Tuesday, 28 February 2017


Today started out as a perfect day as the photo above shows. It was taken from the beach adjacent to our camp site.

The temperature got to 27degrees but, as the day wore on, the wind got up in the same manner that it did yesterday resulting in the same cloud formations over the Hazards as we saw yesterday.

Today was a very virtuous day in that we did the walk up to the Wineglass Bay lookout, and then the walk down to the Wineglass Bay beach, and then the walk back up to the lookout and finally the walk back to the car park – two and a half hours of walking up or down – no flat ground.


Just so you can share, here's a photo of the oysters we got at Bicheno yesterday We have found the local oyster outlet and will be buying some more on the way out of town tomorrow.

We are off to Huon Valley tomorrow for a few days with John and Virginia. There is some urgency because John has a golf game organised for tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, 27 February 2017


Last night, we had a late visit from one of our neighbours to alert us to some quolls running around the camp ground. The photo is not that great but the spots are clearly visible.

This morning, we left our idyllic campsite beside the South Esk River and travelled all of about 100klms to the Freycinet National Park where we are now camped in a National Park Campground with power and water! What is the world coming to?

Like Cradle Mountain, this is a very popular tourist area and the amenities reflect its popularity.

Unfortunately we have 20 knot winds today although the temperature got as high as 25 degrees. Perhaps that explains the cloud formations clinging to the top of the higher peaks in an otherwise clear blue sky.

There are some entertaining rock formations around here.

We did all the short walks this afternoon. Tomorrow we will do the longer Wineglass Bay walk. There is a sign that says that the car park is very busy. Hopefully we will find somewhere to park.

Coming through Bicheno today, we stopped at the local fresh fish outlet and organised dinner – oysters and perch.


As camp sites go, tonight's is a cracker. We are not the only ones in that there are three other campers here but they are several hundred metres away and we have our portion of it to ourselves. As I am typing this, the adjacent river is babbling away as it flows through a shallow section. We haven't yet seen a platypus but they are bound to be here. There is no phone coverage so the uploading won't happen until tomorrow.

Once again, we have a camp site with ensuite. Very flash.


We are only about 50 klms from the east coast, between the coast and Ben Lomond.

After setting up camp, we travelled about 40 klms further west over mostly dirt mountain roads to get to Ben Lomond. There is no summer activity apart from a bit of maintenance and the infrastructure is a little modest by comparison with mainland ski fields but the scenery is spectacular.

By the look of this sign, you would have to say that they don't expect the snow to ever get very deep.

As we were leaving the plateau, a friendly echidna popped out to farewell us.

We found a swimmer! Very rare in Tasmania, even in February.

Tomorrow we head back to the coast and down to Freycinet National Park where we have a site reserved for two nights. Understandably it is pretty popular and you need to book, even for a national park site.

Saturday, 25 February 2017


Today was another brilliant day both weather wise and otherwise. The temperature got to 21 degrees and we had clear blue sky all day. As I am typing this, I am back to long trousers and two jumpers but a good day by Tasmanian standards.

We started the day by heading north to check out the southern section of the Bay of Fires – a very scenic land of white beaches and orange rocks. The water was crystal clear and looked really inviting but nobody was swimming.

From there we headed inland to Halls Falls, the Blue Tier and St. Colombo Falls. The first two were the location of much tin mining activity at the end of the nineteenth century and traces of the activity remain.

The Blue Tier is an area almost 1000 metres in altitude which was the site of the substantial town of Poimena which supported tin mining activity. There is virtually no trace of the town remaining other than a large clear area where the rainforest was cleared to build the town. It is now a significant bush walking and mountain bike riding venue.

St. Colombo falls is said the be the highest in Tasmania having a height of approximately 100 metres The photograph doesn't do them justice. At the foot of the falls, we were back into the temperate rain forest fern country.

Our target for tomorrow is the Ben Lomond National Park, the site of Tasmania's only ski field.

Did I mention that the seafood around here is pretty good. Salmon and prawns last night. Ocean trevally and oysters tonight.

Friday, 24 February 2017


We are now on the east coast comfortably set up in a bush campsite in the Humbug Conservation Area just north of St. Helens and just south of the Bay of Fires. The beach is a short walk through the bush and very picturesque. Unfortunately, because it's Saturday night, there are quite a few campers here including a group of mature age bikers but we have our little corner to ourselves.

We came via Bridport on the north coast which is famous for its proximity to Barnbougle Golf Course for those interested in such things. Keen golfers speak highly of it and it looks pretty impressive .

Tomorrow we plan to explore Gould's Country, an area of impressively scenic rainforest with a history of Chinese tin mining, the Bay of Fires Conservation area and perhaps Mount William National Park a little further north.


Thursday, 23 February 2017


If you look closely at the photo above, you can see that we visited the
Swinging Gate, Holm Oak, Goaty Hill, Iron Pot Bay and Tamar Ridge
wineries today We were picked up at twelve by Jill. Fortunately, the wine tour party consisted of only three of us plus Jill. The extra was Carol, a semi retired toxicologist from London of about our age with green streaks in her hair to match her outfit visiting Australia for the first time. We had a very entertaining and informative day. The Tamar Valley wine industry appears to be thriving.

This morning, I visited the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre. The mine is now closed but it's claim to fame is the earthquake in 2006 as a result of which one miner died and two were rescued after two weeks trapped underground. That incident really put Beaconsfield on the map in a tourist sense.

Apparently there is still plenty of gold to be mined but it is no longer economical to mine it using the shaft that had been in use since 1904. The heritage centre itself is under threat in that the 2016 floods which affected much of Tasmania caused subsidence which, unless repaired at a cost of $1,200,000, will eventually affect the whole site. Discussions are apparently continuing as to how that cost might be found.

East coast tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


A warm lazy day today. Trish did the washing. We did some shopping (Tasmanian salmon for tea) and we went exploring the area.

On the western side of the Tamar River we went as far north as West Head being the eastern end of the Narantapu National Park.


On the eastern side, we went up to Low Head. The Tamar Valley is, of course, wine country so we saw plenty of vineyards. We didn't visit any because as anticipated, we have a wine tour booked for tomorrow.

Quite near our caravan park are located the Tamar Island Wetlands a very extensive wetlands area with boardwalks which give access to it - very well done. We didn't see any wombats in the grass today but we did see some swans.

We are very much enjoying the warmer weather.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017


23 degrees. How delightfully warm. This the warmest we have been since arriving in Tasmania. Having said that, we did choose to explore its coldest parts first. Hopefully lots of warm weather from now on.

We had another car adventure today thanks to the car's electronics. Our plan was to go to Launceston via Mole Creek where there are some caves which come highly recommended. We didn't have a lot of fuel but we were never far from a town and I was keeping an eye on fuel remaining. According to the car's computer, we had more than enough to get to Launceston.

After spending some time in the caves (which were well worth a visit) and having lunch we set off for Launceston only to see that the fuel gauge was recording completely empty and according to the car, we had only enough fuel for seven kilometres. We were nine kilometres from the nearest town, Mole Creek.

To add to the excitement, we didn't have any phone signal so had to drive four of our precious seven kilometres to ring RACQ. After an hour, they rang back to say they would be another hour and a half so, for the tenth time after I got the seven kilometre warning, I switched the car on and this time noticed that the fuel gauge was showing a little fuel although it was telling me that I only had enough fuel for three kilometres so, assuming that I had an electronics problem, not a fuel problem, I started driving the car and after several hundred metres, the distance for which I had enough fuel suddenly jumped to 102 klms. Needless to say, I cancelled RACQ, or RACT as it is known in Tasmania.

The wonder of modern electronics.

We are now comfortably settled in a caravan park in Launceston where we intend to stay for a few days. We are contemplating doing a wine tour. The Tamar Valley Wine Route is apparently quite impressive and the cellar does need restocking.

Once we leave here, our plan is to head down the east coast. We have a commitment to be at the Lamb's house in the Huon Valley tomorrow week and we want to catch up with Steve and Tish Carter in Hobart so we might need to put some structure into our future planning.

Monday, 20 February 2017


Today was a very virtuous day in that we spent most of it exploring some of the very well laid out medium length tracks of Cradle Mountain.

We were by no means the only people there but most of the time, our particular section of the track was sparsely populated.


Today was our first cloud free sunny day since arriving in Tasmania but the breeze, when we were exposed to it was still pretty cool. At ten o'clock this morning when we finally got going, it was nine degrees.


The shuttle bus system works really efficiently and there is an advantage in not having the car. You don't have to return to where you start the walk.

The wombats are obviously well trained. There were a number of them in the open country adjacent to one of the walks for the tourists to enjoy.

Tomorrow we start heading east, our ultimate goal being the east coast and hopefully, warmer weather.


All I can say is that the Cradle Mountain precinct has changed an awful lot since we were last here in the mid 1990's. The change has of course been brought about because of the enormous number of visitors it now gets but we were able to drive to the Dove Lake car park as we did then and we did find the day hut that we sheltered in from the atrocious weather last time.

We were only able to drive to Dove Lake because we went past the boom gate very late this afternoon. They have a system whereby only a limited number of cars are let in the park at any one time. Otherwise everybody with a National Park pass is given a shuttle bus ticket and has to gain access via the shuttle bus. It's just as well because the road is narrow and windy and couldn't handle any volume of vehicles.

En route from Queenstown this morning, we visited a number of the hydro electric dams – very impressive. There aren't many places where you can drive across the spillway. They close the road when the water is flowing over.

The weather has been quite pleasant today although the temperature is back at about 10 degrees now. We took advantage of the good weather to have a helicopter tour – again very impressive. We were a bit unlucky in that the only shower of the afternoon arrived at Dove Lake at about the same time we did so we didn't see it at its best.

We have had a few wildlife encounters today including the wallaby who is contentedly munching at the mossy grass on the edge of our campsite as I type this.

On the subject of the campsite, it is really well done. While we can see the neighbouring camps through the trees, they are sufficiently far away to create the illusion that we have our little bit of bush to ourselves.

Tomorrow we will pack our back pack, get our shuttle bus tickets and attack the shorter tracks. We will leave the Overland Track to the younger, fitter and madder.

Sunday, 19 February 2017


Surprisingly we are in Queenstown tonight. I say surprisingly because we were expecting to be in Strahan but, thanks to some heavy rain overnight and this morning, the camp site we were aiming for near Hell's Gate on Macquarie Harbour was very waterlogged and, of the two caravan parks in town, one was waterlogged to the extent that they were not letting anyone on their numerous vacant sites and the other was, surprise, surprise, full. So, here we are very comfortably settled at the caravan park in Queenstown.

Having said that, we had a very successful day in Strahan in that the rain stopped and we were able to comfortably wander around the tourist precinct of Strahan and enjoy an afternoon on the West Coast Wilderness Railway.

The railway meanders through lots of pristine temperate rain forest (of which we have now seen a lot) but there is an unfortunate side effect of the mining activity being the reason the railway came into existence. The same activity which stripped the hills surrounding Queenstown of its vegetation also polluted the Queen River which runs into the King River along which the railway travels for part of its route.

The river is a muddy brown colour, not the tannin brown it would be if still in its pristine state and doesn't appear to support any life although we did see a couple of ducks on it not far from where it joins Macquarie Harbour. The tour guide on the train did express some optimism that it was improving but it obviously still has a long way to go. It does have great reflections though.

Notwithstanding that, the railway is very well done and an excellent experience.

We found this Huon Pine info. Maybe there is some hope yet.

We are booked into an unpowered camp site in the Discovery Holiday Park at Cradle Mountain for the next two nights being the only camping option for Cradle Mountain. The gentleman in the next site said that it is going to be very cold. Given that it is 10 degrees here, we might need to dig out even warmer gear and break out a red wine.