TAS

Tasmania

Waterhouse Point (Tasmania) – Flashback

Leaving Deep Creek we checked out some of the other sites in the park and were very surprised to find that many of the beachfront ones were totally empty. Whilst visiting the Stumpys sites (there are 4) the kids got out to try to pump an old bore handle with varied success as the photos show.

To the North-east of Bridport in North Tasmania there are a few camping spots within the Waterhouse Conservation area. Driving around some of these we were very surprised to find some of the beachfront camps empty. After visiting Stumpys 1 to4 we ended up settling for Waterhouse Point. Once again we were the only people there until a late arrival. The beach was home to thousands of soldier crabs who fled when the kids descended, burrowing rapidly in a clockwise circular motion into their holes. At the far end of the beach the kids searched through knee-deep weed for “sea treasures”.

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The site looked like a great place for Tassie Devils so I got the camera ready, rugged up and sat quietly. My hopes sank when a feral cat showed up but when I scared it off as soon as the sun set a particularly brazen brushtail possum swaggered into the camp, and after repeated attempts to scare him off I decided it wasn’t the night for devils.

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Categories: Adventure, Animal Action, Australian Outback, Beach, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, Offroad, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the Mainland

Just before leaving Tasmania we met a local farmer who we spent a while talking to. He owned hundreds of acres and cultivated poppies and pyrethrum for the pharmaceutical industry, potatoes, cattle for the top end restaurant market and more besides. A beautiful oak and sycamore stood near the entrance of what appeared at first glance to be a poppy field but there was also a graveyard in the middle of the field.

Bruce's poppies

Bruce showed us how the opium extraction begins then explained that the trees used to be at the entrance to the church that once stood there, and that a school used to stand next door. At nearly 80 years old he told us some of the local history that was slowly being forgotten. We took a photo with him then bade him a farewell after over an hour of chatting in one of his paddocks.

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Tasmania is the only state that is legislated to grow opium poppies. Farmers must have an approved contract with a pharmaceutical company and the whole operations are monitored very closely by satellite, police and locals. Last time Amanda stopped to photograph a poppy field on a previous visit we had a police car arrive before she had got back in the car!

Our final thing to do was get some fruit picking in and close to the ferry we found a “pick your own” farm with raspberries, tayberries and strawberries. All the kids loved the photo opportunity involving a horse’s rear, as well as in the field with the fruit.

 

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Then as we queued for the ferry in Devonport our last final excitement in Tasmania as the car in front us was descended upon by police. One man fled with cops in hot pursuit and his female passenger was escorted away. Before we got on the ferry the undercover cops arrived and were stripping the car!

Categories: Adventure, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure | 1 Comment

Narawntapu National Park

Narawntapu National Park hadn’t been on our radar but when Hannah rejected our camp in the middle of the river at garden island near Clarence, after we had set up camp I may add, but we stumbled upon it as we headed towards Devonport, with only a few days left before we leave Tasmania.

NarawntapuNP

Dubbed the Serengeti of Tasmania it comes as no surprise to see vast expanses of short grassland, but instead of wilderbeest, lions, and elephants, this national park is full of marsupials. Forresters Kangaroos, Bennetts Wallabies, Pademelons, Bettongs and Potoroos all can be found here. I still can’t work out which is which but the ranger told us the rule of thumb was whether they are knee or waist high, and bigger or smaller than this, but there are so many joeys around too they are starting to all look the same. The wetlands are a haven for bird lovers and one of Tasmania’s top 60 short walks is the Springlawn walk to the bird hide in the middle of the lake. Our camp was surrounded by wombat holes, but no sign of them yet!

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The boardwalk takes you past swamps, melaleuca and silver banksia forest, then on to the lakehide. Black swans and coot were everywhere but also to be spotted were Australasian grebe, maned duck, pacific black duck, egrets, herons, blue billed duck, musk duck, hoary-headed grebe and many others.

Just beyond the hide the path takes you on a bush walk to the top of Archers Knob, where commanding views over the park can be enjoyed, including the full length of Bakers Beach. This beach has millions of soldier crabs parading the shoreline at low tide and the kids had a competition to see who could find the most shark and ray eggs. They found at least 4 different species.

I also spotted my first snake here – a tiger snake basking in the sun on the walking path.

The poor wombats are suffering from Wombat mange caused by mites and seeing a wombat with very little fur staggering around during the day, covered in flies was not a pretty sight.

Categories: 4WD, Adventure, Animal Action, Australian Outback, Beach, Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, Natural World, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Twitcher, Walks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Eddystone Point and Deep Creek

On the far eastern point of Tasmania, above the Bay of Fires, within Mt. William national park is Eddystone Point. Our new home was the Deep Creek campsite several kilometres away, where a handful of fishing shacks line the shoreline. A short walk from the campsite up the shallow creek takes you to a large deep pool that would be great in summer but given the weather we have been experiencing no-one was up for the challenge to jump in.

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A quick visit to the lighthouse built at the end of the 19th century was followed by a visit to nearby Larc beach. Recent storms had laid bountiful piles of seaweed on the beach, but on closer inspection one pile turned out to be a particularly gruesome seal carcass. The kids loved this, though were a little disappointed that it wasn’t a Thylacine (extinct Tasmanian Tiger). It was so badly decomposed all we saw at first were the big canine teeth and fur. With storm clouds approaching we had a quick look at the Bay of Fires beach, recommended as being one of the whitest sands to be found, before returning to camp. When we returned the following morning Xavier found a Hooded Plover nest with two eggs in it.

Categories: 4WD, Adventure, Animal Action, Australian Outback, Beach, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, Natural World, Offroad, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Twitcher, Walks | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blue Tier Forest – Goblin Forest Walk

The Blue Tier forest reserve sits off the road between St. Helens and Weldborough, and has a number of walks but we couldn’t resist the name of one of Tasmania’s top 60 short walks. At around 750m high the hills were shrouded in cloud when we arrived. Entering the forest took us into a fairy tale world where branches and rocks were coated with lichens, ferns and mosses of all shapes and sizes. In some areas the ground even looked like it was coated with snow.

The boardwalk snakes through the humid forest, and wombat trails can be seen winding their way amongst the trees and fallen logs. We found some beautiful pink orchids on the forest floor but at this stage my lens decide to seize (and later a piece of metal fell out).

We chose to drive on along the road expecting it to take us out of the reserve but very soon we found ourselves on an increasingly challenging 4WD track. It was a bit late in the day to continue, especially without any phone coverage!

Categories: 4WD, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, Offroad, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Walks | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bay of Fires

Cosy Corner was our camp for a couple of days in the Bay of Fires. Luckily the day we arrived the sun was out and we got to enjoy the pure white beaches and beautifully coloured water. A day trip from the beach took us up to the St. Columba Falls and a forest walk through tree ferns (or “man ferns” as they are called here). With the rain we have had recently the falls were looking very healthy. Apparently these are the tallest falls in Tasmania

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On the way back we stopped at the Pub in the Paddock for early refreshments and the opportunity to give the resident pig a beer. Unfortunately for us it seems Pinky was nursing a hangover from the previous day and was not interested in a couple of stubbies. Her predescessor’s sty still stands next door, though unfortunately Priscilla passed away recently.

Next stop the Holy Cow Café for Cheese-tasting and to watch the robotic milking process that even included an impressive automated neck, back and bum massager for those cows in need. The cheese recipe used is the original and the mature cheddar is highly recommended by FiftyToes!

Categories: Australian Outback, Beach, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Walks | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Douglas-Apsley National Park

A short drive north found us in the town of Bicheno, the biggest we have been in for a while and the first where we could top up the gas. First stop was the famous blowhole, for a photographic opportunity, then down to the Gulch! None of us were quite sure what a gulch was so we had to go and have a look.

 

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It was the narrow channel of water between the boat ramp and islands inhabited by hundreds of birds, particularly the crested terns. The office near the boat ramp where the glass-bottomed boat trips can be purchased caught the kids eyes and a showcase of Tasmanian underwater secrets drew them in. With giant crab pincers as long as your arm, sperm whale jaws, urchins, abalone shells all displayed randomly in a big glass showcase the kids noses were pressed against the glass trying to find some new treasure previously undiscovered – it turned out to be the piranha, and only alien in the tank. After a very informative chat with the man in the office we drove to Chain of Lagoons to camp. This lies just to the east of the Douglas-Apsley National Park, just behind the beach. All day the hills in the national park were masked by low lying clouds that constantly drizzled, and periodically this stretched down to our camp.

Waterhole at Douglas-Apsley NP

Waterhole at Douglas-Apsley NP

Next day in pouring rain we decided we couldn’t miss a trip to the famous waterhole in the national park, and somewhat reluctantly the kids agreed to come along too. It rained, and rained but that didn’t stop Xavier from finding a frog!

Frog

We then decided it was a good day to focus on schoolwork until the rain stopped.

 

Categories: Australian Outback, Beach, Camper Trailer, Car, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, Mitsubishi, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Twitcher, Walks | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Freycinet National Park

Heading for calmer and warmer conditions we drove straight back up North, through Hobart with only a brief lunch stop at Richmond to see the oldest bridge in Australia, built in 1823. Then on to our next camp at Friendly Beaches, close to Coles Bay. Here we captured photographic evidence of Xavier completing an easy challenge of patting a local animal, we think it is a Forresters Wallaby – let us know if this is right or not.

XwithForrestersWallaby

Friendly Beach saw the first landing of an edible, legal size fish, with a salmon and wrasse caught from the rocks. Xavier and I had an early morning jog to the end of the beach and back.

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A trip into Coles Bay saw us visiting Honeymoon Beach, Lighthouse Lookout and Sleepy Cove. Once again the crystal clear waters and colourful landscape is hard to capture in photos, especially when you have a speck of dust on your sensor! Hannah seized the moment, donned springsuit, mask and snorkel and dived in, whilst everyone else was still feeling the cold a little too much.

At the lookout we discovered Freycinet was the place to find lizards in Tasmania and we saw two different types, everywhere!

Hannah and Oscar lay down to measure how long a Bluefin Tuna is, and Oscar eyed up how hard his challenge to catch and eat one is!

The twitching highlight was the scarlet robin and green rosellas but we also found what appears to be a small dead possum by the track.

Categories: 4WD, Animal Action, Australian Outback, Beach, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Car, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, Mitsubishi, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Twitcher | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Huonville to the end of the road

From Huonville we drove through Franklin and Geeveston and shortly afterwards the road became gravel once more. We passed through a few sleepy settlements, Lune River, Ida Bay, and Moss Glen before entering the campgrounds at Cockle Creek. This is the furthest south you can drive in Australia. Crossing the bridge into the National Park the road turns North for a kilometre then ends. A short walk takes you to an impressive sculpture of a Southern Right Whale. From here if you want to walk further south you can, but we took the short walk to Fisher Point, where the ruins of a cottage mark the point where a pilot used to reside. Back at Camp the Roaring Forties blew their best and showed us how bleak the weather can be.  The fresh oysters from the rocks were as large as I have ever seen and they tasted beautiful. Whilst there the winds blew, it rained and then the glimpses of sun we got showcased what a fabulous place the whole area of Recherche Bay is. It was still cold though, barely reaching 17 degrees during the day.

Categories: Australian Outback, Beach, Camper Trailer, Car, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Location, Mitsubishi, National Park, Photography, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure, Walks | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Postcard from Oscar

Postcard from Oscar

My favourite Place was huon valley farm because there was a cute baby goat called bertie. There was pig called may. She eats about 30 loaves of bred each day. I fed bertie sum melck with a bottel.

We also stayd in a place with horses and alpacas and we fed grass.

I am having a good time hope you will write to me soon

from Oscar

Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, TAS, Tasmania, Travel, Travel Adventure | Tags: | 1 Comment

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