Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Tassie…..week 5

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on April 10, 2011

Hi everyone,

Wombat and his toy

Cape Barron Geese

We left Freycinet National Park and headed further up the east coast, past Bicheno to another free camp at Lagoons Beach, (#39 Camps 5). However when we got there the Ranger told us they were about to do a small burn-off in the area but that it would only be for an hour or so.  We set up away from the burn areas, closed the van up tight and headed back to Bicheno for some lunch.  We visited a place called Natureworld.  Wade had seen the signs when we passed through earlier so we stopped in for a look.  It is set on over  150 acres of bushland and lagoons so there were heaps of animals here and we finally got to see the Tasmania Devil as well.  It is a great place for the kids and there are signs with loads of information about each of the different types of animals, reptiles and birds. We listened to a few talks about the Tassie Devils and watched them feed them also.  Quite amazing little critters they are.  There was even a family of fallow deer loose in the park and they ventured close enough for some photos but not to be touched.  There was also a very young wombat who lost his mother in a car accident who has a stuffed toy to keep him company and to play with – it was so very cute, but a bit sad also:( We also saw some Cape Barron Geese for the first time, which are a grey colour and have a bright, lime-green colour on their beaks which was quite striking. The kids and Joel also got to hand feed the kangaroos as well. They also have some farm animals with a few boars, sheep, goats and a pony. We headed back to camp but it was still quite smoky so we decided on only one night here.

Fallow deer

Joel feeding roos

Wade feeding roos

Tassie Devil feeding

Sun ring and jet stream

Swimcart Beach Camp

Red rocks

Bay of Fires 1

We headed further up the coast to St Helens and stayed at the Big 4 caravan park as we need to do some serious clothes washing and some shopping.  We went for a squizz out to Binalong Bay which looks very nice and like a real sea-side village place.  The homes that have been built up on the hills wouldn’t give you much change from a million dollars I’ll bet. We headed out to the Bay of Fires camping areas to do a re-con to see where we might get the van in for a few days of free camping.  We found a nice spot so we’ll check it out tomorrow morning and see if it’s still there. Uh oh, Joel was emptying out the Thetford toilet when he accidentally dropped the cap for the toilet down the dump hole. Doh, we’ll have to wait until Launceston to see if we can get a new one.  St Helens is a lovely little town and there is a tap not far from the free camps where you can fill up your water tanks on the van.  Very handy!!

Bay of Fires 2

Eddystone Point Light House

Eddystone Point

We made sure the water tanks and the pantry were full and headed out to Swimcart Beach camping area (#26 Camps 5). It is one of many free camping areas in the area known as the Bay of Fires.  I’m pretty sure it gets this name from the amazingly bright orange/red colour of lichen that grows on the rocks in the bay. It is absolutely gorgeous.  We managed to snag a camp spot right along the beachfront and not too far from a loo either.  It was a magnificent day, sunny with just a little wind so we spent the day here at the beach.  I went for a walk up the beach for some pictures, Wade tried his hand at beach fishing (no luck again) and then the boys just played in the sand.  It is such a beautiful place here and I took lots of photos.  There is a red/orange lichen that grows on the sandstone rocks, with white beaches and turquoise waters it truly is a gorgeous place.  The kids spun me out by going for a swim, at 8pm when the temperature was only 18 degrees also.  They jumped in for a quick hot shower after that – not quite sure what got into them as usually we need to drag Daniel into the sea water kicking and screaming, whereas Wade IS normally that crazy!:)

Boat ramp Eddystone Point

The weather is wet once again so we decided to do some 4WDriving up towards Eddystone Point where the light house is.  We took a look in at Policeman’s Point and Anson’s Bay along the way and made it to Eddystone Point for lunch.  We had a short break

GPS shot

in the weather so we could walk up to the light house and have a look around. The light house is one of the most stunning we’ve seen as it is made from carved sandstones.  The coastline all up along here seems to have these rocks with the red lichen on them and it is just so striking. We decided to take a coastal 4WD track back to Anson’s bay and encountered a lot of black sand/mud holes.  There are a few sign posts but not too many so I’m glad we had the GPS.  We stopped in at a small boat ramp and met a couple from Bussellton who were also travelling. Small world:) We headed back to camp for an early dinner and for some reason the boys didn’t feel like swimming tonight – go figure!



Kids on swing they made

Jetty at Bridport

We headed westward toward Scottsdale to another free camping site, Northeast Park (#3 in Camps 5).  OMG these would have to be the worst roads we have driven on so far over here.  They are quite narrow and so windy – this is the first time the kids couldn’t actually do any schoolwork in the car as they were feeling so sick.  There were a lot of vans at Scottsdale already at 1pm and I think the crappy weather has made people stop earlier on the road!  We set up camp, unhooked the car and went for a drive out to Bridport.  The rain had stopped by the time we got out there and the town has a definite sea-side village feel to it.  We walked down along the beach and down to the jetty.  I can see why this would be a popular place for school holidays. We headed back to camp and found a trail walk up the back of the park.  It wasn’t very long so Joel and I went for a walk and left the kids to amuse themselves.  Joel bought Wade a long length of rope and the kids used it, with a piece of wood, to build a swing on a huge gum tree.  We came back from our walk to see them entertaining the oldies in the park with their antics on the swing.  They did a good job getting the rope high enough on the tree to make the swing.  Some of the old fellas watching were laughing their heads off as they watched the boys.  It’s great to see that they can still be boys and make some fun without it being in electronic form!:) We met another guy here who had also had his landcruiser converted like ours – they are a little unusual so Joel and he were chatting about the cars, what they have found works, etc. We have found that the towns in Tassie that don’t have a caravan park usually have an area or parkland set up for free camping with at least toilets in them.  We were particularly lucky with this one as you could also pay $3 (coin operated) and have a hot shower in the new amenities block.  There were a lot of backpackers in tents here, doing the just that.  There was also a resident platypus who made a visit just after the sun had set.  The kids got to see another one in the wild.

Scottsdale Camp

A Pademelon

Elephant Rock Bridport

More orange lichen rocks

Cool mailbox

Camp at Gowrie Park

We headed off the next day through Launceston and stopped in for a new toilet cap and do some more shopping. There is a food festival on in Launceston at the moment and everyone says we should stop but we still have so much more to see so we pressed on to a place called Gowrie Park.  It’s not far from Cradle Mountain where we hope to go to tomorrow.  It was another free camping area called O’Neill’s Creek Picnic Reserve (#220 in Camps 5 book) and it was so lovely.  It was next to a recreation reserve so there was a toilet block and right along the river bank too.  Wade, Daniel and I went for a bit of a scout to find some firewood as we’re going to have a roast dinner tonight.  It was only 2pm but it was already so cold so a fire would be very nice tonight! We walked a little ways into town and walked up the back of another reserve and found heaps of old wood and timbers, piled up.  We grabbed a few pieces for ourselves and had a beauty of a fire.  The roast beef with potatoes, pumpking peas and gravy was very yummy as was the hot pudding we had afterwards too.  My god we are eating a lot of stodgy food just to try to stay warm.  I can’t remember the last time we had a salad? We’ve been having a lot of home-made soups too!  There is a great mailbox right near the camp for the people across the road made out of welded bits’n’pieces from the farm.  It was pretty cool so we took a photo.

Before Dove Lake walk..brrr

Where's the mountain


We headed up to Cradle Mountain to see what walks we might like to do.  The weather was certainly not the best, as we did the 6km walk around Dove lake dressed in jumpers, rain coats and beanies because it was so cold and wet.  Oh did I mention that it is a chilly 6 degrees and it only managed to get to 9 degrees all day, even with the sun shinning! There are a number of walks you can do up on the mountain but the weather is so cold we decided to start with the Dove Lake Circuit.  It is in our little booklet of 60 Great Short Walks in Tassie.  I must have been feeling particularly creative last night as we had a combination of wraps for lunch and I

Ninja mamma

Pencil Pines Falls

Cradle Mountain Park

had drawn pictures of either a bull or a chicken on the wraps to denote its contents.  At least it made us all laugh for a bit as the day was a shocker.  The walk was steep in some areas and with being so rugged up as well we were working up quite a sweat but it was still too cold to take our jumpers off – bizarre weather and sooo foggy.  We couldn’t actually see Cradle Mountain as it was covered in fog.  The kids were laughing at me because I was so cold I had my scarf wrapped around my face and with my beanie on they thought I looked like a Ninja. Ha ha  maybe they were pretty close after all. We finished up the walk and caught the shuttle bus back down the hill.  It is recommended that you park at the Visitors Centre and catch the shuttle buses to the stops you want to go.  We were so glad we did as the roads are really only wide enough for a single vehicle and we are especially longer than normal now so it would have been a pain in the butt.  The shuttle buses have two-way radios fitted so they can call each other to let them know when they are approaching particularly blind corners so they know where each other is.  Unfortunately cars that don’t heed the warning and drive up to the top don’t have that warning and are often caught on the hop as they have to give way to the shuttle buses. We stopped at the old rangers station and did some of the shorter walks which were really beautiful.  We started with the Pencil Pines Falls and Rainforest walk,

Enchanted Walk Falls

Hey there it is

then the Enchanted Walk, then the Knyvet Falls walk.  There were some gorgeous falls and the rainforest flora was certainly different to that out around Dove Lake which is scrubby, low trees and bush. There were so many different types of mosses on these walks, it was amazing.  The sun had come out for a bit so I conned the kids and Joel to ride the shuttle to Dove Lake so I could actually get a picture of Cradle Mountain as it had been covered in fog all the morning.  The kids were so tired so we left them in the bus station while we went for a short walk to get some photos of the Lake and mountain with some sun and blue sky!  We travelled back down on the shuttle bus and each time we had a different driver but they were all really friendly and knew lots about the park and the walks.  The driver missed running over a Copperhead snake, but managed to pull up alongside it for people to take photos of it as it was sunning itself on the road.  Back at the visitors Centre we thought we’d get a cup of hot chocolate and have a sit down but the cafe was

Mural at Gowrie Park

Sunset at camp

closed between 4 and 5 (WTF?) so we jumped in the car and headed back to camp.  We started another fire and had a game of monopoly with the kids on the table near the fire.  It was a great family night after quite an exhausting day.  Joel and I were a little disappointed in Cradle Mountain, mostly because it is so hyped up but maybe we were expecting too much and also the weather wasn’t the best but we thought Mt Field National Park and even around Geeveston was much prettier.  Still I’m glad we did go and maybe next time we’ll be able to go with better weather.

Back to camp and Mt Roland is a beautiful backdrop to the camp site,especially on sunset.  Gowrie Park is an old town site for an old Hydro Electricity plant.  There is a huge mural painted on the side of some old sheds which depicts various aspects of the Mersey Valley Power Development they are absolutely fabulous.

Till next time



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