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Published: February 28th 2010
Day 296 - Moulting Bay (St Helens) to Coles Bay (nr Freycinet National Park) Big birthday shout out this morning to Ed who is celebrating today! Happy Birthday, sorry we’re not there to help you see out another year but we’ll have a belated session when we get back! See you soon! Lots of love from both of us x x
Hurrah, its moving day! We should be used to it by now, it’s happening every two days for the foreseeable future. We were all packed up for an 8am departure from Moulting Bay so we left just ahead of Tony & Jane to fill our fuel tanks up then waited for them down on the wharf in St Helens.
Freycinet National Park is our destination today, or more precisely the Big 4 caravan site in Coles Bay which is only 1km down the track so it’s well positioned for our planned walks. We were all a bit sad not to be able to get into the Richardson Beach camp spots as they are right along the waterfront but the cut off for caravans is 18ft, too small for the lovely 23 footer that Tony & Jane
have. Not to worry, we were due some power and hot showers so Big 4 it was.
The road climbs upwards coming out of St Helens and for a split second Dar thought we’d missed the turn off and were heading over St Mary’s Pass. We weren’t, we hadn’t missed the sign and were on the right road which thankfully levelled out soon enough. We saw the sign for Elephant Pass and I instantly thought about the pancakes sold in a café there, according to many travellers they are extraordinarily good - Kangaroojack had a taste of them when they were here I seem to remember!
The camp site was a bit tricky to find, especially when you’re (me) not looking and you (me again) miss the signs! Luckily Jane was looking and beautifully piped up over the UHF. After a quick U turn we navigated our way to reception. It’s quite a small campsite and we’re glad we’ve booked ahead as its rammed solid. Despite us arriving early the spots are empty so once we’ve set everything up we’re free to explore for the rest of the afternoon.
Of course there’s a walk involved, there always
is! We drive back in the direction of Bicheno, where we’d passed some wild Emu’s on the way in, and then follow the signs for the Douglas-Apsley National Park.
It’s not a long walk, only a 3 hour return but it involves a 160m climb up from the initial waterhole crossing and then an upward walk along the ridge of the gorge. You can either then choose to return the same way or to rock hop downstream along the river.
The initial water crossing saw mountain goats 1, 2 and 3 (Darryl, Tony and Jane) make it across the rocks and the water then Tony did the gentlemanly thing and returned to me so I could use his stick. At this stage I was still taking my boots and socks off having eventually plucked up the courage to walk across in bare feet. In return for the stick I gave Tony my boots containing the smelliest socks in the world. I’ll let him use the smell as blame for what happened next, he must have been overcome and needless to say that his feet were wetter than mine by the time we’d both reached the other side! Thank
Looks like somebody didn't like having to pay to visit the area
We paid $60 for a 2 month vehicle pass - it's very cost effective and you can use it for the shuttle buses at Cradle Mountain too.
you very much for the thoughtfulness though Tony, I got on great with the stick!! Darryl and Jane were howling with laughter at poor Tony - it was only his foot that got a dunking but it was enough to set them off!
The remainder of the walk through woodland was pretty tame except for the up and down climbs and the navigating of small rocks along the way. When we reached water a second time we needed to make a decision as to which way we would return to the start. Option A - play around on the big boulders in the river and have lots of photos taken then return to the start the way we had just walked. Option B - play around on the big boulders in the river while making our way back to the start of the walk by scrambling back and forth across the rocks in the river.
Darryl went off to investigate option B, his rock hopping skills are very good and he managed to get quite a long way until he was stopped by what he described as a sheer drop. There was a fairly big discussion about what
Darryl makes it look easy!
Which of course it is for most people ...
to do next, the walk instructions had said it was possible to return via the river if the water was low (which it was) but we would have to work out a path. Despite sitting rooted to one boulder in the river I was more than happy to give the rock hopping a go however it was the group decision to return through the woodland. There were no wet feet this time at all and after successfully getting across we sat eating apples watching another couple having a go, they did get a little bit wet but it would have been rude to laugh!
The journey home saw us inflict our very first road kill. A whip (White Lipped) snake was just making his way onto the road and we couldn’t swerve to avoid him as a car was coming the other way. Our 100% record since arriving in Australia had faded.
On the way back to camp we stopped off at the Bicheno blow hole. The sea is again putting on a good show giving the water spurts more height and energy. Even the locals were out watching.
The sun was the next natural element to
catch our eye and everyone at the camp was rushing down to the shore line to see the effect. We made it just in time and it was nice, not spectacular, just nice!
Dinner of course was spectacular, the boys and Jane rustled up a terrific BBQ for us all to enjoy and then we hit the sack ready for a long walk tomorrow in the heart of Freycinet National Park.
Dar and Sar
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