Monthly Archives: November 2014

Hannah’s first challenge complete!

Hannah received a timely challenge in Huonville, to spot and photograph a duck-billed platypus. Fortunately we were camped right next to a river with them in so after a couple of hours the challenge was complete. They were pretty skittish creatures, not surfacing for any length of time. For any twitchers out there, there were quite a few birds there too, including the striated pardalote.

 

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Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Camper Trailer, Challenges, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Twitcher | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Jeffery’s Track to Huonville

We had a seemingly easy drive planned for today after the swim in Lake St.Clair but I had spotted a “short cut”! Just another minor road preventing the need to go into Hobart and out again. Where the dirt started at either end the following message greets all drivers. This would test how well equipped we were, and we could always turn back if required. It was only 15km from Lachlan to Crabtree.

Jefferys Track Sign

Jefferys Track Sign

It was dry and initial indications showed that this track was used by offroad enthusiasts, with some serious sections branching off the main track. The Pajero ploughed on and the Camprite camper trailer followed obediently. Then we reached the following section :

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The challenge was the first hole. The obvious route looked the best but if we couldn’t make it there was no option to winch out. Everyone evacuated the car except me, despite Oscar and Hannah’s requests to remain. The car might have made it but with the camper trailer behind it just fell short so a hasty reverse was required. The only option was a winch assisted one to the right of the track, and fortunately for me with Amanda having seizures up the road, two local lads, Tom and Paddy turned up on dirt bikes offering assistance. Having heard or seen us drive past they had followed for a bit of entertainment I suspect. Apparently they hadn’t been able to get through the previous week due to equipment breakage.

With winch attached it took a couple of attempts to get the car through and onto the second hole which by comparison was much easier. The Falken Wild Peaks traction was good and the Pajero performed immaculately. Thanks Tom and Paddy – it would have taken much longer without the local knowledge.

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From there on in there was an interesting very steep rocky climb, then 10-15 minutes descent down similar. I would have been keen to wait and watch the 4WD coming the other way without winch. Hopefully he turned around.

Categories: 4WD, Australian Outback, Camper Trailer, Car, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, Mitsubishi, Offroad, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Tyres | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Lake St. Clair

Heading south from Trial Harbour we didn’t stop long in Strahan and pressed on to Lake St Clair. Parts of the highlands reminded us of the Alpine regions in NSW, though between the forests emerged plains of tussock grass and heaths that were blooming in pink and yellow (gorse). Every road we drive has spectacular spring blooms. The standout on this leg was the deep red waratah that is interspersed in the forests approaching Lake St. Clair. The lake is the deepest in Australia at almost 200m, and with the altitude has very cold waters, a perfect place for Xavier to attempt the class challenge swim in Australia’s coldest waters.

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After eight, yes, eight Weetbix for breakfast he donned a spring suit and jumped into the icy waters, emerging after the agreed one minute timeframe. Job done he even volunteered to take his brother in for a second time.

We thought the campground was a bit pricey for what it offered and when each shower costs a dollar on top of that you’d expect they would be prepared to change money, but it was only done reluctantly. Time to move on to better places.

Categories: Australian Outback, Challenges, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Postcard from Hannah

Hi Guys

I have been having a good time. I am going to Hobart soon and we are getting a special surprise and it is staying on a farm for two nights. Today we swam in the deepest lake in Australia, Lake St.Clair, also one of the coldest waters to be found. In Boat Harbour it looks like the water is crystal clear.

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In Burnie we got a special surprise looking for penguins and we found some. I saw the first penguin and it was a chick in its nest. The penguins were little penguins, or fairy penguins.  On the Spirit of Tasmania I saw the movie BoxTrolls. The movies were for free.

At Trial Harbour we saw my favourite animal. We saw a ……….Tasmanian Devil!!! It was so cute but it was awesome because Tasmanian Devils are endangered and I saw one. Luckily my Mum woke me up to see it.

Does anyone have any challenges for me or the family? I would love to hear from you

From Hannah

 

Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure | 5 Comments

Trial Harbour (Heading south)

Trial Harbour with Whale bones

Boys behind Whale Bones at Trial Harbour

Disappointed with our lack of Tassie Devil sightings at Arthur River we headed south towards Strahan, deciding on advice from the rangers to stop at Trial Harbour. This quaint little village used to be a tin mining village but even now has a scattering of houses and shacks behind the dunes. The history room has a fascinating collection of minerals, animal bones, bottles and memorabilia from the mining days. Well worth a visit for a donation to the flying doctor service. Once again we found Tassie Devil footprints on the beach! Back at the campsite we tucked into chicken fajitas followed by marshmallows cooked on the campfire. The kids went to bed, while we sat and watched the stars and listened to the ocean. When Amanda went to bed she let out a shriek as a Tasmanian Devil was at the trailer tucking into the rubbish. In a mad flurry, this Devil was going to disappear quickly we tried to rouse the kids, get cameras and stop him taking the rubbish away. All I could muster was a couple of shots from the phone camera and Hannah and Oscar blearily appeared to glimpse him lope off. Success at last!

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Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Beach, Challenges | 1 Comment

Tarkine Drive

We decided to head inland and explore some of the forest via the Tarkine Drive, but with a few detours up some less worn tracks. The kids loved some of the bushwalks, and the walk to Wes Beckett Falls was fun, with steep drop-offs.

As the day drew to a close we diverted to Marrawah to look for fossils in the limestone at Ann Bay. We took a different road and found an interesting aboriginal site at West Point where women used to hide in depressions, built into the boulder strewn beach, waiting for seals to come onto the beach.

More spotlighting back at camp but still no Tassie Devils!

Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Walks | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Xavier

Hi Everyone

 

Thanks for all the challenges you have sent. Here is what we are going to try to do :

  1. We are going to jump into the coldest water in Australia in Lake St. Clair, Australia’s deepest lake

  2. Name 10 wombats

  3. Photo evidence of patting an animal (we have missed a couple of photo opportunities already with echidnas and pademelons

  4. 10 Tassie devils might be hard – but we’ll see what we can do

  5. Find twenty plants

  6. Sleep outside

Earlier on this week in Tasmania we saw little penguins. Tasmania has been my favourite state so far because it has lots of wildlife. I haven’t seen a Tassie Devil yet but I have found footprints. Dad thinks he saw a feral cat. I got really surprised at the number of English animals that live here e.g. hedgehogs, blackbirds, sparrows, starlings. We have only seen squashed hedgehogs so far.

I have been enjoying all the lovely fires each evening because it is a bit colder down here and very windy. The sand is different here because the sand grains are bigger and the waves have been really rough on the west coast. They can get to 20m high in storms. I have found many crabs in the seaweed with algae on their shells. Most of the places we have visited have crystal clear seawater. I found loads of bones from animals like ringtail possums jawbones, pademelon hip bones and lots of other small bones.

I love your messages – please write to me via this blog

My challenge to 3L is for you to keep sending me messages. Hope to hear from you soon

See ya next time,

Xavier

 

Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Challenges, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

The Tasmanian Devil hunt heats up

After a quick trip up to Cape Grim, where we saw lots of diary and wind farms, we headed over to the west coast in search of Tasmanian Devils. Xavier’s class has challenged him to see 10 Tassie Devils. In the last 15-20 years this poor animals population has plummeted by over 80% due to the facial cancer that is spread by contact between individuals so this is a particularly hard one.

Not ones to give up easily we headed towards the northern end of the Tarkine at Arthur River, the last bastion of the population where the disease hasn’t spread to yet (though it is feared it is only a couple of years away). The Parks and Wildlife rangers in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area visitor information centre there were fantastic, with such a detailed knowledge of the area and extraordinary capability and patience with the kids. We got information from where to find burrowing crayfish to how to make craft from kelp as aboriginal women used to do.

We moved into the camp area recommended to have Tassie Devil sightings. Good news – very few other campers so Amanda promised she would cook up a very meaty dinner, hoping the smell would lure them in.

Before that we visited the edge of the world to throw a stone into the water. There is no land to the west between here and South America. Walking along the beach, where massive tree trunks lie scattered amongst the rocks, Xavier found some footprints in the sand – could they be a Tassie Devils? Make your own mind up but we thought they looked like they could be.

As dusk approached, dark shapes appeared on the edges of the campground but these were just the browsing Pademelons moving in on the grass. As daylight failed we pulled out torches and waited, then when we could wait any longer we actively scoured the entire campsite spotting only numerous Pademelon and Tawny Frogmouths. Disheartened we went to bed knowing we still had another day!

Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, Mitsubishi, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boat Harbour

Our first stop at Boat Harbour was a relatively short drive west from the port of Devonport. Our camp couldn’t have been closer to the sea! We are all loving the NW coast of Tasmania, the kids are keen fossickers, scouring every shoreline for treasures.

Our second day there saw Fifty Toes take on the challenge of the Stanley Nut, a large volcanic lava plug that dominates the port of Stanley. A very steep walk, rather than chairlift saw us at the top in 10 mins. Different lookouts grant you a mutton bird’s view of the town below, where filming was just about to commence for a movie called “The Light Between Oceans” based on the book. We found our first Pademelons (tiny wallabies) in a little forest up there, dozens of them squatting below the bracken. We explored the harbour, then headed inland to explore some of the roads less travelled on the edge of the Tarkine forest. These ancient forests are full of giant trees, tree ferns lining the roads, and the humidity allows a fecundity of mosses and ferns to cover dead and living trees. The kids loved the first river crossing!

On the way back we did another detour to see Little Dip Falls and the Big Tree (it was big and impressive).

The evening treat was another drive east to Burnie, on a tip-off from or neighbours, to see the penguins coming in to feed their chicks. What a great end to the day to see the little blue penguins hopping out of the ocean and up to the chicks who were sitting in their nests only metres from us, and in some cases below the boardwalk we were standing on.

 

Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Beach, Car, Challenges, Journey Narrative, Location, Mitsubishi, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Walks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tasmania adventure begins

The Spirit of Tasmania has whisked us safely across the Bass Strait from Melbourne and we find ourselves camping in a little village resembling something out of a remote corner of the Mediterranean. A relatively short drive from the ferry found us in a camp spot that fronts the shoreline, where the water colour is brilliant pale blue and the houses in the village are all painted blue to match. Photos don’t do it justice but the area we drove around locally is very photogenic, with flower farms (daffodils, tulips, pyrethrum daisies, lighthouses, craggy cliff-faces. We even found a tree stump with a snow white and seven dwarves sitting on it beside the road. We also encountered our first big icon today – The Big Penguin in a town called Penguin.

Categories: Australian Outback, Beach, Camper Trailer, Journey Narrative, Location, Mitsubishi, National Park, Photography, TAS, Travel, Travel Adventure | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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