Wilderness

Monday
Time to break camp and head into the Tasmanian Wilderness. I brought that vest yesterday with Tasmanian Wilderness emblazon no the front so I guess I’d better head to the West Coast and the town of Strahan. The first part of the trip takes you through the rich fertile river flats of the North West Coast and the rolling hills but soon you are in the forests. There are quite a few plantations to be seen before it gets really ruggered. Then it down into the Hellyer Gorge this is very windy and luckily not much traffic. It’s a long climb out the other side but the bush is beautiful. As we travelled towards a lunch stop at Tullah we had to slow down to allow an Echidna to cross the road. Lunch at Tullah Lakeside Lodge wasn’t great but the scenery made up for it.

Lake Roseberry

Lake Roseberry

In Strahan we booked into the only caravan park. This was very ordinary, The toilet block was being hosed out when we arrived and just left to puddle, bits of paper were left as they were but now wet, the ladies shower didn’t have any shower curtains and the drains backed up and just ran out the door.
In town we booked for a cruise the next day then looked for a coffee. There was no one around town we had a coffee and still one around town, we asked at the cruise shop where to get a good fish meal as the fish restaurant had closed. She recommended the local fish and chippy but we wanted something a little more attuned to dinning so found one of the pub that had some diners in it and proceed to order some of the local fish dishes. “Sorry haven’t got any of that, nor that in fact we haven’t got any fish.”
“We had the Mayor’s funeral at the weekend and sold out of fish, the truck doesn’t come till Tuesday”.
This is a fishing town.
Tuesday and the weather looks a bit ominous but the sea is calm. The cruise is on a big catamaran and we head up Macquarie Harbour which is twice as big as Sydney Harbour. The opening to the harbour is via Hells Gates a 50 metre wide channel. In 1900 there was a training wall constructed on the seaward side of the opening to allow a channel to be dredged through the opening and the natural flow keeps it clear.
The cruise takes you to the fish farms setup in the harbour. These farm Atlantic salmon and Ocean Trout. A major attraction of the cruise is an hour spent on Sarah Island, a convict settlement around 1830. Then it was lunch on board while cruising the Gordon River up to Heritage Land to walk in the temperate rain forest and see growing Houn Pines.

A log happy to be in the forrest

A log happy to be in the forrest

The cruise finishes back in Strahan at the local saw mill where you watch them saw a log with a reciprocating saw. What started out a bit iffy weather wise ended up sunny and “a lovely day was had by all”.
Wednesday and we had had enough of Strahan, the Wilderness Railway was under going maintenance, so it’s off to Queenstown.
Guess what its raining here. Hobart tomorrow.

Wombats to You

Sunday looked like it would be a fair sort of day so we set out for Sheffield and on to Cradle Mountain. Motoring down the road we came across a signpost pointing to Nowhere Else 2 Km, didn’t think much of it but after several more kilometres was another signpost Nowhere Else 3 Km, well its time to go check it out so a sharp right turn and up a country lane. It felt like some of the lanes we went down in England. On we went not aware of how far we had travelled when we came to a T junction with a sign pointing back the way we had come. Nowhere Else 2 Km had we blinked? So Nowhere Else is in Tassie if you find it let me know.

Nowhere Else?

Nowhere Else?

Turned right bewildered, and continued on to Sheffield. Sheffield is known for its murals. It seems that every vertical surface has a painting on it. Some depict the business that is conducted in the building, others historical events in the area.

Sheffield Mural

Sheffield Mural

World of Marbles

World of Marbles

Also in the town is a marble shop, The World of Marbles, you know the game you once played at school. Not only are there marbles but glass bowl and jewellery. The most intriguing part is the marble towers that have marbles drop from the top and follow various paths to the bottom where they are lifted back to the top. There were several different models and unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take a photo so you will just have to come and see yourself.
Sheffield also has and old style clothing store, Slaters Est 1899. We were tempted inside by some half priced items displayed on the footpath. Pam bought some lovely knee high boots and I brought a outdoor vest. The store had an old timber counter and a small set of steps for children to use to see over the counter. Great shop and great prices.

Slaters

Slaters

Mount Roland dominates the western skyline in Sheffield and you skirt around its base as you continue on to Cradle Mountain. Not far pass Mount Roland we took a turnoff to a lookout and on the way we caught up to a maroon Nissan Navaro with Qld plates. I said to Pam I think that may be from the van parked next to us in Davenport and when we stopped at the lookout it was the people next door and they had seen us in Stanley the day before. We caught up again at Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain.
On the way to the lake Pam and I saw our first ever live wombat in the wild but as the track is narrow you are unable to stop for photos. We took some photos at Robby Creek and was about to continue on to Dove lake when we noticed another wombat but this time we were able to “shoot” him.

Robby's Wombat

Robby’s Wombat

Cradle Mountain and some of the surrounding peaks still had snow on them. The sun was out but the wind was very chilly so we elected not to go for a paddle in Dove Lake.

Cradle Mountain & Dove Lave

Cradle Mountain & Dove Lave

At the turnoff to the main road sat another wombat debating wether to cross or not. He made a wise decision and turned tail and headed back into the bush. Road kill is a big problem all over Tasmania with possums, devils, potoroos, wallabies and wombats every where along the roadsides and is even deterring some visitors from coming to the Apple Isle

On the Apple Isle

Well I know you have all been waiting with bated breath to see if we made it to the Apple Isle I’m sure you have all listened to the news to see if any ferries had gone down. Well I can assure you we made the crossing, it was a bit bumpy most of the way but we managed to get some sleep.
We arrived in Davenport at 6.00 am and tasted the best Tassie has to offer at the that time of the day at the Dockside Café, all you could eat of overdone eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes and beans. The caravan park was only 500m from the ferry but it didn’t open till sometime after 9:00 am so we camped in the local car park until the locals surfaced and we were able to check in. The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping, laundry and a nanna nap to get over last night.
The last time I was in Tassie I attempted to locate the burial place of my great great grandfather William Blackstock who came to Australia from Scotland in 1857 and died of typhoid fever in 1868. That time I did bring any information only that he died in Port Sorell Tas. This time I was going to bring my Family History folder but guess what someome forgot to put in it the van. I did remember this time that he was buried in the Old Don Cemetery close to the A2 highway which I passed several times on my last visit. What to do to find the plot. We started by visiting the Devonport Library where I was given the Mersey Valley Family History Group in Latrobe. So a quick dash over to Latrobe to find the office had closed only minutes earlier. I did manage to contact the President who was willing to open up the following morning (Saturday). I did manage to get Melissa who is house sitting for us to look at my notes and find the plot number.
That was Friday taken care of so Saturday we set out for a run along the North West coast but first stop was the Don Cemetery and have a wander, unfortunately there were no indicators of plot numbers but I was satisfied that I had visited his burial place.
Then we headed west and went up some hills that overlooked the Forth Valley. This is a very rich food growing area. The view was great and every where was green.

Forth Valley

Forth Valley

On we went through Ulverstone and followed the coast to Penguin. Here we had a coffee and cake overlooking the water. The coffee was one of the best I’ve ever had. Next door was a Uniting Church. This was weatherboard in “an exotic variant of the Federation Carpenter Gothic style”. There is something you can Google. A parishioner was going to do the flowers so allowed us in to see inside. The timber work inside was fantastic.

Penguin Uniting Church

Penguin Uniting Church

On we continued to Wynyard, the town has tulips in bloom lining the streets and out of the town were fields of tulips.

Tulips near Wynyard

Tulips near Wynyard

Stanley was our next point of call. Stanley is set at the base to “The Nut” a volcanic plug in the sea connected to the land by a small isthmus.

The Nut and Stanley from Highfield House

The Nut and Stanley from Highfield House

Stanley was the biggest port on the North West Coast. Here we found a seafood café for a late lunch “seafood chowder” Yummy. We also visited Highfield House with it spectacular views to sea and “The Nut”
As we travelled home to Devonport I was intrigued by the buildings and jetty at Port Latta. This looked like some sort of factory but I couldn’t make out how what ever they were doing got to or from the land side. Later I found out they mine iron ore and turn it into a sludge and pipe it 90 kms to the port were the factory pelletize it and load it on to ships. What a great day out and the scenery Fan bloody tasic