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Published: March 15th 2010
One Man and his Dog
Wilmot Letterbox Trail
Day 308 - Cradle Valley to Devonport
Crikey, who flew us back to the UK without us knowing! It’s flipping, blinking freezing here this morning. Brrrrrgggggghhhhhhh. Even a hot shower doesn’t manage to warm the cockles but it’s not windy like it was yesterday so that’s a blessing. Hopefully everyone out on the Overland Track will be snug from thermal clothing if nothing else. .
Today is our last day with Tony & Jane, in Tasmania anyway. They don’t leave the state until Wednesday night but we’re catching a ferry back to the mainland in the morning so are heading back to Devonport today. As both parties are travelling in the direction of Sheffield we’ve decided to stick together til early afternoon and then we’ll go our separate ways.
We said goodbye to Elina who was having breakfast in the warm camp kitchen. ‘See you at Christmas’ we said but she looked a bit confused, maybe not all of the red wine made it into the Spaghetti Bolognese last night after all!! Ha Ha!
Time for me to indulge everyone in the art of letterboxes! I love quirky things like this and since discovering there’s a letterbox
trail through Wilmot I couldn’t resist it. The tiny town is sort of on our way to Sheffield if you squint and use your imagination a little bit! When we arrive we firstly head to the visitors centre in the museum hoping to get a map but the lady was very vague so instead we tried the general store. One of the more prominent supermarket chains in Australia is Coles and this lovely little general store is where it all started from. Well this place has far more character than the modern versions you can be sure of that!
The chap behind the counter is more than pleased to get us a map of the letterbox trail and also passes on some hints about exploring the local area. Off we go in search of ‘The redback on the toilet seat’ and ‘The man & his dog’! Some of the letterboxes we come across are just fantastic, what a great idea to pull in the tourists! Nobody seems bothered by two caravans slowly making their way along the main road, stopping every now and then to take photos. We guess everyone is used to that sort of behaviour as the
trail has been here for a few years now.
We take a bit of a detour up the ‘Back Road’ to get a good view across to Mt Roland which stands huge and bulky behind the small town. It’s a tight, windy road but both caravans make it around the corners with no problem and we don’t meet any oncoming traffic which was probably just aswell as there’s little space for passing. I got my wires crossed on the next section of navigation and we took a left instead of a right which brought us through the lanes to Sheffield being used by Rally Tasmania! We got through with about 5 minutes to spare before the vehicles arrived for the stage. Our assumption is the officials weren’t watching when we entered the lane, we saw them busily taping off a track to the woods and the ‘Road Closed’ sign was back to front! Being in the middle of that would have been entertaining to say the least!
Sheffield was an interesting place to wander around not least for the 52 murals spread around the buildings. It started several years ago with just one but the locals and tourists
loved it and so it’s carried on. We must say they are definitely prettier than bare walls and there’s not an ounce of graffiti in sight.
We spotted a chap wearing a Tam O’Shanter hat walking an Alpaca in the main street! Not the sort of thing we’d expected by he caught our eye and the guy with him looked really familiar. It was none other than Art who we’d met down at Mole Creek the day Tony disturbed a Tiger snake. He remembered us too and asked how ‘Mum and Dad’ were (he was referring to Tony and Jane of course!). We had a bit of a catch up and found out he was camped in the council car park at the moment, I bet they love that! The ‘Alpaca’ guy turned out to be Dutch too (same as Art) and after a quick conversation with Darryl he announced “I know you”. We all looked a bit surprised as he went deep into thought presumably trying to work out where he knew Darryl from. With a big grin he came out with “You’re Dr Martin aren’t you!” So that’s Alice from the Vicar of Dibley for me and now
Dr Martin for Darryl, the west country accents are holding up well obviously.
Morning coffee was great and we all got to stroke the alpaca which was beautiful and soft. After a quick look around the 2nd hand shop The Emporium (great fun to look round, he’s got some amazing items in there) and then a wander through a gift shop, it was time to head off for the rest of the day.
We’ve had great fun travelling with Tony & Jane, its brought back lots of memories and we very much look forward to visiting them at home in the next few weeks when we’ve made our way up to Orange in New South Wales.
I think Darryl could have easily throttled me for my next mystery tour! I inadvertently took us to the bottom of what is probably the steepest hill we’ve been down on this entire trip (not just Tasmania) only to realise there was no where for us to go but return the way we’d come in. Back up the ludicrously steep, hair pin, winding, twisting road we went. Thankfully the car chugged merrily along dragging the caravan behind! Oops!
back through Wilmot capturing more letterboxes like ‘The redback on the toilet seat’ and then headed out towards Devonport. We’re not 100% sure where to camp tonight but we’re hoping wherever we end up it will be free.
On a whim I call the ferry company to see if we can get on the sailing going tonight. It’s all looking hopeful as they do have space for a caravan but then the lady spots our ticket is a discounted ‘use it or lose it’ variety which means we have to sail on the dates we originally booked it for. Oh well, it was worth a try. What she did tell us about was the regatta going on in Devonport today. We’re just in time to see the last few motorboat races so we find a parking spot for the caravan and hot foot it in the direction of the water.
Motorboats are cool as. They’ve pretty much got the same engines in them as we use in the drag car - carb, injected or blown. Awesome! There are lots of similarities to drag racing and we have some good discussions with a couple of the teams in the
What a collection
Wilmot Letterbox Trail
pits. The racing is good too with lots of close finish line decisions.
We drove around Devonport looking for a fish and chip shop firstly and somewhere to park up for the night which wasn’t going to be in a noisy location. We just happened to arrive at the ferry terminal during our search and decided that if all else failed we’d return here and get in the queue early!
Just around the corner however we found everything we needed. A great little store, complete with a fish & chip shop inside, next to a recreation park with public toilets. Perfect. No traffic would be coming down here as the road didn’t go anywhere so we were hopeful of a decent nights sleep and set the alarm clock for 6am.
Dar and Sar
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