Author Topic: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version  (Read 21048 times)

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Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2015, 09:15:09 PM »
DAY 25 - ARTHUR RIVER TO STANLEY

Today is pack up and move on day, we've a great time hanging out with the people from the Braddon 4wd club the past few days, but it's now time to say our goodbyes and head North. We have a quick brekky and pack up the campers and spend a short while thanking our lovely hosts, before jumping into the vehicles and heading off towards Arthur River. We pass through Arthur River without stopping and continue driving North about 16klms along Arthur River Rd to the township of Marrawah. The phrase township is an overstatement though, the place consists of a tiny store a touch bigger then the one located back at Arthur River, and other then that there's not much else here other then a few houses. Marrawah apparently has the distinction of being the furtherest settlement from Hobart in Tasmania, we don't stop as we pass through this tiny township and continue heading North onto Harcus River Road. I assume the main industry out around these parts is the dairy industry, we see plenty of dairy cows about the place as we drive through some beautiful countryside on our run North, and as you head out of Marrawah you'll also see The Woolnorth Wind Farm on Cape Grim in the distance also.

LOVELY COASTAL VIEWS TO BE SEEN AS YOU DRIVE ALONG HERE



WOOLNORTH WIND FARM ON CAPE GRIM SEEN IN THE DISTANCE



THERE WAS PLENTY OF HAY BALES TO BE SEEN IN THE PADDOCKS ALONG THE WAY



Just North of Marrawah the bitumin road ends for us for a short while, Harcus River Road quickly turns into a good gravel road and i need to back off from Jeff a touch to let the dust settle down so i can see where we are going. Part way along this gravel road Jeff calls me up on the uhf radio and tells me he's just hit a kangaroo, he asks me to stop and check to see that it's dead, so when i soon come across it lying in the middle of road i do just that. Pulling up beside the roo i'm wary as to whether it is actually dead or just stunned, i hop out of my vehicle and note it's head wound and think yeah it's a gonna, but i grab it by the tail at arms length and start dragging it slowly just to be sure it's not suddenly going to burst back to life and lash out at me with it's big clawed feet. I'm removing the roo from the centre of the track for 2 reasons, first of all is so no other vehicles hit it or have to swerve around it, as it was smack bang in the centre of the road and we don't want it causing an accident or any vehicle damage for anyone. The second reason i removed it was due to something a Ranger had mentioned to us the other day when she'd stopped in at our campsite to check if we'd paid our camp fees or not. The Ranger mentioned that by removing the roadkill from the roads, it also helped stop animals like the Tasmanian Devils from then getting hit by vehicles as they eat the roadkill that is sitting on the roads. Positive the roo is definately dead, i then give it the big heave ho and fling it off into the long grass as far off the road as i could throw it, before jumping back into the fourby and continuing on our way.

JEFF's BULLBAR 1 - SKIPPY NIL ....and that folks is why we fit bullbars to 4wd's



I can't recall how far the gravel road runs North for before it eventually hits a T intersection at Woolnorth Rd and then turns back to bitumin, i'm guessing it was something like 30 - 40 odd klms, but i'm only guessing that distance now. When most people head North from the township of Arthur River they'd likely go via the Bass Hwy which you turn off onto just South of Marrawah, but if you're not in a hurry like us and want a nice scenic alternative, take the route we have just taken instead, it's quite a lovely drive to do.
At the T intersection where we hit Woolnorth Rd, we pull up on the lefthand side of the road to check out the old Woolnorth Station property gates, there's an information board detailing the properties past history, so we take the time to read this and check out the impressive gates and stone wall structure that is located here. These gates are purely for show nowadays, Woolnorth Rd skirts just around the edge of them now, but it's worth taking the time to stop here and have a read to learn a little about the property.

WOOLNORTHS FRONT PROPERTY GATES



JEFF AND MYSELF READING THE INFORMATION BOARD LOCATED HERE



Jumping back in the vehicles we take a left turn onto Woolnorth Rd and head for Woolnorth itself. We aren't sure exactly what we'll find out along this road, we know the Bluff Point Windfarm is located near the end of the it, but we just want to follow the road as far as we can to the top North Western Corner of Tasmanina and see for ourselves what is to be found here. As we drive along i spot a roadsign i've never seen anywhere else in Australia before, i've spotted plenty of Eagles feeding on roadkill over the years, but i've never spotted a roadsign warning us about it. I stop and grab a quick pic of the sign before continuing on once more.

EAGLE FEEDING SIGN ON WAY TO WOOLNORTH



Looking around we are seeing plenty more hay bales in paddocks about the area, it must be hay baling time for everyone, as there's hay bales absolutely everywhere we look at the moment. We eventually reach a small pull in bay / side road on the edge of the main road, we turn off into it and note it's the entrance gates to the Bluff Point Windfarm. If you want to do a tour of the windfarm you can do so it would appear, but it's something you need to pre-arrange we think by the looks of it, so sadly we miss out on doing this ourselves. Information about doing a tour can be found here http://www.woolnorthtours.com.au/tours.html
We read the information boards located at a small hut here, which give technical details of the wind turbines and the wind farm itself, before hopping back in the vehicles and following Woolnorth Road further on as far as we can. Looking out into one paddock we see a heap of strange looking birds by a water trough, we stop to take a pic of them and think they are Cape Barren Geese, but we aren't 100% sure? We continue on a touch further and eventually reach the end of the road, the road does continue on a touch further on private property, but it's through a locked gate, so we turn around here and head back the way we'd just come.

PLENTY OF HAY BALES ABOUT THE AREA



CAPE BARREN GEESE WE THINK?



MORE HAY BALES AND SOME OF THE BLUFF POINT WINDFARM IN THE BACKGROUND



We head back all the way past the Woolnorth Gates where we'd stopped to look at earlier, and continue straight on towards the township of Montagu. We stop off along the way to here to take pics of a poppy field, something that is another big industry in Tasmania. Not many people might know this fact, but Tasmania is the world's largest producer of opium alkaloids for the pharmaceutical market, it produces roughly about 50% of the world's concentrated poppy straw for morphine and related opiates, and it provides 40% of the US market's legal opiate supply in the form of codeine, thebaine and other variants.
The varieties of poppies grown on these farms have been bred to create different alkaloids then the standard poppies, they have more toxic alkaloids straight up in the primary material and have been responsible for several deaths and even blindness of people who were foolish enough to steal some of them, looking for a free hit of some sort.

ONE OF TASMANIAS MANY POPPY FIELDS





Continuing our drive East now, we push on through Montagu and soon take a lefthand turn off of the highway to go checkout a local campground. Montagu Recreational Reserve is the name of the spot we are stopping off for a look at, and we are blown away by the large number of people we find camping here. It pretty much resembles a refugee camp with the number of campers we see here, it's a complete contrast to the area we've been staying at the past few days, and not at all inviting at the moment we think to ourselves. Looking past the hoards of campers we can see why they like this particular location so much, in non school holiday periods i reckon this would be a fantastic location to spend some time at, being it's situated right on the water, but right now it's completely uninviting, so we don't spend very long here at all before moving on once again. One thing we did see though at this campground and found strange as we'd not seen it previously, was the way people were "fencing off" their campsites. These people go away camping to i assume get away from it all, but then need to drive star pickets in around their campsite, and erect a big hesian type fence barracade around themselves to get some privacy...a bizzare thing to see and not my idea of a nice camping experience. Each to their own i guess, atleast they are out there presumably enjoying themselves in the great outdoors, but this place was way to crowded for our liking.
We rejoin the main road and start to head Eastwards once again, before long we are in the town of Smithton and it's time to do some shopping to restock the food supplies. Smithton is a pretty decent sized town and thus even has a Woolworths store located in it, we stop in here and grab the supplies we need, before heading on down the road a touch to a local park, where we have some lunch and let the kids run around and play on the swings and slippery slide they have here.
Lunch eaten and play time over we are back in the vehicles for the final 20 klm run into Stanley which will be our destination for the next few nights. We haven't made any bookings for somewhere to stay as of yet, so we find the main caravan park in this small seaside town and enquire about getting a couple of powered sites for a few nights. Luck is on our side and we are allocated 2 sites beside each other with water views looking out over the bay, we quickly get about setting our campers up once again and then head on down to the beach that is here when the tide is out. We didn't really expect the kids to be swimming whilst on holidays here in Tasmania due to the cold weather compared to back home, but today is surprisingly on the hot side and the kids are straight in the water playing as if they were back home. The rest of the afternoon is spent doing not much really, we catch up on some laundry that needs doing and i get the fun job of emptying our chemical toilet out at the dump point located next to the public toilet block across from camp, some jobs just can't be avoided i guess...lol.

LOOKING ACROSS THE BEACH TO "THE NUT"....the most distinctive landmark in town



KIDS HAVING A GREAT TIME AT THE BEACH



Late in the afternoon a small storm rolls through town, though there's not much in it other then some rain and the odd rumble of thunder. With the storm clearing we then head down to Hursey Seafoods to grab some takeaway fish and chips for dinner, supposably the food here is pretty good, but i didn't find it anything special myself. After dinner as it starts to get dark, the lady who runs the caravan park is walking to her house located directly across from our campsite, and asks me if our kids want to see a penguin. Being they haven't seen a penguin in the wild before i immediately say yes, so she takes us into her carport and points out the one that is currently living under her house. The lady informs us that at around 11.00 p.m tonight there'll be a couple more penguins come up into her backyard, as they have made a burrow under the slab of her shed. When the penguins arrive we'll be able to hear them calling out to the penguin that lives under her house we are told, and a touch before 11.00 p.m this does actually happen. When i hear the penguins call out I wake the kids up who are asleep at this time and bring them outside to show them the other penguins in the backyard, it's a nice sight to see, and the best part is it's only metres away from where we are currently camped. With our penguin spotting done we then all head off to bed and call an end to the night.

WE BOUGHT DINNER FROM HERE



THE PENGUIN THAT LIVED UNDER THE HOUSE ACROSS FROM US...no pics of the others sadly, it was to dark to do that.

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2015, 10:22:58 PM »
DAY 26 - STANLEY

A crap nights sleep had lastnight, the water views here are nice but the openess of the bay leaves us to getting pounded by the wind should it be coming from that direction, and sadly it was. I get up around 2.30 a.m and add more poles and ropes to the campers tropical roof to try and stop it from flapping so much in the wind, it helps a touch but i still don't get a lot sleep after that still. We have a nice hot cooked brekky and a lazy start to the morning, our plan is to catch the chair lift up to the top of The Nut today, and we wonder if it will be running with the strong winds that are currently about. Much to our surprise whilst having breakfast we watch the chairlift swing into action, it appears the wind isn't bad enough to stop it from operating today, so looks like our plan A will still get a run. I know i mentioned in yesterdays posting that we caught up on laundry yesterday, but rereading my trip notes just now as i write this report, it appears as though this morning was spent catching up on laundry duties. I think that Sara managed to do her laundry yesterday actually, and this morning whilst her and Jeff take their boys to the Seaquarium just up the road a touch, we ourselves catch on on doing our laundry.
Sara and Jeff arrive back at camp around lunchtime, we all have a quick bite to eat and then jump in our vehicles for the short drive to the carpark area at the base of The Nut. As i mentioned in yesterdays posting, The Nut is the most destinctive landmark of Stanley, it's an old volcanic plug that rises to a height of 143 metres and is flat on top. There's a walking track you can do that takes you up to the summit of The Nut, or you can do as we are choosing to do today, and that's take the chairlift to the top instead. Once up the top you can do a loop track walk all the way around The Nut, it takes about 45 minutes to complete and whilst it does have a few up and down hill sections with some stairs along the way, it not real hard to do if you take your time. If you walk the track counter clockwise then you won't have the uphill climb at the end of your walk, the hardest part will be done first and be an easy run to the finish. The views from atop The Nut are quite spectacular, there's several lookouts you stop at along the way, some give views over the township below, others are out over Bass Straight. At the first lookout we stop at we get a beaut view of Stanley below and an aerial view of our campsite, from there we head inland a touch on the walking track, but as you progress along you'll pop out of the inland to the cliff faces seeing more magnificent views along the way. 
We complete the loop walk and then catch the chairlift back down to the carpark area where we grab some ice-cream cones from the kiosk that is located here...purely for the kids to enjoy i tell you...lol. The cost of the return chairlift ride was $40 for our family, you can choose to do a one way ride and walk the other leg of your journey if you choose, i think this cost $25 for a family to do from memory. The 4 ice creams cost us about $15, add in Jeffs families cost to do the same and we probably should have gone to the local supermarket down the road and bought an entire tub of ice cream and the cones instead, it would have cost us a lot less. Oh well i think to myself, we are on holidays and these small places need the tourist dollar to keep them ticking over, i'd hate to imagine what the public liability insurance costs for a business running a chairlift like this one we've just riden on.

LIKE THE SIGNS SAYS...WHY WALK WHEN YOU CAN RIDE



THE WIFE AND OUR YOUNGEST ON THE CHAIRLIFT



AN AERIAL VIEW OF OUR CAMPSITE...our 2 camper trailers are closest to the van park owners house pictured on the left



LOOKING OUT OVER THE BAY THAT IS INFRONT OF OUR CAMP



LOOKING FURTHER AROUND TO THE LEFT OF THE ABOVE PIC... LOOKING TOWARDS ROCKY CAPE AREA



A BUTTERFLY I SPOT ALONG THE WALK



TRIG POINT MARKER OF 143 METRES AT SUMMIT OF THE NUT



STANLEY ISN'T A BIG TOWN, YOU CAN SEE ABOUT 2/3 OF IT IN THIS PIC



SELFIE WITH OUR YOUNGEST ON THE RIDE BACK DOWN THE CHAIRLIFT



Ice creams eaten we jump in our vehicles and head over towards the Highfield Historical Site which is located on the Northern outskirts of town, about 1.5 klms away. Highfield House represents an important part of Tasmanian historic heritage, it was built back in the early 1830's for Edward Curr who at the time was the chief agent of the Van Diemen's Land Company, and today this site is an accurate version of a gentleman's home and farm of that time period. We stop off along the way just before reaching this location to get a nice photo of The Nut, just past this point we stop once again at an old ruin of some type to check it out also. Reading the signboard located here we learn that the ruin used to be a Convict Barracks that housed 41 convicts that helped establish Highfield. i'll assume the original building was some what more substantial in size then what we are seeing left here now though.

VIEW BACK TO THE NUT FROM HIGHFIELD



CONVICT BARRACK RUINS



SAME RUINS FROM ANOTHER ANGLE



Highfield House costs $30 for a family to visit and is open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm seven days a week during September to May, and from June to August the site is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm, but closed on weekends. We arrive here right on 4.30 p.m so don't get to go inside the grounds for a look around as it's now closed. The old historic buildings you can see here from the road are well worth the drive out here to look at alone, so if like us your timing isn't great, make the effort to come look at the buildings from the road anyhow. We take a few pics of the old buildings from the road before continuing on past Highfield along Green Hills Rd.

OLD STONE BUILDINGS AT HIGHFIELD



ANOTHER STONE BUILDING AT SAME LOCATION



If you follow Green Hills Rd a short distance you'll come to an area that over looks what i think is called Perkins Bay, we note someone in a self contained motorhome seems to have found themselves a beaut free camp looking over the bay here. I'm not sure if camping at this particular spot is legal or not, but if it is,  it's a great camp spot for anyone in a similar set up. We follow this road a touch further and it appears to be going nowhere, so we turn around and head back towards Highfield once again. Before we reach there though, we turn right onto Dovecote Rd to continue our scenic tour of the area. Part way along this road you'll come to an elevated platform type of lookout, it's called The Nut Lookout and gives good views of both The Nut and Perkins Bay that we were at moments earlier. A few pics taken here and we follow the road back down to the Stanley Highway which is the main road you come into town on. We turn right onto the highway and head a short distance out of town to get a photo at a sign we saw as we drove into town yesterday. Pic taken we then drive back into Stanley for a quick look about town. Most shops are closed now being it's late in the afternoon, we are suddenly suprised to see a kangaroo hop straight out infront of us onto the main street of town, it quickly bounds a few shops down the street and ducks up a side alley to escape the cars and people about the area. We checkout the architecture of a few of the old buildings in the the town centre, before then making our way down to the dock area of town for another quick look around. Our look around complete we then head back to camp.

PIC AT SIGN ON OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN, ON THE STANLEY HIGHWAY



ONE OF THE BUILDINGS WE LOOKED AT THE ARCHITECTURE OF



Back at camp i park the vehicle up and then climb underneath it to try and find the source of a clunking noise i've been hearing coming from the front end of the vehicle of late. It doesn't take to much looking to find that the front swaybar is missing a bolt and bushing from it, so Jeff and myself set about dodgeying up something that will hold it back in place. Finding a nut and bolt to suit the job in my tool box is easy enough work, we then cut up a couple of different size rubber hoses we have to fill in where the bush is missing from also, it's not a perfect fit, but good enough to get me out of trouble until i can get a replacement part to do the job properly. Thinking back about it afterwards, i had been thinking the car was behaving differently on the road of late, the body roll in the vehicle on the windy roads was definately a lot worse then it normally is, so i should have put 2 and 2 together earlier, and i may have found this problem out days ago.
With the vehicle fixed i grab a drink and my camera and head down to the beach to try and grab a sunset pic or 2. The colours in the sky aren't fantastic, but i manage to grab a shot or 2 anyhow, then head back up to camp. Being we are leaving here tomorrow to head elsewhere, i pack up the annex of our camper so there's less work to do in the morning and so it's dry from not getting dew on it overnight. There's no fire to sit around tonight being we are in a caravan park at the moment, so after dinner it's an earlyish night for us all, time to catch up on some sleep after a lack of it the previous night

SUNSET PIC OUT FRONT OF CAMP

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #32 on: June 29, 2015, 10:54:50 PM »
DAY 27 - STANLEY - GUNNS PLAINS WILDLIFE PARK

We wake to a nice morning, the suns out and there's little wind about. We take our time having brekky and pack up the campers, departing the caravan park around 10.00 a.m. The plan for today is to head to Gunns Plains Wildlife Park to stay there night, we plan on visiting the park tomorrow and they apparently have an area where you can camp there, so that's what we plan to do.
We drive out of town back to the Bass Highway and turn left onto it, heading East towards Devonport direction. There's no real plan today of where to stop off at, we're just going to follow the highway and divert to places that we like the look / sound of along the way. As we drive along we pass by Port Latta, the port is used to export iron ore from the Savage River mine, and the loading conveyers located here that run 1.6klm out to sea were actually visible from the "Welcome To Stanley" sign we stopped at for a picture yesterday afternoon. The Savage River mine is located almost 100klms away from Port Latta, the iron ore mined there is concentrated and mixed with water, then pumped through a 95klm long pipe line to the port, where it's then pelletised and loaded onto ships as they sit out at sea via the 1.6klm load conveyors. Pushing on past Port Latta we soon take a lefthand turn off the highway for a place called Rocky Cape. We follow the road to the end and find ourselves stopped at a small car park area beside the Rocky Cape Lighthouse, so we hop out of the vehicles here for a look around. The lighthouse was built back in 1968, reading the information board we find here it notes the flashing white light from it projects 27klms out to sea. This lighthouse is part of a network of lighthouse that dot Tasmania's shoreline of Bass Straight, there was another located at Highfield Point near The Nut where we were yesterday, and the next one is a touch further East of here at Table Cape. Walk past the lighthouse and you are then greeted with sweeping views out across the water, straight out infront we can see The Nut off in the distance, and looking to our right we can see a headland in the distance that i think is Table Cape.

ROCKY CAPE LIGHTHOUSE



THE NUT AT STANLEY IS VISIBLE FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE



LOOKING RIGHT, DOWN THE COASTLINE TO TABLE CAPE



Our look around completed here we jump back in the vehicles and start to head back along the road we'd just come in on, we'd passed by a small road leading off to the water on the way in, so we stop in here for a quick look around to see what we can find. Pulling in to our right we note the track is actually leading down to a boat ramp, we park the vehicles up once again and hop out of them. The rock formations we find here are pretty amazing to look at, be very careful as you walk around this place, because if you slip and fall over, the jagged sharp rocks located here would easily cut you open. Aswell as the jagged shape of the rocks to look at, there's some spectacular red colouring on the rocks also which is caused by lichen growing on them. The combination of the shape and colours of the rocks has has spending a while looking around here and photographing what we see.

CHECKING OUT THE ROCKS



BE CAREFUL YOU DON'T SLIP AND FALL....THE RED COLOUR SETS THEM OFF NICELY



MORE SHAPES IN THE ROCKS FOUND HERE



We finish our look around here and then have one more stop off in the area at another boat ramp, before heading back to the highway once again and turning left to continue our Eastward run. As we crooze along the Bass Highway we suddenly realise how it is that Santa gets around the country so quickly these days on xmas eve delivering presents, he's ditched the reindeer and sleigh in favour of a bloody huge motorbike instead...lol.

SANTAS NEW RIDE...excuse the quality of pic, it was hastily taken as we croozed by at 80kph



Continuing on we soon spot a scenic route sign for the town of Wynyard, so we quickly take that exit to explore the area some more. We find ourselves winding through some country back roads and then come across more poppy fields like we saw the other day. We follow the road some more and eventually end up at a dead end road at the lookout of Table Cape. We hop out of the vehicles here for a look around, there's not only the view out over the water to see here, but right beside us is yet another poppy field. I take a pic of the Table Cape Lighthouse across the poppy field, before then going to check out the view from the lookout. The lookout sits 170 mtrs above the water of Bass straight below, on a clear day you can apparently see Low Head at the mouth of the Tamar River which is about 90 klms East of here. Today we can't see anywhere near that distance though, it's a touch hazy in visibilty, so i use a set of polarized sunglasses to try and help photograph the view.

TAKING THE SCENIC ROUTE TO WYNYARD



TABLE CAPE LIGHTHOUSE, SEEN ACROSS THE POPPY FIELD AT CARPARK OF LOOKOUT



POPPY FLOWER



USING SUNGLASSES TO SEE THE VIEW AT TABLE CAPE LOOKOUT



From this lookout you have 2 options of going to visit the Table Cape Lighthouse, you can do a 30 minute return walk there and back on a track that takes you down towards the water, or you can do as we are doing now, hop back in your vehicle and drive the short distance along a road to it instead. We drive the short distance to the lighthouse and hop out for yet another look around, this lighthouse is more the traditional shape you'd expect a lighthouse should be, which i guess is due to it being built back in 1888. Table Cape Lighthouse is the only operating Lighthouse in mainland Tasmania open for tours, it costs $25 for a family to do the tour, but childeren under 5 years of age aren't allowed. Due to having children with us under that age we have to give the tour a miss which was a bit of a shame, make sure your also weraing decent footwear also, there's no thongs (flip flops) or high heels allowed.
Located out by the front entrance gate of the lighthouse i notice a small fenced gravesite, i walk over to it and note that it belongs to the 1 year 2 month old son of the first lighthouse keeper, and he died on the 17th August 1888.
Also located out by the front gates here is one of the tulip farms that Tasmania is well known for. The spectacular display of colour these tulip farms put on when in flower needs to be seen to be believed, and there's just no way at all my picture i take today could give do the farm any justice.

TABLE CAPE LIGHTHOUSE
 


GRAVESITE OF FIRST LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS BABY SON



ONE OF TASMANIA'S TULIP FARMS.....SADLY THOUGH IT'S THE WRONG TIME OF THE YEAR TO VIEW IT....Open for a short period only, around end of September – mid October



From here we jump back in the vehicles and head off to the township of Burnie, i see a Toyota dealership as we come into town so pull in there to grab a new swaybar bush, sleeve and nut and bolt....and luckily for me they had exactly what i wanted in stock. We take the opportunity to refuel our vehicles here and then push on towards the town of Penguin. It's now lunch time so we are on the lookout for somewhere to stop at and let the kids have a run around and all of us a bite to eat. Jeff spots a sign saying Blythe Head at a roundabout on the highway, so we take that exit and end up at a lovely little spot down by the water where the Blythe River meets the ocean. As an added bonus there's a small playground here for the kids to play on, so we let them run wild whilst we make some lunch. Across the other side of the river we notice a family is set up at what i'm guessing is a free camp spot, the noise from the highway and it's passing trucks close by is a touch loud for my liking as a spot to camp at, but they have a huge beach area all to themselves, so i can sort of see why they might like staying there.

PEAK HOUR ON THE BASS HIGHWAY...LOL



TIME TO MAKE LUNCH



OUR LUNCH STOP WHERE THE BLYTHE RIVER MEETS THE OCEAN



Lunch eaten and we head off via Sulphur Creek to the town of Penguin a short distance away, we need to grab a few last minute supplies before we head towards Gunns Plains, and this will be the last decent sized town before we start heading there. Penguin is a lovely little coastal town and home to the Big Penguin, it's street refuse bins are also decorated with ornamental cement fairy penguins aswell. Looking about the town i note there's some old buildings located here with their lovely architecture, so i take a few pics of them whilst waiting for my wife to get some supplies.

THE BIG PENGUIN



YA GOTTA GIVE IT A HUG I GUESS...LOL



ONE OF THE OLD BUILDINGS IN TOWN



A MIXTURE OF NEW ARCHITECTURE UPFRONT, AND OLD IN THE BACKGROUND



Crucial supplies gotten (it was mainly alcohol we needed to restock...lol), we start our drive South from Penguin to Gunns Plains. We arrive at the Wings Wildlife Park around 4.30 p.m to camp the night but the park closes at 4.00 p.m. We note other people are camped in a large field by a creek just as you arrive at the park, so we plan to head down there and find a nice spot with water views to set up camp at. Just as we are about to head down to the camp area we manage to find a staff member of the park who gives us the run down of staying here, there's a toilet block with hot showers also that we can use up at the park here, it's $6 per person per night to stay here, and kids 2 and under are free. With that info in hand we are told to pay for the camping tomorrow when we buy our entry tickets to the park, we then head down to the camp area to find a spot for the night. As we are parking the vehicles Sara finds a nice stash of firewood that had been rolled down the creek bank by previous campers, it's just what we need for tonight, so we stack it by an old fire spot in readyness to use later on. Whilst setting up the camper trailers the kids have a bit of a swim in the creek, and one of the park employees comes around and takes rego details of the people staying here the night. Campers set up, Jeff and i quickly jump under the front of my vehicle and fix the swaybar with the parts i grabbed from Toyota today, it's a quick fix to do and then afterwards i start to explore the campground. As i walk over to where the kids are swimming, i'm disappointed to see the crap that previous campers have left in their fire place. These people obviously put no thought into what happens after they leave with the metal that is left over from their sparklers and drink cans that has been thrown in the fire, the mess seen here really peeves me off....it's not hard to take your rubbish away with you when you leave!!!
With daylight still about we have some dinner, and as the sun starts to set we quickly get the fire going, the minute the sun disappears it cools down pretty fast. We spend the night sitting around the fire havng a few drinks, it's good to be out camping properly once again, after spending a few nights at the caravan park

OUR CAMP BY THE WATER AT GUNNS PLAINS / WINGS WILDLIFE PARK



PRETTY DISAPPOINTING TO SEE THIS MESS HERE THOUGH...the rest of the place was nice and clean though i'll add here

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2015, 09:56:34 PM »
DAY 28 - GUNNS PLAINS TO LAKE GAIRDNER

It's a lazy start to the morning for us all today, as Wings Wildlife Park doesn't open until 10.00 a.m. We have some brekky then pack the campers up, and drive the very short distance up to the car park area of the wildlife park so we can have a shower before visiting the park (we didn't bother having a shower last night). According to my wife the womens showers were pretty good, but the mens showers are in a very old building and the water pressure was pretty poor...oh well, it's better then nothing as they say.
All freshened up right in time for the park to open, we pay our entrance fee and camping fee for lastnight also, before heading on inside the park. Cost of admission to the park is $20 for an ADULT & $10.00 for a CHILD (3-14 YEARS).

WHERE WE ARE NOW



Now i'm not going to say i was blown away by this park, it's definately no Dubbo Zoo....but if you want to take your kids somewhere they can get up close to some Aussie animals, feed some kangaroos and pat a koala etc, then this is a beaut little park to just that at. We start by looking around inside the main covered building, the fish ponds they have here are great entertainment. We throw some of the food we've purchased to feed the animals into a fish pond, and the water suddenly erupts to life as the fish race each other to get something to eat, splashing water onto the kids who are up close peering into the tank. We do this a heap of times to entertain the kids, it's a simple thing to do but funny to watch everytime.
From here we head outdoors where there's one of the parks employees about to hold a talk at the koala enclosure. We arrive there just in time to hear the talk, and afterwards everyone there gets to pat the koala if they want to.

THE STAR OF THE KOALA SHOW



The koala talk over we head off to explore the park some more. We venture over to the kangaroo enclosure, kids always love these places as they can get up close to the roos and get to feed them also. The kids are having fun feeding the roos, and we note there's a pretty large male roo here in the enclosure. Jeff and myself both have a turn at feeding this big fella, holding our hands up high and making him stand up tall to get to the food. Jeff manages to get him right up on his back legs and we are blown away by just how tall he is at full stretch, but come my turn to do the same thing, old mate roo won't have a bar of that action again. Trying to raise my arm up high the roo grabs a hold of my arm and firmly stops me from raising it, i'm pretty amazed at the strength this animal has in it's upper body as i try and continue to raise my arm up, but old mate roo holds firm and i quickly decide to not try and antagonise him any, as i don't want to upset such a powerful animal. The roo wasn't aggressive  at all to me at any stage during the time this was happening, had i of tried to push the point further then what i did, then i reckon there's a fair chance things could have turned ugly though. The power of that roo was awesome to experience, looking at it's upper body was like looking at a ripped body builder at a gym.

THE "RIPPED" ROO.... (photo does his muscle definition no justice at all). You can see he's literally holding onto my arm, stopping it from being lifted higher



FEEDING ONE OF THE OTHER SMALLER ROOS AT THE PARK



We leave the roo enclosure and check out several of the Tasmanian Devils they have on display, they have quiet a few of them here actually. We then explore the bird enclosure area and see a nice Wedgetail Eagle amongst many other birds, then we start to head back towards the main building. Over near where the koala enclosure was, we note they have  Meerkats...we spend sometime watching them dart all about the place, before then heading back inside the main building.

ONE OF THE TASSIE DEVILS AT THE PARK



WEDGETAIL EAGLE



ONE OF THE MEERKATS



In a back room inside the main building is their reptile exhibit.... we spend some time checking out various snakes they have on display, thankfully there's a nice glass wall between us and several Tiger snakes i can see here. There's plenty of other animals to see at the park that i haven't listed, we finish our look around then make our way back to our vehicles so we can head off to our next camp for the night which is about 45 klm away.
Our next camp site we plan to stay at is a free camp called Lake Gaidner, Sara found it on an app the other day when she was looking at places to stay around Cradle Mountain, so we're going to head there now and hopefully it'll be a nice enough spot to stay a few nights. The roads we drive on as we head to our next camp are pretty windy and steep in places, one section of Spellmans Road i think it's called running between Upper Castra and Wilmot is very steep indeed. Signs on the road say it's not suitable for trailers, but smaller trailers like our campers are perfectly fine IMHO..... i wouldn't like to tow anything bigger/ heavier along this stretch of road though. The first steep section of the road here is downhill for us, we take the warning seriously and i'm back into first gear letting the engine do the braking on the way down, the signage warns this descent goes for a fair while, so it's slow all the way down and steedy as she goes trying to stay off the brakes as much as possible. What goes down then pretty soon has to go back up again, and it's back into first gear once more for a pretty steep uphill climb. We eventually exit out of this steep area and turn onto Wilmot Rd heading towards Cradle Mountain. Along the way we spot a pull in bay of sorts for a lookout viewing area that has a fantastic view of what we thought at the time may have been Cradle Mountain, but looking at a map afterwards i'm thinking it may well have been Mt Roland we were looking at instead.

THE VIEW OF MT ROLAND I THINK IT MAY HAVE BEEN?



Pushing on from the lookout and we are soon passing through the tiny township of Moina turning right off of Cradle Mountain Rd onto Moina Rd about 1klm South of town. The turn off is right on a bit of a blind corner of the main road, so just be careful if turning here. Moina Rd is a gravel road, just keep following it to it's end, and you'll find the free campground on the right after crossing over a small timber bridge. There are no facilities at all at this camp area, so anybody choosing to camp here needs to be 100% self sufficient. We find a suitable spot perfect for our 2 campers right by the waters edge, we set up camp then have a late lunch. The rest of the afternoon is spent doing not much at all really, i do a walk around the camp area and scrounge up some left over firewood from previous campers fire places, then latter in the afternoon Jeff and myself go for a drive up the road a touch and collect some more firewood to help keep us warm tonight. Back at camp we just sit around looking over the water view infront of camp with a drink in hand having a few laughs about this and that, just as it starts to get dark we get the fire going and spend the evening sitting around it. No idea what time we actually head off to bed, not to early and not to late is about all i can recall.

OUR LAKE GAIRDNER FREE CAMP SITE FOR THE NEXT FEW NIGHTS

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2015, 12:05:56 PM »
DAY 29 - CRADLE MOUNTAIN

We sleep in a touch today and wake to a pretty nice morning, even though the forecast was for drizzley rain. We have some scrambled eggs for brekky then get ready to head off to Cradle Mountain for the day. We are a touch concerned about leaving the campers unattended here, but i have a chat to the fella who's set up camp just over from us with his family, and he says he'll be here all day today and will keep an eye on our stuff for us, so that's a relief not having to worry about that whilst being out. From camp to Cradle Mountain is about a 40klm drive, we'd been advised previously to arrive here as early as possible, but don't get here until around 10.30 a.m. with our slow start to the morning. The reason for being advised to arrive early, is because the road leading to Dove Lake has a boom gate on it that they close at busy times to stop traffic grid lock on the narrow road that is here, there's not a huge amount of car park bays at Dove Lake either, so they limit the number of vehicles able to access the area at any one time. The road to the lake is single lane in many areas with small passing bays that you need to stop at to allow oncoming vehicles to get past you, and during peak periods they close the boom gate, and the only access to and from the lake is via a shuttle bus service that runs from the information centre which is located 2 klms before the National Park entrance gate. From that entrance gate, it's then a further 8klms to get to Dove Lake.

WELCOME TO CRADLE MOUNTAIN... if you look at the sign, the shuttle bus runs from the numbered 5 area which is the information centre. It's 2klms to the numbered 10 area which is where the boom gate is located, and then another 8klms from there to Dove Lake



Arriving at the information centre we notice the car park is absolutely packed, it seems as though half of the population of Tasmania is here today. We park our vehicles and go inside the main building to try and see how this place operates. We find out that in order to catch the shuttle bus you need to have purchased a National Parks visitors pass, we'd already purchased these on the ferry at the start of our trip as we came from Melbourne to Tasmania, so all we need to do now is show them to the Rangers working behind the counter here, and they give us some tickets to ride the shuttle bus. We then head towards the shuttle buses and see a big queue of people waiting to get on them, we don't have time to wait as long as it will take to get on the shuttle buses, so we head back outside to our vehicles. I know i've mentioned the boom gates stopping access to the lake already, but first up this morning we aren't heading to the lake, we need to head to Cradle Mountain Lodge instead (numbered 9 on the map above). The lodge is located just before the park boundary and thus before the now closed boom gate, we need to head here to drop both the wives and my eldest daughter off, as the 3 of them are going horse riding this morning. On the way to Wings Wildlife Park the other day we made a few phone calls and booked the horse riding adventure for them, the ride goes for about 2 hours and costs $120 per adult and $95 per child (under 16 years old). We arrive at the lodge with some time to spare before they get picked up to go to the horse riding location, so we decide we'll go do a short walk located here called The Enchanted Walk, it's only just over a 1 klm in length and takes about 15 minutes to do. The walk is very easy going and mostly done on a boardwalk, if you do the circuit anti clockwise you'll finish up at a nice little waterfall which is located by the roadside just before you drive into the lodge car park area.

THE ENCHANTED WALK AT CRADLE MOUNTAIN LODGE



NICE LITTLE WATERFALL YOU SEE NEAR THE LODGES ENTRANCE ON THE WALK



With the walk completed we make a plan to meet up back here at a certain time and then say goodbye to the other 3. Jeff, Myself and other 3 kids then head back to the info centre to catch the shuttle bus up to Dove Lake.
I just now asked my wife how the horse ride was as i can't make comment on having not done it myself....she said the views were pretty nice along the way, and she seemed to like having done it. Asking my eldest daughter just now also what the ride was like was a complete waste of time, she reckons she can't remember to much about it...bloody kids hey...lol

OUR ELDEST DAUGHTER ON THE HORSE RIDE



THE 3 LADIES ON THE HORSE RIDE, WITH CRADLE MOUNTAIN IN THE BACKGROUND



Arriving back at the info centre, there's even less carparks here now then before for Jeff and myself to park in, we manage to find a couple of the last remaining car park spaces here and then park the vehicles up and walk up to the shuttle bus departure point. The line up for the bus hasn't gotten any smaller since we were here earlier, it takes about 20 minutes to get to the front of the line, but eventually we are on one of the buses heading up to the lake. As we pass by the boom gate that stopped us driving our own vehicles into the National Park, it quickly becomes obvious why they run the shuttle bus and boom gate system here that they do. On days like today with the amount of people they have in the park at the moment, the road to the lake would become grid locked due to how much of it is single lane. The shuttle bus drivers talk to each other over the uhf radios they have onboard, they then know where each other is in the park, and thus pull up at certain passing bays along the way and allow the oncoming bus to reach the passing bay before continuing on. There's several places to disembark the bus along the way to Dove Lake, you can do various walks of different lengths at these drop off points, but be warned....on a day like today when everyone else like us is heading up to the lake, there are no vacant seats on the buses, so they can't stop to pick you back up and shuttle you to your next location. You may have to wait at these spots for quite a while for a vacant seat to be available to continue on to the lake, or you may even have to jump on a bus headed back towards the info centre instead...we saw many people waiting at these locations and the buses just drive past without stopping, as they had no vacant seats onboard.
Arriving at Dove Lake we disembark the bus and head on down towards the water, it's a stunning day right now and there's people absolutely everywhere we look. There's several walks you can do here if you so desire, the most popular and easiest being a circuit walk of 6klms in length, it takes you right around the perimeter of the lake. We'd like to do this walk ourselves, but sadly can't with the 2 year old child we have with us....it's just be to far with it being that distance in length. A few quick pics taken here and we start to walk anti clockwise around the circuit track to the much photographed boat shed that is located on the lake. The boat shed was built in 1940 by the first Ranger at Cradle Mountain, Lionell Connell. The shed has undergone some restoration work in 1983, but it remains substantially unaltered from its original form. These days the shed is basically just a prop in the foreground of peoples photographs of Cradle Mountain, but up until the 1960's boating was actually quite a popular past time on Dove Lake, and thus explains the sheds existence.
Arriving at the water by the boat shed to get that iconic photograph many people have of Cradle Mountain, we are disappointed to see how much rubbish is scattered amongst the shrubs here from lazy grub tourists that can't be bothered doing the right thing and taking their rubbish out with them. To be in such a pristine place with a lovely view as we see before us, then see all this crap sitting in under the tree bushes really peaves me off to no end....i can't understand how people can come to such a beautiful place and then just throw their rubbish on the ground, thinking it must just magically disappear or something.
My rant now over...I wait and wait, and then wait some more... then eventually i finally get a chance to take a picture of the boat shed with no people in it. The circuit walk track actually passes right beside the shed, and with the amount of people at Cradle Mountain today, trying to get pics with nobody in them is a pretty tall ask. I eventually get the pics i am after and then have a quick snack to eat in the shade of a tree with my youngest. It's now already time for us to start heading back to the shuttle bus pick up point, so we can get to our vehicles and go pick the other 3 up from their horse ride. We haven't looked around here very much at all, but we plan to come back here later with the other 3, and hopefully the crowds will have died some by then.
The wait at the pick up point for the bus is not as bad as it was to come up to the lake, it only takes about 10 minutes wait this time and we are back on a bus headed for the info centre.

THE BOAT SHED AT CRADLE MOUNTAIN



A WIDER VIEW OF THE LAKE AT THE BOAT SHED



Back at our vehicles at the info centre, and we head on back to the lodge to pick the other 3 up. We haven't had lunch yet today and it's nearing 3 p.m already, so we park the vehicles in the car aprk of the lodge and head into the pub they have here to get a bite to eat. The women aren't back from their horse ride just yet, so we grab a beer and a burger each (juice for the kids though...lol) and wait for the others to arrive. Just as we finish eating lunch the others find us inside the pub, they haven't eaten lunch yet either, so order something to eat for themselves also.
Lunch finally eaten by all we head to our vehicles and then try our luck driving ourselves up to the lake. Luck is on our side, and the boom gate is now open, allowing us to continue on driving to the lake. We arrive at the lake and the ladies want to go visit the boat shed, being Jeff and myself have seen it already, we leave them to go in that direction around the lake, and we head off in the opposite direction to go check out Glacier Rock. The walk to Glacier Rock is pretty easy going, it's roughly about the same distance walk away as the boat shed was in the opposite direction, and before we know we have arrived there. The view out over the lake below is pretty stunning from a top the rock, but very careful up here if you have kids with you, as there's no protection at all to stop anyone from tumbling over the edge to the rock and water below. There's a small gate located at the entrance to the Glacier Rock area that has signage warning about the sheer drops here, so once you walk through that gate you'll need to keep a good eye on your youngsters.
We have the rock area to ourselves for a while taking pics and enjoying the view before the next lot of visitors arrive, we take this as being a sign it's time for us to start heading back towards the others, so we that's just what we do.

THE VIEW OVER DOVE LAKE WALKING TO GLACIER ROCK



CRADLE MOUNTAIN AND DOVE LAKE AS VIEWED FROM GLACIER ROCK



Arriving back at the car park area we meet up with the others and decide it's time to start heading back towards camp, Jeff and Sara head off first as they want to get some milk and a bottle of wine from a shop somewhere, and we leave a few minutes behind them saying we'd meet them back at camp. As we drive back towards the information centre, i stop off along the way and grab a pic of the starting point of the Overland Track, this is one of Australia's most famous walks, and takes hikers about 5 - 6 days to complete the trek. From this starting point it's a 65klm journey to Lake St Clair which is where the track ends, you may recall we'd visited this lake back on day 15 of this holiday. The Overland Track must be walked in a North to South direction, and is usually done between 1 October and 31 May, amazingly the record time for completing this walk is 7 hours and 25 minutes...i doubt the record holder took in much of the surrounding beauty along the way though.

START OF THE OVERLAND TRACK.....it's 5 - 6 day trek to Lake St Clair from here



Back in the vehicle once again and we leave the National Park area behind us, as we get close to the info centre i see a car parked in the middle of the road blocking our lane. I get a clear bit of road from oncoming traffic and drive around the vehicle, thinking what a stupid place for someone to stop....no consideration at all for others!!!. Just a touch further on we catch back up with Jeff and Sara, who ask us over the uhf radio if we saw the wombat that was back down the road a touch, it's at the moment i then realise that's why the vehicle was stopped in the middle of the road where it was, and we'd just missed our opportunity to see our first ever wombat in the wild. Jeff and Sara had the wombat cross the road pretty much right in front of them apparently, by the time we'd come past the same spot it was down in a culvert by the roadside, so wasn't able to be easily seen and why i had no idea why the car was stopped there.
Wombat viewing opportunity missed, we continue on heading back to camp. Sara mentions to us on the drive back to camp that they'd stopped in at the info centre to try and find out where they could buy what they wanted in the area, the lady working at the information centre was pretty rude apparently, and absolutely no help at all. She then ended up at a backpackers place trying to buy the wine, but because they weren't staying there, the manager said they couldn't sell it to her. Reaching our turn off to head back to camp, Jeff and Sara continue on driving into Moina which is only about a kilometer further down the highway. We turn off and head straight back to camp, and when the others arrive back here they mention how nice and friendly the owners of the tavern were, and how well stocked their wine range was.....so if you're in the area and after some supplies, be sure to stop in at the Moina Tavern.
Jeff and myself grab some more firewood and get the fire going, we have dinner and whilst eating it Sara thinks she sees a big fish in the water beside us. On closer inspection we quickly realise it's not a fish but a platypus, we see it several more times duck diving in the water nearby but don't manage to get a photo of it, before it then disappears for the night. We may have missed our opportunity to see our first wombat in the wid today, but for us this is actually the first ever time we've seen a platypus in the wild. We've (my family) been to many spots over the years where platypus supposably live but never seen one, so to see one in the wild for the first time at such a beautiful location, and literally metres away from where we are camped, was pretty amazing.
The rest of the evening is spent sitting around the fire as the clouds start to move in, the forecast for the coming days has rain coming, so we'll have to see what tomorrow brings i guess.
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #35 on: July 05, 2015, 09:16:29 PM »
DAY 30 - LAKE GAIRDNER TO ?

Waking around 5.00 a.m to answer the call of nature i note it's not a bad day, and nothing like the rain that was predicted for today. I head back to bed and when i wake a few hours later i am surprised to hear rain falling on the canvas of the camper.  Exiting outside the camper and the weather has turned completely, it's cold, overcast and raining...nothing like it was a few hours ago. We have some breakfast and notice the platypus is out and about again today, it's swimming around a heap this morning, and i manage to snap a very average pic of it inbetween rain showers. The platypus appears to have a burrow under the trees hanging over the water, across the other side from camp a short distance away, it keeps heading back to the same location time and time again, so we assume that's where it's home must be located.

THE PLATYPUS WAS BACK AGAIN THIS MORNING



As we have breakfast the rain really appears to have set in now, looking at the weather radar on my phone shows no sign of it letting up anytime soon, so it looks like we'll be packing the camper trailer up wet this morning, as we are moving on today. Days like today is where a camper such as what Jeff owns, is a much better option to have then what we own. Jeff can just about pack his camper up completely without the rain that is falling effecting him to much, where as we need the rain to stop falling really, or else water pools in the middle of the canvas as we fold our trailer up shut...and that can lead to water getting inside and wetting our bedding.
We hold off packing up as long as we can and pack up everything other then the trailer itself. Watching the radar i see a very small window of opportunity coming where the rain will hopefully stop for a short while, or atleast slow to a drizzle, and when it comes we make the call and hastily pack the camper trailer up closed. We time it to perfection, and whilst the rain hadn't stopped completely, it had slowed to a light drizzle...so we managed to get the trailer closed up without to much water pooling everywhere. I've had the diesel heater running inside the trailer all morning to try and help keep the canvas from getting to wet, it appeared to be helping some, but i guess we'll find out what our bedding is like when we re-open it at the next camp spot later this afternoon. We do have a plastic type cover sheet we put over the bed when we pack it up to help protect the bedding from getting wet, this along with the carpet floor covering that the kids sleep on, which we put on top our bed at pack up time should keep the bed dry, but you just never know if water gets in or not when you pack the camper up in the rain.
We leave camp around 11.00 a.m and head back to Cradle Mountain Rd, we turn left onto it and head into Moina, then turn right onto Cethana Rd. A short distance down this road we see a sign for a lookout, so we take a quick right turn and head down that road to see what's there to see. Arriving at the end of this road and we see it's a lookout with a view over Lake Cethana, you can see the dam wall down below, but the rain that is currently falling and the low level cloud make it not the best viewing conditions today. It's cold and wet outside right now, so we only have a very quick look at the view before jumping back into the vehicles where the heater is running to warm us back up again, we re-join the main road and continue to head Eastwards.

TODAYS VIEW OF THE LAKE CETHANA DAM WALL



You may have noticed in the title i haven't added a destination for todays drive, well that's because we don't actually know where we are going to stay the night tonight. Our plan for today is to head somewhere close to Launceston to stay the next few nights, we've got a few places we want to visit around that general area, but we've made no plan of an actual location to stay at. Todays general plan is to visit a few locations along the way towards Launceston, we will stop at the towns of Sheffield and Railton along the way, and then we'll see from there where the day takes us. Somewhere along the way to Sheffield we make a quick stop off at a park and toilet block along the way, we take the opportunity to empty out our rubbish bags into the large bins they have here, and we take a pic of the metal statue they have infront of the park, before continuing on our way.

METAL MAN STATUE WE SEE AT THE PARK



From here it's an uneventful run into the town of Sheffield, the weather is miserable outside, and spending the day inside a nice warm dry vehicle at the moment is a pretty good option i am thinking to myself. We park the vehicles up in a large car park area in a back street of the centre of town, we want to have a look about the town as it is nowadays known as the town of murals. Back in the early 1960's Sheffield was a town that grew rapidly due to the seven dams and seven power stations that were built around this area as part of a power generation scheme. But on completion of this scheme the population of the area declined, and local residents decided they needed to come up with a way to attract people back to the area. Having heard of a small Canadian town in a similar predicament reviving itself by painting murals on the towns buildings and having tourist come visit the area to see them, Sheffield has done much the same thing, and today is a bustling little township that annually attracts an estimated 200 000 people to the town to see it's murals. The first mural painted on a building in Sheffield was done back in December of 1986, today there's over 60 murals you can view here, just walk around the town and you'll see them everywhere you look.

JUST A FEW OF THE MANY MURALS YOU CAN SEE IN SHEFFIELD









Sheffield is a decent sized little town these days, we take the opportunity to do some shopping whilst here, we need to buy some gum boots for our youngest daughter to run around in the water puddles at the moment, and i need some new long pants to wear after ripping the crutch out in mine the other day climbing up to get something off of the roofrack of my vehicle. We find a shop that sells what we want before then moving on to the World of Marbles just down the end of the street a touch. The World of Marbles shop is free to enter into, it's a shop selling hand-made art glass marbles aswell as a heap of other items also. Some of the mechanical toys they on display here are pretty fun to play with, they're are pretty hard to explain, so watch this link to get an idea of what i'm talking about https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t6fotDL8-I
Our look around Marble World complete and it's now lunch time, it's still cold and raining outside, so we choose to head to the bakery just up the road and grab a nice hot pie for lunch to warm us all up. The bakery is pretty big, it has a dine in area you can sit down at to eat your meal, so we do just that to stay out of the rain. With lunch eaten we head back to the vehicles so we can leave town. On the way out of town we take a detour to the Apex Park in Spring Street so we can empty our chemical toilets at the dump point, the rain stops just in time for us to do this fun job, and before long we are back in our vehicles once again and headed for the town of Railton. Railton is only about 12 klms down the road from Sheffield, it's a much smaller town then Sheffield is, but has it's own tourist attraction here to bring people into the town. Railton calls itself the Town of Topiary, and when you visit here you'll soon realise why. Throughout the centre of town and in peoples front yards also, are a heap of different shrubs that have been transformed into all sorts of shapes and animals. Don't just stay on the main road in town here, duck down the side streets and you'll find so many different topiary set ups, it's mind boggling. The rain doesn't make it an inviting day to walk about the town, so we do a tour of the place looking out our vehicles windows in amazement, before then pushing on once again towards Launceston direction.

NORMAN SYKES TIMBER STATUE ON EDGE OF TOWN AT RAILTON......this staue was erected in dedication of Norman Sykes who donated 15ha of bushland to the young people of Railton. The land was left to be used as a sanctuary for birds and wildlife, and so that future generations could enjoy it for recreational purposes



THE TOWN OF TOPIARY





SHRUBS LIKE THIS ONE LINE THE MAIN STREET OF TOWN



JUST A FEW OF THE THINGS YOU'LL SEE IN PEOPLES FRONT YARDS







Our tour of Railton done we leave town via Railton Rd, and we then eventually turn off of that onto Gannons Hill Rd and take the scenic route that hooks us up with the Bass Hwy. Turning right onto the Bass Highway we continue our Eastward drive and soon find ourselves turning right off of the highway to pay Ashgrove Farm Cheese a visit. The cheese farm is open every day except Xmas day from 7.30am to 5pm, it's about 40 minutes drive out of Launceston, and you can buy a range of cheeses here, aswell as try thier ice-cream, fresh bottled milk, cream and butter. A few types of cheese purchased here and we are on our way once again.
Next stop for us today is at the Cristmas Hill Rasberry Farm, we stop in here as Jeffs oldest boy absolutely loves eating berries of all descriptions, we are a touch disappointed with what we find here though, it's basically a cafe selling a few tubs of berries at not that cheap of a price. We don't bother to buy anything from here and walk outside, across the road we see a place called Van Diemens Land Creamery, it may be a cold and wet miserable day today, but it's never to cold to have ice cream i reckon...lol. We head on across the road and try out some of the gelato ice cream they sell here. Taste testing done, we grab an ice cream cone each and Jeff even buys a tub of ice cream to take with him aswell.

VAN DIEMENS LAND ICE CREAMERY... Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by most Europeans for the island of Tasmania. In 1803 the island was colonised by the British, and then on the 1st of January 1856 it's name was changed to Tasmania.




We walk outside to our vehicles and give the caravan park in Longford a call, they have some vacancies at their park for powered sites, so we book ourselves in here and then head off to drive the 45 klms that it is from here to Longford. The drive to Longford is uneventful, it's a highway run for the most part, and before long we are pulling up outside the parks entrance. We book ourselves in and then back our trailers onto the sites we have been allocated for the next few days. I unhook my vehicle from my camper trailer and then get about setting up the camper, the canvas is quite wet from this mornings rain, but all our bedding appears to be dry. The weather has started to clear now so i fire up the diesel heater and zip the windows and doors up to keep the heat in, i let it run for the next few hours, this will dry the canvas out nicely so we don't have wet walls to touch when we go to bed tonight.
Looking at my fourby i'm not happy with how close i've left it to the front of our trailer, i jump into it and try to start the vehicle, but all it does is wind over but not actually start. It appears as though it's got plenty of battery power getting to the motor, but for some reason it just doesn't want to kick over. Jeff and myself check under the bonnet to see what we can see, nothing appears to be obviously wrong with the vehicle as we look around the engine, we try to start the vehicle several more times, then all of sudden it decides to fire up when we try the key one more time. We have no idea what was wrong with the engine to make it act as it did, i move the vehicle forward a touch then shut it off once again. For now the vehicle seems to be ok, but all this will change as the holiday goes on, something i didn't realise at the time. We settle in for a relaxing evening and even get to view a nice sunset.
We chose to stay at Longford due it's close proximity to Launceston, all the reviews we'd read about staying in the caravan parks at Launceston mentioned the noise of the nearby highway, so we thought we'd give the place a try seeing it's a pretty small town and the park is located right on the banks of the Macquarie River. The caravan park is by no means cheap for a small town, one thing we didn't expect after paying a premium to stay here, was that you need to put extra money into the showers to get hot water...WTF!!!!!
I'll give the park credit where it's due, it's a nice enough caravan park that is well maintained and very clean, it's situated literally right beside the river and many of the sites here have water views.....but to charge us extra to have a hot shower after charging a premium to stay here is down right rude IMHO, i doubt i'd ever stay here again just for that very reason.
Rant over...we spend the rest of the evening relaxing at camp, have dinner and few drinks then head off to bed for the night
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2015, 09:38:24 PM »
DAY 31 - LAUNCESTON

Keeping with our relaxed pace we've been setting on this holiday, it's another slow start to the morning for us today. This holiday has been a nice change  from doing what we usually do on a touring holiday... normally we are up earlyish and trying to get on the road to go somewhere as early as we can, but this holiday has seen us sleeping in most mornings, and there's no rush to go anywhere...it's quite relaxing, how a holiday is supposed to be i guess.
Weather wise it's a nice day today, the rain from yesterday is long gone and the sun is shining. Today we plan to drive in to Launceston to visit a few places, from where we are staying in Longford it's only about a 25 klm drive away, so not very far at all really. We have some brekky and then head off to Launnie for the day, Jeff needs to drop a tyre off at the local tyre store in Longford as we leave town first up though. One of his tyres developed a slow leak a few weeks back he noticed, we changed it over for the spare whilst camped back at Mt Field, and now it's time to get the leak looked at and repaired. I leave Jeff to drop the tyre off and head onto Launceston where i'm going to grab a new fuel filter for my vehicle, i'm pretty sure this had nothing to do with why my vehicle wouldn't start yesterday arvo, but i'm thinking i'll grab one whilst we are in a large town just to be safe. Jeff seems to think it's a sticking solenoid problem in the fuel pump or something along those lines, the vehicle started fine this morning first go, so we'll see how it goes today i guess.
I drive to Repco in Launceston and grab the new fuel filter. Jeff also needs to go to Anaconda to grab a new latch for his Waeco fridge, i rang them from camp for him this morning and they have the part he is requiring. Knowing Jeff needs to go to Anaconda we make that our meet up point, so the plan is to head there now from Repco. I say that's the plan because in order to go there i first need my vehicle to start, and low and behold what do you know....jumping back into the vehicle and turning the key it just winds over and won't start. I pop the bonnet and give the fuel pump a few taps with a big screw driver thinking it's a sticking solenoid, i try the key again and no luck it won't start. I tap it a few more times and try the key, and what do you know the vehicle roars to life. Vehicle now running once again we head over towards Anaconda to meet back up with Jeff and family.
Anaconda is actually right down the road from the first tourist destination we want to visit today, which is the Boags Brewery. With Jeff parked in the car park of Anaconda, i look to park my vehicle nearby out on the street somewhere. We find that all around the area is metered parking and it costs $3.60 an hour to park out on the street, where Jeff is parked in the shopping centre 30 metres away from us is also a pay to park location, but it's only $2 for 2 hours in there, so we park in the shopping centre carpark and pay the $2 instead. I give Jeff the bad news about the vehicle not wanting to start again at Repco, we decide to just forget about it for now and walk to the Boags Brewery down the road, after our visit there i'll give a mechanic or diesel shop a ring and see what they have to say.
The Boags Brewery is literally only several hundred metres walk down the road from where we are now parked. The brewery was established back in 1883 by James Boags and his son, who was also named James. It was run by Boags family members right up until 1976, but these days is owned by the San Miguel Corporation. Whilst i myself am not a beer drinker, my wife loves drinking Boags and so does Jeffs wife Sara also, so that is why we are making the visit to this brewery today. You don't need to be doing a tour of the brewery to come visit here, children under the age of 5 aren't allowed on tours anyhow, so we ourselves have no plan to do a tour of the brewery as such. Located at the brewery is a free to visit onsite museum, we have a look around inside here for a while learning the history of the brewery etc, and then also spend some time checking out the architecture of a few of the old buildings, and an also checking out an old truck we find in the car park also. When we venture out the back of the museum building, the wives think they have died and gone to heaven...i'll let the pic below do the explaining...lol

THE BOAGS BREWERY...like 2 kids in a candy shop, they were...lol



A BIT OF SIGNAGE ON ONE OF THEIR BUILDINGS



ONE OF THE DISPLAYS INSIDE THE FREE TO VISIT MUSEUM



I THINK THEY THOUGHT THEY'D DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN WHEN WE FOUND THIS...LOL



A BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED OLD BOAGS DELIVERY TRUCK ...i assume that's what it used to be once upon a time





With our look around the brewery done we head back towards our vehicles. Arriving back at the carpark i call a local diesel mechanic on my mobile phone and speak to him about the problem i am currently having with my vehicle. The mechanic automatically starts talking about the pump possibly needing rebuilding,  a job i know will likely cost several thousand dollars on a vehicle such as i have. Not happy with that being his line of thinking straight off the bat, we decide to give visiting him a miss and we'll head around the corner to the pub for lunch, and have a bit more of a think about the problem there. We walk over to a local pub a short distance away and order a meal and a drink, whilst waiting for my meal to come i start surfing the net on my phone and jump on LCOOL forum (a dedicated Landcruiser forum), and try and find similar threads relating to the issue i am having with my vehicle. I vaguely recall reading ages ago on that forum, about issues with immobilisers and vehicles not wanting to start when the engine is hot / warmed up to running tempeature, so i search through some old threads and find exactly the information i am chasing. Reading these old threads on that forum it appears as though the immobiliser is the problem, when vehicles get around the age my vehicle now is, the immobiliser starts playing up and won't let the vehicle start when the engine has gotten hot. I take screen shots of several pages of that forum on my phone to use as a reference later on down the track, should i need to try and bypass the immobiliser. It appears as though the problem is going to get worse and eventually the vehicle just won't start at all, even when it gets cold, but atleast now we are pretty confident we know that's the problem. Between Jeff and myself, we think we can work out how to bypass it should the vehicle get to a point where it doesn't start at all, for now though we aren't going to touch the immobilser at al, because in order to bypass it we need to smah it apart, something we don't really want to do on this trip if we can avoid doing so.
I eat my lunch whilst doing some more reading up on the issue, and with lunch finished we then head back to our vehicles once again. From here we are heading a short drive away to Cataract Gorge, it's only about a kilometer and a half out of the city centre, and a pretty popular tourist destination for anyone who visits Launceston. We park the vehicles up in the car park area here, once again you need to pay to park, so we pay the fee and then head on into the park. Located here in the gorge is  quite a few different things you can choose to do, there's a large swimming pool you can swim in, some cafes, some walks to do and what supposably is the longest single span chairlift in the world you can pay to ride on also. We have a quick look around the cafe area and information centre, before then heading back over to the chairlift and going for a ride on it. You can choose to do a return ride if you want to, but we are only going one way, then we'll walk back to our vehicles via the suspension bridge located here also once we've explored the area a touch. The chairlift costs $36 to do the one way trip for our family ($50 for a return trip), it's not a cheap ride to do by any means, but it's not like there's that many chairlifts left you get the chance to ride on these days, so what the heck we think. As you ride the chairlift you cross over the parkland below and then over the South Esk River (the longest river in Tasmania), if you look to your left you'll get a nice view looking up the gorge.
We reach the other side of the chairlift and disembark, we then spend some time looking around the gardens here, before then making our way back towards the suspension bridge.

CATARACT GORGE CAHIRLIFT






LOOKING LEFT ON THE CHAIRLIFT UP THE GORGE



WE EXPLORED THE VICTORIAN STYLE GARDENS FOR A WHILE







AND I WONDERED HOW MANY GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES WOULD HAVE SAT ON THIS STAGE COACH OVER THE YEARS?



ONE OF THE MANY PEACOCKS WONDERING ABOUT THE GROUNDS HERE



We walk back to the suspension bridge and stop at a small lookout area along the way, crossing the bridge it would be nice to do the walk up the gorge that takes you to the old Duck Reach power station, but the afternoon is getting away from us now and the kids have just about had enough walking around for the day, so we head back to our vehicles.
Back at our vehicles we then drive back to Longford, we make a quick stop off at the IGA store to grab some supplies for tonights dinner, it's a decent sized store and is pretty well stocked. From the IGA we head past our turn off to camp and head over to look at a church i spotted yesterday as we arrived in town. I take a few pics of the church and we  then drive around the corner to the local hardware store, where i grab a small tube of silicone to repair a hole i saw in the camper trailers sealant the other day as i packed it up. From here we head straight back to camp, i grab a drink from the fridge and use the silicone to repair the hole i'd spotted in the sealant. A few more drinks had and dinner also, we then head off to bed not to late, as it's a touch cold outside tonight.

THE CHURCH WE STOPPED OFF TO LOOK AT AROUND THE CORNER FROM CAMP IN LONGFORD

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2015, 09:38:12 PM »
DAY 32 - VISIT LOTS OF PLACES AROUND THE GENERAL LAUNCESTON AREA

We have a bit of a sleep in this morning, then eventually get out of bed and have some bacon and eggs for brekky. Leaving camp around 10.30 a.m we are first headed for a place called Jacobs Ladder which is located in the Ben Lomond National Park, roughly about 60 kilometres from Launceston. Jacobs Ladder is the name given to the single laned zig zag road that climbs up Ben Lomond Mountain, and this road takes you to the Ben Lomond ski village.
Leaving Longford, we first head through the town of Perth without stopping here, then onto the historical town of Evandale. Evandale is classified as a historic town due to many of its buildings remaining largely in original condition. It's a pretty little town worth stopping off at for a look around, but we only stop briefly to get a few pics of some buildings as we pass through, and then continue straight on for Ben Lomond National Park. You can head to Ben Lomond via the bitumin if you like, but we'd noticed there's a more direct dirt road route to take, so that's the way we go.

EVANDALE WATER TOWER



ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN EVANDALE



Rejoining back onto the main bitumin road after our short scenic dirt road route is completed, we finally get to see our first wombat in the wild...it's just a shame it happens to be a dead bloated one in the middle of the road. We swerve around the dead wombat and continue on driving, and pretty soon we get a glimpse of Ben Lomond mountain in the distance. The rolling countryside and mountain backdrop view is quite scenic as we drive along, but going by the low cloud cover we are seeing on the mountain in the distance, we are concerned that we aren't going to be able to view Jacobs Ladder from the lookout that's located at the top of it. There's not much we can do about the weather, so we just keep on driving and hope the clouds will lift at some stage whilst we are there.

BEN LOMOND MOUNTAIN IN THE DISTANCE, SHROUDED IN LOW CLOUD COVER



We soon arrive at our turn off, and then turn right off the main road onto Ben Lomond Rd. Immediately we are greeted with a warning sign regarding the conditions one can expect to encounter here in the Winter period, and from memory the bitumin ends here also, so it's a gravel road from here all the way to the top of the mountain.... (if i'm incorrect on the gravel starting here, it's only a very short distance before it starts anyhow). We stop here beside the sign briefly whilst Jeff mounts his GoPro camera in position on his vehicle  to capture the drive up Jacobs Ladder, we then head off and start winding our way up the mountain. This mountain is the second highest mountain in Tasmania at 1,573 metres, only Mt Ossa in the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park is higher then it. Making our way upward, traffic is non existent and we soon pass by the sign welcoming us to the National Park.

WARNING SIGN AT START OF BEN LOMOND ROAD



WELCOME SIGN AT BEN LOMOND NAT. PARK



About a kilometer past the welcome sign we take a track leading off to the left of the main road, this takes us into a campground for a quick look around. We jump out of the vehicles here and straight away you can feel the temperature differance from where we were back at camp earlier this morning, most of us are quickly reaching for jumpers or jackets we have in our vehicles. Even though it's the middle of Summer currently, it's a touch cold if you were to be camping here, but if you did so you'd have the place to yourself at the moment. I'm not going to say it's the most beautiful campground i've ever seen, it'd make an ok overnight spot if you were looking for somewhere to stay about the area, and it doesn't really look to get a lot of people staying here, so chances are you'd have the place to yourself most times. Theres 6 unpowered sites located here aswell as a flushing toilet, there's also a small lookout near the toilet building also, but the low cloud cover makes the view pretty average for us today.
We jump back in the vehicles and continue our run up the mountain, we soon take a turn off to our right from the main road and find ourselves looking at Carr Villa Lodge, which going by the signage we see on the front of the buildings, is owned / run by the Scouting movement. The building is boarded up shut , there's nothing to see here so we turn around and continue our drive up the mountain. The drive up the mountain so far has had the surrounding forest enclosed on either side of the road, but once past Carr Villa the trees start to disappear and shear rock walls can be found on our righthand side, and steep drop offs are to our left.

THE ENCLOSED ROAD DISAPPEARS ONCE YOU GET PAST CARR VILLA



The low cloud we'd seen earlier encompassing the mountain has started to clear some as we near Jacobs Ladder, we stop for a few pics of the jagged rock faces rising high into the sky to our right as we go along, and then before we know it we soon reach the start of Jacobs Ladder itself. We stop here for another quick pic then start the zig zag climb to the top, vehicles going up must give way to the vehicles coming down, there's room on the hair pin corners for vehicles to pass each other, but inbetween the turns it's single lane only. Lucky for us there's nobody else about the place today at the moment, so we get to do the drive at our pace and enjoy the spectacular view as we go along. Well when i say "we" enjoy the view, i probably should have said everyone except my wife enjoyed the view...you see the entire way up Jacobs Ladder she was absolutely freaking out big time, she was worried i was going to drive off the edge of the road and we'd plummet to our death, and my occasionally jerking the steering wheel towards the edge as a joke probably didn't help her situation much at all either i'll add here...lol. I've read of Jacobs Ladder being called one of Australia's "most dangerous roads", but to be honset here... if you drive the road at a sensible speed then at this time of year you have absolutely nothing to worry about, it's a very easy scenic drive. Obviously in Winter the road would be a completely different road to drive if ice or snow was about the area, but on a day like today, you'd need to be doing something pretty stupid to crash your vehicle on it.
Even with my wife freaking out big time in the passenger seat due to the big drop offs beside her on her side of the vehicle, we safely make it to the top of Jacobs Ladder, we park the vehicles up and hop out for a look at the view from the lookout that is situated here. I choose to leave my vehicle running the entire time we are here, i can't risk it not starting when we want to leave, so i leave it running and go check out the awesome view from the lookout platform. Luck is very much on our side as far as the cloud cover clearing goes, the sky clears enough to take some pics of the windy road below, and then after about 15 minutes the cloud cover comes right back in again and visibilty drops big time.

A WARNING SIGN AT JACOBS LADDER



LOOKING DOWN FROM THE LOOKOUT AT JACOBS LADDER



With our look over Jacobs Ladder complete we jump back in the vehicles and keep on heading up the mountain, we actually have no idea at all what's up the top here, so we decide to keep heading upwards and see what we can find. Now you may recall i just mentioned the cloud cover coming in and visibility dropping big time at the lookout, well as we climb higher the visibilty gets to be only about 10 metres infront of the vehicle, i actually resort to using the orange coloured snow plough guide posts to keep me on the road. Jeff reaches the top first and i radio him on the uhf to see where he is, he tells me he can hear me coming up the mountain, but he can't see me at all...lol. I soon catch up with Jeff and find he's stopped  outside of a cafe building of some description, i read the sign out front of it, and it proclaims this is actually Tasmania's highest pub that we have found ourselves at. Seeing as we've had a drink at the Southern most pub and oldest continually licenced pub already on this trip, we thought we may aswell add the highest pub in Tasmania to our list of places we've had a drink at...so we park the vehicles up and jump out to go inside.

SOME PRETTY YELLOW FLOWERS BY THE ROADSIDE ON THE CLIMB UP THE MOUNTAIN PAST JACOBS LADDER



VISIBILTY GOT PRETTY ORDINARY THE HIGHER WE CLIMBED



AND THEN WE SURPRISINGLY FOUND OURSELVES AT TASMANIA'S HIGHEST PUB



THE PUB IS ACTUALLY AROUND THE BACK OF THIS BUILDING



We walk inside the pub and I go to order a drink for us each, i grab my usual drink of Bundy and Cola but it's right then the wife tells me she wants a dick inside her...WTF i think to myself, geez love the kids are here.....whoops, apparently i misunderstood what she was saying... what she meant was she wanted a Dickens Cider, my mistake...lol. (Can't wait till she reads this, i'm going to cop it big time...lol) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqRRW9lKmEQ

DICKENS CIDER...yes it's a real drink...lol



We grab our drinks and sit down for a while and enjoy the warmth that the fire place is putting out. I then walk outside for a bit of a look around, and as i do this the cloud cover starts to lift a touch. Suddenly out of nowhere buildings start to appear one at a time, the more the cloud cover clears the more buildings we start to see, and suddenly we realise we are in the middle of a village. We had absolutely no idea these other buildings were all around us, we literally could only see the building we are in when we arrived here, it was quite surprising to see these other buildings suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Just as soon as the cloud cover starts to clear it rolls back in again though, so we head back inside to finish our drinks and warm up once again. Drinks finished and it's time to head off back down the mountain, it's fingers crossed my vehicle will start, i turn the key and it thankfully fires into life. The visibilty is still quite ordinary as we leave, i use the orange guide posts once again as my reference point to stay on the road, but once we reach Jacobs Ladder visibilty then becomes pretty good again. We encounter a vehicle making it's way up Jacobs Ladder about halfway down it, we pass each other on one of the hair pin corners, and then we continue on our way back down the mountain and out of the National Park.

OUR VISIBILTY HEADING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN TO JACOBS LADDER



Reaching the end of Ben Lomond Rd we turn left and head to Launceston, it's an uneventful run back into town, and when we reach it we drive straight through town and then head out of it on the West Tamar Highway. We drive West Tamar Hwy for a short while then turn off it into a winery, i don't recall the name of the place, but the wives ventured inside for a taste testing, and soon returned stating the places charges a fee to do so, and hence got no business from us. Back on the main road again and we continue our run towards Beaconsfield direction, we soon take an exit to our right which takes us onto Rosevears Drive. Rosevears drive is a pretty route to take as it runs right along the edge of the Tamar River, there's a few more wineries located around this area also, so we pull into one of them and the wives get to do a taste test for free. Testing done (by the wives only as Jeff and myself are driving) and a couple of bottles purchased for later consumption, we hit the road once again. We ever so briefly rejoin West Tamar Hwy once again before taking the next exit onto Gravelly Beach Rd, we are looking for somewhere to pull up at to have a latish lunch, we soon find a nice big park with a playground for the kids to run wild on, so we stop here and have a bite to eat.

VINEYARD OF A WINERY WE STOP AT ALONG THE WAY



Lunch eaten and we are on the road once more, we continue to follow Gravelly Beach Rd and it then becomes Deviot Rd, this road also continues to run along the edge of the Tamar River and is a much nicer scenic route to take over going the West Tamar Hwy. We turn right off of Deviot Rd onto Auld Kirk Rd, and this takes us under the Batman Bridge. Apparently the Batman Bridge is the only bridge that does a full crossing of the Tamar River, that's quite a surprising fact to learn i thought, considering the river runs about 70 klms in length. The Tamar River which the bridge crosses over technically isn't a river, it's all salt water and tidal in it's entire length.

THE BATMAN BRIDGE CROSSING OVER THE TAMAR RIVER



We continue to follow Auld Kirk Rd to it's end and turn right for Kayena, once we reach here we turn left onto Auburn Rd and follow this through to  the town of Beaconsfield. Many of you non Australians reading this may be wondering why you have heard the the name Beaconsfield before, well that's because the town made headline news back on the 25th of April in 2006, when a small earthquake caused a roof collapse in the towns goldmine, it sadly killed one miner by the name of Larry Knight, and also trapped 2 other miners by the names Todd Russell and Brant Webb about a kilometer underground for nearly 2 weeks. Todd and Grant weren't found until the 30th of April, 5 days after the quake had struck. It wasn't until the 9th of May that both Todd and Grant were finally rescued from where they were trapped, an amazing survival story for the both of them. The mine is now closed these days and forms a part of the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre, which you can visit between the hours of 9.30 a.m and 4.30 p.m. Sadly for us though due to our late start to the day, we have arrived here just as it's closing, so don't get a chance to go inside for a look around. We do however spend some time here looking around the outside of the place, there's some lovely old buildings to see here, and looking through the fence we can see the yellow elevator that Todd and Brent emerged out of after their miraculous rescue, and located to the left of that we can see the tag board that today still holds the lone tag of Larry Knight, who never got to clock off and sadly died at work that day.

ONE OF THE BUILDINGS AT THE BEACONSFIELD MINE AND HERITAGE CENTRE



ANYONE WHO WATCHED THE RESCUE UNFOLD ON TELEVISION KNOWS THIS YELLOW ELEVATOR...look very closely at the orange section of the tag board and Larry Knights lone tag is still hanging there, a sad reminder of his death at his place of employment.



We are disappointed we don't get the chance to go inside the museum here, it looks like it'd be well worth visiting, there's a pile buildings to look through and the whole place is huge.
With our afternoon fast getting away from us now, we still have one more place we want to visit today, so it's back into our vehicles once again and we drive out of Beaconsfield on the West Tamar Hwy, headed for the Batman Bridge. We take the exit for the Batman Bridge and then cross over the Tamar river on it, following the Batman Hwy to it's end, where we then turn left onto the East Tamar Hwy. From here we do a highway run to the town of Georgetown, and then head straight through there to the lighthouse at Low Head. The Low Head lighthouse is situated on a peninsular at the mouth of the Tamar River, the original lighthouse was built here in 1833 using convict labour. This lighthouse was demolished in 1888 due to the state of disrepair it had fallen into, and the double brick lighthouse you see here today was what they built to replace it with. If you can time your visit here just right, at noon every Sunday they sound the fog horn for tourists to hear.... the diaphone apparently is one of only two functioning Type G diaphones in the world. We have a look about the place and take a few pics before heading back to our vehicles. As we near the car park area i spot a small sign by the side of the walking track and start reading it. Pretty much every Australian has heard of the Sydney to Hobart yatch race that starts on Boxing Day every year, but i doubt many of them would know of the Rudder Cup yatch race. The Rudder Cup was Australia's first ocean yatch race, and went from Port Philip Heads in Victoria to here at Low Head in Tasmania. The 198 nautical mile race was completed in a time of 35 hours and 35 minutes on the 27th of December 1907, a much slower crossing then what we did in the ferry 30 odd days ago. Todays better know Sydney to Hobart yatch race covers a distance of 630 nautical miles, and the record time for that is 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds... though todays super maxi yatchs are obviously very different beasts to what they would have been using back in 1907.

INFO BOARD AT LOW HEAD LIGHTHOUSE



THE LOW HEAD LIGHTHOUSE



With our look around here complete we jump back in the vehicles and head straight back to Launceston, without stopping here we head onto camp at Longford. Back at camp we grab the number of the local pizza joint in town and give them a call to order some dinner, a short while later Jeff and myself drive down there to collect our meal, then head back to camp where we all enjoy our pretty tasty pizza's..... I'd definately buy a pizza from this place if i was in town again.
Dinner eaten and a few drinks consumed after a long days driving, it's time for bed once again.
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #38 on: July 20, 2015, 10:14:48 PM »
DAY 33 - LONGFORD TO WATERHOUSE POINT

We get up around 7.30 a.m and start packing up the camper, time to move camp today once again. It's a nice day and we have a quick brekky before the misses goes and puts a load of laundry on that needs doing before we go. I fill the water tank on the camper trailer and then we leave our youngest daughter with Jeff and Sara to play with the boys, whilst we duck down the road to restock food and drink supplies. The clothes are taking forever to dry in the drier, so we leave them in there to keep going whilst we head off. Our first stop in town is at Swift Meats, it's a bulk meat place on the edge of town near the rail line crossing, great meat and good prices, i have no problem recommending you visit there to stock up if you're in the area. I then drop the wife and eldest daughter off at the IGA to grab the groceries whilst i go refuel the Cruiser and visit the bottle shop. Supplies all gotten and it's back to camp to hook the camper trailer up so we can leave. After several goes through the dryer our laundry is now dry, Sara collected it for us whilst we were out, she surprisingly has even folded the clothes aswell...you've gotta be happy with that....lol.
We hook the camper up and leave town around 11.00 a.m, we need to head to Launceston direction first up, and as we drive through Perth there's police cars patrolling about the area everywhere. It's a bit strange to see so many police about for a change, as we haven't seen a lot of them in Tassie so far. Other then the police sightings it's an uneventful run into Launceston, we crooze straight through town then head out of it towards the Tasman Highway. As we get onto the Tasman Highway Jeff radios me up saying he needs to find a spot to pull up at so he can check something on his vehicle, it's making some pretty ordinary noises from the rear drivers wheel area. Jeff had mentioned he heard something yesterday arvo also as we neared camp on the run home, we meant to have a look at where the noise was coming from, but clean forgot all about it. Reaching Waverley on the outskirts of Launceston we see a park on the righthand side of the road, we turn into the side street here and then park the vehicles up on the grass on the footpath to have a look at what the noise is he's hearing. The sound is a bit like having a rock stuck in behind a backing plate Jeff mentions, so we take the wheel off to see if we can see anything obvious, we don't see and rocks anywhere and with our lack of mechanical knowledge we don't really know what to do next. Not knowing anything about pulling brakes apart etc, it's time to ring the RACT (roadside assist) to come out and see what they can find. The guy arrives about 40 minutes after we make the call, and seeing we already have the wheel off for him he's pretty quick to diagnose the problem. Much to our surprise seeing the vehicle was supposably fully serviced by a mechanic before we came away on holidays, the brake pads are the problem. Jeff explains that he specifically told the mechanic who serviced his vehicle to change the pads when it was serviced weeks before we left on the trip, but the pads are worn right down to the metal and there's nothing left on them at all. Jeff  and myself haven't done a brake pad change before, but the RACT guy is pretty helpful in giving us a quick explanation of what we need to do to change the pads. It sounds like it's a simple enough job, so all we need to do now is track down a set of brake pads on a Sunday at midday. We thank the RACT guy for his time and help and he heads onto his next job. Seeing as i had visited it the other day to grab a fuel filter for my Cruiser, i know there's a Repco store not to far away. We give them a call and luck is on our side, they have exactly what we need in stock. We leave the wives and kids to play in the park,  Jeff jumps in my Cruiser with me and we head down to Repco which is only about a 10 - 15 minute drive away. New pads gotten for the front of rear of the vehicle we then make our way back to the park and set about learning how to change brake pads. As the RACT guy mentioned the job is pretty straight forward, his explanation of what we needed to do was spot on, and the rear drivers side is done fairly quickly. We move onto the rear passenger side and knock that over quicker then the first side took. Jeff then mentions maybe doing the fronts when we get to camp later this arvo as the day is getting away from us, but we decide that seeing as though the backs were down to the metal, leaving it any longer probably isn't a good idea, so we change the front pads whilst we are here also. It turns out to be a pretty good call in the end, as we are headed towards the town of Scottsdale from here and the road will become pretty hilly and windy along the way, Jeff even makes comment over the uhf radio how much better his vehicle is to drive on those windy roads, it's funny how having decent brakes can that hey...lol.

NOT A GOOD START TO THE DAY...RACT TO THE RESCUE



NEW BRAKE PAD ON THE RIGHT, WHAT THE OLD ONE LOOKED LIKE ON THE LEFT



Vehicle repaired we head off from the park around 2.30 p.m, back onto the Tasman Hwy heading towards Scottsdale. It's a nice drive the further we start to head East from Launceston, but as i already mentioned, the road does become very windy along the way. We make a quick stop off at a small service station along the way in the middle of nowhere to use it facilities, it's such a nice day we may aswell have some ice creams i think to myself, so i grab us one each and we hit the road once again. About 45 klms out of Launceston we see a sign pointing off to our right for The Sideling Lookout, so we take a quick exit into a carpark area to go check it out. It's a nice opportunity to stretch the legs even though we haven't been driving all that long, and the view here is pretty nice and worth the stop at.

AS THE SIGN SAYS...WE STOP AT THE SIDELING LOOKOUT 



THE VIEW FROM THE LOOKOUT



With our check out of the view complete, it's back into the vehicles and on our way once again. At the caravan park in Longford yesterday arvo, Jeff and myself had gotten to talking with a guy who's vehicle we had eyed off when he arrived to set up camp there with his family (he was driving a well set up dual cab 79 series Landcruiser). We got to talking about where we'd all been and where we were headed next, and this fella mentioned to us to keep an eye out for a timber tree carving about 5 klms before we reach the town of Scottsdale. Reaching the very location this fella had mentioned to us, we find ourselves surrounded by farm properties and it's very much not the type of place you'd expect to see a timber carving of any description. But sure enough just as old mate had told us about, we spot this random tree carving sitting in the corner of a paddock. We pull the vehicles over to the side of the road here and get out to have a look at the carving, it's been done by a guy called Eddie Freeman back in 2006 according to the inscription he's signed on it, but other then that i don't recall any information here explaining who it's about or why it's here. We take a few pics of the carving and then hop back in our vehicles and head into Scottsdale.

RANDOM TREE CARVING ON THE SIDE OF THE TASMAN HIGHWAY ABOUT 5KLMS BEFORE SCOTTSDALE





Arriving in Scottsdale we pass by a strange looking building on our left hand side, i have no idea what it was as we don't stop to look at it, but the wife snaps a quick pic as we crooze past anyhow. We reach a T intersection at the end of the Tasman Hwy in the centre of town, and we then turn left onto Bridport Rd. After stopping to look at that random tree carving earlier, my wife had made mention of some other tree carvings one of her aunties had briefly told her about before coming on this holiday, that where in the area, so i was keeping my eyes peeled to see if i could spot them somewhere. With Jeff leading the way he starts heading out of town past the RSL, suddenly i spot another timber carving in a park to our left, so i radio up Jeff that i'm stopping to have a look at it, and he turns his vehicle around to come back to look at it also. What we don't realise just yet though... is this simple split second decision to stop and look at this single tree carving, is just about to lead to us visiting one of what i think was in the top 5 highlights of our Tasmanian trip. Parking the vehicles up on the side of the road we jump out to go look at the carving, the carving is located in the War Memorial Park and is of John Simpson Kirkpatrick and his donkey. For those of you who don't know of Simpson (as he's know here in Australia) and his Donkey, he's a part of our ANZAC legend due to his war service in the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I. Simpson worked as a stretcher bearer during the war, and he used donkey's to help carry wounded soldiers back down to the beach for evacuation. Simpson did this job for 3 1/2 weeks before then being killed in action himself, there were several attempts to get him awarded a Victorian Cross (our highest military decoration awarded for valour), but this was never done and his actions were apparently seen as typical of what was expected to be done by a stretcher bearer at the time.

A WEIRD LOOKING BUILDING WE SEE AS WE ENTER SCOTTSDALE



TIMBER CARVING OF SIMPSON AND HIS DONKEY CARRYING A WOUNDED SOLDIER, AT SCOTTSDALE WAR MEMORIAL PARK



It's whilst looking at this carving of Simpson and his donkey that we ever so briefly read of some other memorial timber carvings that exist in a town called Legerwood, we have no idea where this town is, so once we've finished our look about here, we head back to our vehicles and punch the towns name into our GPS to see just where it is. It turns out that Legerwood is 23klms in the opposite direction of where we are now headed to camp the night, i look at Jeff and he says to me..."what do you reckon?". I say to him what the hell, we won't likely ever be back here for a long time, lets go have a look and see what's there. So now we are back in our vehicles and doing a u turn, heading in the opposite direction of where we plan to stay the night at about 4.00 p.m, to go look at something we have no idea at all what it looks like....that's a smart decision isn't it?, especially when our next planned camp is about 45 minutes drive the other side of Scottsdale...lol.
We leave Scottsdale and head East out of town on the Tasman Hwy towards the town of Tonganah direction, not quite 20 klms down the highway we take a right turn exit off the highway onto a dirt road called Snake Track. We aren't exactly sure where the GPS is taking us at the moment, the road doesn't seem right but we'll keep following it anyhow we decide. Snake Track then puts us onto Ringarooma Rd, and this then brings us straight into the main street of the tiny town of Legerwood. Driving down the main street of town i quickly see the memorial tree park up ahead on my right hand side. Straight away i can see the tree carvings in the park, and i immediately know that coming here was well worth doing the detour for, in fact after visiting here i'd happily drive hundreds of kilometers out of my way to come and see something like this.

MY FIRST VIEW OF LEGERWOOD MEMORIAL PARK



I know i mentioned this already but i'll say it again now, visiting here was easily one of the top 5 highlights of our 6 weeks in Tasmania holiday. If you don't come here whilst in Tassie, you seriously are missing one of the states most amazing things to see. It's a big statement i know, but the story behind this park is amazing IMHO, and it's a credit to the towns folk and everyone who was involved, in the way they have honoured the soldiers from the local area who died fighting for our country.
 
THE STORY OF HOW THIS PLACE CAME TO BE.....
In 1918, 9 trees were planted in Legerwoods main street to honour 7 local soldiers who were killed in World War 1. One tree was planted for each soldier who died, and the other 2 trees were planted to honour Gallipoli and the ANZACS. As the names of each fallen soldier were read out on that day, a relative of the soldier came forward to hold the tree before it was planted. Fast forward to the year 2001, and the now over 80 year old trees were declared as being no longer safe / dangerous to the public, and needed to be chopped down. The towns folk and relatives of the honoured soliders were obviously devestated that they'd be losing their Memorial Avenue, so came up with a plan of saving the trees.  It was decided that the trees would be chopped down, but at the same time they'd get a chainsaw sculpturer to carve the stumps into a likeness of each of the soldiers that the trees were originally planted to honour.
To give you an idea of what i mean when i say the story of the carvings here is amazing, if you look at the pics i've posted below, you'll see one tree was dedicated to a local private by the name of John Henry Gregg McDougall. John McDougall worked as a railway porter at the Ringarooma Road Railway station (now called Legerwood and where the memorial park is located) before he enlisted to go fight in the war. The tree that was originally planted to honour him now has his likeness carved with him wearing his railways uniform, and a railroad crossing cross on the tree also. All 7 trees are similarly carved of each fallen soldier, each tree telling a story of the person for whom it honours.
The way each tree has been carved to tell a story is an amazing thing IMHO, the detail in each carving has to be seen to be believed. I've posted some pics i took below of the trees, but my pics don't really do this place any justice at all. All up there's 25 different carvings that have been done here (some trees have multiple carvings on them that tell the story of the soldier it honours), the park is free to visit, but there is a "well" located here that you can  put a donation into (like i did) that helps with the up keep of the park.
The old railway station that was once here has also been converted into a picnic area, it now houses a couple of free to use bbq's and tables you can eat at also. The entire park here is a credit to the tiny town it's located in, i was truely moved by the stories of each soldier as i read the plaques located at each tree...DON'T MISS COMING HERE!!!

HOW LEGERWOOD MEMORIAL PARK CAME TO BE



ONE OF THE WHEYMOUTH PINE TREES PLANTED AT EACH END OF THE AVENUE, TO HONOUR GALLIPOLI AND THE ANZACS





ANOTHER OF THE CARVINGS



THE TREE THAT IS DEDICATED TO JOHN MCDOUGALL



JOHN MCDOUGALL IN HIS RAILWAY UNIFORM



ANOTHER OF THE CARVINGS LOACTED HERE



ANOTHER CARVING SHOWING SOME OF THE DETAIL



SAME CARVING AS ABOVE BUT FROM THE BACK OF IT



THE PICNIC TABLE AND FREE TO USE BBQ'S AREA





Our look about the park completed, it's time to head back towards Scottsdale so we can find somewhere to camp the night. We drive back to Scottsdale the same way we drove to Legerwood, normally at this time of year Scottsdale would be surround by lavender farms in full bloom, but it appears as though they have recently harvested most of the fields we can see from the road, so we miss out on seeing what is supposed to be a pretty spectatcular sight here normally. We pass straight through Scottsdale without stopping and head on towards Bridport. Reaching the intersection where you turn left to head to Bridport, we turn right onto Waterhouse Road. We can see on our maps there's a heap of camp areas up ahead off of Waterhouse Rd, so our plan is to drive in and have a look at them and see if we can't find somewhere suitable to stay the night. We soon take a left turn off of Waterhouse Rd to head into a camp area shown on our maps, i can't recall the name of it (think it was called something Waterhole maybe?), but after a shortish drive down a dirt track to access the campground we end up at this horrendous place that has absolutely zero appeal at all about staying here. To top it right off, it smells like an animal has died nearby aswell, so we turn around and head back to the main road to continue our search. Eventually we again turn left off Waterhouse Rd and follow another dirt road for quite a distance into Waterhouse Reserve, to a place called Waterhouse Point / Mathers Camp Area. We have a drive about the place and find ouselves a nice little camp spot big enough for both our vehicles and campers to fit into. We set the trailers up for the night and then grab a drink each and head down to the beach for a look around. There's no water views from our campsite here, but the beach is literally only a stones throw away from us. Out on the beach the place is deserted, there's a couple of other campers set up in the campground, but the place isn't what you'd call super busy by any means. The kids have a run around on the sand and i take a few pics of the place also. Off in the distance across the water from us, we can see what i think is Mussleroe windfarm, but i'm not 100% on that.
With the afternoon sun starting to set it's time to head back to camp and think about getting dinner going. We don't have any firewood with us at all, so the night is spent having dinner and a few drinks, before then calling it a night pretty early.

I THINK FROM MEMORY THIS WAS WATERHOUSE ISLAND WE SAW ON THE DIRT ROAD INTO CAMP



THE BEACH THAT IS A STONES THROW AWAY FROM WHERE WE ARE CAMPED AT



MUSSELROE WINDFARM (WE THINK ?) OFF IN THE DISTANCE



PLENTY OF SEAWEED OR KELP MAYBE? WASHED UP ON THE BEACH HERE

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2015, 07:23:31 PM »
DAY 34 - WATERHOUSE POINT - BAY OF FIRES

We wake to a cracka of a morning and have an easy pack up of the camper seeing we didn't set very much of it up on arrival yesterday afternoon. Camper packed away, we then have a quick breakfast before departing for our next destination, which we are thinking will be Policemans Point at the entrance to Ansons Bay on the Eastern coastline. First stop for the day though is a few minutes drive away at the Village Green camp area of Waterhouse Point, which we just want to stop in at to see what it looks like. We drive the very short distance away and upon arriving at this camp area find it's completely deserted, not a sole to be seen. We do a quick lap around the campground, and whilst this camp area doesn't look to bad, i reckon where we stayed last night at Mathers camp area is a nicer spot to stay. One upside though if we'd choosen to stay at this spot is it's toilet block was actually in working order, unlike where we were (there was a fairly newish building with 2 toilets located in it here)...luckily we are fully self sufficient with our chemical toilets, so that wasn't an issue for us last night. Our quick scout of the area done and we head back out to the main drag / Waterhouse Rd via the same dirt road we drove into here on yesterday afternoon. Reaching Waterhouse Rd we take a left turn and then head for the town of Gladstone.
Waterhosue Rd at the start of todays drive is still a bitumin road, but once you get a short distance past the turn off to the township of Tomahawk (I've never been there, but i'd assume this place is a pretty tiny town going on just where it's located at) the road will eventually become a dirt / gravel road for quite some distance on the run into Gladstone. The road itself is a pretty good gravel road that in dry conditions would be fairly easily negotiated by 2wd vehicles, but this didn't stop us from having our first casuality of the day. Jeff who was leading the drive today calls me up on the uhf radio and says he has a problem and needs to pull over, when we eventually reach where he has stopped at on the side of the road (we are driving a fair way back from them to stay out of the dust), i find Jeff is tipping out a can of beer onto the ground.  Jeff said the can was sitting in the rear cargo area and got a hole in it, he could smell the beer from his drivers seat so stopped to have a look and found the can leaking... i think i could almost see a tear in his eye as he tipped the left over contents of the hot can out on the ground...lol

I RECKON HE'S WEARING THOSE SUNNIES SO WE CAN'T SEE THE TEARS WELLING UP IN HIS EYES...LOL



A quick reshuffle of stuff done in the back of Jeffs Cruiser and we are on the way once again. The rest of the drive into Gladstone is uneventful, we stopped one more time to have a look at an eagle which Jeff and Sara spotted sitting on a fence post, but by the time we'd caught up to them the eagle had sadly taken off, and it was heading for the hills in the distance.
Arriving in Gladstone Jeff needs to grab some fuel for his vehicle, i don't really need any myself but take the opportunity to top up anyhow as we have no idea exactly where we are headed next, or just how far away our next fuel stop will be. It's a bit of a strange set up they have here in this small town with their fuel bowsers, the main shop has a couple of bowsers located out the front of it, but if you want diesel fuel like we want, then across the road out the front of an old shed is a single bowser which is where they sell there diesel fuel from. We park our vehicles either side of the bowser and i shut the vehicle off without even thinking as to whether it will start again or not come time to leave. Being the fuel bowser is located across the road from the main shop itself there's a padlock that you need to get a key for to unlock it, so Jeff walks across the road to get it, and once we then have the lock undone we are able to start putting fuel into our vehicles. Vehicles refueled and it's time to leave, as you may have guessed my Crusier decides it's not going to start. We give it 5 minutes to think about starting, and whilst waiting another traveller pulls up in town wanting to use the diesel bowser. I give the vehicle another try and suddenly the engine roars into life, this intermittent problem is really starting to peeve me big time, but we'll lay off doing anything about it for as long as we can.
We head East out of town along Browns Bridge Rd, the road is currently bitumin as it is back in town, but not long after turning right onto North Ansons Rd to start heading South, it then becomes a gravel road once again. We start to keep an eye for firewood as we drive along this road, but the trees we are seeing here on the roadside don't look to be suitable for burning, and are more like the type that smoulder away not burning properly. Just as we start to see some decent types of trees about the area a touch further along this road, we spot an old Landcruiser ute sitting on the roadside selling firewood. We decide we'll just buy our firewood now instead of collecting it, so we pull up here and start loading it onto the back of my camper trailer. The firewood is $10 a pile, there's seperate piles sitting on the ground beside the Cruiser ute, so we decide to grab $20 worth. It's an honesty system as far as payment and the amount you take goes, located on a tree infront of the Cruiser is a tin screwed to one of it's branches, so we drop our $10 each into it then continue on our way to Policemans Point.

THE OLD CRUISER UTE ON THE ROADSIDE SELLING FIREWOOD....strangely enough the vehicle had Qld plates on it, and was in pretty good condition for it's age



IT'S AN HONESTY SYSTEM FOR PAYMENT



FIREWOOD LOADED UP, IT'S TIME TO HIT THE ROAD



From where we grab the firewood from it's not that far really before we are taking a right turn onto Ansons Bay Rd, we follow this road a touch then take a left turn onto South Ansons Rd, this road then takes you straight into the camp area of Policemans Point. We arrive at the campground and have a quick look for a place to set up camp, we find one spot that's about as close to the water as you can get, but we aren't exactly overwhelmed with it and it's going to be a pretty tight fit getting both camper trailers and our vehicles in here. There's only really a couple of camp sites here that are close by the water, trees obstruct most of any view of the water you have, so i wouldn't say the camp sites themselves are anything spectacular. Around the back a touch further away from the water is a large flat area you can also choose to set up camp in, but IMHO it's even less attractive of a spot to set up in, and whilst it's not shoulder to shoulder by any means, there is already people set up in this area currently. It's still pretty early in the day and we decide we aren't exactly overwhelmed with the camping spots here, so we'll head on elsewhere and see where we end up. Before leaving this spot though, we park the vehicles up and walk out onto the beach that is located here to check out the view. What the campground lacks as far as beauty goes, is certainly made up for with the water views that you'll find here. It's quite a pretty spot away from the campground itself, and i can see why some people might like staying here, but with all the beautiful spots we've stayed at around Tasmania so far, we just didn't feel like the campground itself here was all that nice.

SOUTH ANSON ROAD ON THE WAY INTO POLICEMANS POINT...ANSON BAY IN FOREGROUND AND THE TASMAN SEA IN THE BACKGROUND



LOOKING LEFT UP THE BEACH TOWARDS ANSON BAY



LOOKING RIGHT ALONG THE BEACH TOWARDS THE TASMAN SEA



From the campground we head back to Anson Rd, we turn left onto it and start heading towards The Bay of fires which is where we have decided we'll try and stay at for a few days now instead. The gravel road is in pretty good condition, we spot a few girls touring by bicycle along this route, they are certainly much keener then i'd ever be...lol. Before reaching the Bay of Fires we decide we'll take a back dirt road into the area, the first track we see on our GPS we want to take has a locked gate at it at the turn off, so continue on a touch further and take a left turn onto what i think looking at a map now is called Fire Rd. Now i'm only guessing looking at a map that this is the track we took, i know it calls it a road on the map, but trust me this was a track well and truely. I'm not going to say this was a hardcore track by any means, but it did have it's share of small wash outs along the way, and it was slowish going negotiating some areas with the trailers on the back. Very much to our surprise about halfway along this track we come across 2 X 2wd sedans coming towards us down a hill, they are trying to negotiate some of the washed away sections of track, and bottoming out in many places. They ask us what the track is like ahead of them, we tell them that if they take it real slow and pick the right lines they should hopefully get through to the main road, but in all honesty this isn't a track you'd want to be taking a 2wd drive sedan along, it calls for slightly more ground clearance then your average vehicle has. We bid the duo good luck and continue on our way, as we continue on we find that they've probably negotiated the worst of it already, so they should have made it back to the main road ok. Reaching the end of this track / road we make a right hand turn onto The Gardens Rd, we immediately cross over a bridge / causeway of some description, there's a largish lake to our right and the ocean is off to our left. Up ahead of us on The Gardens Rd is numerous camp areas for people wanting to stay at The Bay of Fires, we reach these and start to turn off into them one at a time, trying to find a spot to make camp for a few days. The first place we turn into is packed and no vacant spots available, we then decide to split up and start searching a few other camp ground areas, but no luck is to be had.... it seems this is a pretty popular area and there's nowhere vacant so far. We get to Swimcart Beach camp area and Jeff calls me over the uhf radio to say he's found a few vacant sites, so we drive in and eventually find where he's at, surprised to see the sites here have a magnificent water views. There's actually quite a few vacant sites in this area for some reason, many have a side slope on them and aren't really suitable to set our camper up on, but we find a spot big enough for both our campers that is flatish, so we set about making camp for the next few days.
With camp set up we have a bite to eat for lunch and then spend the rest of the day doing not much at all, other then admiring the view out front of camp. The kids play on the beach all afternoon and i even go for a walk down the Southern end of the beach to take some phots of the rocks. The beach sand here is nothing like what we have back home, it's almost gravel like in it's coarseness, and when you try and walk on it you sink into it due to the slope of the beach, it's actually a decent work out just walking along the beach as there's not really any firm sand at all to walk along. I take some pics of the rocks down the end of the beach before i eventually make way way back to camp to join the others, the day is absolutely glorious and the colour of the ocean is just spectatcular, it's not hard to see why so many people choose to visit here.
As the sun starts to set we get a fire going and spend the evening sitting around it, we manage to see not one but 2 shooting stars tonight, before eventually calling it a night and heading off to bed.

OUR CAMP SITE AT SWIMCART BEACH CAMP AREA, AT THE BAY OF FIRES



A PIC OF THE ROCKS AND OCEAN FROM THE SOUTHERN END OF THE BEACH

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2015, 11:43:33 AM »
DAY 35 - BAY OF FIRES

Oh what a differance a day makes...absolutely gorgeous weather yesterday, but this morning we wake to very ordinary / overcast and rainy day. We actually knew this weather was coming though, the forecast that we've been keeping an eye on has a heap of rain expected to fall in the coming days over all of Tasmania. Looking back now this actually turned out to be the case for the state, record rainfalls were recorded throughout many parts of it. Hobart had it's highest 24 hour rainfall figure in 3 years, some areas like Taroona had their highest 24 hour rainfall in 54 years, and Eaglehawk Nest which we'd visited back in the first week of this holiday had it's highest 24 hr rainfall figure in 90 years, so the state was getting a pretty good drenching.

THE OVERCAST VIEW TODAY IS NOT AS PRETTY AS YESTERDAY WAS



The rain however was the least of our problems at the moment, we'd chosen to sleep in this morning being it was such a miserable day outside, but Jeff and Sara weren't so lucky in the getting sleep stakes. Their youngest boy had kept them up all night, he'd thrown up twice and was still running a temperature which he'd had all night also. Jeff says they need to take their young fella to a doctors, so i grab my phone and start searching to see if there's any such service in the nearby town of St Helens, and luckily enough this turns out to be the case. Never having driven around Tasmania before we have no idea how big certain towns are you see on a map, we'd actually find out later in the day that St Helens is a nice sized little town, it's got a hospital / medical clinic , decent sized grocery store, large hotel and plenty of small boutique shops for tourists to spend their money in on a rainy day just like today is. A quick call to the medical clinic is made and Jeff and Sara are told to bring him straight down there, so they grab their stuff and head off into town.
We don't have any real plans for today ourselves, we knew the rain was coming so today is going to be a bit of a lazy day, we'll head into town later on and restock the food supplies, and also look at having a nice hot shower somewhere also. With the sleep in we had today we don't end up having breakfast until nearly 10.30 a.m, and with that done and out of the way, i then find time to make an oppointment with the local barber. Well when i say local barber, i actually mean my wife here. It's been over a month since i had my hair cut, and my facial hair is starting to drive me a touch crazy now also. When it comes to hair cuts for me, it consists of using a set of hair clippers with no blade in it, and zipping that over my head and my face...job done!!! . So with this booking made, i then grab the generator out of the front of the camper, run a short extension lead off of it, and grab my hair clippers out. It's not a big job, but it kills off a half hour of a crappy day by the time i get ever thing out and put it away. Hair cut done and facial hair buzzed off with the clippers also, it's a good feeling.

THE MOBILE BARBERS SHOP



Nothing else to do around camp, we decide to head into St Helens to have a shower. Along the way we spot an old jetty on the side of the road that has fallen into a sad state of disrepair, so i pull the vehicle over and take a few pics of it. We also see about 8 black swans swimming in the water here, i'd noticed a heap of them back around the Hobart area in the first week of our holiday and at Eaglehawk Neck also. They aren't an animal we have back home, so seeing them here in Tasmania makes for a nice change.

OLD RUN DOWN JETTY WE SPOT HEADING INTO ST HELENS




Arriving in St Helens we spot Jeff and Sara at the local laundrymat as we drive through town, we give them a call on the phone as we drive past and find out that their young fella has been diagnosed with having tonsillitis....he's been prescribed some stuff to help him out, so hopefully he'll start to improve soon. We tell them we'll catch up with them later on, and head around to the Waterfront public toilets which have hot showers there for travellers to use. Arriving at the toilet block we find that the showers cost $2 for 3 minutes to use, we don't have any coins on us, so we head back down the road to the IGA grocery shop to get some. We grab some supplies and some change to use in the showers from here before then going to head back to the Waterfront, but as i try and start the vehicle to leave, it once again won't start. I pop the bonnet and give the fuel pump and solenoid a few taps with the handle of a large screwdriver in a frustrated attempt to try and get it working again, this does nothing... but after waiting a few more minutes it suddenly decides it'll start now. What i know now that i didn't know back then at the time, is this issue is heat related, if you cool the immobiliser down the vehicle will start no worries at all, something i'll realize in the coming days. The simple act of opening the bonnet of the vehicle for a while allows enough heat to escape the engine bay, that it'll then start again. This is obviously a temporary solution to help getting the vehicle running again, eventually the immobiliser will fail to the point where it doesn't start at all, something we are hoping won't happen before we get back home at the end of our holiday. If it gets to that point we'll try and bypass the immobiliser, but for now we are avoiding doing that.
With the engine running once again we head to the Waterfront and have a nice hot shower, there's only one shower in each of the mens and womens toilets, so as we did whilst there, you may have to wait your turn to get to use them. After we finsh our showers, Jeff radios us up on the uhf to see what we are doing, they've finished doing their laundry, so drive around to meet us at the Waterfront. We decide to go for a drive around the area and see what's about the place, the rain is absolutely pouring down right about now, so sitting inside a dry warm vehicle is a pretty good option at the moment we reckon. We head South out of town along the Tasman Hwy, the road skirts along the edge of Georges Bay here, and it's quite a pretty drive...well it would be even more so on a sunny day anyhow. We take a left turn off the highway onto St Helens Point Rd, and follow this all the way to it's end. We explore down a few side tracks whilst in this area, and even contemplate driving out onto the Peron Dunes, but not knowing what it's like out on the beach here, we don't fancy getting bogged and having to recover vehicles in the pouring rain, so decide to give it a miss...we'll come back here in the coming days when the weather is better.
Our look about done here we head back into St Helens, i stop to grab another pic of a jetty along the way, then we stop in town so that Leanne can visit a jewellery store to buy something. Sara had paid the store a visit earlier this morning whilst waiting for her laundry to finish being washed, she'd purchased a Pandora styled Tasmanian devil for her bracelet, and sadly for me had shown it to Leanne, so now guess who wants to buy one also. I wait in the vehicle with the kids whilst Leanne runs inside the store to buy what she wants, it may sound dangerous letting her loose in there on her own, but to be honest it's absolutely pouring with rain outside, and i just didn't want to venture out there in it...lol.

THE OTHER JETTY I PHOTOGRAPHED ON THE WAY BACK INTO ST HELENS



With the jewellery purchase completed we then head back to camp, we cook up some toasted sandwhiches for lunch to try and warm ourselves up some, and spend the rest of the arvo doing not much at all. We manage to go for a short walk along the beach inbetween rain showers, but the rain doesn't look like clearing any time soon. As the afternoon turns to evening Jeffs young fella is refusing to take his medicine, he's going downhill and running a decent temperature once again, so they decide they'll take him into the hospital at St Helens and see what they can do for him there. It's a pretty miserable night tonight, there's no fire to sit around due to the rain, so it'll be pretty early to bed for us all. Jeff and Sara eventually come back from the hospital and are happy that the staff there could manage to get some medicine into their young fella, he's passed out asleep now, and we are all about to do the same thing ourselves, it's just to cold and wet to be outside. So with the diesel heaters cranking away, it's off to bed we all go.
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2015, 10:53:39 PM »
DAY 36 - BAY OF FIRES / PUB IN THE PADDOCK

We wake to an overcast morning, but atleast it's not raining today. I actually sleep in a tiny bit this morning due to getting very little sleep during the night. The wind picked up big time after we went to bed, and the flapping of the canvas tropical roof on our camper was driving me crazy. It rained for most of the night, and around 1.30 a.m i'd had enough of the canvas flapping, so went outside and climbed up on the camper and removed the tropical roof inbetween the rain showers. The main problem with doing this though as i'd found out last time i did it several years ago, is water has a tendancy to start to leak through the stitching in the canvas that's under the tropical roof, and this is exactly what happened last night. The leaking wasn't to bad really, but it played on my mind the rest of the night, and i kept waking up and shining the torch around inside the camper to make sure nobody, or none of our stuff was getting wet. I'd occasionally have a droplet of water splat on my head also whilst lying in bed trying to get back to sleep, and the constant creaking and groaning of the camper trailer hoop poles from the strong wind that was blowing was driving me crazy also...i doubt i got 2 hours sleep that night. Come about 6.00 a.m when the rain had stopped i manage to fall asleep for a while, hence the slight sleep in.
Jeff and Sara also had a disrupted nights sleep last night due to the wind, thier young fella is on the improve though, so that's a good thing. They find the 3 way fridge in the thier camper trailer has stopped working for some reason this morning, so we spend some time trying to fix it. Pulling the side access panel off the trailer to get to the back of the fridge, it appears the gas jet is blocked when we remove it, we try everything we can think of to unblock it, but have no luck. Eventually we get a small drill bit and drill the blockage out, but this ends up enlarging the hole that was in the jet. When we refit it back in position we immediately realise this "fix" isn't going to work, way to much gas is being let through the jet and it's not working how it's supposed to do. We decide to put the food and drinks from their 3 way fridge into the other 3 working fridges we have between us, and turn that fridge off for now until we can get a new jet for it somewhere.
With no luck fixing Jeffs fridge it's time to make breakfast, i then find the griller we normally cook our toast under has broken and isn't working also. The pipe the gas runs through in the griller itself has cracked through completely, most likely from the many corrugations the trailer has encountered over the years. The whole griller section is cactus and will need replacing, but thankfully we can still use the 2 burners that are on the stove top. Just to top the run of bad luck this morning right off, Jeff tries to use the compressor in his vehicle to pump up a ball for his kids, this decides it doesn't want to work also, but after some fiddling with it we manage to get it up and going again.
With brekky done and dusted it's time to hit the road to see some sights today, we are heading for The Pub in the Paddock at Pyengana for lunch, and St Columba Falls also which is just up the road a touch from there. First stop of the day though is at Binalong Bay, which is only a short drive up the road from camp. Located here at Binalong Bay is a viewing platform you can walk out onto, it has some nice views out over the ocean and the surrounding red coloured rocks this Bay of Fires area is renowned for having. We spend some time looking around here checking out the view and taking pics of the rocks also.

AS THE STATUE SAYS WHEN YOU DRIVE INTO TOW...WELCOME TO BINALONG BAY



PART OF THE VIEW FROM THE VIEWING PLATFORM



THE RED ROCKS THIS AREA IS KNOW FOR HAVING



ANOTHER SHOT OF SOME OF ROCKS TO BE FOUND HERE



AND ANOTHER PIC OF THE RED ROCKS



We finish up looking about here and then jump back in the vehicles and leave town on the road we came in on. Reaching the main intersection back at The Gardens Rd, we could turn left here and head into St Helens along the bitumin and then onto Pyengana from there, but we decide we'll head straight on instead onto Reids Rd, and take a scenic dirt road route to todays lunch stop instead. The drive along this dirt road is nothing super spectacular really, it's just a nice change from driving on bitumin roads and gets us away from most of the traffic. Reaching the end of Reids Rd we take a left turn onto Ansons Bay Rd and follow this down to the Tasman Hwy, we then take a right turn onto this and follow it for about 30klms. Reaching St Columba Falls Rd on our left we then take this turn off and soon find ourselves turning right into the driveway of The Pub in the Paddock. A heritage listed circa 1880 hotel, this pub whilst known for it's great feeds and relaxed country pub atmosphere, is more known for something else...and that's it's beer drinking pig. Yep you read that right, a pig that loves drinking beer.
More about the pig later though...we park the vehicles up and walk inside the pub to order some lunch and grab something to drink. Whilst ordering lunch i notice this pub sells the one thing i've been searching for to buy whilst on holidays here in Tasmania...and that's a t shirt of a decent pub that we've visited whilst here. None of the previous pubs we've stopped in at so far on this trip sell t shirts advertising themselves for some reason, i've bought t shirts from pubs at various locations all over Australia in our outback travels on previous holidays, but thought i was going to miss out on the doing the same thing whilst here in Tassie. Aswell as the t shirt we purchase a stubbie cooler from here also, so add in lunch for the family aswell as a few drinks, and the pub has done ok out of us today.

SIGN AT THE FRONT ENTRANCE OF THE PUB IN THE PADDOCK



THE ST COLUMBA FALLS HOTEL..AKA..THE PUB IN THE PADDOCK



Now as i mentioned earlier, this pub is well known for it's pig that loves drinking beer. Priscilla the beer drinking pig was a major draw card of the pub for many years, you could buy a stubbie of beer from the front bar and then walk outside and give it to her to drink (it's a special type of stubbie they sell, i think they must water it right down). Sadly though Priscilla has now gone to that big ham house in the sky, but in her place these days they have Pinky the Pig, so if you like you can purchase a special stubbie of beer from the bar and try your luck "feeding" it to her. I say try your luck for a very good reason, because for the entire time we were here at the pub, Pinky didn't move a muscle and was fast asleep in her house. If it wasn't for the fact i saw her ear twitch at one stage, i would have thought she was dead, and prime pickings for my next Sunday morning bacon and eggs cook up. The pig seriously didn't move an inch the entire time we were here, a few other people had purchased a couple of stubbies of beer thinking they could get to feed it to Pinky, but she was not the least bit interested / not even awake. It would have been nice to see the pig in beer guzzling action, but this wasn't to be the case today.

PRISCILLA THE BEER DRINKING PIG...THOUGH NOWADAYS IT'S ACTUALLY PINKY THE BEER DRINKING PIG



PINKY SLEEPING OFF A BIG NIGHTS BENDER I THINK



Lunch eaten and we head off from here to St Columba Falls, we turn right out of the drive way back onto the road, and the falls are only about 10 minutes drive away at most. Reaching the car park area we jump out and get ready to do the short walk down to the waterfall, we can actually see some of the falls from where we are parked, and with all the rain we've had the past few days about the area, there's a pretty decent flow going over them. The walk to the falls is only a short distance really, it's 600 mtrs each way, you return back along the same track you go to them on. Be aware though, the easy part of the walk is on the way there, it's downhill all the way to the falls, so on the way back it's uphill all the way. I won't say it's a hard work out by any means doing this walk, but those of you like myself who aren't exactly what you'd call fit, will be looking for a drink of water by the time you get back up to your car.  As you get closer to the falls themselves you'll walk through a beautiful tree fern lined area, my pic below does the spot no real justice though. Reaching the falls and as i mentioned already the water is absolutely roaring down them today, it's not the prettiest sight you'll ever see with the torent of dirty brown water of recent days rains being funneled downstream, but it's certainly an impressive sight to behold none the less.

ST COLUMBA FALLS AS SEEN FROM THE CAR PARK AREA




TREE FERNS NEARER THE FALLS THEMSELF



THE RECENT RAINS HAD THE WATER ABSOLUTELY POURING OVER THE FALLS



SOME MUSHROOMS WE SAW GROWING BY THE SIDE OF THE WALKING TRACK



Back at our vehicles after viewing the falls and we head straight back to camp along the bitumin via St Helens, i manage to spot an echidna in a field on the side of the road along the way, but it was in an area of windy road and there was nowhere to stop to try and photograph it. Arriving back at camp and we find the wind is starting to pick up quite abit, the wind gusts are getting pretty full on actually and we are pretty exposed to it where we are. The wind has broken one of the rods in Jeffs toilet tent and it's also broken some tie down ropes on our toilet tent also, i end up packing up the tent, as it's not going to last in the wind we are currently experiencing. Looking out at the surf infront of camp and the waves are really dumping down hard at the moment, it's a very different scene to when we arrived here the other day, the waves making big booms as they crash ashore.

THE WAVES WERE REALLY DUMPING DOWN HARD ONSHORE




As the late afternoon goes on into the evening, the wind is getting worse by the minute, the gusts are getting pretty strong and it's not a real pleasent spot to be at the moment. Around 8.00 p.m and with Sara in the middle of cooking dinner for us all, we've had enough of the current conditions and make the massive call to pack up camp immediately, and to try and find somewhere more sheltered to stay the night. Sara was in the middle of cooking a meatloaf for dinner, she just ended up turning off their oven and leaving the meal sit inside there whilst we packed up and went elsewhere. Last night we got little sleep due to the buffeting we copped from the wind and rain, and tonight it was going to be even worse again. The weather forecast has the wind increasing in the coming days, so we knew if we stayed here we wouldn't get very much sleep at all, and there's the real possibilty the camper trailers could get damaged also. We leave camp and stop in to look at another couple of camp grounds closer towards Binalong Bay, hoping they are better sheltered from the wind. I find one spot that sort of seemed better sheltered at the start, but as soon as the wind started gusting once more, i knew it wasn't much better then where we'd just left from. We then decide we'll drive into St Helens and check out the free camp area they have in town there, we are hoping it's in a showgrounds or the like, and that we might find a building we can tuck behind to use as a wind break. Reaching the free camp in town we find this is not to be the case though, the spot you camp in is an open paddock, so it's just as bad as the place we'd left behind. I try ringing a few of the local caravan parks in the hope they might answer thier phone at this late hour of night, to see if they have any cabins available to stay in. As expected seeing it's now well after 9.00 p.m by now, none of them answer their phones and they all go to an answering service instead. We pass by one place that has a sign out front saying rooms to rent and try that number also, they atleast answer their phone but only have  single bed rooms available, nothing suitable for families. Back in the centre of town now, and we pass by the Bayside Inn, it's probably the biggest hotel / motel complex in town, so we give it a call to try our luck. Thankfully the manager answers the phone and luck is very much on our side, they have several rooms available to stay in tonight, it costs $100 each room, but at the moment we don't really care about the cost, we just want somewhere to sleep that's out of this wind. So around 10.00 p.m we end up checking in here, and we then set about grabbing dinner out of Jeff and Sara's oven in their camper trailer. Sara tries as best she can to rescue dinner and give us something to eat, it's a bit of a lost cause in the end, but we don't really care that much, we're just glad to have a decent roof over our heads for the night. Around 12.30 a.m after a big day / evening, we then finally manage to head off to sleep
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2015, 09:50:30 PM »
DAY 37 - ST HELENS - BICHENO

Up around 7.30 a.m this morning and the wind has died right off overnight, it's a pretty good day today actually. I walk across the road to the park that is here as i see a strange shaped sculpture like object of some sort, and i want to find out what it is. From a distance the object looks quite nice in appearance, but as i get closer i notice it's covered in mosaic tiles, and many of them have fallen off over the years, leaving a pretty run down looking object in a very nice park beside the water. Reading the plaque that is located beneath the object, i note it is called a Cosmic Egg & Time Capsule, and it's to be opened on Australia Day (January 26th for the non Aussies reading this) in the year 2026. Built back in 2006, i'm thinking this time capsule would have looked pretty nice when first completed, but the elements have definately taken their toll on it now, which is a real shame.

WHERE WE STAYED LAST NIGHT...pretty old and run down rooms really for $100 a night, but atleast we were out of the wind...i'd have happily paid double that to get out of that wind last night actually....lol



THE COSMIC EGG & TIME CAPSULE



I GUESS WE'D ALL LIKE THAT TO HAPPEN ONE DAY



Walking back to the motel room and it's time to load our clothes and what not back into the vehicle. With the room emptied out, we then walk around to the bistro they have here at the Inn and have a nice hot bacon and eggs breakfast. The bistro area and bar they have here is a lot more modern then the old rooms we were staying in out the back of this place, i'm thinking there's possibly more modern rooms available here then what we got last night, but beggars can't be choosers at 10.00 p.m at night.
It's time to hit the road now but we aren't leaving town just yet, we head back down to the RV park / free camp on the edge of town first of all, we are going to leave our camper trailers here for the day and go explore a few more of the local sights before heading on to our next camp. We are a touch worried about leaving the trailers here unattended, but after speaking to an elderly camper who'll be here all day and being told he'd keep an eye on them for us, and then chaining them both together, we reckoned they'd be ok. We take the opportunity whlst here to empty out the chemical toilets at the dump point and top up our trailers water supplies also, you can't complain about the facilities here for somwhere that's free to stay at that's for sure. Speaking of free...i haven't mentioned this previously, but the spot we were camped at the past few days is free of charge to stay at also, all around this Bay of Fires area is a heap of free camp spots to stay at actually, though National parks fees do apply in the Northern section of the park. The Bay of Fires is actually located in a Conservation Park, not a National Park, so dogs are apparently allowed to be brought in here also i believe.
Trailers offloaded for the day and we head back through town once again towards Georges Bay, we take the same left turn onto St Helens Point Rd that we took in the pouring rain the other day, and we head down that road past Steiglitz to the dirt track entrance for the Peron Dunes. You may recall we toyed with idea of going out onto the beach here the other day, but didn't want to risk getting bogged and having to recover vehicles in the pouring rain. Well today the weather is absolutely glorious, and it's now time for us to explore the dunes and the beach that is here. We have no idea what this beach is like to drive on, all we do know is that (according to Jeff) lowtide is supposed to be about a couple of hours away, so should something go wrong, in theory we should have heaps of time to get ourselves out of any trouble we find ourselves in.
We turn right onto the dirt road that leads from the bitumin and follow this for a short distance, we then turn down another track running off to the right and find a nice open flat area where a sign says to stop and deflate your tyres before going any further. We take this advice and i let my tyres down to 18 psi alround, we then head off up over the first dune of the day and pretty quickly find ourselves going down a nice long decent out onto the beach...that could be fun to get back up later on we say to each other over the uhf radios. Turning right once we hit the beach itself it's a pretty easy run South, the sand is firm for the most part, though there is the odd softer section to be found also. We drive about 3 klms South down this beach before reaching a rocky headland that stops us from going any further. We park the vehicles up here and let the kids out to have a play in the sand, we have the entire beach to ourselves right now, there's not another sole around. The kids have fun running around playing on the beach and we kick back and relax in the warm sun. Located right out infront of us we can see St Helens Island, the island forms part of the St Helens Important Bird Area because of its importance as a breeding site for seabirds. Whilst sitting here relaxing i notice something quite strange, and that's the fact that whilst Jeff reckons lowtide is still supposed to be about an hour away, the water from the waves breaking on the shoreline is gradually getting higher and higher up the beach. All of a sudden a few waves come right up nearer to our vehicles, so we suddenly decide it's time to make a move inland before we get washed away, and call time on the kids playing on the beach.

THE SIGNED TURN OFF TO PERON DUNES



DRIVING SOUTH DOWN THE BEACH



ST HELENS ISLAND OUT INFRONT OF WHERE WE PARKED UP



WE HAD THE ENTIRE BEACH TO OURSELVES TODAY



From where we'd parked up on the beach there was a track leading inland into the dunes, so we take this track and it's time for us to have some fun climbing up and down the sand dunes. Be aware that this area is able to be used by all types of recreational vehicles including dune buggies, so you need to keep a good eye out for others, but today there's only us driving about the place. It's here i'll express a word of caution...there's some pretty serious side slope action happening on some of the dunes you'll find here, many of the wheel tracks you'll see in here are likely formed by something other then a large 4wd vehicle, so don't go blindly following them over the edge of a dune. Jeff drove down one dune that i considered way to sketchy to follow down, i reckon his butt cheeks would have clinched pretty tightly together as he negotiated one side slope around one particular corner of a dune, and there was no way in the world i was following him along that track. I take another track and meet back up with him again not to far away, our play time now done for the day, it's time to head back out onto the beach and make our way up to the exit point we came down onto the beach on. The longish decent we came down to the beach on wasn't anywhere near as hard to get back up as we thought it may be, a fair whack of right foot on the accelerator at the start of the run up from the beach, had me backing off the go fast pedal as we neared the top of the climb. Out of the dunes we follow the dirt track back to the bitumin road, we park up under the shade of a tree and reinflate our tyres back to road pressures once again.

HEADING OFF THE BEACH INTO THE DUNES



JEFF LEADING THE WAY, CLIMBING  UP INTO THE DUNES



POSER PIC ON A DUNE TOP



BOTH VEHICLES PARKED ON A DUNE TOP, WITH ST HELENS ISLAND IN THE BACKGROUND



JEFF COMING DOWN A DUNE



TIME FOR ME TO FOLLOW



We drive back into St Helens and then head back out past the camp area we'd stayed at the past few days. We are now going to go have a look at The Gardens, which not strangely at all, is located right at the end of The Gardens Rd. The Gardens is located approximately 20 klms past Binalong Bay, it's a bitumin road all the way out to there, so easy access for all types of vehicles. We make a small detour along the way and stop in to check out a few camp sites along the way, Jeff wanted to show me a small camp spot he stopped in at when we were looking for somewhere to stay a few days ago, we'd split up at that point looking for vacant sites, and this was a nice place he found that was unfortunately already taken.  The place still had campers located there when we drove in, we did however park up here for a short period and check out the view of the small bay it was located in.
We push on from looking around here and it's not that long before we then reach the end of the road at The Gardens. There's not a lot of car park spaces here, and once someone leaves i manage to find a spot to park my vehicle up. I'm worried the vehicle isn't going to start again now if i shut it off, so i tell the others to go have a look and i'll stay here with my fourby and leave the engine running. The others head off to have a look down one pathway located here, after doing so my wifes returns back to our vehicle and says i should come have a look around also. I end deciding to shut the vehicle off and go for a look, but i open the bonnet of the fourby up before going, and leave it like that to allow the heat to escape out.  The Gardens was so named by Lady Jane Franklin, the wife of Governor John Franklin who spent some time in the region in the 1840s. Located here is more of the red lichen covered rocks the area is renowned for, aswell as rock pools and more spectacular coastal views. It's a pretty short walk from the carpark area to the viewing platform at the end of the pathway, we take a few pics here looking North towards policemans Point direction which we'd stopped in at the other day for a look around, and also spend a while rock hopping over the lichen covered boulders you find here aswell.

HEADING OUT TO THE GARDENS ON THE GARDENS ROAD



WE DID SOME ROCK HOPPING OVER MORE LICHEN COVERED BOULDERS



THE VIEW NORTH FROM THE VIEWING PLATFORM AT THE GARDENS



Back at our vehicles in the car park area i close the bonnet of my 4wd and hope it'll start when i turn the key. The vehicles kicks into life straight away, so opening the bonnet to allow the heat to escape appears to have done the trick. We drive back to St Helens to the Rv Park and collect our camper trailers, it's a bit of a relief to see they are still there untouched, so we unchain them from each other and hook them up to our vehicles once again. The afternoon is getting on a touch but we haven't had lunch yet, so we make a few quick sandwiches to eat, before then loading everyone back in the vehicles and heading on out of town.

RANDOM DRAGON STATUE WE SAW AT ST HELENS INFO CENTRE TODAY...it actually has something to do with the "Tin Dragon Trail" of  Tin Mines about the North East area, and the Chinese mining heritage in the 1800's.



We head South out of town along the Tasman Hwy, the plan for tonight we've just come up with over lunch is to stay at a caravan park around Bicheno maybe, but we haven't actually booked anywhere yet. As we drive along the highway Sara makes a few calls on her mobile phone to see what accomodation places have vacancies, most had no vacancies for 2 families, but we eventually manage to get a couple of powered sites at the Bicheno Caravan Park and Takeaway Food park, so that's where we are now headed. As we drive along the Tasman Hwy we pass through the town of Scamander, i vaguely recall visiting and staying in this town when i was a young boy many years ago. As we enter the town i immediately recognise the Scamander Beach Hotel Motel that we stayed in on that visit, i always had a memory of the hotel from that holiday due to it being located right across from a river, but never could remember just what town it was in. It's a nice surprise being able to recall a place you visited as a kid many many years ago, i mention this fact to the others as we drive past the place.
The rest of the run into Bicheno is uneventful, we check into the caravan park and then set up camp for the night. The van park itself is nothing to rave about, it's a small park located beside the main road / hwy so you do get some road noise (though it's a pretty quite highway really), and it's fully fenced in with no views at all to be had. The park is relatively clean, though showing it's age some, if i visited this area again i'd try and find somewhere else that has a view of something other then a steel fence though. If you really need a spot to lay your head for the night, it's an ok place for a one night stop over. I plug the camper trailer into the power point located at our site and notice the battery charger on the camper is playing up, so i switch it of. I've paid $38 for a powered site for the night, which turns out to be a slight waste of money seeing we can't run the charger now. We have plenty of power still left in the battery bank though, so this isn't the end of the world. With camp set up for the evening we settle in around a picnic table they have beside our camp site and enjoy a few drinks, we even have a few other random kids come join our kids to play for a while. As the afternoon comes to an end it's time to get cleaned up and have a shower, it's then that we find once again that this van park like the one back at Longford that we stayed at, actually charges you for the hot water. Just like Longford you need some coins to operate the hot water set up, it costs $1 for 6 minutes, so atleast it was cheaper then Longford was. Showers had and then dinner eaten, we enjoy a few more drinks at the picnic table before calling it a night and heading off to bed.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 09:56:13 PM by Rumpig »
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2015, 09:51:20 PM »
DAY 38 - BICHENO - SWANSEA

It's a touch hard to get up out of bed this morning, it's overcast looking but not raining at all. We eventually get out of bed and have breakfast, then pack the campers up ready to leave. The main reason for staying in a van park last night was so that Jeff could run the fridge in his camper trailer off of 240V power, he wants to keep doing this until we can fix the jet in his fridge, so before leaving Bicheno we ring ahead to a few places to try and get a couple of powered sites for the next few nights. We are heading down towards Freycinet next and reckon with it being peak holiday season at the moment it'll be pretty busy there at the moment. The first place we try has no vacancies, i then ring the caravan park in the town of Swansea and manage to book the last 2 powered sites they have. With that task now done and the camper trailers hooked back onto the tow vehicles, we leave the Bicheno van park and head a very short distance down the road to go check out the blowhole that the town is known for having.
We park the vehicles up in the small car park area they have at the blowhole, but i am concerned my car won't start come to leave. I recall that Leanne has a spare set of keys to my fourby in her handbag that we'd brought along just incase being so far from home, so i double check that she has them on hand once she's out of the vehicle, then lock the vehicle up with my keys still in the ignition and with the engine running. It's only a short walk to the blowhole from the carpark, it's a bit of a risk leaving the vehicle running with the keys in it, but this place is a bit of a sleepy little town, and i'm not venturing far from the vehicle, so reckon i'd have to be pretty unlucky for anyone to smash the window then and there to steal it. I recall as a kid on our last visit to Tasmania visiting a blowhole also, and i'd remarked to my wife that the previous one we'd visited back near Eaglehawk Neck looked nothing like i remembered visiting back then. This blowhole also didn't look exactly the same as i'd recalled, but atleast it's similar, i guess near on 30 years has gone by since then, so things tend to get a bit mixed up in your memories at times.
The blowhole is in action as we walk out onto the rocks to view it, you walk right up to the attraction itself, but would need to be very careful here on days of big surf action i reckon. Today however the sea is relatively calm, there's some nice consistent waves rolling in to have the blowhole working, but there's no waves you'd call huge at all.  We spend probably a half hour or more here watching the water spray up into the air and taking pics of it also, before then heading back to our vehicles for the short drive to Swansea.

BICHENO BLOWHOLE...take note of the warning on bigger surf days




BLOWHOLE IN ACTION



TODAY THE SURF WAS RELATIVELY SMALL, SO WE COULD UP CLOSE TO THE BLOWHOLE



It's only a 44klm drive from Bicheno to Swansea, we arrive in town before 11.00 a.m and head straight to the caravan park to see what it's like there. It's already very windy outside and we note there's not a massive amount of protection from the wind in the van park itself. The gusts that are blowing through at the moment could certainly do damage to our campers, and there's actually a gale wind warning for today. We've checked the forecast and the wind is supposed to get stronger this afternoon then it currently is, and be stronger again over the coming days.....not a good time to be in a mostly canvas camper trailer really. We don't go inside the van park when we arrive there, we instead turn around and head back into the main street of town to come up with a plan B. We end up deciding we'll try and get a house to stay in for the next few days if we can find one about the area, so we end up at the towns information centre to try and do this. The 2 lovely ladies working here went out of their way to try and help us out, pretty much every rental property in the area is booked out at the moment though, but the ladies did know of one house that might be available They make a few phone calls, and before you know it we have accomodation sorted for the next few nights out of the wind. It's a 4 bedroomed house that has 2 X queen sized beds and 5 X single beds in it, and also has 2 bathrooms. Normally the place rents for $400 a night, but seeing we are taking it for a few days, they decide we can have it for $350 a night...not bad i reckon being it's peak holiday season at the moment.
We can't gain access to the house for another hour and a bit though, so with this in mind the wives head over the road to the local grocery store to grab some supplies, whilst Jeff and myself take the kids to play on the beach that is located right behind said store here also. Walking over to the beach i make a quick call to the carvan park and cancel our booking, it's well before lunch time now, so they shouldn't have any problems filling those 2 vacancies this afternoon we reckon. The kids spend a bit of time on the beach playing, but the sand is being whipped up by the strong wind and sandblasting us some, so we head up to the playground at the entrance to the beach and let the kids have a run around here.
Eventually our wives meet back up with us at this park once they've finished doing the shopping, they've bought some chocolates for the lovely ladies at the information centre to thank them for being so helpful today, so we walk back over to there and surprise them with our gift. The 2 ladies are very much surprised with our gesture, but when you get people going out of their way to help you even though it is their job to do it, it's always nice to thank them for doing so i reckon.

HEADING INTO SWANSEA FROM BICHENO YOU'LL CROSS THE WYE RIVER...you've gotta love Aussie humour i reckon...lol



SWANSEA'S LOCAL GROCERY / GENERAL  STORE...a beautiful old character building in the main street of town



CIRCA 1838



THE MORRIS FAMILY APPEAR TO HAVE RUN THE STORE FOR MANY GENERATIONS



THE BEACH BEHIND THE SHOPS IN THE MAIN STREET OF TOWN



After thanking the ladies from the info centre we head to a local motel complex down the road to collect the keys to the house we are renting. The owners of the rental property are also very nice people aswell, they give us heaps of info of what to see and do in the local area, and we thank them for doing so before heading off to the house. Arriving at the house we find it's a nice enough little brick house with plenty of room to park our vehicles and trailers inside the property. It appears as though the place was originally set up for someone that owned a trailer and used to park it down beside their shed, so i open the extra gate they have on the front fence to back my camper trailer down into that position of the property. Being my 4wd won't fit under the double carport they have here, Jeff comandeers that location to park his camper trailer and vehicle under, we then grab our clothes and food from the vehicles and set about making ourselves right at home.
We've booked this house for 2 nights originally, but did mention to each other that we may stay here 3 nights overall. Before booking the extra night though we wanted to see what the property was like, and now we've seen it we are more then happy with where we are staying, so we make a call to the property owners and let them know we plan to stay here an extra night. The property owners are pretty easy going people, they tell us to drop by whenever in the next day or so to fix them up for the cost of the extra night, so we thank them and tell them we'll see them tomorrow sometime.

THE HOUSE WE'VE RENTED FOR THE FEW NIGHTS TO GET OUT OF THE WIND



With all our gear stowed in the house we then have a bite to eat for lunch. Jeff's young fella still isn't 100%, so they make an opointment to see a local doctor. They are told a time to bring him down, but when they get there they actually end up waiting 2 hours in the waiting room to see the doctor...so much for having an opointment time hey. We don't do a lot this afternoon ourselves, we take the opportunity to do a few loads of laundry, and i spend a few hours watching the One Day International cricket on the television. The wind outside has been blowing a constant 50kph all day, the wind is gusting to over 75kph also and some of the outdoor area of the house is creaking and groaning in the wind....getting this house was the smartest move we've ever made i reckon.
Jeff and Sara eventually return back to the house late in the afternoon, a small thunderstorm rolls through town after they get back, but there's not a lot in it other then some rain and the odd bit of noise.  We'd noticed when we arrived here that there's a practically brand new bbq in the entertainment area of this house, so we get Jeff and Sara to grab some steaks from the grocery store whilst they were out, and tonight i'll be cooking dinner on the bbq for everyone. Cooking on the bbq is about as far as my cooking skills go sadly, if it can't be cooked on a bbq, then don't come looking to me for a feed...lol.
As the sun starts to set i notice a bunch of rabbits running about in the field across the road from the house, i walk outside to point them out to my kids, and it's quite surprising just how many of them we see. We don't spend to long outside here though as it's starting to get quite cool actually, so we head back inside to seek the warmth of the house. The evening is spent relaxing watching tv, and playing a few card and board games etc. It's nice to be in a house for a change with all it's conveniences, as it's been over a month since we last slept in one (other then the old run down motel room at St Helens that is). It's a good night in the cricket for Australia, we get a win over England i think it was from memory. With the game over it's time for bed, so i call it a night and head off to some bedroom comfort for a change.

THE SUPER CHEF IN ACTION...LOL...getting the kids sausages out of the way first up

Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!

Offline Rumpig

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Re: Tassie 14/15...Rumpig version
« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2015, 09:35:48 PM »
DAY 39 - SWANSEA AND SURROUNDS

With no rush to do anything in particular today we start the morning off with a nice hot cooked brekky, then on finishing this i make a phone call and book a quad bike tour for tomorrow at 1 p.m, for myself, my youngest daughter, Jeff and his eldest boy, with a company called All4adventure, that operates in Freycinet National Park. Seeing as though the wives and my eldest daughter got to go horse riding at Cradle Mountain, this will be our treat for the trip. The company runs both quad bikes and Polaris Ranger side by sides in it's tours, so i book the 2 Rangers they have, with Jeff taking his 2 boys in one, and i'll take my youngest daughter in the other. The cost i think was $220 for each Ranger for a 2 1/2 hr tour.
With brekky had and the tour booked for tomorrow it's time to go exploring the local area. First stop this morning is only a few hundred metres up the road in the middle of town though, we need to buy some sunglasses for our youngest daughter as it's likely going to be dusty and even muddy in places on the quad bike tour, so we make a quick stop and pick a pair of sunnies up for her to wear tomorrow. With these purchased we start to head North on the highway out of town, before exiting town completely though, we stop off to visit the Bark Mill Tavern and Bakery. Located here is a fantastic bakery and a pub as the name alludes to, but there is a museum out the back you can visit also.
Quote
The Bark Mill is a restored mill and museum in Swansea on Tasmania's east coast. The mill is Australia's only restored Black Wattle Bark Mill, and possibly the only one in the world. The fully working mill demonstrates how bark from local black wattle trees was once crushed for export across the world. The bark is the basic ingredient used in tanning.

The mill was established in 1885 and continued operation until the early 1960s.

A visit here gives a fascinating insight into the ancient art of milling bark. The museum depicts the early history of the oldest rural municipality in Australia. Individual working displays depict life as it was in the 1800s. The descendants of the original settlers have loaned many items and photographs to the exhibition.


 Aswell as a heap of interesting displays and artifacts, there's the working steam engine that powered the original Bark Mill located here also....sadly for us it wasn't running and the museum seemed to be half closed with the bakery staff happy to take your entrance fee money, but then you're on your own after that. What is a very interesting place with fantastic displays, turned out to be a touch of a let down also really. The displays we saw and read relating to the Bark Mill industry were very interesting, it's just a shame that half the place where the steam engine is located almost seemed sort of "closed", and that the steam engine wasn't running....for $23 for a family to enter i expected more for my money, though it was an informative place to visit non the less.


BARK MILL MUSEUM




THERE WAS SOME NICE FLOWERS GROWING IN THE FRONT GARDEN HERE



AN OLD TRUCK AND SOME OF THE STUFF ON DISPLAY



THERE'S A RIPPER OLD SCOOTER ON DISPLAY HERE ALSO



A PILE OF BARK



THE ORIGINAL STEAM ENGINE FROM THE BARK MILL (apparently it still runs, even though not working when we were there)



THERE'S BELTS RUNNING OFF THE ENGINE EVERYWHERE FOR POWERING DIFFERENT THINGS




With our look around completed here we jump back in the vehicles and head Northwards out of town. We don't travel to far and see a sign for a place called Dolphin Sands, so we turn right of of the highway and head for the point that we can see on our GPS units. We end up at the end of the road and drive out onto a dirt / sand track that appears to take you out onto the beach here. There's tracks runing off in all directions, but it appears as though large rocks have been put in many areas to try and stop people driving about the area. Unsure whether we are allowed to be driving around here or not, we don't continue on and jump out of the vehicles to grab a few pics looking out over the water.

THE VIEW WHERE WE ENDED UP AT THE END OF DOLPHIN SANDS ROAD



We hop back in the vehicles and drive back towards the highway, we explore a road off to the right that on our GPS shows has a dirt track running off it that'll take us back to the highway, but in reality this road doesn't exist at all, so we back track along the bitumin road instead. Off to our left we see a sign for 9 Mile Beach, we park the vehicles up here and hop out to go for a walk. Cresting the sand dune that leads you down onto the beach we are immediately smashed by the strong winds that are blowing about the area today.  We go for a short walk along the beach, but our bodies are literally being sandblasted as we walk along, so after a short while we beat a hasty retreat back to our vehicles once again...it really was quite unpleasent being out on this beach today with the wind that was blowing.
From Nine Mile Beach we head back to the main highway and turn right to keep heading North. It's not long and we come across a lookout that we wanted to stop at yesterday as we drove past on the way to Swansea, but there just wasn't any room for us to stop here with our trailers on the back, as there were several vehicles here already then. The lookout is located at Apslawn and is literally right beside the highway, you pull off the side of the road onto a dirt verge and hop out of your vehicle to check out the view. Known as the Great Oyster Bay Lookout, here you'll have a stunning view out over Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve with a back drop of Mount Peter and Mount Paul.

VIEW FROM GREAT OYSTER BAY LOOKOUT



If you look at the pic above, in the bottom lefthand corner you'll see some of a vineyard that belongs to a local winery. Know as The Hazards Vineyard, this winery has a cellar door that has free tastings of it's Devil’s Corner range and that's where we headed to next. The view to be seen from the cellar door looking over the lagoon and mountains i mentioned earlier is probably more spectacular then from the lookout located above, well at worst it's on a par with it...so it's well worth stopping in here if you get the chance. As usual with our wives being the wine connoisseur's that they are, they had to partake in the sampling of the local grape juice, so Jeff and myself looked after the kids and enjoyed the view on offer whilst the girls hit the plonk.

HAZARDS VINEYARD CELLAR DOOR



NOT A BAD VIEW TO BE HAD FROM THE VINEYARD



With the grape juice swilling completed here we jump back in the vehicles and continue heading North up the highway. A short distance up the bitumin we take a left turn and make another stop at yet another winery, this one being the Freycinet Vineyard. The cellar door here is a bit flasher building then then what we encountered at the previous vineyard, it's got some nice stone and timber structure happening, so i admire this for a bit. Whilst here, Sara was hoping to grab a bottle or 2 of their Radenti Sparkling Chardonnay which was familiar with, but sadly the winery had sold out of this, and she'd have to go without. We don't stay as long at this winery as we did the previous one, a few samples done and we hit the road again with a few bottles purchased and continue going North.

FREYCINET VINEYARD



From here we then head to Friendly Beaches for a late lunch, we turn right off of the highway onto Coles Bay Rd then take a left turn off of this road at the sign for Friendly Beaches. The road into here turns to dirt / gravel somewhere along the way, it's a good dirt road, with only very minor corrugations when we were there. We stop off at a lookout on the way to the camp area / beach, it's only a very short walk to the lookout from the carpark area we've stopped at, the view Southwards towards Coles Bay area is your reward for the short walk.

HEADING TO FRIENDLY BEACHES FOR A LATE LUNCH



LOOKING SOUTHWARDS TOWARDS COLES BAY



Back in the vehicles again and we continue on the short distance to the camp ground and beach itself. We did consider camping here at one stage hoping it's be out of the wind this East Coast area is getting smashed by currently, it does appear to be slightly better sheltered then other places we've seen thus far, but it still has some wind gusting about currently. The dozen or so camp spots located here aren't what you'd call big either, there's the odd spot you could fit a camper trailer into if they happened to be vacant (which they weren't when we were there), but ideally this place is more suited to tent type campers or people with small motorhomes or vans IMHO.
We manage to find ourselves the last few remaining carparks located here (there aren't all that many to start with really) and jump out of the vehicles to head down to the beach for a while. Before doing this though, we make a quick lunch from the back of the vehicles, and eat this in the car park area. Whilst having lunch i notice a strange noise coming from under the bonnet of my fourby, so i pop the hood and find the main starter battery is venting gas from itself. I've never actually seen a battery do this before (though have heard of it happening), so i just let it do it's thing and slowly lower the bonnet back down into position again and finish having lunch. With lunch eaten we head down onto the beach, it's only a very short walk with a bit of a goat track leading the last 15 metres down onto the sand, but once down here we are able to take in the beauty of the beach we are on, seeing it stretch Northwards for some 1.8 kilometres. We spend quite a while relaxing here on the beach and letting the kids run wild, there's only a handful of of other people about the area, a few crazy ones even ventured into the water for a swim. Down here at the beach is actually sheltered from the wind that is about the area, it's a great spot to relax, and you definately can't complain about the view. The combination of the colours of water in the ocean, the white sand and the rocks off to are right was something that needed to be seen to be believed, it really was quite stunning....it's amazing the contrast between being here and being sandblasted at 9 Mile Beach a few hours earlier today. I take a few pics of the area looking both Northwards and Southwards along the beaches here, and then eventually we call an end to our lazing about and head back to our vehicles.

LOOKING NORTHWARDS AT FRIENDLY BEACHES



LOOKING SOUTHWARDS TOWARDS COLES BAY



Back at the vehicles and my fourby's battery is no longer venting gas, i turn the key in the ignition and the vehicle fires to life, so i just leave the battery be for now. On the way out of Friendly Beaches we take a left turn and go explore a track that looks to head South to another section of beach. We follow this for a while until it comes to an end, it appears you need to go for a bit of a decent walk to reach the beach from here, so we decide to give it a miss and turn the vehicles around and start heading back to Swansea. The run back to Swansea is fairly uneventful and we notice the wind hasn't died down any on the run back also, we encounter one vehicle with a camper fitted on it's trayback taking it very slowly on the corners, it's high centre of gravity isn't copping very well at all with the strong wind gusts that are battering it.
Back in Swansea and we pay the IGA store another visit to get our eldest daughter a set of sunglasses also, kids being kids, they always want what the other sibling has gotten....no idea why we didn't think to get them a pair each this morning when we were doing it. I let the wife go into the store with our eldest daughter to get the sunnies whilst i waited on the main street in the vehicle. Whilst sitting in the fourby, it was literally rocking back and forth from the super strong wind gusts that were hitting it. I kid you not here, the entire vehicle was moving so much, it felt when a roadtrain goes past you whilst it's doing 100kph with the wind from it smashing against your vehicle....i don't ever recall having this happen to me previously with the way the wind rocked the vehicle like it did, which shows how windy it is at the moment.
With child 2 now happy to have her own sunglasses also, we head back to the house to bunker down out of the wind. I don't stay at the house though, i actually drop the wife and kids off at the house then head off up the road a touch to take a few pics of a local church i spotted yesterday in my travels. The All Saints Church of England in Wellington St, is a lovely old Gothic style stone building, and was completed being built in 1871. I take some pics here then call it a day and head back to the house.


THE ALL SAINTS CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN SWANSEA



NOTE IT'S BEAUTIFUL CONSTRUCTION...BUILT MOSTLY OF FIELDSTONE WITH SANDSTONE BUTRESSES AND GABLE COPPINGS



Parking the vehicle up in the front yard i pop the bonnet and notice the battery is venting gas once again, so i leave the bonnet open and walk off to leave it be for a while. Whilst waiting for dinner to cook i note the creaking and groaning that is going on from the strong winds with the steel carport and patio entertainment area that is attached to the house. Whilst this house wasn't exactly cheap to rent (great value though really), the cost of staying here is money well spent IMHO, because i'm sure our camper trailers would have gotten damaged by now had we of been trying to camp in them at the moment with the wind that is blowing.
Dinner had for the night and i note that Jeff had 3 serves of dessert, i can't recall what it is that we ate that night, but i did write in my trip notes about the gluttony going on his behalf...lol...so it must of been ok. After dinner i go out to my fourby and wash the battery and it's general area down with water, before closing up the bonnet and calling it a night to head off to bed. We'll see what happens with the battery in the morning, it'll need to be replaced somewhere soon is my thinking.
Just a heads up...Jeff has changed his signature due to being foolish enough to leave his account logged on when he borrowed my phone.
I preferred his signature i'd written there myself before he changed it...lol
Nice try Grasshopper!!!!!