fill up your water tanks with potable water here too.  With solar panels and a gennie you could stay here quite easily for four weeks. After setting up we took a drive down to Hastings Cave and the Thermal Pool. The Caves have been forming in the area for hundreds of millions of years. Named after Sir Francis Newdegate, the Governor of Tasmania from 1917-1920, Newdegate Cave is the largest tourist cave in Australia which occurs in dolomite, rather than limestone. Hastings Newdegate Cave is one of only two Dolomite Caves on show in Australia and the rock is believed to be 600 million years old (Pre Cambrian Age). We needed to dress warmly as the temperature always sits around 9 degrees in the caves, all year round.  The caves were originally found by 3 loggers in the area in 1917. The caves were opened to the public in about 1939. They have the most spectacular subterranean formations including flowstone, stalactites, columns, shawls, straws and stalagmites. The cave is well-lit and much more open than we expected. In one section the flowstone has created a floor of dolomite and it looks incredible. The flowstone and the other formations were amazing and a little different to the ones we saw at Cutta Cutta caves in NT.  The limestone caves have a more sparkling appearance than dolomite caves but they were still quite spectacular.  The thermal spring was a little disappointing as it was an actual swimming pool that is fed by the spring and all the locals come to have a swim – that didn’t surprise us in the slightest as there isn’t many places to swim that would be warm enough!! There is also a short walk through the rainforest, that is totally on a boardwalk, which is also quite interesting.  We took a drive down to Southport and Dover to have a bit of a look around. An early dinner and bed as we plan to do the South Cape Bay walk tomorrow which is 16-17kms long.

South Cape Bay Walk start

Rainforest section

Bush section

Marshland section

Stone work

South Cape Bay

Family pic before arctic blast

We started off early the next morning and kept an eye on the weather.  We drove to the most southern part of Tassie that you can drive to at Cockle Creek, parked up and packed the backpacks with lunch, snacks, water and our rain coats as the weather didn’t look that flash at all. The walk is described as a moderate level walk and a lot of it is on board walks and pathways.  The change in vegetation was amazing but all of it was quite beautiful.  The start of the walk is on the edge of some rainforest, then we passed through the marshlands, then back through the bush and onto the coastline.  We did see a few echidnas along the track and some of their burrows as well.  Wade and I kept stopping to see them, with their quills up and down. The South West Bay coastline is the most southern coastline of Tassie and it is indeed breathtaking – oh yeah and absolutely bloody freezing.  As soon as we made it to the bay, we sat down to eat lunch with another couple who were hiking as well. When we finished we thought we’d walk on down to the beach and as soon as we were away from the protection of the rocks the arctic blast that greeted us was unbelievable. Even though the day was very windy and overcast in patches, the views were still superb. As there are no roads down to this section, the landscape is quite untouched and pristine. It was just beautiful.  We spent some time down at the water’s edge but at no time did any of us feel the slightest

South West Cape 2

Rainbow in Southport

inclination to jump in and test the waters! We headed back to the car, with Joel deciding that 17kms wasn’t enough so he did an extra km or so as he’d left his jumper on a tree when we stopped for one of our breaks and he had to go back and get it:) The walk took us about 5 hours in total and the boys did really well.  We just made it back to the car when the heavens opened up and let us have it!  It absolutely poured down and we kept saying how lucky we were to have gotten back just in time! As we were driving back we saw about three different rainbows – they were quite exquisite too. We stopped in Southport to take another photo as the rainbow was right across the skyline. We decided to dine out at our favourite little cafe we had found last week with my sister Dianna, as we were too buggered to cook and the Thai curries were very yummy indeed.  A quiet night tonight and the kids must have been tired as they didn’t whinge about going to sleep!

Boat cruise

Big motors

We realised yesterday while out doing some 4WDriving that the suspension was a bit ordinary and Joel was pretty sure that one (or both) of the rear shokkies was gone. Sure enough we had the car checked out in Huonville and they managed to get some replacement ones sent up that day and the car was almost as good as new again.  It took a few hours so we had a veg day, caught up on some homework and the blog and cleaning of the van!

Next day we headed back to Gordon for a night of free camping before we head off to catch the ferry, with the caravan, at Kettering across to Bruny Island tomorrow.

Up early to catch the ferry, which took a whole 15minutes to get us from Kettering to Bruny Island!  We were quite looking forward to Bruny but the weather forecast is for rain for the three days we are to be here. Ah well, seems we must be rain gods at the moment – ah yes we’re hearing you over there in Perth and the West and if we could send it over there, we would!

Dan makes red look ok

Red suits mmmm.....

The Monument

The first day at Bruny we just set up and then the kids and I made Joel a birthday cake (chocolate his favourite) as tomorrow is his birthday! We are hoping the weather stops raining for us tomorrow too as we are booked on a boat tour of the island.

Well the weather wasn’t fantastic but at least the rain was holding off for us for the boat cruise.  We booked with Bruny Island Cruises, the yellow boats, and had a fan-bloody-tastic day.  There were four boats that went out and each boat is powered by 3 x 300hp Mercury Engines – man could they fly! Our guides for the day were awesome, very charming and hilarious.  They were so well-informed about the history of the

Fur seals so cute

island and both the flora and fauna as well.  They also give you a red parka to wear, which has a hood and comes down to your feet.  They are amazing and kept us very dry and warm.  Everyone on the boat was wanting to know where we could get one and if they came in other colours besides bright red!! They drove us around to the south of the island passing lots of caves, blowholes and magnificent coastlines.  Then we went right down south

Red teletubbies yeah

and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. Then there they were – fur seals everywhere, I’ve never seen so many.  The guys took the boats right up to the rocks so we could see (and peewhew) smell them. Imagine the strongest, most pungent uncleaned toilet smell ever and you’d be getting close! OMG! However they were just amazing to watch.  Some were just lazing in the snippets of sunshine, some jumped into the water and swam around the boat and some had a little fight just to let us know who’s the boss! It was an awesome day and the rain stayed away for most of the trip. The guys took the boat out a little further from the coast on the way back to see if we could see any dolphins, fish or birds but not much luck there.  The swell was getting quite big and as we couldn’t see any other animals we headed back in towards the coast again.  They took us through the rock formation called “The Monument” again and had another look at some of the caves and blowholes too.  The tour took 3 hours and was one of the absolute highlights of our trip. We headed back to the van for a late lunch of soup and cake and sang Happy Birthday to Joel.  We spent the arvo playing monopoly with the kids, but it’s not the old one but a newer version in which the properties are different and there are other things to buy besides hotels and motels.  It was fun but you forget that a game can last several hours……….Still it was a nice way to spend the day with the kids:) especially when it’s raining cats and dogs outside.

Cloudy Bay

Cape Bruny

Lookout Penguin Rookery

The next day we thought we’d explore the island a bit more and just packed our rain coats just in case.  We did some 4WDriving taking some back roads from Adventure Bay across to Lunnawanna.  There was a general store there that had a sign out the front boasting of having the best pies in Tassie.  By now it was lunchtime and we thought we’d give them a go.  When we walked in there were heaps of show ribbons hung on the walls, mostly firsts!, for their pies.  Okay now we definitely have to try some.  Joel had a venison pie, Daniel and bacon and egg, Wade a chunky beef and I tried a chicken and mushroom pie.  They were a bit expensive but OMG they were so delicious!  Nearly

Yummy Pies

every place we have been sells the famous Tassie scallop pie, so Joel thought he’d get one to try.  They all have the scallops in a curry sauce and Joel thought it was very yummy.  I quite liked the taste of the scallops but couldn’t quite get my head around it being wrapped in pastry – thought they’d be better on a bed of rice! ha ha. We chatted to the people inside and remarked at how tasty their pies were and they told us they had been on the tv show Getaway and lots of other great awards they had won – we were not the least bit surprised as they did taste so yummy. We continued on down to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse for a squizz.  Such beautiful views even though the day was very overcast!  I imagine it would be even more beautiful with some sunshine! Another time perhaps for us. We also took a drive out to Cloudy Bay which also was quite pretty but hard to fully appreciate with the wind and rain.  We decided to head up to North Bruny Island and drive around for a squizz also.  The land has been more cleared on the north island but it was still quite beautiful too.  We stopped at the neck of the two islands, where there is a penguin rookery and lookout.  There is a great view of the neck of the islands from the top of the lookout. We never did make it back to a night-time viewing of the penguins, mostly because it starts to rain in the afternoon and we can’t be bothered to wait around in the rain.

Next we are heading off to Hobart, as Joel needs to get the air bags looked at in the rear shokkies.  Hopefully we can make it to New Norfolk.

TIll next time

Ciao`

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