Back in Time to Oatlands

The Granary Mill, Oatlands, Tasmania

We set out this morning from our camp just outside of Oatlands just in time to beat the nine o’clock rush. The beautiful well maintained buildings were a delight. We walked the streets for an hour taking it all in before having morning tea then heading back toward the coast.

Wood carving “Golden Guardian” at St Mary’s, Tasmania

We took the A4 across the mountains to find that it was really just a paved goat track, barely two vehicles wide. Luckily we didn’t meet any log trucks despite the signs warning of their presence and the signs asking long vehicles to sound their horn before the hairpin corners. In any case we made it safely to Bicheno where we have booked into the Caravan Park for a shower, laundry, water and power before continuing on North along the East Coast tomorrow.

Freycinet NP, then South again

Moonlight over Great Oyster Bay

Jenny and Bob went down to the beach to get some fishing in but during the night a large raft of seaweed had moved in making fishing impossible. So we packed up and headed off to Freycinet National Park. We arrived there around 11.30 it be greeted by the massed crowds. It really detracts from the scenery when there are so many vehicles fighting to get parking. We did a quick drive through before heading back out to Coles Bay where we had lunch and admired the scenery.

Then it was off toward Oatlands via Campbell Town. We planned to check out Oatlands but it was around three when we came upon our freecamp so we decided to pull in early so we can take our time in the township tomorrow.

A new day, a new stay

We out did ourselves today travelling all of 70 kms before pulling into Mayfield Beach Freecamp so Bob and Jenny could have a day’s fishing in the surf. The locals aren’t confident that they will catch anything but the the two anglers are determined to prove them incorrect. Great campsite- view out over Great Oyster Bay towards the Freycinet Peninsular. The weather is a bit kinder today, little to no wind and weak sunshine through high cloud. It seems the weather is improving over the next couple of days.

Great Oyster Bay with the Freycinet Peninsular on the horizon

Just got back from checking out the anglers and Bob caught a small shark (Draughtboard Shark I think) but decided to return it to the briny depths because it may not have been of eating quality. It turns out we are in a No Shark Capture Zone so just as well he released it.

Do you want chips with that?

Port Arthur

We left Dunalley early and made our way to the Port Arthur Historical Site. We were amongst the first through the door which was probably just as well going by the crowds that descended later in the day. I suppose this is the highlight of the trip to Tasmania, the sense of history is palpable and the way the tours are run was very good. We spent five hours exploring the site.

The Convict Church, Port Arthur, Tasmania

When we went to leave we were stuck. All the lazy car visitors had parked in the Caravan and Motorhome car park but hadn’t left us a way out. Luckily a lady returned to her car and we were able to squeeze our way out. We visited the nearby Eagle Neck blowhole on the way north before heading up to Buckland to stay at the Old Buckland Inn for the night. A really interesting day.

Three miscreants in the Officers’ Gardens, Port Arthur, Tasmania

Been to Bothwell

We left Southport around eight to head north to Bothwell and the Nicholas ancestors stomping grounds. It was an uneventful trip back up the main roads to Hobart , doing a bait shop at Franklin and a grocery shop at Huonville before arriving in Bothwell in time for lunch. Stopped in at the cemetery for a chat with Jenny’s relos (they didn’t get a word in).

A one sided conversation

We then travelled out to Nandt to check out the old buildings (we didn’t partake of the whiskey) The young lady behind the bar filled us in on the facts about the buildings and was very helpful.

The old family digs at Nandt, 3 kms from Bothwell

We left there and headed down to Richmond to view the old town before continuing on to Dunalley to stay next to the pub for the night. Jenny is upset because we can’t have a fire tonight.

The first bridge built in Australia (?? Forty years after the first fleet)

Heading North

Spotted quoll scouting our campsite

Last night no Tassie Devil but we did have a Spotted Quoll. The cute little fella even stood on my foot while I was sitting there and checked me out. Fortunately the shock didn’t kill him so it was just another wildlife thrill! Amazingly the people in the Caravan next door didn’t venture out even though passers-by were coming in to check with us if we had had any sightings.

Jenny standing next to the remnants of an old giant logged in the early 1900s

We set out this morning on our journey North – except, at this rate, it may take us a while. We went as far as Hastings Caves and Thermal Reserve where we did a guided tour of the Newdegate Cave. A really good tour. We had lunch at the Visitors’ Centre before going for a dip in the “Thermal Pool”. Ah no, that ain’t thermal- average temperature 27º but certainly didn’t feel that hot. I lasted about ten minutes before I headed to the hot shower in the change rooms. From there we moved onto Southport to stay in the Caravan Park so we could do some laundry. No mobile service in this neck of the woods so there’s a time delay on this post😀

Inside Newdegate Cave, Hastings, Tasmania

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again…

The forecast rain turned up early this morning and continued steadily throughout the day. No getting away from this precipitation – we’ve had at least 20mm and it still hasn’t let up. Unfortunately, because of the angle we’re parked on, there is a slight leak in the range hood and from the exhaust fan in the shower. I might try some on the road repairs tomorrow night just in case it rains again this trip.

I’m really pleased with the modifications I made to the Solar and Battery system. We’ve been sitting here for two days and even in these overcast conditions we have full batteries and freezing fridges. This is our fourth night out without power and we could continue at this rate indefinitely (mind you I think we may be due for a shower, only long drops here)

Another Day In Paradise

Excitement plus last night. We had a Tasmanian Devil come in to the camp and devour food that our next door neighbours had left out to attract him. Quite unconcerned with our presence and happily continued feeding even with all these people and their cameras clicking away, illuminated by our torch light.

Moonlight over the bay

Today was our first full day of sitting and relaxing- Bob and Jenny fishing, while Deb and I continued our reading. I finished my book (Archie Roach’s biography) before heading down to the beach to see how the fishermen were going. Jenny caught another small flathead so its frozen salmon for tea tonight.

Recherche Bay, Cockle Creek, Tasmania

The weather forecast is predicting rain for tomorrow so we figure we will stay here until the rain passes by. No use travelling in the rain we can’t really stop and look at anything

Cockle Creek

We awoke this morning to much calmer conditions. Still cool but the wind was basically gone. After breakfast Bob and Jenny went for another fish from the Huon Yacht Club Jetty, while I caught up on the news and my housework. Deb relaxed with a book so it was a pretty laid back affair this morning.

The sun breaking through on a new day in Paradise

The fishermen had some success, bringing back a Black Bream and a solitary oyster. We were able to fill up with fresh water at the free camp before we headed off, stopping at Geeveston to check out the Information Centre then had lunch in the park. From there we pushed south to Cockle Creek NP Campinground. We are intending to stay at least a couple of nights so Jenny and Bob can get some fishing in. Meanwhile Debbie and I will struggle making do with the view

The view from our campsite

Last Of Hobart

We left the Showgrounds around nine to visit Jack and Jenny Smith (Jenny’s cousins) right in Hobart. We called in at their unit before Jenny guided us around to the Nursing Home where Jack now resides. Beautiful home situated in glorious established gardens. We had a great visit, Jack was having a good day. We had coffee and cake in the little cafe run by volunteers.

Jack enjoying the attention of the ladies.

We left there at around eleven and caught up with Bob and Debbie at Kingston where we had lunch before taking a meandering trip along the coast past Margate down to Franklin before setting up camp at Shipwrights Point Foreshore camping area at Port Huon. The fishermen took the opportunity to throw in a hook despite the strong winds and mists on the surrounding hills. Jenny caught a little flathead but it was crying for its mother so she had to return it to the sea. No other bites other than the biting wind after dinner. We gave up and retired to our motorhomes after a medicinal Old Tawny.