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Published: October 21st 2018
I would have liked to see the Tasmanian Devils but on the day when I was in Bicheno and wanted to see Devils in the Dark the tour wasn’t going !
Well that seemed to be my fate here in Tassie.... but if a tour isn’t going do it yourself became my motto . Originally I was going to do a 3 day mini bus tour of East Coast sandwiched between hospitality offered by two lovely ladies from 5W organisation. Then that tour was cancelled so nothing daunted I rented a car and set off myself and enjoyed stopping wherever I felt like it including a stop for Kate’s Farm famous berry pancakes. Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park was the target and after a long drive down the peninsula to Coles Bay the sun was now shining and I saw a Boat Trip advertised to Wineglass Bay ...guess what ...not running that afternoon. So there was nothing for it - I had come all the way from England and so hiking up to the viewpoint was my only option. I paid my $25 Parks fee and the nice guy in the visitor centre told me it was only 45
mins walk to the viewpoint. Out came the Leki walking stick ( that saves a bit of wear and tear on my knees) and I set off. 45 mins of going up and up and up ...a very good track some level paths but mostly it was huge granite steps up and up and up .....you get the picture ! But it was amazing ...huge granite boulders lined the path and spectacular trees...well worth the effort to get there ....even though there were misty clouds drifting when I got up there it was a wonderful view. And true to family tradition I had brought a little picnic - what a perfect picnic place ! Down down down there was an alternative path called the Boulder Track ... and it was ... lots of boulders in the path along with the steps...I loved the way the trees twisted amongst the granite. Thank goodness I had my trusty stick ! Down in the car park there was a little wallaby hopping around and a few silly tourists patting it and giving it food... in spite of the notices saying DO NOT FEED OR TOUCH THE WILDLIFE ... next thing you know it’ll
be attracted to cars and get itself run over ! As cute as they are why can’t people see that wild animals need to be wild !
Next stop Bicheno and I had booked into the Backpackers Hostel... it’s cheap and clean and quite comfortable with a private room and ensuite..perfect. However I almost starved as the local supermarket was closing its doors as I arrived at 6pm , but they kindly let me get milk and tea so at least I could have a cuppa. By now the rain had set in so I was searching for a restaurant .... guess what nothing was open until at last I found the Sealife Centre , but being the only place open they had a big sign up apologising for running out of fish as they had been so busy !!! So I thought I would try the wallaby fillet steak ... sorry Wallabies ... but it was very nice !
Rain cannot stop play so I set off next morning northwards up the coast towards the Bay of Fires ...so named beacause one of the first white explorers had seen so many fires lit by aboriginal people. They
would use burning as an agricultural method to encourage further growth of native plants for themselves and for animals. At Binalong Bay there was a boat trip advertised to go along the coast but guess what the sea was so rough with huge waves and a swell that the boat trip wasn’t going all week !!! Another case of do it myself was coming up !!! The road pretty well hugs the coast occasionally going inland through beautiful woodland and pastures, so armed with a good local map I just carried on and stopped off at almost every track going out to the coastline. As the afternoon progressed the sun came out so I was blessed with some wonderful scenes of the rocky coastline and these granites by the sea have beautiful orange and lime green lichens growing on them . Wow 😮!moments ! Views of Sloop Rock and walks amongst the rocks at The Gardens .. I think I saw more by doing my own thing !
A bit of luxury was called for then as I had spotted a rather nice looking place for the night at Pelican Point, and the lady kindly gave me a discount
for being on my own and paying in cash... so I could sit on my secluded deck looking out over the wetlands area and listen to frogs croaking as I drank my cuppa!
Driving back south through the middle of Tassie were some winding mountain roads and hilly valleys with some pretty towns ...Ross with it’s stone house , bridge and tree lined Main Street was very picturesque and has a bakery selling the famous Scallop Pie so had to try that of course. Heavy rain as I continued my drive south to Huonville.
I had been advised to focus on one area of Tasmania, which for me was East Coast . Yes it’s small compared to the rest of Australia but i find it’s best to take time in a place and not just zoom around ticking boxes. But it was a bonus for me that Deidre who I stayed with South of Hobart kindly showed me around the southern peninsulas. The Huon River Valley is beautiful and there was a visit to an Apple Yard and museum with a chance to try out which ciders I liked best, fish n chips by the Bruny Island Ferry
, an informative visit to a boat builders yard where you can do a course and build your own boat, then there was a stop at the Salmon Fishery to buy fresh salmon ...yesterday‘s catch. We had to stretch our legs too after a great drive through the forest up into the Hartz Mountains... with a hike along the forest track and boardwalks to a little lake ...this was a glaciated area, and you could see where the glaciers and scoured out the land and left moraines and humpy rocks called Roches moutonnier. With 360deg views of mountains all round and only a handful of other walkers it certainly is a wonderful peaceful place.
I’m not forgetting Hobart , the capital of Tasmania where I started my visit with Janene. What a beautiful city with it’s Harbour and inlet’s and mountains all round. The sun was shining as we wandered through the stalls at Salamanca Market on Saturday morning ..lots of food and craft stalls and we gave in to temptation eating crepes with maple syrup. Then a walk round Battery Point where settlers had built their lovely traditional homes and a wander round the harbour ...yes I was
falling in love with Hobart . Next stop was Museum Of Old and New Art ..MONA . Perched on a hillside surrounded by vineyards overlooking the water ...you couldn’t pick a better spot and the architecture itself as well as the interior design which takes you through the exhibits is very unique. From ancient Egyptian statuettes to a waterfall of words you are led through an exhibition of artistic diversity. Loved it ! Topping off the evening was a yummy dinner with more 5W women ... what a great organisation ...women extending the hand of friendship to travellers like me.
Sunday was a beautiful sunny day to explore the Botanic Gardens where we took Janene’s 94 year old mum for a walkabout in her wheelchair and lunch. There’s nothing quite like being part of family life when you’re travelling. Tulips reminded me that it’s springtime here while in England the leaves are dropping from trees.
Finally it was goodbye to Tassie - such a beautiful place. Maybe I have to come back some time to see those Devils !
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