Back on Solid Ground

Well that’s Tassie done and dusted. We were up bright and early to get into the queue for the ferry at Devonport. We had to wait for the disembarking passengers and vehicles before we could board. There were a surprising number of vehicles arriving with what appeared to be holiday stuff on board – they must have been returning Tasmanian’s or travellers prepared to self isolate for 14 days. The vehicles going back to the mainland just kept on coming (there must have been no tourists left on the island by the time we boarded😀) and we didn’t manage to get on board until two hours after the opening of loading. It was another relatively smooth sailing despite the weather forecast of strong winds. We disembarked at around 7 p.m. and were back home around 9.

It was a really great trip, beautiful scenery and the feeling of stepping back in time with the many old homes and other buildings. It would have been very tempting to move there had we seen it thirty years ago (well I would have been tempted I don’t know if we could have broken Jenny’s familial links). The only thing we noticed was the narrowness of the roads. The closeness between towns was interesting, as was the preparedness of the locals to have a dip by creating and selling products from their homes or along the wayside. I would rate it as one of our best trips. The boring stats were 3273 kilometres and $629 in fuel. Heaps of free camps and interesting scenery.

Thanks again to the Willies for their company and good humour and the people of Tasmania for putting up with us. Special call out to Jack and Jenny Smith for the great visit we had with them.

Now if this virus thingy nicks off we may even get away for another trip this year.

And So To Devonport

Sunrise on Wilmot as seen from Sheffield, Tasmania

We left our Sheffield camp at around nine trying to meander our way to Devonport. Unfortunately Tasmania is so small we only got to meand before we had reached the coast again. We shuffled around a few beaches but then headed into Devonport proper for a walk around the streets but then the rain set in so it was back to the cars to sit out the rain and have lunch. Off to scour the streets of East Devonport for a good coffee. We will park in the Spirit of Tasmania car park tonight after 7.30 p.m. ready to board at six in the morning.

Abandoned house Devonport, Tasmania

Exploring Mole Creek

We left camp a little later this morning – no rush we headed out to Mole Creek Karst National Park to checkout the caves. Not very well signposted but we eventually found the two sites and climbed into Honeycomb Cave to have an explore. Great fun with crystal clear water running through the floor of the cave. Little openings running off the main cave added to the mystery. From there we headed into Mole Creek and had lunch before driving over the Gog Mountain Range (just love that name) to the town of Sheffield where, once again, the shelves of the IGA have been stripped bare of rolled oats, powdered milk, flour and other dry goods. There must be a lot of mainlanders shopping up big before heading home. The Spirit of Tasmania messaged us to say incoming passengers must spend 14 days in quarantine while outgoing passengers remain unaffected at this stage so I guess our Saturday sailing is still on.

The stream running down to the Honeycomb Cave

We decided to make our camp at the Sheffield Recreation Area which means we will only have a short trip to Devonport tomorrow for our last day/night in Tassie.

Inside Honeycomb Cave – sadly no sweets to be found.

Moved on to Chudleigh

The Quadrant, Launceston CBD, Tasmania

We went into Launceston early to do our pensioner shop at Woolworths. They had almost everything we wanted bar powdered milk and rolled oats. We walked around the CBD of Launceston for a little while before we decided to head towards Caveside which is a district about 60 kilometres north west of Launceston where there are several cave systems. By the time we arrived at Chudleigh for morning tea misty rain had set in so it was decided to make camp here.

A re-imagined old house, Chudleigh, Tasmania

There is a Honey Shop with a huge variety of products in Chudleigh and the General Store. Other than that there isn’t a lot to entertain visitors. A nice setup at the Showgrounds for an overnight stay so we will probably move on to the caves tomorrow depending on the weather.

Started Out as a Rest Day

We had a bit of a sleep in. The ladies did some laundry and Bob and I contemplated the ongoing madness in the world. We decided to set out for Cataract Gorge, Bob and Debbie were going to catch the free Tiger Bus, a tourist initiative supplied by Launceston City Council, from the hospital while Jenny conned me into walking up to the gardens despite the lady at the caravan reception recommending that it was to strenuous for most people to undertake. Unfortunately the last Tiger Bus had run for the day (unbeknownst to us) so Bob and Debby missed out. We made it to the gardens (with only one short rest on the way) where we caught the chairlift across the gorge. Spectacular views out over the gorge and gardens. We had a drinks break at the kiosk before walking back across the suspension bridge back to the car park. Good day out but I’m over the walking at this very moment.

The Alexandria Suspension Bridge, Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania

Don’t Blink

We are finding it hard to cope with the short distances between places. Today we left Gravelly Beach for Launceston at nine fifteen, did a big supermarket shop, had coffee and cake and still got to the Caravan Park at eleven! We spent the afternoon wandering the streets of Launceston. This time it was Bob who had phone trouble, so we had to find the appropriate shop. We stayed in the CBD until dinner time so we could partake of a mixed grill at the Commercial Hotel. The reviews were better than the food but suitably stuffed with a huge steak, a lamb chop, a sausage, an egg, tomato chips and mushroom sauce we got an Uber back to the the Caravan Park at South Launceston.

Our Campsite at the Big4 South Launceston

Headed Out Into the Back Blocks

Gravelly Beach Park, Tasmania

Oh dear, not much happening today. We headed out the road to do a forest drive inland from Beaconsfield. It took us all of an hour before we were back to the coast again. We decided to head off on a round trip from Exeter upto the Batman Bridge then back down the coast. Even with stops for morning tea and walk around Exeter we still arrived at our preferred destination at lunchtime. Mmm we’re not meant to set up camp until 5 p.m., so we sat around reading, catching up on stuff and waiting.

Paper Beach on the Tamar River, Tasmania

This will mean a long haul of 21 kms tomorrow into Launceston. We plan to spend a couple of nights there.

Another Day, Same Old Town

We woke to a cold clear morning, the rain had gone, replaced by calm, sunny skies. We retired early last night – an extremely cold wind came in combined with the general dampness underfoot. We set out this morning for a tour around the nearby seaside villages. Poor old Beaconsfield is definitely the poor cousin around here, a lot of large seaside homes and holiday houses in the coastal towns. We are so close to Launceston (approximately 40 kilometres) I’m guessing a lot of people have holiday houses here. Some of the villages seem very suburban while others certainly have that beachfront feel.

Lighthouse at Low Head, Tamar River, Tasmania

We returned to Beaconsfield to check out the Mine Poppet head that we all saw featured on our television news programs back in 2006 when Larry Knight lost his life in the mine collapse and two others were trapped for two weeks. The mine site is now incorporated in the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre. After having lunch in the park opposite we decided that we may as well stay at our freecamp here before heading toward Launceston tomorrow. We have to fill in a day as we aren’t booked into Launceston until Monday Afternoon.

The mine poppet head inside the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre

Beaconsfield Beckoned

Woke to a lovely warm sunrise amidst the verdant green pastures of Pyengana, some dew on the grass but clear blue skies. We headed off toward Scottsdale (for grocery shopping) when we came upon the Legerwood Carved Tree signs. Julie had told us about them but luckily the signs reminded us so into Legerwood for a cuppa.

One of the beautifully carved trees.

From there into Scottsdale then onto Bridport, a very picturesque beach village. It’s obviously popular for holidaymakers judging by the size of the foreshore Caravan Park. We left there to go George Town intending to tour around the coastline but it poured rain unexpectedly so we ended up having lunch under a rotunda on the foreshore. We decided to leave George Town to the rain and head off to Beaconsfield where we set up camp at the Recreation Ground with a few other motorhomes and caravans washed in off the road. The rain is forecast to stop later tonight.

An Angle at St Helens

We set sail from Bicheno after a restful night watching a string of satellites pass over our camp. We estimate that there were thirty satellites almost evenly spaced in the same orbit – a really eerie phenomenon to watch. I’m sure it wasn’t the Old Tawny causing us to see stars.

Whiling away the hours at St Helens

We arrived in St Helens around morning tea so the fishers decided they would like to throw a line in as this will be our last day on the east coast. Bob caught and lost a whiting but other than that there wasn’t anything for tea in the bucket by the end of two hours. Lunch in the park then back on the road again

Not so much of a “Pub in the Paddock”

We decided that we would stay at the “Pub in the Paddock” but upon arrival we were told the kitchen was closed and the pub was shutting at four. I know we look a bit rough but I didn’t think we looked that bad. So, seeing that we appeared to have outstayed our welcome (even though we had just arrived), we moved to the Pyengana Recreation Reserve where they have set up great facilities (3 minute hot shower for $2) and ensconced ourselves in the camp in the sunshine.